October 15, 2021

Netflix’s BSC 2.8, Kristy and the Baby Parade: The Benefit of the Doubt

Posted in TV tagged , at 7:39 pm by Jenn

Everyone deserves a dorky dad like Watson

Summary: Watson and Elizabeth have decided not to have a baby after all (or possibly have learned they can’t have one; it’s kind of unclear), so the Thomas/Brewer family will remain as it is now. Fortunately, Elizabeth has something to distract her: Stoneybrook’s previous tradition, the Baby Parade, is being resurrected, and all the past winners have been invited to ride on a float together. Kristy and Watson are both past winners, and though Kristy really doesn’t want to participate, she agrees to do it.

And then, a bomb: Kristy’s father and his girlfriend are about to pass through Stoneybrook on their way to visit her family. Oh, and they have a baby, which none of the Thomas kids knew. They want to come to the parade and introduce Mr. Thomas’ first family to his new family. Elizabeth lets the kids decide for themselves if they want to do that. Charlie says yes, but Sam thinks Mr. Thomas just wants money now that his kids are living with a rich guy. Kristy, however, isn’t sure what she wants to do.

After giving it some thought, Kristy and David Michael both decide to see their father. Kristy wants to give him the benefit of the doubt that he really cares about her. Sam is upset that no one’s on his side, but that doesn’t get explored. When Kristy tells the BSC girls that Mr. Thomas is coming to town, they’re not sure if she should see him. Mary Anne says that what Kristy wants is important, not what her father wants. But Kristy can’t help taking David Michael and Elizabeth’s feelings into consideration, too.

Kristy gets more excited about the big meeting, wanting Mr. Thomas to see who his kids have become. Elizabeth tells her that whatever makes her kids happy will make her happy, too. She admits that it was hard to accept that she won’t be having another baby, but she’s glad that her kids will have their father’s new child to love.

Then, another bomb: There won’t be a big family reunion. Mr. Thomas and his girlfriend won’t have time to visit, so he’ll have to see his kids the next time he’s in town. Watson, who’s been completely silent about this whole thing, finally reveals his feelings: Mr. Thomas is selfish. He abandoned his family, he’s ditched them again, and Elizabeth shouldn’t just pretend everything’s going to be fine. (This is made slightly surreal by the fact that Watson is currently wearing a giant baby bonnet for the parade. It’s hard to overlook.)

Mary Anne agrees, having seen this over and over through her and Kristy’s childhoods. Every time Mr. Thomas said he was coming to visit, Kristy would get her hopes up and drop all her plans, only to have her heart broken again. Mary Anne is sure that her mother would have given anything to spend five more minutes with her. It hurts Mary Anne to see Mr. Thomas consistently throw away his chances to be in his kids’ lives. Dawn backs her up, saying parents are supposed to want to be with their kids.

Watson thinks he has a solution: He’ll adopt the Thomas kids so they can have him as a father. Kristy remembers how Watson has turned her whole life upside-down and keeps trying too hard to be a good father. But instead of turning him down, she puts on her own bonnet and announces that she loves him. Kristy acknowledges that family isn’t always who you expected them to be, but they’re the people who move forward with you. She and Watson ride in the parade with their family and the BSC girls behind them.

The B plot plays closer to the book’s storyline: Claudia reveals that she and Mary Anne were contestants in the costume contest the year Kristy won, and she thinks Kristy only took the prize because one of the judges was her great-aunt. For vindication, Claudia wants the club to make their own float. Kristy tries to talk them out of it, because how dare someone other than her have a good idea, but the girls are all on board.

The building of the float, with the theme of the old woman who lived in a shoe, unfolds a lot like it did in the book. The paint is orange, the costume fabric is pink, and no one has worked together to coordinate anything. The day of the parade, the girls dress their designated babies however they want. Then they realize that they haven’t figured out how the babies will actually sit in the float. It all falls apart – literally. But Mallory fixes up the float enough that it looks…well, okay. Claudia wins first prize in the costume contest (well, really, Lucy Newton wins), with a costume Mimi once made. And no one is horrible embarrassed. Success!

The details:

  • Like Momona Tamada in the previous episode, Sophie Grace (Kristy) does a wonderful job showing sadness.
  • Kristy’s costume the year she won the parade: Mrs. Claus. Watson’s costume, thanks to his grandmother: President Nixon. (Unironically.)
  • Claudia’s idea for the float is some weird, primordial structure, either like Stonehenge or a spaceship, with the babies dressed as creatures in the early stages of evolution. Crop circles are somehow involved. Claud, you have, like, $10 for this. Think smaller.
  • At the end of the episode, the show finally uses the song from the original ’90s series, “Say Hello to Your Friends.”

The differences/changes:

  • Other than the actual baby float, this episode is nothing like the book. That’s a good thing. The book was pretty weak.
  • Stacey suspects that her parents are on the verge of splitting up. Dawn gives her some great encouragement, saying that whatever happens will be the right thing. She needs to give them the benefit of the doubt that things will turn out well.
  • This would have been a great time to add Emily Michelle to the family. Oh, well.

