Parents looking for someone to care for their children don’t want to make a million calls to lock down a sitter. And because that sentiment is as true now as it was in the mid-1980s — when The Baby-Sitters Club books hit the scene — Netflix’s adaptation of the young adult novels feels fresh, fun and relevant.
The updated take on Ann M. Martin’s beloved series debuted Friday on the streaming service. In a moment, we’ll want to hear what you thought of the first episode. But first, a quick recap:
The show quickly establishes its main characters. Kristy (Sophie Grace, Terror in the Woods) is the narrator; she’s a tomboy whose best friend, the quiet Mary-Anne (Malia Baker, The Flash) lives nearby. They used to be good friends with the artistic Claudia (Momona Tamada, The Boys), but there’s been a distance as of late. “I miss her,” Kristy tell us. “We both do.”
Kristy’s dad is not in the picture. When her mother, Elizabeth (Alicia Silverstone, Clueless), needs someone to watch her little brother (and her two older brothers quickly bail), she spends have an evening on the phone and ultimately comes up short. “Why is this so hard?” she cries… giving Kristy the idea for a new business.
Eventually, Kristy and Mary-Anne meet at Claudia’s house for Kristy to pitch her big idea. She’s irked at first that Claudia also has invited her new friend, Stacey (Shay Rudolph, Lethal Weapon), as well. But Kristy forges ahead: She wants to start a club that would meet several times a week and would serve as a central booking machine for local parents looking for babysitters. Mary-Anne and Claudia are in. And when Stacey instantly has some good ideas about marketing and such, Kristy begrudgingly deems her important enough to be part of the new venture.
Fans of the books will recognize several direct nods to the source material, including the way Claudia stashes junk food around her room. But the show also addresses the likelihood of such a club in the digital age by showing how irked Elizabeth is by having to shell out an annual fee to use an online babysitting referral service.
Anyway, the club gets up and running, complete with an “iconic” see-through landline phone from the olden days. The first call is from Watson (Mark Feuerstein, Royal Pains), Kristy’s mom’s fiance (whom Kristy loathes). So she acts pretty beastly to him… and then has to walk back her anger when she realizes that he’s the club’s biggest cheerleader and the main reason it gets its next jobs.
Along the way, Kristy’s need to be in charge, coupled with her simmering anger about the upcoming changes to her family, result in her alienating her friends. When she sees Stacey out with her parents — despite her having said she was going to be in New York City at the time — Kristy fumes at what she thinks is a betrayal. “You are not perfect, sweetie, and neither are any of the people who love you,” Elizabeth gently reminds her later during a heart-to-heart. So Kristy brings a peace offering to the next meeting and apologizes for the way she acted, admitting that the clubs is “not just mine — even though it was my idea.”
Of course the other girls accept her apology, but not her offer to step down as president. Then they enjoy the meal, with Stacey mouthing a silent “thank you” to Kristy for not saying anything about running into her when she was supposed to be in the Big Apple.
Now it’s your turn. What did you think of the premiere? Grade Episode 1 via the poll below, then hit the comments with your thoughts!