SVU No. 53: Truth or Dare
The back of the book promises some life-changing decisions. Apparently Jessica doesn’t want to grow up...but “being nineteen has its price”. Todd may risk giving up everything for Dana, and Sam is pushing Liz away.
I can tell you right now that none of these issues are addressed in the book at all. It’s totally misleading.
No idea how the title is relevent either.
We open with Jessica and Neil (yay!) at the best club on campus - Starlights - and Neil has just been hit on by the tenth girl in the space of an hour. He finds this about as useful as I would find a treadmill because he is gay. Being the gentleman that he is, he’s a little insulted on Jessica’s behalf that all of these girls would approach him even though he’s obviously there with her (love him! Sam should really take a leaf out of Neil’s book). Jess of course just admires, and identifies with, their gumption. Neil likes Starlights because there’s a nice mix of people - everyone from Greeks to geeks. Hold the phone! They allow geeks into clubs in Sweet Valley?? Times, they are a-changing. (Probably only Ugly-Pretty geeks though right, who only need to remove their glasses and put on a short skirt to become superhot?) Neil also loves this club because he’s never seen another gay guy there (his gaydar must be super-powerful) and he’s relieved because he doesn’t want to get involved with someone after what happened to him last year at his old university. Unfortunately Neil’s being coy, so he doesn’t tell us what happened to him just yet. But it seems to have been romantically traumatic. And reason enough to transfer from Stanford to SVU. (He obviously didn’t check on the stalker/murder/doppelganger statistics before he made the move.) He then fills us in on the fact that he’s sharing a duplex with the Wakefields and Sam (grr!).
Anyhoo, Jess is running to be pledge chairwoman of the Theta house and is worried she’ll be humiliated because of her reputation as being somewhat irresponsible (You Jess? Never!). Neil is sure she’ll win, because she’s amazing. He, like me, realises how great Jessica is, and that she’s been forced into doing horrible things that she would never really do by mean ghostwriters who want Liz to be queen-of-everything....okay, rant over for now. Jess wants to develop the spirit of sisterhood at Theta, less of the bitchiness that exists now (don’t you recall your cheerleading days at all?), and Neil feels jealous of how passionate she is about it. He realises that he’s not really Involved in life at SVU and wants to change that. Jess then turns down an offer of a dance - turns out she’s still reeling from her secret relationship with a TA which ended after she found out he was being investigated for propositioning all of the female students he came across. And then he ran away. (What book was this???) Jess says she won’t run away; she wants to change things for the better. Then she and Neil take to the dancefloor.
Meanwhile Dana is being seated at a table for one at a Mexican restaurant. Todd, her live-in boyfriend, is at Frankie’s, the nightclub where he works. Dana is depressed that he seems to spend all his time there, or at the library. Supposedly. She suspects that he’s cheating on her with a Frankie’s bartender named Cathy. Things have been strained between Todd and Dana lately, and Todd thinks she has too much time on her hands (ouch) because she’s dropped all of her non-music classes. (Are you even allowed to do that?) Dana realises she’s also lost touch with her girlfriends and that sophomore year isn’t turning out how she wanted. She starts crying in the restaurant and runs out, deciding she’ll go to see Todd.
Then we flick to Chloe’s POV. Ah, Chloe. A character who makes me sigh and cringe...but never really holds my interest. Chloe lets us know that she arrived at SVU with dreams of fitting in (she hasn’t realised that she can’t fit in until she asks Liz first) but she’s been ignored by everyone. So she decided to tell everyone that she had a boyfriend. So far, so dull. But the ‘boyfriend’...his name was Tom. Tom Watts. As in the star player for the football team. (He’s reverted to being a dumb jock since his relationship with Liz ended.) Chloe had only really gone out on a date or two with Tom and he rejected her via answer machine. She, of course, was busted by Moira, her evil room-mate, and now everyone thinks she’s a big fat lying loser. But Chloe is secretly thrilled about her recently developed friendship with one Jessica Wakefield, which means she’ll be a shoo-in as a Theta. Unfortunately Jess has been keeping to herself lately and every time Chloe has called to the duplex to see her , she hasn’t been home...so Chloe has taken to hanging out with Sam. Who she wants to make her new boyfriend. So Jess will def be her friend and everyone will think she’s cool. (This must be the smallest university ever. I come from a pretty small town and at my university whether or not you had a boyfriend was not known campus-wide. Unless you were dating Colin Farrell.) Chloe decides to work some more on the Sam-as-boyfriend/Jess-as-BFF plan by dropping by the duplex right now....
