Tag Archives: bruce patman

The One Where Nicholas Morrow proves he’s still got it: SVH #26 “HOSTAGE”

14 Jan

I recently spent an entire 22-hour plane ride engrossed in “Dancing on My Grave”, the tell-all autobiography of America’s prima ballerina Gelsey Kirkland. It’s a haunting read, depicting the mental torment of Kirkland, [who is in my opinion the greatest classical ballerina of the 20th century] and her well-publicised battle with cocaine.

So as I drifted off to sleep in that mid-afternoon, jet-lagged haze, where do you think my thoughts took me? To Baryshnikov? No! To the New York City Ballet? No!

Engrained in my conscious from a very young age is of course that ominous association between cocaine and…. Regina Morrow.

Oh,oh with white teeth

Oh, oh Regina…. [I googled this. I think it’s a Bjork song]

Now I’ve recapped Regina’s untimely end previously, so when I was wide awake at 4am the following day, I started reading this epic little piece of fiction: SVH #26 “Hostage”. It’s the story of Bruce and the twin’s secret mission to free Regina from a “mean little man” [their words, not mine] and his evil accomplice.

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All hail the lipstick feminist: SVH #86 “Jessica against Bruce”

25 Jul

Let’s take a look at the story:

Bruce [Patman] is being an all-around a-hole, convinced that he is way too cool for boring old Sweet Valley High. So to liven things up a bit, he starts an all-guy secret club – “Club X” – that does totally kick-ass dares like LET OFF THE SCHOOL FIRE ALARMS. In my experience, cool people don’t usually have to prove themselves like that, not that I would know, never having been one of them. But a secret club whose sole mission is to pull annoying pranks isn’t what I would expect from Sweet Valley’s social elite. He is Bruce Patman after all! Surely for kicks he can get his hands on some “good shit” and squander his family’s fortune at the Casino.

Several guys rally around Bruce to support his inflated ego, and they rile up the girls by calling it a “guys only” club, and going on about how a girl could never “have what it takes” to make it in Club X. Enter Jessica Wakefield, maybe the only girl who could look Brucey P in the eye and take him on, while still flashing her midriff and looking sensational.

And so an all out gender war erupts in the cafeteria. I find myself particularly enraged when Bruce Patman tells the girls they can “Cheer on Club X from the sidelines…in their shortest skirts.”. But I had to stifle a laugh when the cheergirls argued that “Girls can do anything….like Justice Sandra Day O’Connor..and Susan Butcher. She’s won the Idatarod, that incredible DOG SLED RACE IN ALASKA, several times.”

Thank you, Terri Adams. Nothing like a dog sled race to smash the glass ceiling for us.

Jessica stands up to the lions of injustice and joins Club X.

Meanwhile, several delegates from the “International Teacher’s Federation” are coming to visit Sweet Valley High, god knows why. And who better to show them around than Elizabeth Wakefield? She practically cracks a hernia when Chrome Dome announces at assembly that he will be choosing some exemplary students to show Mr Ociba and Madame Erlane around.

Get this:

“Guess who’ll get picked?” Enid said in Elizabeth’s ear.  “You.” [Fuck off, Enid.]

Elizabeth smiled. She thought it sounded interesting. She hoped she would have a chance to meet some of the visiting teachers and find out what high schools in other countries were like. [Fuck off, Liz.]

But wait for it – as she’s getting summoned from class by the principal, she checks with Mr Collins:

“Are you going to assign homework?”

For every point I give Jessica in this book, I take at least ten from Elizabeth. And 20 from Enid.

Joining Elizabeth on the committee are Todd and Enid, presumably because they are her closest friends. Also Bill Chase, which surprised me, as I assumed he was either too stoned or too busy surfing to attend class.

But while Liz is sucking up to her new multicultural friends, Jessica is effectively burning her aqua maillot in the war on sexism.

She throws the full force of her sized six body behind Club X. The secret society meets at night in their matching Club X jackets, and they spin a wheel to see who gets to carry out the dare of the day. Jessica is initiated – driving without headlights, smoking in Mr Cooper’s office and scaling a fence to jump off a 20m platform into a river. Strangely, the dares keep landing on her, because Patman is rigging the wheel with a magnet. But she gets her own back – when challenged to steal a car, she hotwires 1BRUCE1 and high tails it to the Dairi Burger. All the time there is this overtone of sexual tension, but I am SO thrilled that Jessica doesn’t disrespect the point of this story and give in to Bruce’s charm. [She’s currently dating Sam Woodruff. Heart!]

