I Love Junk

Say hello to your (imaginary) friends!

Posted on: February 3, 2008

I follow a lot of different nostalgia sites, and there is one piece of my childhood that always seems to be missing from them. For reasons I don’t fully understand, being obsessed with Care Bears and Goosebumps is still totally acceptable, but there is just not the same love for the Babysitters Club. Looking back, I can sort of see why. The stories were contrived and cheaply written, the characters were unrealistic goody-goods, and major facts were constantly being retconned because the ghostwriters didn’t bother reading what the others had written. Still, these books were a huge fad that spanned over a decade, so I know there are lots of women out there who grew up just as obsessed with Stoneybrook and the BSC as I was.

Here’s my little tribute to the BSC, presented as a countdown of the top ten club members. (Conveniently, there were exactly ten total members of the BSC.) I’m also assigning them each a Spice name, because I’m cheeky like that.

#10: Shannon Kilbourne (Posh Spice)

Remember Shannon? No? Yeah, I’m surprised I do either. Shannon sucked. If you don’t remember, Shannon was Kristy’s snobby-ass neighbor whose main contribution to the series was to give Kristy a goddamn dog. I’m pretty sure “Shannon the puppy” was mentioned 800% more frequently than “Shannon the person”, which makes sense, because I’m sure the dog was 800% more loveable.

The only reason “Shannon the person” was even included in the club was as an associate member, because she was too busy taking French classes at her snooty prep school all the damn time. The best part is, the one or two days a year when enough parents went off to fuck, that they even needed to call an associate member, Shannon was still busy. Why did they even include her in the club? Bitch never did shit. Even her story in “The Babysitters Remember” was lame rich-girl crap, something about hanging out with bitchy girls who had fucking fountains in their houses. Yawn.

#9: Kristy Thomas (Sporty Spice)

Yes, I put Kristy way the hell down at number 9. But she’s *gasp* the PRESIDENT!! How can I not like the PRESIDENT of the club?? I’ll tell you how: she’s an asshat. Yes, she came up with a few “great ideas”, but she also threw a tantrum whenever anyone else came up with one, which actually happened quite frequently. And she always tried to shove BSC advertisements into projects where it was totally inappropriate.

Her only admirable quality was her willingness to fight for anything she believed in – at least, this was admirable sometimes, when she fought for an actual worthy cause. Most of the time she fought for such things as her right to tack up chore charts over pictures of someone’s dead grandma. Yes, this actually happened. You suck, Kristy. The only thing pushing you ahead of Shannon is that you were the most likely character to grow up and become a dyke.

#8: Logan Bruno (Boy Spice)

Logan, famous for being the booooy in the club, was another associate member. However, he actually showed up to help with shit, mostly because he was chasing Mary Anne’s poon. (Yes, I referred to a 13-year-old’s poon. They’re fictional characters, deal with it.) I actually sort of liked Logan. He was a boring character, and a stereotype (a Southern boy who has manners and likes football, how original!), but at least he was helpful most of the time, and unlike Shannon, he actually fucking babysat. Bonus points for putting up with Mary Anne’s constant whimpering and his little brother’s neverending “sidus idfection”. Between the two of them I’m sure Logan spent way too much time wiping snot off his shirts. Poor Logan.

#7: Mary Anne Spier (Baby Spice)

Okay, we get it. Mary Anne’s mom is dead. We got that after the first 80 times it was mentioned in the first, like, five books. This fact is repeated about every five seconds throughout the series, supposedly as an explanation for why Mary Anne is so “sensitive”. Personally, I don’t buy the “sensitive” thing. Yes, sensitive people cry a lot, but crying over everything that ever happens to you ain’t right. Mary Anne was fucking bipolar or something.

That said, she did have redeeming qualities. On the rare occasion that she found her balls and told someone where to shove it, she was awesome. And she rarely acted like a bitch unless someone pushed her pretty far. Still, in the end she was a milquetoast, and milquetoasts are boring. The word milquetoast is awesome though. Milquetoast.

#6: Stacey McGill (Diabeetus Spice)

Depending what point in the series you jump to, Stacey was either “sophisticated” or “the bad girl”, or sometimes just “the unlucky bitch with diabetes who pees the bed”. Apparently in Stoneybrook, wearing a black skirt or going to a rock concert made you a sophisticated badass who was way cooler than everyone else. That’s a sad testament to how fucking lame people were in this town.