Sam says she can hang out if she wants but it’s not really a good time as Jess isn’t home and he’s in the middle of an argument with Liz. At the same time Nina is yelling at Liz for being a doormat (shocker!) for doing Sam’s dishes. Apparently Nina has just moved in and she and Sam haven’t been getting along so well. Sam wants to escape the dull dull argument so he invites Chloe to his room to hang out. Chloe’s reaction: Squee!
Cut to Dana being pathetic. Again. Sigh. She’s nervous about visiting Todd at Frankie’s. She gets hit on, which she hates, because it makes her think how often Todd must get hit on. Sigh. Todd’s pleased to see her and leads her to the back room where they can make out. Classy. They are then interrupted by some of Todd’s colleagues who let Dana know that Todd talks about her all the time. Dana is ecstatic. And decides to change her attitude - she’ll just hang out at Frankie’s in her spare time. (Huge heaving sigh.) And her cello playing will improve cos she’ll be so happy.
Neil is skipping towards the Student Centre cos he’s really enthusiastic about Getting Involved. But alas when he tries to join the fencing team (which he was captain of at Stanford) he finds that SVU doesn’t have one. SVU is lacking? I don’t believe it! And there’s no debate team either, much to Neil’s distress. Only the showy stuff has survived budget cuts - fraternities, football, basketball etc. Neil’s depressed and skips no longer.
Dana has overslept and is really late for class because she spent all night partying at Frankie’s. Her professor is sarcastic about her tardiness so Dana gets super-embarrassed and does several boringly-clumsy things, including playing the wrong cello solo, making the professor even more angry with her. So Dana starts to cry again and runs out of the class. Sigh.
Neil bumps into a guy named Chip who’s running for Student-Body President (with the slogan ‘I’m Chockful of Chipper ideas’ - he obv had help from Liz with that one). Chip is only interested in securing more funding for fraternities which irritates Neil. A girl Neil gets chatting to is impressed with his passion about the lack of diversity re: campus activities so she suggests he launch his own SBP campaign. He gets really excited. Until she points out that he needs to be popular. And he realises that he only has one friend. But that friend is Jessica Wakefield godammnit! She’s an unstoppable force, so he smartly asks her to be his campaign manager. And she agrees once he convinces her that she’s up to the job.
Jess meets Liz for lunch. Groan. Apparently the twins never see each other anymore, even though they live together. We’re spared the ‘Gosh, they’re so different’ paragraphs, and given a subtle sentence-long indication instead: Jess = night owl, Liz = morning person. Done and dusted. Jess is delighted when Liz tells her she’ll be great as Neil’s campaign manager. Jess can’t believe she’s finally being taken seriously and wonders how she managed it. Aw. Our little sociopath is growing up. She’s also decided to take a break from dating because she’s not so good at choosing suitable candidates. A lesson learned years too late, I’m afraid. We find out Liz has just had a ‘dreamy’ first date with a first-year med student called Finn (grr!) who she can’t stop thinking about, and is everything she ever wanted in a guy. Puke. Jess is pleased she has developed new and improved taste in men because T & T were longtime residents of Dullsville. And Todd has taken to wearing bandannas now, which Jess does NOT approve of. Neither does Liz seem to approve of Tom’s obsession with football. She remarks that they’re all changing, except Sam -who will never change. They complain about Nina and Sam’s fighting - Jess is pissed that Nina’s made herself boss of the household, and even Liz thinks Nina is being uptight. Jess remarks that maybe Liz and Sam fight so much because they’re in love, and Liz is outraged at the idea. Um, didn’t they just spend a summer staring goo-goo eyes at each other? Or am I remembering that wrong? Anyhoo, Liz is disgusted by Sam’s selfish, slacker tendencies and by the fact that he seems to be leading Chloe on. Jess thinks, as do I, that CHLOE is leading Chloe on. Then OMG Liz thinks she sees Finn with his arm around another girl but isn’t sure. Jess finds it funny that Liz is obsessing over a guy and she’s focused on college - “It’s just like in high school when we used to trade places.” Oh the good old days.
