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Series / The Baby-Sitters Club (1990)

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The Baby-Sitters Club is the 1990's television adaptation of The Baby-Sitters Club book series, during the height of early popularity of the series. The series ran for one season of thirteen episodes, which aired on HBO from November 1999 until February 1993, it then reaired on the Disney Channel from October 1994 until January 1997. The first handful of episodes were released as direct to video specials, starting in September 1990, before airing on HBO soon after.

The series assumed watchers already knew the foundation of the series and characters, and did not start from the founding of the club.note  Notably the episodes did not specifically focus on events from the book series, instead creating original plots among the characters.

Compare to the 1995 feature film and the 2020 Netflix series.

This series provides examples of:

  • Adaptational Jerkass: Dawn. Obviously, she's not the nicest of girls in the series, but here she's portrayed as more stubborn and argumentative.
  • All Elections Are Serious Business: "Kristy and the Great Campaign" has Kristy and the club helping a shy girl named Courtney run for the third grade student council elections. The club ends up helping her overcome her shyness, gets school students chanting "Count on Court" and defeating her opponent Jeremy Marver.
  • Animal Wrongs Group: "Dawn Saves the Trees" has Dawn becoming upset by a building contractor who was going to clear out a forest for new construction, and even confronted the group at a hearing. Fair enough, but she also decided to angrily break a date with the contractor's son and actively avoids him in spite of him not being involved whatsoever with the project.
  • Cannot Keep a Secret: "Jessi and the Mystery of the Stolen Secrets" had the girls' reputation take a hit because they were seemingly telling intimate/embarrassing secrets about their charges. Turns out, they didn't and no one else overheard these secrets; a friend of the children was the one innocuously repeating the facts, and the boy, who was hearing impaired, learned the secrets by reading their lips instead.
  • Cool Old Lady: Claudia's late grandmother, who taught the girls how a Japanese tea ceremony goes and was a kindred spirit with her granddaughter.
  • Covers Always Lie: The VHS covers showed artwork covers from the published book series; however, the plot lines rarely aligned. For example, the cover image for the VHS for "Stacey Takes a Stand"—which is about Stacey dealing with conflict between her divorced parents—is the book cover from the super special New York, New York!, which is about the girls taking a vacation to New York City together. The only thing in common with the book is that Stacey is in New York.
  • Demoted to Extra: Mallory never starred in an episode all her own; Jessi only received one. The sitting clients were also downplayed, with episodes instead more about the girls themselves and their inter- and intra-personal issues as tweens and teens.
  • Edutainment Show: The show focused more on imparting moral lessons to children rather than the characters or any book plots.
  • Malicious Misnaming: One episode had a rival of Kristy's repeatedly call her "Crystal", in spite of her angrily trying to correct him.
  • Pie in the Face: "Mary Anne and the Brunettes" has Mary Anne do this to the obnoxious ex-girlfriend of her boyfriend, Logan. Marci harasses her all episode long and this finally came about while at a carnival where she was to (jokingly) pie Kristy in the face for a game; the latter was participating in when Marci bragged she'd never told Mary Anne about what a good kisser Logan was.
  • Puppy Love: More than one episode revolves around the 12- and 13-year-old protagonists having crushes on boys. Much more than the book series does (where only Mary-Anne has a steady boyfriend for the majority of the series).
  • The Show of the Books: The series adapts the children's book series The Baby-Sitters Club.
  • Shout-Out: The Valentines Day episode ends with a huge dance where the background music is an instrumental of "Never Gonna Give You Up".
  • Slumber Party: The final episode consists of the girls sharing memories at a sleepover.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • In the Christmas Episode "The Baby-Sitters Club's Special Christmas" Stacey decides to "cut loose" and indulge in more holiday treats than usual. Problem is, she's an insulin-dependent diabetic and while a rare treat can be harmless (especially if your sugar count is low), you can't overdo it.note  Needless to say, the poor girl ends up hospitalized on Christmas Day.
    • Episode 10, "The Baby-Sitters and the Boy-Sitters", has Logan and his friends bond with the girls' charges to the point where the clients come to prefer them to the girls, due to being more fun-loving and not disciplining them like they do. While they obviously got along with the kids, they soon realize how ill-equipped they are to actually sit for them, easily getting overwhelmed when they go to an arcade center for the day.
  • Theme Tune: "Say Hello to Your Friends" by songwriter Glen Roven. It later became seen as the theme song for the series as a whole and was used in the 2020 series.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Jeremy Marver, Courtney's opponent in "Kristy and the Great Campaign", gets defeated in the student council elections but his reaction is never seen; he's not shown congratulating Courtney or being upset with his defeat.


Video Example(s):


Dawn and Mary Anne

Mary Anne assures her friend Dawn that her dad considers her family.

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