Yeah, I'm back again. Turns out I just couldn't stay away from the absurdity and guilty pleasure that is Sweet Valley television. This episode is fraught with some of the worst acting I've ever seen, and I'm a soap opera addict. It involves Jessica falling in love with her poetry teacher, and changing her entire personality for him. (Something we rarely see in Sweet Valley!)
Our episode begins in a classroom. Yes, an actual, real life school classroom. Learning has just taken place there, or so we're led to believe. It seems Sweet Valley High is not all dances and applying make-up in the bathroom. The kids are all amped because their teacher Adam (he's too cool to have a last name) is doing some poetry reading at a coffeehouse called the Blue Iguana, and they're all going. Todd doesn't want to, because poetry's boring. Enid says he has to come with them because Elizabeth goes to all of his basketball games. We're fourteen episodes in, and I have not seen any evidence of this, but okay. If Enid said it, it must be true. Then she says that Adam's work is 'stimulating'. Dirrty, Enid! Jessica agrees with Todd, which is as disturbing for her as it is for me. She doesn't want to go watch some teacher do poetry. Why? Not sure; it sounds like an absolute riot to me. Lila explains that Jess wouldn't be interested because all the guys there would be fully clothed, which is a bit sexually-explicit for Sweet Valley. Plus, as Lila points out, it takes a certain sort of sophistication to enjoy poetry, and let's face it, Jessica hasn't even fully evolved yet. The reverse psychology works, and Jessica agrees to go.
At the Blue Iguana, some dude in a furry vest is reading his poem onstage. It's ridiculous. So ridiculous, in fact, that you need to hear it for yourselves:
But my refrigerator did not want my ice cream
Nor my yoghurt
Nor my fat-free juice bar
Fudgicles were not enough to fulfil its frigid hunger
It longed for the love of my only daughter
Um, creepy. Winston quips that this guy ought to have his poetic license revoked. Lol, Winston. (End sarcasm here.) Enid doesn't get it, which is surprising, because Enid is so smart and everything. What's most surprising, I think, is that Lila thinks she actually understands the bizarre rantings of a man whose fridge has the hots for his kid. Todd is asleep, which is not unexpected in the slightest. Winston decides to go chat up some 'beatniks', and returns quite quickly when they offer to pierce his eyelid. (?) I honestly don't know what's going on. Jessica gets up to leave, when Adam takes to the stage, reading a poem about God-knows-what. Jessica falls in love. Here we bloody go again. She gushes over him in a completely inappropriate way, considering he's her TEACHER! What is wrong with this town?!
The next day, Jessica decides she's furiously into poetry. She's even roaming the halls deeply engrossed in a book of Walt Whitman's finest. Sort of like Belle in the opening of Beauty and the Beast, except if memory serves, Belle wasn't wearing a cheerleading uniform. Lila pays her out about it (because that's what Lila does), telling her she's not really serious, and Jessica proves her wrong by joining the poetry club. This whole episode is making less and less sense as we go on, but whatever. Because we've gone three whole minutes without seeing Elizabeth at all, we get a Liz scene. She's talking poetry with Adam, and he asks her to have a read of his new poem, entitled 'Final Insight'. Then he adds, "It was either that or 'Dog Hair In My Omelette'." What? Why in the name of all that is, or ever was, holy would it be between 'Final Insight' and 'Dog Hair In My Omelette'? Why is there dog hair in his omelette anyway? Just because he's a liberal poet type, it means he's got twelve dogs running around on the breakfast table? I hate this episode.
That afternoon, Jessica goes along to the poetry club meeting, with the entire gang. Except Bruce. He hasn't been seen in this episode yet. Must be one of those days where he's the gang's mortal enemy instead of their BFF. Yes folks, this is an SVH episode without the Patman, and it's boring as hell. Anyhoo, Winston rocks up with a pathetic excuse for a goatee, and everyone laughs at him. Enid calls his goatee "that dirt on your chin." Oh, come on! That is your best trash talk? Bring Bruce back immediately. Adam rocks up to this poetry club meeting, and asks anyone if they have a poem to share. None of them do. Um, hello? This is a poetry club meeting. No one thought to actually write anything? No? Adam is as baffled at this as I am, and he orders everyone to write a poem for next week's class. He reads a poem of his own about his love for a girl with black hair. Jessica thinks it must be her, because as if anyone in Sweet Valley is in love with anyone other than a Wakefield, even if he expressly states that the object of his affections looks nothing like her. Jessica is deluded, and not in a cute, quirky way. In a this-will-all-end-in-bloodshed way.
