Baby-Sitters useless vacation

[photo courtesy of Dibbly Fresh]

Is it that as the series went on, the series got worse, or is it just my perspective now that these books are horrendous? Were the girls always bratty, selfish, bitchy girls that were passive-aggressively mean to each other? Or is that how I perceive them now? I do remember a world where Kristy had great ideas and Marianne stood up to her father and they all had fun walking around Dawn’s haunted barn, so there must have been some good times. Is it just me?

This book however? Steaming pile of crap.

The plot- it’s yet ANOTHER summer vacation. SMS has teamed up with a French-Canadian school to take a week-long trip around Europe. Of course, all the touristy parts where middle and upper class people feel most comfortable visiting. However, Stacey, Kristy, Mallory, Jessi and Abby go on the trip and the rest of the gang stays behind to…oh, it’s bad. Let me get through the Europe part first.

It seems that the BSC get to do whatever the fuck they want on this trip. if there is a place where they want to visit, they get to just run off and go, or the WHOLE FUCKING SCHOOL HAS TO GO THERE TOO. Ugh. And they don’t even seem to have any sort of itinerary, they just make shit up as they go. Good job, SMS. And each of the girls are fucking infuriating.

Stacey: her mom is one of the chaperones on the trip, and she’s all annoyed by it. Stace, she is probably doing that so she can AFFORD to send you, she’s raising you as a single parent, show some RESPECT! Stacey picks up the wrong suitcase at the airport, which is a plot device of every book involving travel, am I right? She is super annoyed and bratty and so annoyed that she has to wear some of her mother’s clothes. Ms. McGill, give her a slap across the face and let her go naked, I say. The suitcase she has belongs to an elderly man who is coming to France to spread his friend’s ashes on the beach and Normandy. They meet up with him and Stacey totally invites herself to go with him. Fuck off Stacey, this is a moment for him, don’t use his pain to make an entry for your travel journal.

Oh yea, Kristy makes them all WRITE ANOTHER DAMN TRAVEL DIARY.

Speaking of Kristy, she is off the charts obnoxious. Talk about immature and self-centered. She meets this French Canadian boy named Michel from the other school and they continue to have pent up sexual frustration between them the whole book. But that whole thing about kids teasing each other when they like each other, taken to the extreme. Kristy is shrill and idiotic (“You’re name is MICHEL? That’s a GIIIIRRRLLLS NAME! EEEEWWWWW”) but for some reason that turns Michel on. Finally they admit they like each other and he comes up to Kristy’s room and they kiss on her balcony. How are they allowed to be up there alone together?

Jessi. Ugh. Really, she may the worst. Apparently she went to this month-long program at this program called Dance New York, and the company there was beeeeggging her to be part of the company because she is so damn amazing. Yea, at eleven years old. And she chose to stay in Stoneybrook because she loves baby-sitting too much. However, she seems to not let us forget that she COULD have been part of this amaaaaazing ballet company. The company is performing in London when they are there so of course Jessi and the crew get to go and leave the group and see it. Jessi visits the company backstage to everyone can remind her again how amazing she is and uh oh! Someone is hurt! So Jessi goes on in her place and it gives the chance for the rest of the BSC to kiss her ass again. Hate.

Mallory has the most boring plotline, and I kind of appreciated it. She meets some distant cousins of hers that live in London, and finds out that she is distantly related to William Shakespeare. Honey, you and hundred thousands of others. He probably had illegitimate children all over London. Of course, she gets to spend the day at their house, while the other kids have to, I don’t know, stick with the group because they are eleven fucking years old?

Abby: I mean this in the most literal sense: I think Abby may be developmentally challenged. Something about her is not quite right. Her plot is that she will visit Victoria Kent, a kid they all used to sit for in Stoneybrook. Newsflash to the BSC: these kids are not your friends! It’s creepy how you think they are! She goes with Victoria to meet the queen and makes an ass of herself by stepping on the foot of the crowned prince. He was okay about it and Abby had a shit fit and…yawn.

