The Baby-Sitters Club
What a whirlwind year it’s been for our tiny feminist babysitters. After all their hard work and simply surviving seventh grade (honestly, a feat for anyone), they get to celebrate together at Camp Moosehead as they set off determined to have the Best Summer Ever. At least, that’s what they thought. Upon their arrival at camp they’re met with terrible weather and some even worse news from Camp Director Meany (her name is Philomena Means and she told us to use that nickname, okay?): The girls won’t be bunking together. Claudia and Dawn will be in the same cabin, Stacey and Kristy get placed together, and Mary Anne is on her own. This dashes their dreams of hanging out 24/7 and certainly puts an end to Kristy’s plans for a BSC corporate retreat. Now that would’ve been a thing to behold.
Since our girls are all split up, they’re on several different adventures. Well, except Kristy, who is mainly sulking because she isn’t in charge of anything. Sharks gotta swim and Kristy Thomas needs to boss people around, you know? Alas, regardless of how many times Kristy reminds Meany that she’s the president of a very successful baby-sitting organization and is actually over-qualified for the Counselor-in-Training program, it doesn’t sway the camp director to let her into a program for kids 16 and older.
So let’s start with Claudia and Dawn’s summer adventure. These two girls admit that this will be the first time they’re hanging out alone and initially it’s a little awkward. Once in arts and crafts class, however, they figure out exactly where their interests overlap. Claudia and Dawn learn that to participate in certain arts and crafts activities campers will have to purchase additional (and very pricey) supplies at the commissary. Camp is already expensive and now arts and crafts is really only available if you’re able to spend additional money. “Art should be for everybody,” says Claudia. The girls want to do something about it.
That “something” is to hold a clandestine free-for-all arts and crafts class out in the woods. For the first class, Claudia teaches participants about the artist Andy Goldsworthy, who uses material found in nature to make his sculptures. The material is free and the art is ephemeral, blowing away in the wind or decomposing as nature intended. Aside from learning about the power of friendship and that the entrepreneurial spirit has no age restrictions, The Baby-Sitters Club is teaching me a lot about art.
Anyway, just as the first class is winding down, the girls are caught. They state their grievances to the powers that be, but Meany has no time for unsanctioned classes with no supervision. Claudia refuses to back down and is remanded, which means she’s sent to her cabin until further notice. The fight is left in Dawn’s hands. She raises her three fingers in Hunger Games solidarity. May the odds be ever in your favor, Camp Moosehead.
Elsewhere, Mary Anne is discovering that being on her own isn’t actually so bad. Away from her specific role in the club, she gets her chance to shine as a leader when she and her theater-loving cabin mate Laine decide to revive Camp Moosehead’s theater program. Despite a camp ghost story (there’s always one) about a hermit who haunts the theater that Karen Brewer (of course) keeps reminding them about — the falling lights and set pieces don’t help, either — the girls forge ahead with auditions for Paris Magic, a show that seems to be about a time-traveling woman who winds up in the French Revolution. An Outlander/Les Mis crossover I desperately would like to be real.
The auditions go well: Karen wows with her Hamlet soliloquy (this! child!), Mallory Pike wins the role of Mary Anne’s assistant, Logan Bruno just appears on stage, makes Mary Anne sweat, and gets the male lead, and hellooooo the moment we’ve all been waiting for: Jessi Ramsey makes her first appearance in all her ballerina glory. There will be more to come from Jessi, I hope.
Things appear to be going smoothly for Mary Anne’s directorial debut until Stacey arrives to audition, gets one look at Mary Anne’s co-producer Laine, and bolts out of there. Guys, it is Laine Laine. Stacey’s ex-best friend from New York who helped spread the insulin shock video Laine. Well, Laine says she never sent the video out, but she sure as hell didn’t defend our dear Stacey. She dropped her when things got hard. The BSC girls would never.
Stacey agrees to act professionally around Laine, which is good news for the show since Stacey wins the lead role. One might think that the biggest problem Mary Anne will have to navigate is watching one of her best friends act opposite her crush — and share a kiss. At least it becomes painfully obvious to everyone that Logan totally likes Mary Anne. What a joy it is to watch theater kids flirt, for example:
Mary Anne: “You have some raw talent that I think I can mold.”
Logan: “That means so much coming from you.”
As Stacey says, “Dude, it is so on.”
Distracted by Logan, Mary Anne perhaps does not see the tension building between Stacey and Laine. When Stacey misses a few lines and Laine asks if she needs a break and some juice, Stacey almost flips a table. Stacey quits the show and storms off. Laine follows and the two girls end up arguing in the middle of the woods, where they fall into some bushes before Stacey can run off again. The episode ends later that night with Kristy getting a look at Stacey’s face and screaming in horror. So, like, that can’t be good. Stacey is having a time of it.
Maybe that whole “Best Summer Ever” thing is to be determined.
• Is Meany more annoyed with Kristy trying to take charge of everything or Dawn commandeering the morning announcements?
• Aw, poor Karen! She’s out there being her fabulous self, trying to warn everyone about the camp ghost, when a Pike brother tells David Michael that his “sister is weird” and David Michael responds with, “she’s my step-sister.” Karen overhears it and looks heartbroken.
• All the counselors at this camp seem … terrible? Yeesh.
• Obviously we’re programmed to not like Laine because BSC FOREVER, but the girl gets in a good dig against Cats and that cannot go unmentioned.
• “There’s gonna come a time when you’re gonna look back on your life and just regret all the TV you didn’t watch.” This show gets me.