Liveblogging the '90s: A Real-Time Review of Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead

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Liveblogging the '90s: A Real-Time Review of 'Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead'

By Courtney Enlow | Liveblogging the 90s | June 27, 2014 | Comments ()


Suggested by Lainey Bobainey, today’s offering is1991’s Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead. First and foremost, you need to know that Comcast calls this a “frisky comedy.”

0:00 - Oh my stars I completely forgot about the animated opening credits. YOU GUYS. Do you remember all the ’80s and ’90s animated opening credits? And then there was that time they made a whole movie of ’90s animated opening credits and called it Cool World? Good times.

0:01 - So, Christina Applegate’s friends are going on a summer trip to Europe. She can’t go because her family can’t afford it. However her mom gets to go to Australia to see a sheep farm for the whole summer and leave her five children? Dude. I get not affording Europe. That seems like a whole expensive thing. But LEAVING YOUR CHILDREN FOR AN ENTIRE SUMMER? That is supposed to stay an unlived fantasy that you never make come true because it makes you a TERRIBLE HUMAN AND PARENT.

0:01 - Also, hats.

0:01 - Sue Ellen(Applegate) seems to think she will be a free a woman all summer chillin’ at the beach. SPOILER I THINK THE BABYSITTER DIES AND SHE CAN’T GO TO BEACH.

0:02 - The kids are so angsty. Like, seriously, I’d want to leave the hemisphere, too. BUT YOU CAN’T. Being the kind of mom who would ditch the continental US for months at a time is probably why your kids are monsters.

0:04 - “So, mom. Takin’ off on us. Shirkin’ that parental responsibility.” Blue-eyed floppy-hair boy knows what’s up.

0:05 - I just caught Sue Ellen’s full ensemb. Red and black caftan, black tapered pants, green boots and a hat from the Toni Morrison collection. My fancy garters. What a look.

0:06 - Her mom’s be-shoulder padded pink blazer is on point, too. Less on point? HER PARENTING. Youngest kid: Mom, will you call us every day? Mom: Walter! This IS mom’s vacation!


0:07 - The old lady babysitter was nice but now she’s a real bitch snizz. This movie made me deeply concerned about old ladies with cigarettey voices and messy houses.

0:09 - Blue-eyed floppy-hair has mad mack skillz and calls a little girl his moon goddess. He is creepy.

0:10 - Girl one got put in a dress. She’s ready to fuck a bitch up. Sue Ellen tells babysitter she shouldn’t have put the kids in nametags, but I can’t get the kids’ names either so maybe that wasn’t the worst idea.



0:14 - Now Sue Ellen is stealing the dead woman’s car. YOU GUYS.

0:15 - So, in that scene earlier, WHEN THEY DUMPED THE WOMAN’S BODY, it turns out she took the money the mom left for the whole summer. So now they’re completely poor and Sue El’s all “there goes our great summer.” Um, Sue El, there goes your complete and total ability to survive because you children cannot afford to exist. JUST CALL YOUR GARBAGE MOM AND TELL HER TO COME HOME FROM HER GARBAGE TRIP AND FEED HER CHILDREN BECAUSE SWEET JOB HIRING THE 90-YEAR-OLD CARDIAC CASE.

0:18 - Sue Ellen decides to get a job at a clothing store. She does not get a job at a clothing store. She gets a job at a hot dog joint with Josh Charles and some bow ties. It is very disgusting and by that I mean it’s your standard food service job. She’s all complainy to Josh Charles but Josh Charlies is all “I’m a decent human who was raised with some manner of work ethic.” So she immediately quits on her first day because feeding herself and her siblings is NOT worth it. Kenny the burnout brother informs his friends that they’ll never get out of school because of burnout reasons. MOM. YOUR KIDS ALL SUCK AT LIFE.

0:24 - Sue Ellen is applying for a fancy job and faking a resume. Her resume says she has an MA in fashion, so this will probably go just fine. Mostly because her nail game is PERFECTION.

0:24 - So is her outfit. Everything about it is without flaw.

0:26 - These last two movies have moved at the fastest clip imaginable. Sue Ellen is now the executive administrative assistant to Rose Lindsay, aka, Joanna Cassidy with a red wig, aka Brenda’s perfectly bonkers mom from Six Feet Under.

