Sunday, November 26, 2006

Mal and Jessi are lucky to get by looking like sixth-graders; or, BSC #58: Stacey's Choice

Oh, poor divorced-kid Stacey. It's so hard for her. She has to make a choice: does she stay with her mom, who has pneumonia? Or does she go to New York for her dad's big dinner?

So, the background: Stacey's mom is super tired, cause she's temping and looking for a job (which, I know, TOTALLY sucks). But Stacey's dad just got this big promotion to vice president of something or other at his company, so his career is going swimmingly. In fact, the promotion is such a big deal that the company is throwing him this fancy dinner thing, and he invites Stacey, and even tells her to get a new outfit for the occasion. And Stace is super-stoked, 'cause, new clothes! Big weekend in NYC! But then...(duh, duh, duuuuhhh) Stacey's mom collapses at a job interview, and Stacey gets called out of school to go to the hospital. And Stacey's freaking out, cause she thinks her mom's going to die of leukemia or some shit. Turns out it's a nasty case of pneumonia. Which sucks, but it's not like Mrs. McGill is all on her death bed or anything. So, Stacey goes all martyr-complexy and insists on taking care of her mom at all hours and setting up mom-sitters for the hours when she's at school, and she temporarily quits baby-sitting and stops going to club meetings and BORING! And she angsts about whether or not to leave her mom for the big New York weekend.

Finally, she decides to not really make a decision and try to do, she leaves after school Friday and goes to the dinner, but keeps leaving during the dinner to check on her mom. And she totally asks to leave early, but they don't leave until, like, midnight, which sucks cause she just has to take the 6:30 a.m. train, meaning she gets up at fucking 4:30 in the morning. Dumbass. Which riles up her relationship with her dad, who's none too pleased. And she's so tired she can't properly take care of Mom. So, Stacey just sucks all around. Finally, Mom gets better and tells Stacey that she can't take on everyone's probs.

Subplot: All the little kiddies waste all their money ordering crap from the backs of comic books and magazines. They get scammed, and wind up with tons of junk and don't have any money left to buy the yo-yos that they really want. So, they decide to have a traveling salesman-type show to sell all the crap. So, they pull their wagons from house to house and rap, recite poems and perform skits to try to sell the shit, with very little luck, but they get money for the performances. Blah. Stupid children, and stupid parents for letting them spend all their $$$ on stupid crap scams in mags.

So, here's what I really don't get. Since when does Stacey give a shit about anyone other than herself, and maybe Charlotte Johanssen (or how ever you spell it)? Seriously. And why is she all "ohmigod, my mom's dying" or whatever, when she's spent mad time in hospitals and being sick and shit? Isn't the whole point of "The Truth About Stacey" that overreacting about medical conditions is stupid? Whatever. And why do all the parents give the kids money to send away for stupid shit? My parents didn't let me order shit from the backs of mags, CAUSE IT'S A FUCKING RIPOFF!

Okay, here come the bullets!

  1. "...added Mal knowledgeably, even though she has been to New York, like, three times." Shut up, Stacey. You're a bitch on the first fucking page of the book.

  2. Oh, so Stacey's dad has a "tiny two-bedroom apartment." He must be paying a fortune in child support and alimony. I don't care if he's paying for a house and an apartment now, they were doing okay before the divorce. And now, with the promotion, he'll be able to upgrade for his stupid little daughter.

  3. Apparently, Claudia is neither fat nor thin, but just right. Huh.

  4. "But Claud and I have the exact same taste in clothes and fashion, and very similar interests. We are both sophisticated and trendy. I know I sound like I'm bragging, but everyone says this about us. We keep track of the new styles, and we wear tights and boots [ooh, trendy!], baggy tops, and big jewelry. Claud likes hats, and often wears one, and we experiment with makeup and accessories. We experiment with our hair, too, especially Claudia."

  5. Okay, so I totally remember this anecdote: "'Once,' began Kristy, 'I saw this ad on TV. The announcer said you could order this great collection of fifties and sixties rock 'n' roll songs by the original artists. You know what happened? The cassette arrived, but it turned out to be a collection of the old songs performed by a new group called the Original Artists. What a rip-off!...'" Yup, I totally remember that. And it's still stupid.

