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Marissa Flaxbart
Going to the movies and writing are my two favorite pastimes. Watching TV is up there, too. I also love sitting someplace for hours having a long conversation. Preferably Europe.
Interests: comedy, movies, writing, books, singing, performing
Recent Activity
Alternate title: "Ned Wakefield's Bok Choy Allergy" Marissa and guest Jeremy talk about the diverse lessons of LOVE LETTERS, from "be yourself," to "once you have a boyfriend everything will be okay," to "San Francisco is a cesspool." To top it off, Marissa reads a love letter of her own...kind... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Sweet Valley Diaries
The George Glassification of Caroline Pearce... My Dearest Caroline, Oh to love so, be so loved, yet so mistaken! What had I on earth to do With the slothful, with the mawkish, the unmanly? Like the aimless, helpless, hopeless, did I drivel —Being—who? Your fake boyfriend, that's who! Maybe don't... Continue reading
Posted Oct 11, 2018 at Sweet Valley Diaries
Regina's secret is about to be front page news. No, not the open secret that she's deaf. The other one. Guest Mike Yarksy returns for a little bit of sensitive discussion of how we portray disability...and a little bit of ragging on Lila's stupid flat face. Stay tuned till the... Continue reading
Posted Oct 4, 2018 at Sweet Valley Diaries
Roger Barrett is SO last week. The new hotness is Roger PATMAN. Fate has forced Roger Barrett to trade his mother's life for a fancy new last name, a fancy new mansion, and a fancy pile of money. Meanwhile, his girlfriend (frizzy haired Olivia Davidson) is feeling SO NOT money,... Continue reading
Posted Sep 27, 2018 at Sweet Valley Diaries
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For the 20th anniversary of my mother's untimely death, I wrote this story, my first on the Medium.com platform. Click to read. Continue reading
Posted Sep 20, 2018 at Popular Sentiment
When I started the Sweet Valley High Podcast, my aims and questions were much the same as when I started the blog of the same name: Wouldn't it be fun to examine these frivolous, over-the-top books through a tongue-in-cheek-but-still-very-powerful microscope?... Continue reading
Posted Sep 20, 2018 at Popular Sentiment
"What you put on paper can be very personal and revealing...that's what art is all about. It's a way of communicating." When Jason made this innocuous statement to Betsy in Sweet Valley High #15, PROMISES, he had no idea that over 30 years later two moody Pisces artists would record... Continue reading
Posted Sep 20, 2018 at Sweet Valley Diaries
Cancer, death, secrets, Luke Skywalker, alcoholism, teen drug use, threesomes at Miller's Point...and that's just Chapter One! Marissa is joined by guest Kali Baker-Johnson to unpack what PROMISES to be the greatest SVH book yet...or at the very least, Jessica's worst. Download Issue #1 of ZAHRA: THE SHADOW FLAME Sweet... Continue reading
Posted Sep 13, 2018 at Sweet Valley Diaries
Speaking of DECEPTIONS: When is telling a dude you don't want to date him secretly a coded message that you DO want to date him? And is it NEVER? Marissa and guest Elizabeth Yarwood consider and fail to answer this question, then read a delightful letter about a young girl... Continue reading
Posted Sep 6, 2018 at Sweet Valley Diaries
After several weeks of non-stop crisis in Sweet Valley, Marissa returns to the relatively placid territory of bad decisions and new boy problems (Nicholas Morrow, to be exact). But as guest Elizabeth Yarwood can attest, sometimes it’s the seemingly placid ones that really get you yelling into the microphone. Ladies... Continue reading
Posted Aug 30, 2018 at Sweet Valley Diaries
(Listen to the main KIDNAPPED! episode first!) Marissa and guest Mischa Stanton eavesdrop on an upsetting conversation between Jessica Wakefield and Cara Walker, then travel in their mental time machines back to the days before cell phone ubiquity. Continue reading
Posted Aug 23, 2018 at Sweet Valley Diaries
Q: What happens when you’ve just published a book about impending girlfriend death and every fiber of your being says, “Can we go darker?” A: “KIDNAPPED!” Marissa is joined by accomplished podcast producer Mischa Stanton (in a real recording booth!), and together they try and explain what the hell happened... Continue reading
Posted Aug 16, 2018 at Sweet Valley Diaries
