November 1, 2010

BSC Super Special #9, Starring the Baby-sitters Club!: Jessi Ramsey is Better Than You. At Everything. EVERYTHING

Posted in books tagged , , , , , , , , at 10:45 pm by Jenn

Is it just me, or does Stacey look like a dude?

Summary: Stoneybrook Elementary, Middle, and High Schools put on a production of Peter Pan, and some of the BSC girls, their siblings, and their charges try out. And then there’s drama. Lots of drama.

Jessi thinks she’s a shoe-in for the role of Peter, since she’s a dancer and has tons of stage experience. She is wrong. Kristy winds up with the role, and Jessi is told by the director, Mr. Cheney, that even though she’s a good dancer, she’s no better at singing or acting than Kristy. Jessi is, to put it mildly, murderous with rage over the turn of events, and when she’s cast as an Indian, she withdraws from the show. She’s further disappointed when the other BSC girls, especially Kristy, refuse to put up with her crap. (It’s awesome.)

Jessi becomes the assistant choreographer, but then gets mad when Mr. Cheney won’t recognize that she’s basically his righthand gal and he would cease to exist without her help. On opening night, Pete Black, who’s supposed to be playing Nana and the crocodile, breaks his nose and can’t play his parts, so Jessi agrees to fill in for him. I’m sure she wishes she’d thought of breaking Kristy’s nose so she could take her place.

Kristy actually wanted to be Nana and the crocodile, so she’s really surprised when she lands the lead. Her plot mainly involves her struggling to memorize her lines, and having to deal with Cokie and her issues. (Cokie’s playing Tiger Lily.) Kristy wins this round, singing all of Cokie’s solo lines with her.

Dawn is cast as Wendy and takes it upon herself to modernize the play, since she finds it sexist. No one puts up with her crap either.

Stacey is Mrs. Darling, and Sam is cast as her husband. He keeps joking around, which drives her crazy, and he finally admits that he was just trying to show his friends how much fun he has with Stacey, since they’ve been teasing him about dating a middle-schooler. They actually solve their problems through communication, which is amazing.

Mary Anne becomes the “backstage babysitter,” looking after all the kids in the play. Mallory is working on costumes but finds herself bored a lot, so she tries to impinge on Mary Anne’s territory. Mary Anne awesomely stands up to her, getting her to back off.

Claudia helps design the sets. That’s it.

Jackie Rodowsky is Michael Darling, and he inadvertently causes all sorts of problems by complaining that they’re not allowed to really fly and by being scared of Pete in the crocodile costume. He gets straightened out with a good talking-to from Mr. Cheney, and he overcomes his herpetophobia when he finds out Jessi will be in the costume.

Karen whines her way into the role of Tinker Bell and is generally a little gnat who never shuts up.

The play goes well. Happy ending!

Thoughts: This was one of my favorite Super Specials when I was a kid – I was big into theater, especially musicals, and I loved books about people putting on plays. I also watched the Mary Martin version of Peter Pan numerous times when I was younger. (Hey, just like Squirt!)

Why is Jessi, not Mallory, writing for the school paper?

Do we really have to call the play a “musical extravaganza”? It’s…not really that exciting.

I’m surprised Dawn wants to play Tiger lily, considering the unPC-ness of the role.

Stacey sings “Mack the Knife” at her audition. I’m going to need a ruling from Simon Cowell. What’s that, Simon? Boring, old-fashioned, and forgettable? I agree.

Why would Dawn waltz at her audition? I haven’t seen Peter Pan for a little while, but I’m pretty sure Tiger Lily doesn’t waltz.

Uh, Cokie and I watch the same soap opera. I bet Carly is her favorite character.

You know why Karen’s so annoying? Because people keep enabling her. Mr. Cheney should have ignored her and not given in to her demands to be Tinker Bell. Let her learn at an early age that life isn’t fair. (Though points to him for giving her a non-speaking role.)

So they cast a bunch of elementary-school kids in the play but don’t get anyone to look after them? This seems like a top-notch production.

Mary Anne: “Peter promised her and her brothers an adventure, didn’t he?” Dawn: “Oh, that’s just like a man. They always say stuff like that.” Dawn. You’re 13. The only man you know is your father, and his promises all involve Disneyland. On the other hand, I don’t exactly appreciate Mary Anne saying, “So what if the play is sexist?” Uh, you should, actually. Anyway, if Dawn has such a problem with the play, why did she audition in the first place?

The actors are expected to start memorizing their lines after about two rehearsals. Seriously?

I love how they skip over all the boring stuff and suddenly it’s, like, a week before the show opens. Makes sense to me.

Aw, my high school choir director/theater teacher said, “Sing out, Louise,” too. I miss him.

Dawn’s dad can’t come to the play, so Richard tapes it for him and gives her flowers. Aw, Richard’s all right.

June 20, 2010

BSC #46, Mary Anne Misses Logan: Our Little Girl is All Grown Up

Posted in books tagged , , , , at 3:15 pm by Jenn

This never happened! The cover illustrator lied!

Summary: The SMS eighth-graders are assigned a big English project about authors, and Mary Anne is placed in a group with Logan, who she pretty much hasn’t spoken to at all since their breakup. Cokie is also in their group, which makes Mary Anne even more anxious about the project (and she’s already plenty anxious since it’ll require her to give a presentation to a bunch of people). It doesn’t help that Cokie is all over Logan and the two of them having been spending a lot of time together, or that Mary Anne has realized how much she misses Logan and their relationship.

Logan and Cokie’s portions of the project kind of fall by the wayside, so Mary Anne and the fourth group member, Pete Black, decide to complete everything on their own. Then Logan comes to Mary Anne looking for help to finish his portion, so she meets with him a couple times to make sure everything will go well. This makes her realize even more that she wants to get back together with Logan.

