after what you've been through, you could use an ice cream soda
It’s the Season 6 Premiere of SVD, and former terrible boyfriend and current minor character Ronnie Edwards has a problem. What’s that? You don’t care about Ronnie’s problems? Well, what if I told you that Ronnie’s in bad trouble with a gangster who he owes a lot of money after making some bad bets on high school soccer games? What if I told you that this has a negative effect on Jessica Wakefield’s burgeoning earring design business? I bet you now. But if this book has taught me anything, it’s that betting is bad.
Mary Parker (Book 10, WRONG KIND OF GIRL) is our delightful guest reader.
It's Season 6! I hope to be able to include transcripts of each forthcoming episode, and maybe even go back and add them in for older episodes. For now, the transcripts are auto-generated and only sparsely edited, but it's a start. Thanks!
EPISODE 51 TRANSCRIPT
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:00:00] Welcome to Sweet Valley Diaries, where a teenager's life is valued at approximately $2,000. Adjusted for inflation, that's over $4,000.
Mary Parker: [00:00:12] I mean, it seems a little steep for a teenager like Ronnie, but we'll get there.
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:00:28] Book Number 51: Against the Odds
Mary Parker: [00:00:30] Will Ronnie Edwards lose the biggest gamble of his life? .
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:00:36] Hi, everybody. Welcome to Sweet Valley Diaries. I'm your host, Marissa Flaxbart. Thrilled to be here starting season six of Sweet Valley Diaries, the podcast. And I have very special, very beloved guest with me, beloved by me. I hope you like her too. She's been on the show a few times before. It's Mary Parker!
Mary Parker: [00:00:56] I hope if anyone is just listening that they understand what a treat they're in for, because Marissa is the best.
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:01:03] Oh, thank you. That's good. Yeah, everybody just look forward to this just being the best thing ever.
Mary Parker: [00:01:09] I mean, not to oversell
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:01:10] that's the expectation I want to set out the, at the outset. No, I mean, you buy in now, you love this podcast. You're going to tell all your friends to listen to it. It doesn't matter whether you or they have ever heard of Sweet Valley High before, this is your new favorite podcast.
Mary Parker: [00:01:23] Yes. And you know, it really doesn't matter because if you've even heard of the eighties, you get the gist of Sweet Valley High.
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:01:30] totally, totally. And also now just hit like 15 to 30 seconds back and just listen to these last few seconds again, just over and over again, until you really feel it in your bones. Well, this is, this is a really exciting episode, not because it's the book Against the Odds, although it is an exciting book as we will soon reveal, but because normally, I mean, the new season is always exciting, but these whole 10-book seasons thing, it's kind of arbitrary, something I made up at the outset of starting the podcast as a way to like have an off-ramp for myself in case it just wasn't working.
Well that off-ramp has long since closed, but this is a really exciting new milestone. So that's part of why I'm thrilled to have you here with me. Mary is one of my oldest Sweet Valley High confidantes, just like We are now entering a phase of the podcast where I am reading the books for the first time.
Mary Parker: [00:02:22] that is exciting. Exciting for me.
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:02:25] I'm excited about it. It might make it a little bit harder for me to choose guests , because I'm just kind of guessing a little bit. I mean, I can read a lot about the descriptions, you know, I love go on goodreads and read the reviews that people have left of these books, which is fun. Uh, you can tell a certain amount from, you know, reading the back cover, just looking at the front cover.
When I asked you on Mary, I told you something that I quickly learned was not true about this book. Do you remember?
Mary Parker: [00:02:53] You told me that there was going to be a connection with the, uh, Wrong Kind of Girl book. And unless I'm very misremembering Wrong Kind of Girl, I don't see any connections.
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:03:04] Right. So any new listeners Wrong Kind of Girl is very seminal book for me. It's the book that got me, uh, reinvested as an adult in a Sweet Valley High. And it has a character who is named Ricky. Capaldo, who's just a minor character. He's the cheerleading manager and Mary read Wrong Kind of Girl. And I think maybe even another,
Mary Parker: [00:03:29] No, it was just Wrong Kind of Girl.
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:03:31] Oh, well I'm already over full of lies. Okay. Um, I really thought you'd done it a few times.
Mary Parker: [00:03:35] Nope. Nope. Full of lies. Just like Ronnie.
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:03:38] Ricky Capaldo, bless his heart. I really feel bad that I mistook him for Ronnie Edwards. Ronnie Edwards is the guy who way back in book number two , Enid Rollins, who's star of the show Elizabeth Wakefield's best friend, she was dating Ronnie Edwards at the outset of the entire Sweet Valley High series. And he was such a dick to her when he found out that she used to be kind of fast. And she had this boy from her past that she was writing letters to not even like love letters!
Mary Parker: [00:04:06] Just like a pen pal.
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:04:07] Yeah. He basically like tried to assault her in a sense, like, I don't know if his heart was really in it, but his vibe was like, "Oh, you're loose with other guys.You should give it up to me too. Isn't this what you're like? Isn't this what you're like," and she got all upset and she broke up with him. Thank God. But that's like all the Ronnie Edwards that we even know, except also that he's in Phi Epsilon.
Mary Parker: [00:04:27] Which is a high school fraternity, which is not a thing, but okay.
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:04:31] Oh gosh. I feel all jazzed to talk about this
Mary Parker: [00:04:32] You should, let's get jazzed up. There's a lot to it. There's a lot to be angry about in this book.
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:04:40] Um, lastly, I guess a little bit of business that I'll say is that I had a very exciting hiatus, Gladiators. I made a movie, which is exciting, so more expect to learn more about that later, I participated in a big eight week podcasting fellowship. In the first class of this thing called the On-deck Podcasting Fellowship.
I learned a lot of exciting stuff and resources that hopefully I'll be able to bring to bear on the show and maybe even have some of my new podcasting friends as guests. Um, so I'm really excited about the future of Sweet Valley Diaries, even though it is a total mystery me, what the books are about
Mary Parker: [00:05:15] But that makes the future even more exciting.
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:05:19] Yeah. And like, "a total mystery" is not right, I know some things that are going to happen. I'm really excited about a few things that are going to happen in this season. Like some kind of shipwreck. Certain boys are going to come back to town.
Mary Parker: [00:05:32] I'm really excited for that book where Jessica gets eaten by a runaway tiger and they go through the whole funeral and then it's like, the tiger gets possessed by Jessica. And it's just, Oh my God, it's going to be thrilling.
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:05:43] See, when you started, I thought that you really had like read ahead what's going to happen because there is a book where Jessica is somehow like stranded on an Island that they're going visit something like that It's called lost at sea and There's one called Two Boy Weekend there's also there are also though before we get to that exciting stuff we're entering another phase of the uh parade of randos uh which is the the time in Sweet Valley High writing history when for some reason several books in a row are about characters that you either never heard of before or, as is the case with Ronnie Edwards, just like don't really know or care that about.
Mary Parker: [00:06:24] I wonder they had either run out of ideas for main characters, or if they were going through some sort of marketing push where they're trying to attract new readers and not make them have to start at the beginning. So they give them a bunch of new character feature books that anyone could pick up and read any time
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:06:41] I think that's probably part of it. And no matter what happens in any of these books, Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield, are always there doing something. Even the books where they're really minor characters, they always have a role. Usually Elizabeth is meddling or Jessica is having an opinion. It, it like it could be as it could be as tenuous as that, like something's happening.
And Jessica sees it happening and we get into her POV to see how much she thinks it's, you know, lame or bullshit or whatever. Uh, and this one is not like that though, in this book, Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield both have very different and very big parts in the story, even though it is Ronnie Edwards
Mary Parker: [00:07:25] Elizabeth really just gets captured beyond that. She doesn't do much.
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:07:28] She does some meddling, but her capture as well, we'll get to this Gladiators. Her capture is a symptom of her meddling, um, in very weird way. So let's, let's go straight to the beginning of this book because I was excited in the first few pages for a very silly reason. We start this book at a big soccer game, a big Sweet Valley High soccer game.
We started calling the listeners of the podcast, the Gladiators, because that is the mascot of Sweet Valley High, but it's almost never mentioned. And all of a sudden in the first like three pages of this book, it's just constant. I have the physical version and not the ebook, but I'm sure if I did a like, search for the word Gladiators, it would be like 10 times, at least in this book.
Mary Parker: [00:08:11] Is that something you can do on an eBook? I am a novice to eBooks because I can do that right now.
