Camp Cookies + Sangria: Revisiting The Baby-Sitters Club Movie

For many girls (and boys) of our generation, the Baby-Sitters Club played a huge part in our childhood. Of course there were the beloved books, the TV show, and in 1995 came the feature film. I was particularly fond of said film, and it was one of my absolute favorites. So much so that I practically wore out my VHS tape – that’s right kids, a VHS tape because this was before DVDs existed. In fact I was so fond of the movie that when my friends wanted to borrow my copy, I was paranoid they wouldn’t give it back that I created a fake library card, forcing them to write their name and sign the tape in and out up the return. That story again: I was a huge nerd.

If you’ve seen the movie, you know that it takes place over the course of the summer, and the BSC decides to make some extra money by holding a summer day camp for the kids in the backyard of Mary Anne’s house. As a nine year old watching the movie, the BSC summer camp seemed like paradise. As I previously mentioned, I only went to summer camp once, for one week only. If you’re wondering what I did all the other weeks of summer – the answer is… I guess I spent a lot of time at home? Sometimes going to my parents’ office? Oh I did go to a day camp for a few years at the Christian school my friend went too. I forgot I did that. NEWAYZ, the point is that as an only child, the thought of hanging out with other people at a summer camp in a back yard seemed really cool.

I decided to watch the BSC movie for the first time in a number of years (on Netflix Instant! My VHS player is out of order), and looking back on it from an adult’s perspective – this summer camp doesn’t look like a kid’s idea of heaven – it looks like hell. Not only that, but it seems so unrealistic that parents would let their kids go to some ramshackle youth gathering with teen girls in charge. So naturally, I had a few thoughts about this. Here are just a few:

Before we start, here’s a song to get you in the mood/bring you back to 1995:

I’d like to start off by saying it’s weird watching this movie on Netflix because the quality is so clear. I’m used to seeing VHS quality, you know when it just felt like you’re watching a movie from the 90s. Even the 90s clothing kind of looks like they’re in style because it’s so clear. Also, hipsters.

Kristy: “I don’t mean to brag or anything, but we’re famous here in Stoneybrook. Everybody knows us. That’s because everybody uses us.” {maybe you should reevaluate the company you keep, Kristy}

Kristy, the leader of the BSC, pitches this day camp idea and all I can think of is HOW ARE THESE KIDS GOING TO RUN A SUMMER CAMP LEGALLY?? Like do they have to get a permit to run a business in a backyard? Good thing Mary Anne’s dad is a lawyer and has them sign a contract.

Stacey: “Do you guys think I should have told him?”
Everyone: “Who?”
Stacey: “Luca! He doesn’t know I have diabetes.”

The 17 year old you’re crushing on doesn’t know you’re 13, but the diabetes is your first concern? REALLY?!

Poor Marla Sokoloff, always typecast as the bitch. You may remember her for her work as Gia, the smoking girl who befriends Stephanie Judith Tanner in Full House. Here, she is seen wearing an outfit that makes me think she was inspired by Cher Horowitz, and in a diner on a Friday, because these kids are still in middle school.

The girls figure that if they charge $250 per camper and get at least 30 campbers they can make  $7,500! To which Jessi suggest, “We can get a fax machine!”

You know you’re old when you sympathize more with the curmudgeonly old neighbor (played by Ellen Burstyn) than the tweens running a summer camp for kids.

I mean look at the types of children that attend this camp though. Why all the band-aids on his face???

“You can tell somebody when you’re ticked off. I mean we can’t let men get away with everything.” {AHEAD OF ITS TIME}

Ok so mouse pancakes are one of those random things that stuck out to me in the movie even after all these years. It was Kristy’s (deadbeat) dad’s signature dish and he called them mouse pancakes because they were shaped like mice. In my head when I remember this, it was always a vague image… however, this is what they actually look like.

Also, Kristy’s stupid dad pretty much lived in the same bright yellow Volgswagen van Abigail Breslin was in as a toddler in a tiara. Kristy should’ve never trusted him. 

Oh hey Ellen Burstyn threatens to reject their permit and the girls freak out because they don’t have one. I guess I forgot they ran into this problem. PERMITS ARE IMPORTANT PEOPLE.

Dawn: “Did we even have a country back then?”
Mallory: “No, but we had a lot of diphtheria. What? I’m writing a novel about the first nurse in America.” {you WOULD}

Claudia had to go to summer school and she has to pass the final test or else she’s screwed. The girls make a rap for her to help her remember all the information she needs to know in order to pass the test.

Listen. There is no way Claudia could’ve passed based on the rap song her friends performed her ONE time. Also the lyrics don’t provide any useful information. They literally keep saying “the brain the brain the center of the chain”. HOW DOES THIS HELP HER WITH MULTIPLE CHOICE QUESTIONS?

Kristy’s mom: “Look at nana’s tomatoes. They’re huge! This year she’s singing them showtunes. They’re a lot bigger than when she was singing them church songs.” {and ironically 100% more gay}

Stacey and Claudia go to New York City with Luca and his friends to a teen club – but the problem is that they need to be 16 – and Luca still doesn’t know she’s 13. At least by this point he knows she’s diabetic. Obviously they can’t get in, but more importantly – remember TEEN CLUBS?? ARE THOSE STILL A THING?

Also, remember when we were so reliant on phones to contact people? I mean Kristy couldn’t get a hold of her father at the hotel he was staying at because he checked out and didn’t have a cell phone. Also he’s a douche because he said he would meet her at the carnival and left her a note instead, and the BSC had to get Luca to drive them to go find Kristy. Again, this all would’ve been much easier with cell phones.

One more thing about Luca – still a creep! What 17 year old guy hangs out with 13 year olds for fun? He also tells Stacey that he’ll be back next summer (he’s from Germany) and she says, “I’ll be 14” and then he kisses her. HELLO THAT’S EVEN WORSE HE’LL BE 18 AND BARELY LEGAL.

that haircut doe

In the end, they barely make a profit from the camp. The greenhouse they renovated to make an office for the club ended up going to curmudgeonly Ellen Burstyn and they’re all friends again. All is right in the world of Stoneybrook. And despite the fact I don’t think a day camp is cool anymore and Ellen Burstyn is probably me in 20 years, this movie is still library card worthy.

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10 thoughts on “Camp Cookies + Sangria: Revisiting The Baby-Sitters Club Movie

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