Generation BSC: A Baby-Sitters Club Podcast

Kate and Lauryn are proud members of Generation BSC making their way through the Baby-Sitters Club series one book at a time.

About the show

Kate Vlasek and Lauryn Hunter are two women in their mid-thirties who generally geek out about all things pop culture, particularly nostalgic pop culture. A spur-of-the-moment purchase of a random assortment of Baby-Sitters Club books on eBay sparked the excitement that would become Generation BSC.

And what is Generation BSC? First, it’s a micro-generation Kate and Lauryn have identified with between Generation X and Millennials. This micro-generation has also been called the Oregon Trail Generation, Generation Catalano, the Star Wars Generation, Xennials, and Elder Millennials - essentially, for our purposes, those born between 1980 and 1985 who would have read Baby-Sitters Club books as they were being released in the late 80s and early 90s. (As an aside, we've come to realize since starting our journey with the Baby-Sitters Club, however, that Generation BSC really is anyone who has grown or is growing up with the BSC, but we're examining it from our perspective in particular.) Second, it’s a biweekly episodic podcast where Kate and Lauryn revisit each book in the Baby-Sitters Club series both looking back at how they approached the topics and themes when they read the books as children and comparing that with how they approach the same topics and themes in 2019 (and beyond).

Eventually, the podcast will include guests and “Very Special Episodes” where Kate and Lauryn visit other pop culture from the same era and later, using the Baby-Sitters Club and Generation BSC as a jumping off point for discussion.

Whether you’ve loved the Baby-Sitters Club since childhood or are jumping in for the first time, you’ll have a great time reading along with Kate and Lauryn.

Generation BSC logo created by Jordyn Hunter.

Generation BSC: A Baby-Sitters Club Podcast on social media

Episodes

  • Episode 035: Stacey and the Mystery of Stoneybrook!

    June 22nd, 2021  |  1 hr 2 mins
    main series, stacey

    Stacey and Charlotte (who's spending the week at her house) have a few spooky encounters at an old mansion on her street set for demolition, which intrigues the Baby-Sitters Club and sets them on course to investigate and figure out who might've owned the house and whether it's haunted. Because it's a book about hauntings in 1990, problematic concepts are, of course, thrown around as possible reasoning, but ultimately there are real-world explanations for all of the spooky happenings. (Because to-date no mysteries in Stoneybrook have had anything other than real-world explanations, sadly.)

    And as a note, we're taking a short Summer Vacation (inspired by Mary Anne and Stacey's trip to Sea City in the last episode) and will be back on August 3!

  • Episode 034: Mary Anne and Too Many Boys!

    June 8th, 2021  |  1 hr 21 mins
    main series, mary anne

    Mary Anne and Stacey are headed back to Sea City with the Pikes for two weeks to start summer break, "just like last time." (Not like last time - they went during Spring Break in Boy-Crazy Stacey.) We discuss the revisiting of a lot of the same plot points and seeing them from Mary Anne's perspective this time and quickly realize she's stretching a bit when she says there are "too many boys."

  • Episode 033: Claudia and the Great Search!

    May 25th, 2021  |  1 hr 18 mins
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    Due to the subject matter of Kristy and the Secret of Susan focusing on an autistic child Kristy spends a significant amount of time with, Kate and Lauryn are taking a minute to bring on some great guests that they feel will help make that conversation as sensitive and thoughtful as possible. As a result, this week we're diving into Claudia and the Great Search, where Claudia becomes convinced she was adopted and goes on a thorough search to find the truth about her birth family and ultimately realizes, with Stacey's help, that she needs to just talk to her parents. This conversation results in the ultimate Danny Tanner moment.

  • Episode 031: Dawn's Wicked Stepsister!

