A Grand Prize...
The license plates on Bruce Patman's Porsche read 1BRUCE1, and that's exactly how he thinks of himself- as Number One. Handsome and arrogant, Bruce is used to getting everything he wants.
Bruce's cousin Roger, who lives with the Patman family, is nothing like Bruce. Roger was penniless for most of his life. He only recently found out that his late father was a Patman and that he was heir to his father's estate. Roger is still trying to adjust to his newfound wealth.
The boys have only one thing in common- their grandfather, who is one of the richest men in California. A shrewd, hardworking businessman, Mr. Patman decides to set up a contest between Bruce and Roger. The winner will inherit the grandfather's entire estate. The war is on-and Bruce will do anything to win.
Ah, now I remember how I wound up accidentally taking an extended break from this place. This book. Bruce's Story dropped in the middle of the Wakefield political family drama, bringing that to a grinding halt btw, and when originally trying to do these in the order they were released, it accidentally slammed on my brakes. So we'll continue with my habit of circling back to pick-up the various special books a little bit later than I probably should for someone going in release order. Oops.
Normally I'd say how much you're going to like this book depends on how much you like Bruce Patman at all but this Bruce doesn't really feel like Bruce. If actual-factual canon SVH told me that Bruce had an evil twin who took over for him during the events of this book, I would tell you that his evil twin isn't very evil and also I would believe it. There's a certain way to write Bruce and this, well... this isn't it for me. It's played for laughs, which is mostly fine, but for a character we rarely get a spotlight on, it'd be nice to scratch beneath the surface. This Bruce spends a lot of time surveying his land and thinking it's good to be king. Which has its funny moments but it also just feels very vague.
Bruce's Story opens with Bruce freaking out with his cousin Roger about their grandfather coming for a visit. Roger's thinking it'll be nice to talk to someone who knew his father and will have lots of stories about him. Bruce laughs at Roger thinking that a Patman has time to reminisce when there's money to be made in business. Bruce isn't the biggest fan of his grandfather, but we're told the old man's last visit to Sweet Valley was five years ago. If the twins are 16, Bruce is likely 17, which means he was 12 when this visit happened. Depending on his birthday, you could make the case for either 11 or 13 if you wanted. Point is, I laughed when Bruce was complaining about certain things, like Grandfather grilling him about homework and how he spent his allowance. Those are things you are likely to be grilled about, but particularly as a pre-teen.
So part of me was hoping some of Bruce's panic would just be that he never grew out of that younger mindset. But no, when we meet Grandfather, his assessment of Bruce is "well, you haven't changed, where's the other one?" Look, I'm willing to assume that Bruce has seen Grandfather during trips his family has made and that GP just hasn't visited the Valley in 5 years, or that they've talked on the phone and Marie sends Bruce's pictures on a regular basis but the way it's written it's like his grandfather hasn't seen him in years and dismisses him as the same punk kid he was when he was 12. Which is somehow annoying and hilarious at the same time.
We also get the setup for some new, never before seen (and likely never seen again) characters in the form of Roger's new friend Lisa DePaul and her best friend Tracy Atkins. Lisa is too calm and levelheaded to last long in SVH proper, plus the fact that Roger has no interest in dating her and they follow through with that means she's just here to not trust Bruce. Tracy is Bruce's love interest who is also too levelheaded to stick around for long. Thing is, I don't buy that she doesn't know Bruce's reputation, especially when we're told she heard about the Regina breakup and that Bruce was involved. You can't tell me even dorkiest of freshman couldn't recount the basics: Bruce cheated on Regina and she tried coke and died, and spelled it out pretty much exactly that way. A senior, even one who spends most of her time with her family, would've heard the gossip. She might not believe it, but she'd have heard it.
