Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Baby-sitters Club is special that way; or, BSC #27: Jessi and the Superbrat

So, this is the first mention of Derek Masters. Yep. All of a sudden, there's a famous kid from the 'Brook. And he shows up from time to time, sure, but this is another great example of the random Stoneybrook-ites...

Cover fun? First of all, there are two different covers, but literally the only
thing that's different is Jessi's head!!!! It's freaky!!!!


Okay, her shirt is a little different, too. And it's still wigging me out!!!!

Also, one of the twins is wearing a t-shirt that just says "Skating" on it! Hee. And is it just me, or does Derek look like a very small man as opposed to a little boy?

Mmmm, acid washed.

So, in this book, Stoneybrook's own child star moves back to town while his TV show, P.S. 162 is on break. [It took me years and years before I figured out what P.S. stood for in this context. See, I grew up in the suburbs? Where public schools--actually, all schools--have names. The school on Head of the Class was the closest thing I got to NYC public schools, and that one had a name, right?] And Jessi winds up sitting for him a bunch. Oh, yeah, and he has trouble adjusting or whatever, cause the kids are all mean to him cause he's famous. And there's this one kid who does especially nasty shit, and his name's John, but Jessi calls him the Superbrat. And Derek finally starts making friends, blah blah blah. And, it turns out, DEREK WAS JOHN, AND JOHN WAS DEREK!!!!! DA DA DAAAAAAA!!!! Yet, Jessi doesn't get all pissed about him being a little dickhead to his classmates, cause it's all better now. Oh, and then he has to move back to L.A. to shoot a made-for-TV movie. Bye for now! See you in a Super Special!

And the subplot? Jessi decides to audition for a performance of Swan Lake at the Stoneybrook Civic Center [Um, how is Stoneybrook such a small town, yet it has a fucking civic center??? And apparently, performances there get written up in the New York papers? Yep. I'm a little confused about just how much of a "small town" the 'Brook is...] And she makes it through the first two auditions, but then, all of a sudden, she doesn't really care about ballet and decides that she's going to take up modeling and acting...She even calls a bunch of agents in Stamford. But when she lands a role as a swan maiden, she gives up the charade and is all OMG! BALLET IS THE ONLY THING I'VE EVER CARED ABOUT!!!!! DENIAL? WHAT DENIAL?

Yep, that's the basic idea...Here are the specifics:


  • Blah, why do all the books either start wicked boring like "I have feelings. Listen to them!" or "Ooh! Look at my crazy life!!!" Why can't they start the book like a normal book????? Why is it all, "Oh, my sister's freaking out!!! But it's not what you think!!! It's a "clever" plot device to introduce a new character!!!!"? Huh? Why not just something normal???

  • "I also found myself another best friend." Um, that was fast...And that's a really callous way of saying it, no?

  • The inner city school on P.S. 162 includes all different kinds of kids. Of course it does! It's a show for kids! And it's a sugar-coated image of the real world! Sound familiar, ANM?

  • Oh, the most popular kid is "smart, funny, and good-looking." Ah, remember when you thought that was how people got to be popular?

  • So, the character Derek plays? He's the nerd, Waldo, who is officially a member of the Biggest Cliches Ever club: "He's got weird, spiky hair and he wears this pair of thick black glasses and he's an incredible science whiz. You know, one of those kids who lives and breathes science, but put him in the real world and he can barely tie his shoes..." You get the drift. He's also the comic relief on the show. Of course.

  • I can't figure out if the teacher on the show is actually named Miss Pedagogue, or if it's Waldo being "clever." It's probably just the ghostwriter being "clever."

  • Becca keeps saying L.P. instead of L.A. And it's not funny.

  • Blah, Jessi's wicked psyched that someone who doesn't currently live in Stoneybrook is on TV. And she can't believe no one's told her before! Maybe because it hasn't come up?

  • "That Monday, for instance, she had two French braids pulled back and wound into one. [Huh?] She's also a wild dresser. [Yes, Claud is a crazy piece of furniture.] At that meeting she was wearing a bright pink T-shirt, a short red flouncy skirt, and underneath the skirt she had on black footless tights that she had rolled up to mid calf." Rolled footless tights? For real? Also, bright pink and red together? Equals risky and she's probably not pulling it off.

  • How convenient...Jessi's job with the Braddocks is taking up less of her time!

  • Stupid fake French accent!!!!

