A 30-something's lovingly sarcastic journey through all of Sweet Valley High, and then some (with lots of swears)

#78 The Dating Game

The stupid game that assholes play

Oh, Francine … you make me go from Sweet Valley Saga to THIS?

Good lord, this book slew me, and I don’t mean that in a positive way. I mean, for starters, it’s about two girls no one really cares about fighting over some dumb boy that no one really cares about either, but dating drama and potential catfights could make for a semi-entertaining read, right? RIGHT? Guess again! I was so hopelessly bored with this one! It didn’t help that this book is saturated with an especially nosy Liz, and peppered with a dash of Enid whining about how she’s sick of being single. Well, quit being such a drip then, Enid! Or at least go troll Sweet Valley College for a date, the older dudes sure seem to dig you. And finally, the book was filled with some of the cheesiest, dated statements I have ever read, not to mention the constant insinuation that you’re nothing unless you have a boy who likes you. One of the sub-plots is boring, and the other one made me want to throw up.

Okay, so let me get off my high horse and tell you what happens already. Scott Trost is back on the football team, and apparently that means Claire Middleton is no longer quarterback, or even on the team, maybe. I don’t know what in fuck is going on. Claire and Jean West are both boyfriend-less, Jean for all of three books, so that of course means something is wrong with both girls that needs to be corrected immediately. Enid is also single, but no one’s trying to set her up. That’s probably because she spends most of her time sitting around fucking whining about it! I guess Jeffrey French didn’t want anything to do with her after that one New Year’s in the last Super Star. He woke up with a killer hangover New Year’s Day, and then he saw what he had made out with the night before and the hangover got a lot worse.

Scott’s friends on the football team are all giving him a hard time about not having a date for the upcoming Love in Bloom dance, so he sends both Claire and Jean the same RIDICULOUS love letter on purple paper, asking for dates. The girls talk about their upcoming nights out and even go shopping for clothes to wear before they each realize they’ve got the same dude chasing them with the same letter. I find it really hard to believe neither girl wanted to ask the other who her date was any time before that.

Claire has been digging on Danny Porter (Jessica’s crush from Ms. Quarterback), so she’s ready to bitch Scott out and then just forget about him. But Jean was already kind of interested in Scott, so she’s especially enraged that he tried to play both of them like this. She’s felt like a “heel” ever since Tom McKay dumped her for no apparent reason (because he still hasn’t come all the way out of the closet, so Jean doesn’t know about that whole thing). So Jean comes up with a plan that she thinks will humiliate Scott. Instead of … bitching him out in front of everyone and walking away while the whole school laughs, Jean thinks that she and Claire should … go on their dates with Scott, then bitch him out afterwards in front of everyone and walk away while the whole school laughs. I’m sorry … what? So now Scott can run his mouth about what he supposedly did with each of you on your respective dates in revenge, I guess. This is really really dumb. I can’t believe Jean wasn’t tired of all the fucking game-playing after she essentially tried to pull some shit just like that on Tom back in Jealous Lies. So essentially, she’s now planned to fuck over a boy while secretly falling in love with him twice. I think it’s safe to say that Jean LOSES at “The Dating Game.” HAAAAAH YOU SEE WHAT I DID THERE LOLLLLLL1!!!!

Scott takes Claire out for … coffee. Okay, wait. Who here drank a lot of coffee when they were 16? Hmmmm? I don’t know. This feels like a college-y date. Whatever. Jean sits in the coffee shop so that Scott will see her when he brings Claire in, freak out, and make them leave. Oooooh, that’ll get ‘im. Scott takes Claire out to a pizza place an hour away to get away from Jean, where he bores her to tears. For Jean’s date, they’re supposed to meet at the Box Tree Cafe, and Jean deliberately shows up very late to piss him off, but he doesn’t give much of a fuck. Then Jean has a really good time in spite of herself. Jean still backs off when Scott tries to kiss her at the end of the night, so that he falls over in the car as she bolts.

Claire is now more than ready to ditch the plan, because she is afraid Danny will think she’s really interested in Scott, but Jean insists on pushing ahead. Jean’s next big idea? Tell everyone that she went out with Scott, while Claire also tells everyone that she went out with Scott, so that … oh god, I don’t know if I can keep reviewing this. Sometimes I hate something when I read it and then I start reviewing it and I get madder and madder that I subjected myself to it in the first place.

