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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Baby-Sitters Club is a reboot of the same-named 1990s show, both of which were inspired by the popular book series by Ann M. Martin, who serves as the show's producer. The series centers on a group of teen girls who run a successful business that incorporates their unique talents and their shared interest in caring for kids. Episodes deal with serious issues like divorce, gender identity, and racism, as well as accompanying strong emotions, but the friends always step up to help each other and to be positive role models for the kids in their charge. Expect mild language along the lines of "stupid," "nerd," "idiot," "butt," and "oh my God." Ultimately, though, what stands out in this series is the entrepreneurial spirit of five female friends with a passion for helping kids, loyalty to one another, and creative ideas for promoting their business model.
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What's the story?
In THE BABY-SITTERS CLUB, five friends join forces to create a lucrative business that serves the childcare needs of their community and allows them time to hang out together. The idea first occurred to Kristy (Sophie Grace) as she watched her mom struggle to find a babysitter for her younger brother. She teams up with her friends Mary-Anne (Malia Baker) and Claudia (Momona Tamada) to form a club that meets several times a week to field childcare requests from parents in their community. Soon Stacey (Shay Rudolph) and Dawn (Xochitl Gomez) join their ranks, and the five girls create a club around their shared devotion to helping parents care for the physical and emotional needs of their kids. At the same time, the club becomes a reprieve for the girls themselves as they turn to each other for help in dealing with the challenges in their own lives.
Is it any good?
Ann M. Martin's beloved book series comes to the screen once again in this engaging show with exceptional messages for girls especially. Into a TV climate that's often saturated with mean girls, divas, and drama emerges The Baby-Sitters Club, resplendent with culturally and ideologically diverse teen girls who prove that character strengths like compassion, loyalty, and a strong work ethic are every bit as enticing. In keeping with the books' style, each episode plays out from a different club member's perspective, which gives viewers a unique glimpse into her life experience. In this way, we learn that Claudia's sweet relationship with her grandmother helps her manage her rocky one with her parents, Kristy struggles with her mom's new romantic relationship, and Mary-Anne feels pressure to please her widower father. This creative format works well in a show that celebrates individuality and emphasizes the value of emotionally secure relationships.
Viewers see fairly quickly that The Baby-Sitters Club does not shy away from difficult and relevant issues, both in the teens' lives and in those of their young charges. Stories center on family matters like divorce, absentee parents, and difficult cross-generational relationships, as well as broader societal issues like transgenderism, homosexuality, and racial prejudice. Every problem is met with honest and thoughtful responses, and solutions often are realistically hard-fought. This updated series tweaks aspects of the books to encourage diversity and change some dated characterizations, but the prominent themes about problem-solving, friendship, and self-identity remain consistent and exceptional for viewers.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how the characters in The Baby-Sitters Club distinguish themselves as positive role models, both for the kids in their charge and for the show's viewers. What events stand out to you as examples of how the teens keep cool heads under pressure? To what degree is selflessness important in a caretaker of children?
Each of the five teens has a distinct personality and set of character strengths like compassion and self-control that she brings to the group. How does the club benefit from them? How do their unique strengths help them best serve their clients?
What issues raised in this show are most relevant to your tween's or teen's experiences? In general, how applicable are messages from shows like this one to real life? Are some shows better than others at making that so? If so, which ones?
How is diversity presented in The Baby-Sitters Club? Are there instances of prejudice that stand out? How are racial relations evolving right now?
- Premiere date: July 3, 2020
- Cast: Shay Rudolph, Sophie Grace, Momona Tamada, Malia Baker
- Network: Netflix
- Genre: Drama
- Topics: Book Characters, Friendship, Great Girl Role Models
- Character strengths: Compassion, Empathy
- TV rating: NR
- Available on: Streaming
- Award: Common Sense Selection
- Last updated: April 30, 2021
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