August 17th, 2021 | 1 hr 6 mins
guest, kristy, main series
Kate and Lauryn promised another neurodivergent and autistic voice to discuss Kristy and the Secret of Susan and are back with another super special episode to do just that, this time speaking with Brianne Leeson, a writer, artist, voice actor, podcast host, and sensitivity reader who joined us to share her experiences and perspectives. She introduced us to the word "allistic," which means not autistic, giving some additional nuance to the discussion surrounding autisic, neurodivergent, and neurotypical. In addition to discussing Kristy and the Secret of Susan, we dive into Brianne's experiences working with writers as a sensitivity reader, offering examples of what that entails and the type of feedback she's able to provide, discuss characters coded as autistic (rather than outright described as such), including Elle Woods from Legally Blonde and Willow from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and hear more about the podcast she created - Today's Lucky Winner - which she described as "a raunchy, chaotic, supernatural comedy - Buffy for stoners."
August 3rd, 2021 | 1 hr 20 mins
guest, kristy, main series
Kate and Lauryn are back from their summer vacation with a main series episode that's also a super special episode! As promised, we're returning to Kristy and the Secret of Susan, which we skipped in our regularly-scheduled rotation due to the franky pretty terrible plot focused on Susan, an autistic girl in the neighborhood, and Kristy's problematic reactions to Susan and her family and life. And also as promised, we've invited someone with significantly more experience with neurodivergence and the autism spectrum to join us to share their perspective and help to unpack all of the issues with this book. Our guest is Lyric Holmans, the Neurdivergent Rebel themselves! We discuss the ins and outs of Kristy and the Secret of Susan, the autism spectrum and neurodivergence in pop culture (spoiler alert - it's basically never good or right), and Lyric's recommendations for supporting other neurodivergents and being a good ally.
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!
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."
May 25th, 2021 | 1 hr 18 mins
claudia, main series
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.
May 11th, 2021 | 1 hr 6 mins
dawn, main series
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).
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.
March 30th, 2021 | 1 hr 11 mins
main series, mallory
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.
March 16th, 2021 | 1 hr 15 mins
main series, stacey
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.
March 2nd, 2021 | 1 hr 15 mins
jessi, main series
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.