Sunday, September 30, 2007

He's mostly interested in girls; or, BSC Mystery #15: Kristy and the Vampires

Wow, this book was asstarded. Seriously. I know, I know, all the mysteries are pretty much dreadful, but that doesn't numb the pain caused by reading this shit opus.

Even the cover is stupid:

Yeah, this actually happens in the book (pg 115, for those checking). The witch? That's Claire, who's scaring the vamp so that it can't scare her anymore. (There's this whole thing about Claire being absolutely terrified of the "vampires" on the movie set. So, Kristy decides to "cure" her, and she and MA come up with a "solution." Claire can dress up as something scarier than a vampire, something that the vamps will be afraid of, so they won't bug her. Seems to me like that might actually make the problem worse and not really address her fear or whatever. Ugh.) Mary Anne actually looks fairly 1994. But Kristy? She looks FREAKY! And the quote monster strikes again! See how her shirt says "Little Vampires," quotes included? Lame. Plus, I think all the vamps in the movie are supposed to be kids or teenagers, not in their 30s. And dressed like kids, not Dracula. Yeah...

So, the really stupid plot. Yep...Well, they're shooting part of a TV movie in the 'Brook. Derek Masters is one of the stars, along with some more famous guy named Carson Fraser. The movie is called Little Vampires, and it has a stupid, clich├ęd plot (just like this book!). See, there's a foreign exchange student from Transylvania named Laddie Alducar [first name short for Vladimir, last name an anagram of Dracula...SO STUPID!!!!]. Turns out, he's a vamp and he's been sent to recruit kids to be vamps [Sorry, I've watched far too much Buffy and Angel, hence the overuse of the word "vamp.") But Laddie starts to be all sad, cause he's missing out on being a normal kid. Then more vamps show up to help with the recruitment drive, and there's a big action-y conflict scene before the happy ending, in which "Laddie ends up staying in America and becoming a normal kid." [But is he still a vampire? How does that work? Where does he live? There are more plot holes in the movie than there are in this lameass book.] And Kristy gets hired to watch Derek while he's on the set (and Claud gets hired to watch his kid brother Todd on the set when Todd's shooting--he's got a bit part). And there's tension between the Derek and Carson and all sorts of movie activities. And then there are a bunch of accidents which may or may not be aimed at Derek, but Kristy is convinced (and convinces the BSC) that Derek's in danger. So, they start to follow suspects and blah blah blah. And Kristy lucks upon the right suspect just in time to save Derek's life; this weird girl who's obsessed with Carson Fraser and cuts the brake lines in Derek's chauffeur's car in an attempt to keep Derek from outshining Carson. I'm still not entirely sure what her motivation was, or why she was trying to kill a little kid, but there ya go. Overly complicated plot? Check. The BSC finding a mystery where one may or may not actually exist? Check. Lots of red herrings? Check. The BSC opting to avoid police involvement, even when they think that someone's life is in danger? Check. Me wanting to put my head through the window? Check. Yep, it's a BSC Mystery.

  • "The Day I Found Out It Was Going to Be an Interesting Summer." Aw man, Kristy's caught a case of the caps!

  • Um, apparently David Michael's hair "has these soft little curls that are the envy of all my friends." What? Gotta love details thrown in tp give the characters more, well, character.

  • Kristy's dad "was never very involved as a parent, and I guess that's partly why he left--he just wasn't interested in being a daddy." I really hate how all that stuff about Kristy's dad just gets tossed off like that. Either leave it out, or at least kinda deal with it.

  • So, when did Karen and Andrew start living with Watson every other month? That seems even more complicated than the previous arrangement.

  • More "Nannie's a character" bullshit. "She goes bowling, to aqua-aerobics classes, poker tournaments--you name it, she does it." How about taxidermy? Bank robbery? Running a drug cartel? Just checking...

  • Kristy reads a Beetle Bailey comic strip to children. And they are apparently amused by it. I wasn't aware that anyone under the age of, like, 75, finds that shit amusing. And she reads a comic strip to them???

  • Heh. Mary Anne wonders if Cam Geary might be in the movie.

  • Oh, and they don't mention that's it a TV movie until a ways into the book.

  • Ever notice how the BSC are always running so they won't be late for meetings?

  • The movie's being shot in Stoneybrook because the Masters family suggested it "as the perfect small town setting."

  • Stacey "still has that urban flair." Kristy should totally write copy for the Newport News catalog.

  • Heh, Carson Fraser is on a show called Miami Beach, USA. As opposed to Miami Beach, Greenland, which is totally my favorite show.

  • Does a wardrobe lady really wear "a long gray smock with lots of pockets?"

  • There are lots of boring descriptions of how boring it is to be on set most of the time.

  • And apparently, they let anyone hang out and watch the shoot. Even when they're shooting inside the elementary school.

  • Kristy has finally found her scene! "I fit right in, fashion-wise...Just about everybody...wore jeans, or shorts, and ratty T-shirts. That outfit, plus maybe a baseball cap, was practically the uniform for the set."

  • Part of the tension on set comes from Derek pretty much always outperforming and outshining the movie's "star," THE Carson Fraser.

  • There is a shit ton of exposition about how Derek has grown a few inches and has gotten a bit clumsy. Seriously, like a page and a half of the book, just dedicated to that.

  • Actually, there's a ton of useless exposition pretty much all throughout this book. Whoopee.

  • Sheila Mayberry is the PR Bitch for the movie, and she's aiming to have everyone in Hollywood talking about the movie. Yes, the TV movie. That's right, the made-for-television movie.

  • The director gets pissed that Derek messes up a shot at the very end, and they'll have to reshoot it later. Did they only budget enough time for one take of each shot? For a movie with kids? I learned in Filmmaking I that you always budget for multiple takes.

  • I'm not sure why Kristy decides that she "owed it to Claire to help her get over her fear of vampires..." Ah, lack of believable motivation...In a BSC book? Never...