  6. So, to get her outfit for the big night, Stacey drags the girls to Zingy's, the store with "all that punk stuff." And this is the big winner: "...a hot pink (fake) silk jacket which fell to my knees, new black leggings [come on, Stace, did you really need another pair?], pink-and-black socks, and a black body suit. I planned to wear the outfit with black flats, and to dress it up with some jewelry and maybe a coupl of barrettes in my hair." Classy. You're going to a fancy business dinner, and you're dressing like you'll be spending the afternoon at the fucking mall.

  7. Heh. Arnie Swarteneggy.

  8. Ah, Stacey's imaginging the future, and her significant other's parents are divorced as well.

  9. Oh, and there's this whole thing where Stacey wishes there were a Divorce Handbook or some shit like that.

  10. I totally want a patch that says "Old bowlers never die; they end up in the gutter."

  11. Stacey bitches about delays at Grand Central. Shut up, Stacey.

  12. Heh. No one will tell Claire what a Bust Developer is.

  13. "I decided I had been away from New York too long. I was losing my grip on sophistication." Say it with me now, Shut up, Stacey!
  14. Stacey's dad says "But I swan." And I had to look that up. Apparently, to swan is to wander aimlessly or to dally. Huh.

  15. Heh, Stacey reminisces about Judy. See the archives for my Judy haiku.

  16. ANM, I'm so sure that some little kid knows what an "old-time medicine show" is.

  17. And how come Stacey gets to charge shit? I was never allowed to do that, and I would never authorize a fucking 13-year-old to use my charge card.

Oh, and one more time? Shut up, Stacey.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

They aren't a clique of girls who have to dress alike, talk alike, think alike...; or, BSC #31: Dawn's Wicked Stepsister

Okay, so the fucking Pikes gave me a fucking stomach virus. Yup, I read this book and I caught the fucking Pike plague. I'm feeling much better, but I'm still recovering. However, I'm back in New England for Thanksgiving, which will hopefully speed my, Mom-cooked food!

This book starts the moment after the cliff-hanger ending of Mary Anne and the Great Romance, with Sharon's bouquet flying through the air towards a gaggle of gaggling girls [I always hide during this part of weddings. I don't want to even accidentally catch the bouquet!] all leaping and swatting. And, much to Dawn's chagrin, MARY ANNE CATCHES THE BOUQUET! How could this "happen?" It's Dawn's mom's bouquet, she should be the one to catch it! And that's just the start of a stupid, stupid story.

Yep, now the Spiers and Schafers have combined (and I totally forgot this, but Sharon takes Richard's name, which they never seem to mention in the later books? or maybe I just ignored it...but I feel like they always refer to Mrs. Schafer, not Mrs. Spier. Anyone?), and Jeff is all uncomfortable around Richard, cause he's PBS dad...And, in the dumbest move ever OKed by parents, Mary Anne and Dawn decide to share Dawn's room. Seriously, who gave this the green light? Cause their ass is fired! Two 13-year-old girls who have never shared a room with ANYONE cramming together in one room? Especially when there's a spare room just begging for Mary Anne's stuff? And when it starts to go bad (because it starts to go very badly), instead of being mature and discussing the problems (or even acting like a child and going to their parents), Dawn takes matters into her own hands and scares Mary Anne into moving out of her room. Seriously. Dumb. And, correct me if I'm wrong, Dawn never comes clean! She never tells M.A. about the stupid pranks, even if Mary Anne knows and just uses it as an excuse or whatever, Dawn weaves a wicked web of lies about the stupid tricks...LAME!

Subplot: Pikes get sick. I hate them right now. They made me ill.

Fun stuff!

  1. Um, in this book, Mary Anne's maternal grandparents died a while ago, but I don't think that's quite right? Hmmm...stupid ghostwriter...I mean manuscript assistant.

