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I don't think it means what you think it means - Baby-sitters Club Snark-fest! [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Dissecting the unintentional hilarity of The Baby-sitters Club.

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I don't think it means what you think it means [Apr. 11th, 2012|03:34 pm]
Baby-sitters Club Snark-fest!

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[author_by_night]
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So I went on a bit of a John Hughes kick, probably because of Community. One of the movies I decided to watch was Sixteen Candles. I knew in the BSC books, Mary-Anne loved it.

Holy cow, that is not a movie a sheltered twelve year old should know. There's implications of date rape, alcohol, teen car sex... Richard Spier would never have let his daughter watch it. Actually, I'm not sure I would let a twelve year old watch it. Maybe a thirteen year old. Maybe. I'd have to re-watch.

I had to wonder if it was either crap getting past the radar, or AMM thinking the movie was a lot more innocent than it is. After all, a girl having a crush on a boy who's dating a ditzy blonde teenager and waking up to discover her entire family forgot it was her birthday sounds like something you might even find in one of the BSC books.

It makes me wonder what other cultural things have been in the books that are amusingly not age appropriate, either because they're way too young or too old, or because those things were popular decades ago. I believe darth_firefly mentioned in a snark that Misty of Chincoteague is more of a book Karen should love than Mallory. And of course we all know Leave it to Beaver and I Love Lucy should be something their parents' watched reruns of.

Has anyone else ever noticed any missplaced shout-outs?
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[User Picture]From: darth_firefly
2012-04-11 07:44 pm (UTC)
I'd like to point out the missing shout-out in that no-one ever mentioned The Brady Bunch. All those divorced and remarried couples and their kids and no one mentions it once from what I recall.

Apparently they had The Parent Trap for that. How is that Dawn's favorite movie anyway? You'd think it be The Goonies or something similar.

Then again, none of the baby-sitters have a chance of attaining Goonie status. With the possible exception of Abby, if she stopped drinking the kool-aide.

I've not seen Sixteen Candles - but I think AMM got drunk one night and switched Stacey and Mary Anne's favorite movies.

Edited at 2012-04-11 07:46 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: thtsgoodsquishy
2012-04-11 07:51 pm (UTC)
I'm in the process of copying my snarks elsewhere and literally just did #36; The Brady Bunch gets mentioned in that because Jackie wants to make a volcano for his science project, just like the Bradys did.

I'll give you that it should have been mentioned, like, every book past #6. Thomas-Brewers? Barrett-DeWitts? Come on.
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[User Picture]From: author_by_night
2012-04-11 08:33 pm (UTC)
For me, it's more that every other character has seen the show. I actually of love the idea of one character being a retro person and liking old stuff, and my friends and I have a few shows or artists we watch/listen to even though they were around long before any of us were born. But it's not like we all love Bob Dylan or all love Leave it to Beaver.
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[User Picture]From: katdvsgf
2012-04-11 08:36 pm (UTC)
I could see Mary-Anne having caught the movie on TV where its been cleaned up a bit. I know my brother and I both watched it a lot when we were 12-16. It does seem like an odd one for Mary-Anne though.
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[User Picture]From: fairest1
2012-04-11 10:32 pm (UTC)
*nod* Like how it was only when I bought the DVD as an adult that I realized I had only been familiar with the television edit of Ghostbusters.
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[User Picture]From: glitterberrys
2012-04-11 09:33 pm (UTC)
My guess has always been that AMM just never saw the movie, had a vague idea of what it was about and thought it sounded Mary Anne-ish.
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[User Picture]From: efface
2012-04-11 10:28 pm (UTC)
Describing Leicester Lodge as looking like the hotel in The Shining. Dawn saw The Shining? And did AMM really believe that ANY of her readers would understand that reference? I'd be horrified if my little children saw that movie.
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[User Picture]From: author_by_night
2012-04-11 10:46 pm (UTC)
I actually read another book series - "Making Friends" or something like that - where the characters were the same age, and two of them were huge Stephen King fans and mentioned loving The Shining. It might be that people assume since Stephen King writes some fantasy, The Shining is fantasy (and it might be, although AFAIK it's more supernatural horror), they'd be appropriate for teenagers. Many people do still think anything with fantasy or sci fi elements is for kids or at least young teens. I don't know if I buy my own weak explanation though, because SK has never been marketed towards kids, and you don't hear of first graders who hated reading until Stephen King.

