The Baby-Sitters Club Reboot: Super Special #1: Baby-Sitters at Burning Man!

Mr. and Mrs. Pike return to the place where Mallory was conceived- Burning Man. They rent two RVs to drive the family to the Black Rock Desert, and bring Stacey and MaryAnne along as mother’s helpers. Kristy whines about not getting to go, so Watson brings the family, along with Claudia and Dawn. Kristy decides that they should all make a stop-motion animation documentary about their experience, using only ancient Latin. After some moaning and groaning, Kristy reminds them that the club was her idea and that her stepfather is an effing millionaire so stfu and do what she says or she will cut them all off and that means no more kid-kits. Kristy sure can be bossy sometimes!

Dawn is embarrassed about the way her friends are acting and tries at every turn to get away from their village. One night she has a terrible trip and can’t find her way back to her camp. She learns she is taking her friends for granted and that she was stupid for trying to make friends outside of the BSC.

MaryAnne is scared to leave the RV and spends the week driving everyone crazy trying to tidy up the RV and whining about missing Logan. Claire Pike teaches her the lesson that “if you don’t try something, you’ll never experience life.” They go on a naked bike ride together in the moonlight and MaryAnne is reminded that even children have something to teach adults (although she herself is still a child.)

Stacey meets Breegan, a cute older guy at a rave on the Esplanade. She is mesmerized by his white man dreads and his worldliness. Stacey tells the guy she is twenty-three and many hi-jinks ensue as she tries at length to keep up the lie, going so far as to pretend the Pike children are her own. Turns out that Breegan is really Arthur, an actuary from Livingston, New Jersey just trying to get away from his boring life by creating a new identity. Stacey learns that it’s best just to be herself because her fabulous, Manhattan-raised, sophisticated, permed self is better than enough.

Claudia annoys everyone by bringing five suitcases of costumes. To make matters worse, she has massive junk food withdrawal and is forced to scavenge their village for any sugar she can find. She’s mistaken for an ancient tribal deity by a neighboring camp and is showered with as the drugs she wants. After her five day bender, she learns that too much of a good thing “kan sumtimz be teo mmuch”

Kristy, upon seeing some kids run around camp without abandonment and partially clothed, get a Great Idea (natch) and opens a day camp for the kids at Burning Man and then demands sympathy from everyone when she complains how hard it is. They go on a field trip to the Burning Man, but Karen “accidentally” sets fire to the Burning Man early, much to the angry mob of Black Rock City dwellers. Karen eventually wins them over by doing an insult comic routine and has everyone laughing. She’s eventually forgiven and a float is made in her honor at the parade. Karen learns that being an annoying brat will get you lots of attention.

Meanwhile, the Pike triplets build a Burning Man vehicle out of an old tin barrel and some toothpicks, but won’t let Nicky participate because he’s their younger brother and a fucking idiot. Vanessa rhymes everything and drives everyone crazy. Margo gets sick by eating sand because she may actually be developmentally retarded. Mr. and Mrs. Pike and Mr. and Mrs. Brewer try out polyamory for the week and wake up from an orgy only to find Richard Spier and Dawn’s mom in the person pile next to them. What a small world!

If you like what you see, please support my upcoming book!

Baby-Sitters Club: The reboot, Chapter 2 “The Truth About Stacey”

Stacey bounced up the steps of the Johanssen’s front stoop to ring the bell. Even though it was a sitting job, Stacey was excited about this afternoon’s charge. Charlotte Johanssen was her favorite kid. Quiet and reserved, Charlotte looked up to Stacey. And Stacey loved the attention.Dr. Johanssen answered the door. “Stacey” she exclaimed happily. “So good to see you! Charlotte’s in the playroom with Becca. I hope you don’t mind that she’s here.” Dr. J was a doctor on a reality show about celebrities addicted to sniffing glue.Becca Ramsey was the younger sister of Stacey’s friend Jessi, who used to be the BSC but had to drop out because she was always getting offered parts at the NYC Ballet, despite being eleven and dancing en pointe for a week.Jessi and Becca are black.

“No that’s fine,” said Stacey, smiling. The more to admire her!

Dr. J lowered her voice. “I left you some quinoa and spelt bread for a snack.” Dr. J was so understanding when Stacey admitted her gkuten allergy. It was so hard to find people to understand her affliction.

