Tuesday, November 25, 2008

“The problem is that boys are pains and girls are not”…..BSC # 59: Mallory Hates Boys (and Gym)

Memory Reaction

Sadly, my memories of this one just prove how pathetic I was in middle school. I probably hated gym at least as much as Mallory, especially when it came to volleyball. Of course, it shouldn’t be that surprising that someone who is writing a BSC Blog as an adult isn’t really an athletic type.

However, I do remember being annoyed at Mal, because she thought it was a big deal to go to gym twice a week. I had it every day from 6th grade through 12th grade. And it was always co-ed. But, I think I probably would have hated it just as much if it was all girls.

Revisited Reaction

Mallory’s gym class starts a unit in volleyball, which they are doing with the boy’s class. This freaks Mallory out to no end because (a) she hates volleyball and totally sucks at it, and (b) she is afraid of boys, thinks they are obnoxious, and so competitive it is hard to play with them. Anyway, the other team figures out immediately that Mal sucks, so they start constantly serving the ball to her and heckling her. Her gym teacher is not really any help, because she just stands there shouting at Mal to “get moving.”

So, Mallory does what any mature baby-sitter would do. She refuses to play. She just benches herself and sits on the sidelines every day. Her teacher gives her detention every day that she does this, but that doesn’t convince her to change her mind. She even steals the notes from the school saying she got detention, so her parents don’t see them. Eventually though, her mom sees one of the notes and convinces Mal to give volleyball another chance. Mal talks to her teacher, who agrees to ask the guys to lay off Mal. Then, as soon as she gets used to playing, they switch to archery. Amazingly enough, Mal is an idiot savant at this, and manages to get a bulls eye her first day. So, then she tries out (and makes) the archery team.

Subplot: The BSC has been having some trouble with normally nice kids acting up. Mallory points out it is all boys, and comes up with a theory that gym classes are the cause of male obnoxiousness. The other sitters tell her she is full of crap, but she sticks to her guns. However, she does still like Ben, and thinks his brothers are nice. So, she amends her theory that it is only Stoneybrook gym classes that make boys annoying (in Australia, they only have gym once a week). Ben tells her that his brothers can be annoying too, and the two work out a “brother swap.” Of course, the Hobart boys act like brats at the Pikes and the triplets and Nicky are on their best behavior at the Hobarts. I am thinking this says more about parenting styles then anything else. But it does get Mal to calm down a little by the end.


  • Poor Byron Pike. He is always labeled as the “more sensitive triplet” or the “least athletic triplet.” I’m not saying it is bad to be sensitive, but it comes off that way in the books.
  • Mallory actually acknowledges that Kristy’s family is the same size as hers. Of course, she claims Kristy has it better because her family can spread out to a mansion.
  • “Claudia was wearing a pair of soft, balloony, purple pants; a neon green long-sleeved leotard top; a wide red braided belt; and a pair of soft, red, ballet shoes. Her hair was swept into a French braid with wispy tendrils hanging loose. From one ear, dangled a long earring made up of small paper mache tropical fruit. In the other ear, where she had two holes, Claudia wore two small paper mache hoops.” Since when is paper mache jewelry cool?
  • Dawn’s “California Casual” Outfit: “Black stirrup pants, a long, fleecy red-and-pink rose-print top, and black high top sneakers.”
  • Mallory wears a one-piece denim jumpsuit to school, just so she can get in and out of the locker room quickly. It sounds like something a baby would wear. Although, it doesn’t top this one in that regard.
  • Mal totally freaks out and yells at he gym teacher. The ball hits her in the face, and when the teacher blames it on Mal’s daydreaming, Mal flips out and yells, “Why don’t you try getting hit in the face with a ball!” That time, the teacher actually benches her as “punishment.” Which of course gives her the idea to do it herself.
  • Ben Hobart says how he doesn’t like playing volleyball with the girls, because he is worried about stepping on them. And Mal likes this thinking. I guess she is a fan of sexism.
  • Apparently, Logan has to read the BSC notebook too (he mentions doing so, anyway). It doesn’t really seem fair that he and Shannon have to read it when they don’t really sit that often.
  • Mal’s teacher makes her wash pinnies. (I am guessing those are the ugly things I sometimes had to wear in gym class to suggest teams). That is pretty gross.
  • The book says how Kristy likes spending time with Karen and Andrew when they are at the “big house.” That is admirable, but it would be nice if Watson felt the same way and didn’t always plan to go out those weekends. Not that I blame him.
  • Stacey points out to Mal that when measuring statistics (such as how many boys are annoying), you have to look at all the boys in a sample, and not just the ones that are annoying. The other girls all look at her like she has two heads for being such a “math genius” that understands this.
  • Mal is surprised that the Hobarts act all crazy at her house. But, she sets them loose, tells them they can pick who sleeps on the top bunks, then leaves them unsupervised with her sisters. So, of course, they go crazy. Also, her parents don’t really do anything about this – I think they are trying to teach her a lesson about the grass always being greener or something.
  • Mal asks for extra help in gym, and her teacher says no, but she does say she’ll talk to the most annoying guys about laying off her. But really, all the guys do is serve it to her to try and win. And the guys on her team yell at her when she misses. But they don’t really say anything that bad about her personally.
  • What the hell middle school has not only an archery unit it gym class, but a fucking archery team. Seriously!
  • Awe, Mal’s brothers make her a cake when she makes the team. She calls it silly, but is flattered enough to stop hating the entire gender.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

