The Baby-Sitters Club (2020): Kristy’s Great Idea (s01e01)
Say hello to your friends!
But this is not that show, as cheesy and wonderful as it was, so let’s get started with the actual show.
Summary: A creative concept comes to life as Kristy starts a club with her best friends — and a new classmate. But is she ready to be a team leader?
Uh, that summary sounds terribly boring. I know they tend to be short, but good lord, that is dry as fuck.
While we recap the books (the first 9 have been done so far) and we will recap the older tv show and the movie, I will not be recapping this tv show, mostly because it seems like the plots align pretty closely to the books. HOWEVER, I have looked forward to this show so damn much, and since this is where I bring my BSC nostalgia, I am going to share my thoughts. Written in real-time, edited only for spelling, adding information like actor names, and formatting for the site.
I AM SO DAMN EXCITED, Y’ALL! IT’S FINALLY HERE! I CANNOT WAIT TO BEGIN.
No more waiting. Let’s do this.
Ep 1: Kristy’s Great Idea
(Recap of the book Kristy’s Great Idea.)
How all men are created equal. Why didn’t he say all people.
I LOVE THIS KRISTY. A much better reason for her decorum essay. And what a damn good opening.
Double dairy! Wow, what’s next, the key to the liquor cabinet?
No, seriously, I love this Kristy! And Mary Anne is freaking adorable. “Sugar is progress.” SHE’S SO CUTE.
Oh, god, Kristy’s face when she sees Claudia and her other friends and thinks about how Kristy and Mary Anne miss her friendship. THESE GIRLS.
Oh my god, David Michael and his embarrassment over wetting his pants on the bus and how he doesn’t want his older brothers to knoooooow. I’m already so fucking charmed by these characters. I mean, yes, I was primed to be charmed because I grew up loving the series, but oh so charmed.
Alicia Silverstone’s pretty cute as Elizabeth, Kristy’s mother.
The Carcinogens? I assume that’s a band name, and I am DYING.
Charlie does not look old enough to drive. Also, I love that the mom refuses to make Kristy cancel her plans especially when the boys didn’t even think about offering. LOVE YOU, ELIZABETH.
WHAT’RE YOU GONNA DO, BREASTFEED HIM?
NO REALLY, I LOVE YOU ELIZABETH, I AM D Y I N G.
Oh my god, look at Mary Anne’s slippers. SHEEP ARE IN!
(“Sheep,” Claudia informed me witheringly, “are in.”)
I don’t know if Claudia being cool is the reason I’d want her in my baby-sitting club. Probably I’d want, you know, someone I know who is a good baby-sitters. But I do buy Kristy unconsciously using this as an excuse to get close to Claudia again OH GIRLS.
PASSING NOTES! ON PAPER! INSTEAD OF TEXTING! Not sure how believable it is, but god does it jump up and down on the nostalgia button.
And of course Kristy gets caught passing the note. And Claudia’s response! “Like a text? My phone’s in my locker.”
I LOVE HER ALREADY.
Especially because she’s sitting there drawing on her shoes. Such a Claudia thing and also incredibly nostalgic for me. Drawing on shoes, jeans, each other’s arms, that was so much fun.
(Random Wing fact: I once got into deep trouble at summer church [cult] camp because I drew tattoos on the arms of some of the girls in my cabin. They were intricate black designs in Sharpie, full upper-sleeve tattoos, they were awesome, and I can’t believe I haven’t thought about that in years. But, of course, tattoos are evil and I shouldn’t have been even pretending.)
CLAUDIA WROTE HER RESPONSE TO KRISTY’S NOTE ON HER SHOE AND WINKED AT HER WHEN SHE SHOWED IT. I LOVE THESE GIRLS SO MUCH.
MIMI MIMI MIMI MIMI MIMI MIMI MIMI MIMI. She’s so lovely and sweet.
AND MARY ANNE AND KRISTY TAKE OFF THEIR SHOES. I love this in general, and Ostrich and I have the rule at our house (mostly from his time living in Hawaii), but it’s such an important detail for a Japanese-American household. Just … god my heart. MY HEART.
JANINE OH MY GOD. She can slam her door from her computer. I can already tell I’m likely to love this version of her, too.
THIS SHOW ALREADY OWNS MY WHOLE ENTIRE HEART AND WE’RE NOT EVEN 10 MINUTES INTO THE FIRST EPISODE.
Mary Anne’s awe over Stacey growing up in NYC is delightful, and Stacey’s a total cutie. Her sweater has EYES on it. I can’t deal.
Claudia’s cut-out book to hide her candy! Kristy and Claudia snapping bites of their Twizzlers. The art on Claudia’s walls! THIS SHOW.