  • "This may sound corny, but every once in awhile in class my overwhelming love for ballet just comes flooding into me." Gee, Jessi, you forget that really fucking frequently.

  • Gack! More fake French accent!!!! NO MORE!!!! [Actually, that is the last mention of Jessi's ballet classes in the book. Huh.]

  • Apparently, a lot of dancers from New York will be auditioning for this show. Yet New York is soooo far away or something.

  • Also, all these girls can act out scenes from A Chorus Line. At like, 11, 12, 13, & 14. Yet none of them are musical theatre nerds, just ballet dancers...Hmm...

  • What kind of 8-year-old (other than Dakota Fanning, however the hell old she is) talks like this: "Nicky's a great guy."? Huh? Derek sounds like he's in his mid-20s, talking about a guy he dumped.

  • Oh, and Mal goes all kindsa retarded around Derek, talking like she's in high society, or she has a giant pole up her ass, take your pick.

  • Damn, I hate the little kid insults!!!! I know I say that, like, every book, but I don't care!!!! They are stupid!!!! And they keep showing up!!!!

  • Kristy's handwriting looks really odd in this book.

  • I fucking hate Karen, and her desire to be A STAR!!! I desire to smack her in the mouth. So, now we're both disappointed.

  • Jessi's mom types her resume for the audition. Even at 11, my mom would've been all, "I'll help you, but I won't do it for you." Yep.

  • Would the dancers auditioning really wear flashy dance gear? I really don't know, but I would think that would distract from the dancing?

  • Since when is Mal the voice of wisdom? "And she said I shouldn't let my fears stop me from doing what I wanted in life." Dude, is she the next Dalai Lama or what?

  • Yes, little kids can be so mean. But so can pre-teen girls. And teenagers. And adults. And me.

  • Actually, no matter what you do, Jessi, there will be a group of bitchy girls (and/or boys) tearing you apart. It's not just ballet.

  • Derek's trying to lure Jessi to L.A. Yep.

  • Really? You think modeling and acting will be less stressful than ballet? Really? *cough* (Dumbass!)

  • The BSC decide to throw Derek a going-away party. And they decide to make it a breakfast party, which is actually not a horrible idea. But they totally should've served bacon.

  • Why can't you have cake at a breakfast party? I've eaten cake for breakfast on many mornings...

  • "Modeling can't be as nerve-racking as ballet." Actually, it can. And even more cutthroat! Woo! New season of ANTM coming soon!

  • "'I'll make you a star, kid,' he was saying. He lit a cigar and slapped me on the back. 'You've got the face. We'll plaster your picture in every magazine across the country." Um, this is how Jessi pictures the exciting world of modeling? And in Connecticut at that? Yeah, someone's been watching too many movies on AMC.

  • All the BSCers are wearing robes at the party, but they refuse to wear curlers (Kristy's idea. Cause, yeah.).

  • "Nothing's fair in love or ballet." Or having to read these stupid books. Yikes.

  • Oh, and if it's such a big deal performance, how on earth can Jessi fit rehearsals in around dance class, school, AND baby-sitting. Good to know that the whole thing just disappears after this book!



The end.

Thanks for all the nice comments wishing for me to get better. I'm sure none of them were at all selfish, wishing that I'd come back and entertain you. Hee. I'm feeling better, but I'm not 100% yet. So, if I wasn't as bitchy as usual, that's why.

52 comments:

k8theGr8 said...

The switching of the heads is totally trippy.

Glamour Boy said...

I like Head #2 better, but that's just me.

Still, though, why just change a head?

Did they not know how to redraw Derek as a boy?

Hee, nice review. :D

And no no, we really wished you well. No selfishness on our part at all, no. :D

Rhiannon said...

HAHHAHA i had the old cover so i like that one better...
maybe the new artist realized that jessi looked more like a 30 year old woman than a 11 year old girl on the old covers?

seriously did the old artist have any idea that they were drawing 11 & 13 year olds? not 20-somethings.

Glenna C said...

I recently found this blog and I look forward to your next recaps so much! I save up the new post and settle in like it's a chapter of a new book I'm enjoying. So much fun. I used to read these books so many years back and it is so hysterical to reminisce like this.

Kelly said...

My favorite part of this book is when the catty girls bitch about Jessi's audition, and Derek takes notes. The kid's quick on his feet, that's for sure - but what kind of parent picks up the baby-sitter at a ballet audition? Was that something I could have done when I was 14? "Yeah, I'm going to the movies before I come over, so if you could just pick me up at the theater, it'd save me a TON of hassle."

