Friday, July 3, 2020

REVIEW: 'The Baby-Sitters Club' - Claudia's Struggles in School Could Cost Her a Lot in 'Claudia and the Phantom Phone Calls'

Netflix's The Baby-Sitters Club - Episode 1.02 "Claudia and the Phantom Phone Calls"

The spooky spirit of Halloween sweeps through Stoneybrook. Meanwhile, Claudia explores budding romance and struggles to connect with her parents.

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 next episode of Netflix's The Baby-Sitters Club.

"Claudia and the Phantom Phone Calls" was written by Rachel Shukert and directed by Lucia Aniello

Claudia has a passion for art. It's something she is extraordinarily good at. Everyone around her recognizes that. They uplift and reward her talents. And yet, she feels as if her parents don't understand her because her passion for art seemingly comes at the expense of her other classes in school. Claudia doesn't believe that to be true. She wants her parents to support and invest in the subjects she excels in and accept that she struggles in other areas. She doesn't want to constantly be compared to her older sister. She doesn't want to fit the mold that her parents try to force her into. She is an artist. She has a wonderful support system in her friends and her grandmother. She isn't unique in saying that her parents don't understand her. Voicing that sentiment doesn't exactly help her manage the situation though. Her grandmother knows that Claudia isn't unique. These circumstances are relatable to so many people her age. She talks up the importance of this bond between grandmother and grandchild. But at the end of the day, Claudia fails her math test. Her parents implemented a punishment system where she couldn't go to the school dance if she failed. Claudia wants to go to support her friends and to hang out with Trevor, a cute boy she has a crush on. She can't do either of them. And so, Stacey is left all alone at this dance. None of her friends are there. She is a stranger in a new school. She wants to enjoy all of the great opportunities here. She wants to be social and active in this community. But she only receives the news that the Baby-Sitters Club now has competition. It may be nothing more than another group ripping off their identity. However, that showcases just how valuable all of this can be. It's important to offer a service that parents need so they can manage every facet of their lives. These friends are more than capable of watching these young children. They enjoy it as well. It's something they are good at. It's another activity they respect and uplift in one another. Kristy had the idea to turn it into a business. She views that as an opportunity to always convince one of the other girls to babysit for Watson's kids. Kristy doesn't want to do that. She views that as accepting this man as part of her family now. She doesn't want to welcome him in. She sees him as a stranger who doesn't belong. He is putting in the effort to connect with her though. New things are scary. The world offers plenty of danger to scare these friends as well. Mary Anne's father is perpetually worried that something is going to happen to her. She is grounded because she is twenty minutes late to curfew and doesn't call. She doesn't view it as a big deal. He is simply overreacting. He might be. However, that doesn't give her the right to lash out at her friend for failing to address her own father issues. Kristy feels abandoned by hers. Mary Anne's may be too protective. These are the circumstances in which they are living though. This is life for them. They have to accept that. They have to welcome all that their friends and family hope to offer as well. Stacey wants Claudia at the dance with her. She even offers her own test up to fool Claudia's parents. Claudia can't follow through with that lie though. She wants to go to this dance. It is important to her. However, she also feels the need to stand up for herself in the hopes that her parents can understand. This fight may be ongoing between them. But it has to be one done through compassion on both sides. The world may scare people into being afraid to take certain chances. The show has a lot of fun playing up the threat from the Phantom Caller. It's also just as rewarding to take a chance on someone knowing that the payoff will be extraordinary. Claudia is struggling at the moment. She can't meet the standards she feels placed on her. That shouldn't stop her from being her best self. It just means she may have to work harder in other areas she isn't interested in and deal with the consequences as her parents lay them out. These friends don't have much adversity to face. They are lucky. But their struggles are valid and compelling to watch too because the show treats them with such respect and compassion.