Wednesday, August 20, 2014

“There’s probably just rice cakes and low-fat frozen yogurt. Alfalfa flavor.” BSC Reader’s Request: Logan’s Story (1992)

“It’s all right, ‘cuz I’m Saved by the Bell!” It’s time for the first story from our favorite babysitting Zack Morris lookalike! If Logan starts hanging out with a guy named Screech and using a giant cell phone when he hits high school, this will all start to make sense.
So Logan’s all busy playing football and trying out for track…aka, being a stereotypical jock. Then Jeff’s appendix blows up (my words, not the book’s) and Dawn heads to CA for a ridiculously long time to stay with him while he gets better. The BSC expects Logan to take her place and even miss practice to take sitting jobs. Meanwhile, Logan’s teammates (especially this one dumbass who goes by King) keep teasing him for being girly. Things come to a head at the Health Fair, when Logan loses Johnny Hobart and King finds him. Logan quits the BSC and figures out that if he stops responding to the teasing it will stop. After a couple weeks, he rejoins as an associate member and makes the track team.
Interesting tidbits.
Let’s start with the cover. Poor Johnny. He’s only four, so I’m going to assume he didn’t pick out his own clothes. He kinda looks like a really bad clown. (Note to Mrs. Hobart: Don’t dress your redheaded boys in red. It looks awful.) Why is King wearing his football uniform to the Health Fair? He’s like Kevin from Daria, who almost never takes off his shoulder pads even when he’s in class.

