IN BOYFRIEND MEMORIAM: Books #31-58
Shey Zanotti is back, and memories of (the very much still alive) Jeffrey French abound. Remember the time he scared away those thugs who wanted to steal Ronnie's car? Remember the time Elizabeth thought he was falling in love with Enid? Or perhaps the time she thought he had fallen in love with Olivia. So many memories! This, and some fresh new ideas for The Creek, in today's Extra Drama!
Media referenced in today's episode:
AUTO-GENERATED TRANSCRIPT FOLLOWS:
Marissa and Shey
[00:00:00] Marissa: It's extra drama for book number 58 broken hearted. Hello, gladiators. Welcome back to sweet valley diaries. It's extra drama. And that means that we're going to talk additionally more about the book from last week, which in this case was broken hearted, the book where Elizabeth accidentally breaks Jeffrey French's heart.
And I'm joined once again by Shey Zanotti. Hi Shey.
[00:00:42] Shey: Hey,
[00:00:43] Marissa: last week we were talking about your interest in. Jeffrey French.
[00:00:48] Shey: my love for Jeffrey French.
[00:00:50] Marissa: Your love for Jeffrey French? Yeah. So I take it like you remember Jeffrey from like back in the day, reading these books.
[00:00:58] Shey: Oh, yeah. I had a stuffed animal when I was a kid named Jeffrey French. I think it was a white tiger or a snow leopard, but I love Jeffrey French that much. Like the cat's name wasn't just Jeffrey. It was Jeffrey French.
[00:01:14] Marissa: That is a lot of love. Like how old were you, do you think when you were reading the books?
[00:01:19] Shey: Eight or nine.
[00:01:21] Marissa: Wow. Not even 12 and up, this is what we're dealing with here, people.
[00:01:26] Shey: ha
[00:01:28] Marissa: ha...
12 and up is bad enough, but we've got eight and nine year olds. That's like me watching 90210 when I was way too young to be watching it. It was on, you know, I was curious,
[00:01:39] Shey: know that I knew sweet valley twins existed.
[00:01:42] Marissa: Ahh, yeah, I, I don't remember the order for me, like, cause I had some sweet valley kids books, which are like even younger than sweet valley twins and I had sweet valley twins, but I don't really remember the order. I don't know if it was something I was accidentally buying from like the Scholastic book club, but these aren't Scholastic books.
So maybe those are, I'm not really sure, but somehow I got my hands on some of these books, but not the sweet valley high ones. Um, but I didn't know the difference until I was an adult apparently. Cause when I picked up that sweet valley high book, when I was like 21 and read it, I uh, was like, oh, this is different.
That's my story.
[00:02:24] Shey: I often read books. I shouldn't be reading when I was a child.
[00:02:28] Marissa: Ah, excellent. Well, do you remember reading the Jeffrey French books? Like, do you remember your experience of him as Elizabeth?
[00:02:36] Shey: Yeah. I remember him showing up and all the girls fighting over him.
[00:02:41] Marissa: Yes, that's a perfect reminiscence. You know, if we're going to dedicate this to the memory of Jeffrey French as Elizabeth Wakefield's boyfriend, that is perfect. So he shows up in like book 31 is the book that you are referencing, which is called, Taking Sides. And in taking sides, Laila, Fowler, and Enid, uh, Rollins are both really into Jeffery and each twin has like a dog in the fight.
You know, they're trying to get their girl in with Jeffrey. And it becomes clear by the end of the book that Jeffrey French has only interested in Elizabeth. And, uh, she realizes she's kind of into him too, and she feels pretty bad about it. It's not that Enid is so into Jeffrey, like Elizabeth has really been doubling down and kind of like forcing Enid to pursue him even after unit is like, I don't really think he's into me, Liz. Okay.
[00:03:37] Shey: Perfect teen movie set up. It's perfect. That he's really in love with Elizabeth.
[00:03:44] Marissa: It's very romantic when he reveals it to her. And I guess in a way it kind of puts the whole thing into a little bit of question it's like, is Elizabeth just going along with it? But she seems like deep in her heart. Like the reason she was really pushing for Enid to be with Jeffrey was like Elizabeth was seeing all of Jeffrey's great traits.
So she was, it was easy for her to enumerate them to Enid. Um, Jeffrey was, he was a photographer. I don't know why I'm like eulogizing him. He's still around, but like that they, that he's, he took pictures for the paper. And so they spent a lot of time together on the Oracle, which is something that. Todd never really showed much interest in the work.
Maybe he will now. Probably not because he doesn't go to sweet valley high, but do you remember the one where Aaron Dallas is like, keeps on getting into fights?
[00:04:36] Shey: I remember Aaron being Jeffrey's like best friend. They did soccer together and all of that.