  • When Todd's thirsty during one of Derek's scenes, Mrs. Masters tells him to go get a soda. Todd is only four. Later, she tells Derek he can't have a cookie before noon. Someone's not very consistent.

  • Accident #1: Todd breaks the glass that was supposed to be the breakaway glass from Derek's scene! Only it's real glass! Derek could've been seriously injured! The propmaster gets booted over that one.

  • Kristy talks her way into one of the production offices, and some woman shows her receipts and paperwork and shit. The fuck????!!!!??? Who's gonna let some random kid take a look at production paperwork? And don't they have a production secretary or something similar who'd be in the office? Argh!

  • The scenes between Carson and his manager are like watching Entourage, Jr.

  • The only thing clumsier than Derek is the foreshadowing in this book. Slam!

  • Accident #2: Derek's stuntwoman's harness breaks during a stunt! And she falls! And Derek would've been doing that stunt if it weren't for Accident #1!

  • Oh, the crazy Carson girl? She wears a rose in her buttonhole every single day. Because she's actually an old-timey gentleman. Or, I'm guessing, because she's fucking crazy.

  • Kristy opens an envelope addressed to Derek. Her excuse? "Now, ordinarly [sic] I would never open somebody else's mail, but in this case, something told me that I should." And lucky for her hunch, it's a threatening note for Derek! Blah, she tells his mom, who tells his agent, and they both tell her not to worry. But she does anyway! And now it's a mystery! For the BSC to solve!

  • Stupid emergency meetings.

  • Of course, it never occurs to any of them to CALL THE FUCKING POLICE if they think some kid's life is actually in danger!

  • At least sixty people on set? At least is right!

  • I think Shannon is the least insane member of the BSC. Sure, she has her moments, too, but she's generally the most reasonable member of the crew.

  • Is there really a perfect day for blowing bubbles? I think any day is a perfect day for blowing bubbles.

  • I'm really not feeling this whole Charlotte=detective persona. I really don't buy it.

  • The three motels on the outskirts of the 'Brook? The George Washington, the Sleepy Bear and the Kozy Kabins. The first sounds like a B&B, the second sounds like a hunting lodge in Montana, and the third sounds like budget accommodations in the Poconos. Why not a Holiday Inn? A Best Western? Why always trying to be clever?

  • Heh. Cokie Mason's totally trying to get in Carson's pants, even acting all buddy-buddy with Kristy on set.

  • "Cokie minced up to us on white high-heeled sandals. She was wearing a white, ruffly peasant blouse that was pulled off her shoulders and a pink flowered skirt. She looked ridiculous." That doesn't sound any more ridiculous than most (all?) of Claudia's outfits, and quite a few of Dawn's and Stacey's, too.

  • So, Cokie throws a party for the entire cast and crew (obviously trying to get Carson to show--and he totally doesn't! Burn!)...And everything is decorated in pink, Cokie included. And everybody gets food poisoning!!! Hee!

  • "Claudia was looking great in a loose, flowery jumpsuit." I don't think there's enough fire to burn that image out of my head. [I'm picturing a floral version of Janeane Garofalo's jumpsuit when she was the B-Minus Time Traveler on The Ben Stiller Show, just so you know.]

  • Seriously, why would some company voluntarily just give info about their customers to a bunch of nosy girls?

  • Carson's manager looks like a villain, "since he always wore black and loved to puff on those huge cigars." Do you ever get the feeling that the BSC learned everything they know from movies that would show on Turner Classic Movies?

  • No, Kristy, trespassing in someone's trailer is not a "great idea." It's a fucking stupid idea. A really fucking stupid idea.

  • Yeah, Kristy goes snooping in Carson's trailer.

  • Ah, the director likes Mal's look, sending us all into a collective flashback to California Girls. Even the ghostwriter got sucked into that vortex.

  • After an uneventful week, Kristy starts to think the "mystery" was all in her head.

  • They get all "what if we don't solve the mystery before he goes back to California? We can't protect him there!" News flash! You probably really couldn't protect him if a real criminal was after him, not just some crazy fangirl!

  • In fact, the BSC are dealing with the dumbest "criminal" ever, as she highlights the relevant evidence in a book and drops it in a convenience store.

  • The climax and resolution here really are the stupidest set of coincidences ever. It's not really "solving" a mystery if you luck upon the crime and the criminal just by being there and being paranoid. Just sayin'.

  • Oh, and she wants to kill the kid for stealing scenes from her stalkee. The hell?

  • She winds up in "Hidden Acres, a private Massachusetts facility for emotionally disturbed adolescents." Hidden Acres, eh? Perhaps yet another fictionalization of McLean?

  • Oh, yeah. The Masters fam hires Dawn to set-sit for Derek in Cali. Wooo.

  • The book ends with a really lame "memory book" with all sorts of news clippings about the movie. Yippee.

Dude, this one was painful. Really, really terrible. I think maybe I died a little inside while reading it. It was that bad.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Yes, a therapist; or, BSC #85: Claudia Kishi, Live From WSTO!

So, this is the first Claudia book after the Stacey fallout. And it's also the return of the notorious Ashley Wyeth (you know, from Claudia and the New Girl?)...In fact, that's supposed to be Ashley with Claudia on the cover:

Before you ask: yes, Claudia is wearing a fucking tux. And, yes, it's pretty similar to the description of the outfit she wears to her first radio show. (Did I spoil that for you? Or did you figure it out from the really fucking obvious title?) I totally used to wear formal wear to my radio show. [Yes, I was a DJ in college. So, if you were listening to 92.1 WPTS-Pittsburgh between 1998 and 2001, you could have listened to me! Go back in time and tune in, dammit! I did a show called Radio Porn. And I went by the DJ name "The Tiffinatrix." I didn't make it up; it was one of my ridiculous college nicknames. I think I came up with the show name, though. The station on the cover actually looks kind of like the studio at PTS. Ah, memories.]