Mary Anne survives working with her ex, working with her nemesis, and giving the presentation, which means our little girl is…well, no longer a little girl. Logan asks her to dinner to thank her for her help, and things are a lot more relaxed between them, mostly since Logan knows now how controlling he can be. By the end of the book, the two are basically back together, and Logan is already showing signs of not being a clingy mess.

In the B plot, Bill and Melody, two kids the BSC girls have started sitting for recently, are afraid of their toilet. No, really. They create the Toilet Monster and keep freaking out about it. Instead of just letting the parents deal with it, like they should, the girls try to help them get over the fear. Basically, this plot could have been done better almost any different way, and it never comes up again, so it’s a waste of everyone’s time.

Thoughts: Suddenly the Delaneys are gone and the Kormans have moved into their mansion. On the plus side, the kids are much less annoying than Amanda. On the minus side, no $400 cat.

Dawn knows how to pronounce “bourguignon” but she’s not sure of the correct use of “obsessed”? Come on!

Cokie reports that when she was ten, she read four Beatrix Potter books, and “it only took [her] a week.” Suddenly I’m picturing Cokie as Brittany from Glee.

Either this project was too intensive for eighth-graders or Mary Anne’s group did more work than necessary.

Skylar Korman, who’s 18 months, “happens to be very fond of the song ‘Breaking Up is Hard to Do.'” How random.

Ann M. Martin must actually know someone who was afraid of a red mitten that snores (or she was herself) because she’s used that anecdote in two books, this and Missing Since Monday. By the way, that book really freaked me out when I was younger. There’s a part where they find a girl’s body and describe her face as having been slashed, and that’s always stuck with me.

April 25, 2010

BSC #38, Kristy’s Mystery Admirer: Her?

Posted in books tagged , , , , , , , , , at 5:19 pm by Jenn

Yeah, I can see why all the boys love Kristy

Summary: Kristy starts getting love letters (I know, right?), and at first she’s flattered, but then she gets creeped out because they turn dark. Her mystery admirer says he/she will remember her when she’s dead, and other weird stuff like that. Kristy and Shannon (who’s barely been mentioned since Kristy and the Snobs and is possibly featured more in this book than in any other) think Bart’s writing the notes to psych Kristy out since their teams will soon be facing off for a World Series.

Poor Bart gets the silent treatment from everyone until he finally confronts Kristy about the situation. It turns out he did write the love letters, but not the creepy ones. Those were from Cokie Mason, who wanted revenge for the events of Mary Anne’s Bad-Luck Mystery. Kristy’s only revenge is to tell everyone at school what Cokie did, then write her a stupid fake love note of her own. That’s weak, even for Kristy.

A lot of the other stuff in the book has to do with the World Series, which is really only one game, and not even a nine-inning game at that. And Kristy and Bart are pretty much officially dating now, which makes her the second girl in the BSC to get a steady boyfriend. Her? Yes, her. Also, Buddy Barrett develops a crush on Shannon, but that doesn’t go anywhere. Probably because Shannon is as boring to the ghostwriter as she is to the readers.

Thoughts: Seriously, Shannon is bossy and has no distinguishing personality. No wonder she barely appears in the series.

This book is so tame. If it were written today, Shannon would turn out to be the secret admirer and Cokie would be arrested for making death threats.

Kristy says that Shannon isn’t “gorgeous like Dawn or even attractive like Stacey. She’s more…interesting-looking.” Look, just because she’s not your type….

One of Kristy’s notes says she’s “as beautiful as a snow-covered mountain.” Frigid and insurmountable?

Stacey wears a fedora. Oh, sorry – a “distant” fedora. Also, Kristy and Bart go to a school Halloween dance dressed as lobsters. You read that right.

Mallory comes to a Krushers practice but apparently Stacey and Shannon don’t talk to her. Thus begins the dweebification of Mallory Pike.

December 15, 2009

BSC #17, Mary Anne’s Bad-Luck Mystery: The Cokie Monster

Posted in books tagged , , , , at 9:09 pm by Jenn

If only this were a picture of the vegetable blouse

Summary: Mary Anne gets a chain letter, which she doesn’t follow up on, and the BSC girls wind up having a bunch of bad luck. Being 11- and 13-year-old girls, they blame the chain letter. Mary Anne receives a “bad-luck charm” from an anonymous sender and decides to wear it to counteract the broken chain letter. (Wouldn’t that make it a good-luck charm?) It turns out the “charm” is a mustard seed, and it was sent by Cokie Mason, the BSC girls’ nemesis, making her first appearance here. Once the girls figure it out, they get revenge on Cokie and her friends.

Thoughts: This book takes place around Halloween, which should mean that less than two months have passed since Mary Anne’s last book, which is completely impossible. But I don’t see the point in analyzing time frames in this series because it’ll probably make my head explode.

Claudia says she loves this time of year and Kristy replies, “Why? You get dressed up every day.” Point to Kristy.

But Claudia gets her own point later when Dawn goes on another anti-junk-food rant. Dawn: “The rest of you will be wearing dentures when you’re ninety. But I’ll stil have all my own teeth.” Claudia: “If I live to be ninety, I’ll just be glad to be alive, teeth or not teeth.” Of course, it’s a moot point since Claudia will be dead from diabetes-related complications by the time she’s 60 (sorry, Stacey, she’s going to steal your thunder) and Dawn won’t actually have all of her original teeth because I’ll have knocked most of them out.

And now for the clothing description that makes my head go, “Huh?” Claudia apparently has “a vegetable blouse.” It’s “an oversized white shirt with a green vegetable print all over it – cabbages and squashes and turnips and stuff.” I’m surprised Dawn doesn’t have one, too.

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