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:08:15] It is. Yeah. Oh, please do.
Mary Parker: [00:08:18] Give me one second.
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:08:19] Yeah, sure. I mean, I can vamp to tell everybody that they're playing the Palisades Pumas. So. Again, a little geographical confusion. Palisades is probably pretty far from sweet Valley high, but whatever, people travel distances for games.
And then later on, of course they're going to play Big Mesa. Big Mesa is the number one rivals of sweet Valley
Mary Parker: [00:08:45] well, there it is. a search bar. Okay. That's it?
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:08:50] here, I was thinking that you were looking for the word
Mary Parker: [00:08:52] No, I was trying to, but okay. It looks to be...
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:08:56] because were searching in a matter of speaking, you were searching
Mary Parker: [00:08:58] think 14, 14 mentions of Gladiator. That's pretty good for a short book.
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:09:03] So that's exciting. Jeffrey French is a star. That's Elizabeth Wakefield's boyfriend. He is just a great soccer player. His long blonde hair is like bouncing on the wind as he runs and scores.
He's just a star soccer
Mary Parker: [00:09:18] He's very good. And in fact, this is one of the more exciting openings to a Sweet Valley book. You can comment further on whether that's unusual or not, but you know, it was a big game. And then they all go to the dye, rye burger.
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:09:33] Yes. It's it opens, it opens in media res. Action. Uh, uh, soccer kicking playing they're winning the game and the guy, everybody, the other guys on the team, Aaron Dallas, et cetera. Uh, they lift Jeffery up onto their shoulders and he's King of the game. Like, so this is that's, that's what we're presented with
Mary Parker: [00:09:55] He scores the winning goal in the playoffs or however soccer
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:09:59] he's the soccer. He's the good guy at soccer.
Mary Parker: [00:10:00] He's the soccer boy.
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:10:04] He's a soccer boy. So, um, step aside, Aaron Dallas, uh, Jeffrey French is the new soccer boy in town. And, uh, so that's set up actually, as long as we're talking about the soccer team, I feel like we're going to take an unprecedentedly early foray into the part of the podcast where we're talking about boys.
This is a very like non horny book for the most part. I think there's not a lot of objectification of the boys in it. Would you agree with that?
Mary Parker: [00:10:50] I would agree with that. There are two kisses, but, um, you know, in true Elizabeth fashion, they're very chaste.
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:10:56] Um, there's some really heavy running hands through the hair that a little, it seems to really enjoy towards the end of the book. Like, Oh, keep doing that. And I actually turned back like, Oh God, what is he doing? No no, he's just running his hands through her hair which does feel very good I mean, I can't fault Elizabeth for enjoying that sensation,
Mary Parker: [00:11:14] I mean, there's also big Al and his crony max, who, well, maybe they're a little older than the target demographic of this book. They are clearly gainfully employed in, um, being evil bookies and they have their own cars. So, I mean, what's not to love.
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:11:32] So big Al we'll get to, um, there's max, there's also another henchman named Bruno. Very good mildly sexy henchman name. Although I can't say that he was doing for me in this book nor was max but the soccer team boys getting named and it's really just a litany It's like reading a yearbook like who are these boys Some of them we know uh Aaron Dallas. Tony Esteban. Michael Schmidt -- Not to be confused with Michael Harris, who has appeared in a previous book. This is Michael Schmidt. And Brad Tommasi. These are these are other on the soccer team. Um, how many guys on a soccer
Mary Parker: [00:12:10] Uh, aren't there are there five on a field at a time?
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:12:15] two, three, four, five. So that's five guys.
Mary Parker: [00:12:17] but there's like, there should be extras like on the side.
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:12:21] Well, the JV guys, cause later on, I should have marked the book. The boy later on that is a junior varsity. He's a good guy. A junior varsity guy
Mary Parker: [00:12:30] Young, hungry up and comer
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:12:32] and
Mary Parker: [00:12:33] Real Alexander Hamilton.
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:12:34] I actually have it marked
Mary Parker: [00:12:36] Yeah.
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:12:37] I have a note in here from later on that says "Jeffrey becomes self-aware"
Mary Parker: [00:12:42] he totally does. Which is rare for a teenage boy.
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:12:45] Yeah, well This fellow was named Chris Wells, but again, we're getting it through Jeffrey's eyes. So we don't really get like, you know, "Chris Wells's gorgeous , you know, Emerald green eyes flashed in the sunlight and his, um, you know, Mahogany locks were glossy and cascaded down to his..."
Mary Parker: [00:13:06] [SARCASM VOICE!] we, we don't have the raw sexual energy of, uh, descriptions of barely post pubescent, teenage boys.
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:13:14] no. Instead what Jeffrey is thinking when he looks at Chris, is, "is that what I look like when I'm playing soccer?" That's, I thought it was a really interesting moment, but jumping the gun as we are wont to do here on Sweet Valley Diaries, let's get back to the start of the book. So we've set up that Jeffrey is a great soccer player and the other big piece of information that gets set up at the outset happens at the Dairi Burger.
When Ronnie comes, struttin' in. He's wearing a nice suit and he's flashing around bills. He's
Mary Parker: [00:13:47] He's flashing a wad. That's right,
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:13:50] fact, I have a passage that I could read.
Uh, let's see.
Mary Parker: [00:13:54] Prepare yourselves listeners. This is the cringiest character, I think ever committed to the page. That's probably overstating it, but he's pretty bad.
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:14:03] So, first of all, he he's dressed in expensive looking a shirt and pants, a far cry from his usual jeans and rugby shirt. Okay. ,
Track 2: [00:14:12] "What'll you guys have? I'm taking orders. It's on me." "Uh, Oh," Enid muttered under her breath. An uneasy, silence fell over the table. Elizabeth remembered all too well that Ronnie had once been Enid's boyfriend and she could never forget the rotten way he had treated Enid after becoming insanely jealous over an innocent letter.
She had received from a former boyfriend. Ronnie stood by the table, his Sapphire blue eyes, twinkling, "come on, don't be shy. Get whatever you want. You guys deserve nothing but the best." Elizabeth gave Jeffrey an uncertain look. He smiled at Ronnie. "Oh, that's really nice of you. He said, but we're all set besides there are a lot of people at the table."
"Hey, money is no object," Ronnie insisted. With a flourish, he pulled a lot of bills out of his pocket. "I got a good deal on my Mustang convertible, and somehow I had all this leftover too, not bad, huh?" Elizabeth noticed three surly looking guys at the counter who were staring intently at Ronnie's money.
They look too old to be high school students. And with their sunglasses, beard, stubble and leather jackets, they seemed like the kind of guys that would be better to stay away from Elizabeth hoped that Ronnie would quiet down and put his money away before they got too interested.
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:15:28] Um, so that's the, you know, the rest of the kids comment on it and everything, but that's, Ronnie's, you know, he's, he's in the money.
Where did he get all this money? People are wondering.
Mary Parker: [00:15:39] as well, they should. Um, can I spoil where he gets the money?
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:15:44] Yes, as it is kind of a central, a central theme of this particular book, Against
Mary Parker: [00:15:48] Okay. Okay. Um, Ronnie is a stupid idiot who has gotten involved with, uh, the wide world of high school betting. And he thinks that he and his bookie are like real good friends. It turns out the bookie actually loaned him the Mustang. I was pretty sure they were going to find a body in the trunk of that Mustang, but that does not happen.
Sadly. Anyway, he's in deep with this bookie and he thinks he's riding high and he's really good at picking sports games. Little, does he know Big Al has some plans for old Ronnie.
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:16:21] Yeah. So we've got this guy, Big Al. Um, his name is Al Remsen who, like, he has a whole racket surrounding bedding, placing bets, taking books for high school and college games. Now college games is one thing, high school games seems like a new level of sleazy. It is sad. And so it makes Ronnie that much sadder by extension, right?
Because he's in a huge trouble.. He's not in trouble yet. Like at the outset. Yeah. I actually thought, well, at this point in the book that Ronnie he'd been making such good bets that, you know, he'd been making a lot of money from it, but we learned that it's actually more complicated than that. Like, he was so successful in his early bets, but Al has given him loans, basically loaned him, this Mustang, loaned him this extra money.
And it's kind of, it's, it's really a dirty trick. I, maybe this is a common bookie thing. Maybe I really don't know enough about the world of...
Mary Parker: [00:17:19] High stakes high school sports betting?
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:17:22] or even, or even like adult sports betting, you know, all those adult sports that are on the television and stuff.