There’s also a chapter from Robert’s perspective, who is Stacey’s ex-boyf, and I used to be really excited to get chapters from boys’ perspectives, but they are always pretty boring. Robert basically pines after Stacey and avoids the advances of some girl Jacqui. And talks about how he is depressed. Boo fucking hoo.

Ok, subplot for the rest of the gang- they stay behind because they “get” to be counselors at a local camp. Ghosties, I think you already did this plot. Firstly, what camp hires counselors that are all thirteen? One that would be arrested, that’s what. I couldn’t be an official counselor until I was at least 17, and the thirteen year olds were the Counselors-in-training that I got to order around. Janine is also the head counselor and orders everyone around but then gets to be the hero when she stands up to the dominating male head counselor. Fight the power, Janine!

The camp down the street for special needs children has a counselor sick, so they request someone from this camp to take their place. Yea, like that would happen. Dawn, apparently because she knows a girl with Downs-Syndrome in California thinks she’s the expert and jumps at the chance. And at the camp is Susan Feldman, the autistic girl that Kristy failed to cure! I thought she never made another appearance. The camp has a hugging machine used by individuals with autism, which is really weird that it was mentioned in this book because without background or explanation, it can not make any sense to anyone. I happened to know about it from reading Animals in Translation. We get it Ann. You know lots about kids and about kids with developmental disabilities.

As is with the tradition of Super Specials, there are illustrations, which do not do the girls justice. Maryanne has a horrendous haircut, Kristy looks six, and they always looked…unkempt. I can’t explain it, but in all the pictures, to me, it seems that the girls need showers and a comb through their hair.

However, the book was redeemed for me none other than the awesome Cokie Mason. At the camp, the gang comes in after a rainy day. “Well if it isn’t the Baby-sitters Club wet t-shirt contest. Not that anyone would notice.” BWAH! Can Cokie get her own series?

I really want to forget this book ever existed and go back to a world when Maryanne met Logan, Mallory wanted her ears pierced and Toby and Stacey were in LUV in Sea City.  Viva la old school BSC.

By the way, Jessi is black.

Posted in: bsc

45 thoughts on “Baby-Sitters useless vacation

  1. nikki says:

    This was a GREAT post. I never made it this far in the BSC, and now I’m glad. Seriously this book sounds redonkulous.

    There was a hugging machine on a recent episode of Pushing Daisies! Not for autistic kids, just for loners who wanted friends.

  2. Onnie says:

    I don’t even remember this book. I must have stopped reading at this point. I don’t know how you stomached it. I would have thrown down the book in a fit wanting to scream at all of them to stop their bitchin’ and complaining!

  3. maybeimamazed02 says:

    I worked at a library in high school, and I remember reading this on a slow day. I must admit, as a performer myself (who NEVER got to go on for a sick/hurt/delinquent person, although at least two of my guy friends did), I actually liked Jessi’s storyline.

    In Super Special #2, they were actually CIT’s at summer camp, which makes way more sense. Of course, this is back when BSC was somewhat realistic.

  4. Malika says:

    Agree…. Their hair, if it was supposed to look up to the minute and permed always managed to look as if they had forgotten the existence of their hairbrush. But maybe that’s juts late 80’s early 90’s stylee?

    Can’t we just start a fan fiction site and write the babysitters at 40 instalment!

  5. annakelly says:

    I loved this book when I first read it ’cause I had an obsession with England at the time. I really don’t want to let go of that memory … sigh.

    I agree that Cokie needs her own series.

    @ nikki – nice to know there’s at least one other person in the world who likes Pushing Daisies!

  6. Jener says:

    Yes, as the series got on it got worse and worse. By the end all the characters are Bitchy McBitchersons.

    I actually read all the later ones because I was still half reading them by 200o (I was 12), but even I realised then they were all kindof crap. I remember being excited by this one because they went to London! And I loved London! But if I remember correctly this was the book that made me never want to read BSC again.

