Archive | June, 2011

Sweet Valley Conspiracy Theories: Part #2

21 Jun

Three’s A Crowd, starring Mary Giaccio…Could it really be Margo??

Before we examine the evil-twin-like behaviours of Mary whatever-her-name-is, let us briefly recap this ridiculous edition of SVT.

The Unicorns are fund-raising so they can throw a dance. [I’m sorry, but isn’t that what the PTO is for?] Anyhow, they’re putting together a celebrity cookbook, which involves writing to their favourite movie-stars and coercing Liz into loaning them HER TYPEWRITER to publish it with. A typewriter. Bless. Small but important point – none of the Unicorns can type, although Jessica decides to pretend she can to impress Janet.

Liz is busy covering ‘Career’s Day’ for The Sixers, and submitting editions of the paper to win some junior journalism award. Ho Hum. Jessica, however, throws a spanner in the works by impersonating Liz on the phone, and getting all the dates and speakers for Careers Day mixed up. She then borrows the typewriter for the Unicorn’s cookbook, and stuffs it. Liz doesn’t even get mad. She really needs to grow a spine.

Meanwhile, Mary has been spending every waking minute at the Wakefields, or more specifically, in the kitchen with Alice. [More on this later.] She saves the day for Liz and somehow fixes the broken typewriter. The fact that a Unicorn is privy to the workings of Elizabeth’s typewriter is a little creepy, and leads me to the conclusion that she has been spying on Liz. [Evidence point #1]

This epic typewriting mission continues the following afternoon, when Mary is yet again hangin’ at the Wakefields, and offers to go fetch the typewriter from Liz’s room so they can work on the cookbook. After an extraordinarily long absence, she returns and is all, “does Elizabeth like horses? There’s lots of horse posters in her room.” Obvs Margo still has a few lessons to learn in subtlety. [Evidence point #2]

Liz is wonderful, as we are constantly reminded, and is selected as a finalist in the journalism competition despite Jessica bombarding her typewriter. She needs to submit another edition of the newspaper, which coincides with the much-hyped “Careers Day”. Jessica, being an idiot, spills grape juice all over the master copy, and instead of fessing up, decides to “fix up” Elizabeth’s article. Not only can she not spell, but she changes one of the articles to read, “Fabulous Gretchen Tyler Speaks to the Unicorns.”

The plot thickens. Mrs Wakefield runs into Mary’s foster parents and finds out that they are thinking of adopting. Hurrah! Think Jess and Liz. Finally she’ll quit loitering around our house.

“Wait till I tell Lila and Ellen,” said Jessica. “Maybe we can throw Mary an adoption party or something.” But she goes one better, and adds this information to the gossip column in the Sixer’s master. Wow. She justifies it, of course, by going on about how creepy Mary is acting.

The school is a-buzz the next day, and Liz finally gets her back up at Jess for making her look like a bad speller, and a heinous bitch. Turns out Mary doesn’t actually want to be adopted by the Altmans at all, and is waiting for her biological parents to return.  [Or maybe she really wants a shot at becoming Elizabeth Wakefield.]

But because this is Sweet Valley, Mary’s biological mother does turn up, just ten pages later. [Now I have cousins who happen to have been adopted into the family, and I’m sorry but that is just plain unrealistic. And disappointing. Anyhow, enough of the soapbox.] Turns out Mary’s mother is a DEAD RINGER FOR ALICE WAKEFIELD. Which tells us why Mary was so intent on hanging at the Wakefields, but also makes it more plausible that:

Evidence Point #3 Mary herself could morph into a Wakefield lookalike.

The grand mother-daughter reunion happens at the Wakefield’s house, of course. But wait for it – Mary was never actually given away by mummy dear, but was KIDNAPPED BY Annie Giaccio. Who later tired of the blonde five year old and fostered her out. So we get our happy ending, Mrs Robinson agrees to move to Sweet Valley, Mr Bowman likes the tampered version of Liz’s article better than the original [HA!] and the twins go back to being friends. Also Mary is no longer pissed that her secrets were blabbed over the whole school.

So now, let’s examine the evidence that Mary is just a younger Margo in disguise….

Evidence point #4: Mary spends a ridiculous amount of time at the Wakefield’s house. Let’s take a look:

Mary invited herself over the following day, just as Jessica had expected. Jessica didn’t understand why Mary wanted to come over, and she didn’t like it one bit. “Sorry, Mary,” she said. “I’m going over to Ellen’s. Would you like to come with us?”

“I don’t think so,” Mary responded. “I should probably work on my social studies report.”

Jessica smiled to herself. So far her suspicions were correct. Mary wanted to be around Jessica only if she could spend time with Mrs Wakefield.

Evidence point #5: Mary’s favourite activities include cooking and cleaning with Alice.

