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Dissecting the unintentional hilarity of The Baby-sitters Club.

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The sacred and the profane [Nov. 18th, 2012|12:59 am]
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Do you guys know that Jewel song? The one with the thing. "As though being born were a sin". She's pieces of you! Ya'll definitely know what I mean and don't wish I would just google the lyrics/title and start over with this exhausting introduction. We're all having a great time and no one is concerned about where I'm going with this.

The gist is, I guess, that sometimes we hate what is most identified in ourselves! You hate on and hate on and hate on, and then you realize it was your own insecurities making you hate on a person because you really hate yourself. That is the Jewel song I mean. And that is how I've come to feel about Karen! We're basically the same person? Except I got to continue growing and now I'm twenty-five and she only got about a thousand seventh birthdays. Let's check out the factz: both blue-eyed, blonde, glasses-wearing goddesses, despised beloved by all who know us, endearingly narcissistic and, most relevant to this recap, habitual liars to the point of sociopathy. What I am trying to say is, maybe I judged too soon, when really I should be celebrating Karen's defects. Maybe I only recap Karen books because, just like her, I want to make everything about myself.

All I know is, every single thing she did in this book reminded me of myself and you are all going to help me come to terms with that.



Show and Share! I bought this at a used book store today! Along with On Beauty because I care about how strangers regard me. What is Show and Share even doing on the cover of this book? Is "Show and Tell" copyrighted by elementary schools all over North America? Karen is psyched about whatever she's talking about, and Natalie and some dude who is not disabled enough to be sitting up front are about to straight up lose it. Why does Natalie have a jar of seashells? What is there to share about that? Is she going to literally share them? Because. That is pretty alright. As always, Natalie is flawless.


Chapter 1
Thanks to Jessica Oidtman for donating this book, and sorry that that is your last name.

Miss Colman gets real with the class and tells them to prep their psyches for an announcement in t-minus 7 seconds. No one in this series ever says anything without some unnecessary preamble, which gives everyone else time to reflect on how great life is, since someone can announce a thing at any time. You never know! When something could be ANNOUNCED. The announcement starts with a recap of what the class's main project has been (growing some flowers on a windowsill) which is, I guess, for the benefit of the kids that have been out sick the past four weeks. Once everyone is up to speed, she tells them they'll be re-potting the plants and giving them to the Senior Center! Karen is so excited, and in her endorphin rush she realizes we don't even know who she is! Or what a senior center is! Why would she assume we don't definitely know both of those things? No one is picking up the 109th book in a Karen series unless they definitely know who Karen is, and also we know what words are.

She gives the Facebook About Me version of herself, assures us that there is much more to know, and a senior center is where the elderly go to die. gr8! But while this intro was going on, Ms. Colman has just gone right on announcing. Those old guys at the place thing are super curious about what the kids have been up to since they last went (when Nancy hated the elderly is I think their last visit) so they'll do a Show and Share to get everyone up to speed! And practice in advance with their class!

Karen is psyched because she loves talking about herself. Me. Too. To old people, my alleged "peers" (Karen and I actually don't have any of those), whatever. Also, has Ms. Colman ever seen a seven year-old tell a story or explain anything? They may as well skip practicing and just plant more flowers because that is a lost cause. As usual, no one listens to my advice, and she trawls the class for volunteers to practice first. Karen, natch, volunteers in a heartbeat. And shrieks "goody" insanely when she is selected. As one does. There is more internal monologuing, and she ominously speaks of "practicing on her classmates" which, ew. Karen, wipe that phrase from your vocabulary. Then do a Show and Share on it.

Chapter 2
Karen throws open the door to the smaller home to which she is heir, and lets her presence be known. Nothing really happens. Embarrassing. She hears singing coming from the kitchen, and as she heads in that direction it gets louder. This is the little house, but sometimes I get the impression that it is also very large. Merry and Andrew are jamming out to "This Old Man", and Karen doesn't even wait for the verse to wrap up before yelling that she has arrived. Merry is like "whatevs", gives her a snack, and explains that they were singing. Karen is like "I heard" and I am like "60% of this chapter has been about how singing was going on so we can move on any day now". Merry invites her to raise her voice with theirs, and Karen sings with them about the old man until he had twelve. What is twelve? What is eleven? What has the old man been playing knick knack on for at least four verses? Then Andrew wants to start over.

Page turn to - drawing. Yesss. Andrew is swinging a pretzel stick around in simulation of joyful knicknacking. Merry, looking so wholesome I can't even deal, is holding her hands out as though she's singing "Don't Rain on My Parade" for he school's talent show. Karen looks so perfectly and beautifully mad that I want to scoop her up and hug her. How dare these people be more psyched about nursery rhymes than her homecoming? They have had basically all day to get this out of their systems. But nope! This old man still wins out over Karen time.

She's over it, and she "concentrates" on her pretzel sticks instead of singing some more about that guy and his paddywacks. Merry thinks Andrew would benefit from learning an instrument, since he has such a crush on singing, and Karen checks out of the conversation entirely to tell us about her families. I really like the later books when Karen was with one family one month, and we'd still have to hear bios for the other family even though they never showed up. Context is key! The only notable thing here is that she's reciting all the things she has two of, and she says she has a "nanny (Merry) and a Nannie!" Karen! That is pretty clever.

Maybe I'm getting soft in my old age and I need to go to the senior center myself.

Chapter 3
I guess Andrew's singing took up her entire evening, because the next morning she has not prepared for her Show and Share. She considers - Tickly, Goosie, all great ideas. No question that either of these objects can be discussed at length. "This is my blanket that I ripped in half in a fit of pique - it symbolizes my desire to be fulfilled utterly in either of my parents' homes, but ultimately serves only as a painful reminder of the fact that I wish I could rejoin a marriage, but my means of coping are only to further separate the parts of my life". "This is my cat I have another one who looks like it. Do my parents ever wash these things? You decide."

She pours her cereal. She does not...really have parents this entire book. A baseball card falls out! That was the prize! She's gonna bring it in. Flash forward to - Show and Share! Ian is up first. I did not even know that guy existed until a recent recap! He seems fine. He brought in some hardened lava from a vacation to Washington State. I don't know if that means Washington, the state, or Washington State University. Whichever makes more sense for there being a volcano. Anyway, everyone is impressed by his Showing and Sharing.

