October 14, 2021

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.

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!

July 6, 2020

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 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.

November 28, 2012

BSC Super Special #14, BSC in the USA: Are We There Yet?

Posted in books tagged , , , , , , , at 8:35 pm by Jenn

Mallory, stop being a dork

Summary: The premise for this book is incredibly dumb. Dawn’s father has a friend who’s moving across the country, and Mr. Schafer offers to drive his RV from Connecticut to California for him. He somehow convinces Dawn and Jeff to come along, even though they were supposed to spend the summer in Stoneybrook. Watson hears about this and decides he wants to cancel the Brewer/Thomases’ vacation so they can also drive across the country in an RV. And of course, Kristy can bring friends (but no one else can). So all of the BSC girls get permission to go along, and a trip that started out with three people balloons to include 15:

RV 1: Mr. Schafer, Dawn, Jeff, Kristy (her travel route didn’t match the rest of her family’s), Claudia, Stacey, Mary Anne

RV 2: Watson, Mrs. Brewer, Abby, Jessi, Mallory, David Michael, Karen, Andrew

Sam and Charlie are at camp, and the family is smart enough to leave Emily Michelle behind with Nannie. (Can you imagine two weeks in an RV with a two-year-old?) The idea is that everyone gets to pick a special place to visit, and there will be other touristy stops along the way. RV 1 goes north, RV 2 goes south, and everyone meets up in California.

Highlights/lowlights from RV 1:

  • Kristy wants to visit as many baseball stadiums as possible and buy hats from them (plus go to some games, obviously). It’s something she once discussed doing with her father. At a Giants game, she sees him on a Jumbotron and manages to track him down. They talk briefly but he promises to write. Notably, he doesn’t ask about any of the rest of the family.
  • Dawn wants to go to a ghost town, but the one she picks is corny. The group ends up having fun there anyway.
  • Claudia goes to the Art Institute of Chicago, but nothing interesting happens. Later she stops at a flea market and buys a sketch that reminds her of Georgia O’Keeffe’s work. When she gets to California, she looks at the back and discovers that it is an early O’Keeffe. Mr. Schafer’s friend, an art appraiser, offers her $500 for it, but she decides to keep it.
  • Stacey has a not-that-funny comedy of errors in Seattle when she tries to meet up with Ethan at a coffee shop. Also, she thinks Claudia read her diary and spends most of the book mad at her.
  • Mary Anne has no imagination and only wants to go to Maynard, Iowa, to spend time with her grandmother. (They end up meeting at the Mall of America instead.) She spends most of the book on edge because Mr. Schafer keeps making snarky comments about her and her father. She finally confronts him and he apologizes.
  • Jeff wants to go rock climbing in Yellowstone, and also get away from all the girls. I kind of feel bad that he has to spend his vacation with drama queens.
  • I don’t remember what Mr. Schafer wants to do, and I don’t care since he’s annoying in this book. He also runs out of gas in the Badlands and leaves the girls and Jeff alone in the RV so he can get help.

Highlights/lowlights from RV 2:

  • Abby is apparently obsessed with Elvis, which I don’t remember hearing about before, so she wants to go to Graceland. There’s some uninteresting stuff with an Elvis impersonator.
  • Jessi first takes everyone to her grandparents’ home in New Jersey and briefly suspects that Mallory is racist. (Um, what?) Her grandmother points out that Mallory is just uncomfortable because she’s with a bunch of people she doesn’t know, and she wants to make a good impression. Jessi’s other destination is Dalton, Mississippi, where some of her relatives were slaves. She sees firsthand how horrible that point in history was for black people.
  • Mallory wants to go to Chincoteague, because she’s still obsessed with horses. She does nothing interesting the rest of the book.
  • Watson has a college friend in Oklahoma, so the group stops at his house for lunch before going to a rodeo, David Michael’s pick. A tornado hits and everyone has to hide out in the bathroom. It might have been interesting if there was any possibility that someone could die.
  • Karen wants to go to Four Corners, the spot where four states touch. Karen is boring.
  • Andrew is obsessed with the pandas at the San Diego Zoo and has a full-on meltdown when he hears that one that’s supposed to give birth has been sent back to China. Then it turns out she wasn’t. I don’t know.
  • Mrs. Brewer wants to see the Grand Canyon, and Abby is secretly freaking out about it. It turns out that her father loved the Grand Canyon, and her family was planning a vacation there just before he died. When they arrive, Abby is sad at first but manages to enjoy the experience, feeling like her dad’s spirit is with her. She later writes in her journal that her dad once gave her a pep talk based on that “teach a man to fish” saying, and she sees the Grand Canyon as a huge fishing pond. She plans to fish a lot and bring her mom and sister back there one day. It’s really sweet and a little sad and I totally did not get a little misty-eyed, someone was chopping onions, shut up.

