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.

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.

November 12, 2013

BSC #126, The All-New Mallory Pike: The New Mallory Doesn’t Have a Backbone Either

Posted in books tagged , , at 8:27 pm by Jenn

Mallory looks eight years old

Mallory looks eight years old

Summary: We’ve been hearing about it, and the day is finally here: Mallory’s off to boarding school. Riverbend is all girls, with an emphasis on fine arts. She’s nervous from the start, since it’s her first time away from home and she’s not sure she’ll fit in. In fact, she’s not sure the school will be any different from SMS – what if she has the same problems at Riverbend as she did back in Stoneybrook?

Mallory’s new roommate, Alexis, doesn’t help things. She is, in a word, crazy. She makes rules that Mal has to follow, and doesn’t make any room for Mallory’s stuff. We all know Mal is a little mouse, so of course she doesn’t say anything. She’s also pretty bad at reading people and doesn’t get that Alexis doesn’t like her, so she’d be better off keeping her distance instead of trying to become her friend.

Things get worse, and Alexis goes full-blown nuts. She’s like Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction in teenage form. She gets mad that Mallory never spends time with her, not realizing that Mal is avoiding their room because she never gets any time alone, and because Alexis is annoying. Alexis also reads Mallory’s diary and borrows her earrings without asking. Mal’s new friends let her know that Alexis has already scared off two roommates (one of whom, Jen, is now friends with Mallory).

Mallory keeps trying to make things work, but doesn’t get anywhere. When she and Alexis discuss things with their dorm prefect, Alexis paints herself as the victim. Things keep getting worse, and finally Alexis snaps, actually trashing the room. Finally the prefect and the dean of students realize that this rooming situation isn’t going to work out, and that Alexis probably shouldn’t be around people, actually. They give her Jen’s single room and move Jen in with Mallory. So now Mal has friends, a non-psychotic roommate, and…eh, I don’t care enough to think of a third thing.

Back in Stoneybrook, the Pike kids are revolting because Vanessa’s now the only person in the house with her own room. Each of the kids tries to make a case for changing room arrangements, and Mr. and Mrs. Pike are all, “We’re so sick of parenting. We don’t even care anymore. Let the dog have the room.” Of course, the BSC girls help them work things out. Byron is fine with living with Nicky, and Vanessa admits to being lonely without a roommate, so the girls move into Nicky and the triplets’ room, Jordan and Adam room together, and Nicky and Byron room together. When Mal comes home for vacations, I guess she has to sleep on the couch.

Thoughts: So you see, kids, if you ever have problems at school, just run away and everything will be okay!

Mallory’s self-esteem issues are painful. I wish her parents had kept her in Stoneybrook and sent her to therapy.

If Alexis is so horrible to her roommates, they should stop making girls who don’t know her live with her. It’s a mean way to introduce them to the school. Riverbend’s administration is no better than SMS’s.

And that’s it for Mallory! I…won’t miss her.

October 29, 2013

BSC #125, Mary Anne in the Middle: This Was Supposed to Be Good News

Posted in books tagged , , , , at 9:06 pm by Jenn


Mary Anne, stop raiding Richard’s closet

Summary: Mallory can’t stand going to SMS anymore, so she’s strongly considering going to a boarding school in Massachusetts called Riverbend. Jessi’s ticked that she’s leaving, and the two of them stop talking. Instead, they talk to Mary Anne. Mary Anne is sympathetic to both of them, but she can see how miserable Mallory is, so she supports Mal’s decision to go to Riverbend.

Mallory learns that she was accepted at the school, and when announces that she’s going, everyone flips out. All of a sudden, everyone loves Mallory. Her siblings are especially upset, which is kind of funny since a) they never listen to her and b) you’d think they’d be happy to have one less sibling to have to deal with. Jessi’s furious that Mallory made up her mind without consulting her best friend, and especially mad that Mallory talked to Mary Anne instead.

So this fight goes on forever, until Mary Anne snaps and tells the two to come to her house. She makes them get their issues out in the open, which leads to them making up. Mallory’s still going away to school, but Jessi now understands why she made that decision and is a lot more supportive. Then everyone has We Love Mallory Day, because Mal’s self-esteem is so low, she has to be reminded constantly that people actually like her.

