They were the best friends we never had. All it took was one Great Idea (copyright Kristy Thomas) to launch a thousand piss-poor babysitter clubs that never took proper fruition. And can you think of a book since that’s so confident that it gets the point across that it has TWO EXTRA CHAPTERS to dedicate to fillers and recaps? I mean, that shit had more ‘Previously on…’ than an HBO season premiere. And we took so, so much from it. Let us recount here the stories taught us the life lessons our parents were too bashful to share with us.
1. DIABEETUS--The Truth About Stacey. In which Stacey, consumed by frustration over her special dietary needs and feelings of alienation after relocating from the city to Stonybrook, binges on candy and goes into diabetic shock. Diabetes: it’s not just for fat old people!
2. Kids suck--Claudia and The Bad Joke. Yes, arguably every Babysitter’s Club gave us motivation to tie our tubes, but none so much as the time a particular little monster BROKE CLAUDIA’S LEG during a prank, forcing her into a cast. This is also how we learned that legs get spindly and creepy in casts and they itch very badly.
3. Death is sad--Claudia and The Sad Goodbye. We barely got to know Mimi as the only member of Claudia’s family who gave two craps about her before she died suddenly, leaving us and Claudia suicidal and depressed. Fortunately, sneaker shopping, babysitting best friends, and a secret cache of candy heal all wounds.
4. Autism isn’t just an anti-social life choice–Kristy and The Secret Of Susan. Kristy–and the rest of us–learned the harsh truth that idiot savants are more idiots than savants when she tries to lure autistic child Susan out of her insulated world after discovering her gift for music. Failed socialization attempts leave Kristy a little more bitter about humanity.
6. Deaf kids are cute--Jessie and The Secret Language. Jessi’s newest sitting charge is deaf. Fortunately, Jessi is adept at sign language! Black people are useful to Stonybrook after all.
7. Vegans are annoying–EVERY SINGLE DAWN BOOK. As a California native, I constantly facepalmed at the irritating, pushy antics of Dawn.
8. Quiet girls get hot guys–Logan likes Mary Anne. Who would think that the girl who dressed like a toddler for the first three books would be the first sexually experienced club member? Well, anyone who knows the first girl in high school to get pregnant is always the shy one. Hello, Lifetime TV movie plots.
9. Rich people are douchey but overall nice–Poor Mallory, Kristy and The Snobs. Mallory and Kristy are both forced to cope with their middle-class lifestyles and how rich people are mean, cocky assholes. First, Kristy’s mom remarries and moves them into a huge mansion. POOR KRISTY JUST WANTS TO BE LOWER MIDDLE CLASS. There, she is forced to deal with uppity country club bitches. But one of them takes pity on her pathetic Oliver Twist form and gives her a dog. And that is how Shannon becomes an alternate in the BSC. Meanwhile, Mallory’s dad loses his job, which puts his family of eight billion in peril. Out of sympathy, everyone defers to Mallory for first choice when it comes to babysitting gigs, because surely the twenty bucks a week she makes will feed the entire Pike clan, especially the fat carsick one. However, Mallory gets stuck with a well-paying but emotionally tearing job for wealthy people in Kristy’s neighborhood whose carefree lifestyle and parent’s ability to refrain from reproducing like rabbits fills Mallory with jealousy. As does virtually everything with Mallory.
10. Ballerinas are crazy, neurotic bitches--Jessi and The Awful Secret. Jessi’s ballerina class taught us all we needed to know about Black Swan years before anyone clued in Darren Aronofsky. It was full of catty, vile bitches who never ate, chain-smoked, and used racism against Jessi, because apparently there was nothing else to hate about her. Oh, and attempted to sabotage her and other dancers in order to get better roles (Jessi and the Dance Class Phantom). And then there was the one chick who accepted her who was like oh BTW, I vomit up everything I eat, don’t you, FATTY? And so we stepped into the sordid world of eating disorders. More to come.