Nothing excited me more in my YA series reading that a super special. I didn’t even imagine they could exist until my mother brought home the Baby Sitters on Board from the BSC where they all go on a cruise and then to Disney World. How timely! It was only a few months before my family was planning to pack up the station wagon and make the 27 hour drive to orlando. I even tried keeping a trip diary like the baby-sitters did, but I stopped when entries consisted of “drove for hours. Ate at Denny’s. Again.”
Since then, I would eagerly await the super special. Why was it so special? Having all your favorite characters interact in a new and complex location with new, even more unbelievable scenario. After some reflection, it seems that the Super Special (sometimes coined “super edition”) always followed a certain canon.
- plot involved a vacation or a trip
- a romantic fling occurred, and the object of said fling was usually never mentioned again
- there were some fantasy or supernatural elements occurring
- a mystery or crime is committed and the characters solve it
- the activities in the plot occurred in a weird, physics-defying timeline that never fit with the “real” timeline and somehow did not “really” happen during the series. Think of how many Spring breaks the SVHs had, or how many summers after eighth grade the BSC had.
- often highlighted a summertime or Christmastime (never hannukah!)
- often told from multiple character’s perspectives
The aforementioned Super Special where inexplicably the Pikes and Watson take their families on vacation together, and bring along extra teen girls with them. Dram! Intrigue! Romance! One big commercial for Disneyworld!
This one was so craptastic it was like Hemingway. The kids go on a school trip to a fantasy amusement park and Liz hits her head (or falls off a motorcycle or something) and imagines a scenario where she is fighting witches, goblins, and wizards. Wtf.
Of course, all the trips the twins take where they make a big splash wherever they go.
Then there is an altogether different subset of super specials- the CAMP ones. Growing up, I felt the same way about camp that I did about boarding schools. It was a time for mischief, growing up, and boyfriends. [It is no surprise that several of my favorite movies are The Parent Trap, Wet Hot American Summer, Little Darlings, and Camp Cucamunga. I’ll give you a hundred dollars if you’ve actually seen the last one I mentioned.] I was too chicken and prissy to ever want to go to a sleepaway camp. However, I was a day camp counselor for five summers of my life- god knows why. I was always the one who stayed and watched all the kids while all the other counselors ran off and smoked pot in the woods. Guess who had a more fun summer? Them.
The BSC Camp Mohawk one changed my life- I longed for the day when I could gather up enough friends to stand around and do a kickline and laugh. This is still a goal of mine. Maryanne but a melon under her pillow and went to sneak off to meet Logan. Jess and Mal were too young to be CITs so they anointed themselves as “junior CITs” and made armands for themselves and talking is a secret language or something and then wondered why their bunkmates hated them.