Okay, so these dumb girls get the whole school talking and demanding to know which girl Scott really likes and he proposes this stupid ass contest where he’ll date both girls and then decide which one he likes better, and that girl will be his date to the Love in Bloom dance, which is totally like, the biggest dance Sweet Valley has ever had! Like, ever! OH MY GOD! So Scott takes the girls on stupid dates while Liz stands around fuming about how degrading it is and how much she hates men. Claire hates the dates and almost passes out with boredom each time. But Jean loves being with Scott. At one point Scott takes Jean to Cote d’Or in Malvina and is very nice to her, AWWWWWWWW. Cote d’Or, isn’t that the same place Nicholas took Liz to on their one illicit date behind Todd’s back? Hahaha.

So yeah, Scott’s so nice when the guys aren’t around! The guys pressure him and he doesn’t know how to handle it so he acts like a big asshole! Oh, and he has a big brother named Jack who’s always made him feel small and worthless! For fuck’s sake, fuck this guy. No, not literally, Jean! Oh shit, she wasn’t listening I guess, because he takes her to a beach and they make out and she falls in love. Then the day comes when Scott will announce the “winner” of The Stupid Shitty Contrived-Plot Game and both girls plan to turn him down while the whole school laughs. I guess. Jean knows she loves Scott and wants to call everything off, but she can’t bring herself to say anything to Claire. I guess she’s afraid Claire will beat her up or something. So Jean eventually breaks down and cries to everyone’s favorite patronizer, Liz the smug old biddy, who’s seriously had her nose up everyone’s ass all book long. Even fucking Sandy has no idea what’s going on in her best friend’s life, although we all know Sandy’s a real bitch at heart, so whatever. Liz encourages Jean to tell Claire the truth, but like I said, Jean is a-tremblin’ at the thought for some reason. What the hell, Jean was all about executing this bullshit to begin with! Just fucking tell her! But when they get in the cafeteria, where the whole damn school is waiting (really? everyone gives that much of a shit?), Scott is back to acting like his old smarmy self. He announces Jean the winner and puffs himself up but she screams at him, throws a pint of milk onto him and storms out of the cafeteria. Bravo Jean, that’s the first thing you’ve done right all week. Then Scott shrugs it off and offers himself to Claire instead, and she laughs in his face and walks away with Danny Porter. Jean goes home and cries, Liz and friends impose themselves on her privacy and sit there staring at her like they’re at an intervention meeting, and then they toddle on out. And then Scott comes over and forces the door open with his foot and backs Jean into a corner (no, I’m being 100 percent literal, that’s what he does) until she has to admit she is in love with him and then they make out right then and there. So yeah, Scott’s a big dickhole but it’s okay because … wait, why is it okay? I … don’t … know.

I think this book has turned me into a raving lunatic. Either that, or Jeff Spicoli.

The sub-plots: There are two of them. They both suck. #1: Jessica reads an article on interpreting your dreams and suddenly considers herself an expert. Then she has the same dream over and over, about meeting a hot boy named Jackson on a beach in Hawaii, so she’s convinced she has a hot man named Jackson waiting there for her. To earn the money to fly to Hawaii and find Jackson, she starts her own dream interpretation business. Only Jessica doesn’t actually charge people anything, so she doesn’t make any money. So she has no way to go to Hawaii.

Could this book make any less sense? Is it possible?

All’s well that ends well; Jessica sees an ad in the same magazine that she read the dream article in, that shows a man in a Hawaiian shirt named Jackson … bingo. That’s why she had the dream. She was wasting all her Saturday nights on analyzing people’s dreams for no reason … not even money, since she wasn’t charging people? Why didn’t she charge them? Gee Mr. Hand, I … don’t …. know. Then Jessica realizes her latest sorta-crush Steve Anderson wants to take her to the Love in Bloom fucking dance anyway. Is it not kind of creepy that Steve has the same name as Jessica’s brother? With all the damn relative-worshipping that goes on in that house?

#2: Liz and Todd have a fight. Everyone is stunned because they are such a perfect couple. You should know I’m not even being sarcastic. Enid almost pisses herself with shock. The worst part is that Liz just agreed to have a picture of herself and Todd put in the fucking Oracle as an example of the world’s best couple. And why do they fight? Because Liz conducts a survey on dating at school, and after she gets the results, she thinks boys are horrible, bossy, and chauvinistic and Todd dares to defend the male sex, saying not all of them are bad, and Liz flips the fuck out. She launches a campaign or something to convince Todd he is, in fact, a big asshole and every man in the world is also an asshole. Todd won’t cave and they stop speaking to each other, then someone writes a letter to the Oracle in response to a sexist column Liz wrote about why she hates men, then Liz realizes it was Todd, then … I … DON’T … KNOW!

The cover … is supposed to make us think that Jean and Claire are fighting over Scott, I guess? Claire doesn’t even give a shit about Scott, who is so not all that, so I don’t know why they have her draping herself over him. Claire looks prettier than she did on her last cover. Jean is an uglier version of her same expression on Jealous Lies. Nice late 1991 clothes. Ha ha ha.