If you happen to have been reading this blog for the long term, 2011's Sweet Valley Confidential may have been spoiled for you back in...well...2011. If not, MAJOR SPOILER ALERT FOR SWEET VALLEY CONFIDENTIAL! Katie LaDue joins Marissa once again, this time to examine WHEN LOVE DIES (and a few... Continue reading
Posted Aug 9, 2018 at Sweet Valley Diaries
This is what it sounds like...when love dies. Sweet Valley High goes full soap opera and Marissa talks through the pain with teen television drama aficionado Katie LaDue. Oh, and file this one under "Very Special Episodes" because the topic of facing one's own mortality made us accidentally get a... Continue reading
Posted Aug 2, 2018 at Sweet Valley Diaries
Are modern day teens woke enough to laugh at Suzanne Devlin? Were 12-year-old readers in the '80s indoctrinated into the grand tradition of victim-blaming and rape culture? Does Jessica Wakefield know what sex is? Marissa and guests William J. Stribling and Sinead Persaud answer none of these hard-hitting questions in... Continue reading
Posted Jul 26, 2018 at Sweet Valley Diaries
Sweet Valley Diaries, my podcast (and long-running, if somewhat neglected blog) about Francine Pascal's Sweet Valley High book series, returns today for its second season. I'm delighted to share this labor of love with the world; this new season, which... Continue reading
Posted Jul 19, 2018 at Popular Sentiment
It's the premiere of Season 2 of Sweet Valley Diaries! Let's celebrate by shipping Jessica to New York and getting beloved teacher Roger Collins fired for unspecified sex crimes! Don't panic, everyone. Marissa and her guests, William J. Stribling and Sinead Persaud (of Shipwrecked Comedy!) are here to hold your... Continue reading
Posted Jul 18, 2018 at Sweet Valley Diaries
Technically summer doesn't start until next week, but here at the Diaries, summer break is in full effect...and it's PERFECT. In this special between-seasons episode Marissa and guest-friend Alex Bishop dig into the series' first SPECIAL EDITION novel. Are you ready to bike a major chunk of the California Coast... Continue reading
Posted Jun 14, 2018 at Sweet Valley Diaries
In this final episode of Season One, Marissa uses the power of the internet to call guest Mary Parker in Boston, and they BOTH use the power of imagination to invent several possible stage adaptations of the comitragic saga of Annie Whitman and Jessica Wakefield. Continue reading
Posted Apr 19, 2018 at Sweet Valley Diaries
It's the final main episode of Season One, and we've come full circle. This is the tale of a wannabe cheerleader with a bad reputation that started Marissa's obsession with Sweet Valley High lo, those many years ago. Mary Parker was there to see that obsession take root. Now Mary... Continue reading
Posted Apr 12, 2018 at Sweet Valley Diaries
Marissa is joined once again by her dad, Don Flaxbart, an she's steering him staring down Memory Lance. Was high school in the 1960s Southwestern US anything like that Sweet Valley High life? Continue reading
Posted Apr 6, 2018 at Sweet Valley Diaries
So you love Ned Wakefield's dad jokes? We'll do you one better: a real life dad! Marissa's own actual father, the wise and weird Don Flaxbart, joins shares his thoughts and insights on this, the first "teenage romance of any kind" that he's ever read. Will the lanky boy get... Continue reading
Posted Mar 29, 2018 at Sweet Valley Diaries
Now that all that coma/personality swap/assault unpleasantness is behind us, let’s get back to what really matters in Sweet Valley: the beach, boys, and miscommunications involving suntan lotion. Marissa is joined by Russ Nickel, funny guy, writer and former beach boy (not the singing kind…though he does sing a lot... Continue reading
Posted Mar 15, 2018 at Sweet Valley Diaries
Outtakes, b-roll, and real talk about the actually important moral of HEART BREAKER. Marissa is joined once more by former youth body-surfing competitor Russ Nickel, who points out all the dad jokes in the book and reads some favorite passages. Continue reading
Posted Mar 14, 2018 at Sweet Valley Diaries
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On Saturday, I bought one of those tiny flower growing kits from the $1 bin at Target. I took it home, opened it up, and read the instructions. “Plant no more than 3 seeds!” it read. Then I opened the... Continue reading
Posted Mar 9, 2018 at Popular Sentiment