Title: Sweet Valley High S1.E07 “The Curse of the Lawrence Mansion”
Released: 1994

Previous episode: “Almost Married”

You guys, you know I love you and also you know that I love to drink and then make fun of things, but I feel like I was JUST DOING THIS the other day. But then I realized that I had actually DREAMED about Sweet Valley High last night, which probably accounts for why I was in a crappy mood all day. There’s nothing quite like the lingering feeling of Elizabeth’s holier-than-thou attitude to put a girl on the wrong foot.

Here is what happened in my dream: I moved to Sweet Valley with my twin sister, whose name was Cassandra. (What? Why? I don’t know. I had chicken and waffles at brunch with Sarah; maybe that was the cause of all of this.) Cassandra and I were ex-circus freaks and our talent was that we were conjoined twins. We weren’t actually conjoined twins in the dream – apparently we would sew our legs together for our routines and then snip them back apart afterwards. And yet, somehow that was not the most horrifying part of the dream. The most horrifying part of the dream is that Cass and I (in my dream I called her Cass; it seemed like the sort of thing a sister would do) transferred to SVH and then we were assigned buddies and our buddies of course were Liz and Jess. Because, duh, we’re all twins! But Jess got really upset because she wanted to be special, so she locked us up in the basement of the Wakefield home and started filling the basement slowly with dishwashing liquid. (I don’t know either.) And it kept bubbling up and Cass and I were trying to get out and then Liz appeared and we thought we were saved, but then she said she didn’t want to be Jessica’s twin anymore, but ours, and so she sewed herself to us, but she did it so that she was facing us the whole time. And she just stared at us and never blinked and then I woke up, the end.

In this episode of Sweet Valley High TV, the twins do something involving a ghost! Let’s see if it’s as scary as the idea of having to stare into Liz Wakefield’s eyebrow-eaten face for the rest of eternity!

Credits. I’ve just noticed that Bruce is wearing a Canadian Tuxedo in the credits. Oh, dear. Also, lord, I am tired of the undulating war cry that is this theme song. Sweeet Valley, Sweeeeeet Valley Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh.

At The Shoddy Replacement for the Dairi Burger, Manny and Bruce are scoping out the sweet, bleached-denim ass of some waitress. They’re calling dibs on her, because of course said waitress is just there for the picking and has no opinions or agency of her own. She woke up this morning and thought, “I wonder who I will date today! I guess the first person who calls dibs!” And then cartoon birds braided her hair and she sang a song with her rabbit friends.

The waitress turns around and her face has been made up to look a bit like Sloth’s. It’s Halloween, judging from the decorations, but Manny and Bruce are so turned off by the idea of a girl not fitting the standard of beauty which befits their floppy 90s-haired selves that they decline to sexually harass her further.

Over at the cool kids’ table (have you ever noticed how often Bruce and Manny are apart from the rest? What’s that about?), Enid (two French braids, drink twice) asks the others, including The Girl Who Is Called Amaryllis (one braid, drink once) what they are going to wear to Carl’s costume party that evening. They’re just figuring this stuff out now? MAN. These kids could not hang with my friends. My friends LOVE costume parties and themed parties of any kind (I hate both costume and theme parties, but I love my friends, so I do what is asked of me) and they do not truck with lazy-ass costuming. They plan these things months in advance. I hate wearing costumes but I enjoy making them, so I often go around begging like a puppy until someone lets me wire something or make a headpiece that lights on fire.

Liz wants to go as Romeo and Juliet with Todd, but he declines because tights aren’t manly and his precious manliness might flow down the man-drain, or something. Where did this come from, this “tights aren’t manly” meme? Hello, boys, THEY SHOW OFF YOUR JUNK. Like, all of your junk; the eye cannot look away from the junk on display. So if you are worried about showing off your penis region to unsuspecting passers-by (for which I cannot blame you), then sure, I get it; tights aren’t for you. But they are not inherently “girly.” But even if they were, fuck you, “girly” is not an insult. You should be so fucking lucky.

Bruce and Manny come over to remind us of their presence and Bruce introduces his friend Gary, who is from a rival school. Lila practically orgasms her way over to shake his hand and introduce herself.

Then Bruce starts talking about how he’ll be spending that evening at the school, because apparently 25 years ago, some kid was scared to death and now returns to haunt the halls of Sweet Valley High, looking for his revenge. I wasn’t aware that “scared” was an official way to die. I’d love to see that Medical Examiner’s report.

Bruce chides all the other kids into going (what about poor Carl’s party?), but Manny gets all scared and runs off. The soundtrack wah-wah-waaaahs me into the kitchen to refill my drink.

At the Palatial Spanish-Tiled Wakefield Manor, Jessica is trying to convince Lila to go to some frat party, but Lila declines. She doesn’t want to say why, but Liz pokes her nosy intrusive little face in and tells Jessica all about Gary. Liz is wearing an outfit that looks like it came from Party Barn’s reject pile. I think she bought it at half off on November 1st, or something. Jess, meanwhile, decides to go as Cat Woman, because it is the most revealing.

Well, isn’t that special?

It’s a full moon! It’s so convenient how full moons always seem to fall on Halloween. The Society For Anvil-Dropping Films thanks the lunar schedule for its compliance. At the school, both Lila and Jessica have shown up dressed like genies and both are making tits of themselves over Gary. Ladies, he has stupid hair and his name is Gary. There are more worthwhile pursuits. (Apologies to Brian if his name is actually Gary.)

