Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Most of the people sounded too good to be true; or, BSC #71: Claudia and the Perfect Boy

Ah, yes...can you remember what 13-year-old-you thought the perfect boy would be like?  Now picture what 9-year-old-you thought 13-year-old-you would want in a boyfriend. Are you totally embarrassed now?  Good.  Now I've got your attention.
So, this was my first time reading this one.  And I picked it purely for the cover.



Oh, yeah.  One, I still think arcade dates are awesome.  I'm not even kidding about that.  Two, Claudia's rocking this weird pseudo-goth, pseudo-prom dress on a date.  Plus, she looks wicked stuck up.  I don't care if "This wasn't exactly what Claudia had in mind..." I think maybe she caught some of the Bitch from Laine.

And this doesn't happen in the book!  Weak!!!!

So, Claud starts the book all moony cause she wants a boy.  But not just any boy.  She wants the perfect boy.  Because there no way to ensure failure like setting your standards way way way way too high.  Anyway...Claud winds up running a personals column in the SMS paper.  And it's a lot of work. And she starts matching people together by their ads. But she can't find any boys for herself.  Well, she goes out on a couple of dates, but they're all duds.  And she decides that she can wait, because...wait for it..."I also discovered that finding Mr. Perfect wasn't so important after all. I had my friends. And I had myself. Everything I needed to be happy had been right here all along."

Subplot: Marnie Barrett's all allergy-rific (I hear ya, sister!), and it turns out she's allergic to the dog, Pow. So, much to the horror of Buddy and Suzie, they have to get rid of the dog...by giving him to the Pikes!  Because they're insane! And eight children aren't enough time/money/space/cleanliness strain! 

Yeah.


  • This one even starts out a winner: "I would have died if anyone had seen what I was doing! I mean, it was so embarrassing...I was sitting at the end of my bed, hugging myself. Why? Because I wanted to know how it would feel to be locked in a dreamy, romantic embrace with the boy of my dreams." Yep.

  • Claud comes up with a(n overly ambitious) list of her own...I'll keep her spelling:
    Hansome
    Mussels (not too many, not to few)
    Taller than me
    Funny (extreamly)
    Athletic
    Sensative
    Easy to talk to (a good lisner)
    Intresting (lots to say)
    Artistic
    Good dresser
    Good spellar (willing to corect mine)
    Not criticul
    Crazey about me

  • "You'd be amazed by the colors that go together. Take pink and gold. You might not think to wear pink socks with gold stretch pants [because the gold stretch pants aren't the big problem here, no matter what American Apparel ads are telling me], and then add a gold turtleneck under a pink sweater." Um, don't they make fun of Kristy for wearing turtlenecks and sweaters?

  • Kristy starts a meeting by saying "This meeting of the Baby-sitters Club is about to start."  That's not right.

  • Oh, yeah. Mal's out sick, so Shannon's coming to meetings.  I never read the one where Mal gets mono. And Dawn's out in Cali for six months.

  • "Tough thing number two: the number of times she's had to move." Okay, Stacey's moved three times, between the same places. By thirteen, I'd moved seven times, twice from coast to coast (literally).  So she can suck it.

  • Oh, yeah, and Stacey's already started dating Robert.

  • Hee! "Or she has the personality of Homer Simpson."  Let's see what the random Simpsons quote generator has to say about that: "Nelson: Hey I'm sure it's just a phase, like when I used to stand on the overpass and drop computers on the freeway."

  • It's really hard not to include all the personal ads.  But I don't have the energy.  So, I'll only put in the ones that Claudia goes out with. "Eighth-grade boy seeks beautiful, interesting girl. I swim, sketch, and enjoy stand-up comedy. If this sounds good to you, I'd love to get to know you better. Call Good Listener at 555-3829, or write to this address..." Brian Hall.  Date doesn't go well.

  • Stacey teaches Claud how to use a computer for word processing. And spellcheck.  And my thought was this was [check title page verso] 1994, have they never had a computer class? Cause I started having them in, oh, 1987 or so.

  • I still remember some of my old DOS commands. Hee!

  • I always forget that Mary Anne wound up in therapy.