Dana is crying in a café. Any chance the writer will introduce another William White-esque character to kill her off?? Quickly! She didn’t think she’d make it home ‘cos she’s sobbing so hard, plus she didn’t want Todd to find her in bed crying. Again. She’s afraid that all of her musical talent has disappeared. And realises that she has to scrap her ingenious Hanging Out at Frankie’s plan because it’ll interfere with college. Maybe she’ll blow off the semester because what’s the point...and think of all the time she could spend with Todd...But she realises how stupid the idea is and resolves to have a chat with her professor. Until she runs into a really talented cellist, who graduated the year before, who proceeds to bum her out about how hard it is to get a job with an orchestra, even if you’re really driven, and says she should switch her major to something like business if she has any sense. (I think we’ve all realised that she does not.) Dana’s only ‘driven’ to be with Todd (yuk) so makes a decision that Todd’s not going to like. What could it be???
Todd’s at Frankie’s and thinks about how cool it is to work in a bar. He agrees to help Cathy fill out college application forms as he’s the only member of staff who’s ever done it. Really? I smell stereotyping. Dana phones and sounds anxious. Todd’s heart sinks. She wants him to come straight home from work but he can’t ‘cos of his promise to Cathy. He thinks about how much Dana has changed and now constantly complains. And that he never seems to say the right thing. (Anyone else thinking that Todd’s character is so much more developed at SVU than he ever was at SVH??? Maybe it’s ‘cos he finally escaped Liz’s clutches?) Dana calls back (clingy alert) and says she’ll wait up for him. Foolishly he thinks she’s doing so to tell him how great her life is and that she’s turned a corner. Silly, silly boy.
Jess and Neil are having a strategy-planning session, and Nina is making a point by washing Sam’s dishes LOUDLY to demonstrate how PISSED she is! Gasp! That’s a curse-word. (Dana also called someone a bitch earlier). I’m astounded that at the age of nineteen Jess, Liz and friends are being permitted to use such language! You can’t see me but I’m clutching my pearls. Jess and Neil want Nina to be quiet and stop washing Sam’s dishes, but she can’t stand dirty dishes. Jess thinks that, even at her most annoying, Liz isn’t as bad as Nina. (I beg to differ.) Sam and Nina have another argument and he calls her a nag. Jess helpfully tells Nina that she’ll have to adjust to the fact that Sam’s a pig, just as the rest of them had to. Liz and Jess suggest throwing a party at the house to celebrate the fact that Neil’s running for SBP and that Nina moved in. Sam jokingly refuses to celebrate the latter, which makes everyone laugh, even Naggy Nina, and all is well.
Chloe decides she’s going to ‘go get’ Sam ‘cos he’s resisted all of her seduction attempts (?) so far. He hasn’t even kissed her on the lips! she thinks. (How old is this girl supposed to be? Jess is divorced, has been almost raped, attacked by a psycho, fallen off a cruise ship, had a boyfriend murdered by the mob, been on a road trip and dated a sleazy TA since she started college, among other things. And Chloe sounds too immature for a SVT novel.) All they did when they hung out in his room was listen to music and tell jokes. I hope they were of the knock-knock variety. So Chloe has a plan. She’ll drop by to see Jess and ignore Sam. Genius. Then he’ll chase Chloe. When she arrives she realises there’s a party going on and is upset that she wasn’t invited, wondering if the gang don’t like her. She’s invited in by Neil and decides that she’s going to make a good impression, even buddy up to Liz (who she finds kind of unfriendly). Chloe notices that Liz is becoming more like Jess by dressing in sexy outfits. One hopes she hasn’t fallen off a motorcycle in the recent past. Chloe aches to be part of this group of friends and wants to be a bit like each one of them - smart like Liz, fun like Jess etc. And I feel kind of sorry for her. Sam kind of flirts with her, or is it just Sam being Sam? Anyway she ends up dropping a chip with dip on the rug and Nina flips out, leaving the party to go down to the basement to wash it. Sam is incredulous and decides Nina’s a freak. Nina tells Sam he’d better start respecting her. Chloe can’t help but be impressed at how Nina stands up for herself and wishes she was that sure of herself. Liz tries to make peace but then ends up arguing with Sam, calling him the biggest jerk she’s ever met. (Really?) Sam then mocks dreamy Finn and Liz decides he’s jealous because Sam’s just a slacker. (But Sam’s in college just as Liz is. So that’s not really fair...why do I even try to figure Liz out...) Sam blows off the party and invited Chloe to his room again. Squee!