If there’s a third season, maybe Mallory will get her own episode?

Netflix’s BSC 2.7, Claudia and the Sad Goodbye: Tea and Sympathy

Posted in TV tagged , , , at 5:26 pm by Jenn


Summary: Claudia has been learning how to make tea the traditional Japanese way. Mimi’s instructions are very specific, and she insists that Claudia get them right every time to honor the person the tea is for. Yes, even when that person is Janine. One night, Mimi comes by Claudia’s room while she’s painting, but she doesn’t want to interrupt Claudia’s time with her muse, so she only stays long enough to say goodbye. The next morning, Claudia is stunned to learn that Mimi died in her sleep.

Mr. and Mrs. Kishi try to be reassuring – Mimi had health issues, but her death was peaceful; she was old, and this was just her time; all that stuff people say when someone dies. Mimi had already made plans for her funeral, since she wanted things done traditionally. Part of that tradition is that no visitors are allowed in the house until the funeral. Claudia feels trapped, like she’ll spend the rest of her life in a house without Mimi.

Claudia decides to spend a few days at Stacey’s house so her life will feel normal. She’ll grieve later. Since the Kishis can’t have guests, Kristy hosts a BSC meeting (complete with candy), and Claudia even attends that. Mary Anne is grieving more than Claudia, who thinks Mimi would want them to carry on like usual. But people keep talking about Mimi, which makes Claudia feel like the center of attention, which she doesn’t want.

Claudia knows she’ll have to go home after the funeral, but she wants just one more night before she has to face reality. She only spends a few minutes at home before announcing that she wants to go back to Stacey’s. However, things aren’t great there, so Claudia heads back home…only to realize that while Mimi was clearly ready to die, since she knew when she said goodbye to Claud that it would be the last time, Claudia isn’t ready to go on without her.

She goes over to Mary Anne’s, where Mary Anne confronts her about not feeling her grief. Claudia sadly says that she can’t stop feeling it. It’s like she can’t breathe and everything’s over and no one understands. Mary Anne does – not because she lost her mother, but because she felt the effects of her father’s grief for years. When he finally let it out, he was able to move on. Grief hurts, but it has to. Then you can heal and become stronger.

Claudia makes herself go home, but her grief turns into anger when she catches Janine and Ashley going through Mimi’s jewelry. Claud accuses Janine of stealing from their grandmother and Ashley of acting like she’s at a garage sale. Janine gets upset that Claudia left her alone to try to comfort their parents, who are really struggling. Ashley’s been a great support, and not just as a friend – Janine and Ashley are dating. Mimi figured it out a few weeks ago and was happy when Janine confirmed it. She wanted to give Ashley one of her bracelets, but Janine says she won’t give it to her unless Claudia approves. Claudia does, since it’s a gift of love.

Claudia notes that Mimi always brought the family together, so with her gone, they’ll have to belong to each other instead of just Mimi. Claudia invites her family, the BSC girls, and Ashley to her room and serves them all tea. They reminisce about Mimi together, and it helps Claudia handle her grief. She knows she’ll always miss Mimi, but that means Mimi will always be with her.

The details:

  • All the younger girls’ acting has improved since season 1 (not that they were ever bad), but Momona Tamada, who plays Claudia, is exceptional in the scene where she talks to Mary Anne about her grief.
  • I really love how the episode includes little bits about Japanese traditions.
  • Karen’s allowed to sit in on the BSC meeting at Kristy’s house. Intruder! Intruder!
  • Also, she says Mimi visited her in a dream, wearing a white gown like she was getting married. She’s now in love with Ben Brewer, the ghost that haunts the Thomas/Brewers’ attic. When Mrs. Kishi hears about this later, she approves, since Mimi was a widow for a long time. However, they might be in a love triangle with Mimi’s late husband.
  • Looks like I was wrong – Stacey’s parents have been fighting and her dad has been working a lot. If there’s a third season, I’m sure we’ll see them split up.

The differences/changes:

  • I’m glad they don’t drag out Mimi’s death like they do in the book. That would have been traumatic.
  • Janine says she hasn’t told her parents about Ashley yet, but it’s not clear if she means she hasn’t told them they’re dating or that she likes girls. I don’t think we’d get a storyline about homophobia, though.

October 14, 2021

Netflix’s BSC 2.6, Dawn and the Wicked Stepsister: Everything Is Just Fine, Fine, Fine

Posted in TV tagged , , , at 7:51 pm by Jenn

The happy family

Summary: Dawn and Mary Anne are really excited to be living together for a week. Like in the book, things start out well, then start to fall apart in small ways, at least for the girls. Mary Anne takes a bunch of closet space for her stuff. She has a scary clown doll. She can’t handle the incense Dawn likes to burn to help her fall asleep. Also, she’s spooked by the secret passageway next to Dawn’s bedroom (not because of ghosts, but because of possums or other creatures that might be carrying rabies).

On top of that, Sharon and Mary Anne are getting along great, and teaming up a little to tease Dawn. Dawn and Richard, however, haven’t found a way to bond yet. Not even over adult coloring books! After Mary Anne freaks out one too many times about the passageway, even setting up one of her traps from Claudia and the Phantom Phone Calls in case something creeps through, Dawn realizes that her best friend is annoying to live with.

