Monday, April 29, 2013

"My, isn't" BSC #51: Stacey's Ex-Best Friend (1992)

Stacey's New York best friend, Laine Cummings, has a week off school and Stacey talks her into coming to visit Stoneybrook for the week. But Laine thinks Stoneybrook is lame and Stacey's friends are immature and her interest in babysitting is childish. Things come to a head during the Valentine's Dance at school, which Laine attends, and Laine goes home Stacey's ex-best friend. And except in flashback and references to the past, she's never heard from again.

In the B plot, the BSC has put together a V-Day party for the kiddies of Stoneybrook. Carolyn Arnold and Nicky Pike are excited because they each have a crush on someone attending the party, and the BSC assume they like each other. It turns out, though, that Carolyn likes James Hobart and Nicky has a crush on Carolyn's twin, Marilyn, and the crushes like them back. Yay, happy ending.

Interesting Tidbits

Stacey says her parents got divorced a few months ago. A lot (twenty-three books worth) happened in those few months, including at least one summer vacation.

I remember being really jealous of Laine for getting a vacation in February. I grew up in the Midwest, and you get Christmas break and Spring break and that's it.

Stacey's so excited about Laine coming to visit that she just bulldozes ahead. She doesn't notice how unenthusiastic Laine sounds. (She also doesn't seem to notice that there's hints even before Laine shows up that they're drifting apart, such as having very different interests and forgetting to tell each other important things.)

Stacey says that they keep track of the rates the clients pay in the club record book. Does this mean that each family pays differently? Or do they have a per-child rate? Wouldn't sitting for, say, the Papadakises (who have three children) pay more than sitting for Charlotte Johanssen? They never fight over money in these books, but it would have been interesting to see.

Apparently, Dawn chews on pens. There is a special place in Hell for people who do this.

I've always liked the joint notebook entry between Stacey and Mallory that starts chapter three. I'm going to transcribe it (sorry, couldn't find a font with hearts over the Is):

Oh, a rainy day at the Pikes' house.
Hey, don't groan, Stacey. Remember who you're with. Me, Mallory. One of the Pikes. And I wasn't
(In case you couldn't tell, I just grabbed the pen away from Mallory.) Of course I didn't mean that Mal was part of the problem. Got that, you guys?
Are you saying that my brothers and sisters are a problem?
NO! For heaven's sake. All right. I'm going to start again. Okay, it was a gorgeous rainy Saturday. Mal and I were sitting for Mal's charming younger brothers and sisters....Mal, does this meet with your approval?
Yes, thank you.

Stacey's version of Claudia spelling: "It's a haliday! Come celabrat Vanentins day with the BSC."

When Stacey suggests that the Pikes make the invitations to the Valentine Masquerade, Adam replies, "Gnarly, man!" Given that it's 1992, I'd say this is due to too much Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Stacey, if you have to redecorate your bedroom before your friend comes, that's a sign that she doesn't like you the way you are and therefore, maybe you're not such good friends.

Laine's boyfriend King sounds special. He's originally described as wearing his long hair in a ponytail. Later we learn that the tips of his black hair are purple, and he does the bedhair look. He was emo before emo was invented.

Stacey orders a "hoagie" for the party to welcome Laine to town. My dad grew up in Rhode Island, and they're called "grinders" there.

Everyone gets all excited during the sleepover because To Kill a Mockingbird is on. 1) How have they ALL seen it before? 2) That's not exactly normal sleepover movie fare.

Real Claudia spelling: Marlyn, Carolin, abel, diferent, Carlin, sercrit, wont. She also uses their for they're, a part for apart, mad for made, and twines for twins. She also has a run on sentence and uses look instead of looking. (I found a book of "fashion designs" I had made when I was eight and my spelling was pretty similar to Claudia's. I had written LAURA'S FASHON DESINES" on the front.)

Stacey refers to the groundhog who sees his shadow as Sagatuck Sam.

Claudia helps the twins make pop-up, 3D cards. They're actually drawings in the book that demonstrate how to do it, in case the reader was inclined to steal the idea.

Mal and Stacey use a code to determine if Mal is going to walk to school with the BSC or with her brothers and sisters. Laine thinks it's stupid, but Stacey points out that she and Laine used to have a similar code. Laine is like, we were only ten! Well, Mal's only eleven! Sheesh!

Sweet!!! The Stacey bookmark advertised on the front cover of the book is still inside. I had all of these back in the day except Kristy.

Pete Black develops an instant crush on Laine and keeps staring at her when she comes to school for the day. He tells her she has hair like gossamer, and later that her eyes are limpid pools. From what kind of cheesy movies or books did he pick up lines like that?

Gasp! The cover shows something that actually happens in the book! This is during lunch at SMS, when Rick, Pete and Austin sat with the BSC and Rick and Austin made molecules out of the prunes and pretzels. It's the wrong kind of pretzels on the cover, though. (They'd have to be the stick kind, but the cover shows circles.) What kind of middle school cafeteria sells prunes anyway?

