Wednesday, 29 January 2014

The Problem with Dawn

Dawn used to be my character character with her insatiable love of California, her environmental ideals and her general niceness to people (except when she was getting her sexy on during 'Dawn's Big Date'. That dawn was cool, I wish she stuck around longer).

The problem I have with Dawn is three fold.

1. She wants to come home - wherever that is.
When Dawn's in Stoneybook, she wants to be in Palo City. She feels that she is 'individual', healthier than the other BSC members and much more of a beach lover. Living on the coast sure has its advantages, but Dawn takes it to a whole new level.

When she's living with her dad, Dawn just wants to back in the Brook with her friends, her scatterbrained mom and kinda-cool step dad. So much so she stole a credit card and almost flew home. She was caught. That'll learn ya Dawn. Let's be honest, the real reason she wants to come home is because she mostly hates Carol, her dad's partner.

2. Dawn actually hates a lot of people.
A short list.

Sharon, her mom.
We hear a lot about Sharon being a ditz. She had difficulty packing moving boxes, she forgets to put in her other earring before a date, she puts strange things in the fridge. When Dawn decides to leave the Brook for good, who does she worry about talking to? Not Shaz. No, that would be too kind. Instead she stressed about her stepsister, the almost-perfect Mary Anne.

Richard, her step dad.
Dawn never says she dislikes Richard because he isn't like her dad. It's just that he's a bit of a fuddy-duddy, cooks bacon and eats red meat. And also he's bald.

Stacey Magill.
When Stace rejoins the BSC in book 27#, Dawn is so relieved she doesn't have to do Stacey's task of collecting dues anymore. Never mind the fact that Stacey has just watched her parents begin their divorce proceedings. Much later on when Stacey joins the cool kids at school, Dawn spies on her behind a jukebox. And yes, that's pretty unforgivable.

Carol, her step mom.
Carol rarely does things right. Never mind the fact that a twenty-something asks her to be a bridesmaid in her wedding to Jack Schafer, Dawn never really gets over her hatred of Carol. Maybe she's a try hard, maybe she's a little kooky - but Dawn, have you met your own mother? Enough said.

Kristy, her best frienemy.
Dawn has plenty of reasons to hate Kristy. After all the big K is also BFFs with Many Anne. Things are never going to go well. Everyone knows girls don't share friends well. Kristy is also immature and has no interest - and shows no support - in Dawn's pursuit of healthy living and vegetarianism.

3. What is Californian Casual anyway?
I've watched Beverley Hills 90210 enough times to know Dawn's oversized men's shirts and jeans don't cut it. Dawn also has two holes pierced in each ear. Considering how conservative she is, this should be a joke. It really isn't.

Monday, 30 December 2013

BuzzFeed: I'll help settle some of your confusion.

Found this little post on BuzzFeed. Here's my response.

1. So this “business” is a ring of minors running the entire baby-sitting industry in this town?

Yes. They shouldn't really call it a business, and I think it is quite funny that the movie points out that it does run as a business, but isn't registered in any way.

 As far as I can tell, Kristy is only the president because she's bossy and 'came up' with the idea. If you don't know about Kristy's Great Idea, you can reread it in Chapter Two (and somethings continued in Chapter Three) of all BSC books, except for the first few.

2. The money is for…what, exactly?

The girls all pay dues each Monday to help fund the Kid-Kits, pay Charlie to drive Kristy to meetings and host events including pizza parties and day camps. In one of the books, it is suggested that the moaning and groaning about dues is all an act.

3. Where’s the parental supervision?

Who knows!

Like Enid Blyton's books, the BSC captures the idea that young women can often solve their own problems with limited parental involvement.

As for parents leaving their kids with unknown 13 year olds, and 13 year olds being allowed to baby sit, again I suggest that it's simply a literary device. Though it does drive me crazy.

4. Again, how is this fun for you???

I don't know how the girls enjoy baby sitting so much. Usually it was so boring I would skip any any baby sitting chapters. And chapter two. So really I was only reading 10 chapters instead of 5.

5. So the appeal had to be about boys, right?

I'm really undecided about the appeal of boys. Sometimes it is really lame with 'sort of' boyfriends, and other times it is completely over the top - how does Logan afford to buy Mary Anne jewellery and her annoying trinkets? It's beyond me.

6. But Kristy has some things to say on the matters of men.

If you believe, like many older fans do, that Kristy isn't into guys, this explains a lot.

7. And Kristy seems very protective of Mary Anne when it appears that Logan is cheating on her.

Wouldn't you be if you were her best friend?

8. Are these girls desperate to be adults, or what?

Yes and no. They are happy to have adult responsibilities until something goes wrong, or they get sprung.