"... she was wearing a bright pink T-shirt, a short red flouncy skirt, and underneath the skirt she had on black footless tights that she had rolled up to mid calf."

Oh, the PAIN this sentence is causing me! I want to hit the ghostwriter on the head with a rubber stamp that says "PARALLEL FUCKING CONSTRUCTION, ASSFACE!"

(I'm a copy editor.)

Ali said...

It's amazing things we don't realize are odd as kids just stick out like sore thumbs when we're older, like how the 'Brook is small and yet NY newspapers publish reviews of their plays...

bibberly said...

I did wear rolled-up footless tights in the 90's, but only to dance class. Hot pink and red should never, ever go together.
Jessi has always looked really old on the cover of this book to me.
I realize Jessi didn't always live in Stoneybrook, but I find it hard to believe that she wouldn't know about a famous TV star that lived there.
The nearest city to my town (which I guess would be their equivalent of Stamford, not NYC) does not ever review anything that goes on in my county. We might make the paper if the high school has an athletic team go to state championships, but that's pretty much it. So that might be the most annoying thing about this book.
I am seriously wondering how Jessi can fit so many activities into her day, and I am feeling very inadequate in this area. Not to mention the fact that her parents can manage her schedule with two other kids to worry about. Right.
Glad to see you're feeling a little better!

west coast girl said...

so, maybe this is a stupid question, but...is stoneybrook not a real town?

Margie said...

Two French braids into one:

http://www.dreamweaverbraiding.com/images/Examples/combos/HFrCombo3-5.jpg

amanda lee said...

Re: Ballet audition attire

Typically, in a classical ballet audition, you would wear a solid leotard in a dark color (usually black, but I mix it up sometimes with green or blue), and pink tights and shoes. You wouldn't wear a skirt unless the person conducting the audition had told you to bring one. And I might be wrong, but I seem to remember the snobby dancers wearing shimmery/sparkly leotards? Yeah, that doesn't happen in real ballet auditions. Sorry, AMM/ghostwriters. :-D

Anonymous said...

Welcome back Stacey! Erm, Wait. No. Um. Yeah.

It's good to have you back--get up to 100% soon. Sick sucks.

Also, I find it rather disturbing that the "random word verification" just spouted out HPV (speaking of Stacey...)

Miriam (a.k.a Poppy Feilds) said...

A ha ha, I have this book in my collection but haven’t read it yet. And now I really don’t want to read it because its sounds especially shitty. I had to get it out to see which cover I had though, it’s the old one. I think I know why they changed it….what a fugmo.

kiwimusume said...

I realize Jessi didn't always live in Stoneybrook, but I find it hard to believe that she wouldn't know about a famous TV star that lived there.

+1. I'm not from a small town, but I'm from a small country, and whenever anyone manages to be successful enough to be known outside of NZ, the whole country goes nuts over them. Especially if said success is in the sports or entertainment industry. So if a kid from a town as supposedly small as Stoneybrook ends up starring in a nationwide hit TV show? Yeah, there's no way Jessi wouldn't have heard about it.

BSC Fan said...

So Derek Masters basically played Screech from "Saved by the Bell"? Hmm. How come all the girls have crushes on him then?

I hated this book as a kid. Hated it. But I think I still have it so it might be time for a reread. I don't remember the ballet plot.

colleenn said...

Re: Kelly - I'm a copyeditor too! Does it drive you crazy when ANM writes things like "Us babysitters think that..."? hehe.

And I also never got the whole "PS" thing in any of the Derek Masters books either. I'm from Boston (well, technically, just outside of Boston), and all our schools were named. And as far as I know, even in the Boston school system the schools are all named. But I did tend to like the Derek Masters books for some reason... I think because I was really into ballet when I was younger but I also always wanted to try acting but never had the time or money to get into any classes because dancing ate up so much of both, and I enjoyed watching Jessi struggle between the two. :P

coquelicot said...

I think I first read this book when I was 11 (Jessi's age, go figure). I remember thinking how way mature she must be to have all this under her belt. Ha.

I had no idea what PS stood for. All of our schools were named, too.

Maybe Jessi is supposed to be really tall, or the triplets really short. But isn't there like only a year between her and them? Should there really be that much of a height difference? I had a growth spurt when I hit 11, but geez, it wasn't *that* much of one...

Paige C said...

