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Marissa Flaxbart
Writer, artist, brainstormer, podcaster, culture enthusiast, compassion advocate.
Recent Activity
Slambooks are out, madlibs are in! To join in on the hot new Sweet Valley Diaries trend, start by filing in the blanks below, then fill those words into their corresponding spot on know how madlibs work, right? Note that due to some creative miscalculation by yours truly, the... Continue reading
Posted Feb 19, 2021 at Sweet Valley Diaries
This week's episode of Twenty Thousand Hertz was written & co-produced by yours truly! If you're not already a subscriber to this fascinating show, get on top of that! It's an always-interesting audio journey of which I'm extremely proud to... Continue reading
Posted Feb 19, 2021 at Marissa Flaxbart
Hey, the Twins solve murders now! Hiatus, schmiatus -- back by popular demand, it's Don Flaxbart. (Also featuring Marissa.) Listen as father and daughter discuss the heavy implications of Jessica's scheming -- even heavier than usual this time! -- as she helps nearly ruin one young man's life and another's... Continue reading
Posted Jan 23, 2021 at Sweet Valley Diaries
In a year of discomforts, both acute and general, I’ve found one train of thought reliably comforting: how will we talk about this past year when it has long since passed? The very question propels one out of this murky... Continue reading
Posted Jan 1, 2021 at Marissa Flaxbart
*Dr. Wu is not a medical doctor Allison Chin returns to investigate: what's the deal with Jade Wu's dad? And we consider the "traditional Chinese" art of...dicing? And who or what exactly is out of reach in Out of Reach? Continue reading
Posted Dec 31, 2020 at Sweet Valley Diaries
Jade's dirty laundry is actually very clean laundry. We did it!!! Book 50!! In this Season 5 finale (not counting next week's Extra Drama), actor Allison Chin and Marissa examine the intricate dance (get it?) that is the portrayal and treatment of sophomore Jade Wu. All the misunderstandings, overreactions, and... Continue reading
Posted Dec 24, 2020 at Sweet Valley Diaries
B**ch Disco Gossip Guys' Andy and Aaron are experts in one teen soap opera, and now they've been indoctrinated into another. How do the world and characters of Gossip Girl map onto those of Sweet Valley, CA? You're about to find out. Continue reading
Posted Dec 17, 2020 at Sweet Valley Diaries
No such fun as harmless Jessica is changing her entire personality for a boy and the changes are...bad. And hilarious. Hosts of the Gossip Guys podcast, Andrew Greene and Aaron Davitian marvel at the sparkling prose of PLAYING FOR KEEPS, and at a certain sexpot named Pamela Janson. • Gossip... Continue reading
Posted Dec 10, 2020 at Sweet Valley Diaries
Do not use during class time!!! Omigod you guys, Gladiator Heather sent in her very own copy of the official 1988 Sweet Valley High Slam Book! Denise and Marissa read personal messages straight from Liz and Jessica themselves, and don't dwell too much on the idea that the very thing... Continue reading
Posted Dec 3, 2020 at Sweet Valley Diaries
It's what cool kids do in Connecticut! From the vantage point of 2020, it's unclear whether Sweet Valley High #48, SLAM BOOK FEVER, captured a phenomenon or started one. What we know for sure is that teenagers writing down all their opinions about each other could never, ever go wrong,... Continue reading
Posted Nov 19, 2020 at Sweet Valley Diaries
One R, Two Esses Marissa Wasseluk-Stuart is back for a promised discussion of the 1999 teen rom-com DRIVE ME CRAZY. We promise, it has at least a little something to do with Sweet Valley High #47. What? Listen to find out! Discussed in this episode: Drive Me Crazy film Drive... Continue reading
Posted Nov 12, 2020 at Sweet Valley Diaries
Brace yourself for #notallPhiEpsilons Marissa Wasseluk-Stuart returns to talk about the other Porter sister, Julie. Julie's friend Josh is pledging the SVH fraternity, Elizabeth is back at recorder practice, Jessica is auditioning to be the lead in a play she knows nothing about, and Bruce Patman is his old self... Continue reading
Posted Nov 5, 2020 at Sweet Valley Diaries
Running (possibly nude) from the Crossroads of America Marissa and her guest Mary Kate have been friends since middle school. In this extra drama, they reminisce not so much about small town life in Northwest Indiana, but about leaving that small town life behind. Also, we talk a little bit... Continue reading