Then is Addie! She has cerebral palsy, right? That's why she's in a wheelchair? Is there ever a book about that? Having a character with something like that in their lives and dragging out an explanation for like seven whole books is kind of a staple in this universe. I only remember Karen wishing she, too, could have a chair to ride in.

Her thing is some drawings she did in what I assume is Photoshop but what she calls "a computer program". Can't wait until you use photoshop to give women unrealistic body notions. Addie. I see you. Ruining feminism. Addie. Look at me. Don't bother coming home tonight.

Karen's turn! She didn't even concern herself with reading the baseball card's basic info before heading up this Show and Share, guns blazing. She stops every other sentence to squint at the card, and then notices her classmates are bored and not responding how they had been to presentations prior. Terry is actually fidgeting. It's been 50 seconds so Terry is not going to do well in future endeavours.

Karen gets upset because her show and share is BOMBING and that wasn't what she was going for! The spotlight! It draws us to it like moths to a flame but instead of burning us alive in a beautiful ecstasy it doesn't even warm our skin! So she starts spinning lies like a pro - this card is special because she knows that guy. B-Bobby? Yeah Bobby. He played baseball with Seth in high school! She asides to us that she knows baseball in high school is a thing because her stepbrother attends high school and maybe also plays baseball? I didn't read the whole parenthetical because it wasn't about Sam and I gotta stay loyal or else how can I look myself in the mirror?

The lies that spill forth unbidden are hilarious to me because I have felt myself do the exact same thing. "I have met him more than once". "He is a friend of mine". "Bobby Martinez has been to my house". It looks like I'm cherry picking sentences from a speech but there are no transitions, just pauses as she observes her classmates' growing interest. It's horrible and electrifying and everytime they seem intrigued you have to up the ante. She likens this concoction to a terrible accident, but that's all wiped away when she realizes she saved this from bombing - it's a success. Is her pulse quickening from disgust or joy? There is no difference anymore. She is addicted. We are addicted. Curtain close.

Chapter 4
Haha just kidding! Time to deal with consequences. Karen hands Ricky a now-definitely sweaty baseball card to be passed around the class. She waits for the applause so she can sit and move on with her life. Instead, they have a flurry of questions, like, how does she know an adult who plays for a team in San Diego, and did Bobby Martinez have seconds when he ate at her house? That last question is an extremely good one and I want to know who asked it! So, I have questions about the questions section. My guess is Hank or Bobby.

She yells "indoor voices people!" and reflects briefly that Ms. Colman must enjoy saying that. says she'll answer the questions at recess and tells us she hopes everyone forgets by then. That is a very low opinion of the one dimensional pals who populate her world!

Come recess, Ricky is all up in her face about how Bobby Martinez is his favorite player of all time, and everyone is flashing cameras at her and asking her for a soundbite for their news station. She is not doing a good job on this lying thing! Also, the implication seems to be that lying isn't second/first nature to our heroine. I am trying to think of a Karen book wherein her flapping her gums about some make believe isn't a key plot point, and coming up empty. Karen, just own it. Lie to others, but not to yourself re: yourself being its most selfness when you are lying. To lie is Brewer.

Even as her soul recoils, when she answers a question about ever having been to his house in the negative, she immediately adds that Seth has. That's my girl. Dig deeper. So she includes in her tale that there are pictures of everyone with Bobby in their family photo albums? Karen, no. I am clearly you when you grow up, so let me be your spirit animal and tell you you should never lie about something when they can ask for the receipts. Unless you say "but they meant so much to Bobby he took the albums with him and then Airtran airlines lost his luggage THOSE GUYS amirite?" then cut that out.

When everyone pauses for breath Karen says welp, "It was fun talking about Bobby Martinez with you guys" and books it. Haha. Exactly what I would've done.

Chapter 5
Karen thinks to herself that she could benefit from some R&R when she arrives home, since making up lies is so taxing. Um, speaking of lies, I guess it was a fib when you claimed you were super creative, because you should have way more stamina than this.

Alas, rest is not in the cards for our most cherished second grader. Andrew has made good on his promise to study an instrument, and decides the best way to let Karen find out about this is to stand next to her whilst she is unawares, and then blow into a bugle with maximum lung capacity. Haha! There's a picture of her being so pissed again! I really underestimated Merry earlier, you guys. She's wrought so much on Blarin' Karen in like, two days, and doesn't seem phased at all. All in a day's work! She probably really looks forward to getting up everyday.

Karen fronts like she never got on everyone's nerves that time she decided to play a loud brass instrument, and Merry calls her into the kitchen to make it clear that, this time, everything's coming up Andrew, so don't even try to tell him you don't enjoy the bugle. That is the best news, pogs. He is always getting shafted. Chase your dreams, Drew. I believe in you. Karen miserably glances in his direction to tell him his "blaaat"ing is "very nice", and it's like, whatever, Karen. His swagger's in check.

Chapter 6
No one in school can quit their jabbering about Bobby Martinez. Can I preach it like I feel it for a second? Seven year olds do not have this level of interest in baseball. Particularly a guy on a team that is not "theirs". I walk through my city's ball park on my way to work, and on my return trip there's always dads with kids and Asian tourists looking at the plaques and brass things and testaments to the fact that our team had Babe Ruth that one time, and that's mostly it. The dads are always indicating the like, Hall of Fame kind of thing we have on a wall, and talking about Big Games and baseball words and the kids are always listening solemnly. The dad clearly believes this is a Moment but I have witnessed such a conversation on every walk home for eight months, so I am very much aware that in forty-five seconds the kid, without the beatific expression on his young, all-American face changing, will interrupt to ask why skeletons don't need to eat. Kids don't care about baseball to that degree! Karen's class, quit being so weird! Find out the answer to that skeleton question!