Stacey fluffed out her hair, adjusted her Steve McQueen romper and headed up to Char’s room. She heard Char from the hallway “ok, a little to the left,” Char was saying. Stacey put her head through the door and saw Becca lounging on her bed and Char filming her on her flipcam.

“What are you guys doing?” Stacey asked. “We’re playing Celebrity. Char is Kim Kardashian.”

Stacey giggled. Charlotte was so imaginative, that was part of why she was her favorite sitting charge. “Hey are you guys ready for your snack?”

They went down to the kitchen and Stacey prepared their Kale and soy-mayo sandwiches. “MMMppphhh” Becca said, her mouth full of kale. “Stacey aren’t you having any?” she asked.

“No,” Stacey looked down. “Uhhhhh, I’m on a diet.”

“What?” asked Charlotte. “But you’re already so skinny! You’re a size zero.”

“Yea, but I want to be a size double zero for when I go shopping at sample sales in New York.”

“Come on Stacey, just have one half! It’s low carb bread.”  Char urged.

“I, uhhh……hey, let’s go outside and play!”

The issue quickly forgotten, the girls ran outside . The Johanssens had built an elaborate treehouse for Charlotte,.and she and Jessi were pretending that they were at the Jersey Shore house. Among screams of “Raaaaahhhhhhnnnn!” and “GTL! DTF!” Stacey snapped some pictures and sent them to the BSC tumblr account.

“Hello?” said someone at the backyard gate. “Oh, hey Hayley!” waved Char. Hayley lived next door and had a stylish, ironic mulllet. “What are you up to?”

“Well, my mother baked these brownies, but I’m off of carbs with week, so I thought you guys could use them. I thought to myself, ‘Becca and Charlotte DEFINITELY don’t care what they eat.”

Oblivious to the hipper, more stylish girls back-handed compliment, Jessi and Becca reached for brownies. “Yum!” said Becca. Stacey, try one!”

“Nah”, said Stacey, blushing.

“Oh come on” said Hayley. “Yea!” said Charlotte, chocolate smeared across her “Team Edward” tee shirt. “They are sooooo good!”.

“I SAID NO!” snapped Stacey. The three girls froze, mid-chew.

“I’m sorry” sniffed Charlotte. “I dibn’t meed to bake you mad.” She said through her tears and mucus..

“Oh guys,” Stacey felt horrible. She hoped Kristy or Charlotte’s parents didn’t hear her yelling on the live webfeed they had coming from all their client’s homes. “I….I have something to tell you.”

“What is it You can tell us,” said Becca. Becca is black.

“I have this problem….I have a gluten allergy. I can’t eat any gluten, and I have to watch what I eat really carefully. When I lived in New York, all my friends- those who I thought were my friends- thought I was weird and started being mean to me. This one time, at a sleepover, we had garlic bread, and during the night, I had gas. It was so embarrassing. They spread rumors that I had epilepsy. It was so horrible. That’s why I didn’t tell anyone when I moved to Connecticut I didn’t want to tell anyone- I wanted to make a fresh start.”

Stacey was looking down as she talked, and waited to hear the girls reaction.

“That’s it?” Charlotte said. “That’s what you;’re embarrassed about? That’s nuts. We don’t care! You’re still our favorite baby-sitter!”

“Yea” said Hayley. “My mother only eats things that are red. That and cayenne pepper. And then throws is all up. No biggie.”

“Really you guys” said Stacey? “Wow, I am so lucky.”

Charlotte said, “Come on guys! Let’s go back inside and play America’s Next Top Model! I’m Andre Leon! Stacey, you can be go-see and judge each of us on our potential to be a model.”

“Ok Char,” said Stacey. “Lead the way!” She couldn’t wait to put this all in the BSC blog.

Baby-Sitters Club: The Reboot, Chapter 1

“I now call this meeting of the Baby Sitters Club to order” said Kristy Thomas, president of the Baby-Sitters Club. She took her job as president seriously. She often wore a visor and sat in a director’s chair when she ran the meetings. Today she was wearing a turtleneck and her favorite “I’m CEO, bitch!” sweatshirt. “All accounted for?” she asked adjusting the iPad in her lap.“Present,” piped up the other members, Mary Anne Spier and Dawn Shaefer.

