Friday, July 3, 2020

REVIEW: 'The Baby-Sitters Club' - Kristy's New Business Is an Immediate Success Amongst Her Friends in 'Kristy's Great Idea'

Netflix's The Baby-Sitters Club - Episode 1.01 "Kristy's Great Idea"

A creative concept comes to life as Kristy starts a club with her best friends - and a new classmate. But is she ready to be a team leader?

In 2019, the television industry aired 532 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the series premiere of Netflix's The Baby-Sitters Club.

"Kristy's Great Idea" was written by Rachel Shukert and directed by Lucia Aniello

This show could easily be a nostalgia play for Netflix. It's taking a popular book title and transitioning it into a series. The name should be enough for it to cut through the clutter because adults have fondness for the book series. But specific things needed to happen with the material in order for it to be both nostalgic and resonant for present day life. Kristy comes up with the idea for the Baby-Sitters Club. She does so because her mom grew up in a time where it was easy to get a babysitter for the night. All her parents had to do was call a house down the street. Now, it's incredibly complicated because that sense of community has disappeared. It's about virtual gatherings and paid subscriptions to services that might work for families. Friendships still exist amongst those who live in the same community. However, that reliable call for generosity can be gone because people are so caught up in their own lives. Kristy believes in the value of this club not just because it could be financially rewarding for her and her friends. She believes in it because babysitting is something that she is good at. She knows how to care for her younger brother. She fights against the suggestion that it showcases the natural nurturing instincts amongst women. She demands equality in every sense of the word. Sometimes, the simplicity of an idea is what actually makes it rewarding and meaningful. Plus, Kristy and her friends enjoy the iconic throwbacks to how this business used to be managed. They love the idea of meeting three times a week to answer calls on a landline. It's a way to ensure that they remain united as a group. It's a way to stay connected while carefully managing each other's times and talents. It's a true collaboration. One that is incredibly respectful despite Kristy demanding to be the president and in charge of the whole endeavor. She absolutely holds onto the sense that this was her idea. She seeks value in that. But the club works because someone is willing to take a chance on the business idea. That someone just happens to be Watson Brewer. Kristy doesn't like him dating her mom. She doesn't think that it's right that he's abandoning his children during one of the two days he sees them each week. She has those opinions. She voices them as well. That could cost her. It means she fears being humiliated in front of her friends. She wants to present as perfect. But life is so much more complicated than that. Her friends have all these grand ideas of how to make this business a success. Stacey can detail the buzzwords of how to perfect online marketing. And yet, none of the girls are old enough to technically have an Instagram account. As such, they have to rely on fliers and word-of-mouth amongst the families of this town for this business to grow. That is the creative team showing great respect for the details of the books while also acknowledging that these girls live in a unique time. Their lives are different than their parents'. That doesn't make either one more valid though. It's just about respecting and honoring what life has been for them so far. Kristy is given nothing but encouragement about this business. She quickly assembles a team to make it a reality. She fears not being able to trust all of them with this responsibility. She knows that Stacey is keeping a secret. But she has to be trustworthy herself. She may be a fool from time to time. That is typical for a person as they grow up though. Nothing terrible happens as a result. Mary Anne, Claudia and Stacey laugh at the suggestion that Kristy should step down as president. They don't view her actions as a big deal. Kristy propping them up in her head is the true fear that they are more than what they actually are. These friendships may be tested because Kristy is bossy. That led to Claudia being estranged from Kristy for a bit. But no one is walking away from this business right now. They have that base level of respect while still understanding they each need privacy to be the best person they can be. That uplifting spirit makes this premiere work while setting a nice bar for a charming and rewarding season of television.