Wednesday, July 12, 2006

He was dressed casually, but with style; or, BSC Super Special #5: California Girls

Ah, Stacey and Mallory at their jackassiest.

The basic (and really dumb) premise: The girls win $10,000 in the lottery and split it up ($1428.57 EACH!). Then they decide to use the money to go to Cali for two weeks with Dawn. Poor Dawn’s dad. And his housekeeper. And wee Jeff. And even Dawn’s dad’s trophy girlfriend. Here come the babysitters. Whooppee.

And here’s what’s up with each of the girls:

Dawn: She doesn’t like her dad’s girlfriend, Carol. Yep. She thinks Carol acts too young, trying to be all buddy buddy. But finally, after Carol (rightfully and appropriately) narcs on Stacey, Dawn respects her. And gives her “permission” if Mr. Schafer decides to marry the girl. (Because heaven forbid they have a relationship without heading for marriage, especially relatively soon after the divorce.)

Stacey: Because Stacey is so sophisticated, she gets in a car accident!!!! But doesn’t get hurt other than bruises (boooooo). Yep, Stacey catches the “surfing bug.” So, Dawn hooks her up with some people she used to know when she lived in Cali (like two years ago) who were a couple of years older than the BSC. She goes to the beach with them everyday to ride the waves (which I can’t say without picturing Spicoli, sorry.). Then, another friend of theirs tags along (his name is BEAU. LAME. ) and drives like a maniac. Or a teenager. Take your pick. And on the way back, he gets in a multi-car wreck. And he totally asks all of the surfers to cover for him and lie to the police. But Stacey does what’s right (finally, after blowing off all her friends for like two weeks) and rats him out. Then she calls Carol, cause she thinks that Carol won’t make her tell her parents. But she totally does. [Aside: um, don’t they BABY-SIT? And don’t they tell their charges’ parents if they do something stupid or go to the hospital or whatever? And doesn’t the hospital need to contact Stacey’s parents? What with the whole being a minor thing?]

Claudia: She meets this boy, Terry, on the beach. Only he’s a brainiac, so she tries to pretend she’s, well, Janine with “better” clothes. Finally, though, she tells him about her family and her art and she finds out that they have more in common than she thought. And she learns the lesson that people will like her for herself. But then she writes him letters, and he’s totally gonna dump her when he finds out she’s borderline mentally-challenged. And it’s gonna be awkward.

Mary Anne: Because she’s not on vacation or anything, Mary Anne agrees to babysit for Stephie when no one in the We <3 Kids Club can do it. But Stephie has asthma, so M.A.’s kinda freaked out. But nothing happens until M.A.’s last job with Stephie; see, Stephie gets all worked up because she really likes Mary Anne and is going to miss her, so she brings on an attack. Which M.A. handles pretty smoothly. Why is Stephie so attached after, like, 3 days? Cause she’s mini-Mary Anne. Her mom died, and her dad treats her like a toddler. And her room looks like M.A.’s used to. Blah. Blah. Blah.

Kristy: Is a dumbass. First, she gets all competitive about the We <3 Kids Club. Cause she’s an idiot. And she also takes a job, but hers if for two obnoxious little brothers who have never been disciplined in their lives and are headed straight for the Ritalin. And Kristy learns that she’s not the best baby-sitter on the whole fucking planet, and other people know something or other about sitting. Shut up, Kristy.

Jessi: 1. Jessi visits her old baby-sitting charge Derek on the set of his TV show, P.S. 162. And the director puts her in the show as an extra. And Derek tells her she should get an agent. So, she entertains fantasies of Hollywood stardom for a few days, then remembers her true love. Yeah, remember ballet? That she tends to forget very easily? Yeah, that one. And, 2. Jessi totally lets Mallory walk all over her. Jessi gets pissed at Mal for being a jackass, then keeps lending her money, etc. Then she’s all, well, I could be more supportive, and nicer about lending the money to someone who blew all her money because she’s stupid. So, Jessi makes up with Mal, and apologizes. (You know, this is the one time when she has a right to be totally pissed, and she’s such a fucking wuss about it.)

And finally, award for stupidest girl ever?

Mal: First of all? You can’t really lighten your hair with temporary hair dye. You can’t wash blonde out of red hair, cause you have to bleach it to lighten it enough to call it blonde.