    And I always liked Abby (probably because she was introduced just as I started reading), I always liked how she never took any of Kristy’s crap.

  7. maybeimamazed02 says:

    My sister, our friend, and I actually DID write some BSC-ers-as-adult book titles one day when we were bored. Among them:

    Stacey and the Big O
    Jessi’s Eating Disorder
    Mallory and the Lake of Lies
    Abby’s Dead (Nobody Cares)

  8. ihatewheat says:

    About the hugging machine- I really wish I had one. I actually have this thing where I enjoy pressure on my body. I’m not even talking sexual in nature. I need to sleep on a very hard mattress and I always feel that people never hug hard enough. I also am a loner who wants friends.

    Hah! Making up the titles is a fun game.

    Claudia and the Spelling Bee
    Dawn and the Home Schooled Children
    Stacey’s Orgy

  9. Kait says:

    I haven’t read this one, but from everything I heard it sounds ridiculous. Stacey in particular is a bit whacko. She says Heathrow feels “fantastically foreign.” Umm, no, it doesn’t. It feels like every other airport in the world. Actually, Detroit felt a little more foreign than Heathrow, as many of its signs are also in Asian languages. Also, her mom takes her to buy outfits at Harrod’s. If Mrs. McG is struggling as a single parent, I wouldn’t have guessed it, as a headband at Harrod’s will set you back $150.

  10. prettyhowtown says:

    i always thought it was suspicious that jessi got to fill in for someone at the last minute–in this book and in starring the babysitters club as well, right? hmm.

    i am so glad, btw, that this book didn’t come out until long after i was past middle school. i was depressed enough to find out that my middle school didn’t take an annual trip to a ski lodge.

  11. maybeimamazed02 says:

    Prettyhowtown, you have a right to be suspicious…typically, theatre and dance companies have “swings” (people who know every role) for that very purpose.

    However, a school production of Peter Pan probably WOUDLN’T have a fill-in for the dog/crocodile, so Starring the Baby-sitters Club! has a bit more credibility.

  12. Tannaqui says:

    Sooo glad I stopeed reading the series before this one.

    Though I still have vague fondness for the Snow Vacation or whatever, where they go skiing and someone breaks a leg, hah!.

    Probably as I haven’t seen snow….

    Lol…………. did I mention Jessi was black?

  13. Cara Walker says:

    I am so in for Cokie having her own series.

    I never read this BSC book – was way past it when this one was released – but I may have to find a copy just to amuse myself with how lame it sounds. I definitely agree that the BSC seems to have developed a much bitchier ‘attitude with time (and ghost writers becoming more desperate for storylines….)

    Jessi is a freaking 11 year old brat. As boring as Mallory is, she is much more tolerable.

  14. Magpie says:

    This recap was totally awesome. I laughed the whole way through.

    I cannot express how much I disliked the later BSC books. This kind of book is exactly why I stopped reading them. The originals weren’t perfect either – Kristy was pretty damn irritating the whole way through – but at least it felt as though the girls were actually a group of friends. Admittedly, it’s probably more realistic for two kids like Stacey and Kristy to be bitchy towards each other (no way would those two ever be friends in a real-life school), but I didn’t enjoy reading about them all being whiny brats.

    Why do all the BSC agree to humour Kristy and write those ridiculous travel journals? You’d think at some point one of them would stand up to her and refuse.

    Also, who the hell is Abby and why on earth did they feel the need to introduce yet another new babysitter?

  15. paige says:

    Ugh, I get so tired of hearing about what an amazing dancer Jessi is at 11 years old (!). Also, she’s black???

    Heathrow airport is not “fantastically foreign,” but it can be fantastically inefficient to get through customs.