That night, Jessica is talking on the phone while listening to loud music, and Elizabeth comes in and tells her off. Most teenagers get told off for loud music by their parents, but if you think Ned and Alice are home or even on the face of the planet, there's something severely wrong with you. Jessica is surprised that Elizabeth hasn't written her poem, and Elizabeth is surprised that Jessica actually has. Elizabeth explains that she's been writing for three hours and all she's come up with is the word 'the'. Really? Isn't Elizabeth supposed to be the hotshot writer girl? And of all words, she comes up with something as unoriginal as 'the'? The Oracle must be the shittest high school newspaper in existence. Elizabeth frustratingly throws her poetry folder on Jessica's bed, which doesn't seem important, but as you know, nothing happens in SVH unless it has a higher purpose. Especially if, after the two leave the room, the camera pans ominously towards the poetry folder lying on Jessica's bed. There is zero mystery in this show.
Poetry club meeting again. (Oh, goody.) Winston reads some shitty poem using words that rhyme with 'me' and stroking his less-than-impressive goatee. Jessica's poem is about how she's so lonely underneath her fashionable clothes and pretty hair, and this gets a bigger laugh from the group than Winston's effort. Adam, dressed in a sexy white knitted number, puts his arm around Jessica and sticks up for her. I'm sorry, but this seems slightly inappropriate to me. I get that he's the 'cool teacher with only a first name' and whatever, but it's a bit perverted. If this ends badly (and I suspect it might), I'm going to go out on a limb and say that it's not entirely Jessica's fault. He's leading her on something fierce.
Adam invites the entire gang to the Blue Iguana again on Sunday, and tells them this time to have a poem prepared to read out. Poor Elizabeth, I say -- if it took her three hours to write one word last time, I'd hate to think what this kind of pressure is going to do to her. Even Jessica the poetically-adept struggles this time. It's Sunday night, and she still hasn't written anything good. She's been working on it for a while too, as is evident by all the scrunched-up pieces of paper on her bed. Eventually, she spots Elizabeth's poetry folder and grabs a poem for there. Excuse me, but what? Elizabeth left that thing there a week and a half ago. She's supposed to have written two poems by then, Jessica's supposed to have slept in that bed for at least twelve nights and that thing hasn't moved? This is absolute insanity. Not even I can stomach that plot contrivance, and like I said before, I watch a lot of soap operas.
At the Blue Iguana, everyone's there except for Jessica. Winston arrives with a fake goatee which he calls his "ticket to Babe-alonia." Lila calls it a rodent. Todd rips it off and says he'd get more action in a petting zoo. Todd apparently has a goat fetish, which I think explains a lot. And now, folks, we're at music montage time. This one's all about the kids reciting their poems, only because we've got music over the top, we can't hear what they're saying. Winston appears to be shouting his poem, and getting his goatee stuck on the microphone. Again, lol, Winston. Patty is doing a cheer, complete with pom poms, because it seems she hasn't quite grasped the concept of poetry. She's a slow learner, that one. Enid has a sock puppet (why, God, why?) and Elizabeth is just reciting something from her poetry folder. As in, the poetry folder that's on Jessica's bed, at home, as we speak. This poetry folder has apparently defied space and time to be at the Blue Iguana that night. Lila is doing some sort of amateur theatre act that defies all logic. The girls even appear to be singing at one point, because this poetry reading has turned into karaoke. Kinda like how Ferris Bueller turned the downtown parade into karaoke, but people don't seem to be responding quite as favourably. Todd doesn't even read a poem, which I'm glad about -- the writers haven't gone too crazy with this poetry-consumes-everyone storyline. Actually, I don't think Todd is even in the poetry club. So...what's he doing at the Blue Iguana? Something to do with basketball games? I'm so lost.