So, right after getting to Cali, Mal decides she needs to be a “California Girl.” Which, apparently, means blonde hair and buckets full of makeup. Seriously, I’ve been trying to figure out how much she spent on makeup in this book (shut up, you totally want to know); and here’s what I’m thinking: around $400. Follow me:

$1400 (lottery winnings)
-900 (cross country plane trip, no stopovers, in the late 1980s)
=500 (for 2 weeks in Cali, to include trips to amusement parks, etc)

Now, let’s say she spent a little bit in the airport, some to go to the Max Factor Museum, etc. Now, let’s say she drops FOUR HUNDRED DOLLARS ON MAKEUP IN ONE TRIP! Then, she’d be in a position to need to borrow buttloads of money from Jessi. Now, I know this is pure speculation, but I think $500 in spending cash is about what each of the girls would need to get into attractions, get food, buy souvenirs…Any other thoughts on this? Now, I spend a lot on makeup, and I am thoroughly addicted to Sephora and random expensive perfumes, but I have never spent more than $150 on makeup in one day, and that was once, as a college graduation present to myself, and it included a $60 bottle of perfume. And I just can’t figure out how she spent that much at one makeup counter in one sitting. And if she really did, what kind of unethical bitch would sell that much makeup to a CHILD?

So, she thinks she’s hot shit, until the director of P.S. 162 says she doesn’t have the right look. She’s devastated…how could she not look right? She was a California Girl! Or a bottle blonde with a complexion all wrong for blond hair. And tooooooo much makeup. Finally, Claud and Stacey rescue her from her depression (but not from her ugliness) by buying her makeup (I’m assuming at quite a discount). Blah. Happy ending.

The single funniest thing about this whole book? Most of the girls leave shit out when writing to their parents, and then the first sentence of the chapter following the postcard says, essentially, “there’s so much I didn’t tell my parents.” Yep.

40 comments:

rooroo said...

i love your website!!! :)

Miss Scarlet said...

I read this one SO many times. I, too, tried to figure out how much Mallory spent on makeup-that stupid, stupid girl. But I did like in this one how we got to see all of their different handwriting styles.

Anonymous said...

I LOVE the part where Claudia's on a date in the French restaurant eating "garden slugs." Classic!

miss_universe93 said...

This is one of the few Super Specials I don't havem so thanks for amusing me while letting me know what's actually in it!

Anonymous said...

The bit about Claudia on a date at a French restaurant eating escargot that the third poster mentions: I read this when I was about 10 and I thought that when I was 13, like Claudia, I would be going on dates to fancy French restaurants too. What 13 year old has a date at a fancy French restaurant?! I didn't have a date at a place like that until I was at least 20. Ridiculous!

KO said...

yeah, I remember thinking Stacey and Mal were both effing morons in this one...but I was kind of insulted by the Stacey plotline - it felt too after-school-special, even for the BSC.

Please, please rock my world and do the summer camp super special sometime?

Sara said...

I also second ko's motion to do the summer camp one!

I remember thinking this one was very blah. Everybody acts the same - especially Stacey "closeted rebel but not really because she's in a club of BABY-SITTERS". But I do recall feeling glad that she told the truth.

No mention of wild beach outfits? Sad. (OOhhh, wait! Wasn't there something about Claudia wearing Dawn's silly jumper and blouse and penny loafers to the French restaurant?)

Library Lady said...

Is no one else horrified that Mal's supposed "friends" did nothing to stop her from looking like a cheap monstrosity?! Claudia? Stacey? Could someone not have said, "your hair looks fugly?"

Also, as for the Claudia-fancy-date thing, might I remind you of "Mary Anne vs. Logan" when Logan puts on a tuxedo and meets Mary Anne at the door of his house, where he's cooked up a romantic dinner for two and will later give her a silver charm bracelet... Uh huh... yea... How many 13 boys do you know with tuxedos? And who know how to cook fancy dinners? And have the cash to buy silver charm bracelets?

Anonymous said...

In keeping with the odd dates - what about the sheer number of boys Stacey and Claudia have dated by the time they were 13? Or been in LUV with? Then again, i guess when you're 13th year has about 19 Christmases, 23 summers, and a whole lotta random 2-week vacations, you're bound to meet a lot of guys and date around.

Anonymous said...

I third the motion for the summer camp SS.

PoBaL said...

This was my favorite SS. I have no idea why.

LibraryLady--I think the other girls DID try to tell Mal how asstastic she looked (b/c if we've learned anything from the BSC, it's that when your friends try something new, you should ostracize them), but I think Mal just blew it off. Maybe citing jealousy? Or that they think of her as a baby? I don't remember...
--Jessy

Rebecca said...