Mary Parker: [00:17:31] It's at least a very common, evil movie villain, bookie trick to loan people, money that they don't have. And then, I mean, that's how they really make their money. Right. They probably don't make it, make some money from betting, but they make more money from, you know, threatening people with broken kneecaps.
According to the movies, I don't know about in real life.
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:17:49] right. I mean, and Ronnie, I mean, Ronnie is, he's just as dumb 16 year old. The book establishes that he's never had much money, a common theme in these books. You know, the kids that don't have a lot of money are really sad about it. It's hard to be that kid and that's.
That's real, but this is the way that Ronnie has chosen to deal with that. Actually I'll read this passage because it introduces Big Al and it gives us a little bit of a mindset that Ronnie is in and, you know, attempts to help us to sympathize with this character, Ronnie, who we're going to have to sympathize with at least a little bit to care about what happens to him.
Track 2: [00:18:27] Ronnie smiled as he followed a Bruno to the back of the Dairi Burger.
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:18:30] Bruno is one of the guys, the stubble guys that was looking at Ronnie and, uh, and like basically says, Hey, I hear you're talking about this Mustang. You've got like, I've got a Lamborghini out back. Like, let me show you. And then he goes to look at it.
And Elizabeth is like listening in like, Oh, uh, that seems bad. So she's right. Typical Elizabeth meddling, when she's got her eyes on these, she's like a little detective
Mary Parker: [00:18:57] Yeah. And total side note, not really, not related at all, but maybe I've just watched too much porn, but Bruno is not a threatening name to me anymore, but anyway, continue.
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:19:08] Oh it's like an earlier one of these books where they actually call out what a scary drug dealer named "Buzz" is. And I'm like, that was my grandpa's name.
Mary Parker: An astronaut name!
Marissa Flaxbart: Right, right. Anyway, uh, okay. Returning to the passage.
For months. He had been driving around the old Toyota. His mother had left behind after his parents' divorce. Who'd have ever thought he'd ever drive a car nice enough to think about hiding. Thank you, Big Al, He thought. even though he had never met Al Remsen, Ronnie felt as if the man had changed his life.
Things hadn't been going too well between Ronnie and his father lately, and money had been tight. Ronnie had heard of Big Al through a customer at his father's all night grocery store. At first, he had been reluctant to deal with a bookie, especially Big Al, who had a reputation as the coldest toughest guy in the business, but he was also the richest and the whole thing had turned out to be so easy.
All Ronnie had to do was put down a few dollars on high school teams from Al's sheet, which listed the odds on all the area games. Ronnie seemed to have a knack for bedding and each week his winnings grew soon. Al had become like an uncle to him, letting him bet on credit, lending him the car. Ronnie laughed to himself over his white lie about the Mustang.
He knew it wouldn't hurt anyone to think he actually owned it.
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:20:29] So Ronnie, he continues with this, like the next day in school, he's talking about all the money he has. Oh, not before, not before Jeffrey like saves the day when, you know, because Ronnie is about to get beaten up by Bruno. Like he's having this reverie, I just read, but what's happening is he's about to be, uh, shook down for the cash that he's been flashing around.
Mary Parker: [00:20:51] Now, Bruno works for Big Al? I thought Bruno was just a random guy, scheming on teens at the dye rye burger.
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:20:59] Yeah. I think you're probably right. Actually. I said earlier that Bruno was another henchman, but I guess he's just a henchman type. He's just a lowlife,
Mary Parker: [00:21:07] You get them at Henchmans R Us down on Sunset Boulevard in Sweet Valley.
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:21:12] Oh, I should add this passage on page 17, so Jeffrey is kind of like tipped off by Elizabeth that something might be up. He hears a scream. He comes around the corner and, um, Bruno. Oh, no, it's not Bruno, it's the dark haired guy. Well, who doesn't have a name? Bruno is blonde. Of course. He's course he is just like Sasha Baron Cohen as Bruno Um okay So Jeffrey says something about how it doesn't seem like a fair fight
"Who is this dude?" the dark haired guy asked he he's the star of the soccer team Ronnie blurted Bruno looked at Jeffrey with disadin. "Well, Star, he said, I think you're in the wrong place. You wouldn't score too many goals with a crushed foot. Right guys?"
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:21:59] So anyway, I just thought, "who is this dude?" is such a good line
Mary Parker: [00:22:02] Threatening teens. And it's also like,
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:22:05] He's soccer star.
Mary Parker: [00:22:07] He's the soccer star. two underweight teens against three grown men. That's a fair fight now, especially when one of the teens sniveling on ground practically.
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:22:18] yeah. The book describes Jeffrey though, as being tall and kind of like taller than these guys who must've been, I guess, kind of small. And he says like, he brushes it off when Ronnie like, thanks him so much for saving is saving his life. Ronnie says his big secret is that he's never been any good in a fight, which makes me sad
Mary Parker: [00:22:37] he can only beat up his girlfriends. Apparently, look, I don't love Ronnie. Ronnie is a tool and I wish the book ended with his funeral, but maybe that's just me.
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:22:50] , we have had too many, too many books ending in funerals at this point. So
Mary Parker: [00:22:54] No, but see, you say we can get into this if you like, because I mean, you know, the, the plot plays out pretty much like you'd expect, and we can get into that. But I think it's important to establish what kind of character Ronnie is, because he is very, very annoying. He, he's a sort of person that we've all met in our real lives.
Mary Parker: [00:23:14] him. He tries too hard and in the worst way possible.
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:23:20] I think his worst characteristic is this thing of, like, he won't just give some, like, leave someone in peace, you know, like he won't take a hint. He's, he's very, self-centered . He's his whole relationships with anybody else is all about what they can do for him, you know, but he makes it seem like he cares about them so that he can get something out of them.
Mary Parker: [00:23:39] Yeah. And he, but he's also not self-aware enough
Mary Parker: [00:23:42] That he's doing that. He thinks that he's like, Oh, I don't understand why no one likes me. And it's like, it's very obvious why no one likes you. You're a very unlikable person. I know that's a really harsh thing to say to a fictional teen, but it's true.
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:23:56] Yeah, it is true. And I think that the book, presents him that way too. I I mentioned that the book is attempting to have us be sympathetic to Ronnie. And I think that it is doing that, but it also, you know, Ronnie is a problematic figure. Like one of the main purposes he serves in this book is to cause conflict between Elizabeth and Jeffrey, because after Jeffrey saves the day for Ronnie, he, he now has sympathy for Ronnie. He thinks, you know, people don't really like this guy. Maybe he finds out about Ronnie's betting.. He's like maybe if people were nicer to him, he wouldn't feel like he needed to gamble. It's a big jump, but Jeffrey starts to feel really bad for Ronnie.
Mary Parker: [00:24:38] this is the thing about people like Ronnie, is that everyone goes around telling themselves, well, he's not such a bad guy. I should just give him more of a chance when he is literally doing bad things. There are very good concrete, solid reasons not to give Ronnie a chance and to not be his friend.
And yet just like in society, not to get all political or whatever for a second, but people just keep giving him chance after chance and not taking his deep issues seriously. And just like, Oh, well, you know, he doesn't mean poorly he's doesn't mean bad and it's like, it doesn't matter. He causes harm and I'm, I have very little patience with these types of people now.
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:25:18] no. I would say in all fairness to the book, I think the only person who's really doing that for most of the book is Jeffrey and everybody else is a little bit confused about it because Ronnie is this unliked guy. Jeffrey even says right after this, uh, to Ronnie,
"after what you've been through, you could use an ice cream soda,"
which I thought was very wholesome and cute. okay, so finally, this is the, we just presented basically like the first couple chapters of the book to you. Like that's what this whole first half hour of the has been. , but that sets up, you know, everything that's going to happen next, which is the next thing that happens is that we learn about the B plot, which is, uh, Jessica has been making earrings.
She has a sudden new interest in this time it's designing earrings.
Mary Parker: [00:26:08] And necklaces.
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:26:09] sometimes necklaces. Yeah. The earrings are purportedly very large, heavy and ugly. I'm intrigued. Like when I hear these earrings described looking like big, big ornaments are like having feathers and being brightly, colored, being vaguely ugly.
I am an earring person. I'm kind of like, I want to see these earrings and I probably want to buy
Mary Parker: [00:26:29] I know taste is relative. Like there are some characters that are like, I don't know, it's so ugly. But even those characters admit to themselves, secretly, at least Elizabeth does, that they look kind of good on the person that is wearing them.