Just as Adam is about to wrap up the insanity, Jessica comes in, dressed like this:
The gang freaks out at Jessica's beatnik-chic attire, and Jessica gets onstage and reads out the poem she's stolen from the magical poetry folder. Can you guess which one? It's 'Final Insight', the one Adam gave Elizabeth to look over! Hahaha, the irony! Adam realises that it's his poem but lets Jessica continue. Oh, it's great. Instead of Elizabeth and the gang having to Hatch A Plan to take Jessica down a notch, she's pretty much dug her own grave this time. No plan hatchin' required. This is delicious.
The next day at school, St. Liz confronts Adam about how he let Jessica take credit for his poem. He tells her it doesn't matter; everyone liked the poem, and Jessica got to feel good about herself and gain a better appreciation for poetry. Elizabeth informs Adam that she thinks he's rewarding stealing, because it seems no one's told her yet that PEOPLE DON'T CARE WHAT SHE THINKS! Just shut up, Elizabeth! After Adam leaves, she and Todd see Hippie Jessica walking down the hallway. (In slow-motion, very fancy special effects!) Todd seems a bit into this Jessica -- he tells Elizabeth it's because she looks "interesting", but I think our Toddles has an itty-bitty crushy on his girlfriend's twin sister! Maybe he'll have to fight Adam to the death to win Jessica's love. I think he'd be into that.
Hey, Bruce is back! Yay! He and Manny are roaming the halls of Sweet Valley, when Manny stops Bruce in his tracks and tells him to check out the good-looking brunette in short-shorts leaning over the drinking fountain seductively, her face strategically hidden by her hair. Actually, he says, "Wake up the neighbours, there's a new babe in town," but that's so absurdly odd, I don't even want to repeat it. Bruce decides to try his luck with this new short-shorts babe, and we finally get to see the Patman's picking-up-chicks skillz in action. His opening line -- "So I said to myself, Bruce? You've got the money, you've got the car, you've got the looks. What else could you possibly need?" An improved pick-up line, obviously. Some practice talking to the opposite sex, definitely. I do like that he managed to slip a mention of 1BRUCE1 into his favourite line, though. Of course, the girl turns out to be Hippie Jessica, who's not going to buy into any of Bruce Patman's crap. After all, she's got a minimum-wage teacher with a love of knits to keep her warm at night.
Hippie Jessica goes up to Enid, Lila and Patty, who are talking about her transformation into what Lila quite accurately describes as "Elvira at a Pearl Jam concert." Jess starts babbling about poetry and whatnot, and Enid finally has enough and tells her that it was Adam's poem she stole, and everyone knows it. Jessica is horrified, and says, "How could he do this to me?" WHAT?! You stole his poem, you psycho! Are you seriously turning this on him? If we're talking legs here, Jessica, you don't have one to stand on. Apparently Jessica thinks otherwise, and rushes to Adam's class to confront him, saying things like, "You made a complete fool out of me!" Actually, Wakefield, I think you did a bang-up job of that yourself, you fruitcake. Adam starts up the "blah-blah-blah feelings, blah-blah-blah emotions" portion of the episode by telling Jessica that all he wanted to do was encourage an appreciation for poetry, and then his girlfriend (who Jessica used as a model for her makeover) walks in to the classroom and tells Adam that they should get going. He walks off and leaves Jessica to stew in her own rage for a while longer.
At the Moon Beach again, Jessica's sitting at the counter by herself, pondering what could have been. (She's covered up her black hair with a hat so hideous she must've borrowed it from Elizabeth.) Behind her, Lila, Patty and Enid are sitting together talking about Walt Whitman again. How diverse; why don't they just call it the bloody Walt Whitman club? The three of them are trying to find a certain poem that Adam was talking about last meeting. I don't feel I need to point out the fact that none of them showed any interest in poetry at any time in the last thirteen episodes, nor would they have been caught dead having a poetry discussion at the Moon Beach. I'm sure you've worked that out for yourself. Anyway, Jessica turns around on her stool and starts reciting that poem, and everyone's impressed. So impressed that Elizabeth actually says, "Welcome back, Jess." Um, yeah. Because that's the Jessica Wakefield we know and love? Right, okay. I miss Bruce.