...except for me and my monkey! "Everything we see hides another thing. We always want to see what is hidden by what we see." -Rene Magritte

Monday, December 13, 2004

Say hello to your friends (Baby-Sitters Club!)

If you know me at all, chances are you know that I carry an Olympic-sized torch for the Baby-Sitters Club series. In a nutshell, the BSC books were about a group of middle-school girls who baby-sat for the kids in Stoneybrook, Connecticut, a small town of indeterminate size.** Oh, but they did so much more. They went on Caribbean cruises, solved mysteries, went to Europe and New York and Hawaii and Iowa, won the lottery, invented slang words like "dibble" (short for "incredible," you know) and "chilly" and "stale," saved the planet, obsessed over boys, fought, commited sartorial crimes, and fought some more, all while exerting a Mafia-like monopoly over the baby-sitting business in Stoneybrook. Here's a hint: if you aren't in the BSC, you should not be baby-sitting, and they will run you out of business.

Looking back on it, they were total bitches to each other, all Mean Girlsy with their descriptions of one another. For instance, in Dawn and the Disappearing Dogs, Dawn describes Mallory thusly: "No one would ever mistake Mallory for a ballerina." When Mary Anne dares to get her hair cut short in Mary Anne's Big Makeover, the other baby-sitters won't even talk to her. And in Stacey vs. the BSC, when Stacey throws a party without inviting all the members of the club, whom she's beginning to find a little embarassing, the shit really hits the fan, and she gets kicked out of the club. (She rejoins a few books later in Stacey and the Bad Girls after learning the Very Important Lesson that the club members are the most true friends she will ever have, and also all non-club members like to steal and drink at U4Me concerts.)

Hi, my name is Jessica, and I'm obsessed with the Baby-Sitters Club.

So you can imagine my glee at finding the BSC discussion thread on FameTracker. My people! Even better, the various people posting on the thread have begun a round-robin fan fiction BSC Super Special Viva Las BSC! in which the club members, some of their classmates, and Kristy's family go to Las Vegas! I spent far too long reading it and trying hard not to totally crack up in the library last night. Dawn's chapter, in particular, is spot-on. I never realized when I was reading the books for the first time how sanctimonius Dawn was with her vegetarianism. Girl has a serious superiority complex.

Also enjoyable: The BSC meets CSI! (Chapter two is here.) Oh my God (or, as Claudia would say, "Oh my Lord!"), it is perfect. I bet Kristy's the culprit...or Claudia. After all, job-hogging (taking a job without offering it to everyone else first) has a long and storied history in the BSC of creating violence and hostility, including the near disbanding of the club in #4 Mary Anne Saves the Day.

Oh, the BSC. How I love thee.

**Kristy Thomas, the club's president, had the Great Idea (viz. BSC #1 Kristy's Great Idea) to start the club and invited her best friend Mary Anne Spier, their neighbor and friend Claudia Kishi and Claudia's best friend, recent New York City transplant Stacey (don't call her Anastasia!) McGill to join. In Book #4 Mary Anne Saves the Day, Dawn Schafer moves from California to Connecticut and in #5 Dawn and the Terrible Three she joins the club. Mallory Pike and Jessi Ramsey, eleven-year-old sixth-graders, join as junior members in #15 Dawn and Little Miss Stoneybrooke. Aside from some minor change-ups (Stacey briefly moves back to New York, then returns; Dawn moves back to California; Kristy's former nemesis Shannon Kilbourne and Mary Anne's boyfriend Logan Bruno join as associate members; Mallory drops out for awhile after she gets mono and a girl named Wendy takes her place for one book; Abby Stevenson joins in the late #80s) the club remains fairly static until the BSC series ends after book #121 The Fire at Mary Anne's House; after that, Kristy, Mary Anne, Claudia and Stacey continue a scaled-back version in the Friends Forever Series.

By the way, bonus points if you know how to sing the title of this post. Yes, there was a song.