Track 2: [00:26:41] And Jessica knows her audience.
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:26:44] Yeah. Jessica is like serving a buyer that is like where they're interested in trying something outlandish. And she knows that if she can have the popular girls who she has in her thrall wear these earrings, that they can become the next hot thing. Cause that's how trends work.
We all know that fashion trends are not based on like, what is objectively the most beautiful elegant or
Mary Parker: [00:27:06] true. People wore half gloves and it wasn't even that long ago.
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:27:11] Right? So Jessica is sitting at the lunch
table and now Ronnie and
Jeffrey are like best friends. Jeffrey comes in, he's late to meet Elizabeth for lunch, which she's upset about. And she's like, and he's with Ronnie. Who's sucks. why they why did Ronnie keep Jeffrey from his lunch date with me Elizabeth, his girlfriend.
Mary Parker: [00:27:32] Well, it's also, that might also be part of what makes me hate Ronnie though, because Elizabeth is like 100% anti Ronnie, and Elizabeth is the most kindest forgiving person in all of sweet Valley. So if she's done with this douche bag, it's like, so should we.
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:27:47] Yeah. The book even establishes that like Elizabeth tries to be nice to Amy Sutton and Laila Fowler, you know, because they're friends. So it does kind of set up that if she doesn't like him, he must be bad,
Mary Parker: [00:27:59] That was actually a fun tangent I enjoyed was Jessica's friends and how supportive they were of her budding jewelry, designing business to the degree really went and they bought, her jewelry and talked it up. And we're just being very nice and very like what real friends behave like, which is not what you expect from popular girl tropes in teen books..
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:28:21] that's true. Or even these teen Jessica goes to a new boutique at the mall that I don't remember hearing of called Treasure Island uh where she's gonna sell her jewelry She's she's like sets up this meeting like you should carry like wholesale jewelry Now she doesn't have very many pieces of jewelry yet, and at the time that she's talking about wanting to make more jewelry she's just in this Jessica mode of being really excited about the prospect of a new venture she has dollar signs in her eyes which is also Jessica Wakefield's typical MO with any new venture. She's going to make it big, she's got a lot of confidence, gotta respect that, but um she just jumps straight to the end game of how she's rich and famous Uh but so she's talking about how she would need money to make all of the jewelry like seed money and the amount of money that she says she needs is $500 which I was when I read that I was like that's how much that would have been so much money now. If a high schooler was like I just need $500 to start my business That would be a lot But literally in 1989 when this book was written I did them I did I went online like I did the calculation It would have been over a thousand dollars in today's So you have this chick just casually talking at the lunch table about how she wishes
she could get a loan of a thousand dollars. Now, if you're really starting a real business, that wouldn't be very much seed money, but this is not a real
Track 2: [00:29:53] distance.
Mary Parker: [00:29:54] is ugly plastic earrings with glues rhinestones too. But
Track 2: [00:29:59] That she's
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:29:59] made three or four pairs of far. And that's how that's how far ahead she's
jumped and, you know, a jewelry making those supplies are not that expensive.
go to Michael's you know you can buy a whole bag of earringhooks for like a dollar 50 So like like lots of earring hooks but whatever she's doing she's got she she quotes the things she's going to use Semi-precious stones and the gemstones feathers And she wants some things to be set in gold and gold plate and silver So she's got her she's got I dunno how she's doing all this jewelry making but Ronnie of course says that he could probably loan her the money Cause he's all flush with cash but that only lasts another like five Cause it's like the next day when Ronnie has the, you know, his debts have been called up and now he's in trouble with Big Al.
Mary Parker: [00:30:50] Well, Big Al smells blood in the water. He's got Ronnie pocket and since Sweet Valley won that soccer game and are going into the finals or what, what of wherever a soccer soccer, big game has gone. Very, very sports
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:31:07] It's
Mary Parker: [00:31:08] Big Al thinks that he has an Inn at this high school with this child, and he can get this kid basically to help him fix the soccer game.
And so that is, there's the crux of our thing. Jeffrey was nice to kid one damn time and all of a sudden next day, Ronnie's coming up to him. Hey bud, if you don't make sure that Sweet Valley. Only wins by two points for reasons I'm going to get kneecapped or killed. And Jeffrey's like, I do not have the mental capacity to deal with this right now.
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:31:43] This is very commendable summarizing because you have really gotten to the heart of I want to just add in a couple of little details that I think are weird and interesting before he even knows about the game fixing He just knows that he owes he this is why the I referenced $2,000 as being the cost of the what a teenager's life is worth In the opening of this episode he owes big Al $2,000 He asks Jeffrey to lend him like $500
don't have, then he lowers it to 100. Then he lowers it to 50 and Jeffrey's like, I have $25. I will give it to you. So then Ron is like, okay, well, good thing. I've got this Phi Epsilon meeting tonight because I can ask those dudes to loan me money.
They're good for it. What's the fraternity for, if not, for asking bros for
Mary Parker: [00:32:32] Oh, so can you answer from a previous book? How did Ronnie get into this fraternity? If he's so unlikable?
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:32:39] I think unlikability is like a really great if you want to be a member of Phi but I like looking for the least likable dudes to join
Mary Parker: [00:32:48] Fair enough. I mean, Bruce Patman is probably the president, so there you go.
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:32:52] Yeah. The book so far that has dealt the most with this fraternity, mostly showcased shits they were
Mary Parker: [00:33:01] Yeah. Yeah.
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:33:02] because of their cruel and unusual hazing process.
Uh, where I dunno, it was funny.
Mary Parker: [00:33:09] Anyway, long story short, no one wants to lend Ronnie money, which is not at all surprising
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:33:16] They don't have any money.
Mary Parker: [00:33:17] they don't have any money. I mean, Bruce Patman has money, I guess, but Ray's not going to
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:33:23] throwing their money. Like truly Richard, Bruce Thompson is old money, you know? Like he knows better than anybody that like you, he's not going to throw cash. Like you'll never see that money. Again.
He even makes a joke about how he has to call his like financial analyst or something to see if he can move some money around. So very rich guy joke, love that. Um, but so Ronnie has to call Big Al. And he has a code name with Big Al his code name is small fry, which already, you know, you're into some shady gangster shit.
If you have to. And Small Fry also, it's like Big Al, come on, dude. It's a 16 year old boy, but I want to read a little bit of this phone conversation. He tells Big Al he has some of the $2,000. He owes him
Mary Parker: [00:34:08] is a bit of a stretch.
Track 2: [00:34:11] Some, how much is some, um, $25, 25 Big Al's voice was so loud that Ronnie was afraid that Batman's made would hear it.
I'm a patient man, Small Fry. He said, his voice seething with rage. It takes a lot to get me rattled, but you know what? You want to be kissing the ground kid because if I were right there this minute, you would be wallpaper. Understood. Understood. Ronnie blurted, listen, Big Al. This was just a fluke. I'm good for the money.
I'll pay you after the weekend. I promise if there's any other way I can make this up to you. Just tell me. There was a chilling silence at the other end, when Big Al finally spoke, his voice was soft and composed. You're in luck, Small Fry. In fact, right now you're the luckiest twerp in California.
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:35:02] I mean I'm making from I'm New York or whatever that is but it's just generic gangster accent number one you know that's how this book writes them Like I was thinking about making Bruno's voice and more of like a who's this dude I dunno like Michelangelo from teenagers Ninja
Mary Parker: [00:35:21] Well, he is hanging out at the ride burger, which probably has excellent pizzas.
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:35:27] driving the gladiators insane now, Mary, just because dairy is spelled with an, I doesn't mean that it's any less
Mary Parker: [00:35:35] It has two eyes
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:35:36] loophole, like some kind of, um, some kind of a loophole, but if they put I in the name, like with the FDA or whatever, if they put high in the
Mary Parker: [00:35:47] Oh, okay. I take back everything. They're geniuses. They don't have to serve real milk products since it's the dye rye, instead of the dairy burger. Love it.
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:35:57] You know, a fun side note behind the scenes of Sweet Valley Diaries is production about 45% of the time when I am typing the phrase Sweet Valley Diaries, I type Sweet Valley Dairies instead. So anyway, uh, so where are we big? So, so as Mary already mentioned, what Big Al's asking is basically for the spread to be two points.