0:28 - We have our first “I’m right on top of that, Rose” and that was the first professional
tip any of us ever learned.

0:29 - She’s pulling in $37,500 as an admin in 1991?! That’s more than I made at my first three jobs 15 years later!

0:31 - The family’s car gets stolen by drag queens. This movie is going for a Savage Steve Holland wackiness. AND IT IS SUCCEEDINGish.

0:32 - Sue Ellen and Josh Charles are having a romantic moment while children scream and glass breaks inside. WHAT KIND OF HOUSEHOLD HAVE YOU CREATED, MOM?

0:33 - Sue Ellen is literally my fashion icon. Still to this day.


0:36 - Sue Ellen thought her new job was in high fashion. It is in polyester uniform fashion.

0:38 - Sue Ellen immediately learns the masterful skill of delegation (I literally just figured out how to properly do this) and pawns her work off on an excited secretary. This movie is either the worst lesson in how to be a human or the best lesson in how to live every element of life.

0:40 - David Duchovny’s here, too and his hair is the slickedest back.


He’s dating the asshole receptionist who is the most evil character in cinema. She is made of devil’s assholes.

0:44 - Now Sue Ellen is stealing petty cash from her company. I feel like this script was supposed to be The Wolf of Wall Street. How many movies like this exist with female protagonists? Smart, savvy ones at that? This movie is filled with terrible humans but in any other movie and in actual real life they would be celebrated revered men so this movie is actually a feminist triumph. Whoa. I feel like I’ve been sparking doobies with brother Kenny.

0:46 - This is what all dates looked like in the early ’90s.


0:47 - This is also the most reasonable conversation I’ve ever heard in a movie about dealing with how to figure out post-high school life plans. No hysterics, no melodrama, just “what the hell do I do?” The characters are becoming better people. I too am becoming better people.

0:49 - Stoney Kenny ate all the food with his stoney friends. Now he and his stoney friends are shooting dishes off the roof. Literally. With guns.

0:50 - Rose’s boyfriend takes Sue Ellen to lunch to try and bang her hard. He is the creepiest individual in the entire world. I don’t want to look at his face anymore. He’s hitting on her so grossly I feel oily.

0:55 - “Sue Ellen, every girl over 25 should have a cucumber in the house.” File that under lines I never got until this literal second. I JUST THOUGHT WE WERE SUPPOSED TO HAVE CUCUMBERS. FOR SALADS AND BEAUTY REGIMENS.

0:57 - Josh Charles is mad because Sue Ellen won’t tell him what she does for a living. She can’t tell him because his sister is the ass snizz receptionist monster.

0:59 - Sue Ellen has cucumbers on her eyes. She clearly didn’t get that line either.

0:59 - Everything would be so much simpler in movies if not for arbitrary secrets.

1:01 - Now the siblings are stealing money from the petty cash box. A whole family of stealers and thieves.

1:05 - Rose’s boyfriend creepster guy is giving me serious #YesAllWomen rage.

1:08 - Because brother Kenny is such human garbage, little Walter brother climbs the roof and falls off. Good god.

1:13 - These kids stole and spent $3,000 of petty cash from Sue Ellen’s work? BACK TO GARBAGE, ALL OF THEM.

1:16 - Work is in trouble because the uniform industry is a tough one I guess, so a school board rejected the company’s proposal (PUBLIC SCHOOL PRIVILEGE—I lived my life in a damn uniform). It’s up to Sue Ellen to save the day. She redesigns the uniforms and gets her family to clean up their nasty (but secretly stunning) home—all to avoid getting caught in a lie. The family comes together and cleans the whole house and makes it perfect. What are the real-life implications here? Jail time? Kids continuing to be garbage? A cycle of failure that carries on for generations to come? In another world, this movie is the film version of Shameless.

1:22 - David Duchovny and ass snizz receptionist break into Sue Ellen’s office in the middle of the night just to prove she’s a fraud. I’ve known some real twat nuggets in my professional life, and I’ve never given one snotty shit about any of them enough to stick around past 6. THIS MOVIE MIGHT NOT BE A DOCUMENTARY.