  • I almost forgot! One of the personals includes the horrible line: "Other days I want to crawl into a shell like a teenage mutant, injured turtle." I didn't make that shit up.  There's also a reference to the real Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Which I can't believe is still around, in whatever new forms.  And, I have it on good authority, the new cartoon includes lots of bad shell puns.  Which seems apt for this bullet point.

  • Claud responds to personals with the following letter:
    Claudia here. Let me tell you about myself. I'm good-looking, pashionate about art, like laffter, freinds, and I want to meet sumone who will like me as I am and not try to change me. From your ad I got the idea that we mite have a lot in comon. There is nuthing to lose by finding out. Sincerly, Claudia Kishi.

  • It was a second attempt. Sad, but true. Oh, and don't worry, she used spell check to fix it.

  • Claudia's big date-with-Brian Hall outfit? "a long white shirt under a green tapestry vest, green corduroy pants, and low boots." Sounds a little earthy, casual even, for Claud.

  • Blah.  I don't want to read about a bad, boring date.  I've had my own, thanks.

  • Oh, Rock.  (Real name: Richard.) He's a winner.
    I'm getting desperate. [Great start to a personal ad, there.] I need a girl who doesn't giggle and act like a little kid and preferably one who doesn't wear pink. She should be smart, funny, pretty, and sort of hip. I've been told I'm good-looking, I play rock guitar, paint, and study eastern culture. No cheerleaders, please. Call Rock at 555-2984.

  • Claud's initial response: "He sounded pretty cool to me. Also, I fit his qualifications and I don't look good in pink." But wait! Didn't you wear gold and pink together just a few bullets up? You little liar.

  • He goes to a private school.  So, how/why is he posting a personal in the SMS Express?

  • "From that moment on, I thought of nothing but Rock: how I would create the cover for his first rock album; how he'd insist that I sing backup vocals onstage with him, although before that moment I'd never known I had singing talent. We'd ride around the countryside on his motorcycle (which I was sure he'd eventually get even though he was too young for one right now). We'd sit on a hillside and paint together. It would be so wonderful." Yeah, with that buildup, are you surprised the date doesn't go well?

  • Claud's date outfit: "new brown suede cloth pants...with a simple yellow button down shirt and a brown and yellow brocade vest."  Is she rocking the hippie look intentionally?  Does she think it's 1974?

  • As for Rock, he's got a mad case of Yellow Fever. He's obsessed with everything "oriental." And he has a tattoo! Of "a skull with roses growing out of it and worms crawling on top." Yep, he's gonna be wicked metal someday.

  • Claud decides to place an ad herself: "Eigth-grade girl how loves art, misteries, and lafter seeks boy who is handsum with some musles, medium height or taller, athletic, sensative, artistic, a good dreser, not too criticil, has no tattos, and can make me lagh. Write Chosey but Fair at..." She gets a lot of response, none great.

  • Stacey sends fake Mr. Perfect responses in a misguided attempt to make Claud feel better.  Yeah.

  • Hee! Fake "Mr. Perfect" looks like Jason Priestly

  • One of the responses to her ad asks if Claud looks like Paula Abdul.



Yeah.  Lame. Also, all the Claud quotes are totally pissing off my
spellcheck.

64 comments:

Anonymous said...

That gold and pink outfit sounds horrendous and elderly.

Mussels! Tee hee.

What's her obsession with laffter??

"Other days I want to crawl into a shell like a teenage mutant, injured turtle." I didn't make that shit up.

This? Cracked me UP. I don't remember that. Must re-read this book.

MagentaNation said...

Haha this is the first BSC book I ever read. I remember this is the one where Claudia compares Jessi to a deer in Chapter Two and then goes "Of course, she's not a deer though." No, really Claudia?

LOL @ "Mussels"

Ashley said...

Not looking good in pink is TOTALLY different from wearing pink!

BtW, I totally love your blog! I was just turned on to it by a mention in yesterday's USA Today's Pop Candy (http://blogs.usatoday.com/popcandy/2007/04/babysitters_for.html#uslPageReturn)...

kiwimusume said...

Wait. MA wound up in THERAPY?!?!?!?

Margie said...

