Sweet Valley High #85: Soap Star
The Big Deal: Lots of Hollywood parties, a party at Amy’s and a surprise party at the Wakefields’ house for the twins
Jessica’s favorite soap opera, The Young and the Beautiful, is holding a casting call in Los Angeles. And guess what they’re looking for? That’s right, twins! They want a pair of twins with classic California looks to be on their show for a week. Too bad Liz isn’t at all interested. Jessica tells Liz she’ll be able to afford the word processor she wants and the twins can get a new Jeep, but nothing Jessica says can convince her to do it. At a party at Amy’s house, Jessica convinces all their friends it would be a great idea, so everyone starts bothering Liz about auditioning, but Liz is still not interested. Lila comes up with a great plan. Jessica will fake a letter from a research company inviting Liz to a discussion group about twins. Liz won’t be able to resist, and when they get in the car, Jessica will take them to the audition instead. She knows Liz will “give in gracefully” once they’re there.
Everything goes according to plan until the twins are in the waiting room. The casting director, Natasha, comes in and starts telling all the sets of twins how the auditions will go. Liz figures out what’s happened, and she’s not standing for it. She starts going off on Jessica and they have an argument right there in front of everyone. Liz walks out and slams the door behind her. Natasha starts clapping. She thinks that was their audition, and she offers them the part.
Filming doesn’t start for a week, but Natasha wants the girls to get involved beforehand so she invites them to a cast luncheon the next day. That night, Jessica and Sam have a fight because Jessica is too excited about being a soap star to listen to Sam’s mundane stories about dirt bike racing. Liz is still saying she’s not going to participate, but Jessica is going on the assumption that Liz will come around eventually.
The next morning, Lila, Amy and Jessica drive out to L.A., where they’ll be staying at a classy hotel owned by one of George Fowler’s associates. Lila and Amy drop Jessica off at the luncheon, where she meets Brandon Hunter, the heartthrob of The Young and the Beautiful. He flirts with Jessica during lunch and then asks her to go out with him that night. He’s twenty-two, in case you were wondering.
Brandon takes Jessica to a party at a famous singer’s house, then a movie premiere the next day. On Monday morning, people are coming up to Jessica at school and telling her they saw her picture in the paper. Sam gets all upset and jealous. Liz still won’t do the show and Jessica is starting to panic, but she comes up with another plan. She puts together a bunch of Liz’s newspaper articles and a writes a letter to the editor of the Los Angeles Times, telling him she and her sister will be starring on The Young and the Beautiful and asking if he’d be interested in a series of articles about the experience.
Ned and Alice finally decide to seriously consider letting the twins get a Jeep since the Fiat is falling apart. Liz and Todd meet Ned at the dealership, and there are like two whole pages dedicated to Liz handling the salesman. There’s also a bit about how “the girls take care of all their own oil changing, points, plugs, et cetera,” and then Liz looking under the hood like she knows what’s under there. But just last week, didn’t she need Steve to show her how to change a tire? Anyway, they trade in the Fiat and drive the Jeep home. Jessica is ecstatic.
That night, Liz gets a call from Rodney Grant, Lifestyle editor at the L.A. Times. He congratulates Liz on getting the soap opera role and says he would be interested in the articles Liz proposed. Liz figures out what’s happened, but lets the man speak. When he tells her how much she’ll be paid for her articles, Liz finally agrees to be on the damned show. She and Jessica go to the set to check things out. Liz does some interviews with the camera and light guys, then Jessica introduces her to Brandon, whom she immediately dislikes. When they start filming on Monday, Liz dislikes him even more. He can’t remember any of his lines and blames his crappy acting on the twins.
Jessica hasn’t talked to Sam in a week. One night, the doorbell rings and Jessica answers it to find a guy dressed as Batman. He hands her a bouquet of flowers and a note from Sam asking if Jessica will see him. Jessica says that of course she’ll see Sam. Batman rips off his mask and whoops with joy. It’s Sam! He whisks her away to the beach, where they have a fight and Sam tells her to choose between him and Brandon Hunter, but you can tell what he’s really saying is he wants her to choose between him and acting. Well, nobody gives Jessica an ultimatum, so of course she chooses Brandon and her career.
I don’t understand the Batman thing at all.
The next day after filming, Jessica goes to knock on Brandon’s dressing room door, but hears him talking to someone else. He says things like “great publicity stunt,” “she really fell for it,” “I’ll be glad when she goes back to high school,” and “I think I’ll start pursuing Sandi Starr.” Jessica runs back toward her own dressing room in tears, but then calms down when she realizes Brandon couldn’t possibly have been talking about her. Or could he? She goes out with him the next night and pays close attention to how he acts. And he acts like a jackass – only putting his arm around her for pictures, constantly trying to leave her alone while he talks to other people. Jessica can’t believe she’s never noticed before how much Brandon sucks. When she gets home, she and Liz come up with ways to get even with him.
For their last day of shooting, Liz and Jessica do everything they can to mess Brandon up and make him flub his lines. That afternoon, the director calls to tell them Brandon wasn’t happy with the way the scene turned out so they’ll have to do it live. Jessica has an idea. She calls Sam and leaves a message for him to watch the show that evening.
During the final scene, Jessica’s character is supposed to swoon and declare her love for Brandon’s character. Instead, Jessica stands up and says she can’t be with him because she still loves Sam, “the boy [she] left behind.” Then she tells Brandon he’s a jerk and throws a glass of water in his face. When the twins get home, they find a surprise party waiting for them. Sam forgives Jessica and everything is wonderful again. The soap opera people call and offer the twins a permanent contract, and Jessica turns it down.
He’s interested, too. I can tell. Other boys have looked at me with that look, and I know it means that they want to get to know me.
Jessica doesn’t know just how much they want to “get to know” her.
“But here she goes again, Mom!” Elizabeth cried. “Have you ever heard the dialogue the women characters on the soaps are given? They never use their brains! They misunderstand everything that everyone tells them, and they jump to absurd conclusions about the very people that they should know they can trust. It makes me sick to watch them.”
I don’t get it. Is this supposed to be ironic?
The Cover: Doesn’t Jessica kind of look like a bird somehow? I don’t really know how to describe it, but there’s something very birdlike about her appearance. I’m so sick of her stupid hair. And I guess that’s Brandon. He just looks like a smarmy bastard.