1:28 - Gus is literally the most vile character in film. And Rose is the picture of professional grace. And NONE OF IT IS THE POINT! I love it! This movie is so “sisters are doing it for themselves” and it’s not at all what it’s trying to say. Fuckin’ damn yeah, fist pump of womanhood! Let’s high five boobs!




1:31 - Josh Charles shows up, her mom shows up and loudly yells “you’re in big trouble, young lady” acting like a mom for the first time ever. UM, MOM. SHE IS CLEARLY IN THE MIDDLE OF A PRESENTATION.

1:34 - “Rose, I’m so sorry.” Oh yeah and also I stole $3,000 in petty cash so I’m off the hook for that now right?


1:34 - Yeah, mom. Go to your room. And take off that dipshit hat. You’re not in the outback anymore.

1:36 - Applegate needs to bring back the power brows. Those were working for her.

1:38 - The moral of this whole movie? Everything was so much better for this family when that garbage mom was out of the picture.

1:40 - Sue Ellen and Josh Charles work things out. But they will clearly have a complicated future because his sister is a human nightmare.

1:40 - Everything worked out great! Except that body that they stashed earlier! Fer fun!

Thank you for joining me for this tale of feminism, corporate espionage, terrible parenting, uniforms, hats and hot dogs. That sentence was basically a Stefan sketch and I CELEBRATE IT. Good night! It’s the afternoon! Whatever! Hats! THANK YOU, KATRINA!


Read previous ’90s liveblogs of The Cutting Edge, The Craft, Fear, The Crush, Titanic and Batman and Robin.

Pajiba 10 For Your Consideration: Sebastian Stan | Let's Come Together and Fall In Love with Paul Rudd All Over Again

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • AvaLehra

    No mention of Metallica Breath? That is the most kooky movie line ever written. "Move it yourself, Metallica Breath!" Lawd! That's pure gold...

  • DarleneCartangyf

    my buddy's sister makes $87 every hour on the internet
    . She has been unemployed for 6 months but last month her payment was $19402
    just working on the internet for a few hours. go right here M­o­n­e­y­d­u­t­i­e­s­.­C­O­M­

  • e jerry powell

    And you did all this without alcohol?

  • Carrie D.

    Really enjoying these. Can I put in a a request for The Truth About Cats and Dogs?

  • Oh GOD I loved that movie and thought it was the sweetest and most hilarious thing. Used to rent it all the time to feed my Ben Chaplin crush. Only disconnect was Janeane Garafolo playing the plain jane role. She was luminous.

  • Tara Ison

    Greetings, kind DTMTBD people: I co-wrote this movie with a friend, and sort of giddy it just won't go away...

  • Right before I dropped my husband off at his military base (i.e., the end of our "honeymoon"), we watched this in a cheap hotel and loved it. Almost 22 years later, we still stop what we're doing and watch when it comes on TV. Thank you for making a happy memory for us.

  • No lie, I've watched this movie twice in the last three months. Like Lainey said below, it's compulsory watching for me - no matter where I come in, I have to finish it! Thank you for writing it!

  • Then you and your friend are each a treasure. "(BANG! SHATTER!) ...dishes are done, man." is one of those instant happy-shots I keep near my brain for emergencies.

  • LaineyBobainey

    I owned this on VHS and then on DVD and I watch it every single time I come across it on cable. It's one of those movies that I will never tire of. So, thank you!

    And as I told Courtney, you are both my moon goddesses.

  • PLEASE do Cruel Intentions next. That's such an awful, AWFUL, hilarious movie!

  • I rewatched this last week and I still love it. It serves as an important cultural touchstone! Case in point, I made a new friend at work because I asked if something was almost ready and she leans over all "I'm right on top of that, Rose!"
    So I clearly love her.
    Also, the salary never made much sense to me until I rewatched it this last time, but holy fuck!! I made that much 4 years ago! It must have been craaaaaazy money in 1991!

  • amanda

    Also thanks for this one, I love this ridiculous mess of a movie. I need a job where I can yell "I'm right on top of that, Rose!" And I agree, Sue Ellen's outfits are 100% on point at all times.

