Monday, July 23, 2007

Feelings are weird; or, BSC #72: Dawn and the We [Heart] Kids Club

Holy fucking shit! This one is abso-fucking-lutely ridiculous. I literally can't stop fucking swearing about it. [Big surprise there, right?]

First of all, there's this cover:

Who's who? I can't tell, other than the brunette young'un. And at a money place like that? Why the fuck are they on those broke-ass lounge chairs? Did somebody blow all the money on the waterfall in the background and the phone line by the pool? Plus, one of these bitches is wearing slouch socks...outside...with a bathing suit...while pouring tanning oil!!! Plus, I spy...some awkward tan lines. And they're all majorly sunburned.

As for the plot, damn is it convoluted. Seriously, there's all kinds of stuff going on that's only sorta related to everything else. The major points:

  1. The local (that's Palo City, for those just tuning in) newspaper and the local TV news team profile the We [Heart] Kids Club, drumming up both business and jealousy (by way of Miss Kristin Amanda Thomas. That's her full name, right?).

  2. Carol & Mr. Schafer announce their engagement, causing Dawn to freak out and FUCKING RUN AWAY BACK TO CONNECTICUT BY STEALING HER DAD'S CREDIT CARD NUMBER!!!!!!!

  3. Dawn feels rejected and unwelcome in both Palo City home and Stoneybrook home.

  4. Dawn thinks Stephie thinks of Dawn has her mother. Or something. But Stephie def wants a mommy.

  5. Kristy goes on a media blitz, but it doesn't work.

  6. Nicky Pike loves his brothers, even as he hates them. [How very, very deep.]

  7. Dawn kind of resigns herself to Carol, but then Carol & the Schaf call it quits.

  8. I think that's all the major stuff.

Righty, then. Another list:

  • Did you know that schools in Cali don't have bells? And nobody ever needs a coat? And that all teachers are easy-going? Yeah, me neither. Guess I really missed out. Fuckin' a. Decrying stereotypes even as she reinforces them.

  • Dawn's Cali school is called Vista.

  • I don't necessarily think being bicoastal sounds particularly glamorous. 'Kay?

  • "Vegetable chips are the best. They're like potato chips, except they're made with carrots and parsnips and sweet potatoes and other great stuff...Okay, stop gagging. I just happen to like natural foods." ARGH! SHUT THE FUCK UP!!! You can actually like both potato chips and veggie chips. AND it's not like she's comparing pork rinds and, like, sprouts. She's really just talking about two different kinds of fried veggies.

  • Heh, Logan calls Dawn "Runs With Squirrels." Cause of the health foods. Heh.

  • "Having best friends on both coasts in pretty fantastic." Except not. Being far away from your best friend sucks giant donkey balls. I don't care if you have other people around to distract you. Dumbass.

  • Why have meetings at all? What do they do at meetings if they don't have regular meetings? I'm so confused!

  • Stephie's nanny's looking hawt: "Joanna came in, dressed in a short fringed skirt and a tight-fitting beaded top, her dark hair pulled back in a sleek, elegant style." Somebody's ho-ing it up for her birthday date!

  • Ah, yes, Stephie's tragic asthma.

  • Oh, yeah. I forgot Jeff spends like the whole fucking book telling really terrible jokes.

  • Carol's "young and tries to be hip." Which, Dawn tells us, is both good and bad. How fantastically fucking specific.

  • Carol uses the word bodacious. Heh.

  • Yes, Dawn has the lightest hair, and Sunny has strawberry-blonde hair.

  • When did Dawn start to like surfing?

  • Ah, they do not mock the hippies enough for my taste. ["I ated too much hippie pie."]

  • Apparently, Maggie has a movie mogul dad, and, as Dawn keeps mentioning, she had dinner with Keanu Reeves. Wow. [Incidentally, I would love to have dinner with Mr. Reeves, and I'd totally badger him with quotes from Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure.]