I counted ten occasions where she asks, “Do you need help fixing dinner?” Now, we know that Margo’s weapon of choice was the butcher’s knife, so it makes perfect sense that young Margo would learn her trade in the kitchen.

Evidence point #6 Mary thinks she is a Wakefield.

As our catchy little tagline on the cover asks,“Why is the twin’s friend Mary suddenly acting like their sister?” Why, indeed? Maybe because she knows her rightful place is in the Wakefield family, dammit!

Evidence point #7 Mary is a foster child, like Margo.

Readers of Sweet Valley High will know all about Margo’s history as a state ward, being fostered to numerous families in Ohio and Long Island since she was two years of age. She also makes a habit of murdering her various foster siblings – like little George Smith, who she drowns, and Nina, who she burns. Mary, as we’ve discussed above, has been fostered out across the state since her kidnapping.

Evidence point #8 Like Margo, Mary undergoes various name changes throughout this book, and in fact, the Sweet Valley series.

In this book, she is Mary Giaccio, and is fostered by the Altmans and eventually adopted by her biological parents, the Robinsons. In the Unicorn Series, she is Mary Wallace. In SVH, she has fallen off the face of the planet, most likely to Cleveland, where she became Margo.

I note that Margos’ alter egos in SVH all have names like “Marla”, “Mandy” and “Michelle”. So Mary is a logical choice for the tween-aged Margo.

I’m convinved 100%. Mary Giaccio-Altman-Robinson-Wallace is actually Margo.

On another note – Liz’s friends throw a surprise birthday party for Mr Bowman who is – wait for it – twenty-seven!! That comes as something of a shock, given that I’d always pictured Bowman as an overweight 45 year old with a ruddy complexion and mismatched clothes. 27 just shed a whole new light on SVT’s answer to Pervy Collins….

If you have some of your own conspiracy theories about the goings-on in Sweet Valley, please don’t hesitate to send me your ideas, which I will publish as a guest post. Anything remotely relating to Margo and her past is particularly appreciated.


It’s My Birthday! Fridges will fall…….

16 Jun

It’s a little uncanny, and also very fitting, that my blog’s first birthday falls just three days after Jess and Liz’s Big Day [June 13th.] If Sweet Valley was real we’d probably go ham it up at the Beach Disco to celebrate, which would most likely involve Jessica ignoring me and Elizabeth oh so kindly sparing me twenty precious seconds for a shoulder pat, while the entire junior class hailed these golden goddesses on the passing of another year.

I myself am not a twin, nor a Gemini. I always thought I should have been, both on account of the large number of twins in my family tree, as well as the fact that I’m left-handed [which means I possibly resorbed my twin in utero]. [Re-reading that sentence I realize how incredibly gross it sounds.]

So, like everyone in Sweet Valley, I’m happy to share the spotlight on this momentous occasion with the darling twins, Liz and Jess Wakefield. And I say momentous because one year on and I’m still having a ball writing this blog, while my readership continues to grow daily. The best present for WWS is your continued following, commenting, and of course passing on this website to like-minded friends.

So to celebrate, let’s revisit that killer party of junior year – the one and only time Liz and Jess blew out their candles in the 15 or so years Sweet Valley High proper spanned – with SVH Super Edition #10 “Last Wish”.




Liz: Hey Enid! Thanks for shining my shoes this morning! Want to help me plan a surprise birthday party for Jessica?





Enid: Liz is so good, and so kind, and so wonderful that I want to molest her hair like Carl the Orderly help her throw her the best birthday party in history!

Jessica did try to ruin my life several times this year by stealing four of my guys and spreading stories about my junkie past, but I will overlook that for my dear friend Lizzie!



Liz: Maria, are you with us?



Maria: Damn straight, girlfriend.



Liz: Olivia?



Olivia: Yes ma’m. I will also overlook Jessica snatching Roger Barrett Patman AND Robert Simpson off me earlier this year. But do I have to take the record out of my hair and conform?

* * *

Jess: I am going to plan the best party for Liz, you guys. Lila, can I have your credit card for my outfit?



Lila: Liz is so boring. I wish Margo was here so we could REALLY party.



Maria: Oh my Lord! Jessica has been planning a party for Liz all along! This ain’t on, sister!



Enid: My life is ruined! I think I should dye my hair black and hook up with another vampire to console myself. Liz! Liz! Wait for me! Over here, Liz!



Amy: But they are Wakefields! We MUST have a massive celebration to honour them or the universe will implode and cause a natural disaster or something!



Lila: Let’s combine both parties and surprise the twins! [Because not even I can resist honouring Wakefields, those goddesses of the earth.]

* * *

Olivia: Oh hi, Ken. I’ve painted a portrait of you. Naked.



