Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Say Hello to Your Friends!

The Baby-Sitters Club 
Director: Melanie Mayron
Cast: Schuyler Fisk, Rachael Leigh Cook, Larissa Oleynik, Bre Blair, Marla Sokoloff, Ellen Burstyn
Released: August 18, 1995

When I was in elementary and middle school, I was obsessed with the Baby-Sitters Club. I had the books. I had the videos. I had the calendars. I had the day planner. I had the board game. I had BSC postcards. I had the Chain Letter and Secret Santa thing-ies (if you're a BSC fan, then you know what I'm talking about!). I was first introduced to them when I was eight and my aunt gave me a few books for my birthday. While I don't remember which book was the last one I read (I think somewhere in the 60s), I will always remember "Dawn and the Impossible Three" was the first one I read. Don't ask me why the fifth book in the series was the first one I read; I must not have been given "Kristy's Great Idea" for that birthday. I actually started reading the Little Sisters series, the spin off series with Kristy's stepsister, Karen Brewer, first because she was closer to my age at the time, but within a few months I was reading about the much more mature lives of the 13-year-old members of the Baby-Sitters Club. I remember I always had to go to my mom and ask her to read any entries Claudia wrote because I could never read her awful cursive handwriting. I once wrote a BSC fanfic and I had a lot of fun writing her letters because all you do is just spell everything atrociously. Here are a few examples from my fic:

Dear Mom, Dad, and Janine,
I am haveing the best time in NY! Alredy we have bean to the Nashural Hestory Moozeum and Times Schware! There are lots of grate shops in Times Scware! There was one that suld lots of chaclite!
Love, Claudia

Daer Ashley,
Oh my Lurd! Yoo our nefer going too baliv wut I did! I haf a chilly noo look. Yoo well bee sow saprized wen yoo see me! I mett a guy frum Awstrayleea. He wus really meen too me. He thut I as dume! Who rood!

Yore freind,

P.S. NYS is grate! 

Haha, I remember once reading a BSC/CSI fanfic crossover and Stacey is found dead in the first chapter and Gil Grissom says, "Don't tell mom....the baby-sitter's dead." That STILL makes me laugh when I think about it. I am so easily amused. 

I remember going to Waldenbooks every month when a new book was churned out and spending part of my allowance on it. When the Super Specials came out, it felt like Christmas. The Super Specials were...wait for it...super special! Like I mentioned above, I'm not sure which book was the last one I read. I probably stopped reading when I turned fourteen since I was then older than the girls. I know I stopped reading before Abby was introduced (why did they need a new baby-sitter anyway? They had plenty of members!), before Mallory was shipped off to boarding school, and before Dawn moved to California permanently. God, remember how obnoxious Dawn was about California? ("Everyone in California is blonde and tanned!" Everyone in California hates junk food and only eats health food like tofu and rice cakes!" "The sun is always shining in California!" "I hate winters in's so cold." God, shut up Dawn. (In my fanfic, I had Dawn wear a shirt that said "We got more bounce in California than all y'all combined" because YOU KNOW she would totally wear a shirt like that!))

About five years before the movie came out, they had the Baby-Sitters Club TV show. You might remember the theme song: "Say hello to your friends! Baby-Sitters Club!" I believe they aired on HBO, a channel I didn't get it, but luckily I was able to own all the episodes (13!) on video. I remember I used to act them out with my friend and her younger sister. Yes, we would watch them so many times we had them all memorized and could act them out. True, they were only about 25 minutes, and true, the dialogue was pretty easy to learn. Now I'm sure you're probably wondering: how did you act out the episodes if there were only three of you and there are seven main characters, not to mention all the ancillary characters like their charges and the parents and random people like Zach Braff and Grandma Gilmore (yes, imagine my surprise when I found out Kelly Bishop was in an episode!) Well, we would strategically choose which characters we would be. For instance, the first episode involves around a Mary Anne and Logan plot with a girl, Marcie, who is trying to steal Logan away from Mary Anne. (Why didn't they just have that actress play Cokie Mason? Duh. Marcie is a character we never meet from the books...) Anyway, one of us would play Mary Anne, one would play Logan, and one would play Marcie and then we would divvy up the other characters and just make sure if two characters had a major scene together, then one person wasn't playing both those characters. There's a scene where the girls are in the park and throwing popcorn and catching it in their mouths and we actually would have real popcorn and do that...that's how dedicated to our craft we were! 

