the best friends you’ll never have

If you read BSC Snark, you will have noticed that in the last week or so, there has been a rash of anti-Stacey snarks and comments. And longtime readers of this blog know that I am an inverterate fan of Stacey. So I thought I’d just talk about how I view Stacey, and why I like Stacey so much.

Part of the reason I like her so much is BECAUSE she is flawed. She makes mistakes, like putting boys before friends, or ditching her BSC friends for cool new ones, or the entire plot of Stacey’s Secret Friend. But these mistakes are ones that lots of girls make during their middle school/high school years–and some make their whole lives–and Stacey making these mistakes, and learning from them, helps younger BSC readers see the folly of prioritizing a dumb boy who will only cheat on you later over Claudia, or ditching your true-blue BFFs for some other girls who promise excitement, but will only get you in trouble when they sneak airplane bottles of wine in their flop socks into a U4Me concert. You don’t learn these kinds of lessons from Fandom Saint Janine Kishi. (No hate on Janine here, though; I <3 Janine.) Is Stacey basically a hosebeast throughout all of Stacey’s Secret Friend, as the latest snark of this book posits? Of course! But she also learns that she is a hosebeast in the end, and understands that this caused her to miss out on having a really cool friend from PARIS, a city even more impossibly sophisticated than New York.

The other reason I like Stacey is because I relate to her. We have similar interests and family situations. But I can also relate to Mallory in some ways, and this was especially when I was in middle school. I think a lot of people who are involved in the fandom relate to Mallory, and this is perhaps why Stacey, the most popular baby-sitter throughout the entire run of the series, gets so much hate within it. Most of us–myself included–were the Tesses or the Spaz Girls or the uncool friend thrown over for cool new ones. We did not have cool permed hair and sophisticated designer wardrobes.

As children reading the books, however, we might not have realized our eventual fate, and probably some girls who were reading the book and idolized Stacey did become that girl in middle or high school. Stacey represents a cool, sophisticated, permed fantasy, and this is why she was always so popular. Now, I would say I like Stacey best because of the aforementioned ways I relate to her, and the fact that her plots are generally the ones I find to be the most interesting. I also like that she is arguably the most intelligent of the BSC, if you don’t count associate member Shannon. I haven’t kept track, but I would guess that when I do go back to reread BSC, I probably reach for Stacey books the most.

Where do you fall in the Pro-Stacey/Anti-Stacey debate?

9 Responses To This Post

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m said, August 6th, 2014 at 3:36 pm

Stacey is my favorite, by far, no question. She was my favorite when I read the series as a kid, because she was just so cool and sophisticated and glamorous. I also think a lot of her plots in the books were meatier and prove more interesting to reread as an adult than what some of the other members had going on.

While growing up I went through phases of being a Mallory, a Mary Anne, a Kristy, and even a Stacey for a couple very boy-crazy years in high school. I made a lot of the same mistakes Stacey made growing up. As a kid I loved the Stacey books because I wanted to be just like her; as an adult I enjoy them because I can see just how imperfect Stacey is and it adds some new dimension to her stories that I never really picked up on as a kid.

Myu said, August 6th, 2014 at 5:35 pm

I pretty much feel the same way as you, apart from the identifying with Stacey part (our characters are not particularly similar).
I don’t think I would have said that Stacey was my favourite character while I was growing up, but I do realise that I’ve always liked her and books she narrated are probably quite prominent in my list of favourites. I think for the most part she came across well in other sitters’ books as well, which counts a lot for me as I think a lot of the characters are completely unlikeable in books that aren’t narrated by them (I find Kristy is especially bad for this). I liked Stacey’s plots and I agree that she seems to realise her faults in the end more than the others do.

greer said, August 7th, 2014 at 4:25 am

@m: yeah, I think we tend to see our favorite characters as infallible when we’re little, and then see how they are actually being portrayed as making mistakes when we reread as adults.

@Myu Stacey wasn’t my favorite character growing up either; I liked Kristy/Dawn/Claudia. I also think there are times where a sitter is having a problem, and Stacey tends to offer good advice and a more nuanced perspective. So sophisticated ;)

Eowyn said, September 4th, 2014 at 4:01 pm

I liked her. The only one I really didn’t care for was Dawn for reasons to complicated to explain under a Stacey post. For many readers Stacey was either the girl you wanted to be or the girl you hated because you knew you could never be her.

Eowyn said, September 4th, 2014 at 4:06 pm

Oh and I second Myu’s, “I think a lot of the characters are completely unlikeable in books that aren’t narrated by them (I find Kristy is especially bad for this)” but to be fair Kristy was the only one regularly called out on her flaws by the other character. Everyone was willing to admit she was bossy. In Stacey’s case it was she how acknowledge her flaws. Yet when it came to the other characters – you’ve read the books too.

Eowyn said, September 4th, 2014 at 4:07 pm

Type above: she who acknowledged her flaws.

greer said, September 4th, 2014 at 4:18 pm

@eowyn: I think either wanting to be her, or knowing you couldn’t, was definitely a big part of the Stacey divide.

I kind of like Kristy’s obnoxiousness. It’s funny sometimes.

Isabel Escalante said, November 22nd, 2014 at 10:25 pm

Oh yes, Stacey was my favorite sitter growing up as well. We share some of the same interests— I’m into clothes and fashion, I prefer the city over the country, I can’t stand the mention or sight of vomit, and when I was in the 8th grade, I had a crush on a teacher (he was 25; the one Stacey had a crush on was 22), but I’m not at all good at Math. And it’s much more interesting to read about characters who have their flaws and their redeemable qualities, instead of characters who are just plain mean and hateful, or Purity Sues who NEVER make a wrong decisión.

greer said, November 24th, 2014 at 8:45 am

@Isabel That’s an interesting point–for a series that was so formulaic in many ways, even the main characters were given real flaws, and not just cute ones like Bella being clumsy in Twilight.

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