“pMMMNNNTT” came a muffled voice from under the bed. The voice came from a pair of legs and a backside, which belonged to Claudia Kishi, who was searching furiously for something under her bed.  Claudia hid her goodies in her bedroom because her parents didn’t approve of them. The meetings were held in Claudia’s room, because she was the only one in the group that had her own wireless network that allowed bitTorrents. For that reason, Claudia was also Vice President.

“What is that smell?” Dawn said, scrunching her nose and flipping her long dreadlocks over her shoulder. Dawn was the group’s bleeding heart, tree-hugging liberal.

“Nevermind that,” said Kristy impatiently. “Where’s Stacey?”

Suddenly, Claud’s head emerged from under the bed. “She’s skyping in from the N.Y.C. She went back this weekend to go to some loft party in DUMBO.”

“CLAUD!” the girls shrieked. “You’re wearing MEAT!”

“Yea, it’s so Gaga, don’t you think?” she said, smiling. Claudia, who was Japanese-American and had almond shaped eyes, was an artist and her clothing often looked like a work of art. She could be found wearing things like neon suspenders with bike shorts, earrings made out of fruit, sweaters knitted from human hair, a pair of pants made from discarded Zune players. But this time, she wore a fitted dress made from slabs of meat. She even fashioned a necklace made out of veins and entrails.

“I think I;m gonna be sick,” whined Dawn. “MEAT IS MURDER!”

“Wow,” said Mary Anne. “My dad would never let me wear anything like that,” she said wistfully. Mary Anne’s mother died when she was very little and was raised by her father, who was very conservative. She was not even allowed to watch Entourage! However, Mary Anne was the first one of them to have a steady boyfriend. Logan Bruno was nineteen and lived in a house with his electroclash band.

Kristy fiddled with her iPad and dialed Stacey on Skype. “Official business first.” The rest of the girls settled in, and Claudia dug into the stash she just found, breaking it into lines across the cover of her copy of Breaking Dawn.

Kristy set the iPad upright on Claud’s drafting table and Stacey’s face popped on the screen, except that the picture was shaking and the background sped past. “Sorry guys I’m on my iPhone at the Heatherette store. I need to look for something to wear for the party.” Stacey and Claudia, although were both thirteen years old like Kristy and Claudia, but oftentimes seemed more sophisticated. They certainly had more interest in clothes and boys than the rest of them.
“Oh Stace, while you are there, can you pick up those feather eyelashes for Karen? She has a pageant coming up next week.”

“I thought we were only supposed to be talking about official business” snapped Dawn, who was sitting on Claudia’s beanbag chair assembling Molotov Cocktails for a protest she was attending against Stoneybrook’s town hall.

“I know,” said Kristy shortly. There was still some tension between Kristy and Dawn. Kristy and Mary Anne had been best friends since they were just in diapers. When Dawn moved to Stoneybrook last year, she and Mary Anne had become best friends. There were both still a little bit jealous of each other. Not to mention that Kristy was a Mac user and Dawn was a PC user. Kristy supported Sarah Palin and Dawn was a geo-anarchist.

“Claud!” yelled Stacey from the iPad. “We just spent our BSC dues on an intervention! Do we need to do another one?” Claudia lifted her head up from snorting a line, some powder still on her nose. “No,” she said sheepishly. “My parents told me that if they have to pay for rehab one more time, they were going to stop paying for my art classes.”

“Claud, your art! You are so talented!” said Mary Anne.

“You’re right.” Claudia finally gave in. “I guess I should get rid of those Crystal Meth rocks.”

“Oh that’s what I was sitting on!” exclaimed Dawn, pulling the baggie of rocks out from under her behind.”I thought they were Jamie Newton’s marble collection!”

The girls burst into a fit of giggles. Kristy laughed too, in spite of herself.

“ok, ok. We should get started with the meeting. First order of business. How’s the treasury look, Stace?”

Stacey, who was a whiz at math, stopped looking through a rack of sequined thongs at Bergdorfs, sighed. “Not great you guys. Between the interventions for Claud and the pizza parties, not to mention the extra we spent on the gluten free pizzas, we are close to zilch.”