They also keep running into this annoying girl, Liz, who’s traveling with her grandparents. It’s dumb. There’s also a brief stop in New Mexico, where they meet some of the Stoneybrook kids’ pen pals. It’s actually too bad Dawn didn’t get to make that trip, since she was the force behind that whole thing.

Thoughts: I know I’m definitely, for real an adult because I can’t help wondering how expensive this trip was. Gas, food, baseball tickets, admission fees to the rodeo and things like that, souvenirs…that’s a big chunk of change.

Also, how do they all get home? Does Watson have to drive the rented RV back?

Also also, if I had to spend two weeks in an RV with anyone, I would probably never want to see them again.

Andrew whines a lot in this book. I don’t remember him being so annoying before. Maybe he’s just in a super-bad mood the whole two-week trip.

Watson’s college roommate’s last name is Romney. Um…

Who would you least want to be stuck in an RV with for two weeks, Karen or Dawn? Death is not an option.

October 6, 2011

BSC Super Mystery #1, Baby-sitters’ Haunted House: Ghostbusted

Posted in books tagged , , , , , , at 11:13 pm by Jenn

I don't care if that house is haunted, I want to live there

Summary: Karen’s mother and stepfather are planning to spend some time in Maine with some friends, the Menderses, who have four kids. They want one of the BSC girls to come along to look after Karen, Andrew, and the Menders kids. All of the BSC girls want to go, and for some reason, the adults agree to bring Kristy, Claudia, Dawn, and Mary Anne along. Jessi and Mallory stay back in Stoneybrook to take on running the club.

There’s this whole back story about the house where everyone’s staying in Maine – it belongs to Mr. Menders’ family, and the guy who owned it may have died, and his wife might be haunting it. If the Menderses want to, they can move there. The kids don’t want to move, but the parents are all excited about opening a health-food store, so they spend their time in Maine researching. The BSC girls try to get the kids excited about possibly moving to Maine, even though there’s weird stuff going on in the house.

It’s typical haunted-house stuff: weird noises, a woman in white, etc. The butler and maid, Mr. and Mrs. Cooper, are also a little shady. Mrs. Cooper supposedly can’t talk. There’s a fourth floor of the house that the Coopers claim they don’t have a key to, and the gardener, Georgio (who’s in college but totally has a crush on Claudia), keeps telling the girls it’s not safe to go up there. After the girls see a “ghost” in the hallway with a candle one night, they get suspicious of Georgio. It turns out the “ghost” was the oldest Menders kid, Lionel, who wants to scare his family away from moving into the house. But then the girls see a light going on in a window on the fourth floor, which supposedly no one has access to.

Mary Anne does some investigating and learns that there’s a dumbwaiter in the house. The woman she talks to at the historical society tells her another woman was in asking questions about the house; the only thing memorable about her was that she spoke with an accent. Claudia and Dawn check out the dumbwaiter and find a tape recorder, which they realize is where the weird noises have been coming from. Dawn winds up having to hide in the dumbwaiter when the Coopers come home, and she discovers that Mrs. Cooper can, in fact, talk.

More digging and research turn up the fact that the Coopers, who claimed to have lived in the town their whole lives, lied about that. The news also comes out that Mr. Menders has a cousin in Scotland who will get the house if the Menderses don’t want it. Thanks to Dawn, who remembers that Mrs. Cooper has an accent, and Lionel, who’s an aspiring actor and can do all sorts of accents, the BSC girls figure out that Mrs. Cooper is Scottish. They put this together with a photo of one of Mr. Menders’ relatives, who Claudia realizes looks like Mr. Cooper, and figure out that the Coopers are the people who stand to get the house (and the possible treasure on the fourth floor).