In the B-plot, the BSC girls organize a sort of Christmas ornament drive for the local nursing home. They also throw a party for the residents, which would be a lot sweeter if we weren’t constantly reminded how the girls are awesome do-gooders who are always working on some kind of charity project.

Thoughts: “I didn’t say you were fat. You just have a big face.” Thanks, Margo.

Interesting that Jessi acts the same way over Mallory leaving as Becca did when Jessi went to New York. And Jessi considered moving away, too! She’s an annoying hypocrite in this book.

Mary Anne sends Mallory and Jessi on the same sitting job while they’re fighting, because that’s worked out so well for the BSC girls in the past.

There’s a really sweet moment where a man at the nursing home is surprised that Kristy knows his name, and when Kristy says she remembers it from the last time the BSC girls were there, the man is so happy that he almost cries.

September 18, 2013

BSC #122, Kristy in Charge: Isn’t She Always?

Posted in books tagged , , , , at 8:09 pm by Jenn

Cary, we need to talk about your shorts

Cary, we need to talk about your shorts

Summary: Stoneybrook Middle School has no shortage of special programs, and now there’s another one: Students get to spend three days teaching classes. Kristy, Mary Anne, Stacey, and Mallory all sign up, as does Cary Retlin. Kristy and Cary are both assigned gym classes, and find out that during this portion of the course, they’ll have to teach together. It goes badly. Very badly.

Cary goofs off all the time, while Kristy yells at the kids and forgets to let them enjoy themselves. She doesn’t think she needs to submit a lesson plan (even though that’s part of the assignment) since it’s a gym class, and you can’t really plan everything out. Plus, Kristy doesn’t like the teacher she’s filling in for and who’s supervising her, so she doesn’t want to do what that teacher advises her to do.

Things really go off the rails when Cary and Kristy split up into teams for a soccer game and the students end up rioting and pounding on each other. It’s technically not Kristy and Cary’s fault, but they’re put on probation and told that the school might not do the student-teaching program again if they can’t turn things around. Of course, Kristy and Cary learn to Work Together and Communicate and Take Things Seriously like the good little fictional ’90s children they are.

Meanwhile, Mallory has a horrible time: She’s student-teaching Kristy and Mary Anne’s English class, and the other students are awful to her. She’s incredibly nervous, and they just make things worse. They start calling her Spaz Girl and taunting her outside of class. It gets so bad that meek little Mary Anne actually yells at them to show some respect. In the end, the students do listen to her, but Mal is still called Spaz Girl, and she’s not happy that people think she’s a joke.

The B-plot is about Vanessa catching the teaching bug and forcing her younger siblings to attend poetry school. They overthrow her because she’s a horrible teacher and criticizes everything they do. Abby gets her to calm down and remember that she needs to make learning fun.

Thoughts: Some of the kids at SMS are terrible people. And the teachers really shouldn’t be blaming the student-teachers for the kids being out of control. Clearly these kids weren’t mature enough to handle this program, which isn’t the student-teachers’ fault. Mallory’s students are bullying her to her face in front of their teacher, and all she does is give them more homework. Come on!

I’m surprised Mary Anne wants to do the teaching program, since she doesn’t like speaking in front of groups.

Kristy wears plaid pleated shorts to teach her gym class. Somewhere, Claudia is shuddering. Later, she wears Umbros. Totally ’90s!

“You’d think a bunch of eighth-graders would give a break to a poor kid who was two years younger than they were.” You’d think a girl who’s been in middle school for a decade would know that’s not how middle-schoolers roll.

August 21, 2013

BSC #121, Abby in Wonderland: Hey, Kids! Let’s Learn About Breast Cancer and Sadness!