“Some of our adventures were scary, some were exciting….and mine was funny!”…..BSC Super Special #7: Snowbound”

Memory Reaction

I remember the basis of this “telling the super special thing” is that Kristy wants to write an article for the local paper about the BSCs adventures during the blizzard. I remember thinking how ridiculous it was that the editor didn’t tear up her submission. But now that I think about it, I actually buy it. I worked for a local paper, and my editor loved anything that involved stories or pictures of little kids from town, because when kids have their names/pictures in the paper, their parents buy a dozen copies. So, that may be why some Stoneybrook newspaper person would let the BSC write about their little snowstorm adventure.

Revisited Reaction

This is probably one of the more “realistic” Super Specials. There is no exotic vacation or anything, just a blizzard. It is a little unrealistic that they all have “adventures” but what are you going to do? No one would read a book about people sitting home curled up in bed watching the snow fall.

The first few chapters of this are really boring. We know it is going to snow, but are forced to read a bunch of crap about the girls not believing it is going to snow. I don’t really see this happening these days. Now, (at least in New Jersey, which would be the same as Connecticut), when they predict snow it is like the apocalypse coming. All you hear about for days is how to prepare for the storm. It almost always snows when they predict a storm. Once, last winter it didn’t snow after predictions said it would, and the news people were so embarrassed, they actually had a story about how they were wrong. One anchor, even talked about how it was all the weekend news teams fault.

Anyway, the snow finally starts to fall, and the various members of the BSC are all shocked. Everyone except Mary Anne and Mallory are separated, most are stuck somewhere, most are with kids (of course), and all have some sort of “adventure.” Except, only Stacey’s is the least bit interesting. And by “interesting,” I mean, the least boring.

Mal and Mary Anne were on some all day sitting job for Mal’s siblings while Mr. and Mrs. Pike were in NYC. The Pikes get stuck in the city, so Mal and Mary Anne get stuck with the brats overnight. To make things more exciting, they start to run low on food and the power goes out.

Dawn was with her mom on the way to the airport to pick up Jeff. Her mom sucks at driving in the snow and scares Dawn to death. They make it to the airport, but Jeff’s plane can’t land. So, Dawn and her mom have to spend the night in the airport.

Jessi is at a dance rehearsal for some performance and no parents can come pick anyone up, so they are all stuck there. There are little kids there too (who are in the performance), and instead of hanging out with the kids her own age, Jessi volunteers to help take care of them. And she wonders why she is an outcast at her dance school? Also, Quint (her sorta BF from the NYC Super Special) is around, because he was coming to visit and when Mr. Ramsey couldn’t pick him up at the train station, he walked to the dance school.