I digress. Tracy's recently lopped off a good chunk of her hair and now looks, as Bruce puts it, like a model. Bruce is so taken with her, in fact, that he runs poor 1Bruce1 alongside a roadblock. This is the first of two accidents Bruce has while thinking about Tracy. We learn that Bruce is probably not the best with poor 1Bruce1 as he's got a mechanic, Jim, who seems to be on speed dial with how well he knows Bruce's car. This might not be such a big deal except our A plot is about to kick into high gear.
Grandfather Patman has decided that with the recent discovery of Roger, there should be a competition between his two grandsons to see who will run the Patman Corporation after he's gone... well, and after
The basic plan is that he's going to take all their money, credit cards, checks (ha), whatever, and in return give them two thousand dollars each. They have a month to see who has the most money at the end, with the hope being that they'll make... money I guess? But what if both boys had just been lazy and not done anything more than use that two grand to do whatever it is they normally do? Bruce would've blown through his in no time while Roger would've used his sparingly. That doesn't mean Roger is necessarily a better business fit for the company. It just means Bruce is wasteful because he's stupidly rich and always has been, a point that's kind of made by the fact that they get two grand as high schoolers. Just about double that (it's a little under) and there's your inflation, btw. In any case, they're also not supposed to tell anyone about it because reasons.
You sir, are a terrible grandfather.
Time for the B plot! You know what this book about spoiled rich people needs? A school on the verge of closing due to not having any money! The Nicholson school for special-needs children needs 10K before the end of the school year or once that final bell rings for the year, that's it forever. As such, they've come to SVH to have four representatives think of ways to help fund raise along with the PTA. I'd really hope that they also went to other schools in the area, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't snickering at the thought of schools and programs in need not running straight to the hallowed halls of SVH, realizing that if they have any chance of getting what they need, that's the school to do it. Due in no small part to the superpowers of the Wakefield twins! Liz is naturally elected as the rep for the junior class, while Tracy and Lisa are elected for the senior and sophomore classes respectively. Some poor dude named Dirk is the freshman rep and we're off and running to find ideas to save the school. Instead of doing a bunch of little things, they shoot off ideas and finally settle on Harbor Days, which is essentially local shops and restaurants setting up booths in the park by the harbor and paying the SAVE project half their profits. Tracy and Liz fight for the SVH students to be able to set up their own booths and a joke or three is made about how Jessica wouldn't help a good cause without a good reason.
And then is promptly shown to make the suggestion box for the committee and to help with setup. She's legitimately more help than Roger and definitely more help than Bruce, but we're supposed to think of Roger as at least a little bit helpful.
We also get a bit where Tracy has always admired the Wakefield twins and hopes that this project will finally help them to become friends. Since I've always wondered how the background characters actually feel about the twins, this scratches that itch, but it does so fairly clumsily, much like a lot of things covered in this book. Alas.
Not that she needs an excuse to be pro-SAVE project, but Tracy's youngest brother actually goes to the Nicholson school and she's desperate to keep it open because if it closes, her brother will have to go to a school in LA and not live at home anymore.
With that set up, let's check in on the Patman boys, shall we?
Bruce and Roger find themselves pitted against one another at nearly every turn. Bruce is chided for his wastefulness as well as his letting the help clean up his messes, while Roger commits the cardinal sin of not reading or caring about the business section as it's "a little dry." Probably not the thing to say to the head of your family's company, Roger. Anyway, Bruce decides he's going to make Tracy's day by... asking her out to a concert, one he doesn't even seem all that interested in, I might add, after he buys the tickets. Naturally, she shoots him down because this book is filled with that. Not thrilled, Bruce goes to the Country Club in an effort to see if he can sell his tickets. While there, he gets the brilliant idea of how he's going to make his fortune. He's going to gamble.
Bruce's big idea to make some money is to play poker. Except when we first learn that Bruce plays poker, we also learn that he's down a hundred bucks from playing and y'know, losing. So... this means it's canon that Bruce thinks he's a better player than he actually is, right? Anyway, he ups the ante from $1 to $10 and it goes exactly as you'd expect. He loses his friggin' shirt. In a matter of a couple of hours, he's down $800, and only gets off that lucky because the guy doing all the winning (and hosting the game) kills the game, likely out of pity. Granted, Judd then goes around telling the entire country club just how badly Bruce played so maybe pity isn't the right word.