  • Oh, and "Maggie has the coolest look (which is constantly changing). Her hair is short and punkish, with a thin tail in back. She usually streaks it purple or green or black. Her fashion sense runs toward leather bomber jackets [in L.A.? where it's too warm for jackets in the winter, according to Dawn?] and lace-up black boots." Punk rock. Or, like, baby punk rock.

  • "Even though he's a carnivore and a jock, I like him. He talks in this cute Kentucky accent, and he's great-looking." Well, I like him already. Oh, wait, she's talking about Logan.

  • A whole wheat cracker with cashew butter. Yum! Oh, wait, is that supposed to be an example of "weird" health food? Later, there's all this talk about Thai food, and I might have to hit up my fave Thai joint this weekend, just because of that.

  • The journalist from the paper? "She had short brown hair, a friendly smile, and was wearing a beautiful cotton cardigan over a white T-shirt and gray stirrup slacks. She could have been a college student." Wow, I, uh, stirrup slacks? Also, that's not what college kids in 1994 were wearing, as far as I can tell. Dude, middle of grunge. All I'm saying.

  • Journalist used to baby-sit through college. Because she went to a college without a library. Or student office workers. Or any other fucking job on campus. I guess.

  • The photographer, Lance? He was "a hunk. He was in his twenties, dressed in black, with dark brown hair pulled back in a ponytail, and the deepest, most luscious eyes..." Sounds dreamy. Except for the ponytail.

  • I can't even begin to describe the treacly article. Puff piece.

  • They're all acting like they're famous movie stars after they're on the news for an entire 4 minutes.

  • How can you have an early dinner when it's pitch-dark out? In New Hampshire, in the dead of winter, it's dark by 4:30, 4:45. So, let's say you eat at 5. That's really not a terribly early dinner. Might be early for you, but still. It's California. It stays light later there all year round. Ugh. Leaps of logic.

  • Dawn thinks she looks wide and pale on TV.

  • Sunny doesn't realize that she's using last year's calendar. But they make fun of Sharon. And Claudia. Hmm.

  • The whole "Kristy's jealous" story got wicked old wicked fucking fast.

  • And, according to this book, Kristy and Dawn never really got past the whole sharing Mary Anne thing.

  • Yes, Stephie, sisters forget just as much as anyone. And Dawn's not really your sister.

  • "Mrs. DeWitt is tall and thin, with huge brown eyes and a wonderful smile. She's an actress..." Blah. In what world are there all these model-type moms and actress moms. They never describe the dumpy moms, or the mom-jeans.

  • "Carol was wearing a dress, with a big, colorful [what colors????] beret in her red hair--and makeup, which is very unusual for her." So many details, it hurts.

  • After announcing the engagement, they have champagne, even Jeff & Dawn. Ooooh, I'm calling Child Protective Services!

  • Oh, heaven forbid! Carol doesn't use chopsticks to eat Thai food! And she uses environmentally suspect paper towels to clean up spills! She's a horrible, horrible bitch.

  • SHE STOLE HER DAD'S FUCKING CREDIT CARD TO BUY PLANE TICKETS!!!!! I don't care if she feels guilty, bitch doesn't feel guilty enough.

  • And she takes an hour-long cab ride, then is shocked by the price.

  • "And it was so easy. I've never felt so independent in my life." Well, sweetheart, you should be feeling like the little fuckwit you are. Stupid bitch. Don't be all pleased with yourself, you did a really terrible thing.

  • And she was surprised that her dad called the cops. And she was pissed that she had to go back the next day. That's a really fucking expensive temper tantrum.

  • Mary Anne sleeps in L.L. Bean.

  • Dawn is also surprised that things are weird and unhappy after she gets back.

  • Pensive Dawn = BORING.

  • Oh, and the We [Heart] Kids Club gets a little more organized. Cause they had to tie back into the title of the fucking book.

  • A break in the fighting and Jeff asks Dawn if Carol & Father Schafer killed each other! Active imagination, that one.

  • Yes, Dawn, you are a spoiled baby.

The end.

Anyone else appalled by this one?

Next week, probably Mary Anne and the Search for Tigger.


j.c. said...

