As Margaret mentioned last Wednesday, The Baby-Sitters Club is getting a revamp to take them into the 21st century. With this in mind, I've put together a list of things it might be nice to see in Baby-Sitters Club 2.0.
1. An Explanation Of "California Casual": Look, I know that Dawn is from California. And I also know that she likes to keep things casual. But I still don't know what the hell "California Casual" is supposed to mean. On the covers of the books, Dawn was always wearing jeans and a long shirt. As a kid who grew up on the East Coast, I knew this look as "jeans and a long shirt." But if Dawn was wearing it, it was apparently "California Casual." For years I thought this meant that California girls had some secret way of wearing jeans and long shirt that us East Coast kids just couldn't handle. Then I thought perhaps it meant that Dawn bought said jeans and long shirts at Casual Corner, so I made my mother take me there, only to find it was mainly clothing for 40-year-old working women as opposed to 12-year-old professional babysitters. I still have no idea what "California Casual" is supposed to mean. FIX IT, BSC 2.0.
2. Claudia Should Keep Her Candy In The Kitchen: First, Claudia should publicly call out Lane Kim from Gilmore Girls for stealing her "hide things that would offend my strict parents in the floorboards of my bedroom" technique. Secondly, she should pack up all of her junk food and haul it into the kitchen, where she can access it whenever she pleases without being afraid of what her mother might say. The emphasis on Claudia's perfect skin and perfect figure, combined with her habit of hiding cookies from her parents, is just kind of gross. The subtext seems to be "She's beautiful...and all she has to do is hide her eating habits from her family." Not so good. If the Claudia vs. her strict parents storyline has to stay (and it does serve for some interesting exchanges) perhaps it should be more about openly rebelling and less about hiding herself (and her Oreos) from her mom and dad.
3. Stacey Needs A Break: Stacey, the Official Diabetic of the Baby-Sitters Club, can never seem to catch a break when it comes to her health. Remember that Super Special where all the girls went off to summer camp to have the time of their lives? Guess what happened to ol' Diabetes McGill? She got impetigo and had to deal with a crusty sore on her face while her friends were out livin' the summer camp dream. To make matters worse, she heads to NYC to hang with her BFF Laine and is totally blown off, as Laine has outgrown her and her newly-suburban ways. What gives, BSC Universe? Hasn't this kid been through enough? Do you not recognize her fabulousness? This is the girl who could walk into an 8th grade classroom dressed as a flamingo in a tutu with palm trees growing out of her ears and everyone in Stoneybrook would think she was just so "New York" and amazing. Give her a break, okay?
4. Please Stop Trying To Make Us Feel Bad For Mallory: By contrast, it's time the BSC Universe stops trying to get us all to feel sympathy for Mallory Pike, the Ginger with a heart of pyrite. We know she has a million brothers and sisters. We know she's awkward. We know she feels she'll never be as cool as Dawn, Claudia, or Stacey. But it's not because of her red hair and freckles, it's because of her craptacular attitude and whiny disposition. All Mallory ever does is complain. If we keep giving in to Mallory's pity parties, she's going to grow up to be that friend who calls just to say, "Oh...you're going out? That must be fun...for you," even though you've called to ask her to come along about 700 times in the past week. I know she's supposed to speak to young readers who feel that they, too, are outsiders and weirdos, but Mallory never seems to grow; for every small victory that occurs, she seems to end up right back where she started from—feeling bad for herself and manipulating others to feel the same. Either force Mallory out of her Debbie Downer stage or give us a better reason to care about her. Pity isn't going to cut it anymore.
5. Mary-Anne Needs More Of A Personality: Mary Anne is the "shy" one. Unfortunately, this also means she's the murderer of the series, as she has a tendency to bore people to death. There has to be something more to Mary Anne, and that something more probably shouldn't just be her on-again/off-again boyfriend, Logan, who also has the personality of a box of rocks. Quartz. Standard variety. The kind your parents use to sop up moisture in the back yard.
6. Bring Back Jessi's Boyfriend, Quint: Jessi Ramsey had one of the better boyfriends of the series, a dancer named Quint whom she met in NYC during one of the Super Specials. Quint, if I remember correctly, was off to Julliard. He was very sweet and talented and makes Logan look like the box of rocks he is. It would also be nice for Jessi to have a partner in crime who wasn't Mallory Pike, for crying out loud.
7. Drop The Repetitive Intro: Didn't read the first book of the series? No big deal! The entire book is recapped in every bloody title, with the first chapter solely dedicated to catching newbies up to speed. Look: if you're going to push a numbered series, don't insult your devoted readers by forcing them to flip through the same chapter over and over again. Also? It's not really a big deal if you come in at book #43 without the knowledge that Kristy Thomas started the group. Lord knows she'll let you know, eventually.
8. Bring Back The Super Specials, Please!: Ah, the Super Specials! Adventure, romance, travel, mystery, and the aforementioned impetigo episode all make appearances in these extended books, which are each broken down into chapters focusing on one single character. It seemed as if the girls had their best adventures outside of Stoneybrook, CT, and we were happy to follow them. Think of all the adventures still waiting to be had by our favorite babysitters! The possibilities are truly endless. Maybe this time they can just leave Mallory at home, though.
Feel free to add to this list in the comments!