Claudia was sitting for the Perkins girls and their parents get stuck somewhere so she gets to sit for them overnight. Mr. Perkins suggests taking the girls to her parents’ house and Claudia’s mom offers to come over, but Claudia is all, “oh no, I can do this myself.” I don’t know why one of these adults don’t insist that the 13-year-old listen to them, but they don’t. To make this job more exciting, the stupid dog gets lost. But they find him, of course.

Kristy was just hanging out at home, but had invited Bart over so he gets stuck at her house. Kristy is all embarrassed about her family and about Bart seeing her first thing in the morning. She gets up at the crack of dawn to put on makeup and shave her legs for the first time. Her brothers make fun of her, but Bart says she looks beautiful. I wonder what she is going to say about this in her article. I can’t exactly see her admitting it to the whole town.

Stacey and her mom were at the mall, so Stacey could get a perm. Stacey’s mom rushes to leave and ends up running out of gas. Some stranger sees them on the side of the road and offers to let them spend the night at his house. Stacey thinks this is crazy, but her mom is all, “better than dying on the side of the road.” And the guy ends up being perfectly nice with a wife and baby. Only they don’t call anyone, so the rest of the BSC notices they were gone and wonders what happened. Okay, it wasn’t really exciting. But, it was the least boring when reading the book. I swear.

  • Kristy makes a big point of saying how the weather person on the radio station is a woman, but everyone else refers to a weatherman. By the way, wouldn’t most people in the 90s get their weather on TV?
  • Karen’s stupid pet rat goes missing. Isn’t that way people wouldn’t let their kids get a pet rat?
  • How do you get “disapperntented” as spelling for disappointed? Oh. If your name is Claudia.
  • Since when is Kristy all excited about dances?
  • They actually cancel a club meeting. It is really just a contrived way to have the snowstorm happen on a Wednesday, although, I am not sure why it was necessary.
  • A black velvet “knicker outfit” with lots of silver jewelry? For a formal/semi formal dance?
  • No, Stacey. Most adults don’t wish for snow. In fact, you know you have become an adult when you stop wishing for snow and start getting annoyed by it.
  • I have a slight problem with the timing in Kristy’s story: She gets home from school, does her homework, calls Bart, goes to the video store, then he comes over and they manage to watch Uncle Buck and most of Back to the Future before eating dinner? What the hell time does she get home from school? Or how late do they eat dinner?
  • Bart doesn’t know that XYZ means examine your zipper? Isn’t he a 13-year-old boy?
  • No, Jessi, you did not go to New York for summer vacation. It specifically says in the New York Super Special you went for a two-week school vacation. Stupid continuity error.
  • Jessi says Quint gave her her first meaningful kiss. As opposed to all those meaningless kisses she had when she was ten?
  • Dawn’s mom drove in snow all the time before moving to California. But, didn’t she move there when she went to college? How much driving could she have done before that?
  • It is kinda sucks that they have the two women both be nervous drivers in snow.
  • Dawn’s mom keeps cursing while driving in the blizzard. Dawn is all shocked by it. They don’t actually reveal the curses - Dawn just says that her mom used a word she has only “heard on movies mom doesn’t know I have seen.” But I think that is the closest we’ll get to vulgarity in the BSC.
  • When Dawn and her mom are at the airport, Dawn says everything is labeled Connecticut. But wouldn’t Jeff be flying into a NYC airport?

  • Stacey is surprised her mom doesn’t wear her wedding ring anymore. What the hell does she think divorce means?
  • Claudia lets the Perkins girls eat snow with maple syrup on it…..that can’t be sanitary.
  • So, the snow is cleared just in time for everyone to go to the school dance. Cause that is the important stuff.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

“Who did Aunt Cecilia think she was? Oh, yeah. My baby-sitter”…..BSC # 36: Jessi’s Baby-sitter

Memory Reaction

I have a really vivid memory of Aunt Cecilia telling Jessi she couldn’t go to a BSC meeting. I am not exactly sure what I thought of it at the time. I am guessing I sided with Jessi and felt so bad for her having to live with a mean relative. But other than that scene, I don’t really remember having much of a reaction to it. Some books I remember scenes, and other books I remember liking/disliking something.

