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’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.

July 6, 2020

Netflix’s BSC 1.8, Kristy’s Big Day: Weddings and Other Life-Changing Experiences

Posted in TV tagged , , , , at 4:19 pm by Jenn

Claudia’s outfit, like Karen, is a lot

Kristy’s preparing for two big changes in her life – her mother’s wedding and the family’s move across town to Watson’s house – but she gets a third big development out of the blue. The book is more about Elizabeth and Watson’s big day than Kristy’s, but this episode lives up to its title.

Before the big day, though, Kristy has to come to terms with the fact that her family’s life is going to change completely. No more worrying about bills or living in a too-small house. Life with Watson will be all about luxury and ease. The problem is, Kristy isn’t sure that’s what’s best for them. It means leaving behind what they’re used to. She feels like her mother’s joining a new family and might be more excited about that than worrying about how her old family will adjust. Is Elizabeth compromising her ideals for money? She and Kristy have a big fight and don’t make up before the wedding.

Kristy comes around on everything at the wedding. She remembers how her mom was always lonely and worried about money. Now she’s found someone she loves, and she never has to worry about her electricity bill being too high. It’s a small price to pay for Kristy to make the necessary adjustments. Plus, she genuinely likes Watson now, so she knows things will turn out okay. But she struggles to find time after the wedding to tell her mother she’s happy for her.

And then, at the wedding reception, Kristy gets her first period. This girl is having the most insane year of her life. Elizabeth is busy, obviously, but the other BSC girls, who have all had their periods, help her through it. These girls are definitely bonded for life.

Kristy thinks Elizabeth’s leaving for her honeymoon without saying goodbye, but Elizabeth comes back to make sure everything’s okay. She admits to holding Kristy to a higher standard than her brothers, but it’s because she’s so strong. Kristy’s growing up and her life is changing, but she’s still the same Kristy. And probably always will be, I expect.

The details:

  • Elizabeth gets mad at Kristy for ditching the ugly yellow bridesmaid dress she was supposed to wear after Watson tells her she can pick out any dress she wants. (Kristy’s the only bridesmaid, so there’s no issue with matching dresses.) The original dress cost $800 and they can’t get a refund because it’s been altered. I get Elizabeth’s anger over wasting $800, but…who picked out an $800 dress? Not Kristy. Plus, the wedding is at Watson’s house, so they don’t have to pay for a venue, which would have cost a lot of money. Call it even.
  • Morbidda Destiny/Mrs. Porter/Aunt Esme is the wedding officiant but no one warned Karen, who screams when she arrives. Esme announces that Karen thinks she’s a witch, which is true, and goes into this whole thing about spiritual beliefs, like, great, but this is a wedding. However, she wraps it up by saying that adults should believe what children tell them, which is awesome.
  • I also just realized that Mrs. Porter has the same last name as Sharon’s parents in the books, which must be why someone working on the show decided to have them be related. Nice job, whoever that was.
  • Richard and Sharon are nervous about seeing each other for the first time since Richard sent the turtle of reconciliation. Sharon can’t choose an outfit for the wedding, trying to decide between two completely inappropriate dresses. Richard’s version of fussing over his clothes is asking Mary Anne to help him choose between two identical white shirts. As they’re waiting for the wedding to begin, Richard tries to calm his nerves with a small glass of champagne. He’s stuck holding the empty glass and tells Mary Anne, “I don’t know what to do with this.” I love Marc Evan Jackson, and this cracked me up.
  • Richard and Sharon leave the reception to get an Epi-pen from Sharon’s car after she accidentally eats something she’s allergic to. We don’t see them for the rest of the episode. So…they hooked up in the car, right?
  • Karen’s middle name is Amaryllis. Please explain, Watson and ex-Mrs. Brewer.

The differences/changes:

  • Instead of Charlie’s crummy used car (here a 2007 Corolla), Watson gets him a new BMW SUV. Kristy gets to ride to BSC meetings in style. This will also make it easier for Charlie to transport her and her six BFFs everywhere they want to go for the rest of the series.
  • The BSC girls don’t do their big childcare thing like in the book, which makes sense. It would be difficult to deal with that many kids on the set and behind the scenes. Better to do away with that part of the story and focus on Kristy and Elizabeth’s relationship.

Netflix’s BSC 1.7, Boy-Crazy Stacey: Other Fish in the Sea (City)

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , , , at 3:56 pm by Jenn

Sigh. We’ve all been there, haven’t we?