Up until last year (I'm 23), I always thought it was the same "PS" you put on the end of a letter. Post Script. Then one of my friends got a teaching job in Queens...OOOHHHH PUBLIC SCHOOL! *smacks self on forehead* Only a little more than a decade to figure that one out.

Anonymous said...

She's also a wild dresser. [Yes, Claud is a crazy piece of furniture.]

OK, this made me cry from laughing so hard.

Alice said...

The new Jessi-head looks more normal, I guess, except it is pretty big for her body. I would still love to see what publishing executive thought that it was important enough to redo just a head, but not to redo the whole cover.

Jessica Wakefield said...

I hate the ones that are just kids-centered plots. I liked the catty in-fighting that the club had.

To the above person, there is a real Stoneybrook on Long Island, NY, but it's a little bigger than described in the BSC. There's no Stoneybrook in CT.

Anonymous said...

Good effen googly moogly you are a funny woman--thanks for the entertainment!

Anonymous said...

Whenever I used to look at that cover, I didn't think the Pikes were mad at Derek; I thought...he's asking them, "Are you ready to rooooock?" and they're responding with "Yeahhhh!"
Also, I NEVER thought the dialogue from P.S. 162 was funny.

jo whittemore said...

If you've ever played Neverwinter Nights (gaming nerd here, sorry) the Pike triplets look like Tomi Undergallows.

Margie said...

I STILL don't know wtf PS stands for. Public School? That's retarded. What school needs to be labelled "school" so blatantly?

I think they always describe Jessi as being tall with long legs. It is possible for an 11 year old to be quite tall (I was 5'11" back then), so maybe that explains why Jessi is way taller than the triplets. Or since girls hit puberty earlier than boys, and grow earlier...

Amanda said...

Hey, I started reading your blog about a month ago and it is great. I loved the BSC when I was younger too. I'm glad you're feeling better. Have you ever looked up the BSC on youtube? You can find some great stuff you might want to put on your blog. Just a suggestion! Can't wait for next week.

kiwimusume said...

I always thought "P.S." stood for "Primary School", and always thought that was weird, since in America it's called elementary, not primary. So it's PUBLIC school? Seems kinda weird to me, cause there's nothing in there that says what KIND of public school it is - I mean, there are public high schools, too...

Also, Tiff (or anyone with the book on hand) - that T-shirt that says "Skating" - does it include the speech marks a la Tigger's bowl and the banner at the SMS school dance?

paige said...

Jessi looks like old-school Michael Jackson in the first cover.

Giselle said...

Speaking of ANTM, I think Tyra would bitch-slap Jessi a good few times......

"Ballet is more challenging than modeling and acting." Hell, is she referring to them separate or together, because I don't want to think about doing professional modeling AND acting at the same time. But, then again, this is the fucking Baby-Sitters Club and they can do anything and everything. :-)

amalia said...

i never really realized that all of these books have some cheesy subplot. silly me. silly ANM.

Ryan Michele said...

Reading about Derek Masters made me wonder... Is there any way we can start threads about the stupid kids of Stoneybrook? For example... the Pikes:

MAL: Well, she takes enough smack in other parts of this blog, so we'll leave her alone or something.
ADAM: Will grow up to be a tail-slapping frat boy. His favorite beer will be Bud Light. Or Natty Ice.
JORDAN: Will grow up to want to be Adam.
BYRON: Clearly gay.
VANESSA: I know we're on a Karen Brewer rampage here, but can we stop and talk about how fucking annoying Vanessa Pike was/is? Your child talks in rhyme NON-STOP, and everyone thinks it's "cute??" Kill me. My very, very favorite thing that Vanessa ever does, when asked what she wants to do in Sea City, is say:

Look for shells!
Look for shells!
Washed to shore
By the ocean's swells!

This is a child you sell on the black market.

NICKY: I am sure he will be a sociopath. He takes a lot of abuse. Oh, and he'll live in the Secret Passage with Jared Mullray.
MARGO: Preggers at 14. You betcha.
CLAIRE: Is retarded. Evidently. Nofe-air!

Sorry for the tirade... Tiff, your blog has my mind goin' all kindsa down a bitter, jagged-edged, yet wonderful memory lane. You rule.

stephanie said...

I remember Jessi's dad set up a studio for her and she used to practice in it. And then she had some issue with her hair once, she kept doing it over and over (OCD) and the dad was all, "it's great," and then she agreed and she felt better about her hair.

katie said...

i just realized that the picture of jessy on the bottom left of the new covers is taken from the cover of super special #10 (snarked last week). i'm so observant (or i need a life)!