This one solidified by supreme hatred for Dawn. I especially hate Dawn when she's on the west coast.

Anonymous said...

Dawn's an idiot. I don't know how her parents trusted her after this one.

Anonymous said...

Wowza. Great blog. I can't believe that Dawn would be stupid enough to take her dad's credit card number, oh wait- I can!! Stupid.

Jessica Wakefield said...

I didn't read this one the first time around, so I'm confused. How in the hell is Kristy jealous? Was the story on cnn? Funny, I liked Dawn when I used to read these books. What does that say about me?

Also, her friend has a rattail? Gross.

Lisa said...

Mwahahaha, rat tail! We went to school with a kid who had a rat tail and one of my friends chopped it off in class. What a terrible thing to do... yet at the same time some part of me feels less guilty and more "we did him a favour."

I don't think I ever read this one, but I always hated the We Heart Kids Club. I never read many books which featured them.

AND hooray for mentioned the Bill and Ted movie. <3
Looking forward to Mary Ann and the Search for Tigger ;)

Kelly said...

"I just happen to like natural foods."

Because there's nothing more natural than pulverizing vegetables, mixing them with potato flour, reconstituting them into a foam, and then flash-frying the foam. That's a real healthy choice there, Dawn.

When I originally read this book, I don't think I really noticed how effed up it is for a 13-year-old to steal her father's credit card to buy plane tickets. If I recall, I actually made a mental note of it as a viable option in case of an emergency that required me to beat a cross-country retreat. Thanks, BSC!

lilysela said...

ahhh I read this one a few weeks ago, seriously if Dawn thought it was perfectly okay for her to just "borrow" her dads credit card and hotfoot it back to the 'Brook she needs to be in therapy!

But at the same time I think it's kind of mean that she wasn't allowed to stay in Stoneybrook for a while, after all she did waste an awful lot of her dads cash! Might as well make the most of it!

Anonymous said...

Can you just imagine what it would be like if Dawn tried that stunt now? She'd be in Guantanemo Bay as some kind of terrorist, I'm sure.

Anonymous said...

That's a good point about Sunny's stupidity. There's another book (maybe a super special) where she wants to throw Dawn a goodbye party but has absolutely nothing organized, and it's like, the day before she wants to give it. Kristy is appalled and offers to help and the party happens really because of her. So, yeah, Sunny was a ditz.

Anonymous said...

Anyone ever read California Diaries? They were actually good (at least I thought). The We Heart Kids Club broke up and it's Dawn, Sunny and Maggie plus Amalia and their guy friend Ducky who are introduced in book 1...but this entry reminded me of the CA Diaries and how much better they were than the BSC for being a spin off of the BSC...

Margie said...

I always hate when they talk about how lenient schools are in California, or whatever. My middle school was perfectly normal (no shoving the eighth graders in with high schoolers or anything), we had bells, and we actually *gasp* DO wear jackets in the winter! It's California, it's not fucking Hawaii. (Although I lived in Ireland for a year and when I came home to CA for Christmas, I wore t-shirts and flip flops the entire time.)

And my income throughout college was made almost solely by baby-sitting, although I did have jobs in teaching also. I'm finishing college this summer and my current job for the summer is babysitting for the same kid I've been looking after for a few years, haha. It does happen.

Anonymous said...

RE: the thai restaurant thing..

Thai food is eaten with a fork and spoon. Thai people only use chopsticks when they are eating Chinese food. Stupid Dawn, Carol was right all along!

Susan M said...

Dawn pisses me off to no end.

Gabrielle said...

It fills me with sadness that I've apparently never read this one. I wonder if the library has it.

How much trouble does Dawn get in for stealing a credit card? I ask because if I'd stolen my Dad's credit card at 13 I'd still be grounded at 28.

Anonymous said...

the cover is just three clones of dawn...

scary, there.

colleenn said...