Mary Anne calls Dawn out for being passive-aggressive and pretending everything is great when she’s unhappy. Dawn gets a little more aggressive, calling Mary Anne a scaredy-cat. To show she’s brave, Mary Anne goes in the passageway. Dawn worries that there’s actually something dangerous in there and follows her. There’s nothing there, but they get locked in. Now Dawn is the scaredy-cat, and also mad that Mary Anne has upended her whole life. She yells that Mary Anne has taken her kindness too far and taken over everything – Dawn’s house, room, and mother.

Mary Anne admits that she can be too much sometimes, but Dawn always acts like that’s fine, so Mary Anne had no idea that it wasn’t. Dawn says that it’s just been her and her mom in Stoneybrook, so having new people in the house is weird. Mary Anne gets that, since she’s used to just living with her dad. Dawn promises that Mary Anne can borrow Sharon whenever she wants. They agree that if their parents get married, they’ll have their own rooms.

Richard tries again to reach out to Dawn with a coloring book, this one with a mindfulness theme. He tells her it helps him when he’s struggling with anxiety and other emotions. Dawn is back to pretending everything’s fine, but Richard knows she just doesn’t have a good way to express herself. For him, naming scary thoughts helps because it takes away their power. Instead of being strong all the time, Dawn might need to admit that she needs someone to be there for her.

Things get better with the living arrangements, and fussy Richard even tries a little hot sauce in his bland meal. A very little. A microscopic amount. He takes a page from Dawn’s book and says everything’s great. Dawn decides that she and Mary Anne will always feel like sisters even if their parents never get married.

In the B plot, Byron hits his head while Mallory and Jessi are sitting for him, and his unexpected medical bill means the Pikes can’t throw Claire the big carnival-themed birthday party she wanted. Enter Kristy: The BSC girls will put on the carnival. And not just because it’s PR damage control over an injury sustained on their watch. They agree to use the money they would normally give in their monthly charitable donation for the party. Mallory thinks they’re nice for helping out, but she doesn’t want them to spend too much money.

Even though most of what the girls put together is low-cost or stuff they already have, Mallory is worried – she doesn’t want to feel like the club’s charity case. The other girls quickly realize that they didn’t frame this the right way. Kristy tells her that part of being in the BSC is showing up for each other. Claudia adds that it’s not charity – it’s friendship.

The details:

  • Vanessa has graduated from speaking in rhyme to reading Nietzsche for Dummies and saying things like, “You can’t control chaos. Chaos controls you.” I don’t know, I think it’s an improvement.
  • This is a kids’ show, so they can’t talk about sex, but during the Spiers’ weeklong sleepover, Richard claims to sleep in the guest room instead of in Sharon’s room. The girls know better.
  • “We are going to have fun,” Kristy announces/orders before Claire’s party. Yes, ma’am.
  • Dawn was supposed to be a clown at the party, but since she’s stuck in the passageway, Kristy fills in. Claire is hilariously unimpressed, but Vanessa says, “You look like a horror movie. Cool.”

The differences/changes:

  • Sharon is the one who tells Dawn about the secret passageway, which was built during Prohibition. Surprisingly, Dawn has nothing to say about the rebellion of that time period or about sticking it to the man.
  • Richard and Sharon don’t seem to have any problems adjusting to living together. I think it’s because she’s so laid-back and he has better coping mechanisms than in the books.

Netflix’s BSC 2.5, Mary Anne and the Great Romance: The Hopeful Romantic

Posted in TV tagged , , , at 5:13 pm by Jenn

Yep, seems about right

Summary: It’s the weekend before Valentine’s Day, and Dawn and Mary Anne are sure that Richard and Sharon are going to come home from a trip to the Berkshires with the announcement that they’re engaged. They don’t. In fact, Richard isn’t even sure how to classify their relationship.

So the “great romance” of the title is actually about Mary Anne and Logan – he’s just asked her to be his girlfriend. It’s a lot different from what she was expecting. Now, “like a pre-Megxit Meghan Markle,” she has girlfriend responsibilities like having lunch in the “couple’s lounge” (just a regular classroom). The other two couples are those ick-inducing joined-at-the-hip, say-things-in-unison types. Plus, her friends think she wants to spend all her free time with Logan, so they accidentally ditch her instead of walking home together. They also make their own plans together for Valentine’s Day and don’t bother to invite Mary Anne, since she’ll obviously be with Logan.

Mary Anne doesn’t want to have to choose between spending time with her boyfriend and her friends, so she decides to let Richard play the bad guy and forbid her from dating. That backfires: With help from some note cards and previous conversations with his therapist, Richard gives her a speech supporting her relationship and assures her that he trusts her.

On Valentine’s Day, Mary Anne and Logan end up at the same restaurant as Richard and Sharon. Mary Anne panics about spending the evening making awkward conversation with Logan, so she suggests a double date. Cue Sharon talking about love languages and Logan guessing that his is English. Also, one of the couples from the “couple’s lounge,” who are supposed to be the most perfect couples at school, breaks up in the restaurant. As first dates go…well, I’ve had worse.