    May 11th, 2021  |  1 hr 6 mins
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    Kate and Lauryn come back into that mid-bouquet toss cliffhanger and dive right into how great this book is at modeling behavior and teaching lessons related to blending families... until it takes a complete left turn with Dawn’s gaslighting of Mary Anne to scare her out of their shared bedroom (for which there is no comeuppance or lesson learned on Dawn’s part). We realize how much seeing Dawn’s perspective and hearing her internal monologue makes us see her in a worse light (similar to Mary Anne in the last book), despite the fact that typically one sympathizes most with the narrator of a story. Frustrating is the word of the book – both when it comes to Mary Anne and Dawn’s actions and character beats and how close this book comes to getting it right. There’s also a Pike Plague that lends itself well to an unrelated B Plot that gives us a nice reprieve from the Schafer-Spier drama. As usual, we have some fun on- and off-topic tangents, including: the Hays Code, that quintessential Sex and the City bouquet toss moment in real life, the BSC wearing surgeons’ masks to protect themselves and others and just how relevant that is to today, Kristy’s great joke in response to Claudia trying to make herself smarter, how much we love our girls just being friends and having fun, WTF a sorehead might be, seatbelt safety protocols, and candy necklaces (whether homemade or purchased).

  • Episode 030: Mary Anne and the Great Romance!

    April 27th, 2021  |  1 hr 18 mins
    main series, mary anne

    Kate and Lauryn are back into the main series following their Super Special detour to a ski lodge with the big, but not so big, wedding event where Richard and Sharon tie the knot in a much more business-like fashion than we (to varying degrees) or Mary Anne would’ve liked. It’s the first of a two-parter dealing with the lead-up to and fallout from the blending of the Spier and Schafer families. We compare and contrast this wedding situation with that of Edie (aka Elizabeth if you’re not us and haven’t latched onto that nickname from Kristy’s Great Adventure) and Watson along with the various sibling and family relationships we see throughout the series (and in our own lives). This book and our discussion end up being more ridiculous than we might have anticipated, leading Lauryn to put together a WTF list while reading that we run through in one go to really emphasize the ridiculousness overall. On- and off-topic tangents include: Edie vs. Elizabeth, being indoor kids, balloon bouquets, straw hats, Laura Ashley, sundried tomatoes, Jell-o Jigglers, and Mary Anne’s boring AF board game.

  • SS03: Baby-Sitters' Winter Vacation!!

    April 13th, 2021  |  2 hrs 19 mins
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    It's another super special with another super special guest, Jen Forbes, the host of our spiritual sister podcast, Oof! Right in the Childhood. We discuss our babysitters' school trip to a ski lodge, which is, of course, full of all the antics we've come to expect from a super special.

  • Episode 029: Mallory and the Mystery Diary!

    March 30th, 2021  |  1 hr 11 mins
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    Coming off the drama in Stacey’s life due to her parents’ divorce, Kate and Lauryn are relieved to dive into a fun story that involves a mystery that doesn’t include someone doing something mean to one of our girls (like, for example, any time we see Cokie Mason). Instead, the Baby-Sitters Club and everyone they talk to are invested in solving the mystery laid out in a 100-year-old diary written by a 12-year-old girl named Sophie that Mallory finds in a trunk in the attic of Stacey’s new house, in particular finding out who stole the painting of Sophie’s mother and whether Sophie and her father are currently haunting Stacey’s house. Spoiler alert – they solve the mystery with the help of Buddy Barrett, who Mallory spends the book tutoring in reading with pretty conveniently easy results. We discuss how fun it was to find things as a kid and make up a backstory, particularly when we were kids and there was no easy way to find more information or potentially reunite the item with its original owner. We also go in-depth about the problematic séance scene (and Kristy’s even more problematic costume) and touch on the issues that arise when Christianity is seen as the default. On- and off-topic tangents include the cost of art restoration, Charlotte being both a baby murderino and a wise beyond her years child horror movie trope, these books tending to be surface level and easy as compared to real life, which is not, baby ages in months, clutter vs. artfully arranged tchotchkes, and required disclosures when selling a haunted house. And because it needs to be called out separately – DAWN’S SMALL. STRAW. HAT.