Elizabeth is less ballsy about the gender war, but prefers to debate it with Enid, which is obviously not a debate seeing as Enid agrees with everything she says. At least Winston has a new approach to Elizabeth’s question of whether men and women are equal.

“Of course not,” he says. “Women have better hair.” I’m glad Winston is getting to the heart of this matter.

Meanwhile, Liz is getting anxious that the escalating dare war will spill over and ruin SVH’s reputation in front of the international community. So she phones Project Youth hotline for advice. Given that the service is staffed by Amy Sutton and her equally vapid boyfriend Barry, I have to conclude that Liz is an idiot. Heeding Project Youth’s advice, she does nothing and lets Jessica and Bruce sabotage the school.

After learning about the rigging of the dare wheel, Jessica sneaks in and weights the wheel to land on Bruce. She dares him to play banned hard rock radio station KZZP over the PA system at the special assembly.

Bruce has no choice but to partake.

The music blasts, the school is humiliated, Jessica is actually put on detention AND grounded, and Liz gets the shits temporarily.

But of course, this is Jessica, and she never gets her come uppance. Liz disregards her spine and goes along with a twin switch so Jessica can sneak out to see Sam. I guess for once, I’m not even too pissed about a Wakefield getting off the hook with murder.

Maybe I could get a Club X jacket? Or get the precious logo embezzeled on my stethoscope? Maybe I could hotwire a BRUCE’s Lexus and drive it into our local burger joint? Either way, Francine has inspired me to smash the glass ceiling, Wakefield style.

Sweet Valley Confidential: The Verdict? Perfect! [Warning, Spoilers]

30 Mar

Unlike the sugar-coated, predictable, solved-in-sixty-pages plots of our bygone series, Sweet Valley Confidential is surprisingly… real. Told through a series of flashbacks – to high school, to SVU, and to the events that led to the war between the twins – each chapter provides just the right amount of tantalizing detail to keep you in complete suspense. It was absolutely unputdownable – to the point where I was pacing my living room like a maniac, screeching, “Lila had a boob job?!” “How the fuck did Liz find out?” and “Who has Steven been screwing all this time?”

And yet, it reflects just enough of the series we so lovingly snark, with the resurgence of original Sweet Valley personalities like Caroline Pearce, Ken Matthews and Jeffery French. It harks back to those defining events – the death of Regina Morrow, the demise of Enid-the-Drip – that even snarky old me remembered with a fond smile.

All the while, the book poked just the right amount of fun at the Sweet Valley franchise, with self-referential remarks such as

“Bruce Patman kissed her [Elizabeth] ! That had never happened before. At least, not while she was conscious anyway, but that’s another story.”

Yes, folks, a warm-wine-in paper-cup reference from fan favourite “Dear Sister”.

Although heavy on those age-old Sweet Valley-an themes of true love, sisterhood and commitment, the emotions ‘Confidential dealt with were surprisingly raw. For once, not everything fell into place for our twins, as even they had to cope with rejection, criticism and the realisation that they were  –  shock horror – not the perfect sized-six beings of the past.

Before I give you the story straight up, let me add this disclaimer: my recap can not do this epic work of chick lit the justice it deserves. Recapped in chronological fashion, it seems a little blah, but this suspense-filled book is anything but. Go and get yourselves a copy [or if you’re an Aussie* befriend your fellow Americans / have a super-awesome reader who will express mail you a copy].

Heavy spoilers below the cut!

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The one where Trusty Boyfriend Todd triumphs over Bruce Patman… Almost Married

15 Sep

Our book begins in typical Sweet Valley fashion, with a make-out session between Liz and Todd at Miller’s Point. Of course, Elizabeth’s mind is elsewhere, which  – strangely enough –  always seems to happen whenever TBT is attacking her neck. This time, she is thinking about Bruce Patman, who is blaming her mother for his parent’s recent marriage woes, accusing her of being the other woman. Alice Perfect Wakefield? Oh noes!

Sadly, when Liz did some searching recently to prove Patman wrong, she found a picture of Alice, in a wedding dress, with Hank Patman. Busted!

But back to TBT, who is nuzzling Elizabeth’s earlobe with vigor. He suggests that next time their parents are out of town, he shacks up at the Wakefield’s.

Todd is thinking with his genitals. I am surprised.

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1 Aug

This is probably the worst attempt in YA fiction to deal with body image issues – and I read “Nothing’s Fair in Fifth Grade”.