9. Or do they want to remain in childhood?

Very few times do the girls actually admit "hey, I'm only a kid", unless they have made a mistake.

10. Either way, they can’t live without baby-sitting.

Well, most of them can't. At least that was one refreshing part of the Friends Forever series, we weren't constantly reminded how awesome, cool and important baby sitting was to their lives.

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Unrealistic Expectations: the Life of a BSC Fanatic

For those of you who don’t know, I am a nut about the Baby Sitters Club. In fact, I’d say I’m a 1# fan of the series. The premise of the books is that 7 very different girls run a baby sitting service, where parents call them during their thrice-a-week meetings to book a sitter. They plan events for themselves and their clients. More importantly, they are the best friends I’ve never had. Which is why I thought I’d write a blog about it.

Unrealistic Expectation 1#: Having a big group of girlfriends
I remember once trying to integrate a friend I knew from theatre group with my high school friends. It didn’t work. Unfortunately, the girls in the BSC integrate other people really well. Crazy 11-year-old-frizzy-haired writer? Youre in. Black? You’re in too, even though you’re not white. NYC girl, welcome aboard. These friends were all really different from each other, but they had the club in common, so they worked at it. In school, having a friend is a bonus, but there are no real incentives to make those tricky friendships work, either they do, or they don’t.

Unrealistic Expectation 2#: Baby-sitting kids is awesome
Baby sitting kids is not awesome. I’m a teacher, and yes, I love working with children. Looking after kids when its’ a) after school, b) holidays or c) their parents out having actual fun can be a real pain for both parties. The kids want to be with their mum and dad, not some lousy baby sitter. Come on. And, also, I wouldn’t leave my kids with a Year 7 kid until 10pm. Just sayin’.

Unrealistic Expectation 3#: Everyone is awesome at something.
Claudia – art. Stacey- fashion and maths. Mary Anne – sewing. Mallory – writing and reading. The list goes on. As a writer I understand that you need to give your characters something to help create depth and insight into their lives, but seriously, that does not happen in real life. I am good at writing, but I’m also good at baking, craft and being a good friend.

Unrealistic Expectation 4#: You don’t need adults to solve your problems
I wish sometimes kids would be a bit more pro-active in their problem solving strategies. Then again, they didn’t grow up reading the BSC. Problems with parents not understanding their kids, putting too much responsibility on their baby-sitters or kid-in-trouble-at school? The BSC can fix it. Then again, they showed more maturity than most middle aged women at the best of times, and had the best come backs, so it probably isn’t entirely their fault.

Unrealistic Expectation 5#: We all gotta be emo
In these books there is a lot of crying, fights, drama and love. I blame my teenage angst (ok, from the age of 12) on the BSC. And my unrealistic longing for my beautiful hometown. Damn you Dawn and your stupid California aspirations.

Unrealistic Expectation 6#: Do nothing and guys will like you.
Hello, Mary Anne and Logan? Anyone? Anyone at all?

The full list

The full BSC list:

1: Kristy's Great Idea
Kristy comes up with the BSC. Also, she eats fondue with Watson.

2: Claudia and the Phantom Phone Calls
TClaudia can’t spell, and the sitters scare themselves silly.

3: The Truth About Stacey
Stacey doesn’t reveal any truth about herself, other than having bitchy friends like Laine.

4: Mary Anne Saves the Day
Mary Anne stops wearing her hair in two braids.

5: Dawn and the Impossible Three
Dawn becomes a sitter, cleaner and social worker. Something about Kristy and hay stacks.

6: Kristy's Big Day
Watson and Mrs Thomas get married and the girls baby sit all Kristy’s relos.

7: Claudia and Mean Janine
Janine is a bitch, the end.

8: Boy-Crazy Stacey
Stacey gets her first kiss in the Tunnel-of-LUV and buys chocolates for another man.

9: The Ghost at Dawn's House
Something something ghost.

10: Logan Likes Mary Anne!
Logan and Mary Anne fall in L-U-V.

11: Kristy and the Snobs
Kristy’s faithful four-legged friend dies, but Shannon gives her family a dog. Which they promptly name Shannon.

12: Claudia and the New Girl
Ashley sounds uber cool, until the BSC start calling Claud names, and she comes back to her senses and doesn’t even finish her piece for the art show. Why?

13: Good-bye Stacey, Good-bye
Stacey’s dad gets a transfer, and the girls force her to attend a hideous farewell party with their baby sitting charges.

14: Hello, Mallory
And hello Jessi. Although Mal and Jessi are 11, they are finally allowed to join the BSC.