  • amanda

    Courtney, my vote is for 10 Things I Hate About You, because there are so many things for you to be horrified and/or baffled by that will then translate into entertainment for the rest of us. I mean, there's Allison Janney, playing the best/worst guidance counselor/aspiring romance novelist ever. There's little and adorable JGL being little and adorable. There are dicks being drawn on people's faces and poorly-rendered Shakespeare and Julia Stiles flashes her boobs at her gym teacher? I's the greatest. Oh, and there's that whole Julia Stiles drunk dancing on a table scene which is super fun.

  • Aaron Schulz

    That movies more fucked up then i remember

  • LL

    "PMS CITY!" is a line that everyone laughed at, but I didn't understand as a child because 'what's PMS?'. But now that I do.. How Rude!

  • Some Guy

    "The dishes are DONE, man!"

  • Yossarian

    I remember that "children scream and glass breaks inside" sound effect being really traumatic and upsetting when I was a kid. Like, it sounded like someone was really hurt. I was worried and uncomfortable.

  • I request Troop Beverly Hills. That movie, The Wizard, and this one you've got 90% of my childhood rentals covered. My brother handled our TMNT needs. Your real-time review really brought back the glory of this film to me, and made realize how influential it was on my journey to becoming a boss-bitch with keen fashion sense and an appreciation for the ridiculous.

    My feels are hurt about The Cutting Edge one, though.

  • Bea Pants

    Now do Toy Soldiers! C'mon, young Sean Astin AND Wil Wheaton as ne'er do well private school boys fighting terrorists!?


    Just me?


  • A million times yes!


  • Was that the origin of the Martika song? 'Cuz I sure as hell remember my sister shrieking that around the house.

  • Bea Pants

    It was definitely not on the soundtrack. I also loved that terrible song.

  • Jezzer

    I think Martika came first. Hers was a hamfisted anti-drug message, though.

  • Bea Pants

    With a special guest appearance from Jerry Orbach (God Rest 'im) as Wil Wheaton's mafia don father!

    I really loved this movie.

  • I weep every time Jerry Orbach gets the bad news. Because Jerry Orbach's pain is all our pain. Even when it's not actually Jerry Orbach's pain (even though I was the target Swayze Swoon age for Dirty Dancing, I just screamed at Baby Houseman for upsetting her father like that).

  • EllaSCook

    Also, you forgot about the part where stealing the petty cash was okay, because they left receipts.

  • Billybob

    Sometimes I wonder - does anybody click on these links? Ever? Is anybody fooled?

    Comment spammers are, when you get right down to it, the greatest optimists left in this benighted world. I think we should all just take a moment to appreciate that fact. These people remind us that, no matter how despised you are, no matter how much you may be mocked, there is always hope. Always.

  • Miss Laaw-yuhr

    Ah, such sweet irony that the original comment was deleted.

    Optimism = shattered.

  • ZbornakSyndrome

    This movie gave me some hella unrealistic expectations for how fast I would be able to move up the ladder at work.

  • Are those the dulcet tones of Northern Californian vernacular I hear?

  • ZbornakSyndrome

    They are, in fact, the crabby tones of a southern Marylander.

  • I once had a neighbor who moved to Northern California from Maryland, and one of the first people she encountered was terribly rude. She said she despaired, thinking we were just as bad as Marylanders, until she went outside and noticed the woman's Maryland plates.

    You fooled me with your "hella," tease. Respect, for I am a Calvert.

  • Amy Love

    Request for next 90s live blog: Twister.


  • stella

    Can you please do Cruel Intentions? And possibly Adventures in Babysitting?

  • Ricky, Bubbles & Julian

    I immediately thought of adventures in babysitting and the smoldering Elisabeth Shue, but it was made in 87 I believe. Unnnnnnleeeeessssss an exception can be made to cover Elisabeth Shue's deft and skillful deflections of that creepy kid's advances as well as her incredibly responsible babysitting skills which include a 9 year old in a Thor hat climbing the outside of an 86-story building and getting in a shootout with a guy with a hook for hand. Then, the incredibly rude private Pyle who can't cut a super hot underage babysitter a break on a tire he thoughtfully replaced at 11pm. And to think LaRusso was hitting that just a few years prior. Lucky scrawny bastard

  • ZbornakSyndrome

    Vincent D'Onofrio will always be Thor to me.