Posted in books tagged , , , , , at 6:09 pm by Jenn

You may think the middle-aged-looking woman dressed as the Mad Hatter is Abby's mom. It's not. It's Kristy. Kristy, you look old

You may think the middle-aged-looking woman dressed as the Mad Hatter is Abby’s mom. It’s not. It’s Kristy. Kristy, you look old

Summary: In case you didn’t get enough grandparent-related sadness from Claudia and the Sad Good-bye, the hottest book in the BSC series right now is Abby in Wonderland. This book has everything: costumes. A fake beach. Family feuds. Janine’s long-lost nerd soulmate. (Sorry, guys. I miss Stefon.)

So anyway, Abby, Anna, and their mother go to the Hamptons for a vacation with Mrs. Stevenson’s parents. Abby quickly senses that something is going on with her grandmother, who’s more tired than usual and insists that a big anniversary party she and her husband are throwing is more important than it’s been in the past. Then Abby finds a pamphlet on breast cancer in her grandmother’s room and thinks she’s sick.

Everyone else is clueless, but Abby worries that this will be the last anniversary party her grandparents have, so she contacts the people who can’t come and gets them to change their minds. There’s a dumb thing about her grandmother not speaking to her sister because of a long-ago fight over a spilled secret, so Abby gets the sister to come. She also doesn’t want to say anything about her grandmother possibly being sick because she doesn’t want her to get mad about another spilled secret.

The party happens, everyone dresses up (the theme is Alice in Wonderland), and the family is all together. But knowing her grandmother might be sick gets to be too much for Abby, and she finally asks if it’s true. Her grandmother admits that she had a biopsy and is waiting for results. Of course, this mean she might not be sick, which Abby never considered, so now everything’s okay. Her grandmother will never die! The family will never have to be sad again! Everything is wonderful and no one has a possibly life-threatening illness and everything is rainbows and puppies!

In the B-plot, the Pikes can’t go to Sea City for their usual summer vacation because they had to spend their vacation money fixing Mr. Pike’s car. The BSC girls help them set up a fake beach at their house. It’s one of those things that sounds like more fun to do than to read about.

Thoughts: Anna’s Janine-alike friend is named Corley. Parents, please don’t do that to your children.

More proof that Mrs. Pike is awesome: Instead of getting mad when the triplets accidentally spray her with a hose, she soaks them with a water gun.

Abby learns that people with Jewish and Eastern European ancestry are at high risk for breast cancer. Well, crap. Thanks for giving me something to worry about, Abby.

“[Mallory] likes Ben Hobart a lot – if you know what I mean.” Yeah, it’s pretty obvious what you mean.

January 9, 2013

BSC #111, Stacey’s Secret Friend: Don’t Make Me Over

Posted in books tagged , , , , , at 8:28 pm by Jenn

Tess just raided Mallory's closet, that's all

Tess just raided Mallory’s closet, that’s all

Summary: Stacey meets a new girl at SMS, Tess Swinhart, who’s nice but seems a little weird. Stacey thinks she just needs a makeover; she always wears pink, she never wears makeup, and her hair isn’t styled like anyone else’s. Due to the pink thing, Tess’ slightly porcine nose, and the fact that the first part of her last name almost contains the word “swine,” Alan gets everyone at school to start calling Tess “Swine-heart” behind her back. Tess is pretty oblivious and doesn’t get it when people start oinking at her. There’s also a comic book circulating about Swine-heart the Destroyer. Stacey decides not to tell Tess anything because…well, good question.

Since makeovers fix everything, Stacey tries to take Tess on as her project (a la Cher and Tai). She gets her to read some magazines, puts some makeup on her, and encourages her to wear something other than pink. Tess humors her a little but clearly couldn’t care less about whether or not her clothes are trendy or “in.” Most of the time, she just ignores Stacey, which is smart, because Stacey gets super-annoying. She also keeps saying she’s not Tess’ friend, since no one likes Tess and I guess, as Cher would say, Stacey’s “stock would plummet.”

At a football game, the students vote on a new mascot by applauding when Stacey and other students hold up signs with pictures of their choices. Stacey holds up a pig and everyone goes wild. She doesn’t realize until it’s too late that the pig picture has been replaced by a drawing of Swine-heart the Destroyer. Tess is so shocked at the reaction that she falls off the bleachers and breaks her ankle. She’s furious with Stacey and orders her to leave her alone.