So, plot. Claudia's feeling sorry for herself, what with no best friend and no prospects on the boy front. So, she decides she needs a hobby. She rules out a few stupid ideas, then enters a contest to host a children's radio show on WSTO, Stoneybrook's radio station (I'm a little confused about the station actually...I think it's kind of a community station, but it's run like a commercial station. Probably doesn't matter too much, just me being picky. Wait, isn't that why you read this blog?) And she wins! She will run a show called "For Kids Only" with the second place winner, the aforementioned Ashley. So, they have a show. With kids on as guests and talent and such. Oh, at first, they don't really work well together, but they manage to get it together. (Not sure how.) And they sort of help keep the station afloat.

Subplot: Kristy is fucking annoying. Like, surpassing Karen levels of annoying. Yep. She's obsessed with getting on the show. So she auditions with a whole bunch of shitty skits and plays until she and the Arnold twins hit upon a decent idea: kid lit Jeopardy. Seriously wanted to kill her. In fucking painful ways. Over and over again. I'm never really a big Kristy fan, but my hate for her in this book knows no bounds.

The hits!

  • Mmm, chipped beef with cream sauce. That recipe needs a euphemism. Like "colonial beef" or something less descriptive.

  • Dawn asks "Who wants to watch you chew up murdered mammals?" Cause she's never eaten meat at all in this series. Ever. I keep waiting for her to break into "Meat is Murder." ["The flesh you so fancifully fry..." etc.]

  • Logan and Mary Anne are making a mix tape together. I think they misunderstand. You're supposed to make a tape for that special someone. And they, in turn, will make one for you...But a couple making the mix for themselves? I'm not familiar with that, and I'm a bit obsessive about mixes.

  • Gulp is right. "I was wearing a backward T-shirt, overalls I'd made by sewing together two halves cut from different pairs, and mismatched socks. It was my "deconstructionist" look. You know, like the art movement? Those paintings that show you the parts of objects rearranged in interesting ways? Well, that was the idea, anyway. Cool, huh?" No, Claudia. Not cool. Fucking ugly. Heh, Janine calls Claud's look "Frankenstein's jumpsuit."

  • Computers hate Claudia. Yep.

  • Claud changes clothes before her sitting job: "jeans and a button-down men's shirt over a stretch top." A stretch top? That's descriptive.

  • Oh, yeah. Mal tells a bunch of stories about the Oogly Oogly Beast, a monster neat freak. Actually kind of clever, until Kristy steals and butchers it.

  • Claudia claims not to be boy-crazy. My ass. She and Stacey (both of whom claim to have zero luck and only a passing interest in the males of the species) keep talking bullshit like that.

  • Claudia's list of (mostly) ridiculous potential hobbies:

    1. Tuba

    2. tap dancing

    3. cooking

    4. corr Chorrus

    5. Swiming

    6. dramma club

  • She rules out cooking after she fucks up an omelet in the fucking microwave. Sweetie, that's not cooking. Not hobby-style cooking, anyway.

  • Why does Claudia think she might want to join chorus or drama club? She's never had any desire to sing or act before...

  • Since when does Jessi take "all kinds of dance lessons?"

  • Wow, this book name drops the Saddle Club books.

  • Claudia thinks that tofu tastes like "eating warm socks." Who marinated the tofu in warm socks? I'm looking at you, Sharon...

  • LUV? Not again.

  • At this point in the story arc, Claud and Stace have started saying hi to each other at school.

  • Wooo! U 4 Me!!!! [Screaming like a fucking nutjob.]

  • Okay, this "kids' show" is aimed at children of all ages, from little kids to like 14 and 15 year olds. Which seems like a rather broad audience. Just sayin'.

  • Wow, even in Stoneybrook DJs are annoying.

  • While writing her application essay, Claud consumes "a Milky Way, a box of Peppermint Patties, two Chunkies, and half a bag of Cape Cod potato chips." Holy shit. I got fatter just reading that. It's like she's a 15-year-old boy! Or Cartman. [BTW, Cape Cod's are the best fucking chips on the planet.] And how did she not get sick?

  • "Here is my idea of a great host for a kids' show:" = worst intro ever. Where's the hook, Claud?

  • Also, your essay is not terribly humorous.

  • How the hell does Claud know what a Pulitzer is?

  • How many kids really have radio experience? Especially kids between the ages of 10 and 14? And how many of them live in Stoneybrook. Cause I don't think the number is very big.

  • "An old, moldy, good, and goldy...the Beatles..." The fuck?

  • Woo! Route 95, my old (and hopefully future) stomping grounds.

  • Claud suddenly thinks Janine's great, cause she's the only one of the Kishi fam who's happy for Claudia (at first, anyway).

  • Charlie agrees to drive Claud to the radio station. Does this kid have anything better to do than to shuttle a bunch of 13-year-olds around?

  • Kristy waltzes in with Claud and acts like it's her fucking show. Bossy doesn't even begin to describe the obnoxious here.

  • Hee, Ashley's dressed all normal.

  • An intern (who is apparently paid!!! Though it's only a pittance?) is assigned to help Claud and Ashley.

  • Wow, they get a tech staff? I ran my own boards...

  • Apparently, Ashely has changed, and she no longer thinks that art is the ONLY FUCKING THING WORTH DOING WITH ALL HER TIME. Or something.

  • Ashley makes fun of Claud's spelling. Heh.

  • Oh yeah, Kristy even tries to commandeer the planning session for the show. You know, the show that Claudia and Ashley are in charge of? The one that Kristy has nothing to do with? [I know I'm ending with prepositions, but fuck it. If Claud doesn't have to spell in a way that vaguely resembles what she's trying to convey, why should I have to follow my MLA closely?]

  • Claud keeps using the SMS Express computer. Why doesn't she just use Janine's?

  • One of the reasons for the contest was to fill up some air time without paying. Ashley's all sorts of offended that they're being "used." Whatever, chickie. You're getting good experience, you're only 13, and it's gonna be fun. Suck it up. You don't have student loans. Or any expenses, really. Hmm.

  • Kristy's ideas for segments on the show are terrible, goody-goody shows. Like segments about fucking babysitting. Dumb bitch.

