Tuesday, December 16, 2008

“You know…I have never been hit in the face with a pie.”…….BSC # 19: Claudia and the Bad Joke

Memory Reaction

Whenever I think of this book, I think of my friend who got hurt falling off her swing set when we were in third grade. She didn’t break her leg like Claudia does in this book, she got a concussion and was out of school for ages. But I always associate the two in my mind.

I also remember that in later books, they claimed that Claudia’s leg hurt when it was going to rain because of this injury. Every once in a while they would have her lying down with her foot propped up at a meeting, and saying that it was a weather prediction.

Revisited Reaction

The BSC has a new client, Betsy Sobak, and Claudia is the first one that gets to sit for her. Claud is a little wary, because it turns out that the BSC wasn’t like the mafia yet -- they knew other kids baby-sat for Betsy and don’t get upset. But these other sitters refuse to watch Betsy anymore because she is an annoying brat who likes to play practical jokes.

So, of course, Claud shows up and Betsy instantly starts making jokes. It ends when she tricks Claudia into sitting on a broken swing, which leads to Claud breaking her leg. Betsy didn’t mean for her to get seriously hurt – she is not portrayed as a psychopath, just annoying. But, Claudia has to be in the hospital for awhile (to have the leg in traction), then stay home from school for a couple more weeks. This sucks, cause Claud needs all the school she can get. It also makes Claud worry that she might get injured again while baby-sitting and then not be able to be an artist…so we are supposed to think she is seriously considering quitting the club. But obviously she won’t because if Claud left the club, they wouldn’t have a place for meetings.

Meanwhile Mrs. Sobak has a lot of nerve, because she keeps calling the BSC for jobs. And they keep going, because they have decided to “declare a practical joke war” on Betsy. Cause getting revenge on little kids is such mature, good baby-sitting. At first this is a complete failure, because their attempts at pranks are lame, and Betsy has seen them all before. Then, Kristy gets help from Sam, and makes a fool out of Betsy in a movie theater. So, Betsy apologizes and Claud decides to stay in the club.


  • In this book they are still claiming Jessi doesn’t want to dance professionally.
  • At the beginning the girls are at this slapstick film festival, and Kristy talks about how much she wants to wear food. It’s a little weird.
  • They end up at the film festival because Logan called Mary Anne and told her about it. Then she called the rest of the BSC. I bet Logan was thrilled about that.
  • I still can’t believe Claudia can tell Kristy that she knows other kids who baby-sit without Kristy hiring a hit man.
  • This is a weird little bit. Claudia tells us how Dawn often stays at her house for dinner after BSC meetings because her mom is working late and Jeff is back in CA. I wonder if that was supposed to be real drama or character development or something that got lost as the ghostwriters took over.
  • Betsy’s outfit sounds like something Claudia would wear. “A very snazzy pair of red pants that were held up by red suspenders. Under the suspenders was a blue-and-white striped T-shirt. The legs of her pants ended in cuffs, and on her feet were running shoes tied with purple laces.” Seriously, a total Claud outfit.
  • However, Claud’s actual outfit includes: “the shirt was one I’d made myself. I’d taken a shirt of my dad’s, painted it, and sewn sequins all over it.”
  • The BSC still have meetings in Claud’s room while she is in the hospital. The Kishis are WAY to nice.
  • Claudia is a total mean girl in this book. Her roommate in the hospital has a broken elbow and had surgery on it. Then Claud makes fun or her for crying, and she keeps calling her a baby (not to her face, just in the narration), and thinking it is not a surprise that a girl that cries doesn’t have as many visitors as her.
  • The Pikes get on board the “playing practical jokes” band wagon, which is really annoying. Jessi and Dawn get them back by….pretending they see an elephant on the loose in the yard. Yes, it is as lame as it sounds.
  • When Claudia gets home from the hospital, her homeroom teacher arranges a phone call so everyone in the class can say hello. That…seems awkward. But maybe I am just thinking that cause I hated everyone I went to school with in 8th grade.
  • These bitches make Claud pay dues for the meetings she missed while in the hospital.
  • Claud gets tons of flowers and visits from BSC clients. I can’t really imagine that happening in real life. I mean, I can see the flowers, but not the visits.
  • According to Mallory, Mrs. Sobak doesn’t think her daughter does anything wrong when she plays jokes that lead to people breaking limbs. Stoneybrook is the capital of bad parenting.
  • Dawn is obnoxious. The Pike triplets want to make sundaes for everyone (as an excuse to play a joke on Nicky). Dawn is all annoyed because she has to put sugar and unnatural ingredients in her body. God, the horror of someone making you eat ice cream. If it is that bad, don’t eat it.
  • So, the girls are talking about how great the BSC is to try and get Claud to stay in. They bring up the trip to Disney World, then add a note that Mallory and Jessi look left out because they weren’t in the club then. But, um, Mallory was still on the trip. Hell, her family was the reason for it.
  • Kristy tells Betsy she shouldn’t play jokes because they embarrass people. I think…that is not the most important reason.
  • Do kids really have such screwed up sense of time when they are 8? Claud goes back to school three weeks after the accident. When Kristy tells Betsy about this, Betsy and all, “but she broke it months ago!”


Anonymous said...

I thought the BSC was REALLY mean to Betsy with the movie theater prank. Yeah, she screwed up, but making a kid think you abandoned her in a movie theater is not a "joke," it's just fucking cruel.

zanne said...

For some reason, I really liked this book. I have no idea why. I don't even like practical jokes. I also never knew a broken leg was that serious--being in the hospital, missing school, etc.

nikki said...

I had pretty much forgotten this one even existed! I also thought it was weird that Claud had to be in the hospital for a broken leg. My dad broke his leg and was home later that night.

Anonymous said...

Is this the book where they all sign Claud's cast and someone signs "God made the river / God made the lakes / God made Claudia... / Well, we all make mistakes"? I totally remember that inscription to this day, probably because when I was eight I wrote it on a friend's cast, thinking about how funny it was when the BSC did it, and she burst into tears. Oy.

SJSiff said...

I loved this book, too. Maybe because it was contrast to the next one, Kristy and the Walking Disaster? More likely because I'm clumsy enough to have my own pair of crutches. Never had anything as bad as Claudia, but oh well. I usually like Claudia books, especially early on.

BSC Snarker, aka Kristen said...

Kristy was the one that wrote the thing about "We all make mistakes." It is funny, but maybe a little too mean.

Anonymous said...

never noticed as a kid the girls were kinda bitchy to everyone but their charges..
except here haha.
seems ooc they'd like babysitting... (stacey as a baby-sitter?)

kristy (everyone, but.. isn't she the "brains" of the club?) sounds like she was throwing a fit cause betsy outsmarted her. xD

love love love the crazy outfits. I'd never wear them, but... I love colours. claud's outfits can actually look pretty good!


i have lots of free time.