Monday, July 23, 2012

Analyzing The Baby-Sitters Club Members' Family Portraits

At the height of my Baby-Sitters Club devotion, circa 1991, I had a BSC calendar, and on one of the pages it had portraits/drawings of all the girls' families. 

And they used to drive me nuts

It was the first time I had ever seen illustrated depictions of the famous Stoneybrook families, and boy did I nitpick the heck out of them. I still do.

Let's take a look at them, shall we?

Stacey McGill

This one's pretty good overall. Stacey looks more or less how she's described in the books, with cool clothes (well, sweaters and miniskirts were pretty cool then) and wavy blonde hair. Her parents were divorced by this time, and as you can see, they are not standing close to one another. This is probably for the best. I am distracted by Mr. McGill's wrinkled jacket sleeve and how he's touching Stacey's shoulder with two fingers. It's like he's afraid of catching something from her. She's got Diabetes, dude, not the plague!

Claudia Kishi

Next we have Claudia with her mother, father, and sister, Janine. Mimi, her grandmother, has died in the books, yes, but we can't leave her out! So we'll include her portrait on the wall behind the rest of the Kishis! Wow! It's like she's not really dead, but merely peeking through a little window! "Hi, everyone! Mimi here! Remember lil ol me? This isn't creepy at all!"

Jessi Ramsey

 That's our Jessi, smack center. I know, I know, she looks like a 15-year-old boy rather than an 11-year-old girl, but what are you gonna do? Other than that, I always liked this portrait. Becca, the younger sister, looks cool. Squirt, the baby, looks properly cute. Aunt Cecelia looks evil, but... she was. The mom kind of looks like a sitcom mom and the dad is kind of attractive. Overall, pretty good.

Dawn Schafer & Mary Anne Spier

We get to double up for this one, because at this point in time, Dawn and Mary Anne had become stepsisters! In the front we have Dawn and Mary Anne, dressed in surprisingly cool outfits for the time period. Mary Anne's got her kitten, Tigger, there. Behind them you can see Mary Anne's dad and Dawn's mom, lookin' all nice together. And even though Jeff didn't live with them -- in fact, he lived 3,000 miles away -- they let him be in the picture. That's nice. Frankly, though, I'm surprised they didn't also include Dawn's dad off to one side, touching her with two fingers. Or how about a portrait of Mary Anne's deceased mother hanging just over her shoulder? Missed opportunities abound.

Kristy Thomas

And it's time for the humongo-families! Here's the Thomas-Brewer clan. You've got Kristy in the center, holding Emily, who's 2 1/2. Karen, 7, is the blonde with the glasses and her miniscule brother Andrew, 4, is below her. Kristy's hot older brothers are to her right, and to her left, the dog Shannon and her brother David Michael, also 7. Then there's Watson and Mom, and way over there to the side you've got grandma Nannie, who looks way too proud of herself. Like, "Yeah. I'm Nannie. I get to live here, too. Whatcha gonna do?" If you squint you can also see Boo-Boo the cat beside Karen. One regret: I'd have paid good money for the artist to draw in Morbidda Destiny peeking over the hedge. Alas.

Mallory Pike

 And finally, the Pikes. I saved this one for last because the picture bothers me so much. It always has. Can you guess which one's supposed to be Mallory? She's the one next to the strangely attractive father; her legs are sticking off to the side. Don't confuse her with the girl sitting below her, who is supposed to be 9-year-old Vanessa. Beside Vanessa is one of her 10-year-old triplet brothers. So you may be asking: why, pray tell, is Vanessa so huge? And why are her triplet brothers comparatively tiny? Wellll... maybe it's because, like many multiples, the triplets were born smaller than average and have always been small. Or maybe Vanessa's already starting to hit puberty aaaand the triplets are stunted. Or maybe Vanessa's sitting on a phone book, I DON'T KNOW! THE POINT IS THAT SHE IS HUGE AND HER OLDER BROTHERS ARE SMALL AND I DON'T LIKE IT. Also, Claire (front row) has stolen Nannie's too-cool-for-this-picture expression. Child, you're five years old. Your favorite expression is "Silly billy goo goo." Stop looking like Kristy's grandma!

So there you have it. The families didn't change much from this point (1991) until the end of the series (1999). Dawn did eventually move back to California to live with her dad, but she was still technically Mary Anne's stepsister. Oh, but then her dad got remarried, so that's another portrait waiting to happen. The Pikes gained a great-uncle or something for, like, a book. Oh, but then there's Abby, the oft-neglected Eighth Babysitter, but she wasn't around in 1991, so who cares?

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