It’s time to meet the Pikes! They’re even wilder than the books portray them – basically a step above feral. No wonder Mr. and Mrs. Pike want to bring two sitters with them to Sea City (just for a week, over spring break). They’re probably counting the days until these troublemakers go to college.

The plot mostly plays out the same way it does in the book. Stacey develops a crush on lifeguard Scott, who’s way too old for her, and starts neglecting her sitting duties. The normally mature, cool Stacey has no idea how to act around him. The words “holla at moi” are spoken. Stacey really should leave, put on a disguise, and come back to try again.

Mary Anne befriends Alex and Toby, who are very nice, age-appropriate guys for the girls to hang out with. In fact, when Scott accidentally humiliates Stacey and she realizes he’s way too old for her, it’s Toby who tries to salvage her feelings. He even gives Stacey her first kiss. Of course, now Stacey has a new crush to obsess over, but at least he’s her age.

Mary Anne used to think Stacey was mature and sophisticated, but after Stacey’s embarrassing crush, Mary Anne admits that that’s changed. Now she knows Stacey’s just as dorky as Mary Anne is. Their friendship is stronger because Stacey embarrassed herself. Yay?

The details:

  • Claudia calls Mary Anne and Stacey’s out-of-town sitting job a “business trip.” I love it.
  • Sharon gets back into the dating game with Tinder. Yikes.
  • Dawn wants to Parent Trap Richard and Sharon back together, but she doesn’t try very hard, and Richard’s too smart to fall for it. The parents work things out themselves when Richard, remembering that Sharon used to call him her turtle, sends her a real turtle with a note that says, “Sorry I went back into my shell.” SO CUTE.
  • Mallory barely gets any screentime. She’s very earnest and excited to hang out with Stacey and Mary Anne. You just know the actress playing her is praying for a second season so she can have a bigger role.
  • Byron has a huge crush on Stacey, which helps her understand the situation with Scott. She tells Byron she values his friendship, but there’s no potential for a relationship. Byron decides he can live with that, though he wants a little space.
  • Vanessa’s in her poetry phase, but she seems a little darker than in the books. She and Karen would get along well.
  • Mary Anne’s suddenly more comfortable around boys, so I guess her room makeover did the trick.
  • Watson describes Karen as “a lot.” No kidding.

The differences/changes:

  • Book Scott definitely used Stacey and led her on, but here I interpreted the situation differently. I think he thought her crush on him was cute, and he just paid attention to her to be nice. He didn’t think it would cause any harm. He’s just a clueless teenager.
  • Karen and Andrew do their steel-wool carwash here, and Kristy can’t stop them because she’s accidentally locked herself in a storage area where she was snooping into Watson’s stuff. She tries to get it fixed secretly, after contemplating just pushing it into the street and lying that a car hit it, which is very un-Kristy of her. She finally tells Watson the truth, and he’s not mad. Probably because he’s rich enough to just replace the car.
  • The Pike triplets aren’t identical, which is fine. It couldn’t be easy to cast identical red-haired triplets.

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 said. 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.

Netflix’s BSC 1.5, Dawn and the Impossible Three: More Like the Impossible Four

Posted in TV tagged , , , , at 2:25 pm by Jenn

They’re friends now! It’s all okay!

Like Stacey, Dawn is eager to make friends in Stoneybrook, but she has another obstacle to overcome: Kristy doesn’t like her. She doesn’t think Dawn has enough experience to be in the BSC, and worse, Kristy doesn’t like that Mary Anne might ditch her for her new friend. I don’t think Kristy gets that Dawn is so concerned with making a good impression. But they both think it’s a win-win when Dawn agrees to sit for the Barretts, the clubs’ least manageable clients. Dawn thinks she’ll prove herself, while Kristy thinks she won’t, giving Kristy the excuse to cut Dawn loose.

The Barrett kids are just as wild as in the book, and Mrs. Barrett (here just called Natalie, because in this version of the BSC, they call their clients by their first names, which is so, so wrong) is just as flaky as in the book. Maybe even flakier. She’s more concerned with getting acting jobs than with making sure her kids are taken care of. Dawn cleans the house to try to be nice, but it just makes Natalie expect her to keep up the good work.

When Buddy disappears, just as he does in the book, Dawn doesn’t know what to do. He’d mentioned wanting to play with David Michael, so she considers calling Kristy, but she knows that could make her look irresponsible. She decides it’s more important to make sure Buddy’s safe, so she calls Kristy, who focuses on finding Buddy instead of criticizing Dawn. Buddy turns up just a couple hours later, having been picked up by his father for a swimming lesson. His dad didn’t even know there was a sitter at the house.

