Posted in review, theology

The Babysitters Club: Netflix Review

By Elizabeth Prata

Netflix rebooted the 1990s book series and movie The Babysitters Club into a 2020 series.

The Baby-Sitters Club (also known as BSC) is a series of novels written by Ann M. Martin and published by Scholastic between 1986 and 2000, that sold 176 million copies. There were 213 books published over the course of the series (not all written by Martin) and the books’ success eventually led to a television series in the 90s. Thirteen episodes were made and aired on HBO, with reruns continually on Disney and Nickelodeon between 1994 and 1997. (Information Source Wikipedia).

It was hugely popular, let’s say.

So when TV people need an idea, they sometimes look backward to the tried and true, and “reboot” it, hoping the new version will tap a collective nostalgia and be just as succe$$ful. The 1990s comedy show Roseanne was a successful millennial reboot, MacGyver was also rebooted, but less successfully.

The Babysitters Club (BSC) was known for being sweet. The usually cranky Los Angeles Times reviewed the 1995 movie, using words like enchanting, beguiling, graceful, and beautiful.

I had never read The Babysitters Club books, I was an adult in my thirties when the series came out, and I wasn’t teaching at that time, either, and thus wasn’t clued in to what the kids were reading/watching. So I had little knowledge of the content but I did know BSC was considered good and clean.

During this period of our COVID lockdown, I was looking for something enchanting, beguiling, graceful, and beautiful to watch, so when the new BSC came out on Netflix, I tuned in. It is rated G.

From almost the first lines spoken in the first episode, in under 50 seconds, the main character was describing how she interrupted her teacher’s lesson by mocking Thomas Jefferson because he wrote all men are created equal instead of all people. She also mocked the teacher because he gave her a detention for standing up and shouting in class, dismissing his attitude because he thinks girls should be “polite and invisible.” No, just respectful, I say. So…feminism and disrespect in under one minute. This didn’t bode well.

This thread of feminism signaled in the first minute is a heavy theme throughout the first three episodes that I watched. It’s so palpable I can practically see the writers inserting lines into the script that no tween would ever say.

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In another early episode, one character is now revealed to have two “dads.” This is also taken as normal and not remarked upon. Add normalizing homosexuality and gay marriage to the growing list of undesirable traits in this series.

The girls are activists in one of the early episodes too, enacting some social justice mottoes and actions. In another episode a mom’s living room is filled with New Age materials, such as crystals and Tarot. These are occult items and not to be trifled with nor presented as normal.

Apparently in a later episode, a transgender child was a focal point of the episode. The male actor wants to be a girl, is tragically an actual transgender child, whose mother was satisfied with the episode, because “They didn’t make a big deal about Bailey being trans, [in the episode] they made a really big deal about how Bailey was treated.” Normalizing transgender, which is akin to child abuse, is another nail in the coffin for this reboot.

I was very sad because the positive messages in between the tragic normalization of the above named sins are really good, such as forgiveness, honesty, and hard work ethic. The acting and the quality of the production are excellent, too. But I won’t be assaulted with feminism, homosexuality, transgender, social justice, trans issues, and New Age in a so-called G-rated show!

Here is an excerpt from a review of the series, with which I agree:

THE BABY-SITTERS CLUB is a Netflix original series that debuted on July 3, 2020. The series is a reboot of the novels that share the same name, but unfortunately, the relatively innocent storylines we loved from the books are nowhere to be seen. One episode features a transgender child, and other episodes mention that a character has gay dads. The series also highlights witchcraft and New Age beliefs.

Netflix decided to release THE BABY-SITTERS CLUB during a time when life as we know it seems to be constantly changing and shifting. The release of such a reboot has the potential to be a nostalgic treat for viewers of all ages. Unfortunately, the series does not reflect Christian worldviews or messages, making it impossible to recommend for families.

I don’t expect secular television to reflect Christian worldviews, it can’t. But it is a desire to see at least a clean version of a program absent the worst of society’s ills. However, that’s just the problem. Society doesn’t see transgender, feminism, homosexuality, social justice, or New Age as societal problems, but solutions. If you want to track such things, look how much has changed in 25 years, between the height of the original novel series, and today’s reboot.

It’s interesting to see how bold satan has become in presenting this warped and sinful worldview to us through these screens, and worse, aimed at young children. When the Bible speaks of our faith as being in a war, nowhere is that more obvious than it is with children. I imagine parents must have to pause and explain quite a bit of the programs they do allow their children to see, for nothing is completely clean.

Parents are busy batting back the encroaching world views into their kids’ books, movies, and other media by necessity must include discussions based on the word of God so as to equip children with not only the hope of Jesus, but mechanisms to rebut their friends’ attitudes or answer questions if asked. It’s a lot.

This world is difficult to navigate with all the minefields around today. Fortunately we have some promises from Jesus. Though He promised trouble in this world (I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. John 16:33), He gave us the Holy Spirit to help us persevere, know the truth, and stand.

Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. (Ephesians 6:13).

It’s a long fight, and a fight seemingly without end. It will end at the rapture of the church for all of us or upon a believer’s death individually, so, a long time. But from His vantage point on the other side, His Spirit inspired Paul to write,

For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, (2 Corinthians 4:17).

It feels heavy now, but later it will be so light compared to the weight of glory we’ll be experiencing later. Keep focused on that.

And avoid The Babysitters Club. Remember, just because it’s rated G doesn’t mean is safe for Christian kids to watch. Use your parental discrimination to keep the minds and hearts of your children as pure as possible in the Lord.

Author:

Christian writer and Georgia teacher's aide who loves Jesus, a quiet life, art, beauty, and children.

3 thoughts on “The Babysitters Club: Netflix Review

  1. I saw a snip of the transgender episode on Instagram. The babysitter was confronting a doctor and nurse for using the pronoun “he” when talking about the trans child. I noticed, in the clip, the doctor looked like a three year old being scolded by his parents for being a bad boy. He nodded his head like a three year old would do in that situation. It seemed to paint the teen babysitter as the all wise, Intelligent one; while the adults were the stupid ones. I wonder if other episodes paint things that way? I won’t find out, because I won’t be watching any of it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I was excited when I heard about the BSC reboot, but like every other series on Netflix, it misses the mark. The BSC was great because it was innocent and fun. I have been greatly disappointed all of Netflix latest original series (as well as most major networks series) lately due to their their worldly agendas. Example: Anne with an E was a far cry from the PBS series and beloved novel. It’s hard having tweens and teens that want to tune to a shows that look innocent. Honestly, being the “tv police“ is hard when the rates are “g”. I wish there could be more of a focus on normalizing social acceptance of people with learning differences and special needs, like autism, anxiety, physical differences, etc. These challenges face so many in our society, yet are rarely portrayed as “normal”. Also, I pray for a series for young Christian Tween and teens. A good quality well-written book series or television series based on morality, facing peer pressure, serving others, being bold in Faith. There are some, but so many are dull, cheesy and predictable (which for me is fine…bring on the Hallmark Christmas movies) but for kids they want more. I can almost guarantee well-done series could be so profitable for someone willing to invest in doing it right!!

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