Mary Anne confides to Richard that now that she and Logan are officially together, she feels like they have to be a perfect couple instead of themselves. She misses just being friends with him; they were much more comfortable with each other then. She feels lonely even though she’s in a relationship. Richard tells her it’s okay for her and Logan to just be friends. They just need to talk about it.

Mary Anne worries that Logan will be disappointed, but he’s thrilled that they’re not like the other couples at school. They can just be themselves, and just friends. Mary Anne decides she’s no longer a hopeless romantic, but is now a hopeful romantic, because she tells the people she likes how she feels. She doesn’t let go of it completely, though: When Richard and Sharon say they have an announcement, she gets excited again about a wedding. Sorry, Mary Anne: The Spiers need to fumigate, so Mary Anne and Richard will move in with Dawn and Sharon for a week. Mary Anne decides she’s fine with their family being the way it is, even if they’re not connected by marriage yet.

In other news, Karen is a little obsessed with ghosts. If you ask me, she’s creepier than any ghost. She says she keeps hearing a crying woman in the Thomas/Brewer house, but it’s really Elizabeth, who’s been hiding in a spare bathroom to secretly deal with the side effects of the hormones she’s been taking to try to get pregnant, and her feelings about having another baby. She and Kristy decide to let Karen keep thinking there’s a ghost.

The details:

  • Sharon compares Richard to a croissant he enjoyed: He’s “buttery and surprisingly expensive.”
  • Karen is doing a family tree project and is intrigued by how her ancestors died. One was struck by lightning, “but it was the dysentery that got her.”
  • Andrew is also a weird kid. He watches Wall-E a lot because “he likes the silence of it.” Maybe it’s just a nice break from Karen talking all the time.
  • One of the couples in the “couple’s lounge” consists of two boys. Stoneybrook Middle School says gay rights!
  • Richard tells Mary Anne that her friends love her “in an almost concerningly aggressive fashion.” Sounds like someone’s jealous.
  • Dawn says the person she ends up with “could be anywhere on the gender spectrum.” Her two main qualifications: someone who cares about the environment and has good oral hygiene.

The differences/changes:

  • Really, the whole episode is different from the book of the same name. The only similarity is that Dawn, Mary Anne, Richard, and Sharon will soon be living together.

October 13, 2021

Netflix’s BSC 2.4, Jessi and the Superbrat: If It Makes You Happy

Posted in TV tagged , at 8:07 pm by Jenn

All’s well that ends well (with ice cream)

Summary: Jessi is struggling to keep up in her new dance class, which she had to work hard to get into. She’s used to being the best, but now she wonders if she was always the best because she loves dance, or if she loves dance because she’s always been so good at it. Jessi chose that dance school because she wanted to improve, which isn’t happening, and her parents are hesitant to let her take more classes because it takes away from family time. Plus, her classes are already keeping her from hanging out with her friends.

Fortunately, Jessi’s dance schedule allows her to take a regular weekly job sitting for Derek Masters, here a TikTok star. His dad asks Jessi to help him film a video while she’s sitting. Mr. Masters (Chaz, ugh) is a complete stage parent, but Jessi loves how supportive he is of his son. She feels like her own parents don’t do enough to encourage her love of dance.

Jessi’s disappointed that she didn’t get the lead in her class’ winter recital. She doesn’t even get a supporting role. She’s just in the corps, one of the “leftovers.” But she lets her friends believe she got the lead so they don’t find out she’s just an icicle. She confides in Derek, admitting that she doesn’t feel like she should keep dancing if she’s not going to get a good role. Derek suggests that she build an “online platform” get sponsors, and move into acting. Jessi decides to try something that will get her more attention and the fame she’s always dreamed of.

This will require getting her parents on board, so Jessi turns to Mary Anne for help, since Mary Anne was able to talk her dad into letting her be more of a teen than a kid. Jessi tells her mother that she wants to build a platform so she’ll have a better shot at getting cast in other projects.

Mrs. Ramsey doesn’t think she has time for that. Jessi drops the bomb that she wants to quit ballet, but her mom won’t let her. The family has sacrificed to get her into her new dance school. Jessi can’t throw that all away just because she didn’t get the lead in her recital. Mrs. Ramsey won’t let her quit because she didn’t get what she wanted when she wanted it. There will be no making of unboxing videos in Mrs. Ramsey’s laundry room instead of continuing to work hard.

Derek auditioned for a TV show about a kid president (Kidmander in Chief – love it), and when he doesn’t get a role, his dad pushes him to refocus and keep at it. He’s pretty overbearing, and Derek feels pressure to keep up his work because it’s bringing in money for his family. Jessi gets him to loosen up with some ballet moves and homemade ice cream instead of worrying about the things he feels he has to do. Her mom taught her to make ice cream so Jessi can just be a normal kid. Unfortunately, they don’t film any of this, so Chaz thinks the whole afternoon was a waste.

