July 5, 2020

Netflix’s BSC 1.6, Claudia and Mean Janine: When Words Aren’t Enough

Posted in TV tagged , , , at 2:43 pm by Jenn

TV Janine dresses much different from book Janine

Everything is going great for Claudia – she has a nice group of friends, Trevor likes her, and she’s been asked to display her artwork in a show that could land her a spot in a summer art camp at Yale. Unfortunately, the good stuff doesn’t last. The big-name judge of the art show questions Claudia’s point of view in her artwork. Why does she choose the subjects she portrays? What is she trying to say? Claudia worries that her talent isn’t enough.

Then Mimi has a stroke. One of the more traumatic books of the series is made even more traumatic by the TV series when we learn that Mimi spent a few years of her childhood in an internment camp. Though the show doesn’t go into many details, since it’s aimed at kids, it mentions that American citizens of Japanese descent were kept from the rest of the population for no reason and treated like criminals. It’s something Mimi never talks about, but she has to relive the trauma after her stroke.

Janine, who speaks Japanese even though no one else in the family does, is able to get through to Mimi, which makes Claudia sad. The one person in her family she always felt understood her now doesn’t. Janine explains Mimi’s childhood trauma to Claudia, who knows a little about internment camps but never knew about Mimi’s experience. Later, when she’s studying for a history lesson on World War II, she connects with a picture of a little girl in a camp and draws her, finally creating something with a point of view.

Janine also tries to encourage Claudia and Mimi’s relationship by telling Claudia her art could help Mimi recover. People with aphasia (difficulty with language) often respond to drawings. Janine may be robotic and unemotional, but she’s also observant. She knows Claudia can contribute more than she thinks she can.

The details:

  • Claudia and Stacey redecorate Mary Anne’s room for her, and though she says she likes it, it doesn’t feel like home to her yet. She soon realizes it’s because the Humpty Dumpty painting isn’t there. When the girls realize her mother was the one who originally hung it up, Mary Anne puts it back on the wall, along with her mom’s baby picture and Richard’s picture of her mom hanging up the painting.
  • Speaking of Richard, he’s more aware of pop culture than I would have expected – he’s familiar with Queer Eye. (I know it’s supposed to be an inside-ish joke, since both shows are on Netflix, but still.)
  • The actress playing Janine plays her like she has Asperger’s, which would have been an interesting direction to take the character, but no one mentions it.
  • There’s a nice moment where Mary Anne wonders why she still has trouble talking to boys after her room makeover and wardrobe change. Kristy reminds her that she’s still herself; she didn’t turn into Stacey overnight.
  • Dawn calls refined sugar “legal poison.” There’s our girl.

The differences/changes:

  • Claudia makes her junk-food art series from book 49.
  • We officially meet Logan, but he doesn’t have a southern accent.
  • There’s no subplot about the BSC’s summer day camp, since the episode doesn’t take place during the summer. Plus, there’s only so much you can fit into half an hour.

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