  16. cari says:

    More grown-up BSC titles:

    Stacey’s Abortion

    Mallory and the All-Women’s College

    Claudia’s New Career at Safeway

    Jessi Ramsey, Still Black

    Kristy’s Adventures in the Women’s Locker Room

    Stacey and Shannon Make a Porno (feat. Byron Pike as pizza delivery guy)

    Mary-Anne & Logan’s Shotgun Wedding

  17. nikki says:

    There is a REAL fanfic story (on about the BSC. It’s title is Gone. It is freaking AWESOME!!! It’s about Kristy in an abusive relationship with Cary Retlin. I’m not kidding, it’s actually quite good! Mary Anne is a lesbian! Dawn is a drug addicted rape-victim! The rest of the fanfic is bleeech….but these titles are great!

  18. Kristin says:

    She Cried Nofe Air: The Claire Pike Story

    Mary Anne and the Jelly Fish Disaster

    Logan Likes to Hit Mary Anne*

    Big Jessi’s House (she’s black!)

    Claudia and the Two Types of Diabetes

    Claudia and the Rotting Teeth Mystery

    Driving the BSC with Charlie Thomas

    (I know this topic isn’t funny, I am making fun of the fact that Logan is borderline abusive to her and the title of the original book Logan Likes Mary Anne).

  19. Katy says:

    The series definitely got worse as time went by. I think (and it’s been awhile since I’ve read these, but this was my theory at age 14), that Ann M. Martin actually wrote the first 6 or so and that they were of a significantly higher quality than the ones that followed. Like, they were actually decent books. However, as the series wore on and on they became so bad as to become unreadable. The quality of the ghostwriters just plummeted.

    I’m 30, and I started reading the series in 1987 or so, right after they came out. I would not admit this in public, but to the audience of the Dairi Burger I will say that I continued to buy each one as it came out until about book 50, at which point I was a freshman in high school. I actually don’t think it was the humiliation that I was reading BSC books in high school that made me stop; I think it was that they just completely sucked. That was around the time they started having titles like “Kristy and the Baby Parade.”

    However, seeing that they continued for another 50+ books makes me wonder just how low the quality sunk. Dawn was always my favorite babysitter and I know that now she is probably the most loathed babysitter… I have a feeling her character must have just devolved towards the end.

  20. ihatewheat says:

    I Fall Down Because My Daddy Never Told Me He Loves Me: The Jackie Rodowsky Story

    Dawn and the Mystery of the Basement Meth Lab

    Kristy and the Mystery of Heather’s Two Mommies

    Logan and the Blue Balls (special reader’s request edition)

    Mallory vs. the Online Predators

  21. Natalie says:

    My favorite babysitter was definitely Mary Anne. I too had a somewhat overbearing best friend and was a total nerd, but things worked out pretty well for Mary Anne, and at the time I thought Logan was incredibly dreamy. (Ah hindsight.)

    The babysitter I was most like was probably Kristy, given that I was a kind of moody, jealous, not-that-cute kid with unfortunate hair.

    Ah memories…

  22. Rio says:

    Claire Pike and the Island of the Silly-Billy-Goo-Goos

    Sharon Schafer and the Mystery of the Missing Diaphragm (it’s in the cereal box)

    You Really Don’t Look That Fabulous, Claudia!

    Stacey’s Big Flare-Up

    The BSC Goes to Bangladesh

    Mallory Kisses a Girl and Likes It

    Logan Knocks Up Mary Anne

  23. Anne says:

    I used to be Jordan, now I’m Jordin: A Triplet’s Quest to Find Herself

    Emily Michelle Meets Woody Allen

    Claudia’s first tube of Clearasil

    Dawn vs Paris Hilton

  24. Natalie says:

    @Anne: I think the girl in the red shirt who might be half a shade darker than Mallory might be Jessi, but I’m not sure.

    I checked out the fanfic Nikki recommended and this line cracked me up:

    “Janine is eighteen and already in a doctoral program at some university in Massachusetts. Claudia, on the other hand, had to repeat eighth grade. She couldn’t even blame it on moving or anything. Poor Claudia, it’s got to be awful to be her.”