Jessi starts to get that when you’re a kid, you need to do things just because they make you happy, not because they get you attention. At her recital, she admires how happy the lead is to be dancing, and not just because she has the lead. Jessi remembers what it was like being three and just loving to dance. She gives her best performance ever, even though she’s “just” in the corps.

The B plot involves a big outing with kids, though we don’t really get to see it. There’s a big town hall meeting about a stop sign, so Kristy wants the girls to plan a fun afternoon for the dozen or so kids whose parents will be attending. They end up taking all the kids to Jessi’s recital. Mary Anne apologizes for not warning Jessi that they would all be coming (since everyone still thought she was the lead), but she wants Jessi to know that her friends will always be there for her, whether or not she’s the star.

The details:

  • Jessi: “One day, my mom was playing this old song, ‘Always Be My Baby’…” That “old” song came out in 1995. Excuse me, I have to go scream into a pillow.
  • Derek’s dad wants to talk to Jessi’s manager about her work with Derek. Of course, as an 11-year-old sitter, Jessi doesn’t have a manager. Well, unless you count Kristy. She reminds Chaz that Jessi’s job is sitting, not creating content. Amazingly, he respects her and offers her some homemade ice cream.
  • We get more of Mrs. Ramsey here than we ever did in the books. She’s a little strict, but it’s more about making sure her daughter is a well-rounded person than it is about enforcing rules. She doesn’t want ballet to become Jessi’s whole life – she wants her to be a regular kid.

The differences/changes:

  • Derek became famous at the age of two, while wearing a cape and calling himself Superbrat. Now he mostly shoots slime at people.
  • Mme. Noelle is about as strict as she is in the books, but she’s not French.
  • Becca doesn’t seem to be painfully shy here. She’s even in an a capella choir.

Netflix’s BSC 2.3, Stacey’s Emergency: Go, Diabetes!

Posted in TV tagged at 5:28 pm by Jenn

This girl needs a hug

Summary: Stacey is loving her life in Stoneybrook. She has great friends, she’s not dealing with the “ableist bullies” who chased her out of Manhattan, and she’s handling her diabetes really well. She’s also been chosen to attend a gala/fashion show and appear on the cover of a magazine for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation as a youth ambassador. She asks the BSC girls to help her decorate some pouches where kids with diabetes keep their supplies, and model them at the gala.

With all that’s going on in her life, Stacey starts slipping on maintaining her blood sugar. In fact, it’s more out of control than it’s ever been. She feels the pressure to stay on top of everything, since people see her as mature and responsible. The morning of the gala, her levels are back to normal, so she figures everything’s fine. She gets annoyed when Claudia and Jessi express concern that she’s doing too much and tiring herself out.

Stacey realizes her blood sugar is low right before she’s meant to take the stage to give a speech, then be in the fashion show. She blows off her friends, who just want to make sure she’s okay. On-stage, she realizes she’s not as mature as she’s been making people think she is. She’s embarrassed not to be the stellar representative of diabetes that she thought her doctor saw her as being.

Her doctor reminds her that everyone with diabetes has good days and bad days. Her health is more than a numbers game. Stacey admits that she felt powerless in her own body when she was first diagnosed. Her doctor says that she can feel unashamed of having diabetes while not loving that she has it. She needs to be kinder to herself. Stacey makes up with her friends, of course, and tells them she doesn’t want to be the poster child for diabetes. She just wants to figure stuff out – and stop putting pressure on herself to be perfect.

In the B plot, Elizabeth confides to Sharon that she and Watson are talking about having a baby. She likes the idea of raising a child with a guy who actually wants to be a father. Sharon mentions this to Dawn, who thinks the baby has already been conceived and congratulates a very surprised Kristy. Kristy thinks Elizabeth kept the news from her because she thought Kristy would freak out. She decides to find a way to let Elizabeth know she would love to welcome a new baby into the family.

At the gala, Kristy tries to win a bassinet in a silent auction so she can let Watson and Elizabeth know she’s happy about the baby. She enlists the other girls to keep other people from bidding on it while Dawn chats with Watson and Elizabeth to keep them distracted. This leads to Elizabeth teaching Dawn about interest rates. Just as they decide to find something else to do, Kristy presents them with the bassinet and tells them how much she loves their new family. They’re very confused.

At home, Elizabeth says she knew Kristy would be supportive of her and Watson having another baby. She just didn’t want to say anything until she knew they were sure they wanted one, or knew they could even have one. Now she feels pressure to give Kristy something she really wants. Kristy promises that the family they have now is enough.

The details:

  • I like seeing the girls’ parents interact. We didn’t get that much in the books.
  • Dawn wants her pouch to have an anti-capitalist message, along with the idea that health care is a human right. But it should also be cute. Elizabeth is impressed with how politically engaged kids are now. “When I was their age, I only cared about boys and lip gloss,” she tells Sharon before admitting, “I still care about those things to an uncomfortable degree.”
  • Richard doesn’t like crowds of people he doesn’t know. Richard is super-relatable, huh? He also brings his own coasters to the gala. That’s…not so relatable.
  • Watson: “Go, diabetes! Not ‘go,’ like, in a positive sense. It’s a disease. People are suffering.” He also jokes that he’s going to see if Andrew fits in the bassinet Kristy won. I LOVE HIM.

