Tuesday, October 12, 2021

REVIEW: 'The Baby-Sitters Club' - Mary Anne Moving In Causes Dawn's Anxiety to Grow in 'Dawn and the Wicked Stepsister'

Netflix's The Baby-Sitters Club - Episode 2.06 "Dawn and the Wicked Stepsister"

Worlds collide - and tension boils over - when Mary Anne and her dad move in with Dawn and her mom. The BSC plans a major party for Mallory's sister.

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.

"Dawn and the Wicked Stepsister" was written by Ryan O'Connell and directed by Kimmy Gatewood

Dawn is happy to share her space with her friend, Mary Anne. In fact, this week together can serve as a good trial run for whenever the families decide to merge together as one. Dawn and Mary Anne want to be sisters. That already informs their dynamic. They treat each other that way even though their parents aren't married. That's what they are hoping for one day. This week together seems like a good first step towards making that a reality. Dawn wants to present a perfect place for them all to reside. She is willing to give as much as it takes in order for this family to be happy. She is so giving that it comes at the expense of her own individuality. She wants others to instinctively know when she is in pain and needs something from them. Her self-determination doesn't always mean she is capable of asking for help. She needs that from time to time though. She feels alienated within this family. She knows how to occupy this space as an individual. And now, she is asked to share it. She wants Mary Anne to feel welcomed. This space should be hers as well. It's awkward though. It's a massive transition. One that highlights the entirety of their beings. Dawn and Mary Anne are great friends. But now, they are spending all their time together. That's a significant change of pace. Dawn feels rejection at every turn. She believes that her needs aren't being validated and appreciated. She is offering nothing but kindness to others. She wants some in return. She needs to vocalize those concerns though. She can't just bottle it up hoping that others will notice eventually. That only means things come out at inappropriate times that can actually threaten her friendships. She and her mother have a certain relationship. She loves her father. However, he hasn't been a daily part of her life in a long time. It's just been two in this household for awhile. And now, that changes. It's good. It's what everyone wants. But it's awkward as well. The newcomers don't appreciate Dawn's love of hot sauce or the incense she burns before going to sleep. She wants to make them comfortable. But she also doesn't connect with them with the same ease that they all seem to get along. Mary Anne and Sharon are kindred spirits in the kitchen. They both have amiable intentions while also creating a mess. They believe they clean it up. And yet, Dawn notices the mess left behind. She has different standards. She notices things that are blatantly obvious to her while being overlooked by others. She is baffled by that. Her perspective is vital and necessary. It should be respected just as much as anyone else in this family. However, she is unique. Not everyone sees the world the same way. That's good and healthy. In fact, it's amusing when Dawn and Mary Anne invert their reactions upon going through the secret door in the closet. Mary Anne does so with no fear. She needs to confront her anxieties. Meanwhile, Dawn is the one terrified that they'll be trapped in there forever. They will become the terrifying creatures who never see the sun. Again, all of this can be mended through the friends being honest with each other. That's always the heartwarming resolution of these stories. It applies in so many different contexts as well. It's so easy to get wrapped up in one's own mind and fear the worst. Some people are aware that they do this. They have coping mechanisms that allow them to handle it. Dawn and Richard bond over adult coloring books. That calms them. Meanwhile, Mallory is suddenly terrified about money and just how costly the world around her is. She has never had to worry about that before. And now, she believes the kindness from her friends is actually pity. They are throwing her sister a birthday party just because they have to earn some good will after her brother was injured on their watch. It's cynical but that's where Mallory's mind goes right away. She can't be overlooked amongst all of this either. Her reaction is just as valid and worthy of consideration. She still feels new to the group. She feels lucky to have friends like these. Kristy is even willing to put on a clown costume. That shows her commitment even though she is also furious with Dawn and Mary Anne for getting locked inside a cellar in the first place. All of these emotions have a place in this storytelling. It may create tension for a moment. However, there is nothing they can't ultimately overcome. Again, that follows a familiar pattern. And yet, this episode has plenty of delightful flourishes within it to overcome those similar structural tendencies.