We’re getting up there in the numbers of the BSC series, but we’re not even halfway there yet! So let’s jump right in today shall we?
In book sixty-one, Jessi and the Awful Secret, we veer away from the major group of the BSC a lot and focus more on Jessi and her dance school friends. One of her classmates, Mary, begins acting strangely and becomes very concerned about her weight. Jessi realizes that she is likely anorexic, or at the very least in the early stages of it and headed for disaster. While Mary is the one with the serious problem, Jessi is faced with the dilemma of whether or not she should tell someone what she suspects about Mary.
Episode-ability: 7. This deals with some heavy issues, but they don’t happen to a member of the BSC. I wonder if they could transfer the storyline over to Jessi? Making Jessi have an eating disorder seems out of character for her, so I guess a lot would depend on what they deal with in future episodes. Even so, I suppose the idea of Jessi needing to figure out what to do when someone else is in trouble – do you tell or not? – could also be good episode content.
In mystery seven, Dawn and the Disappearing Dogs, there’s a dog-napper on the loose in Stoneybrook! The BSC first becomes involved when Dawn is pet sitting for the Mancusis and their Great Dane, Cheryl, disappears on Dawn’s watch. At first they believe she ran away but when Kristy’s dog Shannon also somehow gets loose from her lease without breaking it, it becomes clear that something is afoot. Soon, more and more dogs seem to be going missing under very suspicious circumstances. The BSC does some sleuthing and eventually solves the mystery!
Episode-ability: 1. I’m not even sure if I have a zero episode-ability rating, but I gave this one a super low rating. I didn’t dislike the story, but I don’t think it would make a particularly interesting episode to watch AT ALL. The mystery is semi-interesting, but it’s also very, very clear what’s happening early on in the story (but again, that’s what I get for being an almost forty year old adult woman reading books for ten years olds!).
The sleuthing aspect could be fun for an episode, but is not particularly realistic. It kind of reminded me of Ghostwriter episode, where the kids are always involved in various investigations.
In book sixty-two, Kristy and the Worst Kid Ever, the Papadakis family is taking in a foster child. Everyone is excited to meet the new kid, but then they are sorely disappointed when Louisa “Lou” McNally shows up. From their first encounter, Kristy realizes that Lou is a force to be reckoned with. She’s surly and stubborn and resents all the rules the Papadakis family has. She quickly earns the nickname “the worst kid ever.” It isn’t until Dawn has a breakthrough with her that they realize that Lou is struggling with what has happened to her family (her mother left, her father died and she and her brother are separated in the foster system), and then they are able to turn the situation around for Lou a bit.
Episode-ability: 8. There’s enough interesting content in this book and the girls learn a lesson about understanding the experiences of the children they’re working with. The BSC doesn’t work with a lot of so-called troubled children; before this book, their experience with “bad kids” was more along the line of snobby or bratty, or very mildly misbehaved. Lou is a whole new story, and they ultimately learn something new in the process of figuring out how to help her. So based on that alone, this might be good episode fodder.
In Jessi and the Jewel Thieves, the eighth mystery, Jessi and Stacey head to New York for an exciting weekend. Stacey is visiting her dad and Jessi is visiting her quasi-boyfriend, Quint who is performing in a ballet. She spends much of the weekend hanging out with him and his family. On Friday evening, they are watching a movie when they overhear a fight from the apartment across the way. They hear a plan for a jewelry heist, and spend the rest of the book in fear that the robbers are going to get them for eavesdropping on the conversation. In between these fears, they are still sightseeing and going to lunches and seeing Quint’s dance show… where the robbers happen to show up. Spoiler Alert: in the end, the “robbers” turn out to be actors rehearsing scenes.
Episode-ability: 4. This book was fun to read, but had a very silly ending when it all came down to it. Very little character growth occurred. However, as a BSC mystery goes, so far it was one of the better ones, even if – in the end – there really wasn’t a mystery at all!
In book sixty-three, Claudia’s
Freind Friend, Claudia teams up with an unlikely ally, Shea Rodowsky, to share their experiences with learning difficulties. It is discovered that Shea has dyslexia, and Mrs. Rodowsky calls on the BSC to tutor him. While Mary Anne originally takes the job, it is during a sitting job that Claudia starts working with Shea and they find that they are able to help each other. In other news, Stacey is tutoring Claudia in English and it is affecting their friendship as Claudia feels Stacey is being too hard on her. In a cute little side plot, the BSC charges send the sitters anonymous notes and end up throwing a little surprise thank you party for them.
Episode-ability: 5. It was an “eh” plot. The stuff with Claudia and Shea helping each other out was really cute, and there was a conflict between Stacey and Claudia, but I don’t think it’s enough to build an entire episode of a series on.