The differences/changes:

  • Nothing about this episode is like the book, except that they’re both about Stacey’s diabetes.
  • Mrs. Papadakis is pregnant; I’m not sure if it’s with Sari or with another child.
  • It looks like Stacey’s parents are doing fine, so either they won’t be getting divorced in this series or it just won’t be this season.

October 11, 2021

Netflix’s BSC 2.2, Claudia and the New Girl: Take the Lead

Posted in TV tagged , at 4:42 pm by Jenn

Who doesn’t love a sleepover full of self-reflection?

Kristy gets strep throat and has to miss school, the club, and sitting for a week. A powerless Kristy is an anxious Kristy. She asks Dawn to run meetings for her, which annoys Claudia. She worries that Kristy doesn’t think she’s responsible enough to be in charge. Stacey suggests that Claudia prove her leadership skills by taking on some of Kristy’s sitting jobs, including one where Mallory’s tagging along for “training.”

That goes badly. Mallory is a try-hard and so eager to fit in that she just annoys everyone. The girls have just taken personality tests at a sleepover (Kristy’s idea, of course), and Mallory’s results were inconclusive because she couldn’t pick the “right” answers. She wishes she were more of an individual like Claudia.

Claudia quickly gets fed up with Mallory, whose insecurity has made her kind of immature. Mallory’s also clearly trying to be more like Claudia, which kind of defeats the purpose of being an individual. Claudia snaps at her, which makes her shrink into herself. Claudia feels bad but tells herself that now Mallory will be more of an individual.

While the “new girl” of the episode title really refers to Mallory here, Ashley, the new girl of the book, is also present, just in a different way. This Ashley is a popular fashion designer and classmate of Janine’s. Claudia is a huge fan-girl and wonders why Ashley, the coolest girl on the planet, wants to hang out with a nerd.

Ashley tells Claudia that she knows Claudia doesn’t get her friendship with Janine. Yes, Janine uses big words and can be off-putting, but once Ashley really started listening to her, she realized that there’s more there. Janine is a true individual, which is the coolest thing you can be. Claudia realizes that she didn’t lead Mallory well because she didn’t listen. She reads some of Mallory’s stories, which Mal had asked her to do, and is impressed by her creativity and imagination. She regrets not listening to Mallory more. She wants to collaborate and turn Mallory’s stories into books.

Dawn turns out to be a disaster as a leader, because she’s more focused on the structure of meetings and the administrative side over what the club is doing. She wants to “usher in major reforms.” Kristy gets itchy about some of her changes, but she ends up liking some of her ideas, including how members should pay dues. They’ll also donate some of their earnings to charity. So while Kristy is in charge, and probably always will be, she knows how to listen to her followers.

The details:

  • Karen puts on an old-fashioned nurse’s cap to take Kristy her strep medication. The way she stares, I’d worry she was giving Kristy poison.
  • Mary Anne worries that the club is supposed to be paying taxes. “Not if we’re a corporation,” Dawn says. “We can just hoard our profits until we’re bailed out by the disappearing middle class.” Sharon, please tell your daughter to chill a little.
  • Stacey now uses an app to manage her diabetes and insulin intake.
  • While sick, Kristy attends a BSC meeting via Zoom. Mimi also uses Zoom to attend her book club, since none of the members can drive. She gives Claudia a bit of a nudge toward solving her problem when she mentions that she likes being in the club because she gets to hear so many different perspectives.
  • Vanessa thinks Claudia is super-cool, which means she probably thinks Mallory is cool by association.
  • Once Claudia has learned that part of being a leader is having a team who wants to follow, and part of being individual is being yourself, she invites Janine to open up to her any time she needs someone to listen. “Okay,” Janine replies before walking away. Heh.

The differences/changes:

  • On top of the other changes with Ashley, she’s Black. She’s also not annoying like the Ashley in the book – she’s nicer than most teenagers would be to their friends’ younger siblings. Basically, the only thing the two Ashleys have in common is their name and Claudia’s admiration of them.
  • Instead of a flat dues rate, the girls pay a percentage of their earnings, and they can pay more during a week they’ve earned more or less when they’ve earned less. This evens things out for Jessi and Mallory, who can’t sit as late as the older girls and therefore would be giving up a larger percentage of their earnings.

Netflix’s BSC 2.1, Kristy and the Snobs: How to Fit In

Posted in TV tagged , , at 2:46 pm by Jenn

New season, new squad

Summer is winding down, and the girls are back in Stoneybrook, trying to enjoy the rest of their free time while getting ready for the new school year. Kristy is also still trying to adjust to life with the Brewers – and life with money. She feels out of place in her new home, with her new family members and their customs she’s not used to, like big family breakfasts on the weekends. She’s also not feeling comfortable in such a rich neighborhood with snobby, judgmental neighbors.

The worst is Mrs. Delaney, who invites Kristy and Elizabeth over for a very stilted, awkward afternoon tea. She accidentally offends Elizabeth by commenting that she won the lottery by marrying Watson. Translation: Elizabeth lucked out by marrying rich and should feel blessed to have been raised out of the depths of poverty and single motherhood to live in the lap of luxury.