Proving that dumb decisions run in the family, Roger is reminded that Lisa's father is an investment counselor, so she finagles Rog a meeting with him and Roger decides to buy 100 shares of Robotech stock simply because he overheard two employees and Mr. DePaul's office discussing it "excitedly." To be fair, Roger does read up on them a little in the paper but he also ignores Mr. DePaul who cautions him against putting all his eggs in one flimsy basket. For a moment, his gamble pays off. Overnight, he makes $500. But when Mr. DePaul suggests that based on what he's heard, maybe Roger should consider selling while he's ahead, Roger decides to roll the dice and see what Monday morning brings.
Naturally it means Lisa's father was right and now Roger has lost $700, putting him and Bruce sort of even, though neither realizes it. Instead, both are convinced the other has pulled painfully far ahead in the competition because the only time these two talk to one another now is to snipe at one another.
Which reminds me. If you're wondering where Bruce's parents are, Marie convinced Henry that his short business trip to Tokyo should really be turned into a month long vacation in the Far East. Y'know, because Grandfather Patman would be around to watch the boys.
I really hope Miranda the maid got hazard pay for this month.
Anyway, both Roger and Bruce wind up deciding that they'll recoup their losses at Harbor Days. Roger's idea is to paint canvas caps and Bruce is given the idea to make his own guide to dating. Let me just say this real quick: instead of the Slam Book they released (which I would still kill to own, sadly), they should've made Bruce Patman's Guide to Dating as an actual book. It sounds delightful. Bruce cons Tracy into helping him and she tells him that he's got a real way with words and comedy.
I mean... in this book, yeah. But I will admit that wacky spoiled rich kids Lila and Bruce in SVU are also comedic gold so I'll allow this. I also like the idea that Bruce is talented at something but doesn't really know because he's never had to bother utilizing this skill before now and besides, his sea of flunkies telling him he's good at something won't mean as much as it does from the girl he's trying (and failing) to impress.
But because Bruce is also a complete asshole, he breaks one of the rules and decides to fight dirty. He finds out ahead of time from Tracy what Roger's plan is and he swaps out Roger's water proof spray paint with water soluble paint and I just wonder why bother, Bruce. The cost of tanking Roger's booth can't really be worth it. Spray paint ain't cheap. Naturally, step two involves hiring a troublemaker to stage a water balloon fight in front of Roger's booth and make sure to hit someone wearing their brand new, now ruined, cap.
Bruce. Honey. Baby. Your idea would've outsold Roger's anyway AND you were charging more than he was. Oi.
Bruce gloats and Roger vows to get even. DUN DUN DUNNNNN.
Only he doesn't, because Harbor Days: Day 2 brings two new schemes. Roger teams up with Jim Roberts, the photographer from Perfect Shot to sell prints of his photos (which works since most of his work is either kids from SVH or local celebrities) while Bruce is given the super secret family recipe for Tracy's grandmother's peach raspberry ice cream.
Yes, at some point over the course of the book, Tracy ignores all the warnings, be they signs like the fact that Liz is never exactly thrilled to deal with Bruce or even talk about him, or Jessica explicitly warning her that Bruce is trouble and she deserves better, and agrees to date Bruce. When he stupidly boasts (and is lying while doing so) about wanting to donate all his profit from HD1, Tracy takes him home to meet her family, including Jeremy. And the little boy is clearly smitten. My heart can't take it, captain.