Oh, and if you forget they’re at the Health Fair, there’s a sign in the background that says “HEALTH FAIR”, quotes included.
I think it’s apropos that Peter Lerangis wrote this one. I mean, Logan’s (sorta) a guy.
One of the first things Logan tells us that he’s a guy, in fact. On page two. It’s pointed out for two reasons: 1) It’s crucial to the story, supposedly. (I guess this is true, because chances are SMS would not let a girl on the football team or stuff like that.*) 2) People can’t always tell from a name like Logan. That’s even more true these days.
I never thought of Austin Bentley being named after two cars. I guess that’s because I don’t generally think about cars beyond, “How much longer until I need to fill my gas tank?” (Austin, though, like Logan, has one of those ‘new’ names that became popular after these books came out. I wonder how many girls read these books and then named their sons Logan. Scary thought.)
BLECH! Listening to Logan talk about how Mary Anne’s smile seeps into his chest and spreads through him like a magic potion…gross. I suddenly feel better about my own romantic scenes. It's schlock.
You can grill tofu, Logan. Just wrap it in foil after you marinate it. (I love that I’m giving fictional characters cooking advice.)
Kristy calls Sharon Mrs. Schafer instead of Mrs. Spier. (You’d think Logan would know her as Sharon, though, since that’s what MA calls her.)
I want to state for the record that I think it’s really unfair of the BSC members to ask Logan to miss practice for sitting jobs. I think that he should only have to do that if everyone else has to miss all of their other responsibilities, like art class and Krushers practice and ballet practice.
Why in the heck are track tryouts during football season? Isn’t there a whole other season in between there? (Not to mention that my middle and high school took every interested student as members on the track team. Yeah, you might not make all the events you wanted to get into, but you could go to all the practices. Now, my school was pretty tiny, but I think that’s pretty common.)
There’s this whole weird thing where Stacey tries to convince everyone to donate blood (when they’re old enough.) I donated blood once…I didn’t weigh enough when I was seventeen and I tried—wish I still had that problem—and now they won’t let me donate in case I have mad cow disease. I’mnot kidding on that part. I’m not sure if I was so determined to donate because my dad has donated every three months for the past thirty-some years (even though he could have mad cow disease too) or because Stacey told me to do it. Hmmm… (Just kidding. I’m sure it was all Stacey.)
Mathew Hobart is my new favorite sittee. (I have a new favorite about every third book or so.) He, Logan and Johnny are playing camping…a game I used to play ALL THE TIME in my basement with a card table, bed sheets and a sleeping bag. He licks his finger and puts it to the wind and uses that to ‘tell time.’ Then he fends off Johnny’s imaginary bear by giving him a chair to sit in and Teddy Grahams to eat.
Okay, let’s discuss some more logic here. I know that a ruptured appendix is serious and can possibly be fatal. I can understand Sharon and Dawn going to California to see Jeff in the hospital and spend time with him. But even if Sharon can get that time off work (which she totally could these days, thanks to FMLA), is it really smart for Dawn to miss that much school? Fly the girl out to see her brother, then get her back home once she’s had a chance to tell him she loves him even though he’s a pest.
Also, Mary Anne seems to be more upset that Dawn’s upset than because Jeff nearly died. I can see the logic in that, but it kinda contradicts what she said about loving him a couple weeks ago
I’m disappointed in the lack of outfits. Oh, they’re there, but Logan-the-guy doesn’t go into details and hyphenates the way the girls do. And he doesn’t know what Laura Ashley is.
Who knew Jenny P. was friends with Leonardo’s character from Titanic? They both yell, “I’m the king of the world!”
I don’t have any older brothers or sisters, so someone set me straight. Would whether Mallory and Ben are friends or dating really be that interesting to James, Mathew and Johnny (who, remember, are 8, 6, and 4)? I guess I could see it from the point of view of siblings like to fight over anything and everything…
Oh, aren’t the members of the track team all from Clever-Clever Land? They call Logan Lois because they catch him babysitting, so he must be a girl.
Heh. The football coach pats Logan on the back and my overactive imagination was picturing more of a butt pat. Here’s the title of the third, never-published Logan book: Logan and the Sexual Abuse Nightmare.
Not even going to go into the torture Mal and Jessi had trying to get the Pikes to go to the Health Fair, partly because I don’t blame them. It sounds boring to me, too. It is, however, where the title quote comes from.
I love this: Kristy asks a young woman if she’s a babysitter because she’s looking at the BSC booth at the health fair. Instead, the woman says she’s pregnant. MA asks her how she gets away with blurting stuff out like that. (Honestly, it wasn’t a bad thing she said. It’s not as if she asked the woman if she was pregnant when she really wasn’t. Besides, my mom used to babysit when I was young because she was a stay at home mom and wanted to make a little money, so it wasn’t that dumb a question.) Kristy responds: “What’s to get mad at? I’m lovable, funny, smart—” and at that moment Stacey walks up and finishes her sentence: “And conceited.” Even Charlotte has to laugh at that one.
Okay, here’s the “Why is King in his football gear” answer: he had come straight from practice. Eww. Showers are a pubescent boy’s friend.
Johnny is so offended that King tells Logan to take Johnny to the potty. He says he knows how to use the bathroom like a man and wants Logan to go get King so he can show him. I’d laugh if it weren’t the single most realistic moment in the whole book.
So Logan makes the track team while King and his other main tormentors don’t. But the coach tells them to try again in the spring. What kind of track team is this? I’m so confused. I really should know better than to try to put logic into a BSC book.
You know Jeff’s feeling better because he’s back to telling corny jokes.
Logan makes up with most of his friends because they think some of the BSC members are cute and want their phone numbers. One of them actually calls Claudia, but she thinks it’s a prank and hangs up.
Claudia actually hits Logan with a Frito bag. Don’t do it, Claudia! First, he’s not worth it. Second, you’ll break your Fritos.
Mrs. P: silk dress
Jenny: Laura Ashley pajamas; brand new sweat suit

*My high school, circa 1998, wouldn’t let a ‘girl’ be a kicker on the football team. I use ‘girl’ in quotes because I knew when I met him back in 1991…when he was 9…that someday he’d make the transition to male. But back then, he had a clearly feminine name that his parents gave him when he was born with female genitalia. Anyhoo, I can’t imagine SMS being any more progressive than that, some 6 years earlier. It makes me wonder if, in this age of more tolerance for the LBGT community, if Logan would get as much flak for being a boy babysitter. I’m not suggesting that Logan’s gay because he babysits (although there’s some….um…interesting fanfic to that effect), just that most of the problems Logan has with babysitting involve the fact that many of his friends are sort of traditional.
I forgot to check what I'm blogging next week, so it's a surprise to us all!

1 comment:

  1. I love your review of the cover especially. All of this was funny but that was just hilarious!