Kristy thinks she’s justified in disliking Mrs. Delaney until she hires Kristy to babysit Amanda. Amanda is less snobby than she is in the books, but still doesn’t have any friends. Kristy realizes she’s lonely and shouldn’t be looked down on for it. She also helps Amanda and David Michael become friends, and the two kids bond over their love of animals.

Part of the reason Kristy and David Michael feel uncomfortable in the new Thomas/Brewer household (Sam and Charlie have adjusted fine) is because they don’t have their former constant companion, Louie, with them. They put him down over the summer (no one in the whole episode uses the word “died” or “dead”), and the younger Thomas kids really miss him. They’ve gone through a lot of changes, and this one is the most painful.

The Delaneys help with that: Mrs. Delaney hosts a charity event, which Elizabeth doesn’t want to attend because she’ll feel like she’s being judged by all the rich people there. It turns out to be a pet adoption, and the Delaneys have picked out a dog just for the Thomas kids. David Michael names the dog after Mrs. Delaney, whose first name is Shannon. Sorry, Shannon Kilbourne – you don’t exist in this universe.

In the end, Kristy spells out the lesson for us: To feel like you fit in, fake it till you make it. With enough confidence, and by acting like you belong, sooner or later, you will.

In the B plot, Stacey and Claudia take it upon themselves to help Mary Anne get Logan’s attention, since Mary Anne isn’t sure where they stand. They make her an Instagram and immediately get Logan interested in it. It turns out to be someone else. Womp womp? Also, Dawn tries to get more info out of Logan for an astrological chart, or something, but it doesn’t work. She also reads tarot cards. So she’s THAT girl.

The details:

  • Watson is once again awesome. Kristy gets up for a midnight snack and runs into him in the kitchen. She just wants some cereal, her normal breakfast when she’s not being served a formal buffet so the family can all eat together. Watson gives her a bowl and takes her to his special midnight-snack spot. He tells her she can talk to him any time, or not talk to him any time. It’s so sweet.
  • Kristy keeps suggesting that Mary Anne just call Logan and let him know she misses him. The other girls think she’s crazy.
  • Dawn spent three weeks in California and feels “like a different person.” That’s an inside joke, since she’s now being played by a different actress. (The original actress took a role in the Marvel franchise. Enjoy that cash, girl!)
  • Stacey and Sam are friends, which makes Kristy a little uneasy.
  • Mallory is super-dorky and socially awkward. It’s painful, yet relatable.
  • Richard and Sharon make a brief appearance on their way to a date, while Dawn and Mary Anne are using tarot cards. Richard: “Just…finish your homework before you summon the devil.” Mary Anne, joking: “Dad, you’re so strict.”
  • Karen: “Amanda Delaney is a social climber but has no ability to speak to people.” She also asks to see the rescue lizards at the adoption event.

The differences/changes:

  • Amanda’s brother Max doesn’t exist. No big loss there.
  • The Brewers have a pool, so I don’t think there will be any pool drama like there was in Poor Mallory!

July 7, 2020

Netflix’s BSC 1.10, Hello, Camp Moosehead!, Part 2: “You Try and Make the World Better Your Way and I’ll Do Mine”

Posted in TV tagged , , , at 7:29 pm by Jenn

Our seven girls, together for the first time

A scuffle in some leaves has left Stacey and Laine with horrible poison ivy rashes, which get them confined together in the infirmary. Just like in The Parent Trap, the seclusion and forced time together leads them to make up. Laine thinks Stacey should have told her about her diabetes, but Stacey has learned a lesson about friendships and knows she can trust her new BSC friends not to turn on her. So that’s one problem solved.

Unfortunately, Stacey has to drop out of the musical, leaving Mary Anne with no leading lady. She’s the only one who knows the part, so shy Mary Anne will have to overcome stage fright if the show is to go on. This also means kissing Logan in front of a bunch of people. Mary Anne isn’t sure she’ll get that far, though – there are so many problems with rehearsals that she’s not sure they’ll make it to opening night. Logan gives her a nice pep talk, telling her he likes her leadership methods. He wishes he could lead like her.

Dawn’s social activism is another hurdle for Mary Anne. She organizes a lie-in to protest the unfair pay system and Claudia’s status as a “political prisoner.” Then she calls for a camp-wide strike – no activities until everyone can participate. The campers are happy to comply, but the cast of the musical wants to strike, too, so Mary Anne has no actors. “Sorry, Mary Anne. I’m a union guy,” Nicky tells her.

Mary Anne confronts Dawn over her activism, upset that it’s preventing Mary Anne from finally accomplishing something all on her own. Dawn feels bad but reminds Mary Anne that there’s something bigger at stake here. They’re both trying to be the best versions of themselves. They can both try to improve the world in their own ways while supporting each other.

The strike gains a lot of support, even from some counselors, but they back down when Meany threatens to make everyone spend the last three weeks of camp in their cabins. She decides to send Dawn and Claudia home, so the other BSC girls offer to leave, too. All for one and one for all! Mary Anne is even willing to give up the play. Logan notes that if she does, they won’t get to kiss. She kisses him right there. so I guess her shyness is a thing of the past.

