the best friends you’ll never have

Browsing in Kristy Thomas

Inspired by this series.

KRISTY is a very successful entrepreneur. I see her being a serial entrepreneur, always with the next great big idea. Social media, innovative new ideas for charity start ups, whatever, she’s into it. Watson probably gave her some seed money for her first venture, but she made it back ten fold and now gets her funding like anyone else. I have never had a clear read on Kristy’s sexuality as an adult, but whoever she marries would probably end up being a stay-at-home parent, and Kristy has four kids and tries to make it to as many of their softball games as she can.

CLAUDIA is a high school art teacher. New York was too expensive, and the practical Kishis wouldn’t support her art career financially. So she came back to Stoneybrook, and teaches art while taking care of her superbly dressed son with Alan Gray.

STACEY is like Lauren Santo Domingo, only insanely good at math. Worked for LVMH before starting her own fashion-related company. Has one kid, a husband in finance, a nanny, a housekeeper, an apartment in New York, and a house in the Hamptons.

MARY ANNE is a high school guidance counselor. She lives in a small seaside town in Maine, not far from Reese, with her husband, who is a chef at a restaurant frequented by wealthy tourists. Basically, she’s Susan Branch without the cookbooks.

DAWN lives in California and works for an environmental non-profit. Her husband was a lawyer, but they fought a lot, and now she’s divorced with two kids.

MALLORY lives in New York City and is a writer. I secretly think Mallory=Ann, even if Ann says Mary Anne was based on her. So just picture Ann’s life, and give her red hair.

JESSI went to Dance New York soon after the series ended. After a stint dancing professionally, she now teaches dance and is married to a fellow dancer with a daughter named Mary Rose.

ABBY decided she wanted to be on SNL. She didn’t make it, but turned her hilarious LA experiences into a successful blog, which landed her a position on the staff of a ladyblog. She is too independent for a partner of either sex, and prefers shorter affairs. She is thinking of adopting at a later date.

SHANNON used her facility with languages and general all-around brains to get a job with the State Department. She is still looking for Mr. Right, but her experiences with her family growing up have deep down soured her on the idea of marriage and family in general.

LOGAN stayed in Stoneybrook and married Dorianne Wallingford after she got pregnant at 19. He manages a sporting goods store. They have two boys and a girl. Dorianne writes an aspirational lifestyle/mommy blog, and she makes more money than Logan does with her sponsorships and whatnot.

Over at The Billfold, Nicole Dieker has started a series called “How the Baby-Sitters Club Does Money.” So it’s basically BSC fanfiction, only she’s probably getting paid for it. She is imagining what the BSC will be like as adults, and what their financial/work situations will be like.

Now, as you might imagine, and as you probably do too, since you’re reading this blog, I always get a little protective whenever I see things written about the BSC outside of the fandom. Most of the BSC articles on BuzzFeed or Jezebel are going to be written by people who, at one point, “grew out of” the BSC, and probably haven’t thought about it in fifteen years or so. These articles frequently spell “Mary Anne” with a hyphen and “Jessi” as “Jessie.”

So far, this series contains no such mistakes. I can see that the author at least has a lot of BSC info floating around in her brain, although perhaps she has devoted less real estate to this information than the average Stoneybrookite reader. After two parts of this series have been published, I can say that she is batting 500, in Krusher parlance.

Her Mallory is enjoyable. Mallory has gained some prominence as a writer, even if she is self-publishing. I like any vision of Mallory in the future where she is not a loser. I bet that most of us relate way more to Mallory than we would ever admit. Also, she has Mallory be a part of a poly triad, and while it had never crossed my mind before, I can see that happening.

The Kristy one, though, I was not so fond of. Kristy is a mommyblogger after having a bunch of kids and a bunch of failed businesses. I don’t see Kristy as the mommyblogging type. Starting something like Babble and then somehow convincing Disney to buy it? Sure. But blogging, and just sitting there and not bossing anyone around, just typing her thoughts and dealing with photographs and design? Take a look at her first journal entry from Friends Forever:

First day with this new journal. Am inspired by Mary Anne and all she’s been through. Can’t imagine losing nearly everything I own in a fire. Can’t imagine losing nearly everything I own no matter how it happened. MA is being very brave. She managed to rescue her current diary (the little leather one with the lined, dated pages and the lock and key), which is about her only source of memories these days. Am going to start keeping journals and saving them somewhat fireproof. Think I’ll ask Watson if I can put them in his safe.

Kristy never writes her journal entires in complete sentences. She doesn’t want to spend the time. And working part time in a bank? No way. I also can’t see her ever accepting handouts from Watson. Kristy has always been a hardworker and very ambitious.