Todd arrives home to find Dana awake. She informs him she’s dropped out of school because she’s miserable. He doesn’t get it, and that pisses her off. She’s already told him how she feels A MILLION TIMES. (Or was it a million and thirty-seven) He says she’s ruining her life and Dana replies by saying he should congratulate her. Huh? Because now she won’t be stressed and they can spend loads of time together, so really he should be hugging her. Oh, right. Now I understa- No, I’m still confused. He says that doesn’t make sense because he’s still going to college and working. The only difference is that she’ll be doing nothing. Dana cries. He thinks she should just get over what’s bothering her but she says if she thought she could do that, she wouldn’t be dropping out and that he should be supportive. He tells her her parents will flip and no longer cover her rent and spending money if she’s planning on sitting on her ass all day. But of course Dana plans to get a job. And of course Todd’s sleeping on the couch tonight.
Neil is campaigning and one girl makes fun of the fact that he lists a debate team and fencing team as possible clubs to reinstate. But some girl makes a joke that saves Neil from looking like a fool. It’s Saint Liz! Neil feels he owes her one, and wins the crowd over by saying that he feels the students deserve more choices. A guy approaches him saying he’s heard a lot about him and says that the GSG will be supporting Neil. Who is GSG? The Gay Students Group. Neil feels dread. Chris, the guy, wants Neil to join so he can use the group as an election platform. Neil wonders how Chris knew he was gay and is worried that he’ll get outed in public. Plus he doesn’t want to be known as ‘the gay candidate’. He just wants to be a candidate. Neil makes an excuse and runs off.
Dana has been searching for Todd everywhere but can’t find him. It feels weird having nothing to do with her day; she realises she has to make a plan for the rest of her life. Whoa, you’re only 19. Chillax. I’m five years older and I still don’t have one of those plan things. She’s checking out job listings on a bulletin board when she runs into Tom who suggests going for coffee. Turns out they bumped into each other a few weeks ago too and she spilled the beans about all the problems she’s been having, and Tom was really nice. But she thinks that Todd wouldn’t be too happy about them hanging out. But she realises he understands what she’s going through when he says he knows what it feels like when your life’s not working and that if the old you isn’t working, you need to change blah blah blah. So she decides to go for coffee after all. Dana tells Tom she dropped out and he’s concerned. He suggests she teach cello lessons (but doesn’t she suck now?) and she’s all excited. Everything’s going to be okay.
Neil is confronted by two nasty jerks who call him a ‘queer’ and say they don’t want to hear anything he has to say. Don’t listen to those bastards Neil! You’re wonderful! (I’m a little in love with Neil, you may have noticed. It’s not like there’s a wide pool of eligible SVU bachelors to choose from!) He’s a bit freaked out and then wonders how they know he’s gay. Has Chris been telling everyone? He wonders if people will start digging into what happened at Stanford. But that’s unlikely because the whole thing was kept hush-hush. Hush-hush, eh Neil? Colour me intrigued! Though I’m sure I won’t find out for another 137 books. He thinks he’s been outed - his greatest nightmare.