  • Plus, unscripted lameass skits? Bad idea. You have to prepare a little more before an audition. And what makes you think you can come up with dialogue anyway? Just go play some softball.

  • Also, music jokes ("some unknown key. Q maybe") only work if the character telling the jokes has anything to do with music. Ever.

  • Yep, another mention of I Love Lucy. And a list of random talents from random kids.

  • Even though Claud knows she'll be on the radio and no one will see her, she indeed wears a tux to her first show: "Anyway, I wore the coolest tuxedo I'd recently bought in a thrift shop, including a silky, piped shirt and a bright red velvet cummerbund. I removed the shoulder pads from the jacket [do tux jackets usually have shoulder pads?], which made it really slouchy (I love that look). Then I bought a pair of white socks with silver glitter [wait, what? She bought them when? When she got the tux? When she was getting dressed? So confused!]. I decided to wear a pair of red sneakers to match the cummerbund. I swept my hair up and fastened it with a rhinestone barrette in the shape of a musical note." Wow. I think she's destined for a future as a backup dancer at the Tonys circa 1982.

  • To fill time, Claud waxes all wistful ON THE AIR about her ex-best friend. You remember Stacey?

  • Mal's handwriting looks really different in this book.

  • Reading about Kristy forcefully taking Mal's character is truly painful. And monstrously cringe worthy.

  • Without his "small stipend" from WSTO, intern will have to drop out of college!!!!!

  • They have an advice segment on "For Kids Only." It's a call-in show. And it's boring.

  • Heh...the Arnold twins totally shoot down Kristy's ideas. "That's pretty stupid." Hee.

  • I realize they have no budget, but they live close enough to New York that they shouldn't have to limit their children's author search to Connecticut.

  • A band called the "Curious Quartet" made up children playing the banjo, the tin whistle, the Jew's harp and the washboard? Really? No, really?

  • A parent makes a huge donation to the station as a thank you for the girls giving her kid good advice. And the station is saved! Wahoo!

  • Oh, and Stacey and Claud talk about how they both hope they can be friends again. Ah, foreshadowing.

The end!

Again, no idea what's coming up...

Monday, September 17, 2007

I, Stacey McGill, was a victim of the winter's first snowball; or, BSC #70: Stacey and the Cheerleaders

Yeah, I decided to check out what led to last week's awesomeness. I couldn't find the book immediately following at either of my libraries, so I decided to go in the opposite direction.

Is it just me, or does Stacey actually look thirteen on the cover?

And I think that's supposed to be Charlotte, who's never even mentioned in the book...I have no idea who it could be otherwise, especially since Stacey doesn't actually babysit in this book. [Sweet.]

This book is totally plot-tatastic! What happens? Well, it all starts with RJ Blaser, Stoneybrook Middle School's star basketball player, hitting on Stacey by hitting her with a snowball (talk about mature!). Well, she goes out with him once, and meets all the cool kids (the "Group"). And she totally hits it off with a different basketball player, the infamous Robert. So, they start dating, and Stacey starts hanging out more with the popular kids, including the titular cheerleaders. And when there's an opening on the squad, Stacey auditions. But she doesn't make it, because she's too good and she'll make the others look bad. Oh, and there's this whole thing about the b-ballers and the c-leaders breaking rules and getting special privileges and shit. And Robert quits the basketball team in protest. Oh, and Stacey begins to see the BSC as more and more immature. Whee!

AND there's a subplot, but it's not terribly interesting, and it's a total stretch tying the subplot to the actual plot. See, Shannon's having some issues with her kid sisters. Tiffany has become mean and sullen and bitchy (hmm...something to do with the name perhaps?), and she's torturing their sis Maria. Turns out she's acting out cause Shannon's crazy achiever girl, and Maria's super-swimmer, and Tiff is just a fuck-up (I feel that, sister). But Mary Anne & Claud figure out that she needs a hobby, something that she loves and can actually do. So, flowers and plants. (And Stacey realizes that she doesn't really love being a cheerleader and she doesn't want it for the right reasons. Blah.)

Gimme a L-I-S-T!

  • Since when does SMS have a popular crowd? And why have none of them EVER BEEN MENTIONED BEFORE????!!!!!! How friggin' big is their school anyway, that an entire (pretty sizable) group of kids has never come up before?

  • I hate Stacey's capital letter affectation. You know, "the Group," "McGill Family Drama," "the Big Question," you get the idea. The totally fucking lame idea.

  • Fashion on the first page? Yes, please! Stacey's wearing her "new plum-colored corduroy pants and white down jacket." Yeah, I can picture her in a white puffy coat.

  • Seriously? Multiple guys who are over 6' in 8th grade? Don't think so...

  • "Even I had started going to the games, and I'm no jock." Um, if you were a jock you would be playing a sport. Maybe you might want to rethink that sentence.

  • Stacey thought that RJ was talking about fowls, not fouls. Because she's been smoking Claud's drug of choice?

  • They go to see a movie called Mall Warriors II. It's kinda like Home Alone crossed with Dawn of the Dead. (That's the Romero set at the Monroeville Mall, right?)

  • But when RJ "asks" Stacey out, he says it like this: "Did you see...the movie?...Good. We can see it Friday night. It's playing in town. Okay?" Somebody's a little full of himself.

  • Um, Stacey's trying to say that (one) she's not boy-crazy, but merely "boy-interested" and (two) she's hard-up on the dating front. I call bullshit on both counts.

  • Fuckin' "LUV."

  • Her ridiculously high standards? Get this: "Just a gorgeous, smart, considerate guy who takes my breath away and happens to love me even more than I love him." The fuck?

  • Dude, you're fucking thirteen--maybe lots of LIKE is what you're supposed to have, instead of LUV. You don't want to be that girl that only ever dates and then marries the guy she started dating at 13, do you?

  • Also, Stacey seems a little more interested in dating RJ to get in with the in-crowd than actually dating the guy...Classy!

  • Um, why not just say "likes" instead of this?