Karen curses the Krispy Krunchies that begat such a fate on her Show and Share, and wishes she'd just gotten butterfly tattoos instead. She tries to give everyone the slip and just avoid talking about this, and it's like - do you want attention or not, K-dawg? Obviously you do so don't be coy. Ricky knows the score when he sidles up to her on the playground. She tries to smoke and mirrors him with a gymastic move on the jungle gym before asking if he's heard the new song by the Lemon Drops. Ricky doesn't even pretend he cares about small talk with his tiny child bride, and straight up cuts her off mid-sentence. Which works? I did not see that coming. Everyone: if you just interrupt Karen she'll apparently stop talking about whatever she was talking about. How did no one discover this until just now?

Anyway, he wants a favor. Ricky, you're a rich white male. You've gotten plenty of favors so just be quiet. But this little punk will not be satisfied. Karen is touched by his politeness and hears him out. He wants Bobby Martinez to come to their class! Hahaha. Karen is like "Nah, it's baseball season and he's busy." But then she feels bad for not giving her prince all that he desires. Quit being a star-luster, Ricky. I thought we were friends because of our glasses situation, not because you were using me to meet a 'roided-out athlete. I guess we're all showing and sharing, today.

Ricky goes on to say that he's liked Bobby Martinez "since he was a rookie". How long has this guy's career been going on? Ricky is basically a fetus. Then he's like, "well, you must have a stack of autographed pictures laying around that house" and it's like WHAT. Ricky do you know what a friend is? This is a chilling portrait of WASPs in their natural habitat. Karen doesn't know that it makes zero sense for a person to just have a ton of signed photos of their BFF, so Ricky sweet talks her into agreeing. Ricky. You're on my list. Karen. You could be better at lying. Don't worry. Like I said earlier, I'll guide you through this. First piece of advice: don't let that guy from drama company take you to homecoming sophomore year. No one but you will be shocked when he breaks off your relationship eleven months later by coming out of the closet.

Chapter 7
Karen spends another week avoiding her classmates. I don't even know what that means since they are all in a room together that none of them can leave without special permission. But she does it with aplomb. Karen's home life is also one of hiding out - Andrew has switched out his bugle for a tomtom drum. Karen claims his new weapon of the arts makes a "thuggathug" sound? I loaded up a youtube video to investigate. It sounds like a regular drum, not a 90s rapper, but I did learn how to make one with a balloon and a two-liter bottle.

Andrew plays his heart out for hours at a time. If he has this kind of dedication, his parents can just spring for lessons on a real instrument. Karen decides to have another chat with Merry. Merry is once again immune to Karen's complaints, even though Andrew is basically doing what we did to Noriega and she might have legitimate grounds this time. Haha! Nothing is more perfect to me than how, after books and books of her stupid whining being indulged, the one time she is justified everyone is telling her to suck it up.

Anyway, much like how, when you first learn a new word, you hear it in everyone's mouths, Karen is finding it hard to escape the haunting visage of Bobby Martinez. TV, magazines, newspapers (what?), that's it. She decides he seems pretty okay, so maybe if she writes him a letter he'll help her out of this hot water situation. What follows is a few false starts and Karen being alarmingly self-aware. One letter is rejected because she realizes Bobby is too busy being paid to play games to play other games. Then she decides she can't make it seem like it's his fault, because, as stated earlier, those Krunchies are responsible. Her final product goes something like this:

"Dear Bobby,

Hello I am Karen and have two of everything, except favorite baseball players! I only have one of those (you). I like when you do baseball things on the baseball field. Maybe one day I could tear you in half the way I did my blanket (long story) and then I won't have to worry about having a little house favorite baseball player and a big house favorite baseball player. You know how it is.

Krispy Krunchies are 4 chumps,
Karen Brewer"

She's pleased because the letter contains no lies nor any requests that this brave man lie on her behalf. I like it because it's still kind of a sneaky thing. He might be her favorite but that's because she doesn't know any others. Seal it with a kiss, Karen.

Chapter 8
Omar is Shar/owing a picture of himself posing like the Statue of Liberty in front of the Statue of Liberty. Ugh, unsubscribe. Was this his mom's idea? He doesn't say, but it seems like a mom idea. Omar's presentation is just some bragging about a vacation, which is fine, but is this what the seniors want? To hear about how he saw the Mets play the Padres? Omar doesn't care, he just wants to mention that he knows someone who knows someone and, while at this game, "Karen's Bobby Martinez" did some imaginary thing in he imaginary game in this fictitious book. (I am not going to stretch my imagination to the point where I care at all about how the made up careers of made up athletes are doing). Karen cringes and then Ricky goes. He's brought a book!

It's called Superduperstar: The Bobby Martinez Story and omg I am going to reevaluate my interest in fake athletes because that is a title for baller. Books about people who play sports are always a revelation in ways to be so boring, but I would buy that book for the cover. Then I would make a tumblr dedicated to photographing the book in different locations, like putting it in the organic bananas bin at Wegman's. Ricky bought the book just to read it, since he refuses to get with the times. It's about Karen's friend! Whom you may have heard about! Ricky hopes Seth Engle will make an appearance.

Whoa - speaking of having to mislead your significant other. My boyfriend just walked in and I had to chuck this book into a closet to avoid suspicion that i was doing "something weird on the internet". I told him I was watching youtube videos about pizza parties, then recommended he watch some youtube videos about knocking first. He didn't say anything and left the room. Nailed it.

Natalie gives her presentation on a penny collection! No comment on our lady of Stoneybrook. She that throws shade at Miss Springer will never herself know the sun.

Time to decorate some pots! Really leaving no stone unturned in this "taking some flowers and telling some stories to the aged" plotline. "But how and when were the pots decorated, if there even were any?" While they are...daubing, I guess, Hannie knowingly alludes to ol' Golden Arms and how it's weird we're just now hearing about this. Every book there is a thing with Karen we are just now hearing about! "I have been taking gymnastics for awhile" "I have always wanted to study basket weaving" "My dad has a pumpkin patch" so why don't you watch your step, Hanners. If Karen is just now revealing that she knows BM (yesssss) who else does she know? Former President Clinton? Keyboard Cat? Don't try to make any enemies.

No but really Hannie knows what's up but doesn't care enough to say anything and Nancy is just 100% silent and doesn't question the weird subtext of this conversation or why no one has blinked for like, two straight minutes. She's maybe still freaked out about old people. Has anyone checked up on Nancy?