  2. Dawn goes out of her way to note that Watson is a "divorced, balding millionaire." Heh.

  3. "Nobody dresses like Claudia. She is totally cool. She wears funky stuff like pink sparkly high-topped sneakers, or short flared skirts over skintight leggings [can I just add, with a pointed look at a number of girls I saw in JFK airport yesterday, LEGGINGS ALONE ARE NOT PANTS! THEY DO NOT LOOK GOOD, NO MATTER HOW TINY YOUR ASS IS!], or wild jewelry she's made herself...Claudia has had several boyfriends, including a long-distance one named Will, but she doesn't have a special one right now." Aw, and I thought they were made for each other...(sarcastic sad face).

  4. Okay, this made me laugh: "Jessi's skin color doesn't matter a bit to any of us..." I'm not sure why I find it so funny, though. I guess I just here that followed by "but not everyone's as open-minded as we are." Just a little self-congratulatory.

  5. Ah, poor Logan's speech impediment. Instead of "my hair," he says "mah hayer." Oh, wait! That's supposed to be his accent. I get it. And his allergic little bro says "bah hayer," cause he's always stuffed up. Which I just don't buy.

  6. They hired a moving van to move a few blocks away...I'm a little jealous. I wish I could afford that.

  7. I wanted to smack Dawn every time she bitched about how Mary Anne was all grumpy about moving. Bitch, please! She's only ever lived in one house, and now she's leaving it. Give the girl a break. She's allowed to be crabby. She's the one who has to give up a bunch of stuff for this marriage, and you get to keep all your shit. So back off!

  8. I loved every time Mary Anne got all bitchy with Dawn. For example:
    "You know," began Mary Anne, "I don't think my skirt looks so great on you, after all. It's a little...tight."
    Everyone gasped.
    "Are you implying that I'm fat?" I exclaimed, which was ridiculous, because I'm pretty thin.
    "You said it, not me."


  9. Seriously, Dawn, shut up about Richard's organizational systems. Okay, just cause he's not a brain-dead slob like your mom doesn't mean he's a freak. Got that! There is nothing wrong with organizing your books (or records or CDs or whatever), and there is nothing wrong with organizing your closet. Sure, maybe he missed out on a fabulous career as a cataloger, but THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH BEING ORGANIZED! DON'T FUCK WITH HIS SYSTEMS JUST TO FUCK WITH HIM! THAT IS SO NOT COOL! Whoa. Sorry. I'll stop now.

  10. I find it hard to believe that Richard and Sharon never talked about the food things or the cleaning things or anything before getting married and moving in together. They've both been married before, and one of those marriages ended in d-i-v-o-r-c-e, so, you'd think they'd have discussed some of the practicalities beforehand. Just sayin'

  11. I also love when Mary Anne is all, "when you get a boyfriend" and "I'm sure someone will ask you out someday." It's crazy bitchy and fun. Please, make fun of Dawn. She needs it!

  12. Enter Carol, Dawn's dad's girlfriend.

  13. Another example of "our parents do this for free everyday...they must be crazy." Yes, girls parenting is hard. But you're the crazy ones, cause you take care of other peoples kids for small quantities of money (or none at all) during your free time. So shut up already.

  14. Enter the Hobarts: Mary Anne's old house has been sold to a foreign family, possibly from Austria...nope, it's Australia. It's Mal's future luv-ah.

Okay, I know I'm being totally nitpicky, but that's what I do, so EAT IT! Mary Anne's supposed to be one of the shortest girls in her class, and she and Kristy are the short ones in the club, so why is Mary Anne taller than Dawn on the cover? Also, Mary Anne's totally wearing mom-jeans, and Jeff looks like a friggin' clown.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Very unhappy Tiff

Sorry guys, but I'm very, no post today. I'll try to get one up later on in the week or this weekend...Don't hate me, or I'll infect you through the internet!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

It’s nice to know boys aren’t aliens from the planet Snorzak or something; or, BSC #10: Logan Likes Mary Anne

Oh, this week is sooooooooo much easier than last week! No guilt here!

So, in this book, Mary Anne meets Logan. Does anything else matter? Almost every fucking book in the series mentions cute Logan with his cute Kentucky accent! And this is where it all began! Aren’t you totally psyched?!?!?

