YMMV / The Baby-Sitters Club

  • Alternate Character Interpretation:
    • The girls often come off as very cult-like.
    • Is Jenny Prezzioso REALLY as big a brat as the girls think, or is she just a fairly stubborn girl who hates getting dirty?
    • Some fans feel that "Claudia and Mean Janine" should've been called "Claudia Acts Bratty to Janine" or "Janine and Mean Claudia".
  • Creator's Pet: Kristy's stepsister, Karen, is loved by everyone except the fandom.
  • Deader Than Disco: Despite being a Cash Cow Franchise in the 1990s, the series is mostly forgotten these days, probably due to Time Marches On causing it to age badly. When BSC is remembered, it tends to receive more criticism than praise, and all attempts to revive the series for 21st-century readers have failed.
  • Designated Villain:
    • Janine is demonized by Claudia for... it's hard to say, her motives change randomly. Probably because Janine has the unfortunate tendency to be obnoxious (with an IQ of 196, this makes sense)
    • Alan Gray for Kristy; Cokie Mason for the whole BSC on occasion.
    • Jessi's Aunt Cecilia qualifies, at least in her first appearance in Baby-sitters' Island Adventure. She is definitely right about how an eleven-year-old, regardless of how responsible she is, should not be left in charge of an eight-year-old and a toddler for a whole weekend. She's wrong, however, in that she seems determined to blame Jessi for the matter, rather than Jessi's parents who left her in charge.
    • Pamela Harding in the Little Sister spin-off series is meant to be a pint-sized Alpha Bitch, but ends up coming across as this. While she does have some genuinely snotty moments, the main reason Karen started demonizing her was because in her first appearance, at Karen's sleepover party, she didn't want to eat pizza, didn't like The Wizard of Oz, and preferred to sleep in a bed over sleeping on the floor.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: One subplot involves Marilyn and Carolyn Arnold sneaking a look at a horror movie and getting freaked out of their minds by it, to the point where they sleep in the same room with all the lights on, tape up electrical sockets, and set up traps for "ghosts," until they watch a documentary on how the movie was made. They becomes riveted by the special effects and demonstrations and declare it the coolest thing they've ever seen. Not only does it lift their fears it makes them into horror movie fans and they decide they want to direct their own horror movies when they grow up. Hmmm....that sounds a lot like the biography of a couple of Canadian Twin Sisters who are not only horror movie directors themselves, but host their own horror themed game show Hellevator !
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
    • Shannon is very popular among members of some snark communities. Amusingly, so is background character Pete Black. Janine also has a following.
    • Logan is also rather popular; he even got two "Reader's Request" books narrated by him.
    • Andrew in the Little Sister series.
  • Fad Dissonance: It's pretty hilarious to read about Claudia's totally weird new friend who wears long dresses and flared jeans, both of which have come back into style since the books were published.
  • Family-Unfriendly Aesop:
    • Claudia had the nerve to make a friend outside the club, so in retaliation, the other sitters scarfed her snacks, short-sheeted her bed, left mean notes around her room (one even suggesting they leave a blank one, just to mess with her head) and trash-talked her in the club notebook that's supposed to be only sitting-related. It's Claudia who is portrayed as the wrong one and has to apologize in the end.
    • Also, when Alan Gray is revealed as the one who's been outright harassing Kristy with his hang-up phone calls, which were because he was trying to work up the nerve to ask her out—which she accepts. Never mind that she was genuinely frightened by what was going on before she knew who was behind it. This might be one of the worst examples of stalking behavior being portrayed as positive, given that as always, the guy gets the girl.
    • Mary Anne decides that she wants to get a drastic new haircut, and asks the other members of the BSC if they think she would look good with a short hair. They all tell her no, and are horrified when Mary Anne goes ahead and gets her hair cut. Dawn almost has a mental breakdown because Mary Anne dared to go have a father-daughter day at the mall, where she got her haircut and a new wardrobe to go with it, and the rest of the Club ignore her until she's the one to break down and apologise for not thinking of their feelings.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: Claudia's sister Janine and Kristy's older brother Charlie are this for many fans.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: In the series finale, the girls make a time capsule to be opened in seven years and each contribute a letter. In Dawn's letter, she talks about flying between California and Connecticut and remarks that maybe by the time the capsule is opened, air travel will have changed somehow. The book was published in 2000.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Since Stacey has type 1 diabetes, her life expectancy is 69 years old.
  • He Also Did: David Levithan was introduced to Scholastic and got his start in writing by ghostwriting for this series.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • In Mallory and the Mystery Diary, published in 1989, Mallory complains that it feels like she's been 11 for a decade. Cut to 1999, when the books are still being published and poor Mal is still 11...
    • The subplot of one book involves Marlyn and Carolyn Arnold sneaking a look at a scary movie and ultimately getting freaked out of their minds by it, until they watch a documentary on it's making, discovers the special effects behind it, and declairs it the coolest thing they've ever seen. They decide they want to be Twin Horror Movie Directors when they grow up. Hmmm...wonder if they eventually find out about the Soska Twins from Hellevator
  • Ho Yay/Les Yay: Lesbian subtext is a popular topic of discussion among fans.
    • Kristy/Abby is becoming a pretty prominent pairing in BSC fanfiction.