Revisited Reaction

Mrs. Ramsey decides to go back to work, so Jessi’s Aunt Cecilia moves in to help take care of the house and the kids. This is also because Aunt Cecilia wants a change after her husband died, although I still think she is getting a raw deal. The problem is, Jessi and Becca HATE their Aunt. This is mainly because Aunt Cecilia is strict and thinks that the Ramsey’s are crazy for doing things like…going away for a weekend and leaving their eleven-year-old in charge (which happens in a Super Special). Silly Cecilia and her conservative views, doesn’t she know Jessi is in the Baby-sitters Club?

Anyway, as soon as Cecilia moves in she starts taking over the house and calls herself the baby-sitter. So, Jessi feels all unimportant and embarrassed. Later, Cecilia starts doing things like telling Jessi and Becca what they can and can’t have for a snack and that they can’t go to friends’ houses. She even stops Jessi from going to a BSC meeting because she was ten minutes late getting home from a sitting job. Instead of talking to her parents about this, or asking them to let Cecilia know what the house rules are, Jessi just sulks. She and Becca also play all these pranks on their Aunt, like putting shaving cream in her shoes and fake spiders in her bed. I guess they are trying to prove how mature they are.

Meanwhile, the Stoneybrook Elementary School is having a science fair, and some of the girls are helping kids get ready. Jessi is “helping” Jackie Rodowsky make a volcano. Jessi assumes that she and the other BSCers will be competitive over whose kid “wins,” but it turns out no one else really cares except her. Also, the other girls only give a little guidance to their kids. Jessi pretty much does Jackie’s project and keeps forcing him to stay in the fair when he doesn’t really want to. Of course, Jackie doesn’t win (because he couldn’t answer any questions) and Jessi realizes she was taking over and apologizes. This also convinces her to talk to her parents, who talk to Aunt Cecilia and work out how to all get along. Aunt Cecilia actually says she came on strong to prove how capable she is. Cause she is going up against Jessi the greatest baby-sitter in the world. Seriously. Oh, and Jessi and Becca don’t get punished at all for their tricks… Aunt Cecilia just puts fake spiders in their bed once and they all call it even.


  • Jessi’s dad picks her up at dance call at the beginning of the book, and she is surprised because her mom usually does. But I could have sworn in other books she says her dad usually picks her up on his way home from work.
  • When Jessi first hears about her mom going back to work, she thinks it just means she’ll get to baby-sit more. Sure.
  • Jackie wants to build a volcano because he saw it on the Brady Bunch. I know repeats of it are always on, but wouldn’t a more modern reference be better?
  • Jackie tells Jessi he doesn’t wanted to do any research; he just wants to see a lot of lava. But does she listen? Nope. She also criticizes his spelling and any of his suggestions for his project. Nice.
  • Mal’s brothers are playing a game called “Wandering Frog People,” that they made up. So, I guess the only reason that sounds familiar to me is these books?
  • We waste a bunch of time on a chapter where the Pikes set up a library in their house. It is boring and means nothing to the plot.
  • Cecilia brings a whole U-Haul’s worth of furniture. She moves into the guest room, which makes me wonder if they took any furniture OUT of said guest room.
  • So early in the book, Mrs. Ramsey said she is starting her job on Monday. Then, a week or two pass, and Cecilia moves in (on a Saturday). But then Mrs. Ramsey says again, that she is starting on Monday. Why is continuity within the same book a problem? Did they let the intern edit this one?
  • Cecilia tells Jessi and Becca to go to bed at 8:30. Jessi complains to her mom, who is just like, “no, you don’t have to go to bed now.” But Jessi doesn’t ask her mom to tell Aunt Cecilia that.
  • Are cookies really a better snack then half a sandwich? That’s what Cecilia wants to give Jessi, but I think the sandwich sounds healthier.
  • Cecila tries to tell Jessi she can’t go to the Rodowsky’s or the Kishi’s because she (Cecilia) doesn’t know them. Well, how the hell would she? This is why the Ramsey’s should have had a real conversation.
  • I feel bad for Cecilia. She is basically becoming a maid/nanny and isn’t even getting paid.
  • Charlotte Johanssen has a kinda cool science project, and wins third place. She plays different kinds of music to plants to see which one grow best. It is the one that listened to Duran Duran, if you are curious.
  • Does a science fair for all elementary kids really only give one set of prizes? It doesn’t seem fair for second graders to compete with fifth graders.
  • What exactly is a gum chain? Mallory and Jessi like to build them, but I can’t figure out what that would be.
  • The other girls try to tell Jessi she is doing Jackie’s whole project and she pretty much ignores them. Was there another book where Jessi acted like a bitch? Cause it seems familiar.
  • Jessi is the one who has to light a match for Jackie. Cause little kids are too young to play with fire, but a mature eleven-year old can do it no problem.
  • When she can’t come to the meeting, the BSC calls Jessi about a dozen times so that her aunt will think she really needed to be there. Mature.
  • Stacey outfit: “Tight black pants that reached just above her ankles, and sported a column of four silvery buttons at the bottoms…Over the pants she was wearing a long blue jacket made of soft material. Under that she was wearing a sleeveless blouse.”
  • Claudia outfit: “A fake leopard-skin vest, a fairly tame blouse and blue leggings. She had also made her jewelry herself – five paper-mache bracelets that were painted in soft desert colors.”
  • A lot of the BSCers have family move in to help “take care of the house.” Kristy’s grandma moved in, Claudia’s grandmother lived with her, and now Aunt Cecilia. It makes me admire Kristy’s mom, because David Michael was a baby when Mr. Thomas left, she had three other kids, and she still worked full time and took care of them by themselves.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