15: Little Miss Stoneybrook…and Dawn
Worst book ever, even includes ‘this is the house that Jack built’. With a banana.

16: Jessi's Secret Language
Jessi is black, does ballet and learns sign language. Remarkable.

17: Mary Anne's Bad-Luck Mystery
Confusing sub plot, concludes with Loags and MA doing to school dance dressed as cats. Because they watched ‘Cats’ recently. Please explain.

18: Stacey's Mistake
BSC are allowed to walk a bunch of small child unaccompanied around New York City. No one questions this.

19: Claudia and the Bad Joke
Betsy Bitch Face is responsible for breaking Claudia’s leg. I hope the BSC has workers compo. Just sayin’.

20: Kristy and the Walking Disaster
Kristy puts together a baseball team. They lack skill, ability and years.

21: Mallory and the Trouble With Twins
Too much twin language drives Mal nuts until she works out their issues, and supplies them with some retail therapy time.

22: Jessi Ramsey, Pet-sitter:
Despite the promise in the first book, Jessi sits for pets.

23: Dawn on the Coast
Something something California.

24: Kristy and the Mother's Day Surprise
Krissty takes children away from their mothers the Saturday before Mother’s Day so the moms can have a rest. Emily Michelle is adopted by the Thomas-Brewer household.

25: Mary Anne and the Search for Tigger
MA is stupid and lives Tigger out on the front lawn. Logan’s sister cat-naps the Tigster.

26: Claudia and the Sad Good-bye
Mimi passes away and Claudia makes a beautiful piece of artwork to honour her.

27: Jessi and the Superbrat
Some (fake) name dropping of child stars.

28: Welcome Back, Stacey!
Stacey’s parents divorce and she moves back to the Brook.

29: Mallory and the Mystery Diary
Mal finds a diary.

30: Mary Anne and the Great Romance
Richie and Shaz get married.

31: Dawn's Wicked Stepsister
MA, Dawn and Jeff are all mean to each other – Part One.

32: Kristy and the Secret of Susan
Susan has autism. This book has issues.

33: Claudia and the Great Search
Claud thinks she’s adopted. Sadly, she isn’t.

34: Mary Anne and Too Many Boys
MA is a total tart in this book. Badly ghostwritten. Like #8, but rubbish.

35: Stacey and Mystery of Stoneybrook
Charlotte comes to stay.

36: Jessi's Baby-sitter
Aunt Cecilia comes to stay, Jackie build a volcano. Big whoop.

37: Dawn and the Older Boy
Creepy high schooler makes moves on Dawn, and then it is revealed he had a girlfriend the whole time. Please explain.

38: Kristy's Mystery Admirer
Just a novel to make Kristy look straight.

39: Poor Mallory!
Mal’s dad loses his job, so the Pike kids chip in and make money the weird way.

40: Claudia and the Middle School Mystery
Claud is forced to prove she didn’t cheat on a test.

41: Mary Anne vs. Logan
Loags is being a pain in the ass. MA dumps him.

42: Jessi and the Dance School Phantom
Never read this one. Too scary.

43: Stacey's Emergency
Stacey eats fudge and almost dies.

44: Dawn and the Big Sleepover
Dawn raises money for pen pals of the BSC charges. We’ll never hear about them again.

45: Kristy and the Baby Parade
Something about a big show and stupid hats.

46: Mary Anne Misses Logan
MA gets all sooky and takes Logan back. Not without a fight with Cokie though.

47: Mallory on Strike
Mal hates her family. They are the reason she can’t write a novel. To make up for it she takes them on a lame parade with homemade instruments around the neighbourhood.
48: Jessi's Wish
A book about a nice girl with cancer.

49: Claudia and the Genius of Elm Street
Rosie can do everything Claud can’t. Actually, she can also be arty like Claud too. They hold a joint exhibition in the Kishi’s garage.

50: Dawn's Big Date
Dawn becomes cool for awhile, and then goes back to being an ‘individual’.

51: Stacey's Ex-Best Friend
Laine comes for a holiday to Stoneybrook. She is rude to the BSC, and the BSC hate her back.

52: Mary Anne + 2 Many Babies
The middle school gets married and have to look after eggs.

53: Kristy for President
Kristy runs for prez, but is just too busy to commit to it, so pulls out of the competition right at the end. Of course.

54: Mallory and the Dream Horse
Mal rides horses, makes some friends we will never hear about again and starts to hate horses.

55: Jessi's Gold Medal
Seeing as Jessi is awesome at dancing, she must also be awesome at synchronised swimming.

56: Keep Out, Claudia
Something about racism.

57: Dawn Saves the Planet
Dawn sets up a recycling centre. We never hear about it again.