I definitely read this one and probably own it... I remember the We [Heart] Kids Club (that stupid heart annoyed me soooo much) getting on the news and Kristy being jealous, but I have no memory of Dawn stealing her dad's credit card and hopping on a cross-country flight. What a bitch. Also, weren't rat tails totally over by 1994? I don't know anyone who had one past like maybe 1991 or so (then again, I was only nine in 1991 and also transferred to a Catholic school where you weren't allowed to have "radical" haircuts, so maybe I have no idea what I'm talking about).

Anonymous said...

Where is the pseudo punk chick on the cover? And, seriously, the slouch socks - while sunbathing? The cover's offensive enough, without all that BS inside.

Anonymous said...

Hahahaha I too knew someone who got in trouble for chopping off a friends rattail... but it's for the greater good.

I remember this one and how embarassed I became when I read about Kristy's jealousy... Kristy sucks.

peaches said...

I remember thinking, " how did the we <3 Kids club end up on tv? Were they the only kids in the state of California to have the idea for a baby sitters club?"
Is it just me or does it sound like Maggie is headed for a hilarious edition of E's True Hollywood Story? Think about it... child of a famous producer, already acting out with outrageous hairstyles at 13, later develops anorexia...

Anonymous said...

I work with a lady who has a rat tail. Everytime she walks past I cringe.

Anonymous said...

I think this was one of the last BSC books I read back in the day. I actually used to like Dawn, but now I realize she sucks.

bibberly said...

The school I work at doesn't have bells because our principal doesn't believe in them. I hate it. Kids wander in four or five minutes after the class period starts and interrupt everything. I'm not in California, though, and I don't know of any other school in my state (Florida) with this policy. And believe me, I ask people all the time.

anna said...

bibberly, if it helps, my secondary school did away with bells as well. I live in England, though, so not ENTIRELY relevant. It was annoying as a kid, as well, because people would just be wandering about but also you'd know you had to leave the lesson or the next teacher would get pissed off and your current teacher would be like "Waaaaait... Waaaaait... Waaaaait... okay, go." Dumb.

I hated the we [heart] kids club. I could never understand why Dawn wanted to move back to California in the first place because she blatently loooooved the attention being the only healthy person in the entire state of Connecticutt afforded her and when she was in Cali, no one gave a shit. Stupid Dawn.

Clare said...

If schools in California didn't have bells, that would entirely negate the concept of Saved by the Bell, and I can't stand for that, not even from my other most beloved adolescent diversion.

Also, had Tiff not mentioned that the book came out in '94, I could have sworn the setting from the cover had been ripped off from Cher's house in Clueless. Although now that I think about it, I suppose it also could have been David's grandparents' Palm Springs house from the first season of 90210.

Stacy said...

Have you read California Diaries? It's a must.

Summary of Sunny's (from my memory):
-Mom dying of cancer (ok, so that's not so entertaining, but wait)
-Mom gives Dawn really ugly sounding eyeball earrings
-Sunny runs away
-Homeless man asks Sunny for a light
-Sunny goes bat.shit.crazy, runs away screaming and flailing her arms, and conveniently smacks into friend called Ducky who was looking for her)
-All is well.

M said...

I always liked Dawn as a kid (I somehow identified as the skinny tanned blonde Californian) but this blog made me realize just how self-righteously obnoxious she was. Also, I always suspected ANM consulted a Big Book of West Coast Cliches rather than actually set foot in the Golden State. I mean, no jackets? No bells? Tofu at every meal? It's not an entire state of hippie communes for chrissakes! Also, remember book 4 when MaryAnne and Dawn met and Dawn had that weird habit of eating everything on her tray in a sort of circular fashion? I love that kind of crazy OCD behavior - whatever happened to that?!?

Donica said...

I believe vthe people on the cover...the one on the left is Dawn, the brunette Stephie (obviously) the one lounging on the ground on the phone Sunny (even though she looks about 10), the one with the oil is Jill (She was described as having the darkest hair of the four) and of course Maggie the weird looking o e

Anonymous said...