Now, I can see Dawn becoming a mommyblogger in the healthy living niche easily. She could use her blog as a platform to make herself feel better than everyone else, and her Vista diaries have been good practice for blogging. Mary Anne could get in with the Mormon mommybloggers with perfect houses and children, since she is so domestically inclined. But Kristy? Not enough power in just having a mommyblog.

Well, anyone who has been reading this blog or discussing the BSC with me on the Boards/LJ communities knows that my BSC OTP is Mary Anne and Cary. I am actually working on a C/M longform story for Baby-Sitters 100.

Why? I love their interactions in the series, especially in Friends Forever where he helps her out in Mary Anne’s Revenge and when they go mini-golfing in Claudia and the Disaster Date. I am decidedly NOT a Kristy/Cary shipper. I felt like their relationship was based on mutual annoyance with an undercurrent of grudging respect, not that they butted heads due to unresolved sexual tension. (I mean, as much sexual tension as you can have with a fellow thirteen-year-old.)

With Mary Anne and Cary, I feel like Mary Anne brings out Cary’s sensitive side and Cary makes her braver. They complement each other well. Cary is actually a very creative and artistic soul, and Mary Anne would totally understand him. Aww.

Is this even a contest? Can you actually have an answer other than “Patrick Thomas” and not catch flack for it? He left and doesn’t send child support, does that weird thing where he secretly visits Kristy and won’t let her tell anyone, and doesn’t invite his youngest son to his wedding to Zoey, leading to fandom speculation that David Michael is not Patrick’s biological son.

And then he talks about having kids with Zoey! Nooo! Why did Zoey marry him? She seemed like a cool lady. Big mistake, Zoey.

An interesting thing that I have been noticing lately is that a lot of people seem to dislike Watson now, if you read BSC Snark. I haven’t read that many LS books, but he certainly seems to come off worse in those, especially in Karen’s Stepmother.

Poor Kristy, I guess. Although I have to say that I enjoy the development of Kristy and Watson’s relationship over the course of the series.

Play along here, or in the comments, or in your own blog (leave me a link!).

This one is easy. Kristy Thomas, Dog Trainer. GOD. This book is boring AND a bummer. You get that girl Deb, who never comes up again, I don’t think, and she is just so angry about getting glaucoma. And I bet everyone who has ever read this book periodically freaks out about getting glaucoma now (OH MY GOD AM I SEEING HALOS AROUND LIGHTS?), the way we all also think that we are developing Diabetes I if we are excessively thirsty.

Then the primary plot is also kind of a bummer, because we know that they will eventually have to give Scout UP and the kids will be sad about it. And isn’t it this book where Andrew Brewer is kind of just really pathetic and sad and you feel bad for this kid because he has had so much upheaval in his short life, and now his family is all, “Oh look, a puppy, BUT YOU CAN’T KEEP IT, HA HA.”

The Brewers, to poor little Andrew

There is something that is just so heartbreaking that whole thing about Andrew thinking that maybe, just maybe, if he proves that he is a good dog owner, they’ll let him keep Scout for his very own pet. That may be in Mary Anne in the Middle, not this one, though. (That book is another clunker. Jessi is TERRIBLE in that book, and I generally like Jessi.) The whole Scout storyline is just a bummer. Basically, I firmly believe that there should be some kind of blog that tells you whether or not a dog dies at the end of a book or movie, so I know not to read or watch it. No, I have never seen Old Yeller, AND I NEVER PLAN TO. I know that Scout doesn’t die, and she goes on to really help a blind person lead a better life, but still. They have to say good-bye to the dog! Sad! Someone Andrew or Emily Michelle’s age isn’t really going to understand what’s going on. Another example of great parenting by the Thomas-Brewers, like surprising your kids with a new sibling without dealing with how it’s going to affect the family dynamic.

Anyway, my general opinion on Kristy books is that they are most interesting when Kristy is attempting to deal with a world she is not quite ready for. (Kristy + Bart = ?, Mind Your Own Business, Kristy!.) They are most boring when they deal with things Kristy IS ready for, like Doing Good and Baseball (Kristy at Bat is nice for the Watson-and-Kristy relationship stuff, but still, BASEBALL, and Kristy and the Walking Disaster, blecch except for the Bart storyline). Dog Trainer does not deal with things that interest me, mainly fashion and boys.

Honorable mention for suckage, however, goes to Kristy For President because OH GOD, JAMIE NEWTON AND THE BIKE SUBPLOT. Is there a more BORING subplot in the entire series? No. No, there is not. But props to the writer, for making us really feel the TORTURE that Jamie puts the sitters through. Reading the damn subplot is torture. So meta.