Meany praises Dawn and Claudia for learning about themselves, which is part of what coming to camp is about, but she again blames liability for her decision to send them home. Kristy, who spent the whole episode searching for a missing Karen (along with Mallory and Jessi), points out that no one noticed when Karen left camp, which means Meany needs more staff. The BSC girls are allowed to become CITs after all, and they make Mallory and Jessi junior CITs. They also invite them to be junior members of the BSC when everyone gets home.

The girls get to hold the free art class and put on three performances of the musical. Meany sees the true benefits of the changes when a girl wants to present her four-pronged plan to ensure riding helmets don’t spread lice. Meany points her toward the new CITs and tells the girl to go into as much detail as possible.

The details:

  • Kristy, Mallory, and Jessi figure out that Karen ran away to try to break the hermit’s curse on the theater. Karen admits that she’s lonely at camp and thought breaking the curse would help her make friends. She’s also sad that David Michael said she was only his stepsister. Mallory and Jessi are great about letting her know that they’re her friends, and Kristy says she wants to spend the rest of her time at camp with her sister. What really sells Karen on going back to camp is learning that Vanessa wants her role in the musical.
  • Mallory knows a lot about the wilderness, though she says, “I identify as more of a horse girl.”

The differences/changes:

  • Honestly, Dawn starting a camp revolution is more fun than the girls organizing a dance or getting lost in the woods like in the book.

Season 2, please!

Netflix’s BSC 1.9, Hello, Camp Moosehead!, Part 1: How Did You Expect Someone Nicknamed Meany to Act?

Posted in TV tagged , , at 7:18 pm by Jenn

Kristy doesn’t stay this excited for long

This episode and the next are loosely based on Baby-sitters’ Summer Vacation, though there aren’t many similarities. The girls are campers here, despite Kristy’s efforts to get the camp leader, Meany (same name as in the book; here it’s a nickname for Philomena), to let them be CITs. She won’t let kids under 16 be CITs, and I imagine the girls’ parents want them to be campers anyway, since that’s what their parents paid for.

Anyway, the girls are split up among three cabins. Kristy and Stacey are together, Claudia and Dawn are together (and a little unsure about that, since they haven’t bonded yet), and Mary Anne’s on her own. Fortunately, she quickly connects with another girl in her cabin over their love of New York and Broadway. They even convince Meany to let them put on a camp play. It’s some made-up musical called Paris Magic. The Vulture recapper said it sounds like a mash-up of Outlander and Les Mis, which is spot on.

Mary Anne’s leadership skills come out and her shyness goes away as she finds something she’s both good at and passionate about. Karen tells her there’s a camp legend about a hermit who cursed the theater, but Mary Anne tries to ignore her. She casts Stacey and Logan as the musical’s leads, and gives roles to some Stoneybrook kids, including Karen, David Michael, and various Pikes. Plus, she recognizes the dance talent of one Ms. Jessi Ramsey, who finally makes an appearance in the series. She gets one line. Oh, well.

Dawn is allowed to do the camp’s morning announcements, which she spices up by slipping in references to climate change and socioeconomic struggles. Claudia’s just excited about art projects…until she and Dawn discover that campers have to pay extra to participate in some activities. Of course they get that it’s expensive to run the camp, but $50 to tie-dye a sweatshirt? Come on.

The two start a secret art class in the woods, making art out of things found in nature. They get shut down because it’s a liability for them to be in the woods unsupervised. Claudia won’t back down, so Meany sends her to her cabin, basically grounding her. Dawn vows to start a rebellion like she’s Katniss avenging Rue’s death in The Hunger Games.

Stacey’s time at camp is pretty normal…until she meets Mary Anne’s co-showrunner. The New York-residing Broadway-lover, whose father produces plays, is none other than Laine Cummings, Stacey’s ex-BFF. They avoid each other until Stacey snaps during a play rehearsal and confronts Laine for forwarding the video of Stacey going into insulin shock. Laine says she didn’t, but we know she didn’t stand up for Stacey when everyone at school started picking on her, so that’s not much of a defense.

As for Kristy, she doesn’t do a whole lot here; she’s just desperate to be in charge of something. I’m surprised she didn’t try to elbow her way into helping out with the musical.

The details:

  • Kristy thinks of the trip to camp as a bonding experience and a “corporate retreat.” She probably wishes she could write it off on her taxes.
  • The girl playing Karen is so good, and the character is hilarious. If I didn’t already want another season, she alone would be a reason to want one.
  • The girl playing Laine reminds me so much of Kacey Rohl, especially when she played Marina on The Magicians. Maybe it’s the ponytail.
  • The kids in the musical are off-book after, like, one rehearsal. Uh-huh.

The differences/changes:

  • Meany is younger than in the book and doesn’t seem to enjoy her job.
  • The camp is co-ed, and no one wants to organize a dance.
  • Book Laine would never go to this kind of camp. This Laine says she usually goes to theater camp but couldn’t get a spot this year.

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