Shoot me now, 'cause Diablo Cody is writing the Sweet Valley High movie

Posted at 11:24 AM Sep 23, 2009

By Andrea Grimes


The crazy bitch has the run of the realm. Diablo Cody is penning a Sweet Valley High feature film.

I'm not calling Diablo Cody the crazy bitch. Not knowing her, I can't attest either to her mental state or her demeanor. But I do know that if it's crazy bitches you want, Diablo Cody has cornered the market on providing them. Her female characters range from mainly bitchy (Jennifer's Body) to mainly crazy (United States of Tara) to equal parts bitchy and crazy (Juno). So, maybe it's no wonder she'll be working on Sweet Valley, a series containing a thoroughly '80s crazy bitch, Jessica Wakefield. If it's an intriguing, engaging, non-crazy bitch female character you're looking for, don't tap Diablo Cody. (There's a joke here to be made about a one-trick pony and how much Cody's name sounds like that of a racehorse, and I am too classy to make it. Almost.)

I don't mind the odd crazy bitch, but "bitchy" and "crazy" are possibly two of the most tired female stereotypes in pop culture today--or ever. I'll be ecstatic when we can move on to a world of female characters who are neither of, or at the very least not mostly, these two things. (Leading the way: Mad Men, 30 Rock, Dexter.) Add to this that Cody's main claim to fame is that she used to be a stripper, and you've pretty much got the ultimate lady stereotype trifecta. 

Over at Jezebel, Dodai is actually enthused about the Sweet Valley development:

For SVH to work, it needs a fresh look. So it's entirely possible that Diablo Cody, a tattooed former stripper and Oscar-winning screenwriter, could be good for a modern take on Sweet Valley High. And, from the looks of Cody's Twitter, she knows her subject matter: She recently wrote, "You have no idea how many bitches I took down to do this project. I went 'full Jessica.' Believe it."
So let's skip the first problem, which is that apparently there's nothing new under the Hollywood sign and that the remake trend continues ad nauseum, while we go to the second: a tattooed former stripper does not necessarily "edgy" make. A cliché it makes, but there are plenty of women who can do edgy without being The Edgy Girl™. Someone should send Cody this memo. Third problem: Cody is proud of taking down "bitches." Surely I don't have to explain why this is a problem coming out of the mouth of a self-described feminist. Fourth problem: going 'full Jessica," basically means being a catty, shallow, vapid queen bee. For reference here, see "third problem."

I don't think all us media-type ladies have to support each other--hell, I'm writing against Cody, myself--but Cody's pride in her own bitch factor doesn't help any woman, anywhere. Hateful, stop-at-nothing bitch? Yeah, stop me if you've heard that one before--worse, it's boring. Can't we be interesting, aggressive and powerful without taking down bitches, even in jest?


Paul said:

Don't forget, she also used to blog for City Pages, part of the VVM group. So, add stripping to your resume, and you'll be that much closer to getting a job as a Hollywood screenwriter.

Susan said:

I think that's the thing that bothers me most about Cody. She's boring above all else -- she is a played out stereotype of a woman (Quirky writer girl with a morally questionable past? Seriously? Still? Is this 1996?) and she writes this dialogue that is not actually in any way reflective of the way anyone but Cody and other people who want to be seen as "quirky" talk, and everyone just buys into it hook, line, and sinker. And her essays in EW! Don't even get me started. The column might as well be called "Look at all the weird stuff I like!" Liking weird stuff doesn't make you interesting. Liking what you like and being confident about who you ACTUALLY are instead of enacting some expected stereotype character makes you interesting. She didn't invent the ex-stripper-turned-artist trope. I'm calling bullshit on her.

DJRM said:

Am I going crazy or did Diablo Cody quote Naruto?

aside from that if you knew more about Diablo Cody's background you might have a different opinion of her. Do you know what she was before she was a stripper? I do because I happen to have gone to the same highschool as her. I was not in her class or at the school at the same time as her but my sister was. Considering the background she came from before her ex-stripper-turned-artist life, it adds a whole new dimension to everything about her. At least it does in my opinion. You might disagree with me.

And remember...
we all live on a yellow submarine.

kelly said:

That is eerie. I was *just* thinking yesterday, thank god they havent made a SVH movie yet. I figured it was too earnest and pure for the likes of todays girls.

TheRedQueen said:

Hmmm....Did you miss the fact that she lived and worked as a stripper for a year to write a book about the lifestyle?

As for her writing about the weird stuff she likes, there is a whole group of women out here who appreciate her columns in EW ... we're the weird girls that most of the other girls made fun of in high school.

And perhaps she writes her characters as the way people see us ... this group of weird girls ... bitchy and crazy. We're different and that's how we're seen because we're frustrated most of the time with mainstream idiots who call us out for having an opinion and being different.

Alice said:

Oh, HD, you let me down. I'm not a huge Cody fan, but she's a woman comfortable in her own skin succeeding in Hollywood--shouldn't we be rooting for her, despite how ridiculous and cringe-worthy a SVH movie is?

Andrea said:

Alice - Sarah Palin seems pretty comfortable in her own skin, and she's been successful (or willfully unsuccessful, with the weird quitting thing) in politics. Shouldn't we be rooting for her? All girls don't have to stick together just because we're girls.

Fred said:

Oh great. Diablo Cody, a.k.a. that one chick who used to be a stripper, gets to make another "quirky","edgy", and OH SO ADORABLY "zany" film. Juno was one of the most obnoxiously self aware movies I have ever seen. To write a script she evidently goes online to a rhyming dictionary, writes 5 min. segments of puns and pop culture references, and strings them together with indie song after indie song.


God help us.

Alice said:

Andrea: I'm not talking about Palin. I'm not saying go vote for a woman regardless of how ill-qualified and moronic she is, just because we gals have to stick together. Cody's not the typical Hollywood stereotype and she's still succeeding. Personally, that gives me hope that the glass ceiling in the movie industry may be cracking ever so slightly. I hoped that HD would celebrate a female non-conformist being taken seriously as a writer, even if her dialogue is forced.
That being said, SVH will suck.

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