Sunday, July 15, 2007

Like most best friends they're different in some ways...; or, BSC #40: Claudia and the Middle School Mystery

What mystery? Argh!!!! I'll come back to this...

First, let's talk about this:



I love the look on Cheatie McCheaterson's face. Claud's all "I have no idea, I look like an idiot." But Cheatie's like "Ha, ha...you're busted."

Also, Claud's outfit is not at all outrageous. And it's nothing like the outfit she wore to take the test. It's actually kinda how my mom used to dress in the late 70s. Plus, Mr. Zorzi? Totally looks like his name.

Alrighty, then. The "plot." So, Claud studies really hard for a math test (with Stacey and Janine), and gets an A-. But... Shawna Riverson (super-popular and over-involved in extra-curriculars) got the same grade and made the exact same mistakes, and then the teacher accuses Claudia of cheating. So, the BSC take it upon themselves to prove that Shawna's the Cheat. I mean, the cheater. [The Cheat is way to cool to make a cameo in this series.] And Claud follows Shawna & friends into the bathroom, where they talk about how & why Shawna cheated. And because of a mix-up (and a major coincidence), Dawn knows the combination for Shawna's locker, so they go through it looking for evidence. Which they find, but Claud realizes they can't use, cause, well, they fucking stole it. Finally, Janine helps out by talking to the principal or the vice principal or whoever, and convinces them to let Claudia prove herself. Which she does by "acing" a test with little or no prep time. And when Shawna is offered the same opportunity, she breaks down and confesses. And Claud gets the good grade and all is happy!!!!!! I cannot contain my joy. Or something.

Subplot: The Pike triplets break their fourth window in three months, but they won't narc on each other, so they're all kindsa  punished until Mal convinces them to reenact the event, and they're all equally not-at-fault or something. Boring.

Before I start the listy goodness, I need to go off. If I may, THIS IS NOT A FUCKING MYSTERY!!!!!! THEY KNOW WHO DID IT, THEY KNOW HOW, THEY EVEN KNOW WHY (fairly early on)!!!!!!!! It's a problem, sure. A situation. But it is not a fucking mystery!!!! I know, semantics, I'm picky, whatever. Somebody's gotta have my back here. They're not solving a whodunnit! They're being idiot kids, but they're not solving any mysteries whatsoever. Anyway...


  • Claud hates the name Gertrude. Is it the name? Or just because it's in a word problem? [I used to have an alter-ego name Gertrude. She was German. And she smoked cigarettes in a very peculiar manner. I have pictures. That all but one or two of you will never see.]

  • Seriously, where did they come up with the name Zorzi?

  • "Janine would be happy wearing the same white blouse, plaid skirt, red cardigan, and flat shoes every day." I still say that sounds way cuter than 98.5% of Claud's outfits.

  • What, you might be wondering, did Claud wear for her test? Glad you asked..."I thought I'd start with my lucky earrings--the ones that look like Princess Di's. They're huge (pretend) emeralds, surrounded by thousands of tiny (phony) diamonds. Then I thought I'd work downward from there, wearing my new green-and-blue-tie-dyed T-shirt dress (the casualness of the dress would be an interesting contrast to those fancy earrings) over green leggings." Um, hawt? [Hey, RNL, if the Painkiller costumes don't come together, I can wear this, and you can dress up as a long-term substitute teacher for Halloween. And you can go around accusing me of cheating. Or we can challenge people to fight as though we were wearing the Painkiller costumes. Suitable backup plan?]

  • Watson is only one of Stoneybrook's millionaires. Where did all the money come from? Can I have some?

  • I love how they always make a crazy big deal about how Mary Anne has two best friends.

  • Okay, Dawn is not mellow. Like, ever. Granted, she's not as ball-of-neuroses as me, but the girl turns everything into dramarama. She's the one who suggests breaking into Shawna's locker, after all...and can't decide if she wants to live in Cali or the 'Brook. And don't get her started on the environment.

  • Heh. Mal & Jessi are younger, "but they're pretty cool."

  • Eleven is a hard age? Shut up. I'm beginning to think there are no easy ages, but I'm really sick of hearing how hard it is to be 11.

  • When I took tests, our books had to be under our desks, not next to them on the floor.

  • Aw, Claud gets embarrassed by her spelling. But not embarrassed enough to do anything about it, it seems. Maybe her friends need to intervene with a little ridicule.

  • Claudia never really defends herself when she's accused. She's all dumbfounded, but she's never like "I didn't cheat. Period. It wasn't me."