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Hello world! #3 PLAYING with FIRE

16 Jun


[The one where Jessica entwines herself around her beloved boyfriend – their words, not mine]

We begin at Sweet Valley High’s homecoming dance where I have been elected fall king and Jessica sociopath Wakefield is fall queen [that’s the first fall by the way, although we have about 137 summer vacations that year.]

Fran-Pasc gives some fairly harsh and unflattering descriptions of my dancing style:

“Winston did a quick shuffle, nearly tripping over his gangly legs.”

“Winston ran in circles around her, comically kicking his feet and clapping his hands”… so it’s little wonder that Jess ditches me to dry hump with wealthy Bruce Patman.

Creepy Collins comes out of the girl’s bathroom for long enough to award Jess and Bruce winners of the dance-off [what is this, GREASE?], but luckily Saint Liz is there to have a root [beer] with me and cheer me up. Because we gangly class clowns get down sometimes, y’know.

Oh and then there’s this dodgy subplot about the token school band, the Droids, getting screwed over by some LA-based music agent. Hmmm.

Next thing I know the gang’s at Ken’s after-party where Jess palms me off to her attaché Robin Wilson. Bruce wastes no time in luring Jess into the bushes. Yes, there is boob-groping and bikini untying. Those early ghosties sure knew how to start a party.

Page 31 is my favorite: “He responded by turning his face to hers and kissing her hard, his arms crushing her against him, his mouth demanding what his body wanted to take.” Ooh la la.

Saint Liz chases B and J into the bushes to try and knock some sense into her sister [and Bruce is all yee-haa now there’s two of them] but then poor sod stays up worrying about Jess till the bad twin comes home at 3am. Ah the joys of being four minutes [decades] older.

Jessica continues slutting around with Bruce, which basically means sitting around her bedroom waiting for him to call/ pick her up in 1BRUCE1 and deliberately losing tennis matches so he won’t be threatened by her. GRIPE#1 – This part always bothered me about Jess Wakefield. I always thought she was a bit of a feminist, not in the girl-scout-turned-star writer-for-the-oracle-beauty-pageants-are-the-devil way of Saint Liz, but in more of a pom-pom-toting-up-for-anything kind of way.

Anyhow –

When Bruce is taking out the other blonde of the month, Jess continues using her new “friend” [parasite], phi alpha beta wannabee Robin Wilson [who, in case you didn’t know, is fat. More on that minority group later.]

Anyway – one Friday night, I’m lucky enough to get invited on a date with Liz and Todd. Awesome! How kind of Liz to bring tubby Wilson [who happens to have a massive crush on me] for company! Naww… she really knows how to kill two birds with one stone. So while we’re cruising back from the Droid’s concert in the Todd-mobile we get classic Todd moment #1 “Bruce has been making it very clear that he’s getting everything he wants out of [Jessica]. And whenever he wants it, too.”

OMG? A Wakefield? Doing the unspeakable? My jaw must have opened so wide my braces fell off and landed on my model aeroplane. But don’t worry, JW is re-virginised by book 107 and Sweet Valley returns to its pure, sexless order.

We get a few more angsty droids moments, a few more Jess and Bruce PDAs and Jessica somehow manipulating Emily Mayer to cheat on a chemistry test for her [why do I still love this girl?]

And finally – the bit we’ve all been waiting for, where Wakefield triumphs over manwhore.

It’s Bruce’s birthday, which I somehow managed to fangle an invite to. We kick off with Robin announcing “I’m going to check out the food” [yep, I somehow happen to be at the hors d’oeuvres stand at that exact moment].

After the gang goes to Guidos, Bruce suddenly has to take off to see his sick grandma [yep, he played that card] and so Liz, Todd and Jess take off. The Liz has to go back for her jacket [the bitch] and drags Jess back into Guidos only find Bruce with a gorgeous redhead.

Then Jess is all to you from me pinky lee with the soda and Bruce is humiliated all the way back to his Porsche [which she so spitefully slashes the tyres of.] And then she LINKS ARMS WITH ME BECAUSE SHE OWES ME A DATE and we go back into Guidos and eat pizza with tubby Wilson all night. Ahhh.


I should mention one instance where the subplot gets mildly scandalous, at band practice in Max Dellon’s basement where they have…cigarettes. Cigarettes? In Sweet Valley? Wait, they weren’t at Kelly’s?

I can only hope one of them had a rare lung disorder and died instantly to TEACH US ALL A LESSON

Question of the Week:

Who is hotter- Bruce Patman or Winston Egbert? [pick me! Pick me!]

Oh and let me know what you think of this blog! Despite being a computer nerd, my alter ego is not!

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