Roger is given the perfect opportunity to sabotage Bruce's icecream but can't bring himself to do it and walks away. Bruce witnesses this but instead of respecting his cousin, he decides that if Roger is too much of a sissy to stand up for himself, why should he bother to keep watch on his stash. Bruce, you are an asshole and make it impossible to root for you. Bruce also decides that he needs to find out what Roger's new project is so he can mess it up. He manipulates Tracy into thinking it's her idea to ask Lisa what Roger is up to so that Bruce can "help him."
Lisa warns Tracy that Roger swore her to secrecy and also points out that Bruce STILL hasn't handed over even 50% he was supposed to give from HD1. Tracy is ticked that anyone would dare doubt Bruce... and then snaps out of it when she remembers that Lisa is her best friend and it makes no sense that the richest boy in school has essentially stiffed a charity. Unless, of course, that boy is an asshole and up to no good. So she follows him and catches him considering ruining Roger's photo paper. She runs away before he actually does it, but the fact that he was considering ruining something for charity just to win a stupid contest (a contest that again, no one who hears about it initially thinks is a good idea) means he's not the man she thought he was.
She calls Roger and warns him before hanging up on him, only to have Bruce call minutes later so she can answer, "don't ask me how I know, Roger!" to make Bruce wonder wtf is going on, especially when she won't talk to him. I think we're supposed to care that Bruce has borked his chances with Tracy, but I don't. They never fit as a couple and we don't get enough time with them to see it working despite that. There are hints, like Bruce enjoying Tracy calling him out on his entitled BS, but it's not enough to really care about their failed relationship. Jessica and Lisa were right when they said Tracy deserves better.
Really, so does Bruce, as this is supposed to be his star moment and he just comes across as a jackass. I know I'm supposed to follow up on his failed relationship with Tracy with a comment about the truly important relationship in his life being his bond with Roger but... eh.
Determined to prove himself not a complete waste of space, Bruce works overtime to sell all his icecream and make a tidy sum for the SAVE project. He and Roger make up when Bruce offers to buy one of Jim's photos and the day is saved!
Only not because even at the end of HD2, the SAVE group hasn't hit their goal of 5k. I do wonder what the PTA is doing because if four high schoolers are supposed to be earning half the money and they put on two Saturdays of sales, what, exactly, is the PTA up to? We never find out because as everyone leaves the SAVE office, they find an envelope crammed with cash. Serious cash. Tracy and Lisa are nervous to accept it but Liz is like, it's fine, they left a note addressed to us, it's fine. Besides, it means we only need another thousand dollars!
Which they get because someone else left a cash envelope for the PTA. Yay, the school is saved! Well, for another year anyway. I do like that this is mentioned explicitly as not a full win, but Tracy's family accepts it for what it is: another year with Jeremy at home.
With the B plot mostly wrapped up, let's get back to the stupid contest. Marie and Henry are back in town and another party is thrown to welcome them back and also to announce the winner of the contest. For someone who wanted secrecy, it does seem a little weird to announce the contest now, Grandfather. I like to imagine that everyone at the party is horrified, which is kind of backed up by the hush that falls over the crowd as Alexander Patman explains his stupid contest. He then has the boys present their envelopes and neither is exactly forthcoming about it. Why? Because they're both empty!
AP is PISSED. Ideally he wanted more money than they started off with (I assume) but he was definitely not expecting them to have spent it all. He demands an explanation and Bruce and Roger fill in the gaps. AP is horrified by the poker and the stock market but before he can flipout over both boys giving their entire earnings (and then some) to the SAVE program, Henry steps in and congratulates them on taking something bad (the contest) and using it for good. He's so inspired that he'll be stepping in to make sure the Nicholson school stays funded from now on. Everyone wins!
Except Grandfather AP who just looks like an old fool. But with time and reflection he realizes that he fucked up and he's sorry and family's important and I'm sorry, I nodded off there for a moment.
We end with GP proud of his grandsons and the boys rushing off to see who can swim laps the fastest. Oh those wacky rich kids.
- Before Bruce nabs him, Roger was going to have lunch with Ken and his new friend, Lisa.