  • Hollywood Homely / Informed Deformity: If the descriptions of Janine are to be believed, we get a picture of a homely, awkward young woman with an unfortunate fashion sense. This makes sense for the early cover of Claudia and Mean Janine yet later when the cover artist was replaced, Janine started looking more grown up and sexy with well-tailored clothing. She almost shows up her "prettier" younger sister!
  • Jerkass Woobie: Karen. Yes, she's a huge brat, but if you really consider what she's had to live with, it's much more understandable—her parents divorced and remarried within a year and she was apparently expected to adjust pronto despite being only six years old at the time. In the earlier books at least, she spends only two weekends out of every month with her father, and he still insists on leaving her with a baby-sitter for most of that time. Then Watson and Elizabeth dropped a "surprise! We adopted a baby!" bomb on the whole family. Her behavior is downright awful at times, but it's hardly surprising.
  • Memetic Loser: Poor Mallory.
  • Memetic Molester: Some snark blogs love painting the BSC as a whole as this, due to how downright creepy their love of younger kids can come across to modern readers.
  • National Stereotypes: The Australian family in Kristy and the Secret of Susan has the surname Hobart (the capital of Tasmania), eat vegemite, use slang that no one in Australia has used for ages (like "brekky" and "funny as a funeral"), and have to endure tons of Crocodile Dundee references.
  • Periphery Demographic
  • Ron the Death Eater: Logan sometimes gets this treatment in fanfics.
  • Rooting for the Empire: Quite a few readers of the Little Sister series cheer Pamela on whenever she gives Karen a bad time.
  • The Scrappy:
    • Dawn has garnered a rather large Hatedom in recent years. However, many saw her as being Rescued from the Scrappy Heap in Dawn Saves the Planet, where her self-importance and Soapbox Sadie attitude are deconstructed and she gets called out. This resulted in some much-needed development that toned down her negative traits considerably.
    • It's probably easier to catch the Loch Ness Monster than it is to find fans of Karen Brewer.
    • Jessi also gets a fair amount of abuse from fans due to her lack of characterisation beyond being the Token Minority and the fact that the entire club seems obsessed with her being black. Somewhat justified given that racism would have been a huge problem in the setting (a small, predominantly white American community in the eighties): however, the series went way overboard to the point where Being Black became pretty much Jessi's defining character trait.
      • Another strike against Jessi is that she occasionally comes off as self-centered and/or conceited in her narration.
  • Snark Bait: Several blogs and online communities are devoted to snarking these books.
  • Unpopular Popular Character:
    • Janine is an unpopular smart girl who has very few friends. Her sister Claudia can't stand her most of the time, and also Claudia's friends (at least in early books) tend to think she's an annoying Insufferable Genius and usually try to avoid her. However fans love her, and she's by far one of the most popular minor characters.
    • Jenny Prezzioso, to some extent. Every single time she's mentioned, the sitters say something mean about her or talk about how horrible she is. To be fair, Jenny is a Spoiled Brat, but it's mostly due to the way her mother raised her and also, she's four years old. For this reason, Jenny gets a lot of sympathy from fans who think she's not nearly as bad as the sitters think.
  • Values Dissonance:
    • Combining this with Society Marches On, the entire concept of the series. When the books were first written and published, it was acceptable for a preteen to work as a babysitter. These days, one would have to wait until at least their late teens to take on this responsibility.
    • Kristy and the Secret of Susan, which was published in 1990, may have seemed progressive at the time for highlighting autism. However, the story's overall attitude towards this condition has not aged well. Susan's boundaries are completely overstepped, and she is viewed in a relatively negative light. Kristy introduces Susan to the neighborhood children (who treat Susan like an outcast) in order to force her to make friends, which is very difficult even for people with milder cases of autism. Kristy tries to guilt-trip Susan's parents into sending her to a boarding school. Worst of all, the story ends with Susan's mother hoping that her yet-to-arrive second child will be "normal", implying that she considers Susan "broken" and wants to replace her.
  • The Woobie: Just about all of the major characters get their fair share of woobification:
    • Mary Anne in the early books was shy, prone to tears and severely overprotected by her dad. It's also heavily implied that she suffered from depression and anxiety in later books. In a book about admitting secrets, hers is that she spent some time in therapy, and appreciates how much it helped her.
    • Mallory, due to her Butt Monkey status.
    • Jessi, due to the racism she suffered early on. When she's talking to the Pike kids about being teased, she refuses to tell them what names she's been called, just looking tired and saying it's "Nothing as cute as 'spiders.'"
    • Stacey, due to her sad backstory, being frequently hospitalized, and dealing with her parents' divorce.
    • Kristy, due to her dad not being around, amongst some other family problems. Taken Up to Eleven in the movie.
    • Abby and Anna, due to their father's death; their mother also, albeit to a lesser extent.
    • Although Shannon doesn't get a lot of mention, it's clear that her home life isn't exactly peachy.
    • As much as many fans dislike her, it's easy to feel sorry for Dawn, who can never have her family in one place.
    • Claudia has her moments, such as on the occasions when she feels misunderstood by her family (and isn't just being a paranoid Bratty Teenage Daughter for once) and when she can't get the grades she wants, no matter how hard she tries.
    • Nicky Pike has his moments, mainly when the triplets are being mean to him.

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