Gag! When King calls, he asks, "How's Babe?" and when Laine picks up the phone, she says, "Hi Heart. It's me, Babe." I know plenty of couples who call each other Babe, but never quite like that. Blech.

Stacey overhears Laine use the word childish on the phone with King while describing the Valentine's dance. Instead of catching on, Stacey assumes Laine must be talking about her babysitting charges.

Ben and Mallory got into a fight in the library and got kicked out. This cracks me up, especially as they were fighting over the card catalog. It's kinda like the episode of Glee where some of the dorkier kids figure they can get bad reputations if they sing MC Hammer in the library.

I think it's funny that Jessi has picked up on Laine not wanting to go to the dance when Stacey barely has. And Jessi wasn't even there during any of the dance related stuff with Laine!

Also, Mal and Jessi figure that all the bad stuff related to the dance (Bart wanting to stay home and watch "the game" instead of going--PROBABLY THE MOST REALISTIC THIRTEEN YEAR OLD BOY MOMENT IN THE WHOLE SERIES!; Mal and Ben fighting; Laine being iffy about going with Pete) is because the dance is on Friday the 13th. I guess it's because they're superstitious idiots. Or eleven. Whatever.

Oh, Kristy. Laine is talking at 5:30 when the BSC meeting starts, so Kristy interrupts her to call the meeting to order. When Laine complains, Kristy speaks to the assembled masses and points out that Laine is there (as if they didn't know). Then she says, "Will the guest please be quiet?" I guess it's more polite than yelling, "Pipe down!" but not by much.

How does Laine have a "real" job? Sometimes I think the ghostwriters forget that these girls are only supposed to be in middle school. I guess she could be fourteen and able to get work papers, but still.

How is it fair that the BSC meeting is cancelled because of the dance, but Claudia has to stay in her room and answer calls?

How is Stacey able to buy off a shopping network on television? They require you to be eighteen and have a credit card. I can't picture Stacey's mom loaning her a card to buy china clowns off infomercials, either.

Interesting fact: the Junk Bucket is now "at least four colors." Since I always picture it in my head as a VW Bug, I'm now picturing the Slugmobile, my friend's ex-husband's car from when they were dating. I'm the one who convinced him to paint it a bunch of colors and drew slugs on the roof. Maybe I got the idea from Charlie to begin with. Hmmm. (Interestingly, Stacey acknowledges that the BSC takes advantage of Charlie's good nature by bumming rides everywhere.)

Mistake? Austin (Stacey's date) and Pete show up with flowers, and Stacey tells Claudia that they brought us flowers. She should have been talking to Laine.

Continuity: Bart asks what band is playing, and Stacey reminds us that Bart plays in a band himself, which is mentioned in #38.

Laine freaks out because Pete wears sneakers with his suit. He'd be a lot more in fashion these days.


Stacey: purple shirtwaist top (I have never known what a shirtwaist was, except that people wore them "back in the day." I may have to go look it up now.), flowered leggings, cowboy boots, purple hair ornament made of shoelaces, silver dangly earrings; red shirt and short jean skirt; red leggings, red ankle boots, red sweater, red barrettes

Laine: jean coat with a fur collar, black capri pants edged in lace, red beret, black ankle boots; black leotard, black jacket, black leggings, black stockings, black shoes, big silver jewelry

1 comment:

  1. I am LOVING your BSC Page! I was referred here, by "Are You There Youth? It's Me, Nikki." Who authors a fabulous snark blog on all of the books she read as a child.

    Two things on this entry: Thing the first, I always imagined the junk bucket to look like the station wagon from the Brady Bunch. If you imagined a VW Bug, obviously there was no real description of the junk bucket to base any visualization on. With ANM and her ghost writers being so big on description for everything else, I wonder why the junk bucket wasn't more detailed?

    Thing the second: What the the frig is Laine wearing exactly? Why did she bother with the black leggings, and how could one even tell she had them on? Between the lace cuffs on the capri pants, or whatever the "lace trim" is supposed to be, and the black ankle boots, is there even a gap to see her leggings? Also, why did she have on a jean coat, with a fur trim, if she had on a black coat as well? Now I'm just picturing that episode of Friends, The One Where No one Is Ready, and Joey puts on everything he owns.

    As a kid, I don't recall being taken aback by the outfits in the stories. In fact, I don't think my imagination was capable of even processing the long run on sentences of outfit descriptions. Instead I just glossed over them, like we all did the redundant chapter 2 intros of the girls. Whenever I read these snark BSC blogs (What Claudia Wore and Claudia's Room were my original two findings, years ago), I can understand why I glossed over them. As an adult, I still can't make sense of what these girls wore!