- Lisa DePaul is a pretty, blond sophomore who keeps her curly hair cropped short. She has large eyes that light up when she laughs, and is described as bright, friendly, generous, and unselfconscious. She's in Roger's Spanish class.
- Alexander Patman is coming to town for his 70th birthday and will be spending 6 weeks with the Patmans.
- Is drop dead handsome a saying, because it's how Bruce is described.
- Roger is still smarting over his breakup with Olivia, which is listed as a reason why he and Lisa are definitely just friends.
- The Patman dining room table is long enough to seat 20, and Bruce thinks of the decor as costly and impressive, from the Persian carpets, candelabra, and draperies. Way to be vague, ghosty.
- Grandfather Patman says, "I see you still look the same" even though the last time he came to visit was 5 years ago.
- Bruce admits to himself that his mother isn't very fair to Roger.
- Alexander Patman likes breakfast by 7am, but only grapefruit and coffee, then he jogs for 2 miles, lifts weights, and then reads up on the stock market. His motto is "Get rich and work hard."
- He asks for a no fuss birthday, but Marie goes full speed ahead and invites all her friends to the party, hires a Latin American band (sure), and sends out engraved invitations.
- Bruce wants to buy a new, longer Windsurfer.
- Bruce lost $100 in a poker game and Roger is surprised.
- Bruce plays with guys from the Country Club at Judd Phipp's house.
- Judd is a tall, lanky guy who organized the Country Club poker games.
- Tracy Atkins is a senior with light green eyes that have amber flecks in them, black hair she recently cut short(er) and now looks like a model according to Bruce. They shared Mr. Jordan's geometry class back in sophomore year, which Bruce remembers more vividly than Tracy does. She and Lisa have been best friends since they went to camp one year and have been like sisters ever since, even though Tracy is two years older. Tracy is the oldest of six kids. Her youngest brother, Jeremy has a rare muscular disease that impaired his growth, which is why he attends the Nicholson school and she also has a 14 year old sister. She wants to be a designer and is quite skilled at sewing. She's also never had a boyfriend or been kissed before Bruce.
- Bruce's car guy is a mechanic named Jim down at Foreign Auto Body.
- The Nicholson School teaches special needs kids between the ages of 5 and 12, but it needs ten thousand dollars or this will be its final year open.
- Amy's part in the Regina/Bruce breakup is mentioned and it's implied that Amy feels very bad about it but we never see this.
- Amy is still very much in the catty stage when Bruce's new love interest is brought up while Jessica has progressed to not caring beyond it being gossip.
- Liz is shocked when her classmates vote her to be their SAVE representative.
- Representatives for the Freshman, Sophomore, and Senior classes are Dirk Pierce, Lisa DePaul, and Tracy Atkins.
- The Patman Corporation has been doing more business lately with Mitsu, a Japanese company.
- Marie convinces Henry to turn his short business trip to Japan into a month long visit to the Far East.
- Did you know the Patman mansion has a view of the ocean?
- Tracy wears an off-white, one shoulder dress to AP's birthday party.
- Bruce invites Tracy to an exclusive LA club but she turns him down flat as it's not her scene.
- Grandfather insists that the ventures Bruce and Roger pick be legal and that they not fight dirty. Whoops.
- While thinking of Tracy, Bruce hits a Camaro and while the Camaro is fine, his front fender is badly dented and it costs him $450 to fix.
- Bruce pays $100 for two tickets to the Starfest reunion concert. They're a band that were apparently popular ten years ago.
- Roger wanted to talk to Bruce about not competing but then we'd be without a book.
- Roger, Lisa, and some friends are going to the Beach Disco but Roger tells Bruce he's driving so that Bruce can't borrow his car and use all his gas.
- Lisa's father is a senior partner/investment counselor.
- Henry Patman is Roger's legal guardian.
- Because Mr. DePaul knows Henry Patman, he agrees to buy Roger's stocks for him.
- Tracy admits she doesn't trust Bruce.
