The Baby-Sitters Club

Credits

Cast

Network

Reviewer

Emily Clark
Kristin Smith

TV Series Review

Trying to get a babysitter in this modern era is a real chore. You make the calls, send the texts, join the subscription service, and when you’re finally lucky enough to get a response, they charge outrageous prices!

“When I was a kid, my mother would just call some girl in the neighborhood on a landline, and she would answer because it was part of the social contract!” Kristy’s mom says.

But that gives Kristy an idea. What if there was a simple way to get a babysitter? What if there was a business, nay, a club of girls (and boys, since they can care for kids, too) who not only want to watch over your kids but who’ll do it for a reasonable price? And as an added bonus, what if all you had to do was call one landline?

Baby-Sitting Woes

Based on the book series by Ann M. Martin, Netflix’s The Baby-Sitters Club shares a lot of the same traits, and engrossing storytelling, that fans of the book series so enjoyed. Amidst their babysitting journeys, each of these middle-school girls goes on a personal journey as well.

Kristy’s mom, just like in the books, is divorced, and Kristy struggles to come to terms with her dad’s absence, especially as her mom remarries and she gains some step-siblings. Mary Anne never even met her mom, as she died when Mary Anne was just 18 months old, and she often butts heads with her overprotective dad. Claudia tries desperately to measure up to her parents’ high academic standards. And Stacey faces the stigma of being the “sick girl” after her diabetes diagnosis comes to light.

The show, like the books, brings these girls together. They laugh, they cry, and they navigate their difficulties together, learning valuable lessons about acting with decorum, being honest and treating people with respect.

However, the show’s “modern” take on the popular book series also comes with modern problems.

While there aren’t any bad words in this TV-G rated show, there are a few misuses of God’s name. And there are also quite a few sensitive jokes that, while maybe going over the heads of younger viewers, will definitely not go over the heads of its middle-school-aged target audience. These jokes, along with general conversation, talk about menstruation (especially as some of the characters experience this for the first time), misogyny, sexism, social injustice, nudity and alcohol. There are also several references to TV shows such as Gossip Girl and The Handmaid’s Tale that seem a little too mature for its viewers or its characters to be watching.

Viewers should be advised that the club babysits for a lesbian couple and one of the girls says that her parents got divorced after her dad came out as gay. The girls also babysit a young, transgender girl and urge people to use the child’s preferred pronouns. While The Baby-Sitters Club addresses the issues that many middle schoolers face today, it does so in a way that many parents may feel is a bit too mature for their tween children.

Episode Reviews

July 3, 2020, Episode 10: “Hello, Camp Moosehead! Part 2”

While at camp, each of the girls tackles a problem: Kristy searches for a friend; Claudia and fellow camper Janine fight against socioeconomic injustices within the camp; Mary Anne learns how to be a leader; Stacey reunites with an old pal.

A group of young campers believe their campground is cursed. Claudia talks about the “political climate” at camp and urges friends to peacefully protest with her.

Two girls get a serious case of poison ivy and a friend tells them they look as if they have “leprosy.” A girl says that her brother runs away when he feels anxious.

Mary Anne kisses a boy. God’s name is misused five times and a girl calls a procedure “stupid.”

July 3, 2020, Episode 1: “Kristy’s Great Idea”

After her mom has trouble finding a reasonably priced baby-sitter for her younger brother, Kristy sets up a baby-sitting business with her friends.

Kristy talks about misogyny after she is punished for speaking up in class about sexism in the Declaration of Independence while a group of boys goes unpunished for stuffing their pants with tissues and wiping sweat on each other. She accuses her mom’s boyfriend of abandoning his kids when he hires a baby-sitter. Kristy also yells at her mom after she finds out she is getting remarried, and she is rude and bossy towards her friends.

There are jokes about menstruation, nude painting classes, liquor, breastfeeding and body image issues. God’s name is misused twice. “Nerd,” “idiot” and “jerk” are all heard as insults.

Two teen boys are rude to their mother when she interrupts their video game. Some girls talk about Instagram being illegal for kids under 13. A teacher calls out a failing student in class. A young boy accidentally wets his pants. A girl hides candy from her parents and another lies to her friends about being out of town for the weekend. A young girl says her neighbor is a witch.

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Emily Clark
Emily Clark

Emily studied film and writing when she was in college. And when she isn’t being way too competitive while playing board games, she enjoys food, sleep, and indulging in her “nerdom,” which is the collective fan cultures of everything she loves, such as Star Wars and Lord of the Rings.

Kristin Smith

Kristin Smith joined the Plugged In team in 2017. Formerly a Spanish and English teacher, Kristin loves reading literature and eating authentic Mexican tacos. She and her husband, Eddy, love raising their children Judah and Selah. Kristin also has a deep affection for coffee, music, her dog (Cali) and cat (Aslan).

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