Anyway, Stacey was okay. She never interested me much, but she did seem more mature than Mary Anne or Kristy, and smarter than Claudia. Stacey could be pretty damn stuck-up, though. Oh wow, you’re from New York City! You and like, 8 million other people. Shut the fuck up already. Oh yeah, almost forgot, Stacey was the treasurer. That’s pretty boring.

#5: Mallory Pike (Geeky Spice)

Let’s face it: Most of the kids reading this series were quiet, bookish nerds with few friends. Or at least I was. Maybe you weren’t, you lucky bastard. Either way, Mallory appealed directly to nerds, because she was the biggest nerd ever. She wanted to be an author, she wore things like loafers and plaid skirts, and everyone ignored her 98% of the time.

She also had about a million siblings because her parents never stopped fucking. You gotta feel bad for a kid whose parents never stop fucking. Mallory could be a whiny bitch sometimes, but I’d be a whiny bitch too if my parents kept popping out babies and expected me to spend all my free time chasing down their escaped hamsters. She was pretty cool overall, though: Mal was smart as hell, and was one of the first people to not act like a total racist ass to Jessi. She also managed to land herself a hot Australian boyfriend despite only being 11. (He was 11 too, not a pedophile, you pervs.) Score!

#4: Dawn Schafer (Hippie Spice)

A lot of people found Dawn irritating, but I liked her. Like Stacey, Dawn felt the constant need to point out she wasn’t from Stoneybrook, but at least California was more than two hours away. She was a vegetarian hippie, and oh my god, reading about her always made me fucking hungry for health food. (Which was strange, since I’m Southern, so my childhood meals were usually butter, fried in grease and soaked in ham juice.) Fresh-picked veggies with homemade dip? Whole-wheat pancakes with fruit? I have no idea why this stuff always sounded delicious to me, but it did. Now I’m hungry, goddammit.

Anyway, Dawn. She liked ghost stories and shit. Ghost stories are awesome. And her ancient house had a secret passage, which had been part of the Underground Railroad. I never fully understood that. If you were a slave who made it all the way to fucking Connecticut, weren’t you safe by then? That’s pretty far from the Mason-Dixon. Just sayin’.

#3: Jessi Ramsey (Brown Sugar ‘n’ Spice)

I know what you’re thinking: “Boring Jessi, at number 3? Are you on crack?” I actually am, but that has nothing to do with why I liked Jessi. Yes, Jessi was boring, but that’s what made her likeable. She wasn’t a bitch, or a crybaby, or an attention whore, or a bossy dickwad. She was just pretty chill most of the time. Jessi began life as the token black character, and apparently the residents of Stoneybrook had never heard of black people before. (I guess Dawn’s tunnel really didn’t get used much, ha.)

Anyway, I had a lot of respect for Jessi. In addition to putting up with racist bullshit, she was a ballerina (holy shit, the black character dances, didn’t see that one coming!), and would practice all the fucking time. She also always took the shitty long-term sitting jobs for the deaf kid and the kid with cancer and the creepy animal hoarders. Bonus points because she had to put up with that bitch Aunt Cecelia. Extra bonus points because she celebrated fucking Kwanzaa. Kwanzaa rocks. Rock on, Jessi.

#2: Abby Stevenson (Jew Spice)

You may not remember Abby. She showed up very late in the series, because I guess after like 80 books they decided they also needed a token Jew. Abby and her twin sister Anna, who was a music nut, moved into Kristy’s neighborhood after Dawn fucked off back to California. (The black girl dances, the Jews have money, what’s next, an Asian family with a genius kid? Oh wait…) Like Mary Anne, Abby had lost a parent, but unlike Mary Anne, she dealt with it in a mature, non-whiny fashion.

Besides this, Abby just generally had an awesome personality. She acted goofy and cracked jokes all the time, and listened to Elvis and Diana Ross. Hell yes. With my backwards-ass family, where the 80s were more like the 60s, I could totally dig a character who appreciated Elvis. Plus she kept having asthma attacks and almost dying, and she still didn’t take herself too seriously. Bonus points because her handwriting is all fucked up and wobbly like mine. Abby kicks ass.

