So, I guess I tend to live under a rock a bit. In the break room at my *new job* are old Entertainment Weekly magazines. I picked up one from September, and fucking hell, I actually learned something from it. Diablo Cody, of "Juno" fame, has acquired the rights to film the Sweet Valley High series by Francine Pascal.
Like all good children of the 80s, I read these books. Who didn't? As Cody pointed out in her article, it had all the elements. Warm California climate, with the movie-star glamour of California, too. Identical twins, which always seem to fascinate kids for some reason. But the main point she hit on was that the books were about high school students.
I'll be honest, I can't recall the books very clearly in terms of plot or anything. Elizabeth was the smart, goody-two-shoes one who wrote the gossip column for the school paper. Jessica was the bad one, although I'm not sure why. She had glamourous, bitchy friends. It was implied that she was slutty and bitchy, too, although you didn't see a whole lot of that from her. But I don't think that these books were targeted as Jessica and Elizabeth's age peers. Rather, they were for little girls that wanted to be grown up, and to be seen as grown up. By the time you were Jessica and Elizabeth's age, you'd realize just how unglamorous high school can be. Not all of your friends will have Porsches or be cheerleaders.
It makes me wonder, too, who will see this movie and how Cody will pull it off. To me, the most obvious audience is women my age, who remember the books. But let's be honest: won't it be more of a guilty pleasure for most of us than a movie we sincerely want to see? Are we supposed to be taking our daughters? Are tweens supposed to want to go alone? And, do tweens even know Sweet Valley High? I tried to find out more information about the series on the web. I turned up the most complete wikipedia article you'd ever want to see (OMG, remember when Regina Morrow died of a coke overdose? So sad.) I found numerous fan sites devoted to cataloging all things Sweet Valley (there were at least seven different series, including a university one). I learned that during the 90s, someone had made a stab at producing a television show for a couple of seasons. I failed to turn up the one piece of information that I wanted: whether these books are still being churned out, and if not, when they stopped.
Will I go see this movie? Probably not. But when it comes to RedBox, I'll definitely be there!