the best friends you’ll never have

I started writing this in August and finished it today. Yes, I do have many drafts of unfinished blog posts sitting around. Some of them may eventually get finished. But you may never get to read “Ben Hobart: Manboy of Mystery,” sorry. Also, I haven’t heard anything else about a new B&B-H since.


Recently Six months ago, I read that Beavis and Butt-Head, like Futurama before it, is soon coming back to TV with all-new episodes. I am of two minds about this: one is that I really love B&B-H, and the only thing in my childhood that could tear me away from spending all weekend inside reading BSC books was spending all weekend inside watching B&B-H marathons. But somehow, it seems to me that new episodes of TV shows past their glory days somehow fall flat. When I watched the new Futurama, something about Bender seemed totally off to me, and I really had no desire to watch anymore after the first new episode. I have a feeling that I’ll feel the same way about B&B-H: for five minutes I’ll be excited about the OOOH SHINY of a new B&B-H episode, and then… eh. Probably because for me, the best part of the show is when B&B-H watch music videos, and I hate music today, for the most part. I don’t give a shit what B&B-H say about Lady Gaga because she’s neither awesome (Nirvana!) or totally full of amazing amounts of suckiness (the Scat-Man guy). To me, it’s just… eh.

Or it might be totally awesome and I’ll love it. You never know.

Anyway, the reason I bring this up is because that is how I have felt about The Summer Before. It took me a long time to get around to reading it (shipping charges are a bitch and it’s better to wait), and I still haven’t really decided how I feel about it, which is why it’s taken me almost two months a long time to get around to writing about it.

The BSC “graduated” the same year I did, and the first book came out the month after I was born–I was actually supposed to be born in August, but I was a scheduled c-section and the doctor was on vacation during my due date. I was THISCLOSE to being in perfect symmetry with the BSC! Sadface. To me, it always felt like a special thing that the BSC ended before I made it to high school. I was never one of those people who was clamoring for a reunion book. I much preferred to be free to imagine what the girls would be doing, rather than knowing that Kristy became class president in senior year and then majored in business or whatever.

So I was glad that they went with a prequel instead; this way, we are still free to imagine their futures and write fanfiction. (I used to write it, and this morning I totally got into the idea of writing some Emily Bernstein fanfiction, but I probably won’t.) [Note: I have since started participating in Baby-Sitters Club 100.] But still, even with just a prequel, there is something strange about removing the BSC from their time and writing it now. First of all, I don’t think thirteen year olds and eleven year olds really baby-sit anymore. Most eleven year olds I know still need a baby-sitter of their own. Even with the updated rereleases of the series, which remove references to things like VCRs and The Cosby Show, the world has changed in the past 25 years in way that almost renders the entire series moot.

As a rule, I’m generally opposed to remakes and revivals. I’m working on a thesis dealing with punk at the moment, and one of the things in one of the books I just read, Punk Rock: So What?, basically says that punk revivals invariably ring false, an attitude that I have always agreed with. You can listen to Nirvana and enjoy it, just don’t start a neo-grunge band. Because outside of the cultural context and time into which it was born, grunge just doesn’t make sense. It becomes something false and manufactured from some idea of nostalgia.

While I enjoyed The Summer Before, for the most part, I’m not really in favor of any more BSC books, and still have conflicting feelings about it. The series’ time has passed, although new generations can and should continue to enjoy it. But outside of the late 80s/early 90s, when it was contemporary, I’m just not sure how it’s possible that the concept can really “work,” how legitimate a new BSC book can be.

5 Responses To This Post

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Myu said, January 16th, 2011 at 4:59 pm

Interesting post. I was also born the year the BSC was published (albeit in April) and I’ve never been keen on a reunion book either.
How is the writing itself? Do you feel that AMM’s style/tone differs a lot, or has she managed to retain the feel of the books?

greer said, January 17th, 2011 at 12:23 am

@myu: I think she’s improved as a writer over the years. The Summer Before definitely focused more on the characters’ inner lives, I think. I thought the Kristy Day stuff was corny and Claudia was kind of bitchy and Stacey not bitchy enough. But I really just need to write a review of the whole thing.

corduroyspocket said, January 17th, 2011 at 6:36 pm

I’ll bet Stacey would listen to an (MTV-sponsored) punk band like Good Charlotte if she felt like being “edgy”. cause you know, Benji is OMGSOCUTE!!!

greer said, January 18th, 2011 at 2:05 am

@corduroyspocket: heh, maybe, but I don’t think Good Charlotte are really considered “cool” anymore.

Melissa said, January 19th, 2011 at 1:57 am

I think Stacey would really be into reality dating shows now since most people are into reality dating shows (especially if you want to meet and date your favorite celebrity like brett michaels or flavor flav.)

i’m not so sure about a reunion either but i plan to write one on my blog once i’m done reeading the series.

p.s. kristy’s part in the summer before book was actually pretty sad and i thought mary anne’s part was kinda boring because richard is still strict with her until later on. And omg i wanted to smack claudia in that book (i really felt sorry for janine in the book.) kristy and stacey too.

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