[00:04:44] Marissa: Well, so Jeffrey was from Oregon and like they met at soccer camp. So like Aaron, Dallas is the one person that Jeffrey already knows before he gets to the school. But I'm just kind of trying to think of like highlights in Jeffrey's tenure as Elizabeth's boyfriend. And one of them is in, uh, the book.
Out of control. When Aaron is getting into a lot of fights and Jeffery is having to like intervene and they even get into a pretty big fight
such a good guy. I also like, like, he refuses to be called Jeff.
[00:05:20] Marissa: oh, that comes up at the book where, uh, it's another soccer book, which is the one where it was actually the first book of this season where, um, Ronnie Edwards is like getting involved in betting on soccer games. And, uh, Ronnie keeps on trying to call Jeffrey "Jeff," and Jeffrey finally, like it explodes over it.
"Buddy. We're not friends like that! And if we were, you would know that I don't like to be called Jeff. Um, before that there was the one where Elizabeth was going to maybe move away. She was going to go to school in Switzerland. Cause he's books are frigging obsessed with Switzerland and, uh, Jeffrey and Enid, like work together on some kind of like going away present.
And I think Elizabeth briefly thinks that they are falling in love. Like she's going to leave town and like before she's even gone, like before her bed even grows cold, uh,
[00:06:19] Shey: Okay.
[00:06:20] Marissa: Enid has already swooped in to, uh, to take Jeffrey from her. But that was all in Elizabeth Head, man. Gee, maybe Elizabeth isn't the most rational girlfriend in the world.
[00:06:34] Shey: Maybe, maybe, I mean, Jeffrey Jeffrey will live on past this book, but you know, I don't want to give spoilers on that.
[00:06:45] Marissa: Oh, well, I mean, before we get to the future of Jeffery, how could we forget the time when Amy Sutton brought the slam book to sweet valley high and Lila Fowler, going back to her original interest in Jeffrey, makes up a story about Jeffrey and, oh, it was like Olivia, I think, uh, how that they were like falling for each other and Elizabeth dismisses it at first, but then she hears the story about them, like kissing in a car or something.
It's not true, but she is sure that Jeffrey is cheating on her with Olivia.
[00:07:25] Shey: Oh, who, you know?
[00:07:30] Marissa: Yeah. So what's next for Jeffrey? I mean, we don't want any spoilers, but you're telling me he's still going to be in the books.
[00:07:38] Shey: Yeah. I think it takes a while. Like they just kind of ignore him.
[00:07:44] Marissa: Yeah. That makes sense.
[00:07:46] Shey: and then he, yeah, he
[00:07:47] Marissa: That sounds like these books.
[00:07:49] Shey: He gets his groove back on a little bit. Like you don't never hear about him again.
[00:07:54] Marissa: Well, that's good. But when I say that sounds like these books it's like recently, like the very last book was about Olivia Davidson and in that book it would have been easy to kind of bring up what happened with Olivia and her old boyfriend, Roger, in this book, because it would have been an easy commentary to make on Elizabeth's relationship with Todd.
Like, is that going to be a strain? And maybe it'll come up in the next book. I'm curious to see if they remember to be like, yeah, the teens of Sweet Valley have been here before. Sometimes all of a sudden one party in a relationship having a bunch more money is complicated. Uh, but they didn't do it this time.
They didn't talk about the mini- courses that were so important to the book last week. Didn't talk about them at all. Uh, instead we've got new schools. I'm excited to spend more time at Lovett Academy.
[00:08:50] Shey: Yeah. I mean, it's a weird B plot. Like, and then there's Lovett Academy.
[00:08:55] Marissa: I wonder if at some point, uh, Todd is going to return to Sweet Valley High.
[00:09:01] Shey: I think he does.
[00:09:02] Marissa: seems like a pain in the ass to have him be a Lovett Academy all the time.
[00:09:07] Shey: I mean, it's a long
[00:09:09] Marissa: It's a commute! Can we talk about that? They explicitly say that it's a 40 minute commute. That's a long time to drive to school every day
[00:09:16] Shey: Yeah, but if it's outside of LA that's like five miles.
[00:09:19] Marissa: Yeah, I guess you're right. Like, well, like if you watch an older movie, I think that even in, is it Clueless where Cher says that it takes 20 minutes to get everywhere in LA?
And now, now that is 40, think, is the rule of thumb. Takes 40 minutes to get everywhere. Um, but this was a 1989. This is pre-Clueless.
[00:09:43] Shey: but that's the same, like it's not that different than like Gilmore Girls. Rory's going half an hour
each way to go to school.
[00:09:52] Marissa: And she never switched back to public school. Hugh Grayson, by the way, who goes to a different high school, that's Enid's boyfriend. We haven't heard much about him in many, many books, but he was present for this book. Um, he didn't have any lines or anything. We didn't lay eyes on him, but he was around, he goes, I think he goes to Big Mesa.