LMAO at "Teenage mutant injured turtle." I love bad puns, and I love when a really horrible one surfaces in BSC. I need to get a copy of this one-- I read it back in the 90s when it first came out and I haven't seen it since.

And I dunno, I think the pink and gold outfit could be sort of cute, if it was nice metallic gold and not like, heinous University of California gold or something. Oh, and if a seven year old were wearing it. I can't see Claudia looking good in pink and gold, but I can see it on Karen or someone.

Mary Ann said...

"Laffter" makes me thing of Laffy Taffy, LOL. I love this blog, this is the first time I've posted a comment, but I check it all the time. I love it, you're so funny. I still love the BSC after all these years! I was looking online for the last book in the series since I stopped reading before that was published. I was thinking of reading it for old time's sake, haha. :)

Anonymous said...

"Other days I want to crawl into a shell like a teenage mutant, injured turtle."

I am still cracking up over this.

I remember this book, though. What kind of 13-year-olds place personal ads? I know it was a school paper, but seriously? And no tattoos? Do they even LET 13-year-olds get tatoos.

Samantha said...

I just have to ask... are you also going to read the later books with the last member to join, Abby?

kiwimusume said...

OK, I would just like to say that I keep giggling in the middle of the staffroom and it is ALL YOUR FAULT. Here I am sitting at my desk trying to get on with studying for my upcoming exam, and every time try to focus, I remember that comment about Mary Anne and the Dodgy Curry and start cracking up. Luckily my coworkers attribute any weird behaviour on my part to the fact that I am a crazy foreigner, or I'd be getting some weird looks by now.

Juliet said...

ooooh you've made my night. Nothing soothes a wounded heart like reading about the wounded heart of the BSC.

So personal ads in middle school, why that seem like the worst idea ever??

And maybe someone else mentioned this, but who lets a 13 year old boy get a tattoo?

And part of me just really wants to slap Claud around. She thinks she'll find the perfect boy at 13? HA! Ten years later, I've not found, and to be honest I'm betting it'll be another ten years before I do.

Anonymous said...

okay let's be realiztic here... what 13-year old girl is NOT turned on by tattoos? wtf?
and it's claudia, you think out of all of them, she'd go for it the most.

susannah said...

oh my god. i friggin love this blog.

Naomi said...

Hey, love the blog! My friend and I talk about BSC kind of all the time. One night we even stayed up until 3pm casting the BSC reunion movie:

http://ihatewheat.wordpress.com/2006/05/08/coming-in-summer-2007/

"The premise: Logan has finally popped the question to Maryanne (after like, 20 years). Maryanne's dream to get married on the shores of Sea City, and the whole Stoneybrook gang is invited. This brings up some weird feelings for Stacey, who believes she is still in love with Scott the lifeguard after all these years and looks to be reunited with him. Further hijinks ensue when Maryanne meets Cam Geary, former teen idol, the night before her wedding, and starts to have doubts about her committment to Logan."

Sadly, we are both 30 years old.

Naomi said...

Sorry, here;s the above link:

http://tinyurl.com/yp6n6f

Liv said...

Wait, the Pikes got a dog while Mallory had mono? I'm not sure how I feel about that...

lisa said...

LOL poor Claud. So delusional.

Claudia was my favourite and I did a big fangirly squee when I saw you'd done this one ;-)
Her outfits in this one sucked though! Where are the wild prints and jungle-themed earrings?!

Emily said...

ahhahaAHHAAHHAHAHAHHh thank you so much for this blog. it's freakin killer.

amanda said...

Pink and gold? Brown and yellow? WTF Claudia??? So disappointing.

Sort of off-topic, but I had a BSC dream last night. Yup. I was making a BSC movie and Jessi was played by some girl from American Idol (sorry, don't watch it, don't know her name), and the movie plot was all about Jessi (ick) because she got pregnant at 13. Mmm hmm.

Anonymous said...

I remember thinking that if I were Claudia I would have beat the crap out of Stacy over that one. It was so mean.

Mark said...

Omg, can I just say, what sort of school lets their students run personal ads in the paper?
Is this an American thing? Because it'd never happen here in Australia.... How weird.

Anonymous said...

