So yes, I’m back. I had to take a break for my Easter posts, but I’m back with my fandom posts!
The Baby-Sitters Club
If you were a preteen in the ’90s, chances are you were a fan of these books, TV show, or film. I was a huge fan of all three, even reading the spinoff series about Kristy’s stepsister, Karen. In these books they made middle school and baby-sitting sound so cool and fun. Reality check, it wasn’t as cool or as lucrative; but still I loved these books. I read them so much that these characters became my own friends in a way.
The only thing I really didn’t like was the scenes of California. Clearly Ms. Ann M. Martin had never been to California, as she always wrote it in this stereotypical way. And to be honest it wasn’t just her. Every writer in the ’80s-’90s wrote about California as this sea of blonde, buff, or lean vegetarians. EXCUSE ME? Where are the Latinos, Asians, Pacific Islanders, East Indians, African-Americans, etc? ALWAYS MISSING! And seriously? We are not vegetarians and do not always eat some of the weird things that they say we do. Plus in the book where they win the lottery and all go to California; they have money to go from Anaheim all over Los Angelas, but can’t spare a few hours to go to the San Diego Zoo as it is “too far”. Excuse me? San Diego is not that far for girls visiting from the East Coast and may never go to California again? I could see them freaking out if they wanted to go to San Francisco, Napa, Tahoe or Sacramento as that could be like half a day’s drive, but really? San Diego is “too far” as California is a “big state”.
The other thing that bothered me was the lack of diversity. I know it’s Conneticut and they don’t have the same influx, but still. They act like Jessie is the first black girl to walk the face of the planet at times. Same for Claudia as first Asian.
The other issue I have with The Baby-Sitters Club (BSC) as an adult, those issues of before were all from when I was a kid, is how they never, ever, go to an adult about the problems they have. For instance the grief Claudia faces over the death of her grandmother, when Kristy and Claudia are being harassed by phone calls, when Jessi suspects her friend of an eating disorder (eventually she talks to someone), when homes are being burglarized, deciding to try and catch counterfeiters, etc. I just think, geez that is horrible example to set for children.
But even with their faults, I loved this series. I used to read a book a day and owned almost the whole series. I had a hard time with the books after Dawn leaves the BSC for good, as I felt it just lost it. I didn’t care for Abby coming on to the series as I hated her character. I also disliked the Claudia left behind in seventh grade storyline, the breakup between Claudia and Stacey over a boy, Mary-Anne and Logan’s complete breakup, the fire that destroys Mary-Anne and Dawn’s house, etc.
So now to the characters:
Kristy Thomas is the creator of the club, deciding to invite her best friend Mary-Anne, along with old friend Claudia, and new girl Stacey. She is bossy, opinionated, a know-it-all, show-off, sports nut; but good friend. Her parents are divorcred, as her father left at a really young age. She has a 17-year old brother, Charlie, who’s only role in the series is as a driver; 15-year old brother Sam, prankster and Stacey’s boyfriend for a bit; and a 8-year old brother, David Michael. Her mom dates a gazilionaire, Watson Brewer, and they whole crew move into his mansion. She then gets a stepsister, Karen, who is the star of the spinoff series, and a younger brother Andrew. Her parents end up adopting an orphaned Chinese girl, Emily Michelle. Now a lot of people speculate about Kristy’s uninterst in boys as being secretly gay; but I never saw it that way. As all the girls dated and had these huge crushes, I liked how Kristy just wasn’t really interested in anyone, and when she does find a guy, who ends up moving too fast for her, she breaks it off. I liked this thread as it showed we all mature at different rates, and just because all your friends have a boyfriend, doesn’t mean you need one too.
Next we have Claudia Kishi. She is Japanese and not very good in school, a fact that sucks as she has a genius sister. Claudia is an amazing artist and fashionable, not always wearing actual everyday wear, but rockin’ her looks.
She is best friends with Stacey who is also very interested in fashion. Claudia, Mary Ann, and Kristy grew up across the street from each other and became good friends. Claudia matured before them, and stopped hanging out as much, but when Kristy proposed her idea, she jumped in and brought along Stacey. Claudia had a few interesting storylines. One of the ones I enjoyed a lot was when she began working with Emily Michelle, who was having issues with learning her colors, shapes, etc. Claudia feels stupid a lot of the time as she constantly compares herself to her sister, but I liked that thread as she realizes there are different types of intelligences as she may not be good with one thing, but can do well with another.