Posted Oct 29, 2020 at Sweet Valley Diaries
"Families are weird." Marissa's BFF Mary Kate Battles is back for more Robin Wilson drama! A lot has changed since POWER PLAY -- now Robin's a star diver with a big decision on her hands. But never mind all that; let's talk about the haunting melodic potential of the humble... Continue reading
Posted Oct 22, 2020 at Sweet Valley Diaries
More like "Illustrated NIGHTMARE Dictionary" amirite? In FAMILY SECRETS, Kelly Bates is plagued by a recurring dream. She only remembers scant details, but hey, that's all you need when consulting 1996's ILLUSTRATED DREAM DICTIONARY, a book Marissa has had on her shelf since middle school (probably). What does the book... Continue reading
Posted Oct 15, 2020 at Sweet Valley Diaries
THEY'RE MULTIPLYING See No Evil...never before has one phrase simultaneously served as the rear cover headline, the main character's flaw, and the costume that she wears to the Big Dance. Guest reader (and former Sweet Valley High reader!) Shey Lyn Zanotti joins Marissa to dissect all the ways that long-lost... Continue reading
Posted Oct 8, 2020 at Sweet Valley Diaries
Why are Steven and Cara even together, amirite? Marissa and guest reader Katie LaDue bring their personal baggage to bear on Steven's behavior, then on Abbie's. Then things turn to the baggage that other people (like the Wakefield Twins, say) bring into their assumptions about others. All the armchair psychology... Continue reading
Posted Oct 1, 2020 at Sweet Valley Diaries
Basically just a fancy word for "LIES" Cara and Steven grace the outside of PRETENSES, and they are certainly featured on its inside. But Marissa and her return guest, Steven Wakefield romance specialist Katie LaDue, agree that this is really is really Abby Richardson's story. Who is Abby Richardson? Listen... Continue reading
Posted Sep 24, 2020 at Sweet Valley Diaries
Nanas Being Nanas Adaora Nwandu Earl returns to discuss pre-reading predictions for Book 43: HARD CHOICES, the challenges of asserting yourself with family, and strong female relationships in Sweet Valley...all in just over 10 minutes. Continue reading
Posted Sep 17, 2020 at Sweet Valley Diaries
“Yep, I think that is proper Munchausen” "Enid's grandma moves in" might sound like the least interesting chapter of our soap opera, like, ever. But think again: Nana's a citizen of Sweet Valley now and she brought the drama along with her from Chicago. Guest reader Adaora Nwandu Earl returns! Continue reading
Posted Sep 10, 2020 at Sweet Valley Diaries
Manuel Lopez, Paragon of Virtue... Manuel Lopez is the first Latinx character in Sweet Valley who gets any kind of spotlight. And he's the greatest guy in history! Aisha Bhoori is back for a quick look at Manuel's perfection and how it illustrates the "model minority" myth. Sweet Valley Diaries:... Continue reading
Posted Sep 3, 2020 at Sweet Valley Diaries
A love triangle where the third party is Parental Prejudice Sandra Bacon and Manuel Lopez may not be the stars of the Sweet Valleyverse, but if SVH is going to attempt to dip its toes in the murky waters of racial prejudice and interracial romance, you'd better believe that Diaries... Continue reading
Posted Aug 27, 2020 at Sweet Valley Diaries
She host wanted to throw a party. She never meant for anyone to die. Marissa and her guest, expert in melodramatic Lifetime Original movies Megan Tripp, brainstorm the LOM version of Molly Hecht’s ON THE EDGE/OUTCAST saga. Listen to more Lifetime movie talk on Megan's Not Another Bad Movie Podcast Continue reading
Posted Aug 20, 2020 at Sweet Valley Diaries
Molly, shmolly. WHERE IS JAN? Season 5 Premiere! We’re back, baby! And all our Sweet Valley Friends are back too. Except…you know…Regina. Who better to focus on in the aftermath of a beloved character’s untimely death than the background player everyone is holding responsible for said death? Lifetime Original Movie... Continue reading
Posted Aug 13, 2020 at Sweet Valley Diaries
Hiatus is nearly over...Season 5 of Sweet Valley Diaries is returning on August 13! That means you have just over a week to catch up on the on going drama at Sweet Valley High...and if you haven't tuned in to hear what happened in the Season 4 finale (aka Book... Continue reading
Posted Aug 4, 2020 at Sweet Valley Diaries