I'll bet anything he bought that tattoo at the mall and it'll wash off in a few days... I remember the music store sold some "badass" tattoos back in the early 90's

Anonymous said...

Actually the cover scene is mentioned briefly... It's a guy she goes out with named kurt who played video games the whole date.

coquelicot said...

"(not too many, not to few)"

Why can Claudia spell "too" right the first time, but not the second? And she can't spell "crazey" but can spell "athletic?" Claud, Claud, Claud...

Mark, as far as I know, this instance is totally random. We never did personal ads in any of our newspapers in middle OR high school, and I was in high school at the time this book was published. So I can't chalk it up to a different era or anything. At my school, if we had done something like that, the ad-placers would have never heard the end of it, and not in a good way.

Anonymous said...

Why is it the middle schoolers in Stoneybrook get more dating action at 13 than I did at 23? I blame ANM and the BSC for setting me up for disappointment once I reached 8th grade. Silly me for thinking boys and dates would be plentiful, and our school would hold 15 dances and have 27 holidays/vacations.

Margie said...

^-- Dude, seriously. The BSC LIED TO ME!

colleenn said...

This book made me mad because I was 12 when I read it (probably too old to still be reading BSC books, but I read them way past when I should have stopped), so I was right around the characters' ages and was absolutely terrified of even talking to guys while there they were going on dates and writing personal ads and searching for the "perfect boy." It made me feel like a total loser. I wish I had remembered the "teenage mutant injured turtle" line because that is classic. The only specific thing I can remember from this one is Mary Anne's personal to Logan that said "Your cuddly kitten will love you furever," and I think she signed it as "Tigger." And then Claudia had to cut out "cuddly" to save space, only she cuts and pastes wrong and puts half of MA's with half of another one and causes all sorts of drama I think.

marissa said...

Yeah, I didn't remember MA being in therapy. Can anyone clarify this? Maybe it was in the later books and I had stopped reading?

Anonymous said...

Pop Candy alerted me to your blog -- so, so funny! I've been buying the books at used book stores, hoping I'll have the complete collection for my daughter (who is still too young to read) someday. I don't know how I'll explain the horrible clothes. Or Mallory.

Clare said...

Is it just me, or is Claudia's "I don't need Mr. Perfect, I've got me" sentiment almost exactly the same as Carrie Bradshaw's last VO in the series finale of Sex & the City? Looks like someone at HBO's been reading the BSC, too...

Jess said...

For that matter, what middle school has a newspaper? My high school didn't even have one. I was majorly bummed over that, having been raised by BSC, Sweet Valley High, the "Pen Pals" series (remember those? anybody?), and dozens of other books to think that when I turned 12 or 13, I would have an opportunity to be a precocious investigative reporter, or counsel the lovelorn with my advice column, or maybe even write the gossip column! None of this ever came to fruition, though I did join the newspaper in college...as the arts editor. Life, once again, disappoints my 13-year-old self.

Anonymous said...

It really pisses me off when Stacey goes on and On and ON and ON! about having lived in NEW YORK and Connecticut, and having moved a few times. Get a life,Stacey.
When I was three, I lived in Holland. It wasn't until we were on the train to England that I realised that my family and I were going away from my beloved school and friends and house and every fucking other thing. SHE GETS TO VISIT IT EVERY WEEKEND IF SHE WANTS AND SHE COMPLAINS ABOUT IT!!!! If I was permitted regular visits to Holland or France (to which I also have several links) every two months, I would be over the moon with the knife or whatever it was.

srah said...

I am now picturing Claudia's dream man, complete with a pail full of mussels. It is awesome.

However, I can't believe she missed the opportunity to write "taller then me". What kind of bad speller is she?

Margie said...

Marissa-- I know that Mary Anne went to therapy after her house fire thing... and maybe for Amelia's death? Can someone clarify this?

Annabelle said...

Actually, my middle school had a newspaper and a personals section! Granted, it wasn't really so much "personals", more like boyfriends/girlfriends (or friends) writing messages to each other, or if someone wanted to say they had a crush on someone... It was really cute. I even still have a few copies around somewhere, I think.

Naomi said...

