The Baby-Sitters Club (Season 2) Review: A delightful continuation that doesn’t lose its essence
The Baby-Sitters Club proved to be a refreshing take on the practice of children doing their bit to earn some pocket money as well as build companionship in the small-town USA. It focused on growing up and established arcs that made us want to watch the characters grow and evolve. We loved them in season one for the preteen issues, the progressive natures, and the insane awareness of things way beyond their age. This, combined with the light-hearted yet progressive nature of the show, had us wanting more. And Netflix obliged us with The Baby-Sitters Club (Season 2), with more of the same elements that drew us to the show. They even used the opportunity of eight decent-sized (25-30 minute) episodes to build on the arcs and drive home the feeling of family, friends, companionship, and the growth of the protagonists from tweens to teens.
At times during the show, you may wish that Netflix and Rachel Shukert extended the episodes. But in retrospect, you may feel glad that they didn’t go for quantity over quality, as too much of a good thing may have made the audience get bored with the same. Yes, we have to be content with just under four hours of content and delightfully sprinkled humor amidst the mature themes that are explored and even built on in this delightful continuation that doesn’t lose its essence.
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Following the events of summer camp, The Baby-Sitters Club season 2 picks off in the last few weeks of summer. We see that the Thomas family has completely moved base to the Brewer residence, complete with a new pool and a huge house. This also comes with certain snobbery, though, of course, given the vibe of the show, you realize that it is just misunderstood reactions that will melt away with time.
With the return of the school season, the need for sitters arises, prompting the reconvening of the club. It’s delightful to see more characters from Ann M. Martin’s novels make their way into the show. Whilst it displays progress, it can also be the show’s way of building for the future, as it’s quite clear that our season 1 protagonists are growing up and may not have as much time on their hands in high school.
That being said, the focus on the newer characters could work in the long run as the audience gets a reason to get invested in them. Unfortunately, in the short run, their presence denied us the chance to see more from the perspective of Kristin (Sophie Grace), Stacey (Shay Rudolph), Claudia (Momona Tamada), Mary Anne (Malia Baker), and Dawn (the newly cast Kyandra Sanchez). Furthermore, characters such as Jeanine, Mr. and Mrs. Yishi, Watson Brewer, and Elizabeth (Alicia Silverstone) feel rather underused. Of course, as the latter two characters dominated season 1, we could excuse their absence as their story had progressed substantially in 2020.
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Also, the babysitting element seemed absent to a large part, and it felt more like a show that focused on the club named The Baby-Sitters Club and not the activity that the club was formed to carry out. But it’s more than just a group for work as Kristin says, “Being a part of the Babysitter’s club means we show up for each other.”
This wonderfully reiterated the point that all the club members are treated as leads and the show is more of an exploration of each member rather than just their adventures in babysitting. We do not need another rehash of that film.
They showed up for each other in huge ways, being part of the others’ journey as they accept what things are in the case of the bossy and demanding Kristin, who does at times overcompensate, and Stacey, who realizes that she cannot be perfect. The show does delve into boyfriend territory, but it doesn’t dominate the narrative. That could be a theme for future seasons, that this show is quite likely to get.
Despite the limited focus on certain characters, the makers aptly opted to let Mary Anne and Dawn dominate due to their mission ‘Parent Trap’ from the previous season. Or rather, I just got the feeling as though the two of them were featured a lot over the 8 episodes, with Kristin not being noticed as much. Perhaps that is because her character is the type of one you just naturally want to shut out? Not really though, as she made plenty of progress from her uptight and bossy season 1 self. It’s quite noticeable that she avoided saying President when answering the phone towards the latter half of the season.
What works for the show is that all the characters evolved and were in a better place at the end. Additionally, the fact they retained some sense of their original identities did was a nice touch. Evolution without stripping away the essence of each character. Richard’s deadpan humor and his idea of exciting news, coupled with the buildup of the wedding march, were extremely hilarious.
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The ending of the season provides the viewer with a moment that could serve as a perfect climax to the show. However, this light-hearted offering will surely have fans craving for more about the gang from Stoneybrook, Connecticut. With a vast treasure trove of ideas from Ann M. Martin’s novels and a possible four years at Stoneybrook before the leads head off to college, there is a lot of time for more and more stories to come our way, courtesy of the club.
Overall, season 2 will make you feel invested in the stories. The innocence oozes out of every scene and helps it thrive. Be it the quest for perfectionism, the ability to understand the plight of the other, or even acceptance, you will find something to fall back on and know that you are not alone. Given that it is targeted to the family audience, it may shed light on how there is always time for young people to find their path and missed opportunities aren’t detrimental to the future. Instead, they are detrimental to the present.