  • The phrase "go steady" appears in this book many, many times. I haven't heard that phrase in many, many years.

  • "I know it sounds weird, but I had an urge to go sit with Sheila. The Group seemed to be having such a great time at their table. Besides, boys were there, including RJ." Yep, Stacey's starting to get that itch to leave the BSCers.

  • I really need to read the book where Mal gets mono. Cause I'm really, really curious HOW she got mono.

  • Dawn's back in Cali in this book, and Mary Anne talks about her like she's dead. "Dawn loved blue chips." Sad face, puppy-dog eyes, etc.

  • Claud was wearing "baggy wool men's pants, gathered at the waist by a black leather band [um, I think it's called a belt]; a white tuxedo shirt with rolled-up sleeves; Capezio-type flats with mismatched white and black socks; and a glittery bow-tie barrette in her hair. On someone else, the Look [fuckin' caps again] might be too formal, or just plain weird. On Claudia, it was fabulous." Doesn't sound too terrible, though it's a little Charlie Chaplin for my taste.

  • Okay, RJ actually eats lunch with the BSC one day. Why?

  • Stacey's big date outfit: "a black-and-white plaid unitard with tankstyle top, covered with a black, over-sized cotton knit jersey." I do not understand this outfit at all. And I can think of no more frightening combination of words in English than "plaid unitard."

  • The date with RJ? Kind of a dud. Nothing in common, blah blah blah. But it's better when they run into the Group.

  • She's afraid to tell him about her diabetes. She lets him think she's on a diet. And she lets him make fun of it, too. He's a charmer!

  • Woo!!!! Stacey & RJ run into Sabrina Bouvier at the movies!

  • Actually, RJ's pretty much a dick.

  • Some of the Group make fun of the BSC, and it makes Stacey a little embarrassed.

  • She really notices Robert while on the date with RJ. Like I said, classy!

  • Apparently, Robert sets off a "Cute Alert. Four alarms." Um, cheese alert, all over my keyboard.

  • Not cheesy enough? How about "a smile that should have had a DANGER sign on it."

  • My single favorite part of this book? "I wondered what Corinne was thinking. What would I have thought if I were Corinne? Claud was rummaging around for snacks, wearing an outfit that suddenly seemed a little weird (a sequined vest over a man's white shirt and bell-bottomed spandex pants)." Weird? She's dressed like a reject Fly Girl! Also, Jessi is acting like a four-year-old, though Stacey says she's acting like an eleven-year-old.

  • I didn't realize that the SMS teams were the Chargers.

  • Somebody mocks the BSCers for having a sleepover. Heh. (Rightfully so, at least for calling it a sleepover.)

  • Stacey's always worried that her new, popular friends will make fun of her for hanging with the BSC.

  • The Group have a slang expression that doesn't really make any sense. A "nine-one-one." Yeah..."It's like calling nine-one-one because you're about to die from excitement? You know?" No, bitch, I don't know. That doesn't make any fucking sense. Especially since, used in a sentence, the phrase is used to describe a person. "Robert is a real nine-one-one." So fucking lame.

  • Hee! Stacey's "definitely pretty enough" to be a cheerleader, according to some of the cheerleaders.

  • "I'd never seen real live cheerleaders before I came to Stoneybrook. My school in New York City didn't have them. Cheerleading was frowned on. Girls preferred having their own teams to cheering for the boys." Wow, Stacey went to a progressive school in NY. Also, none of the other schools they played had cheerleaders? She's never been to a pro sports game? Or watched a parade?

  • Stacey really only wants to make the squad because it's the cool thing to do at SMS.

  • This is also the start of Stacey being late to meetings...Because she has better things to do.

  • Stacey hates gym, cause it's in the middle of the day and she gets all showers? We had showers starting in middle school...

  • "People have the wrong impression, just because they sit together and act like a clique. We sit together and we're not so bad." Thank you, Stacey, for pointing out (though inadvertently) that the BSC are just as exclusive as other cliques.

  • I keep waiting for these girls to realize that you can have separate groups of friends and it's okay. They don't have to get along, and you don't have to hang out with them for the same reasons! Broaden your horizons, girls. Please. I'm bored of your little group dramas.

  • Why does Stacey have Danskins?

  • Jessi's a ballet dancer. Maybe she's not the best person to help you come up with a dance routine for cheerleading tryouts?

  • I want to write for the Connecticut Journal of Hair Disorders. It sounds peer-reviewed. Maybe it'll count toward professional publishing?

  • Stacey's all worried about a "hair kink" before her date with Robert. Yep. And her date outfit? She wears a "pair of new jeans with a brand-new white cotton cardigan with gorgeous floral embroidery and a scalloped, crocheted neckline. On my feet [not again] were suede ankle boots." I can't figure out if she's wearing a shirt under the cardigan or not. Racy?

  • She's blown away, cause Robert wears cologne.

  • Stacey decides to tell Robert about the whole diabetes thing, and he's really understanding. Cause he's perfect, remember?

  • Tonight, in the CAGE OF FURY! MARY ANNE THE MEEK vs. TIFFANY THE TERRIBLE! Oh, wait. It's just Mary Anne's sitting job. Damn.

  • Robert is a cool dancer. A fact which Stacey learns while at a rock concert in Stamford on a date. At thirteen.

  • They double date with Mary Anne and Logan. Why doesn't that keep happening in the next book? It would make sense...

  • Who knew Stacey was a born cheerleader? She's outshines everyone. Big surprise there. These girls never suck at anything.

  • Claud thinks she'll talk Tiffany into being an artist. Way to force your own interests on someone there...

  • There are competing editorials in the SMS pretty much saying Stacey and Robert are fuckers, and one (by Stacey and Robert) defending themselves. And it's all very out of place.

This lameass ending doesn't even begin to hint at the awesomeness to come.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

A treacherous dance of balance and skill; or, BSC #83: Stacey vs. the BSC

Oh my fucking gawd. This book was fucking awesome!!!! Stacey actually makes sense!!!! And totally tells the BSC off for being stuck-up, exclusive bitches!!!! Amazing!!!!!! [Full disclosure, the book sucked up until the end, when Stacey tells off the BSC. But the ending totally made it all worth it!!!!]