Stacey McGill was originally from New York. She was diagnosed with diabetes, which was viewed the same as the plague, causing her and her family to move to Conneticut when a job opened up. I never understood the reason why diabetes was viewed as so appalling, but I liked how they dealt with it in the series. Stacey was constantly having to take care of her diabetes and deal with the temptations and fact that she couldn’t always have exactly what she wants. She was a fashionista and quickly bonded with Claudia. In book 13, she moves back to New York; but luckily by book 26, she was brought back. She was always dating boys, having multiple boyfriends and sometimes having problems arise with them. The storyline I thought was interesting was when she starts dating Robert, star basketball player. Here she has a conflict of issues as she finds out that it is not always easy to juggle boyfriend, friends, and other commitments. Along with the fact that people don’t always meld together as well as you hope. She ends up leaving the club for her new friends, and has to come to terms that these aren’t the same people she hung out with before, and won’t view things the same way. It had a sort of PSA announcement, how the group gets in trouble and she learns that they aren’t as true, BUT, instead of having her old group take her back, she has to slowly regain their trust, making it very real.
Mary-Ann Spier was quiet, mousy, didn’t like confrontation, sweet, and a crier. She lost her mom at a young age and was raised by her father for most of her life. She is best friends with Kristy, but when the crew break up over a disagreement, she meets Dawn and becomes her best friend as well. They find out that their parents used to date and bring Mary-Ann’s dad with Dawn’s mom; ending up stepsisters. Mary-Ann is the first of the group to have a serious boyfriend, Logan Bruno. Now a lot of people hated their relationship, but I liked Logan, until the end when the writers changed him completely. He was kind, caring, and I liked the two of them together. They did have the stupidest fights though. Mary-Ann freaking out over a surprise party, fighting over a way to study, her not wanting to go out but stay home and read, etc. Now the storyline I liked the most was the one where Mary-Ann gets a new look. What’s stupid is that everyone is upset she didn’t consult them, or whatever; but I liked how the meek little Mary-Ann took such a big risk showing that people can change.
Dawn Schafer grew up in Anaheim, CA; the home of Disneyland. She has a younger brother, Jeff, and all seemed well until she was twelve and her parents divorced. They moved all the way to Conneticut, where her mom was originally from. The family are all blonde, vegetarians, and don’t eat processed food or sugar; trying to say that is how all Californians are (wrong! Ghirardelli Square anyone? Or the Jelly Belly Factory?) Anyway, as mentioned above, her mom and Mary-Ann’s father get together, moving into their house and making the two friends stepsisters. Dawn is also eco-friendly and very opionated and sure of herself. Because of her always spouting I am rock solid in my beliefs, I liked the Dawn and the Older Boy and Dawn’s Big Date. In the first book she meets an older guy who turns her into his project, trying to meld her into what he thinks is better. Dawn, having a big crush on him, starts changing her ways. She does the same thing in Dawn’s Big Date, when Logan’s cousin and Dawn’s pen pal, Lewis, is coming to visit. She feels unglamorous and starts decking out in Hot Topic-like fashion. I liked these two stories as I thought they aptly showed how you can think you know yourself and that you are unchangeable, but in reality can still be susceptible to insecurities. After leaving in Conneticut for a while, she misses California too much and spends half her time in CT with the other half in CA. After a little of this, she moves home to CA for good. I missed her from the series, as after that shift it was never the same again. She received her own spinoff series, The California Diaries, which was supposed to be gritty but was often very soap opera-y.
Mallory Pike is brought in when Stacey leaves. She is the eldest of 8 kids, and unlike the other members, eleven years old. What she lacks in years, she makes up in experience. She was a pretty boring character as her only traits was that she liked reading and wanted to be a writer, and hated having such a large family. The storyline I liked with her was the one when she baby-sits the Arnold twins, making a ton of money for a mall trip. I liked this story because it gave her depth (for once) and also the shopping trip at the mall made her seem as one of the group instead of a young hanger-on.
Jessi Ramsey was brought on with Mallory. In book 14, when Mallory is being tested, she meets and befriends Jessi. I liked Jessi more than Mallory as she had a bit more depth. The only thing I didn’t like was the way everyone acted about her being black. They made it seem like she was the only black person in the area, like they had never seen one before. Now I can buy they are a mostly white population at that school, but don’t they watch TV? Movies? It felt like the “Dual Spires” Psych episode.
She was a ballet dancer, and unlike Mallory actually had words of wisdom instead of complaining. My favorite storyline of hers was when she was chosen to be Sleeping Beauty in Sleeping Beauty ballet. That was a good mystery and brought us into the Black Swan (less dark though) underside of ballet.