  • Episode 028: Welcome Back, Stacey!

    March 16th, 2021  |  1 hr 15 mins
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    Life caused some editing snafus, so unfortunately there's no detailed summary of all the ins and outs and on- and off-topic tangents in this episode, but Kate and Lauryn discuss the book where Stacey's parents decide to get divorced and tell Stacey she can decide where to live and Stacey has an existential crisis about said divorce and having to decide where to live before ultimately (and unsurprisingly) deciding to move back to Stoneybrook with her mom.

  • Episode 027: Jessi and the Superbrat!

    March 2nd, 2021  |  1 hr 15 mins
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    After the difficult subject matter of our last episode, Kate and Lauryn get a bit of a reprieve with a fluffy story about Stoneybrook’s collective obsession with stardom, Jessi’s audition process for the “practically off-off-Broadway” production of Swan Lake in Stamford, and the arrival of child star, Derek Masters. There’s bullying both of Derek and by Derek (spoiler alert – the superbrat is him, but not in the spoiled child star kind of way we predicted) and the BSC does what they can to ease Derek back into the “normal” world, helping him to make friends and then say goodbye to those friends with a surprise breakfast going away party when he books a TV movie and has to head back to LA. And Derek does what he can to support Jessi’s auditions for Swan Lake while also putting a bug in her ear about maybe switching to modeling and acting like he did. We revisit just how amazing Mr. and Mrs. Ramsey are and add some kudos for Mrs. Masters not being a nightmare stage mom. We discuss how much we’d love to see Watson’s financial statements to figure out just what kind of millionaire he is, how normal for Stoneybrook isn’t normal for the world, how little sense it makes that Jess, an 11 year-old, is beating out professional adult ballerinas to be cast in the corps in Swan Lake, how great podcasting is these days with so many perspectives that give everyone the level of deep diving into the subject matter, the detriment of each member of the BSC having that one “thing” that they automatically excel at, how the ghostwriter was just a little off for this one (in particular in how she had Claudia questioning whether the kids would prefer chocolate or coconut donuts), maximizers vs. satisfizers, the weird time vortex some of these books fall into, and the complete lack of weather accuracy in the teen shows of the 1990s.

  • Episode 026: Claudia and the Sad Good-bye.

    February 16th, 2021  |  1 hr 6 mins
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    Well, we’ve reached the book we’ve been dreading since the beginning, knowing that eventually we’ll have to say goodbye to Mimi with the rest of the BSC, Claudia in particular. It was a tough book to come back to after a break for the holidays that we’d hoped would be a nice opportunity to reset after the shitshow that was 2020, made even more tough when an attempted coup and attack on the Capitol occurred about a week before recording. Kate and Lauryn ended up coming to this book from very different perspectives, due both to their own personal experiences with grief and this book and the proximity to January 6th in their reading. Join us for an in-depth conversation that tries not to wallow in the sadness and instead focus on just how great this book is overall, but especially in just how perfectly it provides for teachable moments and opportunities to learn about how to deal with death of a loved one, the death of a friend or acquaintance’s loved one, and how loss and the processing of grief looks different for every person. We also dive into the subplot with Corrie Addison and her awful parents (or maybe not so awful if we allow some grace for what they might be experience that we don’t see in the book?) and Claudia’s close relationship with Corrie where they both fill a space they’re currently missing (due to Mimi’s death and Corrie’s aforementioned awful parents). This includes comparing and contrasting with Mrs. Barrett in her introduction. We take some related and unrelated tangents (as usual) to discuss topics like Lurlene McDaniel YA novels, the implications of unexplained bruises, Dorianne’s name change, the importance of friendships being a two-way street with both parties on the same page, honoring people with art and reactions when people share personal work with you, how grateful we are for Generation BSC, an acknowledgement that sometimes you have to suffer for fashion, the continued problematic references to Emily Michelle, and Jamie’s adorable way of referring to the Shillaber twins – the “Very-lyn twins.”