A storm hits while the adults are all gone for the day, and the BSC girls and Georgio get stuck in the house with the Coopers. But then it gets all anticlimactic and the Coopers just leave the country, apparently thinking the house is really haunted. Disappointing. Also, there wasn’t really a treasure. Also also, the Coopers don’t kill Karen before they leave. Like I said, disappointing.

Mallory and Jessi’s plot is really boring, and also something we’ve seen before: They have to turn down jobs because the two of them, Logan, and Shannon are the only sitters in town, and then people stop calling. They think the club is losing business, but people are just out of town or don’t need sitters.

In other news: Andrew’s obsessed with frogs and boats; one of the Menders girls, Jill, is obsessed with Dawn; Karen’s obsessed with getting the other girl, Martha, to make friends; and Claudia has to tell Georgio she’s 13 in a letter. But at least he didn’t go to jail.

Thoughts: There was a lot about this book I forgot, but I did remember the scene with Dawn and Claudia hiding in the dumbwaiter, and the scene where the BSC girls have Lionel speak in different accents so they can figure out where Mrs. Cooper is from.

It’s weird to read a BSC book where everyone gets a chapter except Stacey, since she wasn’t in the club at this point.

Shannon’s a jerk in this book. She shows up late to a meeting, stays for only 15 minutes, and tells Mallory and Jessi that they need to end meetings on time. Why did she even bothering coming?

“Elton Cooper grilled burgers, hot dogs, and chicken for us.” But what did Dawn eat? WHAT DID DAWN EAT??

Andrew wants to know the difference between a frog and a toad, so Dawn looks it up in the dictionary. How quaint.

Claudia follows Georgio to a dark shed even though he makes her nervous. Someone get this girl a copy of The Gift of Fear.

Kristy: “Why would he have a candle in the toolshed?” Mary Anne: “For light?” Thank you, Mary Anne, for teaching us all what candles are for.

Mrs. Pike complains about everyone leaving town and not being able to get a sitter, saying they “should have planned better.” Hey, maybe you shouldn’t have had eight kids you never want to take care of.

September 20, 2011

BSC #86, Mary Anne and Camp BSC: Act Your Age

Posted in books tagged , , , , , , at 11:09 pm by Jenn

Is that Karen on the left? Shut up, Karen

Summary: It’s summertime, and the BSC girls decide to hold a day camp since there are a few weeks between school getting out and other day camps starting. They call it Camp BSC (so original) and decide on a circus theme. Speaking of circuses, that’s what the Schafer/Spier house has turned into: Richard’s out of town for two weeks, and Sharon and Dawn are going overboard in their bachelorette pad. They order in every night, don’t clean up, and basically exemplify the saying, “When the cat’s away, the mice will play.”

Mary Anne is nowhere near as happy as her stepmother and -sister are. She misses her father, to the point where she can’t be bothered to do anything fun. It’s 141 pages of Mary Anne moping, basically. Then she sprains her ankle and mopes some more, mostly because she asks Richard to come home early and he doesn’t.

Alicia, a four-year-old camper, is also moping, as she’s not used to being away from her mother so much. She won’t go to the playground with the other kids because she’s afraid her mother will come back and not be able to find her. Mary Anne’s fine with staying back with her, babying her and letting her do whatever she wants. Eventually, Alicia realizes that everyone’s having fun without her, so she decides to let go of her separation anxiety. Mary Anne realizes that the four-year-old is better adjusted than she is, and she needs to let herself have fun, too.

The not-really-B-plot (because both plots get about equal time) is that Karen and some other kids have gone to a real circus camp, and they keep complaining that Camp BSC isn’t as good. Karen pretty much leads an anti-lameness brigade, and somehow, the BSC girls manage to refrain from locking her in a closet all day. Ultimately, while putting on an end-of-camp circus, the anti-lameness kids realize that they don’t have any idea how to put on a real circus, so they should just shut up.

Thoughts: Mary Anne’s sadness strikes me as a little weird. We know she’s a daddy’s girl, but she’s been away from home before, and she’s usually pretty mature.

I understand leaving your kids with 11- and 13-year-olds for a few hours, but all day? I don’t know about that.