Jess is working on the campaign in her room but is disturbed by arguing downstairs so decides to investigate. Nina, Chloe and Sam are all screaming at each other! Sam and Chloe have left the living room in a mess, and Chloe left Elizabeth’s milk out! Oh dear! Nina tells Sam that he and his girlfriend should clean up after themselves and he points out that Chloe is not his girlfriend. Cue Chloe running off. Jess suggests that Sam run after her. Sam resents being told what to do by yet another woman. Then the phone rings. It’s Chris. He’s calling to offer his support to Neil’s campaign and Jess is delighted. Then she remembers she meant to run after to Chloe to see if she’s okay. But doesn’t bother.
Dana has made an ad advertising her cello lessons. And what do you know? As soon as she pops it on a supermarket bulletin board, some lady inquires about lessons for her granddaughter. We discover that Dana has Todd’s work schedule pencilled into her calendar. And it’s the only thing in there. Sigh.
Chloe is upset that Sam’s not interested and that Jess prob thinks she’s a loser. She wishes she had friends and wonders how she turned into the sort of person who feels she needs to scheme to get by. She eats alone at a café and begins to feel tears in her eyes. She overhears her room-mate Moira telling some friends that she’s a shoo-in as a Theta but that Chloe has no chance of getting in after that Tom Watts stunt. Chloe is determined and realises she knows what she has to do!
Jess tries to cheer Neil up with her ‘great’ news. He doesn’t think the news is so great. She doesn’t understand why he doesn’t want to be a gay candidate...because he is a gay candidate. He thinks that running for president should have nothing to do with his sex life. He also thinks she’s being naive for not understanding how being outed might affect his campaign. He has flashbacks of mean things people have said to him about being gay - his parents (hiss!), frat brothers (boo!). And also a flashback about someone called Paul telling Neil that he’s leaving Stanford and that he ‘wishes it didn’t have to be this way’. He ends up getting really angry, telling Jess he doesn’t want to be the GSG poster boy and says something mean to Jess about how she can’t get that through her skull because of all the mousse and hair gel in the way. So she quits.
Todd has been less than enthusiastic about Dana’s cello lesson idea because she won’t make enough to support herself. But she knows he’ll come around when her calendar is chock-full of lessons. Turns out the old lady from the supermarket doesn’t care that Dana can teach cello. She just wants a babysitter for her bratty granddaughter for three hours. Poor Dana gets chocolate syrup squeezed on her hair. But she reacts calmly and maturely. No, just kidding. She cries again.
Neil calls to see Chris to tell him that he’s rejecting his endorsement. A quick chat with Chris makes Neil realise that Chris just wants to use him for his own agenda. Chris in turn realises that Neil doesn’t want to run as a gay candidate and is majorly pissed. He tells Neil that the GSG will support him whether he wants them to or not! Yikes! And Chris says that he’s going to make sure everyone on campus knows Neil is gay.
Chloe is watching TV in her room and a chat show comes on where they’re discussing the top ten ways to get a guy to fall in love with you - including showing up at the guy’s doorstep wearing a trench coat...and not much else. Unfortunately a light bulb goes on over Chloe’s head. A very dim lightbulb. She digs out some lacy underwear and thinks to herself that maybe Sam just hasn’t thought about her that way. And now he won’t be able to help it.
And now we have Lila’s first appearance. 128 pages in. I am not impressed. Jess is late for a Theta meeting and Lila tells her they won’t wait for her next time. Jess thinks about how she loves Lila’s honesty. So do I! Alex-Enid shows Jess a horrible flier that she was passed on campus which says not to vote for Neil because he’s a ‘queer’. Lila, quite rightly, is disgusted. Jess feels it’s all her fault. Lila tells Jess to do some spin control and that the Thetas will do everything in their power to counteract this heinous bullshit.
Todd’s singing along to a Guns N’ Roses song in his Beemer. He’s really tired after a long day at college and has a lot of work on his plate. But he vows to be more supportive of Dana and not say anything to upset her. He’s surprised that she’s not waiting at the door as usual. (Oh, man. Just like a pet dog would.) Then he hears a familiar sound. Dana is crying. Both Todd and I feel like jumping out a window. He has become immune to her tears cos he has seen them so often lately. She tells him she’s had the worst day of her life - he thinks she’s being overdramatic. When she explains, he laughs (That opera guy from Scrubs is singing: MISTAKE!) and says it’s not worth crying over. Sing it with me: Mistake!
