At some point, the BSC books became crazy-ass bonkers. Pretty sure it started with Mary Anne’s Makeover but who knows? I just finished reading Super Special #10; Sea City, Here We Come!, and I’m still not entirely clear on what all of the sitters were doing in Sea City. (Should we blame Ann M. Martin? Or my favorite BSC ghostwriter Peter Lerangis? Who knows?)
Mallory and Jessi are being parent-helpers for the ever-negligent John and Dee Pike. No word on whether Mallory is getting paid or her parents are taking advantage AGAIN. Stacey is a mother’s helper for Mrs. Barrett. But the rest? They’re just kind of randomly invited by either the Pikes or Barretts, or Mrs. Barrett’s boyfriend Franklin. And there’s all this unnecessary movement about how some of the sitters are getting there later with Franklin, but the helpers are going to be there the entire two weeks. I don’t know, man. It would have just been easier to have Watson rent a bigger more luxurious house than the Pike’s like he does in most Super Specials.
Just like in all the BSC Super Specials, each babysitter gets a story line. And because not all the sitters are at Sea City the whole time, not each storyline has anything to do with the beach. (BOOOOOO!!!!! I’m reading a Super Special involving Sea City I expect non-stop boy and beach drama!)
In a nutshell: Stacey is annoyed by Mrs. Barrett being a high-stress individual and is mad that Toby broke up with her and has eyes on butt-monkey Mallory. Mallory likes Toby and agrees to go out on a date with him for no other reason than to make Stacey who is acting like a bitch, totally jealous. Jessi decides for some reason she wants to be a “Super Sitter.” Claudia has to finish summer school before going to Sea City and she makes friends with the other dum-dums in her summer school class. Kristy’s Krushers have one game left against Bart’s Bashers but too many of her players are on vacation, so she recruits random kids in her neighborhood for that one game and they’re terrible and they lose 34-1. (Gabby ‘Perfect’ Perkins scores the one run, natch.) Logan comes along for a few days he can get off working as a busboy at the Rosebud Cafe (Hellooooo Child Labor Laws), and he is super jealous of Mary Anne’s friendship with Alex. He keeps it to himself though, smart boy. Dawn tells two ghost stories and then complains about Stacey being a bitch a lot, even though Stacey’s bitchiness is directed mostly toward Mallory. Mary Anne, meanwhile, loves Sea City and is just happy to be there with Logie-pie.
All of this goodness is told against the backdrop of an incoming Hurricane. The whole gang tries to evacuate, but the causeway is flooded because they waited too long, so they are put up by the Red Cross in a local elementary school. The Hurricane passes and they spend the next two days back at the beach houses with no electricity, but making the best of it by cooking out or whatever. Yawn.
There’s not a whole lot in the way of plot. But there are a lot of little things to unpack that made reading this a pretty bonkers experience. So let’s begin:
- First of all, I blame the BSC books for my love of parentheses. Parenthetical asides are my jam. But maaaaaybe they are slightly overused. Someone let Peter Lerangis know that he used parentheses 34 time, yes that’s THIRTY-FOUR, in just the first chapter. Fifteen pages, guys.
- When describing Stacey’s backstory, Kristy says that she (Stacey) moved from New York back to Stoneybrook a second time without her father. Why wasn’t her father there? Because of the big D. (I know, she means divorce.) But let it be known that Ed McGill stayed in NY because of the Big D. (I knew he wanted to vacay on Fire Island for a reason)
- Claudia really likes her new summer school friends, but worries they don’t realize how close she is with the BSC. Someone should let them know how bananas these girls are over their cult-status.
- Let’s talk about Stacey’s story for a minute. Here’s why she’s annoyed with Mrs. Barrett: because Mrs. Barrett is a nervous driver, and is nervous about being on vacation by herself with her three kids for the first time since her divorce. How DARE she! Here’s why she’s mad at Mallory: A boy paid Mallory some positive attention. You’re the worst, Stacey. I’m glad you only got two chapters. (Dawn is equally aghast that a boy would EVER flirt with poor Mallory.)
- Mallory describes Toby’s eyes as ‘luscious.’ Which, ew. But also, Toby’s fourteen and Mal is eleven and this whole storyline is nonsense. Not that it matters anyway, because at the end, she decides she likes Ben Hobart still, not Toby.
- Kristy fills out her Krushers’ roster with kids from her wealthy neighborhood. None of them know anything about how to play baseball. I call total bullshit because wealthy kids are all at camp during the summer. And also, most kids have at least a tiny bit of knowledge about baseball, like where homebase is, and the general idea of how a bat gets held. Also? Calling bullshit that Kristy & Co. somehow babysit for the Papadakises and the Kormans and the Delaneys, but somehow not these other kids in the neighborhood? Also one of the new rich kids’ parents brought champagne to the game. Because that’s what rich people do I guess?
- Listen, when I read my BSC Super Specials, I don’t care about the babysitting charges. So why, then, are we subject to a Margo chapter, a Buddy chapter and even worse – a Karen chapter? Karen wasn’t even at Sea City. She was in Stoneybrook when the Hurricane came through. No one cares about you, Karen.
- There’s a store in Sea City called Kotton Kandy Korner. Nuh-uh. Nope. You do not ever give those initials to your business.
- “Somehow, Kristy had devised a way to convince the grownups to take care of the kids for a half hour.” WHAT???? Stoneybrook parents watch their own kids on vacation??? As if.
- The one I Love Lucy reference in the book goes to Mallory, who for some reason, writes a postcard to Stacey’s mom? (Who’s got it goin’ on, as the song goes)
- I call bullshit again. Dawn takes the kids to a circus. Nope. Dawn would be vehemently anti-circus. She points out that the animals are “tired-looking,” but she doesn’t lecture us about animal rights. That’s not like her at all.
- When Mal is getting ready for her date night with Toby, the triplets sing, “Mal and Toby, sitting in a tree. N-E-C-K-I-N-G.” What. Everyone knows it’s K-I-S-S-I-N-G, and no ten year old boy is going to call making out ‘necking.’ Not even ten year old boys who know too much about I Love Lucy.
- Listen, there are some real shippy and slashy lines in Logan’s chapters. Like Logan talking about how good looking Alex is. And when he gets back to Stoneybrook, he can’t stop thinking about Alex. “I tried to put him out of my mind. I mean, he’s just a guy…” All this worrying is supposedly under the guise of being worried about Mary Anne, but c’mon. And is it one-sided? Oh not at all my friends. Alex agrees with Mary Anne that Logan looks like Cam Geary. We should get some fanfic out, stat.
Honestly though. It’s been quite a while since I’ve read a BSC book. I forgot how much I love them and hate them and am fond of them and rolls my eyes at them. They’re everything to me, nostalgically speaking.