“Kristy, why don’t you just ask Watson for the money?” asked Claudia, adjusting the rump roast-slash-sleeve.  Watson was Kristy’s stepfather, who was a real-life billionaire.

Kirsty stuck out her tongue at the suggestion. “No, I don’t want any of his help. He’s done enough to my family as it is, trying to get us to agree to that reality show. I think it’s time to launch another Kickstarter campaign, you guys.”

“I could offer some of my artwork as investor incentives” offered Claudia.

“I could offer a makeover,” said Stacey.

“I could offer my virginity” said Mary Anne.

“That sounds great everyone! We’ll launch next week.” Kristy checked the iPad for the agenda. “Now, let’s check the ticket queue for baby-sitting requests.”

“Let’s see: said Mary Anne, who was the Secretary of the Club and managed all the appointments. “Cokie Mason needs a sitter for little Jeffrey on Saturday.”

“Ugh, again?” asked Dawn, her mouth full of quinoa, kale and Four Loko..

“Yea, she has another callback to be cast on Teen Mom.”

Mary Anne read off the other requests and the girls scheduled the appointments. It was a hard job to keep track of all their schedules, with Stacey’s doctor’s appointments for her celliac’s disease, Claudia’s benders, Mary Anne’s pole dance aerobics, Karen’s pageants (Kristy was her handler) and Dawn’s protests.

“How are the Kid Kits looking these days?” asked Kristy.

“Pretty good,” answered Stacey, who was now at a restaurant in the Meatpacking District that only served 60 different varieties of rice pudding. “But the app seems to have some glitches with you run it with the new iPhone. There are some movies that you can’t stream directly.”

“We really need to make it an app for Android too” added Kristy. “We’ll have to ask the Pike triplets to program it.” Byron, Adam, and Jordan were identical triplets, frequent clients, and computer prodigies. Mary Anne, can you ask them when you sit for them tomorrow?…..Mary Anne? MARY ANNE??”

“Sorry,” Mary Anne blushed. “I was texting with Logan.”

Kristy made a vomit noise and stuck her tongue down her throat. Kristy had no time for silly things like gross boys. She had other things to think about, like her startup idea.

“One day you’ll start to see that boys are not so bad” said Stacy, now back at home in her bedroom with the posters of Sookie and Eric covering her walls.

“She’s just saving herself for Mark Zuckerberg,” teased Claud. Once again the girls dissolved into giggles.

Just then, Charlie, Kristy’s older brother pulled up outside to drive her home to the rich part of town. “I think the meeting is officially adjourned.”

As she ran down the stairs and out the front door, she logged onto her twitter account.

@msKristyThomas Another great BSC meeting #itsgoodtobeprez

Her mind wandered back to the time when she had the Great Idea for the BabySittersClub.biz…..

Proof of my devotion

When you are embarassed about a photo, what better way to deal with it than to post it for all the web to see? My father recently unearthed lots of old slides and scanned them and sent them to me. Among oodles of pictures of me with a bowl haircut, birthday parties at Pizza Hut, and on vacation at Sesame Place, each year our birthdays were recorded. Alas, my eleventh birthday:

Yes, my parents got me a t-shirt (or is that a snuggie?) that says “So many books…so little time”, because, you know, wearing that to junior high would ensure instant success. And I can’t remember if that is technically a perm or a body wave. Is there even a difference? You can see that year I was gaga over Christopher Pike, and I can identify those as Scavenger Hunt, Gimme a Kiss…and I don’t know. But there is a definitely a Fabulous Five Super Special lurking underneath there, and a book called Breaking Up With Ernie that I recall being obsessed with.

Skip ahead a year, to my twelfth birthday…the perm is still there (yeouch) and my excitement is over the Baby-sitters Club Calendar.

For the love of Pete, I hope my outfit was just the pajamas. The best thing about the calendar is  that there was a “map” of Stoney Brook in the back, and it was not what I imagined at all. The neighborhood of course only consisted of the people mentioned, and Kristy only seemed to live a few blocks away from the rest. Did they think we wouldn’t notice the cartological inconsistencies?

To help you erase these images from your mind, I’ve got exciting news. I’m in touch with a former SVU ghostwriter and I will be posting an interview soon, as well as a giveaway of some signed books as well as her new book.