58: Stacey's Choice
Something boring about Stacey’s parents both needing her.

59: Mallory Hates Boys (and Gym)
Mal boycotts gym classes due to bullying and her lack of skillz.

60: Mary Anne's Makeover
MA gets a hair cut and some new clothes so the BSC hate on her for a whole book.

61: Jessi and the Awful Secret
Something about eating disorders.

62: Kristy and the Worst Kid Ever
Worst book ever.

63: Claudia's --Freind—Friend
I could never find this book. I have been hunting for 18 years. It better bloody turn up soon.

64: Dawn's Family Feud
MA, Dawn and Jeff are all mean to each other – Part Two.

65: Stacey's Big Crush
Bad poetry and a teacher/student crush.

66: Maid Mary Anne
MA begrudges a sick old lady.

67: Dawn's Big Move
Dawn moves back to sweet California for a few months.

68: Jessi and the Bad Baby-sitter
New 6th grader helps BSC out. But doesn’t. They didn’t learn their lesson from book #3.

69: Get Well Soon, Mallory
Mal gets the kissing disease.

70: Stacey and the Cheerleaders
Stace tries to be a cheerleader and doesn’t get in because the other girls are loyal to their friends.

71: Claudia and the Perfect Boy
Claudia advertises for a boyfriend.

72: Dawn and the We Love Kids Club
Something something California awesomeness.

73: Mary Anne and Miss Priss
MA complains about Jenny. A lot.

74: Kristy and the Copycat
Kristy gets annoyed at her stupid step sister. She is also gets hazed.

75: Jessi's Horrible Prank
Can’t remember this one.

76: Stacey's Lie
Stacey and her dad both lie to each other, as they keep lovers hidden on Fire Island.

77: Dawn and Whitney, Friends Forever
Something something more issues.

78: Claudia and Crazy Peaches
Clauds is the worst niece ever.

79: Mary Anne Breaks the Rules
Something about MA and Loags getting too close.

80: Mallory Pike, #1 Fan
Mal goes all fan girl on her favourite author. Is outraged when said author didn’t base her novels on real life.

81: Kristy and Mr. Mom
Watson becomes a stay at home dad. Kristy keeps hating on him.

82: Jessi and the Troublemaker
Cancer girl is back, but being painful as she has been spoilt during her ordeal.

83: Stacey vs. the BSC
BSC is unsupportive and weird about Stace having new friends. Exit Stacey.

84: Dawn and the School Spirit War
Something about wearing certain colours.

85: Claudia Kishi, Live From WSTO!
Claud and Ashley run a talent show live on radio. I’m sure listeners are thrilled.

86: Mary Anne and Camp BSC
MA becomes a total sook while her dad is gone.

87: Stacey and the Bad Girls
Stacey’s new friends use her for the first 13 chapters of this book. Alcohol is mentioned. It isn’t as exciting as what I hoped.

88: Farewell, Dawn
Dawn leaves. AGAIN.

89: Kristy and the Dirty Diapers
Something something dirty tricks.

90: Welcome to the BSC, Abby
Enter Abs, the most obnoxiously cute member of the BSC ever.

91: Claudia and the First Thanksgiving
The word ‘sex’ is mentioned. Claud is refering the gender. I still hid this book in my room for a few years.

92: Mallory's Christmas Wish
Crazy reality tv show is filmed in the Pike’s house.

93: Mary Anne and the Memory Garden
A classmate we have never heard of is killed in a drunk driving accident. We heard about fake happy memories. Kristy cries over a friend she never had.

94: Stacey McGill, Super Sitter
Never read this one.

95: Kristy + Bart = ?
Just accept your fate already Kristy.

96: Abby's Lucky Thirteen

97: Claudia and the World's Cutest Baby

98: Dawn and Too Many Sitters

99: Stacey's Broken Heart

100: Kristy's Worst Idea
BSC fight and then make up.

101: Claudia Kishi, Middle School Dropout
Claud goes back to 7th grade.

102: Mary Anne And The Little Princess
This book never should have been written.

103: Happy Holidays, Jessi
Squirt is hurt in an accident. He is okay, but Jessi gets angsty.
04: Abby's Twin

105: Stacey The Math Whiz

106: Claudia, Queen of The Seventh Grade

107: Mind Your Own Business, Kristy!

108: Don't Give Up, Mallory

109: Mary Anne To The Rescue

110: Abby the Bad Sport

111: Stacey's Secret Friend

112: Kristy and the Sister War

113: Claudia Makes Up Her Mind

114: The Secret Life of Mary Anne Spier

115: Jessi's Big Break

116: Abby and the Best Kid Ever

117: Claudia and the Terrible Truth

118: Kristy Thomas, Dog Trainer

119: Stacey's Ex-Boyfriend
Robert gets depression. Stacey helps him. Of course.

