The Baby-Sitters Club
Welcome to Sea City, sitters! It’s Spring Break (this fictional year is flying by and I don’t hate it) and Stacey and Mary Anne have been tasked with the BSC’s first-ever travel job: They’ll be heading to the beach for the week to watch the eight Pike kids. Yes, friends, that’s “Pike” as in Mallory Pike. I imagine many viewers already know who Mallory is in the grand lore of The Baby-Sitters Club, but just in case I’ll only say that the eldest Pike will be back at a later date.
Stacey and Mary Anne are excited to get paid to go on vacation (Richard Spier is a mess, obviously), but the other girls are already missing their friends. Sure, it’s only a week but these girls are Best Friends Forever. The capital letters mean it’s serious. Didn’t you want to squeeze your way into that group hug? The two sitters who are going away have lots of plans for a fun yet responsible week. Kristy is already all over them about keeping the BSC Code of Conduct even while in a different zip code. Things seem to start out just as great as Stacey and Mary Anne planned, aside from multiple vomit incidents in the car ride and some less-than-ideal weather, but all those plans get hurled in the cold, harsh sea the moment Scott the Lifeguard shows up.
Who is Scott the Lifeguard, you ask? Some dummy 17-year-old who slo-mos himself into Stacey’s heart even though he barely notices her insane amount of flirting, patronizingly calls her “cutie,” gives her his trash — excuse me, his lifeguard whistle — and also is I guess responsible for people’s lives on that beach. Anyway, this may be Stacey’s episode, but let’s be honest: Mary Anne is the real hero here. She immediately recognizes that Stacey is being a little ridiculous, (1) because of the inappropriate age difference, and (2) because um, those ladies have a job to do and Stacey is blowing it off to bring Scott drinks and … pose endearingly in his general vicinity while he ignores her?
Mary Anne is not thrilled with having to watch the eight Pikes by herself. She’s especially not thrilled when they bury her in the sand and leave her for the seagulls. Luckily, two very nice age-appropriate boys, Alex and Cousin Toby from Canada, help her out. They hit it off because those boys are delightful and I very much approve of tweens who already tell dad jokes. When Stacey learns that Scott is going to Burger Garden where he’ll be “slamming burgers” — a phrase that will bring me joy for years to come — she hijacks their one night off to “bump into him” there. Mary Anne has Alex and Cousin Toby come along and Stacey proceeds to ignore them all, even though Toby is clearly into her. She decides that she’ll win Scott over with a box of chocolates, proving once and for all that she should in no way be pursuing a 17-year-old. Stick with Sam, Stace! Sam is uncomplicated! Sam draws blenders!
She utterly humiliates herself in front of Scott and his high-school friends. Toby tries to save the day, but the damage is done. Back at the Pike beach house, Stacey learns that little Byron Pike has a massive crush on her and she has to explain that he’s just too young and it puts the whole situation in perspective. Thankfully, she has come to this realization with enough time for one great beach day. She “didn’t care if some boy knew who [she] was, because [she] knew.” Ah jeez, these girls are growing up right before our very eyes!
This also means that she can apologize to Mary Anne for being a terrible friend, although she did buy them cheesy matching airbrush shirts, and that’s not nothing. Plus Mary Anne has her own silver lining: She used to be so intimidated by how cool and sophisticated she thought Stacey was and now she’s learned that she’s just a big dork like the rest of them. Honestly, that’s a lesson to keep with you no matter your age. Oh and also, Toby shows up to say good-bye to Stacey with his own gift and she plants a kiss on the kid. Her very first kiss. Sea City isn’t so bad after all.
Back in Stoneybrook, Kristy is also starting to see someone in a different way: She might finally be coming around on Watson Brewer. She’s tasked with baby-sitting Karen and Andrew. She tricks them into doing some chores, which I guess includes washing Watson’s fancy car that he doesn’t really drive. Kristy manages to get herself locked in a mud room of sorts, hoping to find some — ahem — dirt on Watson and has to watch in horror as Karen and Andrew “wash” the car with steel wool.
Watson calls Kristy (he has to block his number to get her to answer, Kristy is hilarious) to give her the chance to come clean. She spills everything and Watson is way more understanding than Kristy deserves. He tells her that he has no secrets stashed away in mud rooms, he’s a regular guy. Also he doesn’t think they need to tell Liz about this. He is a cool dude! Kristy starts to soften and quickly tells him that she actually really likes her new bedroom in his house and then immediately hangs up before he can respond. He seems so happy about it. He’s making progress!
• Oh, Sharon and Richard are so on again. Dawn and Mary Anne are tired of this break their parents are on and so begin their Parent Trap plan (complete with the full handshake — they’re real fans!). The “plan” is mainly just Dawn calling up Richard and pretending to be her mom, but she’s a terrible actress. Even if she hadn’t given it away before she invited Richard over for “wine on the rocks” that really would’ve done it. Just the reminder of Sharon pushes Richard to offer an olive branch by way of a pet turtle (“turtle” was her pet name for him in high school) and a note that says “sorry I went back into my shell.” Honestly, buying someone a pet isn’t a gift, it’s a job, but we’ll take it because Sharon and Richie are made for each other.
• Vanessa Pike, the one in a dark and twisty “poetry phase,” is another great addition to the Quirky Kids of Stoneybrook. I love them all!
• There are a lot of embarrassing things you could say to the older boy you like but “Holla at moi” is very much toward the top of that list.
• “Mary Anne, talk to him. Or else you’re gonna spend the rest of your life wondering if his legs feel like Jell-O when he sees you.” Alex!!!
• Okay, so we’ve met Mal — where’s Jessi??