BSC TV #1: Mary Anne and the Brunettes

“The Baby-sitters Club” (the TV show) aired in 1990 and consisted of 13 stand-alone episodes featuring the BSC gang. Until recently it was available to stream on Netflix, but if you want just a taste, you can always jam to the super catchy and super 90s theme song on YouTube:

The first episode of the BSC TV show was called “Mary Anne and the Brunettes”, in which shy Mary Anne (Meghan Lahey) has to compete with pretty and outgoing Marci (Randi Mollo) for the attention of Logan (Eric Lawton).

Even though I love both the show and the movie, I think I identify the characters more with the actors who played them on the TV show (most likely because I saw it first). But just Kristy (Avriel Hillman) doing the opening voiceover is so accurate and it seems completely the voice of Kristin Amanda Thomas.

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That being said, how did any of these people pass for 13 years old?! It seems more like the casting department went to the drama club at a community college to pick the girls.

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Dawn (Melissa Chasse) knows. But then again, I don’t think anyone involved in this production was super concerned with realism; in the opening montage, Kristy is seen bottle-feeding a pig.

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Welcome to Stoneybrook! The beginning of the episode (much like Chapter Two in every single regular BSC book) introduces us to each of the baby-sitters. It takes less time, because nobody has to describe Claudia’s kooky outfit – we can see it!

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The first post-credits scene also sets up Mary Anne’s relationship with Logan. When they’re on the phone at the meeting, the rest of the baby-sitters go “oooh” and tease her, which is much more of an age-thirteen thing than their appearances. Dawn points out that baby-sitting for the Rodowskys isn’t exactly a fun date, but look at Mary Anne – do you think she even knows what a fun date is?

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Then again, Logan’s big move is to tell Mary Anne she looks nice today, so maybe they’re a perfect match. (It must be the accent, because aside from that I can’t figure out why Logan Bruno is such hot shit in this town.)

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Wait, yes, Marci just confirmed it for me: “He’s got such a great personality… and I just love his accent.” Meanwhile, she doesn’t understand what he sees in Mary Anne: “she’s such a wimp.” Marci and her clique may look like they belong on the cover of a Girl Talk board game box, but she has a point.

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Marci stalks her prey at whatever store this is that sells earrings, makeup, sporting goods, and beach balls. (It’s like Macy’s mated with L.L. Bean.)

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And Kristy, bless her nosy little heart, spies on them so she can presumably report back to Mary Anne (and probably make everyone write about it in the BSC Notebook).

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Same, Kristy. Same. Marci’s got game. To be fair, Mary Anne may be a wimp, but she’s also the only who doesn’t lose her shit about Marci asking Logan to the dance. She’s like, “I trust my man!” and is generally pretty cool about things. That is, until Marci the Master Manipulator tells Mary Anne that Logan said he’d meet her at the skating rink and, when Logan shows up, rushes over to greet him. TBH I feel like I could learn a few things from Marci.

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Meanwhile, the Hot Bitch Squad of Stacey (Jessica Prunell), Claudia (Jeni Winslow), and Dawn snipes about Marci and her cronies and calls them Bruno’s Brunettes.

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Mary Anne should take a page from their book and throw down with Marci. But until she does, they’ve got her back… behind the other girls’ backs. (But, for real, they’ve got nothing on Kristy – she calls Marci a “balloon brain”. Keep walkin’ truth, Kristy.) Kristy also comes up with the brilliant plan to keep an eye on Logan at all times, and here’s where the episode becomes a sophisticated spy caper.

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Just kidding. Stacey may be sophisticated, but she can’t carry the whole team. The BSC just becomes a hot creepy mess as they stalk Logan. They finally convince Mary Anne to confront Logan, so while Marci is out presumably getting a bikini wax and a push-up bra, Mary Anne is in her bedroom practicing her speech in the mirror(s).

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To be “fair” (ha I love wordplay), Logan seems like a pretty good guy:

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He’s like, I’m from Kentucky and I am blowing up balloons and what the hell is up with Mary Anne?! If Mary Anne had just been like “what’s up with you and Marci?” he could have been like “nothing!” and they could have happily had their boring baby-sitting date. But instead, Mary Anne got to overthinking (like me) and then just snapped at Logan, leaving him feeling like a deflated balloon. She also basically told him to go to the costume party with Marci, so… sending some mixed messages there, M.A.

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Marci vs. Mary Anne gets literal when the two cliques face off in a tug-o-war competition. And when the baby-sitters win, they engage in an excessive celebration. (I mean, really. It’s tug-o-war at a middle school fair. Be cool.) Except for Mallory (Meghan Andrews), who is probably just thinking about how tragic she is.

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Despite being a generally good guy, Logan is apparently clueless and has a death wish, because he partners with Marci for the three-legged-race, and they win.

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This makes Mary Anne a double loser, because not only did she lose to her boyfriend and his stalker, but she has to be comforted by the Walking Disaster himself, Jackie Rodowsky (Danny Tamberelli), who is made up like The Joker and knows that shit is about to pop off.

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And it does, when Marci goads Mary Anne by saying “you never told me Logan was such a good kisser!”

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Honestly, Marci, why would you taunt someone who is holding a pie and looking for a victim? But, despite her brief moment of chutzpah, Mary Anne isn’t much brighter. When Logan shows up to baby-sit with her, she snaps at him again and tells him to just go to the party. So he does. Jackie Rodowsky is puzzled by this turn of events. “I thought you liked Logan,” he says.

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Jackie Rodowsky has a lot to learn about the nature of grown-up relationships, i.e. that they’re completely irrational. Or as Jackie says, “you’re not a jerk, Mary Anne, you’re just a little bit silly.”

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Let’s play a game called Guess Which Costumes Kristy Picked Out! Congrats, we all win. Marci and her clique dressed up like hippies, and appropriately look like they could be members of the 90s Manson Family.

BSC-TV-1-Mary-Anne-and-the-Brunettes-30-Marci-clique-hippiesAs much of a bossy pain in the ass as Kristy can be, she is fiercely loyal and sticks up for Mary Anne.

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This builds up to Kristy’s gleeful perpetration of the Garden Hose Massacre of 1990:

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#SquadGoals. When Mary Anne runs to the party to find Logan, she instead finds a pissed-off (and toweling off) Marci, who tells her that Logan stood her up and her friends did something vengeful.

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Mary Anne is pleased that, despite being “drippy”, her friends and her boyfriend stood up for her.

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Of course, Logan and Mary Anne finally meet up and make up:

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Their making up is rather tame, of course. Logan says, “you’re my friend, Mary Anne… you can always talk about your feelings with me.” To which I would have replied, “your friend?!” You have been going steady for eons in tween years, Logan. Grab a boob or something.

BSC-TV-1-Mary-Anne-and-the-Brunettes-39-Mary-Anne-Logan-holding-handsAll right, a hand, that’s fine. Mary Anne and Logan: a romance for the ages.

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