ANM blows.
I live in Southern California, and when every school I attended has school bells. ANM has no idea what she is talking about. And the teachers are not all 'laid-back' and hip. And we wear coats in the wintertime. It doesn't snow here, but it still rains and it's still cold.
I really hated Dawn in this one. Geez, such a selfish moron. If my dad found out I stole his credit card number he'd probably make me sleep outside for five years.

Annie said...

What IS it with kids stealing their parents' credit card info and booking flights in the early '90s? 'Cause the little boy in Sleepless in Seattle did the exact same thing, if I remember correctly...

andrea said...

Heh, 'bodacious'. And a rat tail. Honestly, does more need said about that book?

Ali said...

I lol'd at Logan being called a "carnivore". hahaha! I just find it odd to call a human being a carnivore. If anything wouldn't he be an omnivore anyway?

Alexis said...

Oh, I totally read California Diaries. I thought they were so much more mature than the BSC. I was also in love with Ducky, partially, at least, for the reference.

Mushi said...

I love Bill and Ted.
I hate Dawn.

Anonymous said...

As a CA native, I read these books and felt like such a bad Californian because I wasn't blonde, ate meat, and didn't like the beach. And also, I didn't wear DENIM SHIRTS AND JEANS EVERYDAY.

But you gotta love the BSC.

Krista said...

Oh my God I'm reading "Mary Anne And the Search for Tigger" right now, covertly at work!

I snatched it off the shelves when we got some books donated to our office! :-) I'm so excited!

I'm so ashamed that I used to like Dawn.

Jennifer C said...

You guys have to help me! I love the BSC, but this was a book I read when I was younger between BSC releases, and I can't remember the name of it. Basically, it was about a poor girl with a rich friend named Gretchen. The poor girl made her mom make her a madras plaid shirt and then she and Gretchen grew apart in junior high...and Gretchen ended up getting in a bad car accident that scarred her face, and they got to be friends again. Oh, and the main character ended up with a nerd for a boyfriend. This is driving me INSANE. Can anyone help?!

Anonymous said...

to jennifer c:

You are thinking of 'Thirteen' by Candice F. Ransom. The protagonist was named Kobie. There's actually 5 books starring Kobie and Gretchen. There are:

Almost 10 and a Half
Going on Twelve
Fourteen and Holding
Fifteen At Last

I loved these books when I was younger, too!

Amanda said...

Jennifer! Holy shit! I remember it. It's got the Tambourine Man song, right? Hey Mr. Tambourine Man?

That is the ONLY thing I remember!! And I haven't thought about that book in SO long. And Gretchen won't have mirrors around because she used to be uber gorgeous and now she thinks she's ugly?

The madras was what made me realize it. I am off to search. Was the girl's first name sort of manly-sounding, maybe? back here sometime if you figure it out :)

Amanda said...

haha DAMN! You are good! Never mind :)

Artemis said...

Yeah, Dawn was uber bitchy. I didn't read this book until I was older, so her stealing her dad's CC# got a really wtf from me. What *was* her punishment? Grounded or something? It didn't seem too bad.

I do remember California Diaries. In the first book, they jettison Jill and then Sunny gets drunk at a party. And because of lack of space, the eighth graders have to go to school in the high school (which makes no sense...).

Oh! And one of the girls, Amalia, has an abusive sixteen year old boyfriend. The whole series was so BSC gone after school special/rated PG. Anorexia, abuse, alcohol, oh my!

Lindsey said...

Puh-lease do the super special where they go to Sea city soon! I now live in Baltimore and everyone is trying to get me to go to Ocean city but I'm scared it's going to be a tourist trap like Sea City. Placate me, please....

Anonymous said...

You're right about most of the CA cliche crap.... but I grew up in LA, and seriously, I didn't own a coat. The most I ever needed was a sweatshirt and an umbrella. I went to college in the Bay Area and was in for the shock of a lifetime... LOL

Anonymous said...

I have one of those California Diaries...I think I had the Amalia one.
I think she's just moved to Cali, and she's kinda the manager of her friend's band...?
And like Artemis said, an abusive boyfriend. I'm just wondering now though, was she 13? And the boyfriend 16? Okay then.