The girls also mention that campers can attend for a full day or a half day, but we don’t hear about anyone only attending for half a day. Why didn’t Alicia’s mom try that out for her until she got more comfortable? Eight hours is a LONG day for a four-year-old.

Sharon really does order take-out every night. I guess the Schafer-Spiers are made of money.

Dawn makes the girls get turkey hot dogs for a camp cookout. So remember, kids, if you hate your dinner, blame Dawn. Who would never eat turkey, so whatever, ghostwriter.

People aren’t sawed in half at circuses, Karen. That’s magic shows. Go sit in the corner.

March 15, 2011

BSC #74, Kristy and the Copycat: Mighty Kristy Had Struck Out

Posted in books tagged , , , , at 10:28 pm by Jenn

Karen's shirt has Krushers with a C! Yay for continuity! Yaaaaaay!

Summary: Kristy misses playing softball, so she decides to try out for SMS’s team. She makes it, but the girls who are already on the team aren’t very happy to welcome her and the three other new players, Bea, Tonya, and Dilys. The new players are told that they’re going to be hazed, or the girls already on the team will make them look like bad players in front of their strict coach. Kristy and the other new girls reluctantly agree to the initiation, which involves spray-painting an old equipment shed on school property. The girls do it, and Bea and Tonya celebrate by smoking cigarettes. The next morning, they all discover that the shed burned down overnight, and a man who tried to put out the fire was badly injured.

Kristy feels horribly guilty about the fire, especially since she can’t find her can of spray-paint and worries that it contributed to the fire. The other girls just don’t want to get caught. They all get I Know What You Did Last Summer-like notes, then notes demanding money, which makes Kristy feel even worse about the situation. And then she feels worse again when the boys’ baseball team is accused of starting the fire.

Kristy eventually tells the BSC girls what happened and announces that she’s going to confess. But before she can, some high schoolers come clean, admitting to setting the fire on purpose. And it turns out that Dilys sent the threatening notes, trying to get the girls to ‘fess up, so no one other than the four little vandals and the BSC girls knows what they did. They decide to keep quiet, which isn’t really the kind of message you want to send to this book’s audience, but whatever. And Kristy isn’t sure if she wants to keep playing softball, partly because it takes time away from coaching the Krushers (more on that later).

The book title actually comes from the B-plot. Karen wants to be a 13-year-old, so she starts imitating the BSC girls, mainly Mary Anne (yes, really) and Stacey. It’s kind of annoying but mostly pathetic. Kristy gets mad at her for hanging around all the time, then tells her to stop trying to speed things up so much because being 13 sometimes sucks beyond the telling of it (TM Buffy).

The C-plot involves the Krushers: Claudia and Stacey volunteer to take over coaching for Kristy. They suck at it.

Thoughts: Claudia has sunglasses with round wire frames and square green lenses. Wouldn’t those be annoying to look through? Wouldn’t you see the sides of the lenses in your peripheral vision?

Shannon’s still around. For some reason, I thought she was filling in while Mallory was sick; I forgot it was because Dawn left.

Karen’s quick series of questions for Mary Anne makes me think of Vanessa Bayer as Miley Cyrus on SNL. But I guess that’s pretty cool.

Claudia’s Krushers practice outfit: “a red satin baseball cap, purple sweatpants that were cut off just below the knees, purple high-tops with neon pink laces, red-and-white-striped socks, and a red and pink tie-dyed crop top shirt.” There is not one item of clothing on that list that sounds attractive.

Stacey wears a white shirt over a black bra. I can’t believe her mom let her out of the house wearing that. She also wears a Dodgers cap, which I find strange. Wouldn’t she wear a Yankees cap?

I really like how Sam and Charlie treat Kristy in this book. They’re very encouraging and helpful with their softball tips. It’s nice to see Sam not being an annoying older brother for once.

January 2, 2011

BSC Mystery #9, Kristy and the Haunted Mansion: Spoiler – It’s Not Really Haunted

Posted in books tagged , , , , , at 4:34 pm by Jenn

You should definitely send Karen in there first

Summary: Kristy, Bart, and Charlie are accompanying a bunch of Krushers and Bashers (AKA the Krashers) home from an away game when a huge storm hits. The group is stuck in some nearby town thanks to a washed-out bridge, and they decide to find a place to spend the night. They come across a huge mansion kept by a caretaker who says they can spend the night there. They start looking around the house and read a diary, which belonged to a girl named Dorothy who lived there back in the 30s. She disappeared when she was 18, the day before she was supposed to elope with a guy named Will, who her father disapproved of.

