From TV.com: When Sweet Valley High gets its own on-air news station, Jessica schemes against her own sister to steal the coveted anchor position. Meanwhile, Winston is tired of being picked on by Bruce, but his attempts at revenge keep backfiring.
Okay, so this is a fairly accurate summary. The Winston & Bruce plot is kind of boring, so I glossed over a lot of it. Basically, they play immature practical jokes on each other and Winston mostly just takes the brunt of it until the end. Hurrah.
Also, fun fact: TV.com says this episode had a celebrity director named “Mark Spiegel.” Now, when I googled him, I got information about Chicago lawyers and what not. He also did not appear on IMDB.com, except in reference to this single SVH episode. So unless someone knows something I don’t, I’m calling shenanigans on the whole “celebrity director” label. Because a celebrity has to do something other than direct an SVH episode, yes/yes?
Anyway, the actual show. We open on the hallways of SVH. Liz and Jess are walking to class, although the rest of the hallways are totally empty. They must be hours and hours late, because at my high school, trying to navigate the hallways to get to class was dangerous business. If you didn’t watch out, you would end up getting thrown to the floor and trampled. But I suppose Sweet Valley is too rich/perfect for that nonsense.
Side note: Jess actually looks kind of cool in this scene, if you live in 1994. She’s rocking a total menswear look with this tight sports t-shirt thing and big hoop earrings. No wonder I wanted to be her all through my young adult life. Actually, I still kind of do. Is that so wrong?
Answer: yes, because Jessica is psychotic. But she does make a crack about Todd being more boyscout than boyfriend to Elizabeth, so I feel better about things.
They run into Mr. Collins, Liz practically has a conniption. She asks him, “what’s the scoop?” She is totally the intrepid reporter. I bet she still wears the baseball hat with “PRESS” stenciled on the front that she rocked all through the SVT series. Mr. Collins basically is there to explain the entire plot to us (Thanks, Mr. Collins). Liz geeks and runs off to the Oracle office. Jessica doesn’t care, until she sees a hot guy toting camera equipment… of course.
Hot guy has horrible boy band hair. His name is Russell, or “Russ” for short. Jessica introduces herself and asks to check out some of his “…equipment.” With the heavy implications and all. Dude, this show is loaded with blatant sexual innuendo. Russell, I note, is wearing khaki safari shorts and hiking boots, because the terrain in Sweet Valley High School is mountainous and intense. We hear more sexual innuendo from Jess. Etc.
Lunchtime at SVH. Liz and Jess argue about the TV news. There’s some of the Winston/Bruce plot here, which ends with Bruce gluing Winston’s pants to a cafeteria bench. Whoo. Completely unrelated, their cafeteria appears to be entirely outdoors, which makes me jealous. In high school, we weren’t allowed to eat lunch anywhere except inside of our very much indoor cafeteria. Seriously, security would come and track. you. down. If you even ventured outside. Because I attended high school in a penitentiary, I guess. This TV show is bringing back all sorts of unhappy memories for me.
After school, more Bruce/Winston fun. Winston tries to let the air out of the tires of 1bruce1, but fails and hides UNDER the car when he hears Bruce coming. Winston ends up covered in oil and grease. Good call, Egbert.
Cut to a sudden montage of audition takes for the Oracle On Air program. Liz is professional and prepared, and also super boring. Jessica is checking her makeup. Lila does some sort of fashion thing, Winston is there, Bruce is doing the editorials. What TV news shows actually has an “editorials” segment? I don’t know, SVH is weird. Todd is doing sports, as he is totally one-dimensional in this show.
Anddd then cut to the Wakefield living room. Liz is showing Jess her audition tape. Jessica doesn’t care, and doesn’t want to show her audition tape to Liz. Jessica claims she doesn’t want to hurt Liz’s feelings, implying that her audition tape is basically the best thing ever. Liz leaves the room, thereby leaving Jessica alone in the living room with Liz’s tape. Jessica then switches the labels, because we really did not see that one coming. Did I mention that Jess is also wildly one-dimensional in this series? Almost every episode I have seen so far involves Jessica doing something horribly mean and getting in trouble, Elizabeth saving her ass/righting the wrongs, and then the show concluding with Jessica ending up in some sort of comedic situation to make everyone feel as though she got her just desserts. I promise, there is an upcoming episode of Jessica dancing in a tomato costume at the end. It will prove my point.