The Spiers and the Schafers are at odds again in book sixty-four, Dawn’s Family Feud. Jeff is coming for a visit, and Dawn is thrilled to see her brother and go on a family vacation. However, things get tense pretty quickly between Jeff and Mr. Spier, and Jeff defaults to his surly mode. When they ultimately go on vacation to Boston, the family is constantly split up, with Dawn, Jeff and their mom going to some places while Mary Anne and her father go to other places. Eventually, Richard and Sharon blow up at the kids about this, and everything comes to a head in a disastrous family portrait session. However, they also all make up during the portrait session, so it isn’t all bad!
Episode-ability: 8. I think that at some point in the series, it would be good to show Dawn and Mary Anne at odds. However, this is also kind of a recycled plot point so they may cover it if they ever get to the episodes in which Mr. Spier and Mrs. Schafer get married. Also, being as they seemed to have cut Jeff out of the series entirely, it might be strange to suddenly introduce him. However, if they did, I know that I would find his character so infuriating in the story. I was totally on board with Dawn: she was trying to be loyal to her brother, but also admitting that he was being a jerk much of the time for absolutely no reason at all!
In book 65, Stacey’s Big Crush, Stacey once again makes a questionable crush choice on an older man. This time she’s gone even older than Scott the Lifeguard. In this book, the object of her affections is the student teacher for her math class, twenty-two year old Wesley Ellenberg (but you can call him Wes). Stacey once again convinces herself that her crush returns her feelings, and she is able to justify why their MASSIVE age different (nine years… when one of those people is THIRTEEN) isn’t a problem. Of course, Stacey ends up with a broken heart… again.
Episode-ability: 2. As a teacher, I hope they never make this an episode. I was cringing constantly during this book, at both Stacey’s behavior and then towards the end at Wes’ behavior. Benefit of the doubt for Wes: has no idea Stacey has a little crush on him at first, and is simply asking her to essentially be a monitor. However, once he learns of the crush, he agrees to dance with her at the school dance until finally he has to pull her aside and discuss the fact that her crush is inappropriate. I really feel like this should’ve happened from the get go: as soon as he realized she was crushing on him, the conversation should’ve happened. In any case, I don’t think we need another Boy-Crazy Stacey episode.
In mystery nine, Kristy and the Haunted Mansion, the Krushers and the Bashers are on their way home from an away game when they get caught in a rainstorm. After getting turned around quite a bit, they try to retrace their steps (or tracks, as Charlie is driving), only to discover that the bridge they crossed over has washed away. They are able to take shelter in a old house run by a caretaker… and there they discover the mystery of Dorothy, a young woman who lived in the house who mysteriously disappeared. After her presumed death, locals report seeing strange happenings at the mansion and assume it’s a ghost.
Meanwhile, back in Stoneybrook, everyone is worried about Kristy and her crew. The house they are staying in doesn’t have a phone, and they aren’t able to get in touch with anyone, leaving everyone else stuck in the storm with nothing to do.
Episode-ability: 4. Because of lack of character growth, I don’t think this would make a good episode. However, I also want to see it! I think it would be really fun to watch them spend the night in the “haunted” house!
In Super Special 10, Sea City Here We Come, it’s once again time for the annual Pike family trip to Sea City! This time Mallory and Jessi are the sitters, and Stacey is helping Mrs. Barrett who is renting the house next door. The rest of the BSC is invited for the second week of the trip, but first they have their own summer plans to get through. Claudia is in summer school, Mary Anne and Dawn are running a mini-camp and Kristy is trying to get through one last game of the Kristen’s versus the Bashers with a smaller-than-usual team. Once they all reunite in Sea City, a hurricane threatens to ruin their good time.
Episode-abilty: 4. There was just way too much going on in this book to make a good episode. And honestly as Super Specials go, it was a little lackluster. There were too many narrators and that made it hard to really get into any one storyline. And even the main plot of the hurricane was practically over before it had begun. There was a small amount of tension associated it but ultimately nothing really happened.
Reader’s Request: Logan Bruno, Boy Babysitter is the first book that I have to admit I kind of skimmed my way through. It covered Logan’s involvement with a group of “bad boys” at school (seriously they are literally called The Badd Boyz). Trust me when I say you already know how this goes: Logan makes some questionable choices, it negatively affects his relationships with the people worth being friends with, he gets in trouble and vows not to hang out with a group like that again.
Episode-ability: 1. I’m just going to be completely biased and say because I didn’t like this book, I don’t want it to be an episode. Not that I don’t like the Logan from the show, but it’s not about him. We don’t really need to go there. There’s plenty of Logan material to be had in conjunction with Mary Anne. Stick to that!
And so we finish this latest installment. Moving on to books 66-70 and whatever extras come with that section! Already thinking of moving on to Sweet Valley High (which I never actually read as a kid) or R.L. Stine’s Fear Street books (which I loved) after I finish all of these… but that’s way down the road at this point, and perhaps a project for 2021.