There have been stories about the mansion being haunted, so the kids are a little freaked out (as is Kristy), and knowing that a person who used to live there may have died under mysterious circumstances doesn’t help. I’m not sure who people think haunts the mansion anyway, since Dorothy didn’t die in the house. But it doesn’t really matter, since nothing really weird happens anyway. The story’s more about the fact that Kristy and everyone disappears and their families don’t know where they are.

In the morning, the group figures out that Will is the caretaker. He confirms this and admits that he bought the house and kept it exactly the same as it was when Dorothy lived there. Later on, Karen admits to Kristy that she swiped a picture of Dorothy from the mansion, and when the other BSC girls see it, Mary Anne recognizes Dorothy as the woman who owns a nearby sewing shop. The BSC girls and Karen go to see her, confirm that she’s Dorothy, and hear her side of the story: On her way to meet Will so they could elope, she decided she liked her freedom so much that she took off alone. (Girl power!) The girls tell her where she can find Will, because they just can’t help playing matchmaker.

Thoughts: I’m not sure I’d let my eight-year-old ride in a van driven by a 17-year-old, who happens to be the oldest person in the group.

Trivia: Kristy’s afraid of lightning.

Bart doesn’t come home, so his father calls…Claudia? Huh?

“Charlie was turning out to be great.” I believe I’ve been saying that for months.

Why does Kristy care if Karen reads a diary from 1935? She didn’t seem to care about someone reading another person’s decades-old diary in Mallory and the Mystery Diary.

Patty, one of Bart’s Bashers, says that when she grows up, she wants to be a carpenter, ride a motorcycle, and be president. Rock on, Patty.

November 28, 2010

BSC #62, Kristy and the Worst Kid Ever: The Baby-Sitters vs. Childhood Trauma

Posted in books tagged , , , at 4:55 pm by Jenn

The Thomas-Brewers have horrible taste in home decor

Summary: The Papadakises take in a foster child named Lou (short for Louisa) who is an unholy terror of a brat. She does have her reasons – her father recently died, her mother left when she was younger, and she’s been separated from her brother – but the fact that no one takes her to a psychiatrist or tries very hard to get to the bottom of her behavior doesn’t help. She’s rude to everyone, she teases animals (future serial killer?), she makes fun of the playhouse Karen and her friends are building, and she won’t follow any rules. She’s a little power-mad monster, is what she is.

Various BSC girls sit for Lou, and Kristy dubs her the worst kid ever. Dawn, however, thinks she’s just the saddest kid ever, thanks to her childhood traumas. Lou’s social worker finds relatives for her and her brother to live with, but she’s unhappy about this because it means she has to give up her dream of her mother returning. She runs away, Kristy finds her, and suddenly everything’s okay. No, really, there’s no breakthrough or anything, it’s just…done. And then Lou leaves.

In the B plot, SMS organizes an auction to raise money for computers. The BSC girls get celebrities to donate various items, but they bring in the most money by donating 24 hours of free sitting.

Thoughts: I hope the BSC girls get paid extra when Linny, Hannie, Nancy, and Lou come to visit the Thomas-Brewers – that’s eight kids to look after.

I didn’t rememeber the Craine girls from Mallory and the Ghost Cat ever making another appearance, but here they are. Doing nothing and serving no purpose.

I thought I couldn’t care less about Karen and her friends’ playhouse, but then, suddenly, I did. (They’re surprisingly nice to Lou, though, even when she’s nasty to them.)

“Nannie, Charlie, and Sam were out doing Saturday night things.” Hookers and blow?

Dawn “never could watch the scary part in the beginning” of The Wizard of Oz. First of all, I never realized there was a “scary party in the beginning” of that movie. (Someone clarifies that she means the twister.) Second of all, the girl reads ghost stories before bed but she can’t handle a Hollywood tornado?

Jessi, chocolate-covered popcorn is not gross. It’s delicious. You’re gross.

So Lou’s father’s brother didn’t know she and her brother existed? That’s…not good.

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