120: Mary Anne and the Playground Fight

121: Abby in Wonderland

122: Kristy in Charge

123: Claudia's Big Party

124: Stacey McGill…Matchmaker?

125: Mary Anne in the Middle

126: The All-New Mallory Pike

127: Abby's Un-Valentine

128: Claudia and the Little Liar

129: Kristy at Bat

130: Stacey's Movie

131: The Fire at Mary Anne's House

The Baby-sitters Club Super Specials
Super Special 1: Baby-sitters on Board
The BSC go on a cruise and then to Disneyland. Of course.

Super Special 2: Baby-sitters' Summer Vacation
Summer Camp – girls are all put in bizarre situations, including some weird junior CIT arm bands. Seriously Mal?
Super Special 3: Baby-sitters' Winter Vacation
A bus accident, skiing and Mary Anne pining after Loags.

Super Special 4: Baby-sitters' Island Adventure
Dawn and Claudia get a bunch of kids stranded on an island.

Super Special 5: California Girls
BSC win the lottery and go on a holiday to California.

Super Special 6: New York, New York
BSC explore NYC by themselves and even fear being stalked, but no parental correspondence us entered into.

Super Special 7: Snowbound

Super Special 8: Baby-sitters at Shadow Lake
Sam and Stacey get it on. So do Mallory and mosquitoes.

Super Special 9: Starring the Baby-sitters Club
Kristy is Peter Pan. Go figure.

Super Special 10: Sea City, Here We Come
Back to Sea City.  Another rehash of book #8.

Super Special 11: The Baby-sitters Remember
Flashback special.

Super Special 12: Here Come the Bridesmaids
A polt that makes no sense and Jessi is a black, female, 11 year old Santa.

Super Special 13. Aloha, Baby-Sitters!
Robert and Stacye get hurt in an accident. Abby is there. Yay.

Super Special 14. BSC in the USA

Super Special 15. Baby-Sitters' European Vacation

BSC 30 Day Challenge

The original thread for the 30 Day Challenge is here.

Day 1: Favorite Sitter: Stacey
Day 2: Least Favorite Sitter: Kristy
Day 3: Favorite Regular Book: 51# Stacey's Ex-Best Friend
Day 4: Least Favorite Regular Book: 53# Kristy for President
Day 5: Favorite Mystery: Claudia and the Recipe for Disaster
Day 6: Least Favorite Mystery: Jessi and the Jewel Thieves
Day 7: Favorite Super Special: Baby Sitters at Shadow Lake
Day 8: Least Favorite Super Special: Calfornia Girls!
Day 9: Favorite Minor Character: Mrs Bruin
Day 10: Least Favorite Minor Character: Uncle Joe and Carol
Day 11: Favorite Sitting Charge: The Pikes
Day 12: Least Favorite Sitting Charge: Karen, Andrew and David Michael
Day 13: Favorite Parent: Richard Spier
Day 14: Least Favorite Parent: Sharon Spier. Why so forgetful Shaz?
Day 15: Favorite Fight: 'stuck up job hogs' fight in 4# Mary Anne Saves the Day
Day 16: Favorite Love Interest: Sam Thomas
Day 17: Favorite BSC-organized Event: Stacey's yard sale
Day 18: Favorite BSC Vacation Spot: Shadow Lake
Day 19: Favorite Holiday Book: 92# Mallory's Christmas Wish
Day 20: Favorite Couple in the Books:  Stacey and Sam
Day 21: Favorite Couple Not in the Books: Kristy and Dawn
Day 22: BSC Member or Minor Character You Could See Yourself Being Friends With: Mallory. I'd still hate her though.
Day 23: Favorite Friends Forever: Stacey Vs. Claudia
Day 24: Least Favorite Friends Forever: Kristy and the Kidnapper
Day 25: Moment/Scene From the Books That Sticks Out For You the Most:
Day 26: Favorite Claudia Outfit: Her Miss Frizzle outfit in 'Claudia and the Middle School Mystery'
Day 27: Favorite Stacey Outfit: Valentine's Day outfit in 51#
Day 28: One Thing You Learned From the BSC: Gone with the Wind is terribly romantic, sad and long. (what I didn't learn: totally inappropriate for a date when you're 13.)
Day 29: Favorite BSC “Villain”: Coke Mason
Day 30: Biggest “Wouldn’t Happen in Real Life” Moment: Dawn stealing her dad's credit card to buy a plane ticket back to Connecticut.