Haha, and doesn't she try to wag (skip) a class with her boyfriend and his buddies, and she gets caught?

Dammit, I can't find that book!

Artemis said...

I'm pretty sure she was thirteen since the girls were still eighth graders. And I'm pretty sure James (yeah...I remember his name!) was sixteen at least because he can drive. There's even a scene where they're in his car and he's been pissy that she hasn't been wearing this ankle bracelet he bought her, and he sees she has it on and is so excited.

Was Maggie in the band that Amalia was managing?

Anonymous said...

Yeah, Maggie was lead singer, and the band was called Vanish.

Oooh Search for Tigger yay, that entry's going to so fun

Love the blog:)

Kelsie & Kellie said...

Dawn's stupidity in this book is giving Claudia's dumbness a run for it's money.

Anonymous said...

I simply can't get over the "cool" girl Maggie with the friggin' rat tail.....that she dies different colors....

Kate said...

Hey, I baby-sat throughout college! I couldn't get a job on campus because if you didn't have it lined up since freshman year, you got NOTHING.

It was great. I was in Fairfield, CT (aka the closest town to Stoneybrook) and made $10.00-15.00 an hour.

Love the blog, Tiff. Being a librarian, I think that you would enjoy one of mine -- The Grammar Vandal. Dot com.

Anonymous said...

Thanks you guys for helping me find the book! I'm writing this annonymously, because I can't remember what my password on here is, but it's Jennifer giving big thanks!

Yay for Mr. Tambourine Man!!! Play a song for me!

apple brown betty said...

and aaah thank you!

Ryan Michele said...

Yes, evidently Cali is just an anarchy-ridden place where children can do whatever they want. Can we discuss how the We Heart Kids Club also, in a later book, allows a twelve year old with Down Syndrome to baby-sit? Yikes. A few Cali inconsistencies...

1) I thought they were from Anaheim (well, they were in Dawn on the Coast).
2) Did anyone else ever notice how all the BSC member's dad's names were totally interchangeable? They were all either Jack or Richard (except for Mr. Kishi, I think), an sometimes both.

bazu said...

ha- i went to a school in california called vista... well, actually monta vista. but close enough, right?

man, anyone who thinks dawn's food is "totally outrageous" hasn't stepped foot inside a trader joes or a whole foods for the last 15-20 years. jebus.

bazu said...

p.s. to echo anonymous 3:34, yes, Thai food is NOT eaten with chopsticks, unless you're a pretentious wannabe yuppie loser know-it-all half-wit like Dawn.

Dawn, on behalf of humanity, STFU!

Anonymous said...

Oh I read this one so long ago and I was excited because it was about California which was sooo much better than old Connecticut. Yeah. Not really.
As a student in California I was seriously pissed my school never got the 'no bells' memo. And I lived next to three schools so in the summer I heard approximately 37 bells a day. I never got to sleep in.
Being "bicoastal" sounds like a serious topic for books post 2000, I agree not glamorous at all.
And veggie chips are quite nasty.
Ug, the assumption that everyone from California dines with celebrities. Not unless you're a lucky inmate at whatever prison Paris Hilton ended up in this past summer.
I can't believe they described a photographer with a mullet. Ewwww
I wish it were light past 5pm in California.
And can I add that airlines, even in the 1990s would not let anyone under say 15 fly alone. This I know, I've had to sign for my cousins at the gate like UPS packages. Yes, I thoroughly inspected them for damage. I am so glad Dawn's dad called her on her shit. Besides "independence" is doing it on your own damn money, not daddy's.
Yes, annoying book. Thank you for reading it so I didn't have to ;)

Anonymous said...

It gets dark around 5 in the winter in California too....I don't think there's really a difference in sunset times between Cali and the East Coast.

Rachel Storm said...

Okay, so I've had the words "I ated too much hippie pie" in my head and I can't for the life of me figure out where they come from. You're the ONLY page on the internet that references it (which was like a slice of heaven because your blog is HIL-ARIOUS.) so, tell me, where is it from!?


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