  • And, of course, the teacher just believes Ms. Popular. As I prolly would, too. Cause it's like the highest grade Claud's ever gotten. Plus, who would ever cheat off Claudia? Really. That was sheer luck on Shawna's part, even if she heard Janine was helping Claud study.

  • And why didn't Claud tell her parents the story right off the bat? Why not just get them on her side from the start? Plus, you always get in less trouble if they hear it from you first.

  • The "popcorn-y smell of tacos?" Really?

  • Also, the fuck? Claud won't let her parents talk to the principal. Why not? I'm not all for parents getting involved in every little thing, but being falsely accused? Let them help, for fuck's sake. Some things are bigger than a 13-year-old.

  • They're all whining about how mean Mr. Zorzi is. Oh, poor babies.

  • I kinda laughed when Shawna's all "I don't even have to feel bad about it. It doesn't even matter to her that she's getting an F." And Claud's all outraged or whatever, but really? That's how it looks when you roll over and take it...

  • How disgusting can a sprouts on wheatberry-bread sandwich look? It's greens on bread. Shut up about the health food...

  • Heh. Claud goes through this elaborate act to prove Shawna cheated, and she just winds up looking even more like a cheater.

  • I think I need a button that says "If you can read this, you are a cheater and you might as well admit it!" Only I'll wear it to professional conferences and meetings and such. Just to fuck with people.

  • They're all trying to think of ways to get Shawna to confess. Instead of Claud standing up for herself to the people in charge. Dumbasses.

  • Claud decides to not care anymore. Cause that works.

  • And she decides to dress crazy and thematically, like Ms. Frizzle (from the Magic School Bus books). Her outfit? "I decided my theme for the day would be The Sea. I put on a blue skirt with brightly colored tropical fish printed all over it. Then I put on a green blouse. I figured that could represent seaweed or something. I pulled my hair into a ponytail, over to one side, and I pinned it with a sand-dollar barrette I made last summer." And she wears jellies with sea-type stickers all over them. Okay, not really that crazy. It's not like she was wearing plastic fish tied together as a scarf or something...Hmm...

  • Then she feels like an idiot when she gets called into the principal's office wearing that outfit.

  • Also, I've always thought "acing" a test means a perfect score. Just saying.

  • The Kishi's get a giant cake for Claud. For a single A- on a test. Setting the bar high, there.



So, that's that...Again, not sure what I'm doing next week...

***

Okay, this isn't BSC related, strictly speaking. But, if you're in your late 20s, and you used to watch a lot of Nickelodeon, you might find this a little interesting. Yep, that's Big Pete, and Ferguson (from Clarissa), and one of the guys from "Salute Your Shorts." Oh, and Marc Summers (or however the hell you spell his name). Plus, the song's not bad...



Also, slime.

62 comments:

Sarah said...

haha I saw that video the other day. Really made me miss old school Nickelodeon.

glittergirley said...

I was totally just wishing you'd do this book the other day!

I agree about the whole mystery thing - that used to bug me when I was a kid too!!

I forgot about the theme outfit though, but I totally laughed out loud when I read your post because even as a kid I thought it was a stupid idea (but i was jealous that i wasnt as cool as claudia because i could NEVER pull an outfit like that off in real life).

Amanda said...

You totally dont even need to be in your late 20's to enjoy this. I'm only 23 and am squeeing all over the place.

Anonymous said...

This book annoyed the living *shit* out of me. I think you went too easy on it.

Mary Ann said...

OMG, that video was awesome. I always had a crush on Big Pete, and just the other day I was thinking they should totally play re-runs of Pete & Pete somewhere! And Amanda was right about the age thing... I'm 22 and I was thrilled by this! Where can I buy the CD? LOL. Tonight I found a bag full of my old BSC books and I read through Stacey and the Haunted Masquerade, so it must be the night for BSC "mysteries."

katie said...

if you are looking for a suggestion for next week, try #117, claudia and the terrible truth. it's a newer one (abby's in it, i think) but its a good example of a 'very special baby-sitters club' book (right up there with 'jessi's wish'). claudia saves a family from their abusive father, c'mon that just SCREAMS 'snark me'

peaches said...

The thing that annoyed me the most about this book was the whole subplot about the Pike triplets. And why would Mal get so involved? If that happened to my annoying little brothers when I was 11 I would just laugh...

The Dairi Burger said...

I thought Watson lived in the "rich" section of Stoneybrook? What about Shannon's fam? How do they afford that house?

I know TONS of people ask you to do stuff, but I am surprised you haven't done "Stacey's Mistake". WHen she invites them to nyc and is embarassed by all of them.

colleenn said...