Wasn't there an SS at one point that had them stranded on some island with the kids? I remember thinking it was a total ripoff of Baby Island by Carol Ryrie Brink (which I loved).

amz said...

Yes! It was #4, I think, Babysitter's Island Adventure. And Claudia saved them by signaling to a helicopter with a piece of mirror that just happened to be on the island with them! That one was awesome too!

Anonymous said...

God this book annoyed me...especially Mallory thinking she's so hot cuz she's gooping on eyeliner. And that part where Claud and Stacey buy her makeup? I swear it was an act of sympathy because what makeup for a redhead would work with a blonde girl and an Asian? And who would want to use someone else's makeup? EWWW.

And hell, I STILL haven't been on a date where I can eat escargot. Or win the lottery. Like wtf? These girls get everything

Anonymous said...

While I have never, ever met anyone named Beau, it's quite the hot name in the BSC books--I remember in the one where they have the baking contest thing, there's some girl with a boyfriend named Beau. I wonder where Ann M. Martin gets these things...

Library Lady said...

Good call, Pobal. Good call.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I am dissapointed this week. Where is our Fabulous Claudia Outfit of the week???

BTW, I loveLoveLOVE your blog. Keep up the good work.

GD said...

The cover for this book always gave me the willies. The girl sitting in the beach chair (is it Stacey or Dawn? I can never tell, either) looks like a bloated old man in a two piece. Honestly, who does the cover art??

Catherine said...

I haven't read any BSC books in so long. Not since my children grew too old for them :) But I really loved your summary.
The thing that bugs me most about the books - I don't know about the USA, but in New Zealand it's not actually legal for kids that age to babysit. So basically, the books are promoting illegal behaviour.

Anonymous said...

Also isn't it illegal for thirteen year olds to play the lottery? If me and my friends had won 10,000 dollars when we were thirteen I can ga-run-tee it would have gone into a college fund or whatever.

Jen said...

I actually had a boyfriend in college named Beau and he was, of course, from LA. Specifically, grew up in one of the suburbs right on the beach. I never realized the BSC foreshadowed events in my own life..LOL.

I was thinking about the Stranded Island super special the other day...that probably has some gems incl. them living off water and candy bars for 3 days. Nice.

Anonymous said...

Yup, I'm pretty sure you have to be 18 in every state to play the lottery. Hypothetically I guess they could get one of their parents to collect their winnings...but then again, hypothetically they should've payed taxes on those winnings (but then they wouldn't have enough cash to go to CA, and we'd miss out on this Super Special!)

Anonymous said...

this is hilarious!! i loved these books. please do re-caps of the rest of the super specials! remember those lame postcards they'd have in the middle of the books?

Guinastasia said...

Yeah, in many states in the US, it's illegal for kids of a certain age to be babysitters.

Cassandra said...

I think the bloated old man was supposed to be Stacey. I remember them making a big deal out of the fact that Stacey and Claudia could wear bikinis in one book. Was it just me or were all the baby-sitters assier than usual in this book? Jessi had the only plotline that didn't make me want to smack her, but it was so boring! I think ANM secretly hated Mallory.

rachel said...

is this the one where they go to universal? i got this picture in my mind of the jaws ride from ANM's description, and when i finally went on it last summer, it was completely and utterly different from what i remembered in the book. it was so disappointing.

as for the babysitting age thing, where i grew up (maryland) it was legal to babysit when you were 13. but definitely NOT 11.

rachel said...

oh, and cassandra, you may be right about ANM hating mallory. in later books mallory ends up going to boarding school because she's sick of feeling out of place in SMS, and i think ANM dumped a lot of shit on her throughout the series so it would seem more plausible that she would ship out. i mean, there has to be one "misfit" in the group (the rest seem to fit in pretty well) so i think she was chosen and got subtly undermined throughout.

or maybe she just plain sucks.

Anonymous said...

I laughed so hard I was crying during this one. I freaking love your blog. I check back every single week.

I am 17 now, which is probably really young for the people reading this... but to this day I STILL collect the BSC books because my main goal in life when I was 10 was to read them all (yeah, I know, big aspirations, right?)

Ohh boy. I wanted to be Claudia. Which is dumb because I am not Asian-American or stupid.

amanda said...