Second day of the Challenge! Remember, if you’d like to play along, you can do it in the comments, at the original thread, or on your own blog, like Donica at SMS Cafeteria.

And now, without further adieu: Least Favorite Sitter!

Much like with the “Favorite Sitter” question, anyone who reads this blog or is vaguely acquainted with me probably already knows the answer. Logan. Bruno. Shall I count the ways?

Logan is basically the opposite of my ideal guy. Jock, pushy, makes lame MAN JOKES. Logan is the kind of person who finds Two and a Half Men to be an example of a truly great sitcom.

Then there is the whole Mary Anne-and-Logan relationship, which was at its best in FF#3, when she finally got rid of his ass once and for all. Why does their relationship bug me so much? MA&L represent some kind of bizarre, unpopular quiet girl wish fulfillment. It was always believable for Stacey to have tons of boyfriends. Kristy and Bart were more like friends who played baseball and then sometimes also went to the movies and dances together, and when Bart wanted more, Kristy freaked out. Ben Hobart and Mallory had a cute, clandestine, redheaded relationship. Ok, maybe Quint was a creeper. But this isn’t “creepiest eleven-year-old horndog;” this is “least favorite sitter.”

MA&L had a very serious, adult relationship, in eighth grade. And it was just never believable to me that this popular jock also baby-sat and was into Mary Anne because she was shy and sensitive. What. Girl was barely out of braids when they got together. I also could never see strict Richard sanctioning something like that for Mary Anne. My parents would have been freaked out by the intensity, and they were nowhere near as strict as Richard.

I feel like that whole relationship gave the girls who read the series the idea that when they were in eighth grade, some hunky guy with a cute accent would transfer into their school and love them for their true selves. Let’s face it, those of us who obsessively read the BSC, no matter how awesome we are now, probably were not the most desired girls in our middle schools. We were not the Staceys. Most of us, myself included, probably see more of our middle school selves in Mallory’s “Spaz Girl” experience than Stacey being too pretty to be a part of the cheerleading squad. And that, besides his controlling jerkhead personality, is why I dislike that whole storyline/Logan Bruno so much.

Over at the BSC Boards, user bookwormv1 has come up with a 30 Day BSC Challenge. Play along there, in the comments here, on tumblr, wherever! If you want to play along somewhere other than here in the comments or in the original post, put a link in the comments!

So the first day asks the classic question of which Sitter is your favorite. I think that everyone who has read this blog for a while or interacted with me in the fandom knows my answer to this question. I’m a dyed-in-the-wool Stacey McGill girl. I will defend her through all sorts of criticism: being a crappy friend/bitch (have you interacted with a middle school girl lately? Stacey’s pretty darn nice, comparatively!), sluttiness (girl can’t help it if she has game), whatever.

Stacey is super smart, and not afraid to show off her brains. She is stylish. She is independent. I can relate to her more than any of the other sitters.

It is interesting, though, how my favorite sitter has changed over the years. When I first started reading the series, I liked Kristy, because I fancied myself quite the tomboy and very much wished to be athletic, and admired her leadership qualities/bossiness. There was a Dawn stage, where I, too, was interested in the environment and wanted very very long hair. Claudia appeals to my artistic side, although frankly, her spelling is just too bad for me to justify removing Stacey from the top spot.

Interestingly, despite a lifelong affinity for writing and reading, Mallory has never even cracked the top five.

So while I’m still thinking about The Summer Before and what I want to say about it (thank god this site is just a hobby and I’m not a paid reviewer because I’d be fired), I decided to take a little detour into one of my weird hobbies: personality tests. I decided to do Myers-Briggs quizzes for each of the sitters. (I’m ENFP, by the way.)

The first sitter I did is, of course, Madame President, Kristin Amanda Thomas. For Kristy, when I took the test pretending to be her, I got:

ESTJ – “Administrator”. Much in touch with the external environment. Very responsible. Pillar of strength. 8.7% of total population.

Free Jung Personality Test (similar to Myers-Briggs/MBTI)

According to this website, ESTJs are:

organized, group oriented, focused, conventional, leader, emotionally stable, anal, attention seeking, planner, realistic, fearless, responsible, finisher, decisive, norm following, respects authority, punctual, hard working, stiff, self confident, thinks rules and regulations are important, follows the rules, clean, outgoing, social, content, does not like being alone, normal, regular, does not like weird or strange people / things – intolerant of differences, strict, disciplined, aggressive, assertive, content, happy, proper, formal, strict with self, meticulous, strong sense of purpose

and their best careers are:

executive, ceo, supervisor, business consultant, manager, strategist, financial planner, business person, office manager, public relations manager, international business specialist, business analyst, management consultant, operations manager, loan officer, lawyer, marketing, sports management, government employee, investment banker

I would say this is pretty accurate for Kristy, except that she has a pretty good sense of humor (perhaps not about herself, but in general) in the later books–maybe that’s just the Lerangis effect, though. I can definitely see her doing any of the careers suggested for ESTJs.