Angela said...

Seeing this title reminded me of when I requested this book from the public library because it was checked out. I was probably around 10 at the time. I filled out the request card using my best Jessi Ramsey handwriting. I gave the card to the librarian who looked at me quizzically and said, "Jebbi and the Superbrat?" I was horrified and decided to stick with my own handwriting.

Lingus Acidosis said...

I think that was just about the only BSC book I didn't ready when I was a kid, and clearly I didn't miss anything because it sounds like this one really sucked ass big-time!

Ryan Michele, I'm loving your comments on the Pikes. I would have given anything to see Vanessa Pike and Karen Brewer locked away in a padded cell forever, together.

cara said...

Yeah, I didn't know from PS either. Though now my sister will be teaching at one. In Bed-Stuy! Think there will be anyone famous?

Kia said...

Have you done the one where Claudia thinks she's adopted? 'Cause I totally don't feel like looking for it.

Anonymous said...

Kia she's done that one: http://claudiasroom.blogspot.com/2006/05/ew-biology-or-bsc-33-claudia-and-great.html

Anonymous said...

Hi I am a huge fan of BSC and had all the books growing up but my mom threw them all away and I am now trying to collect them all from eBay. I was wondering if you knew when they started to put the new covers exclusively on the books. I am a fan of the old covers and want to colelct all of those until I have no choice, when they only made the books with the new covers. Thank you so much for your help and happy reading! ~julie

colleenn said...

Re: anon-- I think the new covers started around the time Abby joins the club? So numbered somewhere in the 80s or 90s? Or maybe it was right after that Baby-Sitters Remember Super Special? hmmm.. I just searched for a list of the complete series online. I believe I own Farewell, Dawn (#88) and it has an old cover. But I think Kristy and the Dirty Diapers (#89) has a new cover? And then #90 is the first Abby book. So somewhere in late-80s to early-90s. I had stopped reading the series regularly by then but grabbed an occasional book numbered in the 80s or low-90s for fun here and there.

Margie said...

The first new cover was #89, Kristy and the Dirty Diapers (also the first mention of Abby).

Anonymous said...

There is a book called "Kristy and the Dirty Diapers"!?!? Really? Did they just completely run out of titles? What comes after that, "Mary Anne Sits on Her Ass"?

Anonymous said...

I didn't read this one, but I do remember Derek Masters from one of the BSC mysteries, where he has to kiss an actress girl on his (stupid) show. But then in the end the director decides that he doesn't have to kiss the actress because he's too young. Or something. Retarded.

LemurCat said...

Okay, you can pretty much tell when I stopped reading this series by this comment ...

Who the fuck is Abbey and from whence did she come? And is she as retarded as teh rest of club?

Anonymous said...

For some reason the Derek Masters books have always bored me to death . . . but this blog is great!

Lol that Claudia outfit is TERRIBLE! Hot pink and red? Yuck.

I totally noticed the head change too! And the fact that Jessi'sside pic is from Sea City! I've spent too much time on the BSC . . .

bazu said...

Yeah, there is a Stony Brook on long island (note spelling difference) - it's where I went to college. And I'd done such a great job of forgetting the BSC, that I didn't even make that connection until, like, 2 years into college. So thanks for the awful memories, Tiff! Kidding- I'm clearly addicted to this blog.

Anonymous said...

About those 2 covers...it looks like Jessi turned into Claudia:) Love, Sexy Sadie

Raine said...

It's truly amazing just how lazy the writers and publishers of this series were. Are kids' books still this poorly written and produced??

/also a copy editor

license2jill said...

Hey, I'm a copy editor, too! Funny how many of us are here. Maybe we were all driven to our profession by some sort of sublimated rage over the lazy writing in the books we read as kids. Eh, or something.

Anyway, I remember that I stopped reading these regularly when I was around 11. It occurred to me at the time that I had finally reached the age of the junior BSC members. Somehow, it seemed significant -- maybe because once you are an actual 11-year-old, you realize how unrealistic the series' 11-year-olds are.

Anonymous said...

Maybe someone realized that Jessi's short early-80s era Michael Jackson hair didn't quite jive with the long, boring scene where she keeps pulling her hair into a bun and redoing it.

Murial Mercurial said...

Shit, this is the very first BSC book that I read, and it threw me down the shame spiral that is the BSC obsession.

My older brother stole it from his 6th grade teacher.

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MissKimmeh said...

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