Besides these books I watched the show, of course.
And I loved the people chosen for the characters. I thought they were perfect and way better than the movie.
I also read The California Diaries which were supposed to be more adult and have an edge. These were okay, although there were some things I really didn’t like. First, Dawn becomes a major tool and no longer someone you want in the series. I did like the Sunny parts, her mom gets diagnosed with Cancer and how she acts when dealing with all the changes was extremely realistic. I loved the Maggie storylines, as she battles insecurities, anorexia, cutting, etc. It was a little strange how she went from the before free spirit, rebel to the type-A perfectionist, though. They add in Ducky, who I could never figure out if he was gay or just metro. The big thing that bothered me was that these 13-year olds were all dating high schoolers. Didn’t their parents think that was a bad idea? I mean why would a 16-18 year old want to date a 13 year old unless they only wanted one thing? Come on girls, stop being stupid. On a whole it wasn’t bad, often their drive to “make it real” just made these depressing situations.
So The Baby-Sitters Club wasn’t perfect, but when I was a kid it was the thing I wanted to read all the time.
The Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales
I am a huge fan of fairy tales, especially the Brothers Grimm.
The amazing stories in this are just so much fun and full of adventure.
I used to read this all the time to escape life and live within these incredible tales.
I bought the complete set one year and read the tales over and over again.
There are so many amazing tales, that asking me to pick my favorite would be impossible. I have written on them in the past, and there will be plenty more to come.
For more on The Brothers Grimm, go to If the Shoe Fits: Why Cinderella is Actually Awesome
I loved this show so much as a kid. Captain Planet was awesome, with his team of teenagers. For those of you who weren’t watching TV in the ’90s, this show was about Gaia, “Mother Earth”, choosing five teenagers from all over the world to help fight pollution. There was Kwame from Africa with the power of Earth, Gi from Asia with the power of water, Linka from Russia with the power of Wind, Wheeler from New York with the power or fire, and Ma-Ti from South America with the power of Heart. When all combined their powers they brought forth Captain Planet.
My favorite character was Wheeler as I loved his red hair and fiery attitude.
I also liked that he didn’t always agree with everything they were spouting. Like when they said you should only have one kid, he said I don’t think there is anything wrong with having big families. Besides that he was such a fun character as he was always out of the box and doing the unexpected.
Ah, The Nanny. This was a hilarious show that I loved to watch as much as I could. It was actually based a lot on Fran Drescher’s life. Fran Fine is a Jewish girl from Queens, NY. She works in a bridal shop, until her fiancé dumps her for some bimbo and kicks her out of the job. She becomes an Avon Lady, and accidentally applies for the job as nanny for widower, millionaire, British, broadway producer, Maxwell Sheffield. He has three children: Maggie, who is the eldest and completely insecure; Brighton, a prankster who hates all nannys; and Grace, neurotic and precocious. She is hired and finds herself the spice this family needs.
Yep, her unconventional ways, awesome clothing, big hair, and Yiddish are hilarious, endearing, and all around fun. Plus she has the best logic for getting around diets.
Also in the home is the British, sarcastic, bulter (sorry Fresh Prince of Bel Air, they had him first). He and Fran become best buddies, and he is an all-time favorite character of mine as he has the best one liners.
There is also Ms. C.C. Babcock that has a HUGE crush on Maxwell, even before he was a widower.
And of course Fran’s mother,
I love this show. Why did it have to end?
For more on The Nanny, go to Pizza Power
My friend Diana from high school loved this show. She was always going on about it and telling me how awesome it is. After being pushed by her constantly, I decided to give it a look and of course fell in love with it.
The show is similar to the other crime shows that I am a fan of, but this time it covers the military. When crimes occur involving any branch of the military they call in their police force, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. The team is lead by Leroy Jethro “Gibbs” Gibbs, (Mark Harmon). The rest of his team is the funny, alternative, unique, and awesome Abby Scuito the forensic specialist and Timothy McGee is the tech wizard. They had Caitlin Todd, an awesome character, but she was killed and they then brought in Israeli Masaidd agent, Ziva David that I absolutely hated.
But my all time favorite character was Anthony Dinozzo. The Italian, handsome, funny, and sarcastic agent.
The main reason I loved him was he was a huge movie buff that was always quoting things, just like me. And no one ever knows what he’s talking about, just like me.
For the previous post, go to I’m So FANcy!
Stay tuned for part 12
For more Back to the Future, go to Where Were Going, We Don’t Need Roads
For more quotes, go to Let It Go