- 4 guys show up for the high stakes poker game and Bruce doesn't know 'em as they all go to Judd's high school in the next town over. We have Marshall, Rod, Arthur Marks, and Tony Dent playing with Judd and Bruce. You have to arrive by 8pm or there's no getting in. The first game they play is 5 card stud and Bruce's hand is two jacks, a ten, four, and a two. Alas, Judd has three eights.
- Arthur, Tony, and Rod drop out of the first hand first, then Marshall bows out while Judd beats Bruce.
- By 10:30, Bruce is down $700 and he loses one last hand of 5 card draw, bringing his losses to $800.
- There's a pay phone across from the principal's office.
- Jessica makes a suggestion box for the SAVE office, which happens to be next door to the Oracle office.
- Liz and Jessica are in the same homeroom.
- Bruce is described as having brown eyes despite having blue eyes since forever.
- Bruce's initial Harbor Days idea is to sell copies of his little black book.
- Tracy's put off by the idea (though Bruce can't figure out why) but does manage to spin it into the final idea of "The Bruce Patman Guide to Dating." Ultimately she also convinces him to have the finish product be laser printed and spiral bound.
- Grandfather Patman never played around with stocks as he was worried about the risks.
- Judd tells just about everyone at the club about Bruce's loss at poker to the degree that even Roger hears about it there.
- Roger bought his 100 shares of Robotech for $10 but sells them at $8, which means he's down $700. Whoops.
- Bruce likes that Tracy doesn't let him get away with much.
- For their first date, Bruce takes Tracy to his favorite Italian restaurant.
- Roger's first Harbor Days plan is to sell canvas caps/hats with visors and spray paint whatever designs people want on them. Who knew Roger was artsy?
- Harbor Days officially starts at 10am.
- Jessica joins Liz in setting up the Information Booth near the entrance to the harbor. Booths are on all four boundaries of the park and there are games to play as well.
- Liz gets a bit testy when Jessica warns Tracy about Bruce even though she's been cool enough towards Tracy that T noticed that Liz doesn't seem to really like him.
- Brian Webster is a mischievous ten year old boy with a mean smile and lots of freckles. Bruce knows him from the country club.
- Winston buys the first copy of Bruce's book.
- Amy and Cara have a water balloon booth where you can throw balloons at Steven Wakefield. (I'm going to pretend Jess spent a fair amount of time dunking her brother for funsies.)
- Ronnie Edwards bought a red, white, and blue design for his cap and it's ruined by Bruce's paint switch and Brian's water balloon.
- Bruce boasts to Tracy about donating all his profits to the SAVE project which prompts Tracy to tell Bruce about her little brother Jeremy.
- Sunday dinner is the least formal at the Patman's. Alexander, Bruce, and Roger are simply having soup and salad.
- Roger's second project for Harbor Days is to work with Jim Roberts and sell prints of Jim's photographs. Jim and Roger split the profits from each print, priced at $6.
- Harbor Days #1 raised $1,500
- Tracy thinks Bruce is using her to spy on Roger.
- I'm cackling that the photography place is called Corner Camera.
- When Bruce arrives to HD's second Saturday, Liz is the only SAVE rep there.
- Mr. Peterson is the chairman of the SAVE committee.
- I find it difficult to believe the Patmans, particularly Marie, brought Miranda (the maid) a gift back from their travels.
- Uh, ghosty? Bruce's father's name is Henry or Hank, not George. You even got this right earlier in the book.
- Never apologize, never explain is Bruce's motto. That explains so very much.
He was the dream of most of the girls in town. The ones who didn't think he was perfect were the ones who had had run-ins with his king-size ego. - Because there are no lesbians in SV. p4
"I can't help it," Bruce said. "I get anxious about my appearance when I'm nervous."