Chapter 9
Ricky intercepts Karen on the way to the bus. Double play! I have been to a baseball game. He wants to know if there's been any progress on this autograph business. Stahp, Ricky. What are you even going to do with it? Why do you need it so bad? Ricky asks if Bobby has any plans to swing by. She says "around the holidays", and I don't know why she doesn't imply that Seth and Bobberino are drifting apart, like when she'd lied to Maxie about having a castle or lied to Ms. Colman about her parents being out of town or one of the seven million other times she did a way better job than this. To wit: when Ricky asks if the holidays are when K-Brew's family and Bobby take pictures together, Karen cannot remember if she mentioned family photos in the aftermath of the Cereal Incident. Like, maybe? Ricky wants to see them. The pictures. Of his friend's bougie family and a stranger who is good at a game. Karen starts sweating, not because her boyfriend is super weird, but because those photos don't exist. She spits some confusing game, first about how her mom wouldn't be copacetic with the bringing of the family albums away from their storied home, then about how Ricky doesn't have to come over to see the pictures, and she'll just bring in those specific photos. Part of me is like, oh, she can use Addie's computer program and doctor a photo of them all with Queen Elizabeth, but this obvs does not play out that way. This is why I should be the ghostwriter.

That evening, Karen is sifting through pictures, and finds one with a guy you can't really see because I guess the photographer was drunk and didn't think the head was a crucial part to include in the photo. Or maybe they knew that, one day, Karen would have to carry out this dark subterfuge.

The next day at school, Ricky doesn't think the dude in the photo resembles Mr SuperDupes. For one thing, Bobby definitely has a head. Another, he is ripped "from hitting all those home runs". Haha, I always feel like baseball players are the least athletic looking of everyone who gets paid to mess around with a ball. But Ricky is insistent. Karen breezes that, during the off-season, Bobby's muscle disappears. Ricky hands her back the photo without further comment and then proffers her a shiny baseball. He took all his money out of the bank to get an official ball and now he wants it signed. Karen, you need to get your man under control, pronto. He's blowing cash on frivolities that he should've been spending on you and becoming the neediest mofo ever. Would Cher allow this? Would Beyonce? Lindsay wouldn't even let this fly. But Karen...is...agreeing. Not even up to Lohan's level. I see.

Chapter 10
On the way home, Karen makes a mental note to "never make anything up again". I am sure this will last. Coming up her stoop, she hears a weird noise. There is some shuffling and I think it's supposed to be suspenseful, but even Carl Sagan like "Nope, in every single universe Karen is about to be such a jerk and Andrew is playing some stupid new instrument". Which is correct! He is amped about his brand new kazoo, and lets his older sister in on some trufax - any song that can be hummed can be kazooed! She acts like this is somehow worse than only being able to kazoo some finite number of songs, and I'm also not sure what's so great about kazooing if you can already hum. Although I guess it's fun to imagine that bees are performing "This Old Man" ad nauseum, just for you. Deep down, that's all we really need.

Andrew scurries away so his art can be heard by different empty rooms in the house, and Karen hisses to Merry that she best watch herself. Apparently Lisa and Seth had a little pow-wow with ol’ Merry and this kazoo was a way to solve the bugle/tom tom business. And Andrew loves it! And Karen hates it! Good pow-wow, you guys, everyone should set up this little think tank more often.

Chapter 11
Karen has a stereo in her room! She puts in a CD to drown out the bee orchestra and tries to figure out how to pull one over on Ricardo so he’ll think he got a signed baseball and never ask for another thing in their entire relationship. Mailing it to Bobby Baseballs and hoping he does what nature intended would probably take too long, although that’s probably how Ricky anticipates this going down. When would Karen run into Bobby, anyway? Whatever.

She reasons that Ricky wouldn’t know if someone else signed the thing, which is not technically a very rad scam if you’re trying to be a good person, but she’s not and I don’t expect her to deny her true colors. She practices on some paper. The first attempt has a heart over the ‘i’? She squints at it with disappointment in herself, and tries again. Now the heart has been replaced with a star. You guys! Children have figured out the secret to feigning maturity! Now there’s going to be an epidemic of tiny alcoholics as bartenders will be too confused to know who’s of age!

The phone rings.

Elizabeth is calling to invite K-Brew and Drew-Brew to what Karen refers to as a “barbeque party” since redundant words are kinda her deal. She informs her step-momma that she will “be looking forward to it”, and then hatches a plan – if Charlie plays baseball and so does Bobby, Charlie can sign Bobby’s name and Ricky’ll never catch wise! Duh! But how do we get Charlie on board with Operation Duckface Spaghetti?

At the BBQ (thanks for not inviting me, I didn’t want to go anyway and have decided to spend more time meditating and just really being, so, whatever) Karen calls <3Sam<3 and Charlie to join her in a game of catch. She hysterically pitches (get it? I’ll wait for my Pulitzer to arrive by mail that is probably how they are awarded) the idea that everyone pretend to be their favorite player, and then declares Charlie is Bobby. Some catches go by, and Charlie doesn’t drop one that comes to him. So Karen shrieks that CharlieBobby should sign the ball with Bobby’s name. Phew! Can’t believe that worked! Charlie seems to think something is up, but I guess he knows that asking Karen would mean having a conversation with Karen, so he sashays away.

Chapter 12
Karen beckons Ricky over yonder, imploring him to guess what her perfect hand could possibly be concealing behind her person. He guesses a jumprope. He seems really fun. Then he guesses other stuff that are equally terrible guesses. Ricky. You don’t deserve the ulcer Karen is developing over keeping you in the dark.

When he learns it’s an autographed ball, he falls all over himself with gratitude and professions of eternal whatevers, but Karen mostly wants this conversation never to be revisited again.

THIS IS WHEN SHIT GETS GOOD. THE NEXT DAY. Are you ready? You’re not ready, you could never be ready. That’s fine, it’s not your fault, it’s mine. I didn’t try enough.

Ricky wasted no time in taking the ball to the sports memorabilia store and apparently, they knew it was fake in a heartbeat. Why did he even do that? Was he going to sell it? Did he suspect some monkey business? It doesn’t matter. He knows. Karen hypothesizes Bobby was too busy and had his secretary sign it. Ricky’s brain is too busy (with rage) so he has his hands push the ball back at Karen.