The situation helps Dawn and Kristy connect, but not because of Buddy’s disappearance itself. Kristy’s upset that Dawn still has her dad in her life, and that Buddy’s father is in his. Her own father hasn’t contacted his kids in a year and a half. Kristy never lets her feelings about that show, but after Buddy’s disappearance and safe return, she can’t keep it inside anymore. Dawn reminds her that she still has lots of other people in her life who love her, including Dawn herself.

Instead of helping Natalie get her act together, Dawn lets go of the situation. Sharon even tells Natalie not to contact Dawn again until she’s in a better place. And the BSC girls aren’t worried about losing a client. They think Dawn’s mental health is more important than making money. Good for them!

The details:

  • Richard and Sharon are totally in love, and it’s adorable…until Sharon helps Mary Anne (and the BSC girls) redecorate her room. They take down a painting of Humpty Dumpty that’s always been on Mary Anne’s wall, and Richard decides there are too many changes happening. He blames Sharon and the two stop talking. I’m fully invested in this relationship and not at all happy by this development.
  • Instead of just trying to prove herself to Kristy, who questions Dawn’s sitting experience, Dawn sucks up by asking for her guidance. It’s brilliant. It makes Dawn look like she wants to learn, and it makes Kristy feel like she’s imparting wisdom, something she loves to do.

The differences/changes:

  • It’s confirmed – Jeff doesn’t exist.
  • Clearly they changed the order here, since “Kristy’s Big Day” was supposed to be next. It gets pushed to the eighth episode.


July 4, 2020

Netflix’s BSC 1.4, Mary Anne Saves the Day: The BSC Says LGBT Rights

Posted in TV tagged , , at 3:33 pm by Jenn

Mary Anne is the best

So far, Mary Anne is my favorite character in this version of the BSC. She really embodies the struggles middle-schoolers go through. So many of us can relate to feeling uncomfortable speaking up for ourselves and risking our friends not liking what we have to say.

Mary Anne is forced to branch out on her own after a fight with the BSC girls. It’s not the same as in the book, but it starts the same way, with one of the girls taking a sitting job without offering it around to everyone. In the book, it’s Kristy, but here, it’s Mary Anne. Her father recommended her to a colleague, and when the colleague requests Mary Anne as the sitter, Mary Anne is too shy to say no. Her friends angrily tell her she needs to learn to stand up for herself.

Mary Anne tells her father about the fight, but he takes it the wrong way. He feels like the other girls were bullying his daughter. He complains to their parents and the three other girls all get in trouble. That makes them madder at Mary Anne, who finds herself without friends to eat lunch with. Enter Dawn. She doesn’t mind Mary Anne’s shyness; she acknowledges that it’s just part of who Mary Anne is. Mary Anne quickly feels comfortable with her.

The big Jenny emergency from the book is similar here, and emboldens Mary Anne to ask her father for changes ilke in the book, but in a very different way. Here, Jenny Prezzioso is Bailey Delvecchio, and Mary Anne discovers while sitting for her that she’s transgender. She basically has no reaction to the realization, but later she discusses it with Dawn. Dawn uses a great analogy to explain why it’s important to affirm trans people’s identities: If you’re right-handed, you wouldn’t want people to force you to do everything with your left hand. Mary Anne can relate because she feels like her outside appearance, cultivated by her father to make her look like a little girl, doesn’t match how she feels inside.

As in the book, Bailey gets sick and Mary Anne has to decide on her own what to do. She gets Bailey to the hospital, a bold move in itself for Mary Anne, but her big moment isn’t over. The doctor and nurse who come to tend to Bailey misgender her. Mary Anne senses that Bailey’s upset, so she pulls the doctor and nurse out of the room and tells them to treat Bailey with respect. They listen. Richard overhears and realizes that being in the BSC has made Mary Anne into a more independent, mature person.

The details:

  • We know very little about Mary Anne’s mother from the books, but Mimi and Richard both talk about her a little in this episode. She was a lawyer and was also advocating for others and speaking her mind. This gets Mary Anne thinking about the person she wants to be.
  • Richard is less strict in this episode, and more…well, Kevin from Brooklyn Nine-Nine, also played by Marc Evan Jackson. He explains that he’s only ever put Mary Anne’s hair in braids because it’s the only hairstyle her mother taught him to do. It’s unspoken, but you might interpret this as him saying he doesn’t know how to do her hair because he’s white and she’s biracial, so her hair isn’t the same as white kids’ (which is why he didn’t ask, say, Kristy’s mother for help; she wouldn’t know how to style Mary Anne’s hair, either).

