Quickfire round: The Babysitters Club

Based on the books of the same name, this sort about a group of 7th graders who form a group to provide babysitting services to their local area was packed full of teachable moments for its target audience (of which I am not a participant).

Although the books began in the 1980s, this show is entirely modern – everyone has a smartphone

When Kristy’s mum struggles to find a babysitter before a date with her wealthy boyfriend, Kristy, who isn’t taking well to her future stepfather and is ostensibly looking for a distraction from them, has the idea of forming a club to make the process a whole lot easier. She’s the president, of course, as the one with the most experience babysitting her own younger brother. But the club is more than just a business. The members form a close friendship that, while tested, remains strong throughout.

Each episode is narrated by a member of the club and is somewhat formulaic. Something bad happens which the characters then overcome. The great thing about this show is the importance of the issues tackled in it, some more subtle than others. Claudia, an incredibly chic future art student, feels that only her grandmother, Mimi, truly understands her. When Mimi suffers a stroke and can only recall early memories (and the Japanese language she natively speaks) – breaking that bond of understanding (the episode also sprinkles in a bit of American-Japanese war history as well, which is fantastic to see).

In another episode we see Stacey, new to the local school having recently relocated from New York. She’s been struggling to hide her insulin pump (and thereby her Type 1 diabetes) from the club, which has rather disastrous consequences when a rival babysitting enterprise leaks a video of her passed out on the floor at her old school. This raises concerns from the parents of the children she babysits, which is, like all the episodes, happily smoothed over by the end. It’s this careful structuring of disaster followed by resolve that allows the show to tackle these issues without veering away from its PG rating.

If you happen to have or know a child aged around 11+ I would definitely recommend sitting down and watching this with them. The acting from the all-girl main cast was brilliant (although, notably, the supporting boys were not as good) and it really deserves a sequel.