I remember the Ms. Frizzle-inspired sea outfit! I hated how she had jellies with stickers all over them because (from what I remember of jellies) they were like shoes with of little holes all over them and would look stupid with stickers stuck to them. Then again, I think more "modern" jellies made a mini-comeback somewhere around 93 or 94 and they looked more like normal sandals that time.. so maybe this book is late enough to mean that style of jellies. Or maybe the jellies I wore as a kid in the 80s were just really ugly? hehe.

I can't wait till I am out of work and can see that YouTube clip. I am 25, so mid- rather than late-20s, but definitely a fan of the classic Nickelodeon.

Angie said...

I'm 18 and I was like, OMG Budnick! :]]

~Ashley Joy~ said...

Ummm to talk about semantics, I must correct you on your statement about Claudia's earrings. There is no such thing as phony diamonds. There is a diamond and then there is a cubic zirconia. Both are real.

Tiff said...

Oh, I didn't say they were phony. The author of the book did.

And, I've done Stacey's Mistake, back in 2005.

I had no idea some of these shows were on as long as they apparently were...

Anonymous said...

"um"...tiff didn't use "phony" to describe the diamonds, she was quoting directly from the book.
Claudia describes the earrings as having "thousands of tiny (phony) diamonds"

Anonymous said...

I read this book so many times when I was younger. I don't know why; I didn't really like it, and I guess I just was hoping each time that Claudia would finally not just bend over and take it.

Suggestion-wise, please do #17 "Mary Anne's Bad Luck Mystery," my first and favorite BSC book!

Anonymous said...

Quick edit, having realized you've done #17. Sorry!

Anonymous said...

Okay, so am I the only loser with Showtime? They are showing the BSC movie all month. I watched a few minutes this weekend, but my husband thought I had lost my mind, and told me to start acting my age (28). I don't wanna!!

Anonymous said...

The year I was eleven was the easiest year
I got loads more freedom
Lots and lots
Don't know WHAT Mal and Jessi are always moaning on about. They got their ears pierced, they got their haircut, they're allowed to do anything- they're allowed to babysit. When I was 13 I wasn't allowed pierced ears, Mom had to agree to my haircuts, and my parents had to think long and hard about whether or not I would be raped and kidnapped whilst at a bowling alley with friends. I would never be allowed to babysit like them.

STOP MOANING MAL!

Anonymous said...

THE MYSTERY WAS NOT THERE!!! HOW COULD AMM NOT SEE THAT!!!???

stephanie said...

OK, I can't listen to the song b/c I'm at work, but I watched the video and I only hope that all the words that I can't hear involve Mark Summers being dared to do something. Or double dared. Or whatever.

Jess said...

Here's the weird part. I remember having book #39 and reading the "preview chapter" for this one that came at the end of the book...and the preview chapter was sort of this noir-y creepy thing about Claudia sneaking down a deserted SMS hallway. And then, the following month, when #40 came out, there was no noir-y creepy thing, it was just some lame plot about getting falsely accused of cheating, recycled from a "Growing Pains" and/or "Wonder Years" episode.

But I totally remembered the Magic School Bus outfit. I'd forgotten which book it was in, but I've always wanted to put together my own. Probably minus the jelly shoes, because those things give you blisters like a motherfucker.

megan said...

You should totally do Dawn and the Halloween Mystery. I'm reading that now, and it's getting on my nerves after the 4th chapter!

Kay said...

OMG - the "popcorny smell of tacos thing" has been budding me since I first read that fucking book. I am now 28 and I still can't figure out what kind of shitty popcorny tacos her parents make.

Jennalee said...

LOL I used to have METAL magazines with Danny Cooksey (Bobby Budnick)'s band in them and always liked to impress my friends that I liked his band.

Big Pete- Upgrade
oh man Ferguson ick.

greengrass said...

I remember that outfit vividly! Too bad I barely remember the plot...

Anonymous said...

Tiff,
I love your blog but I just wanted to point out that Zorzi is not a name that Ann M. Martin pulled out her ass.

It's a variant of Giorgi.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giorgi

Andrea St. Clair said...

The video is awesome! Where did you find that?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the video and the post. This book always drove me nuts because Claudia's parents didn't give a shit. Way to let your kid think you don't care about her morons.

andrea said...