Haha, it doesn’t seem like much, but give it time. This is only the beginning, somehow. Also, this recap is taking me forever because things like this make me extremely uncomfortable but also very gleeful.

Chapter 13
The 3Ms are at the Little House, playing Lovely Ladies. Karen informs us without having been asked that this is a “normal” game. Her façade is crumbling on all sides! They make sophisticated small talk until their ears are suddenly assaulted by the “racket” of a rough kazooer! In the drawing, Karen is making the exact same face she’s been making this entire book – resigned horror. Karen – look on the bright side. It suddenly seems very probable that you’re dead and living in a very you-specific hell. So, you know. There’s always that.

Chapter 14
Ricky is calling to our loveliest of ladies. She fronts like his voice doesn’t carry through the perfect spring(?) morning, so he has to move his body to be near her body. He has some questions, if she doesn’t mind.

Remember our favorite book title? I probably didn’t convey this to you properly, but a lot of time is actually going by in this book. I estimate that Ricky showed and shared Superduperstar at least two and a half weeks ago, and at that point he was three chapters in. So when he mentions that the book revealed Bobby to be a recent immigrant from the Dominican Republic, I don’t feel for Karen so much as furrow my brow at Ricky. What kind of weird, Memento timeline does this sports autobiography have, if that info didn’t come up in the first three chapters? Anyway, Ricky hilariously says “I thought [Seth] was American”. Karen convolutes something about how we all take some time in our lives to study abroad on islands where very shady stuff always seems to be going down.

Ricky is not flapped, and tells Karen that Bobby is only 26, and Ricky had assumed Seth was some years older. That’s another thing that probably should’ve come up before the book’s finale. Ricky, I’m started to suspect you were lying when you said you’d read any portion of this book, earlier. I’ll have you know that Karen and I don’t truck with liars, so we’re going to play hopscotch and leave you to think on your sins.

Then, then the Ricky says the book says Bobby couldn’t have had pizza when he’d eaten at Karen’s house, as she had later indicated! Because Bobby doesn’t tolerate lactose’s bullshit. I would love to read a book where there was a part where the writer was like “How can I expect readers to connect to someone if they don’t know what it’s like to be him? To never eat ice cream on a warm day or eat ice cream in winter when it’s still delicious?” This backwards book seems great.

For his finale, Ricky tells Karen that this is Bobby’s first year for the Padres (hilarious team name) and last year he played for the Cubs! Who play in Chicago! The same city where (and this is where it gets kind of confusing because of the time warp) Karen lived last fall! Except those other falls where she was here, in Stoneybrook, which by the way is the same year as this year. Suck on that, Torres. Also suck on the fact that if you’ve liked someone so much since they were a rookie you probably are aware of what team they played on last year. Also: Cubs! How could you trade Bobby!? Don’t you want to win anything ever?

Ricky practically spits in Karen’s face that he suspects she’s never even met Bobby. Karen does what I would do: cries and accuses him of being mean. Perfect. Chapter close.

Chapter 15
We’re now at the part of the book where the ghostwriter realizes there’s not enough plot for this whole book, but she doesn’t feel like starting over, so now there’s just dumb conversations. To wit: we see Karen basically Chapter 2 her Show and Share rehearsal with Hannie and Nancy – it’s about her two familes. We’ve heard.

Karen reflects to herself that things are horrible in school, due to her many lies and alienations, and also at home, due to Andrew’s very well-developed attention span for the kazoo. Cannot catch a break, this one. We’ve also heard about this, but are still interested in knowing about how you’re unhappy all the time. So this more of this all the time.

Chapter 16
Time to go to the Senior Center! They take a van. Somewhat interesting – the kids are being split up into shifts of three days to go visit these dudes. Why is that and what is two thirds of the class doing while their teacher is away? When Karen’s group arrives, those old peeps are peeping some baseball. What time of day is it, seriously. The fact that they walk in just as Bobby Martinez is Denny’s Grand Slamming just heightens the weird tension between Ricky and Karen. She senses he’s not mad, exactly, but his feelings are hurt. What is Ricky’s twitter feed like?

@lilrick u never know who u can trust #superduperstar #girls
@lilrick taylor swift is the only woman who gets me #manenoughtoadmitit
@lilrick mom just gave me dunkaroos! #gettingbetterallthetime

Karen’s sophisticated-for-her-age appraisal of Ricky’s emotional state nonwithstanding, she feels awkward around everyone. When one dons a mask, one becomes that mask, but is this who Karen wants to be?

Anyway, Omar flips out and yells to all elderly present that Karen is best friends with Bobby, and Karen basically wants to ralph she is so stressed.

Chapter 17
The kids go into a room where 10 old people are waiting, and the flowers are distributed. The group did not bring enough flowers. What in the actual fuck. The elderly are not mad, but why did this happen. Karen tells us “they were good sharers” and maybe this is supposed to be a lead in? To show and share? I don’t know. I’m not sure how to feel about it.

Presentations go down – Sara (who. Is. That.) talks about her dog, Omar talks about his new baby sister, Jannie talks about the new clip on earrings she got. Jannie why did we even have rehearsal if you were going to do this. She waggles her head around so people can take in the sparkle, but seriously. Aren’t you ashamed? Ricky, obviously, shows his Little League uniform. He plays the same position as Bobby Martinez with the same number and stuff. I imagine these old folks would appreciate if people starting spicing up their presentations with some lies, so Karen is maybe more of a visionary than she is portrayed.

My boyfriend just walked in again and I did not throw the book in time. He squinted at me like he’s Clint Eastwood or something, and then gave me a vegan chili dog. I suspect he knows I am doing something weird on the Internet after all. May have to start crying and accusing him of being mean any day now.
Karen steps up to plate (you guys I have roughly a million more puns and you will just have to put your jealousy some place private) and begins talking about her two families. I think the kids in her class probably are as intolerant of hearing about this as Bobby is of dairy products, so Omar interrupts to heckle “talk about Bobby!”

