Friday, November 21, 2003

the babysitters club

Let us talk for a moment, shall we, about "The Babysitters Club".

"The Babysitters Club" and "Sweet Valley High" went hand in hand. She who read one series read the other. It was inevitable, like "The Real World" and "Road Rules." You might prefer one over the other, but you always kept tabs on both.

The series was about five thirteen year-old girls and the two eleven year-old dorkettes who hung out with them. These girls were all BFF, and they had a babysitting call-in service wherein they would meet three days a week and field calls from the seemingly limitless pool of clients in their suburban Connecticut neighborhood. The cast of characters was as follows:

KRISTY was the president of the club. She was, as was kindly pointed out at the beginning of each and every book, "a tomboy." She didn't care about makeup! Or hair! She wore the same turtleneck and sweater every day! And she was good at sports! And so very bossy! In retrospect, it is completely obvious to me that Kristy was a budding young lesbian. Yeah, she had that flirtation with Bart, who coached the rival softball league, but come on now. So gay. Kristy had four brothers, and her mom married a rich guy, so they all had to move into his mansion and hang out with his two annoying kids from a previous marriage. They kept making such a big deal of the fact that Watson (that was the name of the rich guy) was a "millionaire," but really, isn't everyone in Connecticut?

CLAUDIA was the vice-president of the club, but I don't think she really had to do anything except let everyone have the meetings in her room. She was Japanese, but seemed to have absolutely no sense of Asian culture whatsoever, nor did anyone in her family, with the exception of her grandmother "Mimi," who spoke in pidgen English and would totter around making tea all the time. Claudia was funky fly fresh. Like, she would wear leggings under skirts! And big t-shirts with pictures of fruit on them! Sassy! And she loved junk food! How'd she stay so skinny then? Mystery of the Orient, baby. Also, Claudia was, like, dyslexic or something. She was never formerly diagnosed in the series (or if she was, it was after I stopped reading), but have you seen those journal entries she writes? Man! She needs to get tested so she can petition for some extra time on her SATs.

STACY was even more funky fly fresh than Claudia, because she was from New. York. CITY! Oh my god, what could be more sophisticated than that? Nothing but...being in THE BABYSITTERS CLUB! Stacy was the club treasurer, because she was good at math. Yeah, making change, that's a huge mental task there. (Don't ask Claudia to do it, though. Remember, she's dumb.) Stacy's "thing" (like how Claudia's thing was her bad studentship and Kristy's thing was her gayness) was that she had THE DIABETES. That's right, her PANCREAS didn't make INSULIN and she had to PRICK HER FINGER every day and take SHOTS. (This was also patiently outlined at the beginning of every single book. In case you forgot from the previous 52 books in the series, you know.) One time she even had to go into the hospital! She was in DKA! That was very educational for me. Oh, also, Stacy was too cool for school because her mom let her get perms. Nothing says urban sophistication like a PERM.

MARY ANNE was a total pansy. She was the club secretary, because that's what total pansies do, take minutes in their perfect, Palmer-script handwriting. Her mom died, like, a million years ago, so her dad was totally strict with her. He made her wear her hair in braids and wear a pleated skirt every single day! Loosen up, DAD! And then he did, because she babysat for a kid who had a high fever, and Mary Anne called an ambulance and everything. And at the hospital, they bathed the kid in alcohol, and her fever came down. Um, DON'T DO THAT. It's called Tylenol, folks. But anyway, her dad was all, like, "I guess you're mature now," and let her unbraid her hair. Then, later, she got some really horrifyingly ugly mushroom haircut and ruined everything. Oh, also, Mary Anne had a boyfriend. His name was Logan, and he was from the South. I think she was his beard, though, because Logan was also totally gay. He was a thirteen year-old MALE BABY SITTER. And he did makeovers on the side. He should make over Kristy.

DAWN was a late addition to the BSC (meaning she didn't make her appearance until Book #8 or something) because she just moved to Stonybrook from California. Dawn was the alternate officer (meaning she filled in for other members when they were absent, which they never, ever were because they had no lives) and her "thing" was that her parents were divorced. Also, that she was from California, so she liked to eat freaky health food and had really long blonde hair, like a young Darryl Hannah. Dawn's mom eventually falls in love with Mary Anne's dad (the one who's wife conveniently DIED) and eventually get married in an East-West Marriage Fest, making Dawn and Mary Anne SISTERS! Alllll right!

MALLORY and JESSI (not Jessie or Jessy, mind you, but JESSI) were two eleven year-old girls that were junior members of the BSC. OK, so let's first talk about how implausible it is that 1.) eight graders would even deign to hang out with sixth graders, like, EVER, and 2.) any parent would trust their child to an ELEVEN year old. Have you SEEN eleven year-old children? They still have pieces of amniotic sac hanging off them! But anyway, let us suspend disbelief for a moment and just accept the fact that yes, there were Junior Officers. Mallory was the oldest of eight children, because her parents didn't use birth control. And she was a total nerd. She wore glasses and makes out with books. And yes, that sounds like me as a teenager, but at least my defining characteristic wasn't my self-professed love for BOOKS ABOUT HORSES. (That's very sexual, by the way.) Jessi also loves books about horses (that's how they got so tight) but her other big thing was that she was BLACK. That's right, there are BLACK people in Stonybrook, CT! OK, so there's just that one family, but still. She and Mallory are best friends, like Ebony and Ivory. Jessi was also supposed to be some big ballet star, as we were constantly reminded by her attending club meetings in her leotard or sitting on the floor in splits. Um, ew.

And with this brief intro, I would like to open the table to your "Babysitters Club" memories. And if you could tell me if its "Babysitters' Club" (possessive) or "Babysitters Club" (simple plural), that would really help me out. It's been bothering me all day. As mentioned before, I'm leaving for Cancun early tomorrow morning, to return late Tuesday night, but any memories e-mailed to me will be posted when I return.

1 comment:

  1. Oh my goodness. I was obsessed with the BSC. So much so that I used to keep a running list of all the inconsistencies I noticed in the books (before I realized they were written by ghostwriters) because the errors offended me PERSONALLY. Man, I was weird. Did you ever read the Girls of Canby Hall? I'm recapping that series on my blog now, and rereading those books is as amusing as a return to BSC-land, only in a boarding-school kind of way.

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