Like if we, we know that Sweet Valley is a lock to win this game against Big Mesa, because Big Mesa's star player, whose name is Jack Everly, I wish we got to see
Mary Parker: [00:36:32] Jack Everly is the, probably the sexiest name of all of the names that we've encountered so far
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:36:38] you agree with me about sounds very sexy He appears in the book later because he supposedly he's too injured to play Turns out he's healed up It was all the rumors were true He's going to be back on the court that's but we still don't
get look at them or a good description of
Mary Parker: [00:36:54] in soccer.
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:36:57] Okay. Back on the field. Well, you know what, I'm going to
actually go ahead and say that the book doesn't know any better either because the book refers to the group two quarters in the
Mary Parker: [00:37:08] They do refer to quarters. And I know that there aren't quarters.
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:37:10] works. Maybe in maybe in 1989, California high school or something, but I don't think so soccer has periods and there are two, not four.
Mary Parker: [00:37:20] that. I know
Track 2: [00:37:21] that
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:37:23] my dad to make sure that I wasn't just making that up. so the other thing that's going on with Jeffrey is that he's gonna have, he feels like he's at risk of not scoring well enough on his upcoming chemistry exam to get a C in the class, which would make him, uh, according to new rules.
at Sweet Valley High ineligible to play soccer next year. If he can't get at least a C in, in all of his class,
Mary Parker: [00:37:54] this is probably the most, um, uh, typically high school problem in this book worrying about one specific test.
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:38:02] Yeah. And we've seen this plot line in many, a high school movie, a high school book. You know what, if the jocks can't get good enough grades, then everything will be ruined. So, all of the guys in the soccer team convinced chemistry teacher, Mr. Russo, to let them to take the test early on Friday in the afternoon so that they can get out early to practice for the big game on Saturday.
And they'll be too distracted at the end of the day when the test is supposed to be. So they're all the soccer guys during lunch period are taking their chemistry exam.
Mary Parker: [00:38:38] this is fair actually, because I guess a lot of them, Alexa, a lot of them have chemistry at the very end of the day on Friday, which to be fair, it's a terrible time to give teenagers important tests.
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:38:47] Yeah, absolutely. I feel like probably what Mr. Russo should've done is said, Hey, anybody who wants to take the test on
a during lunch period can, but, uh, the soccer team does, um, in the meantime, while Ronnie has had a very frightening kind of like scare by one of Big Al's henchman, who has basically been following him to school the on Friday morning just like just scare him, like, and
Mary Parker: [00:39:15] This is the part I really like your input on Marissa. Um, they engage in a, uh, somewhat high-speed car chase that is foiled by traffic. Now that is that the most California thing that happens in this book or.
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:39:27] I think it might be the most California thing that's happened in this entire so far. He's good On-ramp he realizes he's going the wrong way He's headed toward the beach and he's going to have to get off the freeway And then the traffic is backed up So he has to he has no choice but to get out of his car and run So yeah sometimes getting out of your car and running the
Mary Parker: [00:39:50] that if you're in
Track 2: [00:39:53] you're in California.
Mary Parker: [00:39:55] I love the realism of that.
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:39:57] yeah. Yeah. I mean, to me too, I was like, I could really picture it. I was picturing like Santa Monica exit, Oh, that would be a long, hard anyway. Um, off of the CA one also known as the PCH Pacific Coast highway, California One, that's it's a famous, famous highway
Mary Parker: [00:40:16] And didn't it get favorite? Didn't it get like washed out recently? That's not important. It doesn't matter.
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:40:20] Wow. Uh, yeah. Um, it's okay. Now,
Mary Parker: [00:40:23] Okay, good.
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:40:26] it's the one that goes, it's the one that goes along the coast. So it's, it's been a lot of movies and yeah. Yeah. At this point, Ronnie is really low. By the time he gets to school, he's like has a single focus and it is getting, like finding Jeffery so that he can make sure that Jeffrey is willing to throw this game, which Jeffrey has not indicated that he is yet.
And this is kind of weird, right? Because Jeffrey, the book acknowledges this, even Ronnie and Jeffrey acknowledge it. Jeffrey has only so much power to make sure that the gladiators win by exactly two Right
Mary Parker: [00:41:02] And yeah, I, I, from my understanding in soccer, it is extremely hard to score goals, which is why you have professional level games that are zero the entire time. I mean, no, this is high school, so it might be a little bit easier, but it seems a little bit insane to expect one player, to be able to control two points to that degree.
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:41:25] absolutely. I mean, Jeffrey is a great player, but I think the idea is that they all think that because Jeffrey can score so well. And because Jack Everly won't be playing Jeffrey could just like score goals at will. He could just keep on scoring goals all night long. I mean, all day long I'll game I'll match long.
Mary Parker: [00:41:41] Yeah, that is, that is what they think anyway.
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:41:45] yeah, so he's very incensed. He accuses Ronnie of trying to rope them into something illegal, Ronnie keeps on asking about this and Ronnie even tries to interrupt the chemistry test, to talk to Jeffrey and potentially, you know, fucks it up for Jeffrey.
Mary Parker: [00:42:04] Yeah. He distracts him. The teacher bless his heart, blocks him at the door, but I'm not sure why the doors even open.
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:42:12] I'm gonna, I want to read it what Mr. Russo says when, when, uh, Ronnie tries to get into the room, um, Ronnie has found Elizabeth first and Elizabeth is already kind of pissed off that Jeffrey is talking to Ronnie about stuff.
She's overheard conversations between them that
I don't know, or maybe she hasn't yet. She just thinks the whole thing is a little bit shady and she continues to feel that Jeffrey is hiding something from her about Ronnie. And like, why is he even hanging out with Ronnie? Ronnie sucks. And also you could be spending time with me is also at the core of that.
Um, like you're blowing me off for Ronnie who you don't even really seem to like, but you're letting him, you know, ruin your studying. You're letting him interrupt your test, et But okay So Ronnie goes to the room
Track 2: [00:42:55] you can get suspended for this Mr Russo said there's a test going on I know I know Ronnie answered Just let me talk to Jeff for a minute It's really important. The four other soccer players in the room all looked up and surprise What is going on here Jeffrey wondered. He felt his face turning beet red Listen Ronnie Mr Russo said in a firm angry voice I'm going to give you a chance to stand here Like a considerate human being and wait 10 minutes until the test is over If you so much have say one more word or move one inch closer to me I swear I will suspend you so fast Your head will spin Understood Whoa All right Mr Russo! Tony Esteban blurted
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:43:36] So they're all excited that Mr Russo is laying down the law against Ronnie cause again Ronnie sucks and um Ronnie referred to Jeffrey as Jeff And he does that again now And Jeffrey is so pissed off he's like nobody calls me dude He was like why didn't you tell me that sooner like go away You're ruining my life But but he notices that Ronnie has sand on his and then he notices how like pale and gaunt and like messed up hair, mussed hair.
Uh, Ronnie has, and he looks awful and he realizes that Ronnie might be in real trouble. And sure. Ronnie has been like roughed up a little
Mary Parker: [00:44:12] Yeah, he got, he got sucker punched by a max, which was the best part of the book, in my opinion.
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:44:21] So now Jeffrey, his sense of right and wrong, super confused, because he knows it's wrong to throw out the game and to let down his teammates. This is a sports boy, right? Like he, the, the sports, uh, ethics in a sports boy is just like,
Mary Parker: [00:44:39] They're pretty cut and dry. Yeah. Yeah. There's not really a
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:44:42] I feel like you could ask the biggest, like least ethical shit head dude, adult, man.
