Tuesday, October 12, 2021

REVIEW: 'The Baby-Sitters Club' - Jessi Questions Her Love of Dance and Career Ambitions in 'Jessi and the Superbrat'

Netflix's The Baby-Sitters Club - Episode 2.04 "Jessi and the Superbrat"

Passion meets persistence as Jessi struggles with a rough patch in her ballet career, all while signing on to babysit a pint-sized vlogging superstar.

In 2020, the television industry aired 493 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.

"Jessi and the Superbrat" was written by Rheeqrheeq Chainey and directed by Robert Luketic

Does Jessi love to dance because she's the best or is she the best because she loves to dance? That's the existential question that dominates her life at the moment. She has been dancing for most of her life. She can even remember the first time she ever danced. It's a beautiful expression of who she is. It's something she was born to do. It was just that natural for her. As such, her family reorganized their lives in order to make this happen for her. She wanted to train at a special ballet school. She had to work hard in order to be accepted. She accomplished that goal. And now, she is realizing just how much of her love is tangled up in the idea that she is the best in the room. When facing off with different competition, she falters. She believes she is no longer learning and growing. Instead, dance has become embarrassing because the teacher is continually having to fix her mistakes. Jessi hasn't exactly had to deal with that before. Instead, she has talked a big game about her mastery. She tells her friends that she is going to perform the lead role in the upcoming recital. They are excited because that's the expectation she has set for them. They aren't going to be disappointed simply because she's part of the background ensemble. They still see the beauty within her when she dances. They know how committed she is to this path. They are supportive no matter what. Jessi is questioning that within herself. This has always been a part of her life. Is that what she wants moving forward? Her parents have a different reaction given how much they've sacrificed to make this a reality for her. She can't give up simply because she is no longer given uniform praise. She needs to be pushed and challenged. That's how she is going to get better. That's still a tremendous possibility for her. She just has to remember the joy that should be found in this experience. Dance dominates her life. It has become an expectation for her. She needs to succeed because that determines her entire sense of worth. Jessi can see all of these issues more clearly when she is babysitting. It's the familiar construct of it being easier to understand someone else's problems than realize the same things about herself. Now, the audience may have certain preconceived notions when the episode title refers to a superbrat. It infers that Jessi is going to have a difficult time babysitting because the child is so poorly behaved. And yes, that expectation only grows upon realizing that the child already has a massive social media platform and an agent. He is going out on auditions. He has a demanding father who is desperate for all of this to be a success. He needs fun to come across on camera. But he's disappointed when that same concept is had without the cameras recording. He too has set unfair expectations. This career is still important to the young child. It has shaped his worldview. His celebrity is apparent. He also cares about Jessi. They can form a bond through the stress of auditions. They are comfortable in certain situations. They want to take an easier path as well. Jessi can offer guidance because she has the wisdom that comes from age. But she also learns that she has to manage that in her life as well. She is glad that her friends attend the recital. They shower praise on her. Jessi is in awe of the girl who actually secured the lead role. In that moment, she sees the beauty and majesty that is necessary from this performance. It serves as an inspiration for her. As such, she is immediately able to apply it to her craft. That too is wonderful. All it takes is embracing the fun. It doesn't have to come at the expense of one's passions and career choices. It needs to be apparent in order to come across effortlessly in those pursuits. Sometimes, Jessi just needs a little encouragement from her friends. Her two worlds can coexist and actually inform each other. She just has to be open to that. This needs to be fun for her. The commitment can be grueling and exhausting at times. She doesn't always like what her parents want her to do. She still finds a way to appreciate it all. That comes from the support of her friends as well as the beauty that is found in her passion for dance. This speaks to her in a magical way. That should never be lost no matter how complicated the world around her becomes.