Even though everyone knows Stacey would never switch the pictures, a bunch of people tell her that she wasn’t much of a friend to Tess. She just thought of Tess as a project and didn’t tell her what people were saying about her behind her back. Though, in Stacey’s defense, she did warn Tess not to trust a guy named Clarence King who asked her out, since Stacey thought it was some sort of scheme. But anyway, Stacey feels bad about everything and apologizes to Tess. While at Tess’ house, Stacey discovers that Tess lived in France, and her wardrobe is in style there. So suddenly Tess is cool.

The BSC girls band together with Tess and another girl, Barbara (who was best friends with Amelia and has become good friends with Tess), to enact some stupid 13-year-old revenge on Clarence. They mess up Clarence’s clothes and take pictures, then threaten to share them with everyone at school if Clarence and Alan don’t leave Tess alone. And then I don’t think Tess is ever mentioned in the series again.

The B-plot is kind of clever: Jackie Rodowsky and Nicky Pike have been acting weird. In fact, Nicky seems overly protective of Jackie. Eventually Abby learns that some kids were hassling Jackie, so he hired Nicky to be his bodyguard. I guess Nicky is intimidating or something? Why not hire the triplets?

Thoughts: This book brings up an interesting question: If you knew someone was being mocked behind her back, would you tell her? I think I would, because if I were the person being mocked, I’d want to know.

Stacey says that Alan has no sense of humor about himself, but aren’t a lot of his jokes at his own expense?

Tess and her friends once carved a bunch of ducks, painted them to look realistic, and put them in a river to confuse people. I’d rather hang out with that group than the BSC girls.

Nicky, up in a tree with Jackie: “We were practicing invisibility.” Claudia: “Well, practice visibility and come down from there.” That cracked me up, for some reason.

Moral of the story: Solve your problems with blackmail.

May 28, 2012

BSC Super Mystery #3, Baby-sitters’ Fright Night: Which Witch is Which?

Posted in books tagged , , , , , , , , at 3:17 pm by Jenn

Their outfits are the real fright here

Summary: Over Halloween, Abby, Stacey, Kristy, Mary Anne, and Mallory go to Salem, Massachusetts for a school trip. The trip is part history-project research, part excuse to do a lot of shopping (or at least that’s how Stacey sees it). Alan, Cokie, and Cary are also on the trip and being varying levels of annoying. Cokie and her minion Grace are huge mean girls to a sixth-grader named Eileen who rooms with Mallory and is supposedly decended from a witch.

A local museum is displaying a big diamond called the Witch’s Eye, which is like the poor man’s Hope Diamond, in that it’s allegedly cursed. It’s stolen while some of the students are at the museum. Mary Anne finds a wig that the girls guess was worn by the theif, and Stacey finds a bunch of numbers on a piece of paper. The girls think the person who stole the diamond is staying at the same inn as the students. At the same time, Abby buys a little ceramic pumpkin in a gift shop and starts taking it everywhere with her, calling it her pet pumpkin.

Anyway, the investigation begins, and Mallory gets really obsessed with documenting everything in the club’s mystery notebook. The notebook is back in Stoneybrook, but she has Jessi and Shannon send it to her. Girl needs help. There are a few suspects, including Mrs. Moorehouse, who owns the diamond but may not have insurance; Martha Kempner, a writer who’s in Salem to write about the diamond; Sean Knowles, whose reason for being in Salem isn’t exactly clear; and Harvey Hapgood, who tried to buy the diamond before it was stolen.

In between working on their projects and investigating the mystery, the girls do some sightseeing and various Halloween activities. They also try to avoid Alan and Cary, who are bugging Kristy. Cokie gets nastier and nastier to Eileen, and Mallory winds up sticking up for her and tearing into Cokie, which is both surprising and awesome of her. It also finally, finally gets Cokie to shut up.

Everyone goes to a Halloween parade, where Abby’s fanny pack is stolen, and she’s ticked but mostly just happy that her pumpkin wasn’t in it. Abby and Stacey’s room is broken into, as the theif took Abby’s room key, but nothing is stolen. Then Stacey realizes that the numbers she saw earlier are probably a safe combination, so she thinks the person who stole the Witch’s Eye stashed it in a safe.