“And you’re the president of the Baby-sitters club, so you have experience”…. BSC # 53:

It didn’t occur to me to do a Halloween book last week, but Kristy for President came in a batch of books I got on e-bay recently, so I decided to post it for Election Day.

Memory Reaction

Is it wrong that this book is what taught me that light blue looks good on television? Actually, I am not even sure if that is true, but I know this book made that claim. I also remember that Kristy used K+ as a campaign slogan…. which I didn’t get. I mean, I get that they were going for a logo, but I don’t think it has a lot of meaning. If her name started with an “A,” I can see using A+ as a logo. But it doesn’t really work for the K.

Revisited Reaction

The BSC talks Kristy into running for 8th Grade President because she has “good ideas” about running the school. Her main ideas are that the cafeteria should serve better food and the kids should get to pick the play they do each year. What radical thinking. She is running against Alan Gray, Grace Blume (Cokie’s sidekick), and Pete Black, and she thinks they are all horrible candidates. Of course, the BSC is all into helping her campaign. At least the 8th graders are – Jessi and Mal are busy trying to get Mal elected 6th Grade Secretary. This is almost a sub-subplot, because we don’t see any action, we just hear Jessi and Mal reporting on it. Which is sort of sad for them.

Unfortunately, once she starts campaigning, Kristy starts to feel a little pressed for time. She has to call off a Krusher’s practice, she fails a test, and she is even late to a BSC meeting. She is all worried about what to do, but finally decides to drop out of the race. Once she does, she decides Pete is the lesser of three evils, and votes for him. Pete wins, Kristy has time for the BSC, and Mal gets to be 6th Grade Secretary. So, happy endings all around.

Meanwhile, Jamie Newton spends the whole book desperately trying to learn to ride a bike. Whenever he has sitters, he makes them help him ride a bike. They get sick of it, but finally a neighborhood kid agrees to help Jamie and he relaxes a little.