#1: Claudia Kishi (Scary Spice*)

Yes, her spelling was awful, but that was pretty much the only thing I could find not to like about Claudia. I got obsessed with her because she was Japanese-American, and I was a fucked up weeaboo child. I could relate to so much about Claudia. She was a junk food addict, she hated school, and she just wanted people to get out of her fucking face so she could paint all the time.

Her family were (surprise!) total Asian stereotypes, pressuring her to be a genius like her sister. I hated Claudia’s parents. The fuckers were so controlling they banned Nancy Drew books. I guess they thought their 13-year-old daughter should’ve been reading Leaves of Grass or some shit. However, Claudia’s grandma was the most awesome character in the entire series. I think I got almost as upset when Mimi died as when my own grandparents did. She was that awesome. Ann M. Martin is a bitch.

But I digress. My absolute favorite aspect of Claudia, not surprisingly, was her wacky outfits. Between her, Clarissa Explains it All, and Cyndi Lauper, I grew up with the impression that it was totally normal to wear as many clashing colors and accessories as possible. God, I wish that impression had been accurate. I want the 80s back, dammit.

And there you have it: my totally biased, exaggerated opinions of a bunch of characters from books nobody reads anymore. My next article won’t be in top ten format. Promise.

*Scary was the best Spice Girl and you know it


12 Responses to "Say hello to your (imaginary) friends!"

Bravo, bravo encore.

You are fucking awesome. I wish I’d read the BSC books, but at least now I feel like I have.

too bad i never read this series…EVER… but uh thanks for the insight 😉

Hey, wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed this.

I never read the books, but a ‘friend who is a girl’ was mad on collecting the series when we were in primary school and she really wanted to be a babysitter – though, it really isn’t that common for teenage babysitters round our way. Thanks for helping me understand a little what the heck was going on there!

Also, love your writing for this and the closet adventure. Great fun to read!

Wow, really. I was so into BSC when I was a tween, I wanted to be one of them so badly. I have never heard of the Jew sitter, I guess I grew out of the series before her time.
Things you wrote here that made me spit coffee:
*Mary Anne was fucking bipolar or something.
*“the unlucky bitch with diabetes who pees the bed”.
*I’m sure Logan spent way too much time wiping snot off his shirts
*I guess Dawn’s tunnel really didn’t get used much
I really want to go hang out in the young adult section of the library and read these again, that and Superfudge
Nice blog here jazzy, may I add you to my blogroll?

Being a person who is in possession of a penis, I’ve never read a BSC book, but I feel completely connected to the characters now. I’m at work, literally laughing out loud reading this.

p.s. Diabeetus.

Yeah, I remember liking BSC for a short time. I can’t imagine why. Also, Claudia was my favorite too.

I thought for a second about getting a few of the books (they’re really easy to find), but on second thought…no. XD

Hey, great blog!

I floved the Babysitter’s Club. I think that by time the ghostwriter’s came around I’d outgrown it, since I don’t remember some of this stuff, but for a few years I was obsessed. I could quibble with some of your rankings here, but you definitely got the right pick for #1. I wish this was Livejournal, so I could rock the rad Claudia icon I’ve got. As a California girl, I also always had a soft spot for Dawn…my sister and I STILL reference her and her 80° Christmasses every year.

Uh, I didn’t know any other way to contact you, so I decided to leave a comment here…do you know why your post at X-E was edited? Mine got edited too, I’m assuming because it made reference to what was edited out of your post. I was just wondering what we said that was out of line…Oh, it might help if I mentioned that I’m Annette.

I love this post. HIPPIE SPICE! So awesome.

Diabeetus Spice cracks me up.

Dude, you seriously gotta write another post! Everything you write is hilarious, but I’m looking forward to something new. I’ve read this Babysitters Club thing a gazillion times now. But what do I know? I just wrote my first blog ever last night, so I don’t have room to talk I guess.

[…] Tweety Bird t-shirts to school, I carried a teddy bear backpack, and I made up stories based on the Babysitters Club. I was the dork to end all dorks, and I got into MTV in an effort to impress another dork into […]

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