Probably my favorite episode was "Stacey's Big Break" when Stacey becomes a model (huh?), but then decides it's too much for her and she is missing too many important things and Kristy tells her, "Anybody can be rich and famous...but not everyone can be a member of the Baby-Sitters Club!" and she and Stacey high-five each other, like that's suppose to make Stacey feel better. Also, not everybody can be rich and famous so that doesn't make any sense. Speaking of things that don't make sense...the girls are helping their chargers put on a production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves" and Charlotte Johansson (I'm pretty much writing this assuming you know the names I'm mentioning because I'm assuming you're only reading this if you're a BSC fanatic too!) is playing Snow White, but needs help with her lines and she and Stacey make up a memory tactic where Stacey will cluck her tongue and Charlotte will automatically remember her lines. Huh? How is that suppose to help with her lines. Wouldn't it be more practical if Stacey started saying the beginning of the line? But during the production, Stacey clucks her tongue when Charlotte forgets her line, but then remembers it! WTF?

The episodes are up on Hulu and I encourage everyone to check out these masterpieces and you can also imagine three young girls acting these out!

It's always fun to ask, Which BSC member are you? I feel like I'm a mixture of a few. Physically, I'm the most like Mallory as I'm a redhead and she's the only redhead member. I also could relate to her, because as a pre-teen, I also hated the way I looked...I had the curly red hair, the freckles, the glasses, the braces...Mal, I FEEL YOUR PAIN! It was awful! Looking like that is the worst! I hated being a redhead until I was 17 and saw Titanic. Luckily, I got to leave that awkward stage of my life, but somewhere Mallory Pike is still eleven-years-old because Ann M. Martin kept her characters in this weird time paradox where they never age. I also probably have the most in common with Mallory interests-wise, because I like to read and write (though I did not draw like she did) and once upon a time I was into horses (even took horseback riding lessons which I think she does at one point). The member I'm most like internally is Mary Anne because we're both shy and hate being the center of attention. She's a total cat person and I love my kitty. I'm not as patient as her, and probably not as sensitive as her either, but I can pretty much cry over anything like she does. The main difference between us is she had a boyfriend at 13 (who the eff has a steady boyfriend when they're freaking 13...a crush maybe, but a steady boyfriend? The hell?) and she was raised by a strict father because her mother died. Speaking of which, the member whose family life is most like mine is Claudia. I can relate to her with having an older sibling that is better than you at everything.

Okay, so I've talked about my history with the BSC, BSC fanfiction, the TV show, the members I'm most like, what am I forgetting....oh yeah, the movie! See, I have so much history with this fandom it took me awhile to get here.

I didn't see the movie in the theater because by that time I was 14 and much too mature for the BSC! I did eventually see it on video. I think this is only the second or third time I've seen the movie, so obviously I didn't see it hundreds of times like I did with the TV episodes. I think this is the reason why I always picture the actresses from the TV show as the girls in the club. Most of the actresses in the movie are much more well known than the TV actresses (who are a bunch of people you never heard of...though I once saw the girl who played Jessi on an episode of Clarissa Explains it All...haha, remember that show?) and they are actually the age of the characters. The TV show actresses look to be around 14 - 16, maybe even older. I remember being SHOCKED at how young Mallory and Jessi looked, they honestly look like they should have been baby-sitting charges, not the sitters, but then again, they were only eleven which seems ridiculously young for a baby-sitter. I will go through each member and I've put them in order from most important to the story to least important.