But first, the cover:

Um, since when is Claud a prep? She has a sweater tied around her shoulders in (quick title page verso check) 1995? And Dawn's rocking the Farm Casual look, more so than California Casual. And Mary Anne is kind of the stylin' one, huh? Also, it seems like Mal's watching a different movie than the rest of the girls. Oh, and this never happens in the book. They don't go to the movies...Hmm...Also, note the hateful stares from the rest of the movie theater patrons!

Right, so the plot of this one is pretty basic. Stacey's spending more time with her boyfriend Robert and his crew. And she keeps showing up late to BSC meetings, and she asks the other BSCers to cover her jobs so she can roll with her new friends. And she finds the BSC more and more annoying and embarrassing. [Rightly so.] And she totally fucks up while sitting for the Newtons, cause she spends a bunch of time on the phone with Robert, rather than tending to a sick Jamie. Oh, she throws a party for her new friends (well, Robert was supposed to have it at his house, but his parents said no), and the only member of the BSC she invites is Claudia. And she has a balls to the wall fight with the club, during which she simultaneously quits and gets booted.

There are two subplots, kinda. One, the BSC are having a talent show, starring the kids in their neighborhoods. Whoo. And Charlotte's all nervous for her upcoming piano recital, so Stace convinces her to be in the talent show to ease her jitters. But, in an act of avoidance, Stacey breaks her promise to Char and doesn't show at the talent show (though she makes it up to Char later and goes to her piano recital).

Let the awesomeness commence...

  • The book opens with Claud painting the "suggestion" of Stacey. She decides to call it Anastasia Fantasia. Cause, yeah.

  • For somebody actually from New York, Stacey calls it the Big Apple entirely too much. I was always under the impression that only tourists/bad journalists said that.

  • I'm terribly relieved to know that Stace has "seen abstract art before."

  • Did you know that "Claudia is very chic, but she does have a habit of talking with her mouth full." Mmm, hawt?

  • I hate how every description of Claud has some variation on the "I have no idea how she's not a complete fatass, what with all the junk food" theme.

  • There's a reference to "the new Jason Priestly movie." Perhaps they're referring to this. Nice...

  • Oh, and "Claudia has a cool attitude about guys." In this book, especially Kristy and Mal and Jessi are retards when it comes to guys. (It's kinda understandable from the young 'uns, but Kristy's acting like a fucking 6-year-old.)

  • Yes, they're acting immature, but calling it "LUV" hardly ranks as grown-up, Anastasia.

  • Stacey and Robert "spent some time together on Fire Island the summer before." [You know, I get the whole "frozen in time" thing, but I have issue with adding real time to that, then asking me to ignore it..."last Christmas," "last Halloween," "last summer." Just say "that one time." No mindbending feats of suspension of disbelief necessary.][Also, Fire Island? Maybe it was growing up in the 80s and early 90s, but I still tend to associate Fire Island with 80s gay culture. Just sayin'.]

  • Robert is "perfect." At least this early in the book. Seriously, ANM set up a generation of girls for guaranteed disappointment on the guy front.

  • Kristy occasionally wears cords, and the ghostwriter occasionally throws in some sort of year-appropriate slang and/or fashion.

  • Mal and Jessi really come across as 11-year-olds in this book. 'Bout damn time.

  • Stacey, adults don't find "TRUE LUV." In fact, only preteens believe in "luv."

  • Dawn "doesn't lecture. (Well, not to us. She does sometimes go overboard with people she doesn't know so well.)" Um, last time I checked, Dawn was the lecturing-est bitch ever, even to the BSC. (And she lectures a waiter and the BSC later in this damn book.)

  • Another example of a crappy imitation of a Kentucky accent.

  • Apparently, not all boys can be wonderful. Shocking discovery.

  • I think there are multiple mentions of Polo, the cologne by Ralph Lauren (right?). However, it just says things like "The place smelled as if the walls had been washed with Polo." So I'm not positive if that's what they're talking about...

  • Stacey's logic: Mozart had bad hair, therefore he is relatively unimportant in the scheme of history. I can think of better reasons, but that works.

  • Everyone assumes it's an emergency when Stacey wants to find someone to cover her Friday night sitting job at the Pikes'. No one thinks maybe she wants to go out with friends. On a Friday night.

  • Who wears (ironed) "crisp, turquoise, light-wool slacks" out for pizza with a group of friends? Especially at 13? It's not like she didn't have time to change after work or anything.

  • Wow, Stacey has lots in common with her new friends...other than kids. Which, you gotta admit, is pretty much the only thing holding the BSC together most of the time...

  • Dawn spies on Stacey. Because Stace wasn't totally honest about why she needed somebody to cover for her. And Stace remembers the last time a friend spied on her, five years earlier. Which, yeah. They're a little too old for that.

  • Also, "with her hood, her six-foot knit scarf, her down coat and L.L. Bean boots, she looked like Nanook of the North."

  • I agree with Stacey's new friends--the BSC totally take themselves far too seriously.

  • Stacey's all confused. Could she really be outgrowing the BSC? Yep. Took her long enough.

  • Mary Anne has a new sticker on her backpack: "A smily [sic] kitten with huge eyes, surrounded by fuzzy hearts and the words I [HEART] MY KITTY." Um, cute?

  • Stacey's shopping list for the mall consists of the following items: bra, corduroy pants (on sale), ankle socks, Breton red cotton baseball cap [the fuck?]. Can she really afford all that on her baby-sitting "profits?"

  • Ah, "A Whole New World" from the movie Aladdin. I think I sang that in chorus in 7th grade. Or some year.

  • Yeah, Kristy pretty much acts like an eleven-year-old boy when they're out at a restaurant.

  • "He was being kind." How old are you Stacey? 50?

  • Hee...Robert likes "metal and alternative." Hee! But Stacey thinks that "house music works better at a party." Seriously. A middle school party with house music?