The differences/changes:

  • Dawn is Latina, and her parents divorced because her father came out. She seems fine with it. She’s really friendly and likable here.
  • Mrs. Porter/Morbidda Destiny, Watson’s neighbor whom Karen thinks is a witch, is Dawn’s mom’s aunt. She actually is a witch, but more in the spiritual sense than Karen gets. Dawn and Sharon take Mary Anne to a spiritual gathering at her house.
  • Richard tells Mary Anne to invite Dawn and her mother over for Thanksgiving, which is when Sharon and Richard reunite for the first time in years, and their daughters learn that they used to date.
  • Jeff either doesn’t exist or stayed in California.

Netflix’s BSC 1.3, The Truth About Stacey: How to Handle a PR Nightmare

Posted in TV tagged , , at 3:16 pm by Jenn

Stacey looks like she’s running for seventh-grade class president

The BSC girls don’t yet know that Stacey has diabetes, and though they’re clearly curious about what she’s hiding, they don’t ask any questions. Stacey’s worried about losing her new friends like she lost all her old ones in New York, but the BSC girls are different. They like Stacey no matter what.

Lacy Lewis (formerly Liz; Michelle has the same name as in the book, but we never meet here here) moves in on the BSC girls’ territory with the Baby-sitters Agency, telling the girls that all’s fair in love and the free market. She also chastises them for not supporting other women. Pretty rich considering what she does to Stacey later on: After the BSC girls rat her out for ignoring Jamie during a sitting job, Lacy sends out a video someone took at her old school of Stacey going into insulin shock.

The fallout of the original circulation of the video humiliated Stacey and led the McGills to move to Stoneybrook. Now Stacey thinks history will repeat itself. It’s especially bad because the BSC’s clients might not think she’s fit to watch their kids because she’s not in perfect health. Kristy is a PR genius and gets out ahead of any potential scandal by calling a meeting with clients to discuss the situation. Stacey even offers to resign if the parents will feel better. Dr. Johanssen puts an end to everything by admitting that she noticed Stacey’s pump long ago and has seen how she manages her illness while watching Charlotte. If Dr. Johanssen, an endocrinologist, thinks Stacey’s fine to sit, the other parents can’t disagree. Forget the BSA sitters with their later curfews and greater experience. The BSC girls have better client-relation skills.

The details:

  • As any 21st century type 1 diabetic would, Stacey has an insulin pump. At first she hides it, partly because she’s desperate to keep her condition quiet and partly because her mother pressures her to. In truth, her mom just wants to protect her from going through what she went through at her old school again. After Stacey comes clean about having diabetes, she decorates the pump and stops trying to hide it.
  • The girls call Mrs. Newton by her first name. It makes me itchy.
  • Kristy comes up with the idea for Kid Kits in pretty much the same way as in the book.
  • Kristy prepares to fight the BSA by reading The Art of War, because of course she does.
  • Like in the book, Stacey falls for Sam the second she meets him. Here, he’s much more of a typical teen boy (as is Charlie) than in the books. He and Kristy talk to each other like normal siblings (“idiot,” “dummy,” etc.).
  • Kristy’s mad about how marriage is tied to the patriarchy and asks her mom if she’s going to start walking behind Watson. Her mom says yes – and from now on, everyone has to call her Ofwatson. Elizabeth is awesome.

The differences/changes:

  • Charlotte is Asian, and either younger than she is in the books or…not as bright. She says she’s going to “make a jewelry.” She also doesn’t seem to be as paralyzingly shy as in the books.
  • The McGills don’t go back to New York to take Stacey to doctors, so Laine hasn’t been introduced yet.

July 3, 2020

Netflix’s BSC 1.2, Claudia and the Phantom Phone Calls: The Calls Are Claudia’s Inner Demons, and They’re Definitely Inside the House

Posted in TV tagged , , , , at 2:49 pm by Jenn

They’re so cute together

The second episode veers away from the book a lot. The phantom caller is really a B-plot – there’s discussion of a possible burglar who makes calls from inside your house, but he’s more of an urban legend than a real threat. Kristy’s the only one who gets calls from an unknown number…but it turns out to be Mary Anne using an old phone.

The main plot is that Claudia is interested in Trevor and wants to go to the Halloween Hop with him. She has a math test coming up, and her parents agree to a suggestion Janine makes that she only be allowed to go to the dance if she passes the test. She fails, but Stacey lets Claudia pass off her 95% as her own. Claudia’s guilt gets the better of her and she comes clean, which means she has to skip the dance, but her parents are at least somewhat understanding about how their expectations hurt her. Claudia feels like she’s good at a lot of things, and she shouldn’t be so pressured into being good at school. Sadly, Claudia’s impressive homemade Tippi-Hedren-in-The-Birds costume goes to waste.