This is my theory that I'm, that I'm purporting about his feelings about various like ethical quandary is, or like what, what does it mean to be a good human, like humane treatment of others? He might not care about anybody but himself, but if this guy is like a sports guy and you ask him about his loyalty to his team and what he owes his team, I could easily imagine the same guy really being,
just having the highest standard of like ethical behavior towards, the idea of of team sports and who your team that's, that's interesting. I think , if I'm right, which I'm just making this shit up, so who knows, but, uh, but I feel like empirically, there are many people like this in the world,
and Jeffrey is not a bad guy,
Mary Parker: [00:45:34] Yeah
Yeah Well it just but he's a very stupid guy because it's like you come your friend comes up to you He's like I'm in deep with an adult bookie Um I am a child and you are a child We need to fix this What do you do You call the police My God guy has chased you off a highway Sucker punched You are a 16 year old infant You call you are are
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:46:02] And I feel like you started saying you maybe I'm wrong Were the you Jeffrey and Jeffrey should have called the cops too but also Ronnie should have called the cops I'm sure can understand why Ronnie didn't and I'm sure he's afraid of getting in trouble himself because he's been illegally betting
Mary Parker: [00:46:15] should be more afraid of getting murdered by a bookie Cause that's a little more scary being grounded in
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:46:21] movies have taught us anything about how gangster shit works Ronnie could have gotten off easy Cause he would have tattled you a snitch and then he would have gotten the plea deal or something
Mary Parker: [00:46:32] He's 16
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:46:34] properly
Mary Parker: [00:46:37] Let let's clarify He's 16 This is a book from the eighties and he's middle-class and white He's not going to prison
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:46:44] Right right They're probably not even going to take him in
Mary Parker: [00:46:47] I
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:46:48] going to be like listen kid do better
Mary Parker: [00:46:50] Yeah We know it's the eighties because at a later point in the book Jessica and Elizabeth's mom is described as wearing a silk shirt with shoulder pads
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:47:01] Yeah Alice Wakefield makes an appearance in this book um to you know once again look like their older sister have a beautiful page boy haircut which
Mary Parker: [00:47:12] Jeffrey is is wrestling with this moral conundrum Do I betray my deeply held sports beliefs Or do I help my friend by not even my friend this guy I don't even like throwing a game He also wrestles the deep moral conundrum of should I tell Elizabeth that this is a problem that
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:47:31] Right Cause then he's betraying Ronnie's trust which is really when it comes to betraying people's trust These kids are they do not know What they're doing Like they have no consistency about who who they'll betray and who they won't betray It's really
Mary Parker: [00:47:47] Yeah It's like one minute snitches get stitches The other minute Elizabeth is writing it all in her column in the in the gossip school newspaper
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:47:57] Cleverly hid behind people's initials no one will know who she's talking Um so but it's bigger though than just Ronnie being in trouble It's like they kind of thing like Ronnie is going to die doesn't like he's going to get killed if he doesn't
Mary Parker: [00:48:14] They do They fully think that he's going to be murdered by Big Al and his henchman Max
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:48:18] So now Jeffrey is like well I can't let this guy die because of me it's just two points
Mary Parker: [00:48:25] I also tattle Cause that would be even worse than than someone being murdered So I guess I'll have to throw the game, aww, It's like no call the police
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:48:37] so now is a good idea Time is any I think to a pivot for a minute into Jessica's storyline Cause I mentioned Alice Wakefield Ellis Wakefield She starts by giving Jessica shit For sure Jessica says I in a moment that made me very happy Like mom this is not going to be like tofu
just drop it Which tofu glow was the high point in the book series for me thus far where Jessica made a really bad business decision and it was very expensive Spoiler alert This is going be exactly tofu glow except that Jessica does have much better Like she does have better business instincts It's just that
Mary Parker: [00:49:13] Yeah but her Jessica still kick in you know they're there, she hasn't grown out of him yet. Quite frankly a plot line And once you get into it just for the record I have no sympathy for Jessica's parents in this moment
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:49:26] Okay
Right Because because even Jessica, much to her credit is able to talk her mother into loaning her $200 again in 2021 money is like $400 which is just so much to a high schooler
Mary Parker: [00:49:43] to give someone like Jessica
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:49:45] and to buy jewelry supplies like give her a cold 20 let her go down to the Ben Franklin and buy some craft supplies She'll then she'll make out like gangbusters with a bill at Ben Franklin Okay This is my youth I know I know from crafting
Mary Parker: [00:50:03] So
first mistake her mom agrees to give her $200 cash but like okay got $200 She'll give her daughter $200 cash That idea whatever Jessica gets on the phone with her supplier jewelry guy apparently there's a warehouse that she is a frequenter of
yeah He talks her into buying $900 worth of supplies But of course he
knows He knows full damn well that he's not going to give her anything that she's going to have to make payments on or anything like that Like no bring me cash or bring me a credit card
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:50:43] Doesn't have a credit card So now she's back into I know somebody who told me he lend me a thousand dollars even though I was only asking for 500 then So she's hunting the next day at school She's hunting down Ronnie Edwards to try to get him to give her a thousand dollars I thought this was going to go somewhere
Mary Parker: [00:50:59] It really didn't I think it was just a way to match up Ronnie's story and Jessica s story but it's like he's like I don't have money go away So she goes away I mean it's really the end of that She goes back to her mom and admits She needs more money Her mom
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:51:18] yeah Jessica says essentially if only there was some way that I could have the money now but pay it back gradually over time And mom realizes that she's talking about a creditcard. She tells her mom she only needs $500 Her mom is like yeah I'm not going to give you $500 That's crazy But but but I will give you my credit card and you are responsible The mom tells make the minimum payment every month which I also
Mary Parker: [00:51:47] work
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:51:49] yeah you do have to you do have to make the minimum payment each month to avoid having your credit card canceled or whatever But but that's not a good way to pay down your debt
Mary Parker: [00:51:58] another good not not do If you want to avoid debt is don't give your credit card to a freaking teenage girl who has no impulse control Just some
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:52:09] I'm realizing now that we're talking about it that it really makes no sense at all because of interest charges right If you the whole point of buying of spending so much money on the supplies is that Jessica doesn't want to cut into her profit margin She knows that if you buy if you buy in bulk and presumably she can sell it all she'll make a much bigger profit because she's spent less money on each individual
Mary Parker: [00:52:29] And she's not wrong with her Typical Jessica confidence She thinking that she's going to sell everything right away
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:52:36] that even if even if she does she did sell everything right away that profit margin gets totally erased If she's paying interest charges every month for God knows how long it could be years to pay off that much money
Mary Parker: [00:52:49] Yeah She doesn't know anything about credit which again it's not her
right Yeah The the real the real villain is the mother I don't even blame who from her own weird Jessica logic does actually think that she is making a smart choice And you know if she was a real business person on paper she would be but she's not she's an infant So she's making a terrible decision compounded by the fact that she's gotten a credit card from her mother So it's the adults who are
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:53:22] so good Oh my goodness I really I related to this story a little bit but Jessica also puts in a lot of work like making a bunch of supplies and she does it because the woman Ms Starts with an L
Mary Parker: [00:53:36] I treasure I want to keep saying planet but not treasure planet
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:53:43] Treasure planet and treasure Island are the same they're just one as a planet And one is an Island it's just updated for century sensibilities Ms Lussier Is the woman at treasure Island And she is like wow Jessica you know these are really selling well I want to order a whole bunch of them I would love to get a hot new designer off on her best foot So she like pumps up And that's what fuels her buying all this stuff and making all the jewelry she spends all Friday night or whatever like locked away in the basement creating lots and lots of jewelry only to find out after she's bought the supplies and used them to make the jewelry that treasure Island's manager has decided that they're going to go a different direction with their whole vibe And they're not going be trendy jewelry sellers anymore
Mary Parker: [00:54:34] clothes and shoes which makes me wonder who is this Mrs Lussier And why does she get control over some of the inventory earlier Like who is
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:54:46] then find out she's not the boss
Mary Parker: [00:54:49] So I'm wondering about the the the business model of this place that sells random jewelry from people they find on the street but also trendy clothes and shoes It's not a
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:55:02] Yeah no it's it was definitely confusing but it's set up perfectly to you know fuck up Jessica's life And uh this whole time they planted earlier you know checkoffs a job posting
Mary Parker: [00:55:16] sign
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:55:19] They are hiring a new employee at Treasure Island and at the end of the book when Jessica is like how am I going to pay back this credit card bill, she jokes to her parents that she could get a job at Treasure Island cause they're looking for a sales girl and the parents were like Oh yeah you should definitely do that They'll hire you for sure Because they know that you're such a good sales woman and she's like what are you mean Like I w I was a jewelry designer I can't go down to being a lowly sales It's really despicable. It's gross.
Mary Parker: [00:55:50] Yeah it's pretty it's pretty bad At least the are able find a a logical solution that I'm sure will end well in a future book
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:56:00] I'm just really curious to see if Jessica is working on treasure Island in the next book or if this just gets dropped off the face of the planet
Mary Parker: [00:56:05] you want my prediction and you can give a little dinglittle ding ding If its out to be true I suspect that Jessica will start spending all of her employee discount and paycheck at Treasure Island thus making no money for her parents payments which honestly would still serve them right
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:56:24] Right You are in this this uh you deserve this treatment Um all right let's get back to the main story We've got Jeffrey, poor Jeffrey, who is really shaken up about this whole conundrum and he he's losing sleep And on top of it all now there is a scout from a college That's the good good soccer college in
Mary Parker: [00:56:50] his
his dream school
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:56:53] Yeah Who is scout there to scout specifically Him not even to look at Aaron Dallas or Brad Tommasi or any of the other guys he's
there see So here's what the book says about this school. Elizabeth is the first one to hear from sports writer John Pfeiffer about about the scout Jeffrey doesn't even know yet
Track 2: [00:57:19] You didn't know some big honcho from Branford college is coming to the game Elizabeth's eyes widened Are you serious They're one of the big soccer powers on the West coast Jeffrey's always talking about their team.