[00:10:15] Shey: Oh, that sounds familiar.
[00:10:17] Marissa: So Gladiators, if anybody has not listened to the full back catalog of Sweet Valley Diaries episodes, this episode was a quick primer, a little catch-up on the, on some of the things that have gone down in the past 20 to 30 books, as we were saying in the previous episode, Elizabeth, just like in pure book timeline form, has been with Jeffrey for a few more books than she was with Todd.
[00:10:39] Shey: Because he's better than Todd.
[00:10:42] Marissa: Well, it does make you wonder, right? Like what was the, like, I would love to know editorially, like what was the thought process behind sending Todd away, behind creating Jeffrey? Because sure. Jeffrey's great and everything, but Jeffrey is a bit of a cipher by which, I mean, he doesn't have a very strong personality. Um, other than just like being a good kind of go along, get along kind of guy. He has a couple moments where he's like very tall and that's his personality, but like he's slightly imposing. Like he doesn't take any guff. Like he has some moments like that. Oh, we didn't even talk about the book about Shelley Novak, where she's the basketball player and Jeffrey wants to enter this photography contest that the paper is having, the Sweet Valley News, and a better photographer enters the contest.
And Jeffrey's just like, oh, that guy's way better than me. Yeah, no question. He should definitely win. Cause he's, he's such a good guy, but he's a little bit, I mean, he's a little bit. Bland. One thing that I loved about Todd that I hope will return was that Todd often like flat out, told Elizabeth how much Jessica sucked and, and kind and he, and like even kind of use the H word with Jessica like that.
He "hated" her
[00:12:06] Shey: I thought you meant "ho." I was like, whoa, I don't remember Todd getting like.
[00:12:15] Marissa: No, no actual slurs against Jessica. Um, yeah, I think characters have referred to Jessica as a real witch, uh, sometimes, but that's, as far as we've gone in terms of any slurs against her, but, uh, Uh, Jeffrey, you know, he didn't love Jessica, but Jessica, I dunno. They just didn't have much interaction.
They were just sort of like both. They would be there. I didn't have any strong feelings one way or the other. And in this book though, Jessica gives Todd a big hug and he like swings her around in the air. It's like they have a really happy reunion. So
[00:12:57] Shey: Okay. I mean, I think Todd's just excited that anyone looks like Elizabeth, so he's like, Hey.
[00:13:04] Marissa: well, early on in the book, there's this moment where Jessica, like right at the start, she's talking to Elizabeth about how Todd is coming home. And she looks at herself in the mirror and she's just like, how could he not want to be with anyone who looks like this? And she's talking about herself.
And like, so, you know, obliquely, referring to the fact that Elizabeth looks exactly like her.
But am I, sorry, I got worried at that point that maybe this was going to be one of those books where Elizabeth, was choosing Jeffrey, but Jessica tricks Todd, into thinking that she's Elizabeth, like, I dunno, that would have been maybe more interesting than what actually happens in the book, but they can only do that shit so many times, I guess. But I do wonder, like, what was, if there was reader feedback that made the creators of the series ultimately choose to bring Jeffrey back or is it just like, you know, on a sitcom when you're really rooting for a couple and then they get together or any kind of TV show and then it's like, okay, well now they're together now.
What is this show
[00:14:14] Shey: Right.
[00:14:15] Marissa: like Nick and Jess on The New Girl is what comes to mind. Or I don't know, Dawson and Pacey. Sorry. I mean, Dawson and Joey.
[00:14:29] Shey: I was like, wow, I don't remember that
[00:14:32] Marissa: that was perfect Freudian slip on my part because there's nothing that, I mean, I didn't even realize this about myself, but there's nothing I would have loved more than to see Dawson and Pacey finally fall in love. I meant Dawson and Joey, but I think we all know what I really meant. And it was what I said. It's just, wasn't a good example of the, of the thing I was trying to describe because the show didn't go there. Do you have any of those you can think of where like two characters get together and the show has to break them up because it's boring for them to just be together.
[00:15:07] Shey: No, cause, I mean, you have to like, that's every television show. There has to be that strife. There has to be like, Jessica always has some new object of her affection. So you can't, I guess keep Elizabeth static the whole time and not have her relationships evolving at all. So I, I get why they brought Todd back.
[00:15:33] Marissa: Well, that's interesting that you should mention that because that's basically Jessica's issue with any time, whether it's Todd or Jeffrey at a certain point, Jessica is like, this is so boring. Elizabeth. You're always with the same guy. well, I have, uh, gone on the record as saying about myself that I have, a syndrome.