Thanks for Bein’ A Friend…and guest posting

Back in the day, the Baby-Sitters Club show was a straight to video trainwreck. And R.G. Quimby is here to capture it at its finest. Check out more at Little Snarky Two Shoes.

As the theme song swells, we find the ladies chillin’ out max and relaxin’ all cool on the front steps of Stoneybrook Junior High. Surprisingly, none of them acts like they’re high on substances, which might be a first for this show.

As the BSC make their way back home, they pause on the outskirts of the soccer field so that Dawn can resume drooling over her latest crush, a sporty fellow named Jamie Anderson. According to Dawn, he’s the most beautiful guy she’s ever seen, California surfers be damned.

Dawn thinks he’s a hottie with a body and nearly drops her panties on the spot when Jamie wanders over to retrieve a runaway soccer ball.

Later, as the BSC discuss how they’ll be decorating the school cafeteria for the upcoming Sweetheart Dance, Dawn is still in full swoon. After some talk about romantic color schemes, all the girls concede that Jamie (with his soccer cleats and fine-looking bowl haircut) is pretty darn foxy, though for some reason they all think it’s hilarious when Kristy says she might ask him out herself.

Umm…

Yeah, well, anyway. Since we’re talking about the BSC here, snaring Jamie for Dawn has to be some kind of freaking group project. The girls brainstorm ways for Dawn to attract Jamie’s attention, including taking up sports and/or prank calling his house. Ugh. Seriously, between the baby obsession and the unhealthy co-dependency, if I were Jamie I’d stay the hell away from this quagmire.

Like a dutiful step-sister, Mary Anne puts a good word in for Dawn the next day when she picks up li’l Jackie Rodowsky from his soccer practice with Coach Jamie. In addition to the obligatory jokes about how stupid and uncoordinated Jackie is supposed to be (you know, because making fun of ginger kids never really loses its appeal)…

…we also get some useful tidbits of sports advice when Coach Jamie pulls the kids in for a huddle and tells them how the attacking half should use back-passes when on the center mark.

Actually, he just talks about the importance of practice, but I guess we’re supposed to be impressed by his knowledge of soccer or something.

Anyway, Mary Anne’s attempts to seduce Jamie (on Dawn’s behalf, of course) mostly involve giving him info about the BSC and repeatedly mentioning how much Dawn loves children. Because, you know, most guys find that really sexy.

Still, apparently Mary Anne’s PR spin did kind of work. Soon, a new client calls and says that Jamie Anderson provided the reference. The gang takes this as a very good sign, and rightly so, since we all know that most teenage boys will signal their interest by throwing extra work in your direction.

The next day at school, Mary Anne and Dawn bump into sexy-ass Jamie. Soon, MA high-tails it out of there so Dawn and Jamie can make with the googly-eyes. Dawn makes some clever jokes about how clumsy Jackie Rodowsky is (again, because those gags never get old) and Jamie complains about how annoying he is to coach. Somehow, this ginger-bashing ends with Jamie asking Dawn for her phone number.

Sweet!

Jamie doesn’t keep us waiting long for his phone call, either. MA and Dawn are chillaxing upstairs after school when their mother yells that there’s someone on the telephone. Dawn rushes downstairs and immediately accepts Jamie’s invitation to the big soccer game.

Long live Jawn!

For the next couple of days, Dawn’s all freaked out and super-excited about her outing with Jamie. She even takes several hours to get ready for their date, but the results are well worth it:

Jamie arrives and meets Dawn in all her day-glo-spandex-and-big-banged glory, a look almost worthy of Claudia Kishi herself. But, oh noes! Jamie’s all, “Who are you going to the game with?”

And Dawn realizes that Jamie was actually trying to ask Mary Anne out when he called the other day. Buuuurn.

R.I.P., Jawn.

Dawn’s reaction to this is about as objective and mature as you might expect: she runs upstairs and proceeds to treat Mary Anne like a piece of crap for supposedly stealing her man. There was probably a scene where Dawn tells her step-sister that she’s a stank-ass ho, but I’m sure it was cut out due to time constraints.