  • stella

    And now hes going to be the kingpin! You only live long enough to see yourself become a villan.

  • Jericho Smith

    Why? Why would you do this?
    It makes as much sense as Hitler declaring war on the US while he's still fighting Stalin.

    [what's the shortcut for interrobangs? Hehehe. I said interroBANGS, Beavis]

  • “Sue Ellen, every girl over 25 should have a cucumber in the house.” File that under lines I never got until this literal second.

    OH GOD.

  • InternetMagpie

    At my first grown-up job I got introduced to petty cash and was like, "GOT IT." because of this movie.

  • elirt

    My next wish for you to view: Encino Man!

  • Either that or 'Hackers.'

  • Sara Habein


  • Repo

    Oh wow. Now THAT is a good idea. Zero Cool!!

  • elirt

    This just made my Friday. Can I go home now?! You've brought out so much more of this movie than I thought possible!

    "This movie is either the worst lesson in how to be a human or the best lesson in how to live every element of life." Brilliant.

  • Yikes....I'm pretty sure Duchovny's "hair" is a remnant from the Max Headroom product line.

  • damnitjanet

    Favorite exchange:

    Rose Lindsey:
    Where is Carolyn?

    Sue Ellen "Swell" Crandell:
    Mouse brown hair, gives you a headache? Talks like she's chewing her face?

    Rose Lindsey:
    That's her.

  • Bea Pants

    I've used "talks like she's chewing her face" as an insult ever since.

  • stella

    Omg i just got the cucumber thingtoo! WHAT?

  • Bea Pants

    I crushed way harder on stoner brother Kenny than Josh Charles, which probably says a lot about me.

  • VonnegutSlut

    I loved his sexy chef ass!

    Kenny made me feel funny in the funny parts...yum!

  • VonnegutSlut

    This was THE MOVIE we watched when I was not quite old enough for a babysitter but when my brother was a babe & we were young and had to watch something endlessly. This and Follow That Bird....both we fucking watched endlessly. ENDLESSLY...that and some TMNT...all the time: teenage mutant ninja turtles....Michelangelo is the best!

    How many times did I rent this movie from the library--yes, kids: I RENTED this shit! Old school!!!!

  • ZbornakSyndrome

    Oh Michelangelo! God I watched that movie on a loop for what seemed like years.

  • "Follow That Bird" as a Kafka-esque metaphor for human meaninglessness at the dawn of the Information Age. Discuss with examples.

  • VonnegutSlut

    Thanks be to Sesame Street re: the Kafka-esque metaphor.

    ETA: I woke up as a giant yellow bird--there goes my common sense...

  • NyTxToast


    and ummm, can you do Mad House next? Pretty please.

  • Chicken Lips

    I thought of Madhouse when she was talking about the animated opening of this movie. Another good one that you can watch now and say, "What the hell was I thinking not immediately buying the VHS of this one?"

  • Billybob

    If you were not attracted to Christina Applegate in this movie, then there is quite probably something wrong with you.

    Also, you forgot about the part where stealing the petty cash was okay, because they left receipts. Including for - and I'm quoting from memory here - "Bodacious Ice Sculptures".

  • Modernlove

    This was my favorite yet. I now need to find and rewatch this movie at least three times.

  • BettyNugs

    Can we get Son In Law next? It's a classic.

  • MissAmynae

    steven tyler pj's!!

  • Steven Tyler PJs

    You rang?

  • BettyNugs

    I seriously own leopard pj's and will sometimes run through the apartment doing the Steven Tyler pj's dance. My cats are never amused.

  • Chicken Lips

    Yes! Can I whittle wood with you sometime?

  • Kate at June

    It's been so long since I've seen a real time review that I FORGOT THEY WERE A THING I MISSED.

    Bravo bringing it back! I loved this fucking movie as a kid

  • DaynaGuiguipyt

    my Aunty
    Allison recently got a nice 6 month old Jaguar by working from a macbook.this website C­a­s­h­d­u­t­i­e­s­.­C­O­M­

  • Lee

    Yea, you want that Jaguar real bad now but you know damn well who's going to end up feeding it and walking it.

  • Lee I bow down to your brilliance.

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