Ricky HULKS OUT and tells Omar to wait in the freaking van if he has to, Karen can Show and Share whatever she wants it’s not Extort and Exhibit or whatever. Ms. Colman sneers at Ricky, but really she should be mad at Omar for being an Interrupting Iggy and telling Karen what to do with her three minutes of fame. No one speaks, everyone’s bowels are tensed. An old guy who probably does not care even a tiny bit tells Karen she can talk about her familes and then talk about Bobby. Ricky yells at that old guy, too! He probably won’t remember it later. Ms. Colman goes to escort Ricky out of the room, and Karen realizes she can’t let Ricky fall on the sword for her. She cops to her lie (not what I would have done) and starts weeping (that part, yes. I would do that).

Chapter 18
Unfortch, the aged of Stoneybrook never do get to hear about divorce and entitlement in tiny blond creatures, because Karen and Ms. Colman have to have a talk. Back in class, this book is seriously covering like six months of time or something, I can’t believe she’s still at the Little House, everyone is PISSED about the Lies. Except Hannie and Nancy, who are inured to it by now. Pamela Harding has some choice words

“Karen…Shaquille O’Neal is making a new movie. Maybe you can get a part in it. He is your godfather, isn’t he?” She has a few more of these! Did her writer-mother come up with them, because they are pretty bomb.

Karen summarizes a talk with her mom about honesty, and lets us know this chat is not without precedence. I…we know! Karen! We all know you’re a liar so why have you been flouncing around this whole book? We know and have always known. RIP time I was respectful to Karen.

Chapter 19
A letter arrives for Karen. Who could it be from? Maxie? The US government? No! The Padres! Karen has to remind herself to use a steady hand opening the envelope, lest she ruin the letter within. A terrible form letter, signed by Bobby, is concealed within. Karen spazzes out that he said she “made the game worth playing”. All in the game, girl. You play the game just fine.

Mommy bursts her bubble that this is probs not written specifically for her, as though having it address to “Fan” doesn’t immediately make this very evident. Then she decides the signature appears to be real, instead of “machine” made. Not to brag, but I have seen more episodes of Pawn Stars than there are stars in the sky, so I am not convinced unless someone calls in a buddy of theirs.

Come Monday morning, Karen is ready to present the letter to Ricky. Is this coveted property, a form letter received by someone else? Yes! Ricky is so touched. She finally thanks him for trying to save her at the Senior Center snafu, and they both blush. Aww, little babies destined to stay babies forever – you have my blessing.

Chapter 20
Karen gets back from school and finds that the kazoo noise is louder than usual. A trip to the kitchen finds her mother and mother’s chosen mate, along with her brother, humming away into the vile torture instruments. What the what. Apparently, work was slow for both of the guardians (Lisa you make jewelry, seemingly as much as you feel like, how can work ever be more slow for you) and so they just knocked off early! To come home! And play kazoo with their treasured child! But now Karen’s back to ruin it, so Seth and Lisa should probs go, they just remembered they need to extend a warranty on a mattress.

Seth reveals they bought a kazoo for Karen as well. She glares at it. He calls her a fuddy-duddy. Ha! Haven’t heard that one in a minute. So she agrees to play – as long as it’s not “This Old Man”. Merry comes in…with a keyboard. To accompany them. Merry, go home. The parents are there. What’s your deal.

The book ends, I guess, with Karen also being addicted to kazooing, so I don’t know if this is some kind of thing where the instrument is possessed and steals the soul of whomever brings their lips to it. Maybe we find out in the next book! See ya’ll then! You fuddy-duddies.
LinkReply

Comments:
[User Picture]From: kakeochi_umai
2012-11-18 11:07 am (UTC)

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First, MY GOD does that Jewel song bring back memories. Doesn't it also mention wanting to kick the person's head in? The books in this canon have inspired that feeling in me many times, I'm not gonna lie.

Is "Show and Tell" copyrighted by elementary schools all over North America?
If it is, Southwest Airlines are in trouble. I've heard them use "Show and Tell" as a snarky name for their safety demonstration.

Or what a senior center is!
I assure you, Karen, the neighbourhood where I grew up had elderly homes. I know this because we did a project in home ec where we had to make snacks and give them to the residents of a nearby senior village and some of the residents gave my classmates an earful because they thought they were the latest in an apparently long line of door-to-door salespeople.

Oh my lord, This Old Man has been forever ruined for me by a scene in the same autobiography as the vacuumed testicles, in which she got annoyed by the fact that her boyfriend was ignoring her and decided to rectify this by dancing downstairs naked and loudly singing a rude version of This Old Man ending with "Knick knack knacker sack, give a dog a bone! Lick my muff and make me moan!" after which she turned around and discovered that his mother was in the room. (She also ruined California King Bed by giving a graphic description of a fucked-up penis belonging to somebody who was nicknamed the Bed King.)

Re Addie: I think I remember a book where Karen was really patronising to her about it and - and this is the amazing part - this was for once not portrayed as the correct way to treat somebody who has a disability. I could be remembering wrong, though, especially when it comes to that last part.

It has for srs made my entire night to see ANDREW annoying KAREN by being noisy. You go, Andrew, and you too Merry for suggesting it. I'll even overlook your silly name. It must have been hard for you at school, especially when Christmas rolled around.

Merry calls her into the kitchen to make it clear that, this time, everything's coming up Andrew, so don't even try to tell him you don't enjoy the bugle.
Aw, YEAH. Merry is my new hero.

Everyone: if you just interrupt Karen she'll apparently stop talking about whatever she was talking about. How did no one discover this until just now?
Oh man, I totally want to interrupt her in the epic way that a couple of the girls in St Clares did to a girl who liked the sound of her own voice too much. "I say, Merry, how many legs has a kitten?" "Well, usually four, but you'd better count and see."

She decides he seems pretty okay, so maybe if she writes him a letter he'll help her out of this hot water situation.
Uh-oh. This is going to be Mallory and Henny all over again, isn't it?

Then she decides she can't make it seem like it's his fault, because, as stated earlier, those Krunchies are responsible.
When Karen Brewer is being less entitled than you, it's time to take a good long look at yourself, Mallory.

oh, she can use Addie's computer program and doctor a photo of them all with Queen Elizabeth
The thought of somebody else in the class having power over Karen appeals to me a lot. I have the sweet, sweet mental image of Addie now being able to silence Karen with a single Look.
[User Picture]From: veggievixen
2012-11-19 02:08 am (UTC)

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hahahaha I started laughing about that kitten legs. Is this a movie?

