Spoiler alert! There are quite a few spoilers for season one of Netflix’s The Baby-Sitters Club
Growing up, The Baby-Sitters Club was one of my favorite book franchises. When the mystery novels were released, I was in heaven. I was continually reading these books and bonding with these young ladies. The characters I always identified most with were Claudia and Kristy. The artist and the tomboy. I also had a bit of Mallory in me. In addition to the books, I watched the television series and begged my dad to take me to see the movie in theaters. I became excited upon discovering that Netflix was bringing The Baby-Sitters Club back for a new generation. I’m hoping this means that parents around my age will still have some of the original books to let their tweens read as well.
Regardless, The Baby-Sitters Club this series is perfect for teaching tweens. And in many ways, it’s a great way to introduce what people have dubbed complex conversation starters with children as well. They include divorce, blending families, racism, bullying, the death of a parent, starting a business, moving and making new friends, accepting others, asking for help, and many other topics. Plus, for those in their mid-thirties, it’s a fantastic trip down memory lane for some of us. One that will make you realize how much you might have forgotten, but changes that make the club and the girls even better.
In a lot of ways, The Baby-Sitters Club is the perfect reboot and one that I hope Netflix moves forward with for at least a couple of more seasons to come. There are plenty of reasons to move forward with the series, but four moments truly stood out to me the most as I binged watched the entire series in one evening.
Being A LGBTQ+ Ally
After a friend of mine finished the series, we talked about how amazing it was for the youth of today. We also talked about how the scene where Mary Anne (Malia Baker) takes Bailey (Kai Shappley) to the hospital. This scene is so amazing on multiple levels. One being that Mary Anne asks to talk to two adults to inform them that they are using the incorrect pronouns after seeing Bailey’s reaction to such. She stands up for this little girl who knows who she is, although the doctor and the nurse do not want to admit that while in the room. This teenage girl chastises them for not taking the time to know their patient. They know that Bailey is transitioning, and instead of understanding, they make her feel insignificant. Mary Anne makes sure to tell her that she is not negligible, which is huge at any age. Taking up for others is so beyond outstanding in this life, and the earlier we start doing so the better. Even her father, Richard (Marc Evan Jackson), admits, “I’m overwhelmed by you,” because at that moment, she reminds him of her mother, and he is beyond moved at what he witnessed in the hospital.
In this world, there are lots of people dealing with unseen illnesses daily. Most of the time, people do not talk about these things, but it does not make them any less valid. This point brings me to the handling of Stacey’s (Shay Rudolph) diabetes diagnosis on the show. The reason the McGill family moved to Stoneybrook in the first place is that the girls at Stacey’s school did not understand type 1 diabetes and chose to make fun of her. A video went viral when she went into insulin shock at school one day and started seizing. A rival baby-sitting service finds out this information and tries to take down the girls with this knowledge. Instead of letting it hinder her, she finally comes clean about her secret and assures the parents who were already their clients. She even offers to step down if it will make the parents feel better. At that moment, she shows more class than the high schoolers who attempted to take her down as a reassuring mother insists to the group that their children are in good hands with Stacey.
When the girls go to summer camp together, I could not believe my ears when the arts and craft counselor told a young camp goer that she could not participate in tye-dye day if she could not buy a shirt at the commissary. The shirt is an additional $35 on top of whatever the parents paid to send these kids to camp. So when Claudia (Momona Tamada) goes behind their back and attempts to teach the children to tye dye anyway. This moment causes an eventual uproar when they send Claudia to her room indefinitely. Dawn (Xochitl Gomez) organizes an uprising at the camp because it’s not right to exile children from participating in various projects and activities. After all, some parents cannot afford additional costs after sending their children to camps. Dawn is all about equality and continues to fight for not only the campers but Claudia as well. By protesting, Dawn helps relay the message that when there is injustice in the world, the world has to stand up and fight back. If that is not a great message for tweens and teens, I don’t know what it is anymore.
All females have been here. That fear of when we get our periods no matter how much our parents might have prepared us. Granted, most of the time, our mother is the one that finds out first, but in this case, the girls did and helped Kristy (Sophia Grace) through this passage of time that every woman has to experience. I found this moment practically moving because my mother was afraid I would get made fun of if other girls in my class knew. However, there was one girl who knew despite my mother telling me not to tell anyone. From that day forward, I was grateful for that kinship that arrives during this moment in our lives that is quite confusing and can ultimately be beyond embarrassing if we are not prepared or have the right products on hand. These girls made Kristy feel one hundred percent normal, and that is what we need to teach our ladies ultimately, so there is that mutual respect for one another.
Ultimately, The Baby-Sitters Club is one of the best reboots I’ve witnessed from the many that have developed from shows I watched growing up. The show will make you laugh and allows you to see familiar faces from your youth as well as take on the parenting role. The show also manages to showcase that every girl has a unique personality that lends itself to each of the other girls, which will inevitably lead them to become well rounded young women one day. Not only do the adults teach the children in the series, but the children, even the ones the teens are baby-sitting, end up teaching each other as well. If those are not enough reasons to watch a second season, watching Mallory (Vivian Watson) and Jessi (Anais Lee) develop in future episodes is reason enough for me.
Join the girls of The Baby-Sitters Club for season one on Netflix now.