I’ll skip over the passive-aggressive crap that Dawn does to Mary Anne, her sister and supposed best friend. Let’s just say that Dawn’s suggestion to create a schedule for the bathroom so she and MA can more effectively avoid one another is the least annoying thing that happens.

Meanwhile, in the midst of preparations for the Sweetheart Dance, Dawn also announces that she’s always hated the color purple, mumbling something about heavy-handed social justice themes and an overly simplistic portrayal of race relations.

Anyway, after days of giving Mary Anne the cold shoulder and making life really hellish for the rest of the BSC, Dawn’s bitch-storm finally comes to a climax when she and MA get in a fight over the proper construction of a giant papier-mâché heart.

The two of them struggle to gain control, ultimately breaking the heart into two unusable halves, symbolizing the broken state of Dawn’s emotions as well as the severing of their sisterly relationship.

This show works on so many levels!

Of course, Miss Kristy is not about to let the BSC fall into ruins because of Jamie friggin’ Anderson. She calls an emergency meeting of the Baby-Sitters Club and forces the two of them to talk it out, Dr. Phil-style.

Dawn admits that she really liked Jamie and felt like an ugly hag when he chose Mary Anne. Meanwhile, MA re-states her innocence and tells Dawn that she would never do anything to hurt her. The two of them hug it out as Kristy announces, “No dog ever peed on a moving car!”

Cut to: the Sweetheart Dance, which is in full swing. The decorations look great! Underneath a flurry of papier-mâché crap, all the kids in school are having mini-seizures to the canned 90’s party music.

As soon as they arrive, Jamie Anderson asks Dawn to dance. She enthusiastically agrees and is soon hypnotized by his spastic gyrations.

The show ends with all the ladies shakin’ some booty on the dance-floor just as the theme song starts piping in.

And… SCENE!

Claudia Kishi, fashion icon

Lady Gaga is the shit. Does no one remember that she made an appearance on The Hills? Where Lauren fixed her zipper? Anyway, her crazy outfits seem to be inspired by our favorite junk food hoarder, Claudia Kishi.

Variation on the Flinstones outfit/bone in her hair:

This looks like some crap Claudia would make in art class and wear around town thinking she’s totally artsy and individual.

I’m sure at some point Claudia went pantsless. “She was wearing a t shirt and tights, and anyone else would be arrested for indecency but on Claudia it looked cool.”

Stuff Dawn Schafer likes

A few months ago, Stuff White People Like exploded onto the web, and for a while it was a really great satire that actually had some sociological insights. Lately, it is just posts about the author’s appearances and the release of his book at Urban Outfitters. On another note, Dawn used to be my favorite BSC member. She had a haunted passage in her house y’all, and lonmg blond hair. And was so unique! Reading them now, as so many others of you have pointed out, she’s kind of a holier-than-thou pain in the ass. And very, very, white. Let’s see how!

and…

When the poor children of the Zuni tribe of New Mexico are in trouble, it’s Dawn who knows what they need! It’s Dawn who will gather together the supplies they need to survive! It’s Dawn who will find an excuse to spend a whole night with children!

So, Dawn is sitting for the Pikes and she finds that the elementary school has pen pals in New Mexico, and are in a Native American tribe. Why so? To learn about other cultures? I’;; bet Connecticut suburbanites are the ones that need to be studied. Get this- Dawn is JEALOUS. And wishes her school was doing something like that. Really Dawn?

Then, BAM! The kids hear that a fire destroyed their school and some of the town, some people lost their houses and belongings. Dawn decides- how can she make this about HER? How can she fill the void in her heart that can only be filled by a school-aged pen pal? Why, it’s to create a town wide fundraiser! And she gets to organize it all! She even calls the teachers of the elementary school to get involved. Not only do they say yes, but they let Dawn take the lead!

Dawn gets to miss school to go over to the elementary school and make an announcement at the assemby. She practically creams herself at the thought of being the center of attention among six year olds. They start a clothing and items of drive…of course in DAWNS BARN. So she can be involved in every moment.

Gee, how can Dawn appear to be more of a martyr and take up her time with children? Well, have a sleepover with all the kids, of course! They’ll have people donate all the supplies (instead of donating it directly to the Zuni children? I don’t get it). It is to reward the kids who raised the money for the students in New Mexico. Because how else can you say “hey, you have a burned charred pile for a house, but we are fortunate enough to be able to stuff our faces with caramel popcorn all night”. Kids pee their pants and throw up from too much food, but it’s all good fun!