Edited at 2012-04-11 10:47 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: dazzled_petsy
2012-04-11 10:32 pm (UTC)
I recall in Stacey's Choice, Kristy mentioned something about ordering a cassette tape of songs from the 1950's and was disappointed that it was actually a cover band. Then she rattled off the names of a bunch of bands and singers who were most popular during the fifties, and mentioned she expected all of their music on the tape.

It would have been understandable if she got it for Nannie, or even her mother or Watson, but she ordered it for herself. Wouldn't a thirteen-year-old in the late 1980's/early 1990's be looking for Michael Jackson or Madonna or U2? I have a feeling ANM pulled a "pepperjack cheese" regarding Kristy's taste in music.

EDIT: Didn't Dawn mention a haunted house reminded her of The Amityville Horror? I thought they weren't allowed to watch R-rated movies... unless it was one of those heavily-edited-for-TV cuts.

Edited at 2012-04-11 10:35 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: author_by_night
2012-04-11 10:56 pm (UTC)
Actually, given Kristy's love for baseball it's surprising she didn't love the movie Madonna was in and sang for. (I'll remember the name as soon as I hit "Add a comment.")
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[User Picture]From: dandelion
2012-04-11 10:45 pm (UTC)
I didn't think Misty of Chincoteague was that anachronistic - it's almost a trope given it turns up in the Saddle Club too. Having said that, I haven't actually read it; despite being really into horses and horse books, it was just never that popular in England.
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[User Picture]From: julietvalcouer
2012-04-12 07:31 pm (UTC)
I didn't think it was odd, either. I read it, and all Henry's other books at the time, too. (THAT is the odd thing-I think "Misty" is the only 'horse' book some authors know, so they default to that, forgetting the ten or fifteen other extremely popular ones by Henry alone, never mind Walter Farley, C.W. Anderson, Sam Savitt, Jean Slaughter Doty...there were tons before Saddle Club and Thoroughbred turned it into a genre not unlike BSC and SVT. Or, if you get into SC's spinoff 'Pine Hollow', Gossip Girls and other current trash...) It's not something written for the average seven-year-old. Mal is only eleven, after all (though of course in Stoneybrook Time that makes her more like fifteen, but still.) Those authors don't 'age' particularly and any really horse-crazy kid in the US found most or all in the library.

Or, okay, swiped Doty's "Winter Pony" from their classroom and didn't find out it was a sequel until years later.

And no, definitely not a thing in England as much as there 101 native BRITISH 'pony books.'
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[User Picture]From: aceattorneysho
2012-04-11 11:36 pm (UTC)
Just to comment on 16 Candles, we have to remember that even G movies were, by comparison, more risky than they were today. Not saying date rape would make it in, but PG movies got away with a lot of stuff so it's possible that even a version edited for TV would be something a parent wouldn't really think about. My sister started watching that and Breakfast Club when she was... 12 or 13? Something like that. My mom loves both those movies so it wasn't that big of a deal.

HOWEVER. MA's a crybaby and Richard was super strict so it would make more sense for someone like Stacey to like the movie.
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[User Picture]From: queenhyprshadow
2012-04-12 12:16 am (UTC)
Holy cow, that is not a movie a sheltered twelve year old should know. There's implications of date rape, alcohol, teen car sex... Richard Spier would never have let his daughter watch it. Actually, I'm not sure I would let a twelve year old watch it. Maybe a thirteen year old. Maybe. I'd have to re-watch.

MY FREAKIN' THOUGHTS EXACTLY. I remember watching the movie for the first time and recalling how MA wanted to see it. With all the boobs and sex talk, I'm shocked our innocent cult wanted to watch it or that Martin let them watch it.

In Mary Anne v. Logan, Logan wants to watch a Halloween (Michael Myers) movie. Um, I'm pretty sure that series is rated R. And those two are out on a date with no adults. They ended up not seeing any movie, but how the hell would they have gotten tickets to see it? That's the only issue I have. I can understand Logan's wanting to see the movie; I've been a fan of horror since I was 8 (but, alas, I couldn't buy my own ticket for "Freddy v. Jason" if I had wanted to at 12 years old).
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[User Picture]From: in_excelsis_dea
2012-04-12 01:28 am (UTC)
Actually, as long as that book came out in the early 90s, it's not too out there. Movie theaters were supposed to check, but none did. It wasn't until the late 90s that movie theaters started enforcing the "no admittance under 17" rule and actually checked IDs. Even in...1999, I think, a friend and I (we were 13) were going to go see Sleepy Hollow and we didn't think anything of seeing it despite being four years underage.
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From: (Anonymous)
2012-04-12 04:30 am (UTC)
In the mystery from MA's POV, the library one, about burning books? She says one of her favorite books is Deenie by Judy Blume. I remember liking that book, too, but holy masturbation scenes--really Mary Anne?
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[User Picture]From: nellswell
2012-04-13 07:17 pm (UTC)
Haha... I think I was even younger than MA when I first read that, but the masturbation stuff just went right over my head.