Gah! Stacey. Even when she does go back to nyc, she goes to things like Bloomingdale's, the Empire State Building, and frikking Rockerfeller Center.

I now live in CT (who would have thought) and squee! a little bit when I pass Stamford. Sadly, there is no Stamford mall...

chawesome said...

you have brought very good babysitter's club memories into my head. thanks!

Anonymous said...

ugh-thank you for this. i am SUCH a claudia, except smart. seriously though, doesn't her list of qualities in a boy KIND OF make a lot of sense?? and haven't you KIND OF hugged yourself alone in your preteen room just to see what it feels like? maybe thats just me.

aries rising said...

does the guy on the cover look live anthony michael hall in the breakfast club to anyone else?

also curious about MA in therapy.

Homer simpson: mmmmmm....mussels…..gaaaaah……

Anonymous said...

I think MA went to therapy between books or something. There was one...I think where her friend (who had never been mentioned before) died. And Mary Anne was depressed and calls her old therapist. And it was randomly written as "I was feeling kind of bad so I went to this doctor to talk about my feelings."

I don't believe there was ever a book devoted to it. I read them WAY later than I should have (up to like, #100, and it wasn't a plot in any of them. But it was mentioned that she went.

josie said...

You are freaking AWESOME. A friend of mine stumbled across this somehow (though now the search engine terms you pointed out a few entries back have me worried as to just how... but anyway) and, knowing I was a former BSC-devotee back in the day, referred me to this blog. I have literally spent the last four hours reading through every single entry and have done pretty much no work at all today. I think my boss may be on to me, though, as I'm sitting here giggling/struggling not to outright howl at some of the hilarious things you say. So I should probably get back to work--but THANK YOU for SUCH an awesome trip down memory lane/total reality check (my eight-year-old self thought Stacey was the SHIT... oy). I will definitely be back!!

Rachel said...

I never got the "turtlenecks with sweaters" thing. I've lived in Connecticut my whole life but isn't that a bit...much? Because doesn't it say in the books that's pretty much her daily outfit? I'd think you'd get pretty hot.

Anonymous said...

in regards to the stamford mall- there used to be one, I remember this from when I lived in CT and was reading BSC's as they were pumped out like, 3 a month...

for the record- the mall=really shitty. but i felt super playing with polly pockets and knowing stacey could be getting a perm right around the corner.

Anonymous said...

She wrote about therapy in chain letter

Mara said...

And the name of her therapist was Dr. Reese! I don't remember exactly why Mary Anne went, but I think it was because of the complicated relationships in her family or something? Her mom dying, growing up with her dad, the grandmother suddenly showing up (Verna Baker from Iowa!)

When Claudia wrote "pashionate about art, like laffter" I thought "laffter" was the name of a famous artist and found it really cool, that she felt the same way about art as a famous artist. Yeah...and it took until today, that I finally noticed, that she meant laughter! Round of applause, anyone?

Tanya said...

I remember when I was a kid I convinced my mom to let me be a Jr. Bridesmaid just because I read about it in a BSC book. How different my life would have been without them!

Anonymous said...

I've met a guy w/all the qualities in Claud's list. No lie. And I'm gonna marry him. Never settle, girls!

Anonymous said...

LOL Naomi at your casting-
Rosie O'Donnell as Kristy

Although shouldn't Logan be played by someone, oh a bit more flamingly gay?

BSC in the City:
Mary Anne = Charlotte
SJP = Claudia and Mallory hybrid
Samantha = Stacey
and Miranda = Kristy??

Anonymous said...

I friend of mine told me about this. As a former fan (addict) of the BSC books and as a recovering nerd, I'm obsessed. I've spent the last two hours here at work giggling. I'm a lawyer -- mind you -- and keep minimizing every time my secretary walks in so that she doesn't see what I'm reading... Love it.

Colby said...

Um, how did Claudia make it to 8th grade with that spelling?

I didn't remember how absurd all these books were (the fashion choices DID turn me off in elementary school), but your Blog is seriously funny!

Kelly said...

I love this blog! It's so funny to read!

Just for the record, I am from Stamford, and there is a mall. It's technically the Stamford Town Center, but everyone just calls it the Stamford Mall. It's off of exit 8 on 95.