WTF? I hear that some Sweet Valley High books were cut from the line-up and never released. I think this one slipped through by mistake.

Here’s how Todd makes up to Liz: “After yesterday, I think I’d rather be an aardvark then a teenage boy.” Awww, I wish you were, Todd! Because then you would be much cuter and more bearable.

I'm adorable and I don't punch people!

Claire tells Maria, Enid, and Liz about her new boyfriend at the Dairi Burger, but makes them guess who it is first. When she gives the clue that he’s “devastatingly handsome,” Enid goes, “I know, I know. Randy Mason. It’s got to be Randy Mason.” She’s really not kidding! WOW Enid … you need help! I mean, more help than we originally thought you did.

John Pfeifer has a crush on Claire and follows her around. There is zero mention of John Pfeifer’s girlfriend, Jennifer Mitchell, or why they suddenly aren’t dating anymore.

We learn Jean spends every Saturday night doing macrame since Tom dumped her. What? Why would she do that? Isn’t she one of the most popular girls in school? Do ALL of her friends spent all of their time out on dates every single Saturday? What about all those parties? Barf.

Todd’s letter to the Oracle is signed “Not Blind and Not Stupid” but we don’t learn this until much later when it’s referred to that way and we have no clue what the fuck that’s about!!!! CONSISTENCY! FOR THE LOVE OF GOD.

Caroline and Jessica are suddenly good friends again. I thought they fucking hated each other.

The slang in this book is too weird. I think this book was written by someone born in 1920.

Finally, all throughout the book Liz demands to know what’s going on in people’s lives, even physically forcing either Claire or Jean (don’t remember which, don’t give a fuck) to head into the cafeteria to confront Scott. And THIS is what Liz tells herself near the end of the book: “I guess Jessica isn’t the only romantic twin in the Wakefield family after all! Or the only one capable of meddling in other people’s lives, either.” OH I GET IT! This book was written by a comedian! HAR HAR!

Reader of the Month, please take me away with your lovely essay. Oh wait, it’s a poem. Ahem, Robbenmarie writes:

“Tell me a place where the romance is hot;
Where the parties never stop;
Where I can find so many gorgeous guys,
And identical twins with blue-green eyes;
Where sports cars are fiery red,
A Saturday night without a date
Is cause for dread! (Yeah no shit, just ask macrame crazy Jean over here)
Still haven’t guessed?
I’ll tell you on the sly,
I’m talking about Sweet Valley High! (NO WAY)
It’s so fun to read;
It has all the dating tips you need! (oh my god … please tell me no one tries to make their dating life work according to an SVH book. You just put the fear of God into me Robbenmarie)
In the end, the good guys always win,
With a little help from the Wakefield twins.
If you’re looking for fun, then come on!
We’ll go to Beach Disco,
And hear the Droids play their newest song. (THAT DOESN’T RHYME YOUNG LADY)
Don’t get hurt
When Jessica decides to flirt with your guy;
But Elizabeth’s there
And on Jessica she’ll keep an eye.
Come along, if you choose;
This is Sweet Valley High
You’ve got nothing to lose! (I think several million of my former brain cells would disagree with you there)

Wow. There is nothing I can say to this at all. Because mere yards away from me lies a huge stack of boxes of old clutter I’m trying to rid myself of, and within lies a poem I wrote about tarantulas in the fifth grade that puts this to shame … and not in a good way.

Coming up next: A ton of people we never heard of do something stupid. Here, this is more entertaining: Listen to songs from the SVH musical that was put on exactly once, Fastbreaks, at Forever Young Adult!

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Comments on: "#78 The Dating Game" (3)

  1. […] Jessica gets Cara to take over a babysitting job with the Millers down the street (that was originally Liz’s job). She reasons that it will prepare Cara for the babies she and Steven will be sure to have because “You know the facts of life as well as I do. Even when you use birth control, accidents can happen.” Cara has a hard time with the kids, of course, which gets her thinking about the realities of her future with Steven. Next Jessica gives her a lecture about the harsh realities of marriage today, citing statistics about the percentages of housework and childcare that married women are stuck with. Of course Jess frames it all matter-of-factly like that’s just the way it is, la-di-da! Cara fails to realize the ulterior motive going on here. Next Jess takes Cara shopping for boring stuff: housewares and books on plumbing and cooking on a budget, and tries to encourage her to take up a hobby like knitting since she’ll be spending a lot of time at home waiting on Steven and won’t be close enough to Sweet Valley to hang out with her friends anymore. Gee, maybe Cara should just take up macrame a la Jean West. […]

  2. luckylee said:

    This one was so boring, it took me so long to read it.

  3. Claire is super hot on the cover…way hotter than Jean.

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