  25. Robyn says:

    Every one of these titles has nearly made me spit my lunch out all over the computer screen. Somebody needs to write these stories – in particular “The BSC goes to Bangladesh”. Now there is a BSC book I would read now and enjoy thoroughly!

  26. Rio says:

    Haha, thanks, Robyn. Here are some more:

    Logan Bruno, Too Gay to Function

    Dawn vs. Jessica Wakefield (whom she meets on her sixteenth visit to California)

    Claudia and the Dangerously High Cholesterol

    Kristy Sees the Future, or The 40-Year-Old Virgin

    Jackie Rodowsky Goes Emo

    Baghdad, Here We Come! (in which Stacey flirts with a hot young corporal, Kristy tries to prove that she can handle an AK-47 better than anyone, Dawn holds a one-woman peace protest that pisses everyone off, Jessi finds out that some soldiers are BLACK, Claudia creates an amazing new camouflage outfit that would look horrible on anyone but her, Mary Anne cries a lot when Logan considers enlisting, and Mallory just sits there and ruins the scenery)

  27. Katy says:

    Anne, that totally reminds me of The Saddle Club books. In the beginning, the character Carole was white. At some point, they decided she was black. I don’t think they ever mentioned this in the text; they just started picturing her as black on the cover illustrations. This completely confused the hell out of me when I was a kid.

  28. Cara Walker says:

    LMAO at some of the titles – fave is “Claudia and the Two Types of Diabetes” by Kristin. Perhaps someone could start writing “Best BSC Books Never Written” – I have enjoyed the SVH ones so far!

  29. Cara Walker says:

    How about:

    Claudia and Too Many Fat Rolls

    MaryAnne and the Mystery of Logan’s Sexuality

    The Mystery of Stacey’s Quadruplets: Who is the Father???

    BSC Super Edition #385 BabySitters Thailand Plastic Surgery Reunion Surprise!

    Mallory Wants Jessi

  30. nancy says:

    nikki- I just read that fanfic, it was so dark! Well-written though, I agree. It was all very believable… although I disapproved of her description of Mallory having ‘grown into her looks’ though… pah.

    ihatewheat- this was such a fab post. I hate Mallory though, and I’m from London so I think I would have found her dickhead storyline most irritating. What the fuck is it with the obsession with the Royal family? Nobody gives them half a thought over here.

  31. Enid Rollins says:

    What would the BSC be like today? Not as adults, I mean if it started\was going today?

    MaryAnne Begs for MySpace
    Claudia in the Special-Needs Class
    Logan Plays GTA

    Oh, yeah, and Jessi would be totes proud of Obama, because she’s black but they don’t notice!

  32. Jo says:

    *Begin nerdy moment* If I recall correctly, none of Shakespeare’s kids had children, so he has no direct ancestors, so unless she’s claiming to have been a very distant cousin or something, that’s bullshit. *end nerdy moment*

    Jessi’s black?

  33. upstatestruggler says:

    Cokie Mason

    I put out the cigarette I had stolen from my mom and walked through the double doors of SMS. All hell was breaking loose.

    That crybaby Mary Anne was screaming hysterically, surrounded by her bitch friends. “I can’t believe they want to send me home and blame all of this on ME. Everyone knows my father gives me lice checks every three days. There is no way that…”
    Kristy glared at me and hissed at Mary Anne to stfu already. Did she want Cokie of all people to know what was going on?
    I, of course, couldn’t have given a rat’s ass about St. Spier, but I was dying to know what was going on. I had to wait until homeroom to hear the TRUTH ABOUT MARY ANNE.