The plot, broadly sketched…

Mary Anne crushes on the new boy…the BSC give him a tryout, but everyone is embarrassed by the words “bra straps” (said in a whisper)…enter Jackie Rodowski…Logan asks Mary Anne on dates…Stacey decides to throw a party and give Mary Anne a surprise cake…Mary Anne gets embarrassed at a dance and flees her own party…she gets a kitten…and a boyfriend…and Logan becomes the very first associate member of the Baby-sitters Club…the end.

The fun stuff, with bullets!

  • Number one reason to join the BSC? “We baby-sit for the kids in our neighborhoods, and we have a lot of fun – and earn pretty much money, too.” That’s convincing...

  • “I’d never been very interested in boys, either. This wasn’t because I didn’t like them; it was because I was afraid of them. I used to think, What do you say to a boy? Then I realized you can talk to a boy the same way you talk to a girl. You just have to choose your topics more carefully. Obviously, with a boy, you can’t talk about bras or cute guys you see on TV [oh, so that’s what I’m doing wrong! See, I thought boys like hearing about underwear…], but you can talk about school and movies and animals [huh?] and sports (if you know anything about sports).” Love lessons from M.A.

  • “Dawn was wearing a pretty snappy outfit – hot-pink shorts with a big, breezy island-print shirt over a white tank top.” Snappy!

  • Oh no! Don’t mention dads around Kristy, cause it makes her think of her own deadbeat one, despite her new Daddy Warbucks…

  • Mary Anne goes goo-goo over Cam Geary…going so far as using gum to hang posters in her locker.

  • Corrie Lalique. Heh. OMG, she’s 14 and she’s not flat!

  • I totally remembered this thing: “I was all set for eighth grade. My brand-new binder was filled with fresh paper; I had inserted neatly labeled dividers, one for each subject, among the paper; and a pencil case containing pens, pencil, an eraser, a ruler, and a pack of gum was clipped to the inside front cover.”

  • “We would have a real graduation ceremony in June. After that, we would go on to the high school.” Keep dreamin’, sweetheart!

  • ANM is the worst dialect writer. Ever. “ ‘In Luevulle. Ah’ve haid plainy of expuryence.’ ‘Way-ull.’” I can’t find any other examples right now, but you know what I’m saying…

  • “…so I put on a pair of small hoop earrings…” Um, I thought she didn’t have her ears pierced.

  • Oh, here’s Mr. Ohdner!

  • Yes, Claudia it must be hard to be a parent. But for more reasons than your kid putting stickers all over the door.

  • Apparently, Stacey remembers when she longed to be nine…

  • MARY ANNE’S DANCE/PARTY OUTFIT! HE-EY! “…a full white skirt with the words Paris, Rome, and London, and sketchy pink and blue pictures of the Eiffel Tower, the Tower Bridge, and other stuff scrawled all over it. She matched it up with a pink shirt and a baggy pink sweater…white slip-ons with pink and blue edging that matched the pink and blue in the skirt…” Oh, yeah. That’s hot!

  • Kristy cancels a BSC meeting so everyone can help Mary Anne get ready for the dance. MY ASS!

  • You might be wondering what everyone else wore to the dance…”Claudia was wearing short, tight-fitting black pants and a big white shirt that said BE-BOP all over it in between pictures of rock and roll dancers. She had fixed a floppy blue bow in her hair. Stacey was wearing a white T-shirt under a hot pink [wait for it…] jumpsuit. Dawn and Kristy looked more casual. Dawn was wearing a green and white oversized sweater and stretchy green pants. Kristy was wearing a white turtleneck shirt under a pink sweater with jeans. We just couldn’t seem to get her out of blue jeans.” Yup.

  • SMS dances had bands playing? Like, live ones?

  • Poor, old Mrs. Porter. Yeah, poor, her, living next to stupid bitch Karen.

  • How is people surprising you with a cake and presents like “one of those dreams in which you go to school naked, or study and study for an important test and then sleep through your alarm clock and miss it?” I like cake, I like presents. You should give me both! You should surprise me with both!