  • Speaking of mature, Stacey refers to the land of "El Barfo Grosso."

  • Kristy's an ultra-mega bitch in this book.

  • I sincerely doubt that everybody at a middle school party danced. Not everyone dances at middle school dances.

  • Stacey's got a MILF!!! "She didn't look too dorky. In fact, a lot of the guys danced with her (including Robert, of course)." Hee, Stacey's mom has got it going on...

  • In stead of confronting Stacey about the party, Dawn & Mary Anne just show up with a passive-aggressive invitation to hang out...

  • Claud is rightfully pissed that Stacey put her in an awkward position (that has nothing to do with Imminent Death Syndrome).

  • I really didn't think of the noise a harmonica makes when I read "WWWAAAAANNNNNK!" Just pointing that out.

  • One of the talent show acts is Claire Pike doing a veil dance while Byron plays harmonica and Adam plays the spoons. Bizarre, no? And vaguely wrong...

  • Damn, Charlotte goes a lot crazy when Stacey doesn't show. PS-I hate that whole "almost-sisters" thing they've got...

  • Stacey has two "ex-best friends" now.

  • I have to transcribe some particular bits of the fight. Cause it's fucking awesome. Truly amazing.
    "Like what?" I shot back. "Like a person who wants to have a life outside the Baby-sitters Club? Like someone who goes out with other friends from time to time? You're all like that, somewhere inside. Maybe you need to grow up and find out..."

    [Various BSC members whining and insinuating that Stacey is, in fact, the immature one.]

    "This is not a discussion!" I replied. "This is a firing squad. I can't believe I'm sitting here and taking this. You don't want to be my friends. You want to control my life."

    "That's the stupidest thing I ever heard," Kristy said.

    "Yeah, well, anything you didn't think of is stupid. I'm tired of your bossiness, Kristy. And that's not all. I'm sick of the meetings, week in and week out. And the rules. And the talent shows and fairs and contests and field trips and tantrums and stomach viruses and diapers and feeding schedules and sibling rivalries. I've had it! I'm thirteen years old! I want to spend time with kids who act my own age and talk about something besides baby-sitting."


  • HEE!! I'm still brimming with joy from Stacey's rant!

  • And then Stacey's relationships with her new friends get better and more real, and actually function somewhat like real, moderately mature relationships! It's a shocking development in the BSC universe.

  • Seriously, the end of the book fucking thrilled me!

Enjoy it! Bask in the euphoric glow of someone verbally bitch-slapping these stupid twats! Have a good week, dwelling on the (limited) awesomeness that is Stacey.

[My spell check suggests Awesome St. as a corrected spelling of "awesomest." I want to live on Awesome St.!]

Monday, September 03, 2007

The gym was beautifully decorated; or, BSC #38: Kristy's Mystery Admirer

This book is truly ridiculous. (And chock full of boring Krushers v. Bashers "action.") Yep. And features some truly mind-blowing temporal inconsistencies that result in a few confusing explanations...Intrigued?

The cover:

Notable really only because it's actually got Shannon on it...She's wearing her school uniform, and, in a rare bit of continuity, it's the same one she wears on the cover of Kristy and the Snobs! Wow...someone was actually paying attention. Kristy's wearing her uniform, too. I can't quite figure out what's supposed to be on her sweater, though.

The really retarded plot: Kristy gets notes from a secret admirer. Aww. They're all pretty sure that the notes are from Bart. Awww. Then the notes start to get kinda creepy, and Kristy thinks that they're either from Bart (who is suddenly now a psycho) or from a real psycho who is coming to get her. Then, in a big shocker (especially given the heavy-handed foreshadowing earlier in the book), it turns out that Bart did send the love letters, but Cokie Mason sent the psycho ones! Dun-dun-duuuuuuuh!

The mildly retarded subplot: The Krushers beat the Bashers. Then the Bashers beat the Krushers. Then Kristy and Bart decide to have a World Series (I may have the order wrong here. I kinda stop paying attention when ANM starts describing softball games. Cause, boring.). [How can it be a "world series" if there are only two teams in the "league" and both teams are in the same town? Dig? Sure, if they want to declare a "champion," I can understand that. I guess. Sort of. Anyway.] And the Krushers win the world series. Woo. [Not nearly as exciting as when the Sox won.]

The list:

  • Get ready to have your mind blown! So, it's almost Halloween, and the BSC have to explain what happened with Cokie "on Halloween" to Stacey because she was back in New York then. Now, they don't say "last Halloween," but Halloween hasn't happened yet, so it has to refer to a Halloween that's already passed, right? But here's the kicker! Stacey was back in New York in 8th grade, right? So the Halloween with the big Cokie drama was in 8th grade. But they're STILL IN 8TH GRADE!!! So, THERE ARE TWO HALLOWEENS WHILE THEY'RE IN 8TH GRADE!!!! HOW CAN THEY HAVE A (SCHOOL) YEAR WITH TWO HALLOWEENS???!!!!??? I'm so fucking confused!!!! Could it be a rip in the time-space continuum? Is it magic? A time machine? I just don't understand!!!

  • Reading about softball is really boring, and I just don't give a shit.

  • Kristy moans a bunch in this one about Charlie's car. It's a ride, bitch! Don't whine!

  • Heh, Kristy has to wear field hockey kilts in gym class. We got to wear our regular gym clothes during the field hockey unit.

  • Bart thinks Kristy should wear skirts more often. Trying to change her already? [Shaking head disappointedly.]

  • Bart's a guitar player in a band? Since when?

  • [Seriously, sometimes she describes these bitches like they're much older than 13.]

  • Nannie is a "special grandmother who doesn't act like a grandmother at all. She goes bowling, wears pants, and has tons of friends." Wait, regular grandmothers don't wear pants? Or have friends? Or go bowling? Seriously?