Jess bumps into her good friend Alejandro (not a good enough friend to deserve a physical description, back story or POV of his own, but whatever) and wants his advice on the Neil situation. Alejandro wants to know what Liz thinks (I hate him already) but only because he knows how important her opinion is to Jess ( I suppose that’s okay then). He tells Jess to find Neil, apologise, un-quit and figure out a strategy to deal with the problem. She runs off only to be confronted by the paparazzi. Well, a journalist from the Gazette who takes her photo without permission and asks her opinion on the statement from GSG. What statement? The statement in which they say how sad it is that Neil is ashamed of his sexuality and feels he needs to hide who he is to run for SBP. Jess has learned her lesson and replies ‘No comment’.
Neil is at the Red Lion diner/café place wearing sunglasses to avoid being recognised. Then he realises he must look like a tool so he takes them off. He then sketches a picture of Chris with a horn and pitchfork and decides that no matter what, he won’t run away again. Then he sketches a picture of Jess and realises how much he misses her. Then Joe, the reporter, appears. Neil refuses to confirm or deny that he’s gay, saying he won’t comment on his sex life. Joe tells him he’s going to have to answer the question eventually. Neil almost chokes. (And then sketches a picture of me wondering why he thinks sketching will solve his problems).
Chloe has arrived at the door of Jess and Liz’s house wearing....jeans and a cardigan. She has chickened out of the ‘underwear under a coat’ idea but decides to follow some other advice offered to her by the talk show. Sam answers the door and offers to share a hoagie with her. She says she loves hoagies. (Rule number 3 was to agree with everything the guy says.) Really she hates them. Sam apologises for Nina’s behaviour and advises Chloe to tell her off the next time she’s being annoying. He puts on a CD and stretches out on the bed. Chloe admires his rock hard abs and Sam...falls asleep. She decides drastic action is needed.
Jess and Liz have decided to visit their big bro who’s feeling a little lonely since Billie decided to spend a semester in Spain. Jess is worried cos she hasn’t seen Neil since their argument and stresses that he won’t forgive her. She asks Steven if she could sue the GSG. He says not really. And when Liz wonders how she’ll solve the problem, he tells them it’s really Neil’s problem to solve. He’s obviously gotten Liz confused with someone else. Liz suggests that she and Jess write a pro-Neil piece for the Gazette, which Jess thinks is a great idea.
Neil goes into the bookstore and feels like everyone is staring, which upsets him. Then he spies a flier with his picture on it. It says: Are you Homophobic? Prove you’re not by voting for Neil! These fliers have been sponsored by the GSG. Neil is furious. He wants to open a can of whoop--ass on Chris but decides it’s not the best way for him to win the election. Neil is bummed.
Liz and Jess are walking across campus, Liz assuring Jess that Neil will forgive her. Then she pulls Jess to hide behind a bush because she’s seen Finn enter a café with a girl! Jess figures he must not have called and decides to do damage control by suggesting it’s a girl from one of his classes. Liz is depressed. Jess tells her not to be silly - Finn is an older guy who’s busy. And Liz is used to boring guys like T & T who had nothing to do but think about Liz all day. Jess assures Liz that Finn will call because, after all, Liz looks like Jess. How could he not call? Liz is cheered up. But still pathetic.
Neil arrives home and smells his mail. Just in case one of his letters contains a bomb or anthrax or something. (Does anthrax have a smell? And surely smelling anthrax ends badly?) Jess is there and they make up. Neil opens a letter to discover he’s been invited to a dinner at the dean of student’s residence that evening to meet the other candidates. Jess asks Neil why he’s so afraid of being outed, what’s so bad about people knowing he’s gay. He is furious, and un-makes up with her.