Later, Mr. Collins and “Russ” (he goes to “Valley College,” but is apparently helping out with a high school news show? And what happened to SVU? Sweet Valley isn’t even big enough for two high schools, I think two colleges is pushing it a little. Unless Valley College is like community college, but I can’t imagine Sweet Valley stooping so low as to have a community college. That’s a travesty). Mr. Collins waxes poetic about what an incredible, superstar student Elizabeth is, and how her audition tape will blow everyone else out of the water. Oh, we all know you want to have secret trysts in broom closets with her, Mr. C, you might as well admit it.
Predictably, Elizabeth’s tape sucks, and Jessica’s is awesome. Although Mr. Collins has had a raging and inappropriate crush on Elizabeth since 1983, he cannot tell the two apart, even though Jessica looks like Jessica, and Elizabeth looks like she is about to leave for church in her audition tap. But Jessica gets the anchor job. SHOCK. HORROR.
Outside in the hallway, the positions are posted. As far as I can tell, everyone got the exact position they auditioned for, except Liz. She stands in the background, looking forelorn. Jessica flirts with Russell, telling him that she might need help with TV show stuff. She says, “maybe you could give me a hand. Or maybe… two hands.” My mind is blown, this shit is dirty.
Later at the Dairi Burger stand-in restaurant, Liz is sitting completely alone while the rest of the junior class sits across the restaurant talking about the Oracle On-Air. Jessica comes in with Russ on her arm. Lila tries to intrude on Jessica’s date by attempting to flirt with him, but she comes off as completely insane and not so much alluring. Lila sucks in this show. Jessica and Russ leave the restaurant, because basically the last five minutes in this episode were totally pointless.
More Winston/Bruce. Winston tries to throw trash from the dumpster into 1bruce1 (which actually has the 1bruce1 license plate, thank goodness). Unfortunately, Bruce also leaves the café after about 30 seconds, and Winston just ends up sitting in the dumpster, accidentally throwing trash into Principle Cooper’s convertible. Hilarity ensues, only not really.
The next morning, Jess begs Liz to write her stories for Oracle On-Air, because Jess was out on a date until 3 AM the previous night. A school night!? My parents would have physically dragged me home, but I guess this is another good reminder that Ned & Alice do not exist in this series. Anyway, Jess guilt trips Liz, and Liz agrees to write the stories. NOT YOUR PROBLEM, Liz. Doormatting syndrome at its best, right here.
But Liz has to write the stories, because if she didn’t, she wouldn’t find out that Jessica switched the audition tapes and therefore, she wouldn’t be able to put an end to all these wacky hijinks. Luckily, this unfolds just as I am sure everyone was expecting from the very beginning. Liz does not give Jessica the stories, and they fight about the demo tapes. Jessica goes on air and looks completely vapid, calling herself “Jessica Fakefield” by accident. Nice, subtle Freudian slip.
Blah blah blah Jessica sucks and gives the job to Elizabeth. Elizabeth goes on air, and reads the stories that she DID actually write (she just didn’t give them to Jessica). Elizabeth is brilliant. She reads a story about the school budget. I am fascinated.
Liz and Jess meet after Liz’s segment and joke about the whole thing. Because it’s awesomely funny that Jessica stole Liz’s identity and work for the kajillionth time, and that Jessica is being sent to the principle’s office. These girls must be way more adept at taking the high road than I am, because I wouldn’t be able to joke about either of those things. I’d be a bitter, angry, mess. But that is why I live in the real world, and not Sweet Valley.
In order to tie up the loose plot strings nice and neatly, Winston (working the CG machine) gets back at Bruce. While Bruce is talking (“I love the way money feels, I love the way money smells, I love what money does for me. I never go anywhere without my money”), Winston puts up a caption that reads, “money is the name of my gerbil.” Ahah. That one actually made me chuckle.
Later that day, Bruce finds out about Winston’s clever tricks, and ends up chasing Winston around the hallways. Russell dumps Jessica for making a fool out of him (how? How was he even involved? Why does he care? Why is he helping a high school news team, anyway? What the hell, Russell?). Jessica looks sad for half a millisecond, and then practically skips away after another random guy named Rob. …she’ll live.
And so ends episode two... twenty left! I'm not sure how frequently I will be able to get these recapped, so we will just have to wait and see how they fit into my schedule. But I do have the first disc-ful of episodes watched/notes taken, so the recaps themselves won't take forever to write. I hope. We'll see. ;)