  • At an assembly, Alan Gray and his friends start walking out, and everyone follows them, thinking it is a fire drill. Which is kind of funny. Then, the BSC are all, “That Alan Gray! Who would follow him anywhere?” Even though they all just did. Idiots.
  • Stacey outfit: “A black skirt and tights that were two colors: one leg was red and the other was black. Her shoes were shinny black and laced up to the ankles. She was also wearing this enormous black turtleneck sweater with red flecks in it, and one round red earring and one square black one.”
  • Claudia outfit: “Lime green bicycle pants, a long, long, bright pink shirt, and a cropped lime green striped shirt over that. She was wearing black high top leather sneakers with pink butterfly barrettes clipped to the laces. She had two feather earrings in one ear (lime green of course), and a tiny pink heart in the other.”
  • Kristy turns down a sitting job for Jamie Newton because of a Krusher’s practice. But isn’t Jamie on the team? So would he need a separate sitter? I mean, I guess the job could be for longer than the practice, but it still seems a little odd not to mention that.
  • Kristy talks about how doing Mary Poppins as a school play is babyish. But, isn’t that Stacey’s favorite movie? Also, don’t they do Peter Pan as a play in aSuper-Special, and get excited about it? They both seem pretty equal in terms of age-level.
  • Claudia is suddenly all about marketing in this book. She is Kristy’s campaign manager and suggests the K+ logo, and all these ideas for “branding” and good places to hang posters. I can actually see her in advertising later on…except for the fact that she is dumb.
  • If the hot lunch is so bad, why does Kristy get it every day?
  • Janine sees the posters Claudia designed, and gives Kristy the same marketing spiel Claud did. Then the two freak out about having a similar thought. Which is just more proof that those two have the most realistic sibling relationship.
  • I have to say…last week I watched Desperate Housewives and there was this whole plot about Mike being upset that Susan’s boyfriend taught his kid to ride a bike. Now, I don’t have kids so I don’t know how realistic this is, but I am guessing most parents consider bike riding an important milestone. But we have already established that the parents in Stoneybrook suck.
  • Jessi and Mal have a sitting job at the Pikes after a BSC meeting. But I thought those two could only sit at night if it is at their own house. So, why is Jessi suddenly able to sit at the Pikes that late?
  • Want to hear one of Claudia’s “conservative” outfits? “White jeans, red shoes with big bows, a tropical jungle shirt with each button shaped like a piece of fruit and her hair pulled to one side over her shoulder with a banana barrette.”
  • Kristy owns things that aren’t jeans? Claud gets her to wear black pants and a sweater for a campaign speech. Kristy complains she looks “preppy,” but she should just be glad Claud didn’t make her look “cool.”
  • These kids spend a lot of time on their elections. They have a meet the candidate’s day, multiple assemblies with speeches, and a debate in front of the whole school.
  • I like Mal’s slogan better than Kristy’s: “Time to let Mal keep the minutes.” Short and to the point.
  • Alan Gray’s version of a campaign speech: Telling everyone to stand up, then telling them to sit down, then telling them he is obviously a good leader since they all listened to him.
  • Kristy is offended that Grace is treating the election like a popularity contest. Um, student council elections are all about popularity. At least in middle school. Not that I think that is good, but it is kind of true.
  • Some kid asks Kristy about her “platform.” And she answers him seriously. Who asks about platforms in eighth grade?
  • Kristy thinks Grace and Pete are being frivolous and making unrealistic promises when they talk about dances and pep rallies. Because school lunches are much more serious and easier to change?
  • Why would Mr. Newton agree to just take the training wheels off his four-year-old’s bike, when the kid barely knows how to ride?
  • These girls totally ignore poor Lucy Newton. They keep just sticking her in a playpen in the yard while they help Jamie with the bike. Dawn even leaves her there while she goes inside to get a band aid for Jamie. Wasn’t it bad enough when she did this with dogs?
  • Mary Anne keeps defending Pete Black when Kristy complains about him. It is so noticeable it is distracting.
  • For some reason, I thought Kristy threw her support to Pete when she quit. But she just gives a dramatic speech about why she is quitting.
  • Stacey: “Purple capri pants, soft black flat ankle boots, black-and-white striped socks, and a black-and-white checked sweater, only the checks were all different sizes.”
  • Claudia: “On the green hat ribbon was pinned a “Kristy +” button. Her tights were orange, and her dress was tie-dyed every color you could think of. She was wearing feather earrings, and she’d drawn a star on her face next to her right eye.” Orange leggings should not even be legal.
  • Kristy jokes about being the lead in the next play, but they all roll their eyes because she wouldn’t have time. Even thought she totally does end up doing that later with no conflict. Aah…continuity.