  • Claudia's "clothes are so distant...She is always wearing things like Day-Glo high-top sneakers, cut-up jeans, off-the-shoulder sweat shirts (sometimes torn), and friendship bracelets." Um, friendship bracelets as the epitome of cool accessories? It's just braided string! And I'm pretty sure I started wearing them in elementary school. Also, have you noticed how many hyphenates make up Claudia's and Stacey's respective wardrobes? It's kind of a pain to type.

  • Ah, yes, another tossed off reference to the absent Mr. Thomas.

  • "I think boys are dweebs, except for Bart, Logan (Mary Anne's boyfriend), and the boys I sit for." Convenient, that. (And grammatically suspect.)

  • Oh, yeah! Claud's leg, post-break, hurts when it's going to rain...

  • They stretch their dues awfully far. Just sayin'. One dollar a week per girl is only $7 a week, and it has to cover gas for Charlie, supplies and toys AND part of Claud's phone bill. Yeah. Even on cheaper 80s prices, that seems like a pretty tight budget.

  • Did you know the BSCers, excluding Claudia, "have to hide out in closets during personal calls, hoping nobody is listening in on an extension?" I didn't. What, they can't just bring the cordless into their room? Or the whole phone? If they can reach a closet, they can prolly reach a room with a door.

  • In a shocking turn of events, sometimes the Kilbourne family doesn't remember to get their mail until after dinner! Crazy!!!

  • "Dear Kristy, I think you are beautiful. And you're the nicest girl I know. I would like to go steady with you. I wish I could tell you this in person. Love, Your Mystery Admirer." Awww...somebody's lying to Kristy to get into her pants...

  • The envelope has hearts and flowers all over it, so Kristy thinks the note "looks like it's from a girl." To which Shannon replies "A girl who wants to go steady with you? Kristy, grow up." So many gay jokes...where to start?

  • "We sat in the shade because it's not good for babies (or anyone, really) to get too much sun." Wow, Stacey's so smart!

  • Hee! "Dearest Kristy, I can't stop thinking about you. Maybe I'm in love with you. I don't know. [How fucking romantic!] I've never been in love before [Because you're only 13??? Maybe???]. You are as beautiful as a snow-covered mountain. Love, Your Mystery Admirer."

  • Okay, so my copy of this book is missing a page, and I think all I really missed was Shannon bonding with some of the BSC girls at a Krushers game. And I was happy.

  • Dawn likes bad puns. [Smack.]

  • "They made us look like jerks so we made them look like jerks." Pretty much the story of every Halloween in Stoneybrook.

  • "Nannie is a character and I love her." Lazy, lazy writing.

  • Heh, the first freaky note: "I love you, I love you, I love you, but beware. Love is fickle. So are friends. Watch out for your mystery admirer."

  • Jessi and Mal wax all nostalgic about dressing up and trick-or-treating. Um, I'm pretty sure I was still trick-or-treating at eleven. Maybe would've played it all "I'm too cool for this," but I was totally into it.

  • Also, the Pike kids are budding capitalists. Notice how they find ways to charge for everything?

  • Why don't the BSC ever think that Cokie could be behind the notes? You'd think they might have figured it out, rather than assuming kidnappers and psychos.

  • The stupid Krushers cheerleaders dress up as the Three Stooges for the World Series. They couldn't think of any better threesomes?

  • Kristy is so distracted by the notes that she forgets to call a BSC meeting to order!?!?!?! Amazing!

  • The second creepy note rhymes! "Violets are blue, blood is red, I'll remember you when you are dead."

  • In true BSC style, Kristy decides not to tell her parents about the notes: "Should I tell Mom and Watson about the danger I was in? I wondered. No. They might think I was crazy."

  • Shannon thinks maybe Bart might be trying to sabotage the Krushers by sending the scary notes, so all the girls start giving Bart the silent treatment. Without confronting him or asking him or anything. Then he gets all pissy, but Kristy won't clear things up until he shows up at her door. Now that's mature...

  • Stupid Claire tantrums.

  • Heh, Buddy Barrett hits Shannon in the head with a softball. [Which still fucking hurts!!!! They're not that soft, and Kristy should fucking know that.]

  • Awww, Buddy has a crush on Shannon...

  • Kristy can't say "love letters" to Bart for some reason I can't figure.

  • Again, Kristy doesn't think of Cokie when Bart asks if she has any enemies...

  • "Everyone fingers him as a likely suspect." Um, that doesn't really sound like Kristy talking...

  • Kristy actually thinks someone's going to kidnap her for Watson's money. Then she gets offended when Shannon suggests that a kidnapper would more likely go after one of his bio-kids, as opposed to one of his step-kids.

  • Yeah, Cokie brings her friends to the World Series? Why? It's never really explained. Imagine that.

  • Cokie gives herself away in response to Kristy saying she and Bart are planning to spend their lives together. She's bragging or something. I'm still not entirely sure why.

  • One of Cokie's friends is named Bebe. Yup.

  • Stacey calls Cokie a sewer rat, because she "still thinks in New York terms half the time." Really, she hasn't lost all the New Yorker in a matter of months? I'm floored.

  • Kristy and Bart wear lobster costumes to the Halloween Hop. (And they win the prize for Most Unusual Costume. Whoopee.)

  • Karen thinks that "when girls went to dances they wore beautiful gowns and ribbons or maybe pearls in their hair. And jewelry, lots of jewelry." Shut the fuck up, you dumb little girl. Nobody likes you.

  • Kristy likes slow dancing. And Bart kisses her on the cheek. And she thinks she might be in love. Which is confusing, because she's not really that into him in the books after this...She's pretty ambiguous about him, actually. But in this one, she's in love. My ass.

  • I sincerely doubt that sixth grade boys are really that fucking different from 8th grade boys.

  • Kristy writes a note for Cokie, from her "mystery perspirer." LAME.


This book was mad boring. Too much about kiddies playing sports and Kristy being a paranoid freak. Ugh.

[I had "Pyscho Killer" stuck in my head for most of the second half of this book. Mainly because of the sheer number of times they used the word "psycho" in this book. Yep, it was one of those weeks.]