The details:

  • The Kishis and Mary Anne’s dad (Marc Evan Jackson, perfectly cast as always) are exactly like they are in the books. Richard is especially strict. His demeanor affects Mary Anne much more here than in the books.
  • Trevor gets more development than in the books. He’s an artist like Claudia, but he struggles to live up to his famous father’s expectations about his art. He’s very sweet, especially for a 12-year-old boy.
  • Claudia says Janine likes to correct people’s grammar on Reddit. What a perfect detail.
  • Even in the era of cell phones, Kristy and Mary Anne still communicate with flashlights through their windows.

The differences/changes:

  • Kristy finally sits for Karen and Andrew here, but instead of changing her attitude toward Watson, she just warms up to Karen.
  • Instead of a hyper-talkative brat, Karen is a macabre kid who looks like she could be a Victorian ghost in a horror movie. When Kristy’s sitting for her, she holds a wake for a doll. No prayers – “Krakatoa was an atheist.”
  • There’s no Alan, and Kristy doesn’t threaten violence against any children.
  • Charlotte’s mom, a doctor in the books, is the middle school art teacher. (Oops, I screwed this up. Clearly the one who isn’t the art teacher is the doctor.) She’s also in an interracial same-sex relationship. I think if the show does another season and they bring in Jessi, her adjustment to life in Stoneybrook will be a lot easier than in the books.

Netflix’s BSC 1.1, Kristy’s Great Idea: I Hope Their Rates Have Risen Since 1986

Posted in TV tagged , , at 2:35 pm by Jenn

Claudia doesn’t quite pull off her outfits like she did in the books

I’m not going to recap each episode of Netflix’s adaptation of the Baby-Sitters Club, but I wanted to do some posts on the episodes and how they compare to the books.

The show is pretty faithful to the book series, even having been updated for the 2000s. The incident that leads to the club forming – Kristy’s mom is unable to find a sitter for David Michael – is the same. The girls’ characteristics and personalities are also all the same. They’re immediately recognizable. And all of them seem like their ages. No 16-year-olds playing middle-schoolers here.

As for the details…

  • Kristy’s hair is light-ish brown, almost blond in some lighting, but other than that, the actress playing her just…looks like Kristy. She’s more likable in this episode than in the books. She knows she’s bossy, but it’s more about her wanting to be able to control everything in her life. She’s also a feminist on the verge of being an activist.
  • Claudia’s still an artist who struggles in school and wears crazy outfits. (The highlight: sunglasses shaped like cherries, complete with the stems.) She’s making a statue about menstruation and taking a college-level nude-drawing class.
  • Mary Anne wears her pre-Richard’s-loosening-up clothes (lots of plaid skirts and jumpers), is shy, and always has her hair in braids. The only difference between book Mary Anne and Netflix Mary Anne: Netflix Mary Anne is biracial.
  • Stacey doesn’t get much development in the first episode. She’s a math whiz, but also a marketing expert.
  • Kristy’s mom feels more present in her kids’ lives here than in the books. She’s very attentive to Kristy’s issues and gives her good friendship advice. She’s played by Alicia Silverstone, and at one point Kristy says, “She wasn’t totally clueless.” Heh.
  • Watson (Mark Feuerstein) is a warm guy who tells dad jokes and rides a bike. He’s super-excited about the club and is a big part of why it becomes successful, as he recommends the girls to people he knows. I think I might love him.
  • Janine is more of a computer expert than a book nerd.

The big differences/changes:

  • There’s no explanation of Stacey’s eating habits. Kristy worries that she doesn’t eat candy because she has body-image issues, which would set a bad example for their sitting charges. At one point, Stacey says she’ll be in New York over the weekend, but Kristy sees her in town. In the book, she gets called out and comes clean about her diabetes. Here, Kristy keeps it a secret, which Stacey is grateful for.
  • Claudia buys the club’s “olden-times” landline phone from eBay.
  • The girls order pizza and ice cream through Postmates.
  • Mary Anne does some of her secretarial duties in a Google Doc on her tablet. Part of Stacey’s job is social media management.
  • Logan’s already in town, though he and Mary Anne don’t really interact yet.
  • Kristy doesn’t sit for Karen and Andrew yet, the point in the book where she starts to soften towards Watson. That doesn’t come until the next episode.

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