Dana is cooking dinner for Todd. She’s feeling a bit better about life and decides she just has to be patient for her cello-lesson money-making scheme to take off. So she has intelligently decided to spend all of the money she earned on groceries for this meal and additionally has charged a sexy new dress to her credit card. Todd arrives home and informs her that he has to work tonight. Also, he’s just eaten 2 cheeseburgers. Dana is not pleased. She asks Todd to call in sick but he says he’d feel bad, plus he’s a bad liar. Dana thinks their relationship would be in better shape if he was a better liar. She thinks she might cry. (Shocker.) She’s afraid she’s losing Todd so decides to put on a negligee to entice him to stay home. He’s annoyed cos he’s told her he has to go, but says he’ll prob be home early and they can enjoy the dinner then. Todd leaves. Dana cries.
Jess knocks on Neil’s bedroom door so they can make up. Again. He tells her that the guy he was in love with at Stanford was his poli-sci professor. His married poli-sci professor. After they’d been together about 6 months, the prof (Paul) decided to tell his wife who, naturally, flipped. And she was on the university faculty. So she told Paul he had to resign and move away or she’d tell everyone. Neil wanted to go with Paul but Paul wasn’t ready for that. Then Neil decided to come out to his parents. Unfortunately they were evil bastards who disowned him. He and Jess hug, and he tells her he loves her.
Dana is angry. As am I, Dana. Seriously, where is that psycho killer? She dumps the dinner. Then cries again. She calls Todd and says she’ll come down to Frankie’s to hang out but he tells her his boss isn’t too happy about her staff being distracted by their significant others. Dana isn’t too happy about that so she hangs up. She regrets this and calls again, only for the phone to be answered by Marco, the guy whose shift Todd is supposed to be covering! Dana is suspicious. Todd is busy, so hangs up on her. So she decides to phone Tom who invites her to a frat party. She takes the sexy new dress out of the wardrobe.
Neil and Jess are at the Red Lion and have just finished working on his debate, which apparently ROCKS! Then some creep approaches the table and starts calling Neil bigoted names. Jess tells him off. Then Lila appears and announces to everyone that the Thetas are giving Neil their full endorsement. And calls the creep a jerk. Jess thinks that Lila rules. I agree. Then some other girl says that the creep should apologise. Neil starts to think that maybe he can win. When he and Jess stand up to leave their table, the people at Lila’s table start to clap, and other people join in. Go Neil!
The frat party is a bit rowdy. Dana finds Tom, who approves of her new dress. She ends up telling him everything and he’s more sympathetic than Todd has been. She drinks more beer than she intended to, and Tom tells her he likes her hair, which makes her wonder if he’s hitting on her. She’s getting a little drunk as she hasn’t eaten so Tom suggests they go get some air, bringing more beers. As they finish the bottles, he throws them on the grass!! Tom! You litter now?! Elizabeth would be appalled. I bet you don’t care about whales either! Dana and Tom are both really hammered and when they arrive at Tom’s dorm building, Tom kisses her.
Jess and Neil are in Liz’s room cos she’s helping them plan out the newspaper article. Neil is amazed at how neat she is compared to Jess. Well, Neil the Wakefield twins are as different as night and day...Liz points out that he should try to address the gay issue directly but backs off when he snaps at her. He goes to get ready for the dinner and wonders if he’s denying himself.
Dana and Tom are outside Tom’s dorm room. She tells her he’d better not kiss her again because she’s practically married. Tom smells like Todd cos they use the same soap so Dana finds herself getting a bit confused, and starts to forget that she’s not actually with the Wilkins Whale-Lover. So she and Tom have sex.
Neil has another confrontation with Chris on his way to the dinner which leaves him feeling shaken. But he starts to relax when he arrives and starts hanging out with Chip and Jennifer, the other two candidates. They tell him the controversy surrounding him has gotten a lot more people interested in the campaign. He realises that he made snap judgements about them and they both actually have a lot of interesting things to say. And he’s not bothered by the fact that they have assumed he’s gay.