Also I lol'ed at your story senior center story. IS THAT TRUE? It is too perfect to be true.
[User Picture]From: kakeochi_umai
2012-11-19 03:07 am (UTC)

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It's a series of books by Enid Blyton. They also did a rather crueller one: "Do you suppose that if you cut a worm in half it really grows into two worms?" "Why don't we cut (name of pretentious girl) in half and then we'll see!"

And yes, the senior centre story is completely true. :D
[User Picture]From: borrowedwings
2012-11-19 02:16 pm (UTC)

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say what? Whose autobiography was that?
[User Picture]From: kakeochi_umai
2012-11-19 02:31 pm (UTC)

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Nobody famous, it was one of those my-life-as-a-flight-attendant autobiographies.
[User Picture]From: veggievixen
2012-11-19 02:38 pm (UTC)

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I feel like you read a lot of those
[User Picture]From: kakeochi_umai
2012-11-19 02:42 pm (UTC)

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Guilty as charged. XD But hey, that autobiog was a lot funnier than Ann's. ;)
[User Picture]From: borrowedwings
2012-11-19 05:18 pm (UTC)

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Sounds intense.
[User Picture]From: automaticdoor
2012-11-18 01:04 pm (UTC)

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A+ snark. I laughed myself hoarse over it. (I'm in bed sick right now.) This was amazing. I loved the rise of Merry & Andrew!
[User Picture]From: veggievixen
2012-11-19 02:03 am (UTC)

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yessss community love. also feel better!
[User Picture]From: arisha
2012-11-18 03:36 pm (UTC)

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Oh my goodness I love your snarks so much.

Her thing is some drawings she did in what I assume is Photoshop but what she calls "a computer program". Can't wait until you use photoshop to give women unrealistic body notions. Addie. I see you. Ruining feminism. Addie. Look at me. Don't bother coming home tonight.

hahahaha dyyyyyyinggggg
[User Picture]From: veggievixen
2012-11-19 02:01 am (UTC)

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thaaaank you!
[User Picture]From: carey_pontmercy
2012-11-18 04:34 pm (UTC)

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I am dying of laughter. Dying.

(Confession: I wanted to be like Karen when I was little. In my defense, I'd only read maybe half of a Little Sister book. I was just jealous of kids who wore glasses, I think.)
[User Picture]From: author_by_night
2012-11-18 05:39 pm (UTC)

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I knew real Karens growing up, and often times they were actually fun, likable kids who really meant well until their Karenisms kicked in. But because they were usually nice, they got away with it. I can see why a kid would like the idea of being able to have these OTT, ridiculously bratty moments and still be considered a relatively nice kid, or at least a good kid.
[User Picture]From: veggievixen
2012-11-19 02:00 am (UTC)

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thank you!

i was also jealous of kids who wore glasses, and feigned having terrible vision to get to the eye doctor, who realized i did, in fact, have terrible vision. #plottwist
[User Picture]From: frankdbunny
2012-11-19 03:31 pm (UTC)

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Didn't that also happen in Mary Anne's portrait?
[User Picture]From: miri_me
2012-11-18 06:43 pm (UTC)

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Eight - on a gate
Nine - with a rhyme
Ten - with a hen
Eleven - up in Heaven
Twelve - where we dwelled

I can't remember any higher numbers than that. But was pretty certain from quite a young age that this song was possibly even dirtier than the hokey cokey (in-out, in-out, that's what it's all about? Come on!).

So unfair. I have laryngitis and can't treat the husband to a resounding round of This old man when he gets home... *ponders making a kazoo*


Did Karen suffer from head trauma in the previous book? I can't believe she forgot how to lie more convincingly than this...
[User Picture]From: mimithemuse
2012-11-18 07:36 pm (UTC)

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With a hen? CHICKEN ABUSE!!!!!

I hope that's the ONLY thing he does with that hen. >.
[User Picture]From: veggievixen
2012-11-19 01:58 am (UTC)

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Hahaha you and another commenter are sick at the same time D=

i can't believe you remember all those verses you are a prodigy.
[User Picture]From: mimithemuse
2012-11-18 07:38 pm (UTC)

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You came back!!! *squee, huggles*

Great snark! I kept laughing and interupting the dog's naps, so now I have a Min Pin and a Rat Terrier who are seriously pissed at me. But it was worth it! I regret nothing!

And don't worry about your boyfriend catching you doing "weird things on the internet". I do weird things all the time, both on and offline, and I'm told it adds to my charm. Well, if you find Pinkie Pie charming. XD
[User Picture]From: veggievixen
2012-11-19 01:55 am (UTC)

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Haha hey girl. I love your icon! And no duh you are super charming.
[User Picture]From: xand_so_it_isx
2012-11-19 04:47 am (UTC)

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Omg I loved this. The best part was Rickys tweets, I giggle out loud on the bus.
[User Picture]From: veggievixen
2012-11-19 10:15 pm (UTC)

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haha as soon as i posted this i thought of way better twitter handles for him.

@rickyainticky
@rtotheicky


okay so just two.
[User Picture]From: glitterberrys
2012-11-19 07:28 am (UTC)

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Thanks to Jessica Oidtman for donating this book, and sorry that that is your last name.
Hee. That's really unfortunate.

I've never read a book with Merry in it, but I can tell you right now, I LIKE HER. Finally, someone who's not afraid to tell Karen that the solar system is not Karen-centric!

Anyway, he wants a favor. Ricky, you're a rich white male. You've gotten plenty of favors so just be quiet.

Ricky's last name is Torres, so I don't think he's white. However, I'm in favor of his shutting up.

Karen hypothesizes Bobby was too busy and had his secretary sign it.

This is a pretty common practice with celebrities, so...that's actually a pretty decent excuse.

Ms. Colman is always getting pissed off at the kids who defend themselves or others, not the ones who are being dicks. I really freaking can't stand her.
[User Picture]From: veggievixen
2012-11-19 04:35 pm (UTC)

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Ahhhh I feel like such a dick for identifying him as white when that's his last name!

