Stonybrook 2021: Dawn of a New Age

Welcome to my TED TikTok, Bookwyrms and Superbrats!

Official Season 2 poster for the Netflix Babysitters Club show.  The logo, three rows of baby blocks spelling out The Babysitters Club, sits in the middle, just under a vintage see-through landline phone.

The girls are lying face-up in a circle around the title, their heads in the center, clasping hands up by their shoulders.  The view is a close-up so you just see down a bit past their shoulders.

Rating: 4.85 out of 5 drops of habanero sauce you somehow lived through although you’ll probably take a while to regrow those taste buds. 🤯

Playlist: I haven’t updated it yet, but check out my Bees in Amber playlist on Spotify! It has songs from the previous season, from the BSCC Podcast California Diaries episodes, and from the 1995 movie (see what they did with the Season 2 poster? 😃👆), as well as songs I personally associate with the BSC/BSCC universe).

Coffee Pairing: a large decaf mocha with extra chocolate. No, I’m not hormonal, I just really love chocolate. 😅

The purple B block from the Season 1 logo.

I am a bit late to the Baby Parade, but it’s just because I have SO MANY EMOTIONS about this season. To be honest, I was a little scared going into it. I knew there were going to be two Very Sad Episodes that I wasn’t sure I was ready for, so it took me a few weeks to even psych myself up to watch. And no, I’m not one of those people who can just skip around (*nonchalantly slides my October Daye reading history behind my back*).

So. With my box of tissues and adult coloring books ready if I needed a Tearful Moment, I settled into my mermaid grotto/reading nook and hit play…

SPOILERS AHEAD

Purple B block.

…and nearly cried with relief when “Kristy and the Snobs” began with Louis the border collie’s…er…trip to the farm having happened offscreen. It’s still a major plot element, but it’s done in such a gentle, non-traumatizing way that I could safely watch with just a few fond sniffles.

I do like the BSCC Podcast’s theory, in their Season 2 overview episode, that Shannon Delaney is the grown-up version of Shannon Kilbourne, who was originally one of the BSC’s associate officers and…somehow was the only person to age beyond the time snow globe in which Anne M. Martin kept the main babysitters? Or something?

Anyhoo, David Michael’s decision to name their new puppy after Mrs. Delaney was an even more aww-dorable show of thanks and olive branchery (though, if I was his mom, I’d have probably cringed a bit at the unintended guilt-trippiness of the gesture…

Like, maybe Shannon really was referring to Watson’s awesomeness as a person, but telling your new, formerly working-class neighbor she “won the lottery” by marrying a millionaire isn’t the most classy thing to do and Liz had a right to be offended).

Purple B block.

“Claudia and the Sad Goodbye” was tougher (yes, I’m getting these both out of the way at once); there was no getting around it. It was hard enough watching Mimi in the hospital in the previous season, so I knew this one was going to be pretty dang painful.

Yet Rachel Shukhert and Walden Media did their magic again and cushioned the blow as much as they could. It happens offscreen, in the moment between Claudia saying Goodnight to Mimi and her walking into the kitchen the next morning to find her grieving parents.

They don’t show the funeral either — just the Kishis returning home and Claudia leaving again because the house feels too suffocating.

And then Shukhert et al. had the GALL to wrap my heart up in the toastiest, fuzziest baby blanket with Janine’s revelation about herself and (high-school-aged) Ashley Wyeth ❤️❤️❤️, and then Janine’s 90stalgic anecdote about Mimi at the biker bar — fellow 90s kids who watched the old BSC video series, AMIRITE???

Purple B block.

So. The rest of the season. As Shukhert said herself in her BSCC Podcast interview, she and the Netflix BSC team were very intentional in how they re-interpreted the book titles. The “New Girl” in episode 2, for instance, isn’t really Ashley Wyeth (who’s WAY too savvy to pressure a thirteen-year-old into dropping every other aspect of her life for her art).

It’s Mallory, one of the two new junior sitters who’s assigned to Claudia for training, and who learns (while also teaching Claudia) to recognize her own strengths instead of trying to copy others.

Other re-interpretations include Derek the Superbrat being a TikTok persona who learns to chill and have some ice cream without worrying how it’ll affect his enunciation or whatever…the Spier/Schafer Great Romance taking its time instead of being forced toward a proposal…the Baby Parade being a (safe) town tradition that celebrates its 80th anniversary by inviting its surviving alumni (including Kristy and Watson?? 😄 ) to ride in the float of honor…

And it’s all as uplifting and fist-pump-inducing as the previous season’s story arcs. I absolutely love how the theme of “let’s just be…us” pops up both implicitly and explicitly throughout the season.

Each character learns to recognize his or her un-traditionally-definable strengths and values. Mary Anne and Logan are “friends who like each other.” Stacey is inspirational because she both defies and struggles with her illness. And the Brewer-Thomases are one family, whether or not they’re biologically connected.

The purple B block from the Babysitters Club Netflix logo.

And now…Dawn. SO much props to Kyndra Sanchez, first of all, for diving into the role full-force. She’s funny, she’s self-aware in a stage-wink kind of way (yes, I DID see what Walden Media did there, with that “I feel like a whole new person!” line 😜 ), and her interpretation of Book Dawn is just as valid as Xochitl Gomez’s.

Season 2 Dawn is, in fact, a lot more like Book Dawn in that she’s a lot less chill than her Season 1 variant. The “Wicked Stepsister” episode really highlights how quick she is to unravel when her space and routine are interrupted.

It would’ve been neat to see Season 1 Dawn grapple with the sudden clash between her usual vibe and the person she becomes when her personal space is actually disrupted. It’s easy to be chill and say Live And Let Live when you get to control your own bedtime routine.

I did kind of like how New Dawn really leans into the New Age mysticism, even though I prefer her Season 1 attitude of “I like it, but it’s definitely not for everyone and I can respect how it might freak some people out 🤷‍♀️.”

Still, I did literally laugh out loud when she called Logan to ask about the circumstances of his birth (as a way to predict his astrological compatibility with Mary Anne) and his mom suddenly shouted from another room, “LOGAN, ARE YOU GIVING OUT PERSONAL INFORMATION AGAIN?”

Purple B block.

What did you think, Superbrat-wyrms? Did this season live up to the last? What kind of float would you build for a real-life baby parade? What books are you hoping Season 3 will adapt, and how might they remix the plots? Did Aunt Esme get abducted by aliens or something??

*

In conclusion, Claudia’s into crop circles now, and the way she talks, you would think that super uplifting TV shows about friends and families who honor each other’s idiosyncrasies and celebrate each other’s strengths without falling into toxic positivity had Just. Been. Invented.

1/100th of an Altairian dollar for your thoughts?

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