I was so entrenched in The Baby-Sitters Club series when I was a tween, nowadays I sometimes can’t tell if a clothing item in my memory is something I actually owned, or was simply seared into my brain by Ann M. Martin’s detailed descriptions of Claudia Kishi’s outfits. Just looking at the covers of the original books gives me FEELINGS, so when the Netflix reboot hit my laptop last month (from incredible former BUST contrib and showrunner Rachel Shukert!) I took a personal holiday and binged the season in its entirety. Let me tell you reader, IT WAS NOT ENOUGH. I could’ve watched five more hours and still wanted more. Which is why I am so grateful that my new favorite podcast, Stuck In Stoneybrook, launched shortly prior. The hour-ish long pod is hosted by Anne Ichikawa (pop culture writer, former Elle Girl editor, and the pod’s resident Claudia), her BFF Esme Shaller (a teen psychologist and total Kristy), and Esme’s close-in-age niece, Emily Crandall (a feminist scholar with a PhD in political theory—she’s a self-proclaimed Dawn with a hint of Mary Anne). The three BSC superfans are re-reading every book in the series, and devoting an episode to each, this time through the lenses of their respective areas of expertise.
Which means that so far (episode 12 dropped on Thursday) there has been data-driven discussion about the state of adolescent girls’ confidence, a deep dive into the heteronormativity and deeply gendered constructs of Kristy’s Big Day, and a closer look at the whitewashing of Stoneybrook’s early history vis-à-vis The Ghost at Dawn’s House. BUT! There’s also a running tally of Claudia’s extensive candy stash, heavily researched hypotheses into which real life ’80s teen heartthrob inspired Mary Anne’s celebrity crush Cam Geary, and dramatic readings of the choicest passages. It is the perfect mix of nostalgia, feministiness, socio-political critique, and teen psyche insight. If you have any kind of connection to The Baby-Sitters Club, every moment of this pod, from its ridiculously catchy theme song to the episode-ending pizza toast, feels like a Sea City vacation for your world-weary mind—utterly delightful.
Top photo: Kailey Schwerman/Netflix © 2020
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