Looking at the cover alone, I thought the Cheatser was Stacey and was like wtf? Did I forget this one? Thankfully my BSC memory is alive and well (while half the time I can't remember what I had for dinner the day before). And I think Shawna was one of their 'friends' back in the day... in the first few books when the lunch clans were Stacey/Claud/the cool kids and Kristy/Mary Ann/Dawn/the dorks. I think Shawna was in with the dorks. Or I'm thinking of their twin friends who dressed a like (shades of Carolyn and Marilyn).

I saw that video the other day on PopCandy and it screamed MUST BLOG, but my computer has been weird about what it lets me do. I don't know why. Danny Cooksey has come a long way since his Budnick mullet days... and I totally couldn't tell that was Ferg Face.

lilysela said...

oh man I always hated this book!
if Claud had just told her parents they could have fixed it!

Stephanie said...

The thing I remember about this is the stupid sticker Claudia wanted to put on her desk too.

Keri said...

Ooh, repeating the suggestion for #117 - I never read any of the books with Abby, and I think I only read one or two where Mallory or Jessi played a large role, and was eventually confused by Abby, because I hadn't read enough to be introduced to her. So I didn't bother to pick up the new books...

Is there any other character we haven't covered? Did you do that Logan book yet, Tiff? Or...who was the other replacement member they roped into doing things so the central girls could have fun and still get money?

Anonymous said...

i love the part where mary anne is like "if you did cheat, claud, you know, just tell us." and everyone's like *GASP* "Mary Anne!!" and she cries and they apologize to HER. OMG.

kiwimusume said...

Another vote for 117. So much hate. But at least they actually let adults handle stuff in that book. Unlike this one. I mean, if I told my parents my teacher had accused me of cheating, they'd be down at the school tearing strips off the teacher before you could say "Back off my daughter, fucker!"

Btw, ~ashley joy~, you are underestimating cheapo jewellery makers. Those "phony diamonds" are probably, like, glass or something.

nancy said...

I'd go even further than that and say they were plastic...

Anonymous said...

Is it just me, or are people leaving too many "request book" comments? That's getting sort of irritaiting, imho. /2¢

Margie said...

The best thing is that jellies are back once again. I had several pairs in 1989 and a couple in 1995. I love jellies for some strange reason, I'm so pissed off that they no longer come in my size.

sara said...

Oh damn, I totally remember those Princess Di earrings (also, way to date the book, Manuscript Assistant).

Tiff, when you run out of BSCs, might I humbly suggest a selection of Sweet Valley Highs? A friend gave my roommate The One Where Regina Does Cocaine And Dies OMG a year or so ago and the dramatic readings, they were epic. You could be equally awesome, I'm sure.

Anonymous said...

Sarah, there's a great SVH blog at thedairiburger.wordpress.com

Elizabeth said...

12:44 - I have the BSC movie sitting on my TIVO waiting for my husband to not be around so I don't get ridiculed for watching it LOL. I am 30.

I love The Cheat reference. Strong Bad & Trogdor are my favorites though, I must say.

I really must find these books and read through them again. And WTF kind of tacos smell like popcorn?? Weirdness.

kiwimusume said...

Anonymous at 9:43's post about Mr Zorzi's name has made me wonder about something.

You know how ANM loves to describe people's accents in cringe-making detail (Logan's "mah hayer", Hunter's "bah hayer", Madame Noelle's French accent, Mimi's "Japanese" - HATE! HATE! - etc etc.) So, if she really did know that Zorzi was an Italian name, wouldn't she have given him a bad Italian accent to match?

On second thoughts, I think I should just count myself lucky that she didn't do that.

Anonymous said...

Ah, I remember this book well. It also annoyed me that Claudia didn't stand up for herself and/or get her parents involved. Honestly, you'd think Stoneybrook was a town full of kids raising themselves. The parents are just there to have hair appointments or screw up so the BSCers can come to the rescue.

Claudia's sea theme outfit was one of the few I remember. I went to HS with a girl who dressed in theme outfits--and we laughed at her mercilessly.

And that video was a riot. I'd had a crush on Ferguson and Big Pete back in the day. After seeing how they look now...um, notsomuch.

Anonymous said...

It seems these girls have problems with discerning what kind of circumstance requires parental intervention. I mean, seriously. She freakin' studied her arse off for this test, got the score she deserved, has about a million people - including the parents! - who can vouch for her studying, yet she doesn't get them to help her? I'm sure something like alleged cheating on a test would be something they'd contact the parents about anyway. Stupid Claud. THIS is why she's stupid, not cause she sucks at school.

Kat said...

Oh my god. I have burned through many, many, many working hours this week reading through your archives. Truly, this blog is a gem. I'm basically kind of in love with you now.