Kristy thinks she’s uncovered a clue leading her to the museum, which is closed while the police investigate the diamond theft. She winds up locked inside and runs into Alan, who’s been torturing her the whole trip. But he has a clue, too, and they realize Cary set them both up. They arrange to scare the crap out of him, and the three seem to call a truce. It’s basically just a red herring.

While Kristy’s gone, there’s a storm and the electricity in the inn goes out. The other girls decide to snoop around in the suspects’ rooms and safes, but they don’t find anything. They do, however, see Mrs. Moorehouse and realize how frail she is, leading them to believe she didn’t steal the diamond since she wouldn’t have been able to make a clean getaway. The girls remember seeing Martha wear high heels for most of the trip, except for the day of the theft, when she wore sneakers. This means she may have been planning to move stealthily. The girls also use the combination Stacey found to open Martha’s safe, another strike against Martha.

It’s all dark and creepy in the inn, and the girls are freaked out when they run into Sean, since they still don’t know what he’s up to. He reveals that he’s an insurance agent and has been in Salem to keep an eye on the diamond. The girls head off to…I don’t know, call the police? Probably not. But Abby gets separated from them and runs into Martha, who grabs the pumpkin and breaks it, revealing the Witch’s Eye inside. It turns out she bought the pumpkin at one gift shop, put the diamond inside, and accidentally dropped it in another gift shop, where Abby bought it. She’s also been working with Harvey to get her hands on it.

Abby holds Martha off (yeah, I bet) until the police arrive and the girls are branded heroes yet again. Then they have cake with Mrs. Moorehouse, who tells them that she thought she didn’t have insurance because Harvey called her pretending to be from the insurance company and told her they couldn’t insure the diamond anymore. I don’t know, it’s a stupid wrap-up.

Also stupid: the B-plot involving Claudia, Jessi, Logan, and Shannon organizing a Halloween parade back in Stoneybrook. Jordan Pike is annoying and the sitters let him embarrass himself until he learns A Lesson.

Thoughts: Harvey Hapgood is not a name for a villain, or at least not a dangerous one. It’s a name for a Harold Hill wannabe.

If I were Jessi or Shannon and Mallory asked me to send the notebook, I’d say, “Sure, Mal, it’s on its way,” hang up, snicker, and go back to whatever I was doing. Otherwise I would be an enabler.

When Abby’s fanny pack is stolen, she yells out to the crowd that there’s a pickpocket in the crowd. I feel bad for any guy who ever tries to grope Abby in public.

Turns out Mallory is kind of awesome and Jordan is kind of a jerk. Who knew?

April 7, 2012

BSC #98, Dawn and Too Many Sitters: Why Did Anyone Think This Was a Good Idea?

Posted in books tagged , , , , at 12:45 pm by Jenn

I highly doubt Claudia's room is that neat

Summary: Dawn and Jeff are back in Stoneybrook for the summer, but as soon as they get there, Dawn wants to leave again. SMS has a special offer on a trip to Hawaii, and Dawn has a chance to go even though she doesn’t go to SMS anymoroe. All of the other BSC girls (except Kristy, who’s going later in the summer with her family, and Mallory, who is poor and unloved) want to go, too. Their parents agree, but the girls have to pay half their way themselves. That means they need to earn $250 each. (Cheapest trip to Hawaii ever, I believe.)

The girls start taking on as many jobs as they can, but it’s hard to keep up with them all. Enter Jeff and the Pike triplets, who have decided that, at the seasoned age of ten, that they’re old enough to babysit. Kristy agrees to let them into the club as babysitters-in-training because she believes they’ll get bored soon enough and lose interest. She is exactly right. The guys tag along on the girls’ sitting jobs, and though they’re good with the kids, they don’t want to do anything that would constitute actual work. They also skip meetings and eat all of Claudia’s junk food, which is only okay when the BSC girls do it.

