Saturday, July 4, 2020

REVIEW: 'The Baby-Sitters Club' - Claudia Learns About Her Family History Following a Scary Emergency in 'Claudia and Mean Janine'

Netflix's The Baby-Sitters Club - Episode 1.06 "Claudia and Mean Janine"

A family emergency triggers an emotional feud between Claudia and her older sister. Elsewhere, Mary Anne works to hide her feelings.

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 Mean Janine" was written by Jade Chang and directed by Linda Mendoza

Claudia is incredibly close with her grandmother, Mimi. The entire Baby-Sitters Club is actually. Their parents love her as well. As such, it's devastating for the entire community when she suffers a stroke. It's a hardship that highlights just how tragic life can be sometimes. Claudia holds onto the hope that Mimi will be completely fine. She is kept out of the room though. She and her sister are there when the emergency happens. It's traumatic and Janine reacts as a robot. Just because Janine acts that way doesn't mean she is though. She has feelings too. She just doesn't process them in the same way that Claudia does. Some of that comes from maturity. She has a brutal but realistic view of the world. Claudia still hopes for the best. She doesn't want to say goodbye to her grandmother. Janine wants to prepare her younger sister for a life that may be completely different moving forward. Mimi may survive the stroke but her recovery could be long and arduous. Claudia only truly experiences that when she first enters the room to see her. She has always believed that her smiling face is the thing Mimi loves most in the world. She believes her sheer presence will do all the healing necessary. It doesn't. It's a hard hit of reality. Life is fragile in a way. It is completely unexpected. Things can't be fixed through a new paint color. Claudia views herself as an incredible artist. Someone deserving of attending the most prestigious art high school in the region. And yes, she does have the talent to make it far in the profession. However, she is starting to realize that she has to make a statement with her art. Right now, it's all about the love of friendship that motivates her creativity. She can gift Mary Anne the bedroom that is fitting of who she is right now in life. Claudia can see that personality and make it into a reality. And yet, it's Kristy who understands that Mary Anne has doubts about this specific room. She can see beyond the smile and words of appreciation. She knows that something isn't completely right in her body language. It comes from a sense of longing. Mary Anne's old room was built up as this monument to her youth. But it actually exemplified her identity for her entire life so far. Change can be tough. It can be difficult to accept sometimes. This is absolutely what Mary Anne wanted. But she should feel comforted in allowing some things to stay the same as well. It all has to do with honoring the past. The artwork that hangs over her bed can be her connection to her mother. It is a way for her to remain present in her life. That is comforting and uplifting. It's something she needs as she struggles to navigate the world without her. Meanwhile, Claudia learns there is a whole part of Mimi's life she doesn't know about. It then puts things regarding her recovery into better context for her. She knows her as her loving and supportive grandmother. And yet, Mimi has suffered in this world. She has endured a heinous tragedy at the hands of the American government. It's horrifying for her to relive those memories of life in an internment camp after her stroke. Janine can see the good such an improvement can be for her longterm prognosis. And yes, the episode ends on the reassuring note that things will remain good and healthy for Mimi. All of this also opens Claudia's eyes to the pain of the world. It has touched her family. They aren't immune from it. Everyone hopes that they are creating something better for their children. There are plenty of reasons to be hopeful as well. But that has to come with remembrance of the past. Those mistakes can't happen again. Recognizing that tragedy is what it takes to better understand the humanity that has always been present. Mimi is so much more than what Claudia has known. Not all of it is great. These are the painful emotions she has to explore in order to fully engage with art. It's an entry point for her that also fosters greater conversation with Janine. These sisters may continue to butt heads in the future. That seems more than inevitable. Claudia's expectations have to be tempered sometimes. But she shouldn't be forced to stop dreaming either. She is capable of greatness. Her family history has made her into the woman she is today. That is complex and complicated. With that full knowledge, she can make her own journey into whatever she wants to be with complete clarity and conviction while also getting to enjoy her beloved grandmother a little while longer.