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:57:34] That's just a little just appreciated that characteristic
is one of the big soccer powers on West
Mary Parker: [00:57:39] One of the many
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:57:42] So um I guess soccer 1989 soccer is
Mary Parker: [00:57:47] sure Whatever I don't know Like I
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:57:52] So he's there to watch the big game Um and then so then it gets to be he's actually there to watch a practice on Friday afternoon I think But then we get to Saturday and Saturday is the day where everything goes down. Elizabeth goes to the game and this is when Elizabeth makes a really weird choice in my view she sees this big car and she sees the car thing was there then the day before too like she knows that like Big Al is there he's smoking a cigar he's talking to Ricky
Mary Parker: [00:58:23] smoke into Ronnie's face
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:58:27] And she's gotten the full story from Jeffrey now about what Ron is into and why it's so serious And she thinks like there's gotta be a way other than you throwing the game there's gotta be a way that we can get Ronnie out of this
Mary Parker: [00:58:40] Oh gosh
got this man threatening children telling us he's going to kill this kid I just what hmm There's gotta be something we can do
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:58:52] She's just she's just ha it's on the tip of her tongue but she just can't think she thinks of it She's going to have to miss Jeffrey's game um which further fucks him up Cause he's already so in his head that he has the yips something she follows she thinks that her best idea is to follow in the Fiat silver Trans-Am or whatever it was I'm sorry gladiators I can't remember what
Mary Parker: [00:59:17] Some big ugly
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:59:19] a big silver mobster car and she drives it to a part of town that is so bad and abandoned that even Elizabeth Wakefield queen of Sweet Valley hasn't been there before
Mary Parker: [00:59:30] There was one detail She's only been there on her way to the dump with her father
Marissa Flaxbart: [00:59:35] So really bad part of town seems like kind of factory factory part of town And this shoe she tries she eventually she parks so that she can like creep on foot follow them And she sees that this guy who we learned later as Max the henchman has taken Ronnie into what seems like some kind of abandoned bar uh with vertical blinds they were really specific about the Venetian sorry Venetian. Now this is when Elizabeth has her Finally it comes to her what the solution to this problem
Mary Parker: [01:00:06] Oh this man has taken a child hostage I know what I can do Find a rusty
Marissa Flaxbart: [01:00:13] finds uh yeah finds a rusty payphone and she gets as far as hello when she gets snatched by Max and taken away and now she's kidnapped tied up into the rusty bar too He's been he's been brandishing a noose It's all very scary and Max ties her up and she has the book says something I thought was really interesting because it says a lot about this It says that Elizabeth had been in in like really harrowing situations enough time to know that she couldn't show any that the truth Elizabeth has been in some bad
Mary Parker: [01:00:54] And also to be fair max rightly clocks that Elizabeth is the real threat not Ronnie the sniveling coward So he ties up Elizabeth but he leaves Ronnie just like sitting on a stool in a corner
Track 2: [01:01:06] Yeah
Marissa Flaxbart: [01:01:07] He says he has some more rope for Ronnie but he doesn't ever get it So he's basically like teasing Elizabeth and he tells her all the stuff that he's going to do not only to Ronnie but also to Jeffrey because now They know that he's the big scorer who was supposed to agree to the two point thing Um I don't know why they even used Ronnie They should've gone straight to Jeffrey and been like look kid
Mary Parker: [01:01:31] I have leverage on Ronnie So it's different to go up to someone who you have no leverage on and threaten them Cause then they'll be like Oh a stranger is threatening me time to go to the police But apparently Ronnie to do it for you
Marissa Flaxbart: [01:01:44] sure But clearly they have no scruples If they're willing to just like well maybe they aren't actually going to beat up Jeffery and Elizabeth like he threatened Maybe that's all just talk which is what Jeffrey says about those bad guys at the beginning are trying to mug Ronnie So here's what Max says
Track 2: [01:02:01] Elizabeth's eyes flashed toward Ronnie but he wasn't in the same spot. Slowly tentatively He was inching his way toward Max. When Elizabeth saw him he waved his hand signaling her to ignore him.
Marissa Flaxbart: [01:02:12] So Ronnie is like, he's got a scheme up sleeve.
Track 2: [01:02:16] Max rubbed his chin obviously happy to have broken through Elisabeth's cool Exterior I haven't really decided yet
Marissa Flaxbart: [01:02:24] She's asked him what are you going to do to us
Track 2: [01:02:25] I haven't really decided yet I could just knock out a few teeth break their knee caps or maybe I'll do something a little more fun like tying them back to back and leaving them in the basement here There's a nice family down there Who'd like to meet them A family of rats!
Marissa Flaxbart: [01:02:44] That it says that he max snorted max snorted with laughter at his own joke So that was a joke I guess And it's like okay like so the worst thing you can think of to do to Jeffrey and Max is to tie them to each other and leave them in the basement where there are rats. Like if he'd said like a family of coyotes a family of bears family of alligators you know that's scary but a family of rats is not going to even if you're scared of rats like
Mary Parker: [01:03:13] yeah no rats Aren't just to eat a live person when they have other options
Marissa Flaxbart: [01:03:19] I mean Jeffrey could just kick him Right
Mary Parker: [01:03:21] I use away so just kick them left and right There'll be flying around everywhere
Marissa Flaxbart: [01:03:26] man So you know this this pro you know a lot of these books that have these kind of kidnapping or hostage taking scenarios as in previous books kidnapped and hostage they start at the beginning and that's like the thing that sets up the whole book it's very very quick in this book you know just uh Elizabeth gets tied up Ronnie's in trouble but Ronnie very quickly like he picks up a bottle he smashes max over the head and they run away and then they call the cops again They drive away So that so that even if max wakes up he won't be able to catch them They find another payphone
Mary Parker: [01:04:03] And they do what they should have done page one they call the police
Marissa Flaxbart: [01:04:09] Yeah And Ronnie tells them everything
Mary Parker: [01:04:11] Yup
Yup And basically mean you know there's some stuff to wrap up but basically the end the police come and deal with everything and everyone goes home happy It's like Jesus guys
Marissa Flaxbart: [01:04:20] Well the cops come Oh but we didn't even tell you guys um Big Al sends a telegram to Jeffrey
Mary Parker: [01:04:29] Oh yeah that's right Like a little messenger boy to give this telegram
Marissa Flaxbart: [01:04:34] a telegram but like the
Mary Parker: [01:04:36] He said
he What the hell Like
Marissa Flaxbart: [01:04:39] know if he meant it literally And they they're like open it open it Cause they think it's from Elizabeth Jeffrey reads it He's just regained his confidence He's like you know what I'm about to play the biggest game of my life with my best friends, It's going to set up my college career Who
Yeah Screw Ronnie Finally Thank you Jeffrey And then he sucked back into it because he gets this telegram that just reads "French If you want to see your little pal again just make sure you don't play your best today.