1. Kristy Thomas (played by 
Schuyler Fisk aka Sissy Spacek's daughter) - It makes sense that Kristy is the main character and narrator of the movie because she IS the club President, after all. She has the great idea (of course) of having a daycare at the Schafer/Spier residence during the summer for the kids they sit for. However, her main storyline is about her estranged father coming to Stoneybrook to visit her (and ONLY her, not any of his biological sons). The whole thing is really shady. I thought this was an interesting plot development because in the books we know that Kristy's biological dad walked out on his family when she was young (well, she's young now...but probably when she was five) and she, according to the books, has never heard from him...until now. I have no idea if he ever makes an appearance in the books after the movie came out (and I have no idea if the events in the movie are even mentioned in any of the book that came out after the movie. Like, did Mary Anne ever say to her, "Hey, Kristy, remember that one summer [the 8th one they spent as 13-year-olds!] when your dad came to Stoneybrook?"). So, like I said, it's totally shady because her dad doesn't want her Kristy telling her mom that he's in town. He doesn't want her telling ANYONE. Uh... However, she does tell Mary Anne who does keep the secret. There's this scene where they see Kristy get into her dad's car and Stacey thinks she's dating an older man. Seriously, Stacey? I thought Claudia was suppose to be the dumb one. Anyway, while the girls are a little concerned that their 13-year-old friend is getting into the car of a 40 something man, they're not concerned enough to tell her mom. Also, why did nobody come to the conclusion that he was her biological father. Duh. It's much more plausible (and not as creepy) than thinking she's dating a much older man. Eww. But to be fair, her dad has never made an appearance in her life until now, so I can kind of understand why they wouldn't automatically think that. Oh, wait. I said she was 13, but she's actually 12 in this. :::rolls eyes::: They only do this because Kristy's dad wants to do something special for her birthday and they mention she is turning 13. Aurgh. It's so stupid. I always hated that Ann M. Martin didn't let the girls age at all. Seriously, being 14 isn't that much difference than 13. She could have at least aged them a freaking year! I know she aged them from 12-13, but she could have also aged them at least another year. But, I disgress...  Anyway, guess who doesn't show up to meet Kristy at the carnival? Yep, her dad has left town and Kristy finally confesses to her mom what happened. There's also this weird scene where Kristy wears a dress that her dad gave her to play baseball with him. First of all, Kristy would never wear a dress, especially to play baseball, and this should give her a clue of how crappy her dad is because he should know this about his daughter.  

Stacey would never
wear this outfit!
2. Stacey McGill (played by Bre Blair) - When we are first introduced to Stacey, we see her hailing a small town Stoneybrook to show us what a city girl she is. Uh....pretty sure there are no taxis in Stoneybrook! That was...weird. Anyway, a Stacey storyline wouldn't be complete without her falling in "luv". She has a sitting job for Rosie Wilder and her cousin Luca who is from....somewhere in Europe. It turns out Luca is seventeen and Stacey is smitten with him. He was suppose to leave, but decides to stay when he sees Stacey. Keep in mind he doesn't know how old she is (I think she tells him she's 15 or 16). Um, if I were Rosie's mom, I would NOT pay Stacey because what's the point of her being there if Luca is already there? Duh. Also, they pretty much go on a date (they go out for ice cream) with a seven-year-old. It's so weird. At one point Rosie even asks Luca if he's going to kiss Stacey and they just laugh it off. When Stacey tells the other how old Luca is, Kristy says, "That's ancient!", which kinda is if you're 13! There's a really "dramatic" moment where Stacey faints when she's taking a hike with Luka because she didn't eat enough and she confesses she has diabetes. Luka learns the truth about Stacey (heh, see what I did there? Only true BSC fanatics will get that) when they go to a "teen club" in NYC and she's not old enough. Haha, Stacey, you're not even old enough to get into a "teen club". He is aghast when he finds out how she is. ("You're THIRTEEN?") However, it turns weird when he continues to pursue her and her mom encourages her to go for it. Uh, excuse me, Maureen, but you do know that a seventeen-year-old boy is trying to creep on your 13-year-old daughter? Stacey and Luca share a kiss (so wrong) and Stacey reminds him that she will soon be fourteen. So what, Stacey? A fourteen-year-old with an eighteen-year-old is not any better than a thirteen-year-old with a seventeen-year-old. And let's not forget, Stacey, you NEVER age! Bre Blair is 37, but Stacey McGill will always remain 13. 

