Friday, September 25
Sweet Valley High, Jake Ryan, Fashion Plates and other stuff from my Electric Youth
OK, before I get outted as a poser, I was not a Sweet Valley High reader. I don't know why I never got into it. I was remembering this because it was announced the other day that "Juno" writer Diablo Cody is reworking Sweet Valley into a film.
Between that news, hearing that Melissa Gilbert is starring in Little House on the Prairie: The Musical over at the Paper Mill Playhouse, and bittersweetly reminiscing about One Day at a Time over the last few days, I've been thinking about all the things that I've ever loved over the years, even the stuff I can remember that reminds me of the older girls I worshipped. I wanted to be as good at roller-skating as Angelica, Elizabeth, & Theresa, the girls who used to babysit me. I used to tell them that my folks were ok with us rollerskating around the house. (They weren't.)
And since we're being all honest and confessionalistic today, I really was also not much of a Little House on the Prairie fan. So shoot me.
Yes, I'm talking about the original Sweet Valley High generation when hair was still slightly feathered, like totally to the max, not the later incarnations that even Intern Danielle says she remembers reading as a girl (Intern Danielle was born in 1990. Do the math).
Little House, sneaky Connect Four siblings, and pastel-colored Reebok hi-tops. That's my generation.
Everywhere I went, my peers were embracing Jessica McClintock because it reminded us of someting Laura Ingalls-ish, yearning to be little Little Oprhan Annie (or at least one of the other orphans... just to be in Andrea McCardle's radius was enough for us!)
Molly Ringwald was our "It" girl, we had Nancy Drew books in our classrooms growing up, and we spritzed Love's Baby Soft/Liz Claiborne/L'air du Temps on ourselves at one point or another. We watched Gimme A Break, Facts of Life, and Webster.
In later years, Debbie Gibson was our Miley Cyrus, a 16yo wunderkind who not only wrote her own music, she also made her own perfume... what a mogul! Cindy Crawford and Club MTV were our icons for style. We were wearing biking shorts under our dresses, complete with vests over the dresses and a vintage hat and oversized mens jacket to finish.
The eras of Madonna we know best are the original Material Girl and the 50's retro True Blue girl (who scandalized us with her keepin' her out-of-wedlock baby despite Danny Aiello's protests). We vogued along with her, and then a lot of us fell off the wagon while she pushed the envelope right past our comfort zone. The bustier cones might've been a tad too much.
We wore bodysuits with our jeans, felt deceived when we figured out Andrea Zuckerman was in her thirties in real life (GASP! Thirties?! She's OLD!), and really dug it when Revlon came up with that whole line of dark lipsticks and matching nail polish. Coffee Bean, anyone?
I know a lot of you will remember some of that, but I know there are a few of you out there who were exactlyin the same place I was to get hit with all those great moments... is that you too?
If so, here's to tossing our banana clips out for scrunchies, trying to wear a housekey as an earring (ouch, too heavy!), and thinking Jake Ryan from Sixteen Candles was the standard by which all men should be held up to.
I might have an extra tube of Toast of New York left in my Caboodles for ya.
... Says Toni Ryan