Justice Fergie said...

omg! this is my first time at your blog but i have to say THIS IS PRICELESS!!!!! I totally loved all of these books and wanted to be Claudia solely for her clothes. And the ponytail to the side.

You Rock.

Sabrina said...

this blog is f*ing hysterical. thanks for making my workday a little less productive and way more bearable.

Mitch said...

haha your website is Awesome. Cracks me up. Which is bad because I keep reading it when I should be doing work...

did want to disagree about your point on Claudia being able to use a computer - when I was in 3rd grade (in 1993/1994) was when we first got to see a computer, & we had some typing lessons & played Oregon trail. However, we did not type actual documents or anything, I don't know that I could've done that before middle school either, esp. not if I were in middle school in 1994.
I like the nickname ANM, but shouldn't it be AMM? or did you do that cause ANM sounds better.
the outfits were always my favorite part too. makes me laugh (laff)

Radhika said...

I've read a large chunk of your reviews and I can't stop laughing. I owned every book into the Abby years and you bring back every funny/pathetic moment. And you even have some of the original characters.

Megan said...

oh my god you so made me go to the library catalog and put BSC books on hold- the later ones and theres a limit of 25 holds.. cant wait to get that email so i can pick them up, love this blog, got this link from another blog... i am deaf, and books were my world growing up because i didnt have many friends.. now that im 24 and soon to be married i realize a lot of stuff in these books were absurd but back then i accepted them lol...

Mahnaz said...

My pet peeve was that the Pikes adopted Pow in this book because of Marnie's allergies. But after that, they never make any references to the fact that the Pikes have a dog now. Or at least, in the much later ones, they don't. In "The All New Mallory Pike," Pow doesn't make so much as a whimper. Weird...no?

Anonymous said...

"...she caught some of the bitch from Laine." Kudos to you for the excellent expression!.

Angie

Anonymous said...

It sounds like the ghost rider for this one was big fan of the pop culture reference.

mushi said...

'The Rock' got to put his personal ad in the SMS paper because he lives next door to Alan Gray.

"Alan Gray! Ew! Ick! I'd actually written to the most obnoxious, immature boy in the entire eighth grade! How mortifying!"

First of all; he's immature? I believe it was you who just said 'ew! Ick!'

Second of all; don't the BSC pride themselves on being nice? What a biatch! She sounds like Cokie Mason - the most stale (how I loath those BSC invented words) girl in all of middle school

Thirdly; They're in middle school!! Why are they allowed to run personal ads? When I was 13, the teachers barely even let us talk to boys, let alone allow us to set up dates with them! Now I'm 17, and our teachers still patrol at lunch time and tell us off for standing near eachother!

And it worries me that Claudia wants to find Mr Perfect and she's 13! Should I be looking? hmm

Alice said...

this is my favorite bsc of all times. I like how she she considers the relationship between Nancy Drew and Ned Nickerson when she's thinking of who her perfect boy would be.

Mehreen said...

Ok, I wanted to hold off on commenting until I caught up...but I can't help myself! I love the BSC and was dying to visit Stoneybrook when I got older. I am now older and have taken the train to Stamford where Jesse took ballet, but to my horror, there is no Stoneybrook! Mary Ann was my favorite because she reminded me of myself and had a bf...but I liked reading Claudia books too. I believe it was in the Claudia book with Ashley that she said, 'I think words should be spelled the way they sound. Take cough, looking at it, I want to say cow-ugh. It should be cuff!' And from that day everytime I saw an -ough word, I thought of Claud. I also remember wondering who Jason Priestly was in this book because my mother never let me watch 90210 so when I figured it out like 5 years later, I felt enlightened. I also always imagined Cam Geary as Cary Grant for some reason, don't ask me why. Oh, I adore the BSC and as absurd as they are now, they made perfect sense when I was growing up.

Anonymous said...

So Rock has Yellow Fever? Damn, then Claudia's perfect for him And he has a tat? At 13? WTF?!

Julianne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I am sure the parents of the 13 year olds would support the school setting up dates (and relationships) for their children. As if a 13 year old could handle a relationship. Or would even really want to. What? I thirteen year old with a tatoo???