Todd arrives home and notices that Dana is looking all freaked out. She starts wailing that he has come home much later than he said he would. Todd feels like shooting himself. She says she could have been anywhere, doing anything, and she expected he would be at home worrying. He shoots back that it’s unlikely she was doing anything because she seems to spend all of her time worrying about what he’s doing! Touché Mr. Wilkins. She angrily tries to prove her point by telling him that she slept with Tom, but then backtracks by saying she was drunk and thought it was Todd. The real Todd is disgusted and tells Dana he wants her out of the apartment. Then he goes outside, where he then proceeds to throw up.
Jess is treating Neil to breakfast at the Red Lion. They once again remark on how much Nina and Sam have been fighting, and how uptight Nina is (How is this plot relevant to anything?). Neil asks why Liz is so bummed and Jess tells him about the Finn situation. They then casually mention that Liz and Sam had a huge argument after Liz came home from the infamous date with Finn. To let us know that Sam is secretly nuts about Liz. Neil’s happy with his debate speech but starts to feel that he doesn’t have the same passion as Chip and Jennifer. Jess rushes off to say hi to Alejandro, and Dave, the guy from Starlights, approaches Neil. Dave says he’s been avoiding him because he was actually the one who told Chris (accidentally) that Neil was gay. Neil tells Dave not to worry and Dave is relieved. He then leaves for a poli-sci class, which makes Neil think of Paul. He decides he has things to work out before the debate.
Sam and Nina are arguing again and Liz has gotten in the middle. Liz realises that Nina moving in isn’t working out how she thought it would. She has even dared to chastise Liz once or twice, and Liz is the neatest person in the world!! She wonders again why Finn hasn’t called, then she answers the door to find Chloe. Liz finds Chloe annoying and tells her it isn’t a good time, but then feels bad when she realises makes Chloe nervous. Naturally Sam is relieved that he can use Chloe as an excuse to escape Nina’s lecturing. In the meantime, Jess and Neil have become involved in the argument. Nina suggests making a chore wheel which Sam finds ridiculous, and Chloe backs him up. Liz tells Chloe to back off because she doesn’t even live there. Nina says she was starting to think that she did. Chloe runs off. Liz contemplates running after her to apologise but is really glad she left because she shouldn’t be involved in the argument. Wow, Liz. Annoyed at someone for interfering? Hi Pot, this is Kettle. You’re black.
Neil is sick of the arguing. He tells Nina to ease up, Sam to clean up his act, Jess to just clean up, and Liz to stop defending Nina. He doesn’t need to change because he’s perfect! I agree! He and Jess leave for the debate.
Jess is sitting next to Alejandro at the debate. Neil is doing really well but Jennifer is the one who’s on fire. Then someone in the audience shouts up that Neil should be asked if he’s gay or not.
Neil is stunned. He had planned to take a moment to address the GSG’s statement after the debate was over. He tries to ignore the comment but the guy keeps pushing it so he decides to answer. He says that he’s gay, but not a gay candidate. He’s a candidate who wants to improve life at SVU. Everyone starts clapping. Neil can’t believe he’s just outed himself in public, and is proud of himself.
Chloe dons a leopard print bra and matching panties, puts on a trench coat and heads over to the duplex. She thinks that when Sam’s her boyfriend, she can hang out there all she wants and Liz won’t be able to say a word. And Jess will be her best friend. And she’ll get into Theta. She must feel that she has a very impressive body. Nina answers the door and apologises to Chloe for snapping at her. She tells Chloe that the housemate peace pact has already failed cos she heard Liz and Sam arguing in his room earlier. Nina returns to her room. Chloe can hear music coming from Sam’s room so she knocks on the door, unbelts her coat and adopts her sexiest smile. Guess who opens the door? That would be Liz. Who is astonished. Chloe runs off.
Dana has been looking for Todd all day. And crying. Don’t forget the crying. She rings Frankie’s looking for him, but Cathy hangs up on her. She packs her bags and decides she’ll have to move back in with her parents as SV has nothing for her anymore. She leaves her cello behind.
Neil and Jess are enjoying a celebratory dinner. Neil is delighted that he finally found himself. He bumps into Dave again who invites him for coffee. And Neil accepts the invitation. Yay, Neil.
I know some people include a round-up of all of the crying incidents so here’s mine:
I’ll also presume that Tom did a little puking the morning after that frat party.