Off-topic, but that reminded me: I was also reading John Benton books by the time I was the BSC's age. I know most people won't recognize that name -- he wrote about 50 books in the 70's and 80's, most of them titled after a girl's name (Debbie, Suzi, Candi, etc... with a few random "variations", like Crazy Mary and Teenage Runaway). They were Christian books and all had basically the same plot, where at the end the wayward girls ended up at a Christian re-hab center called the Walter Hoving Home (run by John Benton himself; sometimes he appeared in his own books!). But the majority of each book was filled with the title girl's adventures in drugs, prostitution, or whatever sordid thing she found herself caught up in. Those books were where I first learned of pimps and Quaaludes; there were even references to S&M in a few of them! The funniest part, though, was that (despite the heavy subject matters) they were all written in a totally G-rated way. Like, instead of writing "f*ck!", Benton would make his narrators say something like, "Vinnie let out a string of swear words that turned the air blue..."

Oh, his narrators all happened to have exactly the same "voice"... even the one book that was told from the POV of a runaway dog!
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[User Picture]From: rhodes_road
2012-04-12 05:40 am (UTC)
Mary Anne mentions Rosemary's Baby when discussing the Dakota apartments (where Laine lives) in a book...I think it was Stacey's Mistake.
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[User Picture]From: mermaid88
2012-04-12 05:58 am (UTC)
I thought Stacey mentioned it (maybe in "Welcome Back Stacey!"?), the apartment building where Laine lives is where Rosemary's Baby was filmed.
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[User Picture]From: kaldary
2012-04-12 05:47 am (UTC)
Ah Sixteen Candles. A movie i used to love but now I can no longer stand it with it's depiction of women, date rape, and Asian stereotypes. But this is no time for Soap boxing! Yeah I can't see richard letting Mary Ann watch that movie. Ann probably saw that it was popular, read the summary, and threw it in.

It always bothered me that Ann never included any contemporary references. It felt like these books took place in the sixties at times. I felt like the kids watched Leave it to Beaver way too much. My parents used to watch that show all the time and I would watch it with them. But if I had the choice, I'd choose Nickelodeon over that. Which reminds me, Dawn likes ghost stories, she probably would have watched Are You Afraid of the Dark.

In Karen's Mermaid, they go to see Pollyanna in the theaters. I can't see a four year old (Andrew) being able to sit through that movie. And I think the book was written in 1994, so why not Lion King? Or any other kids movie that came out that year?
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[User Picture]From: author_by_night
2012-04-12 11:28 am (UTC)
It always bothered me that Ann never included any contemporary references. It felt like these books took place in the sixties at times.

Part of me speculates they're based on a bunch of kids AMM knew as a child, and therefore actually DO take place during the sixties. However, she also has current stuff like Sixteen Candles and I think a few other things. I think the biggest problem is that she didn't really want to write about kids in the 80s and 90s, when the books were actually being written - she wanted to write about her own generation. It's actually a pretty easy trap to fall into, and it clearly didn't deter fans, but at the same time even when I was a kid it was noticeable.
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[User Picture]From: epic_cakes
2012-04-12 06:00 am (UTC)
I remember thinking "bullshit" about Karen being obsessed with Mr Ed and nothing else on TV.
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[User Picture]From: beetle_breath
2012-04-13 01:49 am (UTC)
that bugged me as a kid, too. WTF, Karen.
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[User Picture]From: julietvalcouer
2012-04-12 07:33 pm (UTC)
...where Jessi is such a novelty, at leas the way the Cult has to always mention she's black, donchaknow...
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From: (Anonymous)
2012-04-13 12:39 am (UTC)
In Mary Anne's Revenge, Mary Anne considers watching Whe Harry Met Sally before settling on Fly Away Home. Even at twelve, I remember wondering why Richard would have owned that movie on video, let alone allowed his thirteen-year-old to watch it.
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[User Picture]From: design_star_21
2012-04-13 02:42 am (UTC)
Yeah....Richard might not like Mary Anne watching the infamous orgasm scene.
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