Ken: But…but…this is Sweet Valley! You’ve never seen me naked! Also I have no genitals!



Olivia: Let’s break up. Roger Barrett Patman wasn’t this frigid.


* * *

Liz: Devon and Todd hate me because I cheated on them. I don’t know why it suddenly bothers Todd ‘cause its the fourteenth time I’ve cheated THIS YEAR.

Also why are my friends acting weird and avoiding me? I’m Elizabeth Wakefield! Without me they are nothing! Me! Me! Me!


Jessica: Everyone’s acting suspicious. They must be planning a party for me!


Prince Albert: Woof! Woof! An eerie premonition settles over Sweet Valley……

* * *

Enid: Hello Mr Beach Disco owner. What’s that? You’ve double booked us tonight? Sorry Liz, looks like your party’s off. [I FEEL SO MEAN! POOR LIZ!]


Liz: A tremor! Did you feel that, Enid? The world must be going into chaos because my birthday party is ruined!

* * *

Lila: Hello Mrs tent-hire lady. What’s that? You have no tents? Sorry Jess, looks like the party’s off. [TAKE THAT, BITCHFACE. NOW WE’RE EVEN]

* * *

Twenty minutes later, at Casa de Wakefield

Everyone: Surprise! Happy Birthday, twins!


Todd: Hmph. I s’pose I should get off the couch and make an appearance. [Because as you know I’ve been secretly hooking up with both twins all junior year, and will continue doing so until late into my twenties.]

[moments later] Lila, I need to pee. Can you get out of the bathroom?

Lila: Just let me finish this line of cocaine fix my mascara!

* * *

Ken: I’m sorry, Livvy. I should never have tried to suppress your individuality and make you conform! You can paint me however you want.


Olivia: It’s okay, I’ll paint pants on you. Otherwise people might think I’m a tramp and Liz will banish me to the slut-list with Betsy Martin!


Ken: But at least you’ll get a shoulder pat, my dear.


Olivia : Let’s go to the fridge. I’ve got the munchies from all that weed.

* * *

DevonHere Liz, have this boring text book for your present. Happy birthday.


Liz: Waaaaa! I wanted Tiffany’s! Devon is so cruel and spiteful, when all I did was pull a massive twin switch and humiliate him in front of the whole school at the prom.



Nalice: Here you go twins – have a new jeep! We’re very sorry your last two cars got written off through a combination of drink driving and Todd Wilkins!


Steven: I’m home from college again! Can I borrow the jeep to go pick up Billy, uh I mean Billie?


Jess: Fuck off. I’m driving.


Mother nature: Revenge is mine! Mwah ha ha ha! See ya in hell, bitches!

* * *

And so ends Sweet Valley as we knew it…….

I wonder if somewhere in the deep south, Margo Black and Nora Chapelle are also celebrating their 17th? They were Geminis – the sign of the twin – after all [despite not having seen each other since birth they had matching tattoos of their star sign] Either way, I bet their celebrations shat all over the Wakefield’s BBQ. Margo probably coyote-ugly danced over all the tables at Kelly’s, or a similar institution, and had leering middle aged men stuffing dollar notes in the pocket of her ripped jean shorts.

Margo: Happy birthday sis! Whatcha get me?


Nora: Today I’ll let you be Jessica, then tomorrow we can swap?


Margo: Fuck off, I’m Lila!

Ustream: Live Fan Chat With Francine Pascal

11 Jun

It took a little while for this to get off the ground. First there were “technical difficulties” and then Fran-Pasc contracted food poisoning [I blame either the Clam Chowder or a Jessica attempt at seafood salad].

Being the middle of the day in Australia, I was at work and missed the fan chat when it finally happened, but it’s been posted on Sweet Valley Unlimited‘s website .

Throughout the interview, Francine is thoroughly delightful, witty and graceful in her 73 years.

She would date a combination of Bruce and Todd!!! Winston is a C-lister [obvs his A-list hookups are forgotten]!!! The draft for the movie script is ALMOST READY! [Also – was that a snide little remark to the TV show producers about “nobody listening” to her advice on the screenplay]

Anyway, Imma quit the spoilers and let you finish. But now, to find a set of twins perfect enough to fulfill Dame Pascal’s vision for the film version…..


The Wakefields Get A Job: SVH # 131 “Fashion Victim”

6 Jun

This story arc was a bit of a landmark in the Sweet Valley series, as Elizabeth and Jessica said goodbye to high school for two whole weeks [!]  to learn about the big wide world of working girls [in the non-prostitute sense.] We also said goodbye to our early-90’s illustrated covers and hello to the Daniel twins. I’ll forgive the daisy-print onesie because I actually found them rather cute circa 1997.

I would really like to thank the Sweet Valley writers for preparing me so well for working life, because this book taught me SO many valuable lessons:

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