I feel like it’s high time that I wrote something here on the rereleases, but I’ve had a hard time deciding how I feel about them. I am kind of bummed that 2010 is shaping up to be the biggest year in BSCland since ten years ago, when the series ended, and I’m not living in a country where I can really fully participate in what’s going on. The only way I’ll be able to access any of the new books until July is if Amazon decides to put them on the Kindle (go to the pages for the books on and let them know you want them on the Kindle! Do it for me, and, I guess, fans who want to read the books on the subway without anyone else knowing and other BSC fans living abroad who have an ipod touch and the Kindle app), or if someone types up an ebook of them and I can find it somewhere, although I feel that the attitude of the fandom will be similar to the attitude that is taken toward the graphic novels and Main Street. They’re in print, so let’s vote with our dollars and let Scholastic know that these should continue to be published.

Anyway, now that the personal stuff is out of the way, one of the biggest controversies is how the series will be updated. We know that the clothes and hairstyles will be changed to reflect current trends–although, frankly, are trends today (leggings! oversize!) all that different, except now we’ve combined acid-wash jeans and leggings to make JEGGINGS? I’m wearing jeans with zippers on the bottom right now, a style I first was made aware of by the Club. Fresh! Also, the new outfits I’ve heard of so far (featured in the prequel) sound way more hideous. From the USA Today blog post:

Claudia was wearing willowy black pants, cinched at the waist with a drawstring, and a boldly patterned summer shirt with ties that she was adjusting around her midriff. Her
midriff would have been bare, but Claud had slithered into a lacy black tank top before she’d put on the shirt. On her feet were delicate silvery sandals, and her hair, which was looooooong and thick, was held away from her face with two silver combs.

I kind of feel like this isn’t much different from the outfits featured in the series in the late 90s, rather than something a modern 13-year-old would concoct out of thrift store finds and Forever 21. I think Modern Claud would dress like Tavi.

Another issue the reissues bring up is what they’re planning on updating besides the fashions. One thing that has never really sat right with most people in the fandom is the “We don’t care if Jessi is black! We’d like a girl if she were PURPLE and a good sitter!” Even other series of the same time, such as the Saddle Club, didn’t make such a big deal about having a character of a different race, if they reissue the series up until the point where Jessi comes into the picture. See also: Claudia being “exotic.”

Also, I’m sure they’d have to update medical stuff in regard to Stacey. Perhaps she’ll have an insulin pump decorated with glitter or something for her by Claud!

As far as Kristy and Mary Anne go… I don’t know what they’ll update for Mary Anne, because Mary Anne’s early wardrobe seemed very fifties even in the 80s and 90s. I’m having a hard time with modern readers buying the excuse that Watson and Elizabeth need to get married right away so they don’t end up living in sin.

What do you think they’ll update? What would you be sad to see go? What would make you glad?

If anybody in the BSC thinks about doing something even remotely non-kosher, Kristy Thomas is there to wail about the potential fate of the Club. Mary Anne brings Logan over to play with Jake Kuhn? We’re RUINED! Stacey gets accused of stealing a ring–we’ll go out of business!

But like Bernie Madoff carefully making sure that everything in his office was arranged perfectly while he was busy defrauding people of billions of dollars, beneath Kristy’s superior, moralistic exterior lies a person who has made some pretty big mistakes in her life. What would Mrs. Newton, who fired a sitter for smoking a cigarette (a big sin in Stoneybrook), think if she knew that Kristy had a hand in graffiti-ing the equipment shed?

Stacey, while kind of having a rep has the resident Bad Girl of the BSC, turned down the alcohol at the concert. She followed her mother’s mildly illogical rule about staying in the kitchen with boys. Kristy thought that her mom and Watson’s rule about no significant others didn’t apply to her and Bart. As an athlete, she refused the offer of a cigarette, but she had few qualms about grabbing a can of spray paint to feel like part of a team.

And when Mary Anne needed to sneak out of her house in Mary Anne’s Revenge, who instructed her on how to do it? Not Claudia. Not Dawn, who has been involved in sneaking away to head shops/tea places in California. Nope, it’s Kristy who helps her out.

What should be made of Kristy’s dual nature? Is it that special kind of self-sabotage that is often found in great leaders, like talented and intelligent politicians who just can’t help themselves when it comes to adultery? Or does she simply not hold herself accountable to her own moral standards?

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