Meanwhile, Winston and Enid are pulled over to the side of the road so that Enid can change Winston’s flat tire. I’m not really sure what Enid is going for, costume-wise. She looks like a bad 90s cliché, but maybe it was too early in the decade to be making fun of 90s fashion? This is confusing and troubling. Winston and Enid (who I now can tell is dressed like Pebbles Flintstone) argue over whose fault the flat is, decide to walk the rest of the way to school, and then Winston falls in the mud. Comedy gold, people! Comedy gold.

At school, the gang minus Winston and Enid are all preparing for their seance. You know what is better than this show? Well, anything. But specifically, my little gay goateed boyfriend, Derren Brown. He has a special called The Seance. You should watch it. It’s MAGICAL.

That’s Gary, by the way.

During the seance (to commune with the Sweet Valley High ghost, obvs), the power goes out, and also a dress form comes creaking towards the kids. This is obviously the point in the show where sentient slugs perk up their tiny, uh, slug ears and then roll their slug eyes and spell out “Duh, Manny and Bruce are tricking you guys” with their slug slime. But since everyone on this show is dumber than a bag of hair, I guess we’ll just spend the next TWENTY MINUTES pretending to be scared.

Oh, no, okay they figured out that Bruce was behind the dress form already. Cool. Then Winston and Enid arrive, Winston looking much like the Creature from the Black Lagoon. I’ve just noticed that Enid’s Pebbles outfit has a FAKE MIDRIFF. Oh, Enid.

Winston takes off to find a shower, and then we see THE GLOVED HANDS OF MYSTERY locking the doors of the school. A!! I didn’t know you were here! I’ve missed your crazy schemes!

Gary goes out to investigate, with Jessica and Lila close on his heels. Meanwhile, A cuts the power line too!

Lila and Jess are tiptoeing through the halls, looking for Gary, and then they hear a scream! And run to see Gary’s costume ripped apart on the floor! But no Gary! OH THIS IS ALL SO FRIGTHENING; I DO NOT KNOW HOW TO STAND IT.

I dream of going to sleep.

After the get-more-wine break, Lila and Jess are recounting the story to everyone else. And then they see a shadow coming! But of course it’s just Winston. Winston is scary enough, however, to send The Girl Who Is Called Amaryllis running for the exits. And they find out they’re trapped! You know what that means?! Montage time!

Chug! Kids checking exits! Shots of the full moon! B-Movie horror clips! Some strange song that is demonstrably neither Nick Cave nor Monster Mash, the only two types of music one can play on Halloween! Keep drinking!

And then, of course, a shot of Bruce eating an apple with satisfaction. What is it with this show and people eating red fruit to signify their devious satisfaction?

All of the kids sans Lila and Winston meet up, and then notice that Lila and Winston are missing. Enid’s really scared, you guys! She might cry!

Lila and Winston are looking for Gary in the science classroom. Guys? I know we just met him and all, but he doesn’t really look like the type to hang out in science class. While Winston and Lila are totally manhandling an articulated skeleton (those things cost money, jackholes!), Manny, er, A Mysterious Gloved Person Who Certainly Isn’t Manny, No Sir locks them in the closet.

Liz and Todd are also looking around, but Todd takes this time to mack on Liz. They’re dressed as Morticia and Gomez, bee tee dubs, as if they could even DREAM of owning 1/100th of the Addams’ cool.

I wish they’d gone as Cousin Itt.

Jess, Enid, Bruce and The Girl Who Is Called Amaryllis find a history test . . . from 1969!! The year Lawrence died! Then the lights blow (again?) and the girls scream and run. Bruce laughs and laughs, but then Manny, er, The Mysterious Gloved Stranger Who Certainly Isn’t Manny, No Sir, clamps his hand over Bruce’s mouth! Drama!

Winston and Lila have reached the intense make-out stage of being trapped in a closet. Is this really a thing? Can someone who has been trapped somewhere with someone you hate report back? Do you really want to kiss them? Aren’t you spending the entire time rolling your eyes and thinking of ways you could kill yourself if this goes on much longer? INQUIRING MINDS WANT TO KNOW.

Anyway, Todd and Liz rescue them, thus mercifully cutting the make-out scene short. I can’t stand it when Winston tries to talk in a husky voice. It creeps me out.

All the kids sans Bruce meet up and exchange war stories. They hear someone coming! Quick! Hide!

Of course the someone is Bruce and, oh, HEY! It’s MANNY! WHO WOULDA THUNK IT? They discuss their schemes and then head off to round up Gary.

Todd wants to beat the guys’ faces in, but Jessica gives a patented devious smile (drink!) and says they should get even.

Cut to Jessica screaming like a loon, covered in “blood” and running down the hall. Bruce, Manny and Gary are all confused. They approach a room with trepidation and open the door to find . . . all the other kids slaughtered! OH HAPPY DAY!!! I’m just going to turn off this show now. I know; I know. There are still three minutes left. But you know and I know that someone is going to start laughing at Bruce and then everyone will end on a cheery note. And I need to have good dreams tonight. Let me pretend, just once, that all of these obnoxious people really did die in a pool of their own blood. It’s the best ending ever!

I’d just like to take this time to point out Enid’s outfit.

Happy Tuesday, y’all!

Erin is loud, foul-mouthed, an unrepentant lover of trashy movies and believes that champagne should be an every day drink.