Which will then sell her personal information to, like, the Russians.
CLAUDIA KISHI I LOVE YOU SO FUCKING MUCH.
And Kristy just rolls with it. Yeah, Russians, but back to my great idea. I love how she’s focused and driven and excited. I can see how she might become unbearable as the story goes on, much like she can be in the books, but she’s still pretty wonderful here.
Claudia makes the best faces, too.
And olden-times phone.
Oh my god, Kristy Thomas, I take it all back. You are terrible. (I am dying.)
Decent reasoning on why the Kishis have a landline in Claudia’s room.
I love the tightening of Stacey’s expression every time Claudia brings out sweets. Subtle but delightful foreshadowing to her secret (if you don’t already know it, that is). (I am curious to know how kids react to this show without the nostalgia of the series.)
And Stacey knows her marketing shit and her math. She’s matter-of-fact about it, too, like it ain’t no thing, and I love it. Also Claudia’s awe over it.
Finally Kristy asks if Stacey’s even baby-sat before, which is a valid question (though, again, you claim to want Claudia because this is a cool idea and she’s the coolest person you know. You don’t have much room to talk here, Kristy)!
Mary Anne is just adorable when she swoons over NYC and Stacey’s old neighbours and their events. I can’t stop smiling whenever she’s onscreen.
Actually, I can’t stop smiling, full stop. This is fucking adorable.
CLAUDIA’S NOT ONLY WORKING ON HER ART LITERALLY AS THEY TALK BUT SHE’S MAKING A SCULPTURE ABOUT MENSTRUATION. I LOVE THE HELL OUT OF YOU, CLAUDIA KISHI.
And Kristy and Mary Anne are adorably uncomfortable with it.
Oh, damn, Kristy is really not pleased with this whole Stacey thing. I love how it is Mary Anne, the one who was incredibly shy in the books is the one who points out that it’s not a bad thing to make a new friend.
(Also: foreshadowing? I hope foreshadowing! I love Mary Anne and Dawn’s friendship.)
Maybe new people weren’t an invading force to be repelled at all costs.
And then surprise!Watson. I laughed. Out loud. Enough to startle Monster Dog who is collapsed on the cool tile after our very hot adventure outside.
Have dim sum-thing to eat.
Oh my god dad jokes, I love it. Watson is clearly trying so hard and is so awkward with it.
(I hope that, like the books, we get different narrator voiceovers from them in each episode, because I am loving Kristy’s but also dying to listen to the other girls.)
(And now I want dim sum.)
Ooooh, feminist!Kristy is a joy and a delight forever. (“It’s not just girls, boy’s can take care of kids too.”) It makes perfect sense as an evolution from her character in the book (the books themselves are quietly feminist, which I love, but this pointed, louder expression of it is a wonderful adaptation).
I love that Watson asks about the business plan and he and Kristy go back and forth over it, and he points out things that are important (and Kristy pretends she’s thought about all of it already, because of course she does. She also has that little look, though, and the actor does a fantastic job of portraying both her chagrin over not actually being on top of those things as well as her reluctant pleasure at an adult loving and supporting her idea, even if it is Watson).
Goddamn, Kristy is blunt and rude and actually pretty cruel to her mom during the engagement discussion. Basically accuses her of wanting Watson to save them because despite what she tells Kristy about the importance of being independent, she’s really been waiting for “the first rich guy to walk through the door.”
Damn, kid. An understandable lashing out, but that’s fucked up at the same time.
(She’s using GMAIL. I love her.) And she can’t bring herself to admit she was wrong in person, so she’s going to email her apology to her mother instead. KRISTY. MY HEART.
God, that line about it’s not that she doesn’t want her mom to be happy, she just wants their family as it is to be enough is so fucking heartbreaking, especially when you consider how much she’s carrying the weight of them not being enough for Patrick. (Their deadbeat dad.)
AND THEN THE BLOCK LETTERS FOR THE LOGO, OH MY GOD, CLAUDIA.
I’m bossy, get used to it.
Aaaand here we go with Kristy stumbling back and forth across the line between decisive and overbearing. It’s realistic but also realistically annoying. I hope there’s balance in the show; eventually in the books she falls pretty much only on the overbearing side.
(Of course, once the ghostwriters stepped in, a lot of the characters were often boiled down to their one defining trope: Kristy’s bossy, Mary Anne’s shy/sensitive, Claudia’s artist, Stacey’s sophisticated, etc.)
I love how Mary Anne speaks up that she wants to be secretary and has all these beautiful reasons why. I love you, Mary Anne. I love you coming into your own!
Oh my god, their reasons for not being on Instagram:
Mary Anne: It’s illegal under 13. (Fitting for Richard being a lawyer and also waaaaay overprotective.)
