Friends, Kristy, Mary Anne, Claudia, Stacey, Dawn (ugh), Mallory, and Jessi are coming back! Yes, I know there’s other club members out there, but my era of the BSC are the ladies listed above. Plus, honestly, did anyone care about Logan, Shannon, and Abby?!
Anyway, when Roxana shared the news on the Overlord Slack today, I nearly lost my sh*t. Second to only Fear Street, The Babysitter’s Club was my jam back in the early ’90s. I had all the Super Specials, the Mysteries, and yes friend, the 2-foot tall dolls, because I loved those girls so.
I need to come clean here, at the time, my absolute favorite BSC member was Mallory because she read and was from a big family, and I read and was from a big family. I see now as an adult that she is by far not the best member (but also not the worst) but I needed to let you know of my personal bias off the bat before we launch into it, because I’ve spent all day thinking about the return of BSC and what steps need to be taken to make it a good series. Note, I’ve seen the movie as well as initial TV series, so I’m kind of an expert. Apropos of nothing my friends and I still quote lines from the movie out of the blue, 20+ years on.
Ok, so primarily they need to ensure they have a diverse cast. In the original series all of the girls were white, except for Claudia and Jessi. While I think it’s imperative that an Asian actor is cast as Claudia, and a Black actor is cast as Jessie, there is no reason why more diversity can’t be had with the other girls—the BSC is for everyone and the casting needs to reflect that.
Keep Claudia’s outfits funky. Oh please, oh please retain the funky thrift-store charm of Claudia’s outfits. She is objectively the coolest (and best) member of the BSC and if they sanitize her insane sartorial choices I will be crushed. Relatedly, they need to keep her a junk food addict, too. Obviously Dawn will have to be an insufferable vegan (not all vegans, I know, but Dawn is that type of vegan) and Claudia needs to serve as a foil for the general drippiness of Dawn.
Also Claudia related—don’t you DARE make us go through the pain of losing Mimi, her grandma, again, ok?! That was the book I revisited the least in the series because it was the most heartbreaking. However, do include Janine Kishi, Claudia’s perfect, uptight older sister, because their rivalry was great.
After Claudia, Stacey is objectively the next best BCS member, and when it comes to the truth about Stacey, she better have diabetes, be excellent at math, and hail from New York City. Those traits are non-negotiable, and are responsible for many of her storylines back in the day.
Kristy can be the defacto leader (I mean why not? The BSC was her idea in the books) but try to make her more interesting, ok? In the books she was all about softball and dating that dude Bart, which, snooooooze. While we’re on the subject, it would be great if the series included the blending of Kristy’s family when her mom got remarried and she gained a bunch of new step-siblings.
Mallory Pike & Jessi Ramsey
Give Mallory and Jessi something to do other than be the junior members of the club. Their friendship was one of the better parts of the series (again, speaking as a Mallory girl) and it will be a loss to just have Mallory be a book worm and Jessi be all about dancing. (I also think Jessi was all about horses(?) but I forget.)
Mary Anne Spier & Dawn Schafer
…which leads us to Mary Anne and Dawn, the weakest links in the series. Mary Anne was kind of a wet blanket, but she at least served some purpose—the quiet shy one compared to the brashness of her bff Kristy. Dawn, on the otherhand, was just the worst. The only interesting thing she ever did was find that secret passage in her home, which she thought was haunted, but ultimately resulted in a big nothingburger—kind of like Dawn.
Dawn and Mary Anne, as I’m sure you recall, would ultimately become step-sisters and live under the same roof once Mary Anne’s dad married Dawn’s mom, but, dudes, I could care less about that sub-plot. Nothing Dawn did was interesting, and basically every one of her interactions was steeped in the condescension of the fact she was from California and knew better than the hicks in Stoneybrook. I mean, come on! Dawn’s character needs to most attention to ensure she’s not the worst, like she is in the books. I’m sure they can figure out a way, but holy cats, it’s going to take some work.
Other than all of the above, can the girls please band together to solve a mystery like they do in the Super Chillers? I accept that as a 34-year old woman I may not be the target audience for the show, but I’m not not the target audience either.
Whatever you do, Netflix, just do right by Claudia Kishi, ok? That’s truly all I really need.
Image sources (in order of posting): Kate Hudson's Curated, Private Babysitters Club Collection/Scholastic Books