  • SS02: Baby-Sitters' Summer Vacation!

    February 2nd, 2021  |  1 hr 20 mins
    guest, super special

    We’re back from our recent break with another super special, super long, super guest episode to discuss all things BSC and summer camp! Kate and Lauryn are joined by Alexandra Sommeillan to discuss the BSC’s two-week trip to a problematically named summer camp with about half of Stoneybrook. We first dive into Alexandra’s history with the BSC, her thoughts on representation with the changes to Dawn’s character for the Netflix series, her identification with Mary Anne, and get her opinions on Latinx representation in pop culture that really gets it right (particularly in Vida and One Day at a Time). Then we turn to the Super Special itself to discuss some of the more problematic aspects of the story, our ongoing disappointment in the series’ inability to give important subjects the “screentime” necessary to appropriately examine those subjects, identity and the importance of finding and knowing yourself, and the myriad maladies Stacey is afflicted with (beyond just the poison ivy of the show). And even with a guest, it wouldn’t be an episode of Generation BSC without some on- and off-topic tangents, including Oujia boards, LUV, the implications of “Christmassing,” whether or not Lake Erie is spooky, shared notebooks and journals, and (of course) summer camp in popular culture.

  • Episode 025: Mary Anne and the Search for Tigger!

    December 1st, 2020  |  55 mins 30 secs
    main series, mary anne

    Kate and Lauryn were excited to get back to a Mary Anne book, but end up a little frustrated by how out of character she and the rest of the BSC act throughout this book. Basically, Tigger goes missing because Mary Anne can’t be bothered to take him in the house and then she (and the BSC) vacillates between frantic and lackadaisical and not using logic before Mary Anne finally figures out that Logan’s sister, Kerry, had found Tigger and was keeping him as a secret pet in her closet. We take issue with Logan and dissect the fact that our fond feelings may be as a result of the repetitive positive commentary in each book and the fact that he doesn’t actually appear in person in many books in the series. It’s a book that could’ve been great, but just missed the mark and to avoid a total pile-on, we use some of the episode to talk about larger themes and ideas in the series as a whole, in particular focusing on the difference in how Claudia’s Japanese-American heritage is treated versus how the narrators in each book approach describing Jessi as Black and looking toward more opportunities to continue that conversation in the future. We also touch on some of the real pop culture referenced in the book, including A Swiftly Tilting Planet, Baby Island, and Millions of Cats, which leads to a general discussion of other pop culture we may have missed (Madeleine L’Engel and His Dark Materials) or that does or does not hold up today (Empire Records vs. Can’t Hardly Wait) and the joys of going into something with low expectations and ending up being pleasantly surprised.

  • Episode 024: Kristy and the Mother's Day Surprise!

    November 17th, 2020  |  1 hr 7 mins
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    Kate and Lauryn kick off this episode with their excitement over Netflix’s renewal of The Baby-Sitters Club series for Season Two (and include some thoughts about potential plotlines and what we hope to see in the second season). Then circling back to the topic at hand, we discuss another pretty great book in the series that delves into what a family really is through Kristy’s examination of her family (which includes the BSC, but not her “real dad”) and the addition of a new sister, Emily Michelle. We discuss chosen families and found families vs. a family you’re born into and what that means generally and for both of us. We also get into the good and bad of Emily Michelle’s adoption and how it’s handled in this book (and how we wish it had done better as a teaching opportunity). We circle back to one of our favorite topics related to the series – the fact that each book feels like a conversation with a friend and how much we love the way that reinforces our love of these books – and include some asides related to Kristy’s interest in fashion, being childfree, how quietly radical these books really were for their time, that Kristy could be the next Elizabeth Holmes if she gave into some of her worst tendencies, nostalgia, and jellies shoes.