Of course, the teachers of the elementary school agree and love it and volunteer to chaperone. Oh, and to let Dawn and the BSC take charge of it. My parents were both teacher and like hell they would have checked with their union first before doing this. Oh noes! Drama! The pizza guy might not have enough pizzas to feed all the kids! Drama over. He’ll use whole wheat crust. Dawn is a smug panda for forcing the kids to eat “healthy” food.

Claudia? Is that you?

Claudia? Is that you?

BONUS! Claudia outfit: “She walked into school today wearing a bright yellow, oversize man’s jacket with rolled up sleeves; a wide paisley tie straight out of the 1960s; orange stirrup pants,; ankle boots; and huge hoop earrings- and you know what? On her, it looked cool.

I had many pen pals in my day. My favorite was named Cathy, and I loved her letters. That’s because she spun a lot of bullshit. Apparently she was dating a twenty year old (we were twelve at the time) and had lots of drama with her friends that sounded eerily familiar to plots of Sweet Valley High books. She sent me a picture and she was wearing jelly shoes over lacy ankle socks.

Cecilia, you’re breaking my heart

Really, Aunt Cecilia? Really? You are going to let that brat Jessi talk to you that way? Really?You are seriously nervous that you don’t think you can be as good a baby-sitter as Jessi? She’s eleven! Really, you are going to give and let her get away with that crap? Really? Even when she doesn’t seem to care that her mother has just got back into a career and wants the best for her? And doesn’t even care that your husband, her uncle, just recently passed away? REALLY? I say go ahead and hit her with that spoon. If not for being a self-righteous brat, then for wearing that Bill Cosby sweater.

But you may not know this, Aunt Cecilia, but Jessi is about to teach you a valuable life lesson that she learned from meddling in poor innocent children’s lives. She’s helping Jackie Rodowsky with his science project, only she’s going to do it for him instead of coaching him to do it himself. SEE? Just like you are doing. Be prepared, she’s going to throw that in your face. Maybe you can throw something back in her face: tell her to get friends her own age and stop hanging out with the kids they babysit for.

Also, you may need to check on Squirt. He looks a little funny. Kind of like Benjamin Button when he was born.

Maryanne and the Baby Fetish

[photo from Dibbly-Fresh]

Dear Mary Anne,

Hey there, just checking in with you because things don’t seem right with you. I remember you as a sheltered girl who one day takes a stand against her father for her independence. When Jenny Presioso was ill, you totally took charge. I remember feeling like I was right there with you through those awkward times when you first met Logan. And you wore a skirt with the words “London, Paris and New York” on it, and you were my fashion goddess. And oh my god, when you had to be mother’s helpers with that ditz Stacey? That must have been annoying. But you handled it with aplomb and maturity.

Lately things have been off. Let’s start with this baby fetish thing. What thirteen year old is that obsessed with babies? And are you really going to keep pressuring your parents to have one? Don’t you realize that it essentially means that you are asking them to have lots of sex? Maybe you’ve been baby-sitting too much. Perhaps you should try something more age-appropriate. Like getting high under the bleachers and letting Logan dry hump you in his rumpus room.

And this project for your modern living class? The egg-baby thing? You are really taking this too seriously. It’s just an egg Mary Anne, you don’t have to pretend to breast-feed it every hour. And the fact that you are MAD that Logan won’t let you spend time with it is really…well, annoying. Just stick it in the fridge for the night and be done with it. Did you really have to take it with you on your movie date with Logan? Just leave it at home. Really, does anyone need to know?

I am glad that that totally useless cliched teen plot device made you realize how hard it is to be a parent and that it prompted you to appreciate your parents more. heck, if I were your dad and had to put up with Sharon’s ecstasy-fueled episodes and Dawn’s holier-than-thou speeches about health food, I’d want a little appreciation too.

Maybe you are getting annoyed at the fact that you’ve been in the eighth grade for 14 years, or that you are stuck with that annoying brat Kristy as a best friend, or the fact that sex does not exist in your world, but come on, where’s the Mary Anne that I remember? I miss her.

Love,

the world

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.