    I walked through the door and spotted Claudia Kishi, who appeared to be sniffing her notebook. Probably trying to get a buzz from the glue she had used to attach hundreds of fuzzy pom poms to it. People always went on and on about her ‘artistic sensibility’ and ‘eye for style’, but I was pretty convinced by this point that she was just…slow, maybe? Completely color and pattern blind? The bastard child of Jackson Pollock?
    Our homeroom teacher cleared her throat and began speaking in a strangled voice. “Class? I have an important announcement. It appears that there is a pestilence outbreak at SMS. Approximately 69…”
    The class,predictably, broke up at the mention of 69. She recovered and continued, “…many students have been afflicted with crabs.”
    The door flew open and in walked Stacey McGill, scratching her arm.
    “EWWWWWW. Oh no. The crab ueen.”
    Stacey managed to look both bored and mystified at the same time. Then she caught Claudia’s eye and laughed.
    “Oh, the pubic lice thing. No biggie. Kids who grow up in NYC and shop at Bloomie’s every day get them all the time. They are just part of sophisticated life.”
    So, apparently, Mary Anne had introduced crabs to our entire middle school. But how? She and Logan never had less than three layers of clothing each between their areas while they were studying or dancing. I had a hard time believing that she had caught them the old fashioned way. I knew they didn’t come from Logan anyway, because I had enticed him behind the bleachers just last week and didn’t see anything crawling anywhere. And I had been close enough to know.
    I was standing at my locker later that day when someone grabbed a hold of my hair. I whipped around to see Mary Anne herself with the ends of my ponytail in her pale little hand.
    “I just heard about what happened last week. Of course Logan came clean to me. When he explained everything in that southern drawl that he just can’t seem to shake, welll…” She appeared lost in dreamland for a second. Then she shook herself back and finished her thought. “…Just what do you mean, giving Logan those…”she lowered her voice…”crustaceans”?
    “Pfft, bitch, if you have crabs…”and I not only didn’t lower my voice, but I raised it,” you didn’t
    get them from me OR Logan. Maybe you should go ask your father”.
    I woke up in the nurse’s office with a splitting headache and the taste of blood in my mouth.
    *fast wrap up. running out of time*
    When the little buggers were found in SES (Stoneybrook Elementary, of course), they were finally able to trace them to those filthy Barrett children whose mother couldn’t be bothered to wash her kids. Mary Anne had indeed introduced them to SMS- she was the last of the BSC to have baby-sat them, and made the cardinal mistake of sitting on their toilet seat. This, of course, leads to Dawn taking charge and whipping the whole family into shape.

  34. girltalkread says:

    Dude, now that I am part of a YA blog myself, I am reading many BSC books as part of it, and this book was soooo utterly awful that I am not even bothering to recap it- and besides you do such a great job of recapping the book, I don’t think I can compete- but UGH I can now see why I stopped reading BSC books after about #60- each book after that is just soooooo full of DUNG!!! This book, especially, was pointless, useless and yes every girl was GD ANNOYING!!!!!!!!!!! Though I like that Abby kinda snarks on the other sitters in her head.

  35. CNJ says:

    This was one of the weaker “super-specials”; they should have either had ALL the BSC head for Europe (maybe have Janine come along and recite all these funny long facts of European history and also have Cokie come along and make a total a$$ out of herself as she always does) or have the whole BSC just stay in Stoneybrook and work at the summer camp and maybe have a weekend trip to Canada at the end.

    It seems as if they tried to cram too many little scenes in too many locations in this one, so none of them seemed to really have too deep an experience except maybe Stacey becoming interested in D-day (see, Stacey-bashers, dear Stacey IS a bright girl, despite her love of shopping and endless crushes).

    Cokie’s good for laughs since even back in the old town, she makes an a$$ out of herself. I kept expecting her to smoke, then put a butt out on poor Mary Anne’s arse. It’s always fun watching stupid Cokie undo herself.

    The startled, worried frown on Mary Anne’s face (complete with the vertical lines between those bushy brows of hers) when she and Claudia come in dripping wet and seeing Cokie sitting there on the floor and Cokie making the nasty comment about Mary Anne’s flat chest is priceless; I always laugh there.

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