Also you're right about Ms. Colman, it's really troubling that she disciplines the kids that way. I am pretty impressed with Ricky that he tries to protect her from being outed as a liar.
[User Picture]From: choclytgremlins
2012-11-19 06:41 pm (UTC)

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Huh...interesting that I've always thought of Ricky as white (maybe because my best friend in kindergarten, whose last name was Torres, had near-transluscent skin). I think I'm just surprised that AMM doesn't take every opportunity - especially in this book, with the baseball player from the DR - to be like "HEY HE'S HISPANIC YO, ISN'T THE 'BROOK SO MULTICULTURAL."

And I too am in favor of his shutting up. But I'm usually in favor of that. Also Karen's shutting up. And pretty much every annoying moppet in their class except sometimes Natalie, Pamela, and Bobby.
[User Picture]From: glitterberrys
2012-11-19 07:29 pm (UTC)

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Huh. Maybe he is white. I just assumed he was hispanic partly because of the name and partly because I would bet any money I have on his having been named after Ricky Ricardo.
[User Picture]From: veggievixen
2012-11-19 10:12 pm (UTC)

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I mean, latinos/hispanics can be white. I think his name is Ricardo but I don't know why I think that. Ms. Colman's class is pretty inclusive - Nancy is Jewish, Hannie is like...a second generation Greek-American, Bobby is Italian, Addie has cerebral palsy...it's not too much of a stretch that Ricky would be hispanic.

I have been reading too much social justice on the internet because I thought about Ricky's heritage for like, hours after you said that.
[User Picture]From: choclytgremlins
2012-11-19 11:36 pm (UTC)

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That is true, Ms. Colman's class is really quite the little melting pot. I actually have no idea what my kindergarten best friend Torres's heritage was, but if she and her parents were of Hispanic heritage, I wouldn't have guessed it without them telling me. I just find it weird, considering the hootenanny we're constantly getting over Jessi and how she's black - hey guys, Jessi's black, remember that detail? - that AMM doesn't exhibit equal levels of hand-wringing over the rest of her non-WASP characters. Then again, consistency has never been Ann's strong point.

Edited at 2012-11-19 11:39 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]From: jestingly_yours
2012-11-19 08:55 pm (UTC)

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I made the gigundo mistake of drinking juice while reading the sentence "Maybe one day I could tear you in half like I did my blanket." I choked and the juice went in my nostrils and it hurt. :(
[User Picture]From: veggievixen
2012-11-19 10:13 pm (UTC)

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shoulda had a v8
[User Picture]From: jestingly_yours
2012-11-20 02:27 pm (UTC)

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Are vegetabley juices less prone to nostril invasion than fruity ones? I am mistrustful
[User Picture]From: veggievixen
2012-11-20 03:03 pm (UTC)

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you should be; i almost never know what i'm talking about.

are you engaged yet? you promised me like two years ago that if you got married i could be your flower girl.
[User Picture]From: jestingly_yours
2012-11-20 09:29 pm (UTC)

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Oooh. I didn't know you were going to hold me to or even remember that. Not yet, but I promise the first person I contact after receiving/uttering a "yes" will be you.
[User Picture]From: littlelatte
2012-11-19 10:56 pm (UTC)

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I am horribly depressed after having just got back from a kick-ass trip to the caribbean, but your snark has helped soften the blow of returning to work and responsibilities and a severe lack of open bars. So thank you!
[User Picture]From: veggievixen
2012-11-20 03:04 pm (UTC)

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god i wish open bars were a thing in real life and not just vacation life. also welcome back from your vaycay.
[User Picture]From: sloth_in_a_box
2012-11-19 11:26 pm (UTC)

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This was wonderful. :D

I suspect he knows I am doing something weird on the Internet after all.

I live in fear of my boyfriend catching me doing "something weird on the internet" like this. Mostly watching America's Next Top Model..... >.>'
[User Picture]From: choclytgremlins
2012-11-20 04:35 pm (UTC)

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My boyfriend used to make fun of me for the weird things I watch on our Netflix account - bad horror movies, mostly - until I caught him using it to watch FernGully (which I love, but he was trying to do in secret). He knows better now.

Also, your icon is too adorable for this world.
[User Picture]From: sloth_in_a_box
2012-11-22 03:35 pm (UTC)

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Thank you, I love my sloth! :D
[User Picture]From: veggievixen
2012-11-21 02:57 am (UTC)

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haha thanks, slothbox.

i never hide my terrible television decisions from anyone but the fact that I do this and edit down old vhs tapes from goodwill are things i never feel i can tell my irl friends.
[User Picture]From: wavvedout
2012-11-20 12:16 am (UTC)

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She senses he’s not mad, exactly, but his feelings are hurt. What is Ricky’s twitter feed like?

@lilrick u never know who u can trust #superduperstar #girls
@lilrick taylor swift is the only woman who gets me #manenoughtoadmitit
@lilrick mom just gave me dunkaroos! #gettingbetterallthetime


Ohmigod I chuckled. Harty chortles all around, with a side of rib cage holding.
[User Picture]From: aceattorneysho
2012-11-20 12:27 am (UTC)

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Whoa - speaking of having to mislead your significant other. My boyfriend just walked in and I had to chuck this book into a closet to avoid suspicion that i was doing "something weird on the internet". I told him I was watching youtube videos about pizza parties, then recommended he watch some youtube videos about knocking first. He didn't say anything and left the room. Nailed it.

I couldn't decide what the best part of this was because I friggin loved every single word of it. Then I realized it was the above. My boyfriend/I would do that. (Though my boyfriend would come up with the knocking first videos quip whereas I would just say, "No one asked you.")

It is a good thing I am mostly alone at my desk. People would think I am crazy by how much I was sniggering.
[User Picture]From: veggievixen
2012-11-21 02:57 am (UTC)

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significant others, amirite?

thank you!
[User Picture]From: falls2climb
2012-11-20 11:28 pm (UTC)

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I am delighted by this snark.
[User Picture]From: veggievixen
2012-11-21 02:57 am (UTC)

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thanks <3
[User Picture]From: gimere
2012-11-21 01:56 pm (UTC)

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Awesome snark! I especially liked Ricky's tweets.