Kristy: Forgets to take pictures unless it’s accidentally of her tongue. (K R I S T Y.)
Claudia: Social media rots your brain. (Again, fitting from the parents who wouldn’t let her read Nancy Drew books.)
JANINE! YAY JANINE I LOVE JANINE! I love how she comes across as neuroatypical, and I love how she has this great, logical idea but says it in a way that they don’t understand, and I just love her so much in general.
Oh my god, that flyer. And Claudia and Stacey running through town handing flyers to everyone with kids. And Mary Anne’s little crush moment over Logan in the library. (I assume that’s Logan.) And Kristy and her mom having that moment before Kristy hands a flyer over.
And this song! Lizzo is a win every single time, and I love “Juice.” That background music in particular has a perfect 80s feel to it (OH THE BOOK NOSTALGIA), as does the music video. In fact, let’s take a little Lizzo break.
I love how the show has these realistic references that, yes, date it, but the books are dated even without current references (much like in the Sweet Valley Twins series, most of the references are either made up or they are things that were deeply popular in the 50s and 60s. Couple of things going on there. One, authors tend to default to the things that were popular when they were growing up, which is part of why we have such a run of 80s and 90s adaptations and settings. Two, a lot of the time authors are encouraged not to make references that will date it to when it’s actually set.), and tend to capture the feel of the 80s and 90s. It’s good and right that the show has the same sort of feel of its setting.
Let’s end this little Lizzo break (and brief discussion of pop culture in writing) with my fave of her videos.
Lizzo, an HBCU, female friendships and support, and women in marching band for the fucking win. (Especially that snare drummer! I love the hell out of her.) (And those goddamn moving diamonds on the field! Their diagonals!)
(Talk about nostalgia for me.)
And Kristy giving a flyer to Watson! His dorky enthusiasm! Her bemused smile despite all her complicated feelings.
THIS SHOW IS KILLING ME WITH FEELS.
Though, uh, they just put that flyer in the mailbox. First of all, pretty sure it’s still illegal to use mailboxes for non-mail purposes. Second of all, THE RED FLAG IS UP. THAT MEANS THE MAIL CARRIER IS SUPPOSED TO REMOVE THE THINGS IN THE MAILBOX, NOT THAT THE PERSON LIVING THERE WILL GET WHAT’S IN THE MAILBOX.
Oh. my. god. that. phone. So fucking classic. “It’s iconic.”
Of course Watson is their first client! (Also: How’d you get this number. It’s on the flyer.)
OH. MY. GOD. CLAUDIA IS TAKING A COLLEGE-LEVEL LIFE DRAWING CLASS. I LOVE THE HELL OUT OF HER. ARE HER PARENTS ACTUALLY SUPPORTIVE OF HER ART IN THIS? SHE’S SO FUCKING SMART ABOUT IT, TOO. UGH, I HAVE ALL THE FEELINGS.
LOL I love how Kristy hasn’t even muted the phone as she’s badmouthing Watson.
Also, damn, “my club” isn’t going to help him. And Claudia is right the fuck there with “our club” and, oh yeah, the logical point that he’s their only client so far! OH MY GOD, I ADORE HER.
Look, I have been trying really hard not to devolve into capslocking everything, but it is so difficult.
OH DAMN. Claudia also calls Kristy out on bossing people around. “Honestly, you’re making me remember why I stopped hanging out with you so much.” Not because she suddenly started liking boys and fashion, Kristy, but because you’re kind of pain to the people you care about sometimes.
(That also makes a lot of sense. She lashes out with the people she trusts, as we see with her mom, and while she knows she’s bossy [and is proud of it], she doesn’t alway seem to know when she’s doing it or when she’s crossed that line into unbearable.)
Aww, Louie! I love him so much, and I love how Kristy jogs over to Watson’s neighbourhood to spy on Mary Anne.
And Watson is on his bike rather than a fancy sports car. God, he’s delightful. (That house, though, it’s wild.)
MORBIDDA DESTINY. I kind of love Karen’s imagination. (Sometimes. I never read most of her books in her own series because she can be annoying, too, but I like her a lot better than a lot of people in the BSC fandom.) And of course she catches Kristy in her bushes.
Ugh, Stacey, my heart. Feeling like she has to lie rather than tell them the truth because of how her previous friends treated her. That long look between Stacey and Kristy. My heart my heart my heart.
Oh, good, Louie is safe at home!
Ugh, I love how Elizabeth parents Kristy. She’s so great.
I should resign before I’m impeached.
WELP. A 12-year-old knows what bad presidents should do. (Even if she’s not a bad president, just a flawed one. As everyone is flawed. As Elizabeth points out.)
