Don't Tell Mom The Babysitter's Dead is a 1991 comedy starring Christina Applegate.When their mother goes to Australia for the summer, the Crandell children are loath to find themselves in the charge of a crotchety old babysitter. When she promptly dies, they decide to keep that key fact from their mother so they can enjoy their summer with no adults to tell them what to do. However, their scant funds soon run out, followed by their food. Oldest daughter Sue Ellen must figure out how to take care of her younger siblings while keeping their mother in the dark.
Provides Examples Of:
Accidental Pervert: Gus propositions Sue Ellen several times to which she refuses, and he has no intention of letting up. He doesn't know it, but she's 17.
Anything That Moves: Gus gets around a lot and wastes no time trying to get Sue Ellen into bed.
Asshole Victim: Mrs. Sturak. (Probably not a genuine example of the Trope, since it wasn't a murder.)
Avoid the Dreaded G Rating: Inverted. Sue Ellen calls Kenny a "prick" twice and both times the line was re-dubbed to "punk" in order for the film to keep its PG-13 rating.
Later, when the car is stolen, Sue Ellen is clearly saying "Shit!" but the line has been re-dubbed to "Liza!"
Benevolent Boss: Sue Ellen's boss Rose at GAW is definitely this, even forgiving her for her deception when it is revealed, and offering her a job for real.
Big Sister Instinct: Rose well and truly takes Sue Ellen under her wing, helping to nuture her career and protect her form the machinations of Carolyn and Bruce.
Brick Joke: After the babysitter, Mrs. Sturak, dies in her sleep, the kids put her body in a travel case and drop it off at the morgue. She's only briefly mentioned a few times afterward (when the kids' mother calls for Mrs. Sturak, they make up excuses for her absence), and her Buick is soon stolen by drag queens. The film ends with the kids' mother asking, "Where is the babysitter?"
Burger Fool: Sue Ellen briefly works at one of these before quitting and getting the job at GAW.
Cool Car: Sue Ellen keeps and drives Mrs. Sturak's Buick because "it's a classic."
Covers Always Lie: The film poster (seen above) suggests the kids treated Mrs. Sturak's body with far less respect than they actually did.
Credit Card Plot: The younger kids get into Sue Ellen's petty cash from work and go nuts with it. They spend three times what her check turns out to be.
Cucumber Facial: Rose suggests Sue Ellen relax after work by having a glass of wine and giving herself a cucumber facial.
Disappeared Dad: The Crandells' father is mentioned only briefly and not favorably.
Melissa: I wish Dad was here.
Mom: No you don't.
And another instance:
Sue Ellen: We could call Dad.
Kenny: Dad doesn't care.
Does This Remind You of Anything?: When Sue Ellen comes home late from work, the fight she and Kenny have is a typical "harried, overworked, exhausted housewife" vs. "harried, overworked,exhausted husband" argument.
Double Entendre: Rose's line to Sue Ellen about how all women over 25 should have a cucumber in the house.
Homage: A couple of nods to Alfred Hitchcock. The scene where Sue Ellen finds Sturak's body was inspired by the ending in Psycho where Lila finds the body of Mrs. Bates. The music that plays during the scene when the kids get rid of Sturak's body was inspired Bernard Hermann's score from Pyscho.
Karma Houdini: The drag queens most likely got away with stealing the Buick since Sue Ellen and her siblings didn't report it to the police, Mrs. Sturak was dead, and none of Mrs. Sturak's family (if any exists) were informed of her death. Even if they got pulled over, they could say they borrowed it since it was not reported stolen.
Never My Fault: Carolyn blames Sue Ellen for being denied a promotion and being stuck as the receptionist, yet had she been a more pleasant person to both Sue Ellen and her boss Rose she wouldn't have been stuck in her job in the first place.
Poster-Gallery Bedroom: Mrs. Sturak stumbles into the Kenny's bedroom and reacts in horror at all the heavy metal posters on the walls. It's implied to give her a fatal heart attack that kicks off the plot.
Power Hair: In order to help pass as an "Executive Administrative Assistant", Sue Ellen puts her hair up in a fancy french twist.
Success Symbiosis: Sue Ellen gets a job in the fashion industry by lying about her age and keeps it because a mostly overlooked employee from another department is doing all the hard stuff for her.
Team Chef: Kenny, who is charged with taking care of the younger siblings while Sue Ellen works. At first he can't even make waffles without burning them to a crisp, but with practice (and watching a lot of cooking shows) he becomes a very good cook and also discovers that he enjoys cooking. By the end of the movie he is preparing gourmet dishes for Sue Ellen's fashion show and contemplating going to culinary school.
Technology Marches On: Sue Ellen, as a high-schooler, has no idea how to operate the GAW fax-machine (an essential piece of office kit in 1991), but the irony is that arguably most modern high-schoolers in 2011 would also be pretty stumped at how to operate this now out-moded device.
Their office was using Lotus. Also, Sue Ellen wrote her resume on a typewriter. At least the CD changer during the fashion show still looks semi-current, though.
When showing Sue Ellen her computer, Rose proudly points out the mouse as if it is state of the art. YMMV but this may be Truth in Television as most PC users in '91 were still using DOS-based systems. Windows 3.0, the first version of Windows to become really popular, came out in 1990, but Fridge Brilliance kicks in when you realize most big companies are slow to upgrade their workstations, home computers weren't as ubiquitous as they are today, and Apple wasn't "cool" yet. As such, the mouse probably was state of the art to them.
Viewer-Friendly Interface: Averted. Sue-Ellen has trouble getting her computer to do much of anything. It's a text-based system, and every time she presses a key, it scrolls back to the main menu. She eventually offloads her computer-based work to an overlooked employee in another department.
What Happened to the Mouse?: The fate of Mrs. Sturak's body and the money is finally answered right before the credits. She was given a nice burial by the mortuary workers who found the money and spent it in Vegas. Her tombstone reads the same as the note the kids left with her - "Nice Old Lady Inside. Died of Natural Causes."
Willing Suspension of Disbelief: Carolyn, the GAW employee, still having a job. Even before Sue Ellen shows up, she is shown being very rude and condescending on the phone. It may have been a personal call, but when Sue Ellen simply asks for directions, Carolyn bites her head off. Rose can't even stand Carolyn, and in the real world, she would have been fired after the first, maybe second, time she spoke to someone like that. More baffling is the fact that she was supposed to get a promotion despite the fact that she both had shitty customer service skills and treated everybody around her like shit.