Hmmm...didn't Claudia's dad collect their winnings? But seriously, I wouldn't pay taxes on winnings that large for my child either - or let them throw all that cash away! That's why they babysit! Oh well. Mallory was horrendously stupid in this book, it irritated the hell out of me.

I didn't know Mallory got sent to boarding school, must have happened after I stopped reading them. Must check into that...

trisha said...

Rachel, I too got the wrong idea about the Universal Studios "Jaws" ride from this book! And I didn't ride the ride until 12 years or so later; imagine how disappointing it would have been as a preteen!

Count me in as another who had no idea Mal went to boarding school.

Great post! The Super Specials were always my favorite. You should do the one where they go to that camp in the winter time...

Anonymous said...

But then she writes him letters, and he’s totally gonna dump her when he finds out she’s borderline mentally-challenged.

I used to count the mistakes Claudia made in her letters/diary entires....'Tis the life of a Spelling Nazi.

Katie said...

This was always one of my favorite SS's, now, at the mature age of 26, it seems rather assinine in parts. Oh well, part of growing up I guess.

I think what I loved about this book in particular was getting to see more of Dawn's life in California. I loved learning about her dad, Jeff, the members of the We <3 Kids Club and yes, even Carol.

I thought MA and Stephie were cute, Kristy was a dumbass trying to be mega-sitter, and Mallory wins the award for "stupidest BSC member" in this book. I mean seriously, Mal with blond hair? WTF?

It still baffles me how Mal managed to spend ALL of her money as well. I flew to Cali from the midwest numerous times in the 80's and it wasn't THAT expensive. I realize from coast to coast it would cost more, but I can't see a RT costing more than $500-600 UNLESS they bought it VERY last minute.

So if she spent $400 on makeup IN THE 80'S mind you, then yah. Mal is stupid.

Anonymous said...

ANM probably does hate Mallory. She stopped writing about her when Mallory went off to boarding school.
The reason? Mallory began being called Spaz Girl. She got all moody and bitchy and decided to run away from it all by going to boarding school. Jessi got majorly pissed when she found out that Mallory was going to leave.
I can't believe I remember that.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone remember this?
When they are all on the plane on the way to Cali, all the girls opt for spaghetti on the plane, but Dawn gets the chicken. What? Isn't she a militaristic vegetarian?
I don't even know how old I was when I read this but I remember thinking that ANM didn't have a clue what was going on...

Janet said...

I read this one sooo long ago, and all I remember is Mallory dyeing her hair, being OBSESSED with her new look and then buying more hair dye, and eventually running out of money. I don't remember anything else, and man, even then I was pissed off at Mallory's character.

Margaret said...

I was so obsessed with Mal's blonde hair, I was p-o'd that they didn't have her as a blonde on the cover.

Anonymous said...

Ha! I also wondered how Mallory spent so much on that make-up. And I think Jessi should've smacked her. She was way too nice to Mallory in this book.

This book had a lot of classic moments, like Mallory's make-over and Stacey's car accident, but I think it drags a little. Usually I skip past the baby-sitting parts and read only the drama parts.

Anonymous said...

Ohmigosh! I forgot to mention Claudia eating escargots! That's another totally classic moment! (I think I liked Mallory's and Claudia's plotlines the best)

Miss Badger said...

i can't believe i'm commenting on a post so old but i just laughed so hard i'm crying at gd's description of stacey as a "bloated old man in a two-piece." i can't stop laughing and i pulled up the cover art from this website http://www.dibbly-fresh.com/gallery/displayimage.php?album=25&pos=4

metamorphstorm said...

I'm in full agreement; Mal's the dumbest one of this SS.

And Carol comes next. For one thing, Mal's 11. I don't care how grown-up that is in Stoneybrook, 'cause all those lazy parents need *someone* to watch their spawn while they go do whatever they do, and obviously they'll hire anyone. And to let an impressionable child ('cause, yes, 11 and 13 still counts as children - young ones in my opinion!) dye her hair and spend $400 on makeup and other chemicals, without telling her that maybe (true or not) she looks as she should and shouldn't have to change herself to suit anyone - Claudia! - makes Carol look dumb.

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for writing up approx. how much Mal blew on makeup - I *always* wanted to know and couldn't figure it out, being afraid of 1.) flying and also, not having been born until the 90's, meaning my 80's flight experience is nonexistent...and AMM had some fascination with *not* telling us the majority of the money stuff. I don't know why.

Anywho, thanks - I'll continue my anger at Mal and her stupid friends when I get around to working on BSC reviews of my own :P