  • Episode 023: Dawn on the Coast!

    November 3rd, 2020  |  55 mins 2 secs
    dawn, main series

    Kate and Lauryn recover from the frustrations they had in their last episode with a much more lighthearted discussion of Dawn on the Coast, where Dawn spends her (two-week?) Spring Break in California visiting her dad and Jeff. We have a fun discussion of the ins and outs of Dawn’s specific California and what “California” meant conceptually in the late 80s vs. now, while also diving into a deeper conversation on what “home” and “belonging” mean and the ultimate realization that you can look at it not as a choice between two places where a decision means a loss, but rather a win because you have two places you belong. It’s ultimately a fun preview of Super Special #5 (California Girls!) that includes thoughtful consideration of those themes. We also comment on how much we love some of those more special BSC-sitting charge connections (e.g., Dawn and Nicky Pike, which plays an important role here), Lauryn's obsession with Son-in-Law (and Carla Gugino), Ann M. Martin’s blessing of copycat babysitting clubs, the references to existing or made-up media throughout this book and the series, air travel of the past (complete with smoking vs. non-smoking seats), and the joys (or not) of ravioli and coleslaw as a meal.

  • Episode 022: Jessi Ramsey, Pet-Sitter!

    October 20th, 2020  |  57 mins 51 secs
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    Kate and Lauryn attempt to dive into a conversation on Jessi’s second book where “having a pet” is the obsession du jour, but find themselves discussing an uncomfortably timed election (and seemingly out of nowhere) subplot where Kristy acts uncharacteristically despotic and controlling. What we expected to be mostly a fun light discussion of Jessi’s pet-sitting antics (which, don’t worry, there’s that too) initially kicks off with an examination of our disappointment in the mischaracterization of most of our girls and in the use of this storyline in a book where the narrator isn’t able to shed any real light on the driving concerns or lessons to be learned (as could have been accomplished with the same storyline in a Kristy or Mary Anne book). We do manage to get into the ridiculousness of an eleven year-old pet-sitting for an excessive number of animals for over a week (with both weekends) and dissect the best names chosen by the Mancusis for their menagerie. And it wouldn’t be an episode of Generation BSC without some semi-on- and off-topic tangents like childhood pet situations, family vacations during school, bad apple teachers, best friendship, timeline wonkiness, and (of course) Kristy’s Mystery Admirer.

  • Episode 021: Mallory and the Trouble With Twins!

    October 6th, 2020  |  1 hr 2 mins
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    Kate and Lauryn are back to basics and regularly-scheduled programming with their discussion of Mallory and the troublesome, terrorizing twins – Marilyn and Carolyn Arnold. Despite the trouble and terror, it’s a light book to ease everyone back into the regular series discussion. Mallory has some significant plot ignorance that causes her to completely forget that her identical triplet brothers are different people with distinct personalities until it makes sense for her to remember in time to have the realization that maybe the twins are also different people with distinct personalities who don’t want to be dressed in identical infantilizing outfits with identical lives. We cut Mallory some slack since the story called for it and she brings it around in giving Marilyn and Carolyn the opportunity to realize and act on their own agency. And Mallory is even inspired by them to do the same for herself – with respect to ear-piercing and hair-cutting. Yep, it’s the one with the obsession with twinning and piercing, as multiple charges dress identically for fun and the BSC goes “malling” to get a total of nine holes pierced. We discuss how the new BSC series has or has not impacted our reading, the movie versions of Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings being the definitive versions of each, and our own feelings and experiences on twinning and ear-piercing before taking a more on-topic tangent than you might expect into influencer culture and children’s rights to consent or object to their parents’ (or others’) posting of them on social media. And as always, we remind ourselves just how great Mallory is along with how much we appreciate Ann M. Martin for the care and thought she puts into writing each of these books and capturing each girl’s distinct voice and personality.