I believe I named a FRCLS, which let's see if I can remember what that stands for. Um, first... relationship... Nope. Gladiators that are in what freckle stands for, but it was a whole, it was the whole concept that I came up with many moons ago, which was just like, I have this tendency to be really all in for whoever. First Romantic Coupling Loyalty Syndrome, that's what it stands for. So whatever is presented to me as like, this is the relationship that you're supposed to ship.
This is like the Sam and Diane of this program or book or whatever. I'm like all in for that. And will accept no substitutes, much to my dismay. Do you, by any chance, see a pattern in yourself of. Like second relationships, or like later on when a program does that, is, are you ready to get on board with like the new guy?
[00:16:54] Shey: I can't think of anything
[00:16:56] Marissa: Like, I don't know. Did you watch 90210?
[00:16:59] Shey: I was a David Silver fan the beginning beginning. So, I mean, I definitely always thought it should be Brenda and Dylan. I did not like the Kelly plot line.
[00:17:13] Marissa: That's what I was going to bring up. If you were a Kelly and Dylan, maybe we would have, we would have legs for this one,
[00:17:20] Shey: at all.
[00:17:21] Marissa: Uh, all right, well, I'm with ya. I'm with you on Brenda and Dylan. I was right there, like 10 years old, however old I was, I was like, "is she going to sleep with him after the prom?"
You know, like I wanted to know, let me tell you, like, I wanted to know a lot. Uh, so I think I recorded that on VHS and like went and washed it in the attic. Cause like, I didn't want my parents to like, see, it was like it was porn or something. And let me tell ya, nothing. I mean, it was on fox on like regular prime time.
Like nothing particularly lurid happened, but
[00:17:52] Shey: No, I feel it was like, here's a room key and then it was over.
[00:17:59] Marissa: I don't even remember if they did it. I think they did because then there was some kind of pregnancy scare and that ended up being what it was really about. And I was like, oh man, no fair.
[00:18:09] Shey: Hey, they had to teach us our lesson somehow,
[00:18:12] Marissa: Okay. Yeah. Yep. They sure did. And so do these books and the lesson we learned this week was, sometimes you just got to go back with your old boyfriend. Sorry.
[00:18:23] Shey: even though you have the best man in the world already.
[00:18:27] Marissa: He's really proven himself. I have to, I have to agree with you. That he has proven himself. And I, and I guess I'll say that I had a little bit of a change of heart around the topic of Todd when the whole Devlin thing happened a little bit. Cause like, come on. I don't care how much Suzanne Devlin has changed.
Like you don't really know this woman. And one of the main things you know about her is that she's just, like, pure evil. Like, so how much do you have to change? I don't know. It was complicated, but it seemed like it was a bad look for Todd for that to be the girl he fell for.
[00:19:06] Shey: Yes,
[00:19:07] Marissa: Yeah. So, well, Shey, this has been delightful.
Um, Gladiators. I hope you enjoyed this trip down Jeffrey French memory lane with a detours into 90210 and Dawson's Creek. Why not?
[00:19:21] Shey: always, I am always and will forever be the president of the Jeffrey French fanclub.
[00:19:28] Marissa: Aw. Well, um, I appreciate you joining me today and last week in that capacity, and I'm sure the Gladiators feel the same way. Um, thanks so much Gladiators. Remember that you can subscribe to the podcast, wherever podcasts are found. Like obviously you probably did that already, but also tell a friend about the show.
Uh, you could send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Did you love Jeffrey French? Uh, do you remember Jeffrey French, the context around which, you know, when you first knew that you were a Jeffery French girl? Do you have Second Romantic Coupling Loyalty Syndrome or are you like me, uh, sort of blindly devoted to whoever the creators of a project trot out first for you, or maybe also like me, you're hashtag Dawson and Pacey all the way.
[00:20:18] Shey: Yes, long live Dawson and Pacey
[00:20:21] Marissa: Yeah, let's bring back that series so that we can make that happen. That would be fun for me to watch, um, and many, uh, uh, many of us I'm sure. Tune in next week to see what's up. Do you think maybe Liz and Todd are going to have some troubles around Todd's newfound wealth? Ah, probably not.
It's probably fine. These two never have a misunderstanding or anything. It's cool. Thanks Shey.
[00:20:47] Shey: Thanks Marissa.
[00:20:48] Marissa: Bye.
[00:20:50] Marissa: That's going to be like one of the more like useful and informative episodes of the show. I think it's actually about something.
I had to do some research to make it, to make it happen.
[00:21:14] Shey: Awesome. It was a good, it did it hurt me to read it. I was like, oh no, I think I know what's going to happen, but oh,
[00:21:21] Marissa: Oh, yeah. I don't know. There was still a moment in the end when it was like, it's almost like the writers were like, should we have her choose Jeffrey? Uh, we can't. That was beside the whole point of bringing Todd back.