Roger had to hide a smile at that. And all other times, too he thought. - pg12
For just a minute, he was reminded that there was nothing better in the whole world than being Bruce Patman. - Such modesty, Bruce. p13
I probably brightened up her whole Saturday just by dropping by, Bruce thought proudly. - Oh my. p77
This is exactly the way the rich get richer, he thought. They relaxed, had fun, and did what came naturally to them. - I mean, he's probably not wrong. p78
The Bruce Patman Guide To Dating
Chapter 1: How to Let the Girl of Your Dreams Know You're Alive
Chapter 2: The Phone Call
Chapter 3: What to Drive, What to Wear, and What Not to Say: A Beginner's Guide to the First Date
Chapter 6: Keep Your Date Surprised
What do you say to a girl you've just met who you want to go out with?
A) You're gorgeous
B) I drive a Porsche, want a ride?
C) You're in for the best time of your life now that you've met me.
D) All of the above
Staying friends with a girl you used to date is definitely cool.
This is one of those books that I don't hate when I'm reading it, but as soon as I put it down and think about I dunno, any of it, my enjoyment of the book plummets. Part of this is probably because Bruce is one of those characters that requires a deft hand to make likable and to get just right. He's stuck on himself but not to the oblivious degree he seems to be for most of this book. He's a jerk, but he's also charming when he wants to be, and he always wants to be when he's first moving in on a girl. There's a reason even the girls who know better wind up falling for him and it can't just be how good looking he is. The Valley isn't hurting for cute guys, y'know? So you've got to have the right handle on Bruce's personality or it all goes to shit. We don't want date-rapey Bruce and if we're gonna spend the whole book with him, we also don't want callous jerk Bruce. Ideally this book would've given us a peek into what makes him tick but uh, if this is what makes Bruce tick, I'm good not knowing.
I guess it's because there's a set-up for some depth but almost all of Bruce's stuff is ultimately played for laughs and it feels like a wasted opportunity, especially with the Super Star books supposedly being a closer look at characters we don't tend to get to know quite as well as the twins.
I like that unlike a lot of SVH books, Bruce doesn't wind up with Tracy after trying to make amends because she can't get over what he's done or even thought about doing. His actions have consequences and while he gets over it pretty quickly, I do like that it's not all hand waved away.
I also like the glimpses of Jessica we get here. Many a joke is made about her flightiness, but she's right there helping Liz and not obviously dragged there against her will. I repeat: Jessica Wakefield is up before noon on a weekend and she's doing work for her community. This is a big deal and one isn't made about it and that's actually kinda refreshing. I also like her not being emotionally caught up in anything about Bruce at this point. She comments on his love life but unlike Amy, it doesn't seem to bother her at all. She's not even snarky when she warns Tracy away from him: she just genuinely believes Tracy is better than Bruce and doesn't want to see her waste her time on him. Liz dances around her feelings about Bruce but Jessica just puts it all out there without drama.
Another thing I enjoyed was how quickly Tracy got over her irritation at Lisa for thinking the worst of Bruce. She initially leaps to Bruce's defense but then she remembers that Lisa is her best friend and wouldn't say these things to hurt her. We're spared the best friends being torn apart by the Patman cousins and instead Tracy takes a closer look at Bruce's actions.
Finally, I do like that what gets Bruce to turn against Roger is jealousy. Jealous isn't one of the words that comes to mind when I think of Bruce, but it works. He's jealous that his grandfather clearly shows no real interest in him but is ready to lavish attention, some of it even the good kind, on Roger. He's also willing to just hand over Bruce's future to Roger without a second thought or any real discussion. Just oh, you managed to do better at this one thing? Welp, guess you're the future of the company and also my favorite. And Roger's insecurities are all tripped again, leading him to actually fight back even though he had no intention of participating in the contest initially.
So while I don't think Bruce's Story does a great job of doing Bruce any favors, it does have moments for others... and I really wish we'd gotten a real version of Bruce's Guide to Dating. :P
Hey, who wants a review from back when this first came out? Entertainment Weekly's got you covered.