  • “Our club had boy members. Well, one anyway.” And that’s all there’ll ever be…

Ah, yes…the cover that spawned a million future-fag-hag crushes!

And one that most certainly did not...

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Boy, are they different from anyone else in the club. They are so sophisticated; or, BSC #48: Jessi’s Wish

Yes, I am fully aware that I am going to hell. I am about to make fun of a book that features children with many serious diseases, medical conditions and major problems. And I’m totally not going to make fun of the characters in these situations, because I’m not totally heartless…But I just have to make fun of Ann M. Martin’s exploitive use of these children…You forgive me, right? It’s not like I’m going to rip on the little girl with cancer! (Ahem…*cough* cancerboy *cough*)

So, Becca and Charlotte (and some Pikes and a bunch of other kids) are part of the Kids-Can-Do-Anything-Club (aka the Kids Club) at Stoneybrook Elementary. And one of the former members is Danielle, who’s in the hospital with leukemia. And one of the teachers who runs the club is taking a sabbatical (I’m sorry, but even a middle school kid can use both a dictionary and a thesaurus!), so the club might shut down. But Jessi volunteers to help run it while the teacher’s away. [Oh, and this another Jessi book that literally mentions dancing twice, and that’s it…] So, then the BSC pretty much takes a month off of baby-sitting so they can volunteer (which is a nice thing to do, but the actual logistics are kind of glossed over…).

So, Kristy volunteers taking care of the babies at a daycare center (and her description of the center is kind of “oh, these poor kids in daycare,” though I can’t quite put my finger on why). And Mary Anne is helping a family with a kid with brain damage. Stacey will be counseling kids with diabetes. Mal’s helping out at a rec program in the park. Claud’s helping at an art class at the community center. And Dawn’s volunteering at a place for kids with physical disabilities…yes, this book one giant Very Special Episode. You get cancer, cystic fibrosis, brain damage, muscular dystrophy, (implied) poverty and mean little bastards…all in one pretty short book. Which seems a little…cheap…definitely forced…mighty schlocky…take your pick. [I REALLY hate ANM’s serious books…they’re sooooo manipulative!]

And Jessi learns that it’s a cold, hard world out there, and that life isn’t fair. Phew…enough about that…I’m sure I can find something I don’t feel crazy guilty for mocking now!

  1. ”Both of my parents work. They like their jobs a lot. IN fact, Dad likes his so much that when his company told him he was being transferred to the branch office in Stamford, Connecticut, he picked up and moved us Ramseys to Stoneybrook…” But her mom’s job’s not important enough to mention.

  2. Oh, and seriously, Jessi acts like she’s way older than me even when she’s comforting Becca…like she’s seen everything and she’s so mature…my ass. [I keep accidentally typing “Jessy” instead of “Jessi” and PoBal knows why…]

  3. Does ANM get a cut of the royalties from Marguerite Henry’s books? Cause she name drops Misty of [fucking] Chincoteague every other book! And in that one super special they actually go looking for the horses or some shit like that…If she’s not getting a cut, she should hire a good lawyer!

  4. Now Jessi thinks that it’s unfair that the Pikes won’t let Mal get a nose job! How do I not remember this whole obsession with nose jobs? I remember that episode of Head of the Class about nose jobs…

  5. I’d like to formally apologize for my inability to write with a single entry (or email for that matter) that doesn’t use ellipses.

  6. Stacey “dresses in really chilly [Apparently, any synonym for cold can be new slang for cool, with apologies to the Shins. I want “super-crazy-sub-arctic-snowbound” to mean cool…Who’s with me?] clothes – leggings, cowboy boots, hats, short skirts, a lot of black, etc.” I’m beginning to suspect that Sienna Miller is mining the BSC books for outfits…

  7. “…if Claudia were to offer a fashion tip, it would be, ‘Accessorize to the max.’ She certainly follows her own advice, wearing tons of hats, belts, boots, jewelry (she makes a lot of the jewelry), and hair ornaments.” I know I’ve said this before, but hello, Urban Outfitters!

  8. Teenage mutant ninja turtles. ‘nuff said.