BSC 4eva! Except Mal and Stacy.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone remember those SVH books that were set in like the late 90's? The girls had some sort of club and there were like 8 or 9 chicks and each book was from a different girl's point of view. It was Jessica, Liz, Lila and a bunch of other hos I had never heard of. Anyone? lol Anywho, I just remember thinking it was lame bsc knockoff...but I still read them lol.

Stephanie said...

It was the Unicorn Club, and I think I have all of them. I always hated how the two cliques were joined in that series because of the absolute hatred in the other ones, but oh well. I loved them, and hated them, at the same time.
In one adventure they wore vintage clothing to school! I know, they were trendsetters! One dressed like a jockey.

Elisabeth said...

I loved The Baby Sitters Club. What a fantastic blog!

Mahnaz said...

The Unicorn Club, that takes me back.

It reminds me a bit of the Fashion Club from the show "Daria"--only the Unicorn Club wasn't meant as a parody.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't Liz always anti-Unicorn in the Sweet Valley Twins books? I always preferred the BSC, so I might be wrong...but I thought Liz hated the Unicorns.

Ah well, I always kinda liked this book, but it really doesn't make sense why Claudia's parents didn't know right off the bat and why she didn't fight for her innocence...totally lame.

kiwimusume said...

The Unicorns turned good in the late 90s series when the old, bitchy members graduated (the same thing happened to the Theta Alpha Theta sorority in the SVU books.) Blah.

Donna said...

Brilliant! I remember this book so well. I'm really loving your blog Tiff :o)

Can I put in a request for you to do the book where they all get work experience jobs at the mall, and they find three homeless kids who sleep there at night and they're being blackmailed by the mall manager or something? That one was amazing.

Mahnaz said...

That one was Stacey and the Mystery at the Mall. All the kids get mall jobs...and it's for class (wtf?!). Kristy even gets to work in Security! ...and then there are homeless kids. Gah!

colleenn said...

What number is that mall jobs book? That must've been after I stopped reading. What kind of mall would ever give 13-year-olds (do the 11-year-olds get jobs too???) a job? I had my first summer job when I was 15 and that's only because it was at a YMCA day camp and you could be a junior counselor in high school. Most "real" jobs around me wanted you to be 16 and a half.

Maddy said...

Wow, I'm supposed to be in my late 20's to remember old-school Nick? Because I'm definitely 15. And I have vivid memories of the Salute Your Shorts episode with Zeke the Plumber. And hating Pete & Pete. And loving Clarissa Explains it All. My favorite shows were Rocko's Modern Life and Are You Afraid of the Dark?

Ali said...

lol I remember how MA having 2 best friends was such a big deal...like, only SHE could EVER get away with something THAT crazy!

And Marc Summers is now on a FoodNetwork show. It's pretty funny.

Anonymous said...

The one from Salute Your Shorts was also in Diffr'nt Strokes and Terminator 2. His name is Danny Cooksey.

Anonymous said...

Jellies are at urbanoutfitters
they have like 10 colors I just got some and I know a lot of people think they are uncomfortable but I wear mine all the time.

These don't have stickers unfortunatly

Anonymous said...

5:21 PM- Bahaha, When I watched Daria i would always think that Mallory would be Daria in a few years time, i dunno why, i think it was Daria's glasses and unenthusiastic Volleyball playing that reminded me of Mallory

Anonymous said...

Mary Anne is a douche-bag.
Why didn't Claudia speak up when her parents were like, "You cheated on the test"? Well, actually I don't really blame them.
I would've thought Claudia cheated too.

Raine said...

The "popcorn-y smell of tacos?" Really?

I *still* think of this whenever I smell tacos. Thanks, ANM, for your awful, awful habit of comparing two things that are IN NO WAY ALIKE.

Seriously, Claud, talk to the teacher after school. Defend yourself. This situation should not have dragged on for weeks.

Anonymous said...

Not only was this my first BSC book, Claudia and the Middle School Mystery is was my first chapter book. Ever.

I remember the food things for some reason. I remember her math problem had to do with measuring chocolate for a recipe, and Claudia said that she likes tacos because they're almost like junk food. Then her taco dinner was ruined when her parents brought up the test; it suddenly tasted like sawdust.

peppers said...

Budnick and Ted from Hey, dude were my first boy lurves. True story.

metamorphstorm said...

Mary Anne: "You know, Claud, if you *did* look at Shawna's paper, we'd stand right behind you anyway. If you did it, you should confess. You'll feel better, and we'll still be here for you."

Wow. Yeah, Mary Anne's so *sensitive.* Not so great a friend, either...despite what everyone says about her.