If you’re looking for a show that will make you feel better about the state of the world, Netflix has got you sorted. “The Baby-sitters Club” launched on the streaming platform this week, and is already receiving rave reviews from critics and fans alike.
The millennials out there most likely know “The Baby-sitters Club” as a series of young adult novels that were written by Ann M. Martin, and published between 1986 and 2000. The series was made up of over 200 books and sold millions of copies, so it’s understandable why some even felt protective over the sanctity of the series and skeptical of an adaptation. For the millennial generation, the novels were an iconic symbol of tweenhood and adolescence. While the story follows four tween girls, don’t let that be a deterrent – the show is bound to make any age bracket smile, cry and laugh.
“The Babysitters Club” follows five tween girls – Kristy, Marry-Anne, Stacey, Claudia and eventually Dawn – who embark on a journey to start the Babysitters Club, an entrepreneurial task that they must navigate while also dealing with the issues of growing up. While each girl has their own archetype (the fashionable one, the artsy one, the quiet one, the tomboy) all of the characters are multi-faceted, and the show deals with a multitude of issues that will resonate with the audiences: divorce, illnesses, family, and women’s issues, to name a few.
Without spoiling anything, the show spans over 10 episodes and features up-and-coming young actresses as the main characters. Though you may notice some faces – another 90s icon, Alicia Silverstone, plays Kristy’s mother, coming full circle from her representation of ditzy teenager Cher Horowitz in Clueless. The show has managed to seamlessly place the story in 2020, through a combination of staying loyal to the show’s details, as well as inserting references that a modern audience easily spot. For example, the iconic Babysitters Club landline that is integral to the girls’ babysitting business is a completely clear see-through phone with colourful parts. When the girls interrogate if it works, Claudia wittily says: “The Etsy shop I bought it from said it was fully functional.”
This generational gap is also bridged by the show’s fashion, which has been highly praised. Cynthia Summers, the costume designer, has managed to make tween fashion fun, allowing all of the personality’s to shine through their clothes and effectively getting rid of any preconceptions of what a 13 year old girl typically wears. “It’s just the inspiration of being your own person and feeling so confident in presenting yourself uniquely, which is super hard for kids,” says Summers about the show’s style.
If that’s not enough, “The Baby-sitters Club” is also highly inclusive. Many applauded the series for its well-executed portrayal of a transgender child and gender identity altogether, and the show doesn’t hesitate to challenge it’s audience through subtle details: Claudia, of Japanese-American heritage, learns that her family spent time in a Japanese internment camp, bringing to light an often-neglected period of American history.
Many have dubbed the series the perfect adaptation of the book – high praise for such a beloved series. “The Baby-sitters Club” is a Netflix original, and is receiving better accolades than some of Netflix’s other releases. It’s the ultimate wholesome TV show, but sprinkled with lessons that are important for us to learn along the way.
So what are you waiting for? “The Baby-sitters Club” is available to stream on Netflix.
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