I both love and hate that Kristy does sometimes make fun of Mary Anne when Mary Anne is afraid of something Kristy finds silly. It’s such a shitty thing to do, but also completely believable for Kristy especially. She’s thoughtless and big mouthed and speaks before she thinks and dismisses things that don’t match how she sees the world.
And it’s great. She’s not a one-note character, and the text doesn’t support her or reject her completely. It shows a nuanced character and a complicated response to her good and bad aspects. God, this show. THIS SHOW.
Kristy: “They would never make a boy write that essay.”
Elizabeth: “No, they wouldn’t.”
I LOVE THEM SO GODDAMN MUCH.
Kristy brings pizza and a salad for Stacey because they all need a treat and I am so, so, so charmed by the awkwardness here and how they’re all trying so hard.
And that look Stacey gets when she thinks Kristy is going to tell about seeing her.
AND KRISTY APOLOGISES AND CALLS THE CLUB THEIRS AND NOT JUST HERS AND OFFERS TO STEP DOWN. OH. MY. GOD.
Oh, the Marshalls! I love them. AND WATSON RECOMMENDED THEM. MY FUCKING HEART.
AND THE PAPADAKIS WHO LIVE NEXT TO THE BREWERS. AND THEN KRISTY REALISES SHE NEEDS TO THANK HIM AND HER MOTHER TELLS HER TO THANK HIM HERSELF INSTEAD OF GOING THROUGH SOMEONE ELSE OH MY GOD.
AND STACEY’S LITTLE QUIET THANK YOU TO KRISTY FOR NOT TELLING.
AND KRISTY’S ESSAY.
OH MY GOD MY FREAKING HEART I AM DYING.
Well this was a joy and a delight, and I want to immediately dive into the next episode, but I’ve written nearly 3000 words just for this one and have other work to do.
BUT THIS SHOW. IT IS LOVE.
I was a casual BSC fan – except the super editions, I loved those. The gold cover with their signatures was my favorite – but I was sold on this show IMMEDIATELY. I had so much nostalgia when they used Stacy’s font at the end – I definitely wrote like that for a while.
Kristy is so 7th grade me. Lacks decorum and speaks up at all perceived sexism. I don’t think I was that self-important, but it’s very possible… She has 2019 WC posters. 20 years after the ’99ers<3<3<3
I adore Alicia Silverstone as Elizabeth. I don't remember having strong feelings for her in the books, but she's already on my shortlist for tv moms. "Tell him yourself."
I agree with everything you wrote. I knew this was coming a while ago, but didn't think I'd care since I wasn't a huge fan. My mom has the graphic novels in her classroom for her English Learners and they are massively popular. I'm really glad that this show has improved upon a good format. There have been rumours for years that Diablo Cody is writing a SVH movie, but I've always been nervous about that possibility. Would love to see it get this treatment.
I fucking love Lizzo. My sister and I hipstered her (our family phrase for liking something before it hits it big in pop culture) the second we saw Juice. It's surprising to me that when she did hit, her old songs got big but Juice never seemed to make the rounds, even with that video.
Lastly, what's the planned schedule for these? My best friend (who is a couple years older than me) was not allowed to read BSC for being too adult (she had not heard my story of being banned from SVH), and none of my other friends were big readers as kids, so I need someone to talk to!
No planned schedule, really, though I do plan to watch them quickly because I don’t to be spoiled. Well, any more spoiled than you can be for an adaptation of a book series you’ve read a billion times, I guess.
I love the graphic novels! My niece loves that author/artist, and I’ve helped her collect all the books, both the BSC graphic novels and her other work. The style is just so much fun.
Apparently the end of this season does a version of one of the super specials, and I can’t wait, though that’s the extent of what I know about it (and that’s mostly from looking at episode titles). I love the adventures they get up to in the super specials. I can’t wait to get to the book recap of the one where a couple of them are stuck on an island. Dove hasn’t read that far, yet, and she loves trapped on island stories, so that will be a good time. (Even if she hates it.)
I am through Mean Janine currently. Shouldn’t have watched it late last night, Mimi hit too close to home.
I’ve never read the graphic novels – or Raina Telgemeier – but I know she’s highly rated. My mom only bought BSC because Telgemeier’s other books have been so popular.
I am absolutely loving the way they’ve updated the series to be current, while keeping it tonally correct. I was glad they were able to keep Dawn crunchy, and they’ve made Karen enjoyably gothic; even updating Morbidda Destiny because that was not aging well. I think my favorite update so far was the twist for Phantom Caller.
I did look at the episode titles, only Kristy’s Big Day is out of place, and I don’t know if I remember the special they end on. Will have to wait and see I guess 🙂