Mary Parker: [01:05:09] which again You win a game and you never see Ronnie again it's a win-win
Marissa Flaxbart: [01:05:17] So somehow Elizabeth shows up for the game with Ronnie and it's it's she's missed the break the recorder halftime quartered time
Mary Parker: [01:05:26] because the end of yeah there was a first quarter and now they're into the second quarter Uh
Marissa Flaxbart: [01:05:34] at halftime
Mary Parker: [01:05:36] that's soccer
Marissa Flaxbart: [01:05:36] games Yeah And big Mesa is ahead And Jack Everly is playing They're doing great Jeffrey is doing bad and they're listening Oh they're listening to the game on the radio apparently there's a radio station at Sweet Valley high K S V H This is brand new news
Mary Parker: [01:05:51] I know That was actually And also I mean that's that's something that could happen if it's a small
Marissa Flaxbart: [01:05:57] my high school had a radio station WDSO they still do love this I love this And I hope that we come back to KS VH because that could be such an interesting plot point But weirdly enough has never up
Mary Parker: [01:06:11] could see a book where Jessica falls in love with a DJ that she hears on the school radio And doesn't realize until it's too late that he's like some little nerd but then she goes out with him anyway I could see
Marissa Flaxbart: [01:06:21] falls in love with
she finds out he's only 14 her head explodes
Mary Parker: [01:06:28] Alright
Marissa Flaxbart: [01:06:31] Well not literally really That's like the
Mary Parker: [01:06:36] it just turns into scanners It'll be fine But anyway so they get to the stadium and Elizabeth somehow manages to convince the coach to call a timeout by yelling at him through the events
Marissa Flaxbart: [01:06:47] Yeah Yeah
she can So that she can get Jeffery she basically tells coach Horner like I can shake Jeffrey out of give me a second I know what's bothering him And that's exactly what happens Jeffery sees that Ronnie and Elizabeth are okay and now he can play the game of his life And um I think they do actually win by two
Mary Parker: [01:07:07] they only win by point because there at the point where Elizabeth is like um I would rather we lose and win by two points And so yeah they win by it's
Marissa Flaxbart: [01:07:17] up
Cause what if they won by two points accidentally
Mary Parker: [01:07:20] Exactly Yeah Then big Al would've gotten plenty money to pay for a lawyer to get him off of these child kidnapping charges
Marissa Flaxbart: [01:07:28] Well um even and the cop comes and finds Ronnie really quick He's like you matched the description I think apparently like wouldn't Ronnie have been the one giving the
Mary Parker: [01:07:38] Seriously you need to be like come find me I'm going to the stadium right now We can meet up there
Marissa Flaxbart: [01:07:42] So then everything's everything was hunky Dory and there's a beautiful moment where Jeffrey and Elizabeth are talking about how Jeffrey's probably going to get to go to Branford because he did such a great job with the soccer in the end Nevermind that awful first three quarters of the game which you don't Elizabeth and Ronnie must've only been that detour couldn't have taken that long Right Because the whole game they don't miss the game
Mary Parker: [01:08:12] I mean a real soccer game is 90 minutes Plus any extra time that they decide to tack on at the end So if it was a quarter whatever a quarter of 90 is is basically the time it took
22 and a half minutes
Marissa Flaxbart: [01:08:30] So maybe that's yeah kind of the book does kind of make it seem like they only missed the first quarter of the game match So if that's the case weird but that was a really quick kidnapping uh Max uh is not the best uh tough in the world but okay So here's a passage from the end of the book I posted this on Instagram So just one great reason gladiators to follow Sweet Valley Diaries on Instagram
Track 2: [01:08:55] I have a promise to make
Marissa Flaxbart: [01:08:57] this is Jeffrey saying this
Track 2: [01:08:59] From now on no more secrets I feel so bad about all of this I should have talked to you from the beginning I know Elizabeth said with an impish glint in her eyes but you can still try to make it up to me Jeffrey leaned closer I guess I've got my work cut out for me He said As their lips met Elizabeth closed her eyes She had wanted everything to be the way it was between them But somehow hard as it was to imagine things were even better. The Dairi Burger would just have to wait.
Mary Parker: [01:09:33] Do you know how your relationships sometimes get in a rut You know you just see the same faces every day It can really live in it up to be kidnapped by someone named Max and drug to a abandoned bar and then the of
It can really
Marissa Flaxbart: [01:09:50] like not upset at all She actually even says no Jeffrey's like are you okay That sounds crazy What happened to you Like your what happened to you as much more important than me and my Branford stuff. Great job Jeffrey! But Elizabeth is like man I'm cool Ronnie is probably a little messed up though
Mary Parker: [01:10:07] these things have happened to me after all I've gotten used to it Elizabeth Wakefield
Marissa Flaxbart: [01:10:12] exactly That's that's a good catchphrase Mary I like Well so we've gotten to the end of the book and gladiators you may have noticed that we didn't do an important segment at the top of the episode but it was not because I forgot it's because I think that it actually might make more sense now for us to start talking about the cover of the book at the end of the episode after we've established the characters in that situation So can you see the cover of the book
Mary Parker: [01:10:39] now Here we go Wait which one is this guy supposed to be most Probably Ronnie right That doesn't look handsome Jeffrey
Marissa Flaxbart: [01:10:50] um gladiators you can see what the cover of this book looks like If you go to Instagram at sweet Valley diaries I'll post a picture Also you can Google it but come on you know you want to go to Instagram and follow at Sweet Valley diaries So there's two people talking to each other Now I was trying to figure out Ronnie apparently has red hair He looks like a I dunno he looks very punchable Huh
Mary Parker: [01:11:13] He does He kind of looks like um uh from
Yeah not like a yeah he does kind
little bit like
Marissa Flaxbart: [01:11:24] Sure A little bit like a young Ron Howard Um you know he's kinda cute but he but maybe it's just cause I know Ronnie that I want to I want to punch him He's wearing it Pretty ugly button down shirt It's pink I think with like gray stripes in a weird pattern And he's trying to reason with some lady who's really mad at him and this lady I feel like it would make more sense for it to be Elizabeth, because Elizabeth is the one who's pissed off at Ronnie book But first at first glance I was like this is the way that these book covers depict Jessica She's got the kind of sexy swept to the side hairdo but I noticed something else That's a clue If you really zoom in on the ear of this young lady
Mary Parker: [01:12:09] Oh yeah A hideous plastic earring
Marissa Flaxbart: [01:12:15] I am into it I want this here I can't see it that well but whatever's going on It's a big old earrings definitely Jessica
Mary Parker: [01:12:22] looks like black black and tan and like um sort of coffin shaped
Marissa Flaxbart: [01:12:29] Yeah Or like a like a like a shoe horse I mean or shoe
Mary Parker: [01:12:34] or
Marissa Flaxbart: [01:12:35] shoe anyway she's got a big old earring on and she's mad at Ronnie presumably now for him not being able to give her her dollars that he promised which is the way that she characterizes it even though I don't think any promises were made
Mary Parker: [01:12:49] No
Marissa Flaxbart: [01:12:50] She's wearing a beautiful shirt that looks very much like a shirt that I have in one of my favorite colors turquoise and the book is pink and turquoise It's really something to behold love these covers before we make this just super long extra long Epic episode Mary perhaps you'd like to tell me if having read this book you have any thoughts on whether you might be a Jessica an Elizabeth or
Mary Parker: [01:13:16] Okay Um given the fact that Elizabeth doesn't think to call the police which would have been my first number one thought I guess I'll have to go with Jessica Um that doesn't make me very happy either So I'm going to say that um I am in fact big Al the pathetic gangster who can't even take down a teenager
Marissa Flaxbart: [01:13:41] that's just like the part you want to play in the stage
Mary Parker: [01:13:44] Yeah pretty much If I was going to be in the play of of this book I would want to be Big Al
Marissa Flaxbart: [01:13:52] I think that would be really good casting Um gender blind casting of big Al Al can be well can't be Alice cause that's Mrs Wakefield Ooh What if Alice Wakefield is big
Mary Parker: [01:14:03] Oh my God what a twist Then I'd have to wear a silk blouse with shoulder pads but you know what I'll make it work
Marissa Flaxbart: [01:14:10] Yeah Your haircut is not entirely unlike a page
Mary Parker: [01:14:14] It's true gave quarantine haircut So now who knows what it's supposed to look like
Marissa Flaxbart: [01:14:22] Um well Mary let's talk again a little bit more in next week's episode about this book about gambling and student monies high school times And for now um let's sign off by saying tell a friend about sweet Valley diaries post about it on social media I would love to have more listeners more listeners could potentially in the future mean no hiatuses so you know what you gotta do Gladiators Tell your friends tell everybody you know tell
Mary Parker: [01:14:52] Don't tell Ronnie Cause Ronnie can suck
Marissa Flaxbart: [01:14:55] no Ronnie's allowed Unless I mean I don't mean Ronnie I mean literally
Mary Parker: [01:15:00] mean this specific Ronnie
Marissa Flaxbart: [01:15:01] you're allowed to listen yeah yeah yeah yeah this is Marissa Flaxbart signing off saying um don't bet money you don't have on high school soccer
Mary Parker: [01:15:12] Wow Good advice
Track 2: [01:15:16] That's we'll end with the piece of advice episode All right Let's just keep rolling because my computer battery is going to die here I'm not plugged in cause I'm recording in my dad's closet and there's no power in here.