3. Mary Anne Spier (played by Rachael Leigh Cook) Fun fact: this was RLC's first movie. We know this movie takes place after the book where Mary Anne gets her haircut because she has short hair in this movie (although I think it's actually cut shorter in the books). Like I mentioned in the Kristy blurb, she's the one who keeps Kristy's secret for her and the other members get mad at her. She even tells Kristy it's difficult for her to keep her secret because she "tells Dawn everything, but Logan even more." This makes no sense...what is more than everything? Also, I always assumed she was closer to Dawn than she was with Logan since, you know, they were STEPSISTERS and lived together. Of course Dawn does move back to California, but this is before that happens. Anyway.... there's also a subplot where Cokie Mason (played by Marla Sokoloff) is trying to steal Mary Anne's boyfriend, Logan (played by Austin "Last Action Hero" O'Brien). She asks him to attend a Smashing Pumpkins concert with her and while he doesn't say yes, he also doesn't say no. There's this really inappropriate song playing where the lyrics are "Let's get busy"every time Cokie approaches Logan. She is really obsessed with trying to mess with the BSC  (it's really pathetic), but they are always one step ahead of her, and gets really mad when one of her friends tells her that they seem cool.  

4. Dawn Schafer (played by Larissa Oleynik) Dawn actually doesn't come across as self-righteous or irritating like she does in the books or the TV show. Like I mentioned, the BSC is having a summer daycare for the kids they sit for and it's in Dawn's backyard. An older woman lives next door (Ellen Burstyn....I was surprised as you are when I saw her name in the credits) and she is (rightfully) annoyed by all the children who are throwing things over the fence. She warns Dawn that if it happens again, she will call the police and have their organization closed down. But she and Dawn bond over...something (probably flowers). Also, there's another subplot where Alan Gray is helping the girls watch the kids and he has a crush on Dawn and asks her to the movies. Uh...I thought it was Kristy who he had the crush on? I don't remember this being a storyline in the book. But I guess it is kinda cute.

5. Claudia Kishi - (played by Tricia Joe) Claudi's main (and only!) storyline is the same storyline she has in one of the TV episodes and I know it also happened in a few of her books: she's failing a subject and if she doesn't pass the next test coming, she will have to quit the BSC! Oh no! Seriously, how many times has that been a storyline for Claudia? The BSC help her by making up a song for her test and it helps her and she passes. Yawn. There were some nice touches to her character where we saw her artwork or we would see her pulling out junk food from a hiding place in her room. I was SOOO disappointed in the way she was styled. First of all, she always just wore her hair down. She never wore it in a side ponytail which she does a LOT on the cover of the books; she never wore any crazy headbands or barrettes in her hair; and she never braided it or did anything fun with it. She just wore it down with NO hair accessories. It was so boring! That's not Claudia! Even though she may wear a shirt with a wild print, her clothes are very disappoint too. Let me give you an example of what a usual Claudia Kishi original consists of (thanks to this great website):
-Purple capris with suspenders
- Plaid purple shirt with a matching hat
-White tight with clocks on them

-Lobster earrings (I have lobster earrings!)
-hightop sneakers

In my fanfic I had her wear orange day-glo parachute pants with an orange vest with black trim, an orange scrunchie in her hair and orange rubber boots. My story took place in New York and she got inspiration from a traffic cone. Claudia is always the most fun member to write in BSC fanfics because of her atrocious writing and outrageous outfits. 

So there's also this subplot where the girls are thinking of buying a greenhouse to hold their meetings. I wasn't quite sure what was going on because I was confused. Why would they want to uproot their meeting place from Claudia's house (where she has her own private phone line...hence the reason why they hold them there!) to some random greenhouse? This makes no sense! They would have to get a whole new phone number and that would be a pain having to tell all their clients. Instead, they let Ellen Burstyn (I didn't care to remember her character's name) have it for ...something. 

6. Mallory Pike (played by Stacy Linn Ramsower) and Jessi Ramsey (played by Zelda Harris) - the two 11-year-old members are tied for last place because they're just...there. Seriously, does anybody care about these two? I have never met a BSC fanatic who said one of these were their favorite member. (My favorite? Stacey when I was younger, but now, I would say Claudia). We get a line from Mallory where she says she's working on a novel and we hear Kristy narrate how Jessi loves to dance. Other than those throwaway character traits, they're just really immature. Jessi tells Dawn that she heard that Alan likes her and Mal says, "Does he like her or like like her?" and they both giggle. Seriously, girls, how old are we? Oh, right. Eleven. Then there's a scene where Stacey tells everyone how much money they made the first day at the camp and Jessi says, "We almost have enough to buy a car!" (I don't remember the amount, but I'm pretty sure it was nowhere enough to buy a car) and Mal replies, "And in five years we can drive it." Uh, no. Because you will remain eleven forever!

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