Eventually the girls decide they have to kick the guys out, and Dawn and Mallory are given the task of breaking the news to them. They keep stalling since they don’t want to hurt their brothers’ feelings. But then the guys announce that they’re not enjoying sitting as much as they’d expected, and they don’t like the meetings, so they want to quit. (No comment is made about the fact that I’m sure plenty of parents objected to having their children looked after by ten-year-olds who still play on Little League teams.) The guys part ways with the club with no hard feelings, and the Pikes agree to let the triplets be the “second sitter” whenever the family needs one.

The rest of the book is about the girls trying to earn money for the trip. Eventually they provide entertainment (face-painting, magic tricks, etc.) at a town Fourth of July happening and make all the money.

Thoughts: Claudia screams when she reunites with Dawn, and Abby tells her, “That is an outdoor voice, Claudia.” Hee, awesome.

I can’t believe Watson planned a family trip and didn’t tell Kristy she could invite all her friends. I also can’t believe Kristy’s willing to leave the club without a president for more than one day.

“Byron found he had a taste for baby formula.” Something is not right with that boy.

Mallory: “You’re not supposed to be down here unsupervised.” Nicky: “So, supervise me.” Heh.

With all their sitting, yard sales, car washes, etc., I would think each girl would easily be able to make $250. It’s a large amount of money to a 13-year-old, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s not that much.

The girls realize they’ll also want money for souvenirs, though, and Mallory asks if they’ll really have to buy them. Mal, you’re the only regular member not going – you’re the one getting the souvenirs. Keep your mouth shut and hope for something more than a puka-shell necklace.

Kristy suggests “a special event. Like the haunted house we ran, or the sleepover to raise money for the kids in New Mexico, or Claudia’s art show–.” Abby: “A sleepover in a haunted art gallery!” I love Abby.

December 26, 2011

BSC #92, Mallory’s Christmas Wish: Reality Bites

Posted in books tagged , , , at 2:20 pm by Jenn

Nice mom jeans, child I assume is Claire

Summary: Mallory convinces her family to have an old-fashioned Christmas, with homemade presents, home-cooked meals, and the like. Vanessa hears about a contest looking for families with unique Christmas celebrations and enters with the old-fashioned idea. She wins, so the Pikes will have their preparations and holiday activities taped for a TV show. Plus, they get $10,000. The Pikes are all excited, but Kristy’s even more excited because now the BSC can get a ton of free publicity.

Of course, things don’t go smoothly. Because they’re filming a TV show, there are various takes and some things have to be staged. There are cameras in everyone’s faces, and the whole process is just a hassle. Plus, the BSC girls are working at a boutique at Stoneybrook Manor, where Mallory’s Uncle Joe lives, and the filming puts him off. Finally, on Christmas Eve, the kids revolt, and the Pikes decide to shut down filming and give back the $10,000.

Not much else happens in the book, other than the BSC girls working at the boutique, but we get to accompany the Pikes on a lot of Christmas errands. That was kind of nice to read about on…Christmas. (Nice coincidence, huh?)

Thoughts: Suddenly, I’m realized the real plus of having seven brothers and sisters: tons of Christmas presents. Can you imagine all the stuff under the Pikes’ tree?

Claudia’s “Kishi Scientific Ener-joy Theory”: “If you eat what you like, you become happy, and the energy from your joy burns off calories.” I like it!

I’d love to know where the Pikes store the 360 Christmas cookies they make.

I love that Claire believes in Santa but is “suspicious.”

Vanessa’s Christmas song, which cracks me up:

“O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,

When I chop you down, don’t fall on me.

You smell so nice, you look so green,

Excuse my axe for being mean.”

This book was published before reality TV really took off, but I can imagine the BSC girls starring on some reality shows:

  • Kristy and Abby – partners on The Amazing Race
  • Claudia – Project Runway or Work of Art
  • Stacey – 16 and Pregnant (let’s be honest)
  • Mallory – a Jon & Kate Plus 8/19 Kids and Counting-type show starring the Pikes
  • Mary Anne – she’ll have her own show about having a giant family
  • Jessi – So You Think You Can Dance
  • Dawn – Whale Wars

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