Anybody who likes a good trashy blockbuster novel (and if you don’t… well, I don’t know what to say to you) will know who I’m talking about when I mention Billy, Spider and Valentine. These three legendary characters star in Scruples, possibly the best sex and shopping novel ever written.
If you don’t know the story, let me recap it for you in a paragraph: Billy grows up hugely fat, an ignored cousin in a wealthy Boston family. She moves to Paris after school, loses weight, becomes chic and beautiful, moves to New York, trains as a secretary, becomes pretty promiscuous, marries her fabulously wealthy old man boss, becomes a celebrity, moves to LA, spends money like water, deals with it when her old man boss husband is struck down with a stroke, deals with her sexual frustration by shagging everybody from her pool guy to her old man boss husband’s male nurses, opens a hugely glamorous and expensive department store called Scruples, deals with her old man boss husband dying, and then has to deal with the fact that Scruples is a bit of a dud: too stuffy and formal for the casual LA crowd. So she hires Valentine, a fiery French/Irish fashion designer based in New York and Spider, fashion photographer and Valentine’s best mate: a legendary lothario. Valentine and Spider move to LA and turn Scruples into a wildly successful Disneyland for grown-ups, and Billy falls in love with Vito, a film director. Vito makes a film called ‘Mirrors’ an unscrupulous studio head tries to block its release, but Billy’s fabulous wealth enables her to bankroll it and, eventually, it wins the Best Film Oscar. And Billy finds out that she’s knocked up.
And then all sorts of other stuff happens in Scruples Two, the sequel, and in Lovers, the book that follows that, but I don’t want to overwhelm you at this point. Seriously: if you haven’t read Scruples, get your hands on it as soon as you can. This is a classic Scruples book cover:
That’s some serious ’70s glamour, kids.
Anyway, I only found out yesterday that a 1980 mini-series of Scruples exists. And my God, I want to watch it – follow that link to see the screen grabs and I bet you’ll want to join me on the sofa. It sounds like it’s been slightly sanitised (Billy is less of a slapper, I think), but I’m sure that it would still be worth investing a few hours of my life. The news that it’s being remade is also very good, but I feel a deep need to see the original. I might have to jump on to Ebay and track it down.