“You Wanna Be On Top, Stacey?” or BSC TV series #3, “Stacey’s Big Break”

I am not apologizing for any (unintentional, at least initially) double entendres in this post title.

Finally, I get to my favorite BSC video!  You all know Stacey’s my fave BSCer, and modeling was another one of my teenage obsessions (along with gymnastics).  This is probably why I love Nastia so much.  She’s like a collision of two teenage obsessions.  I was actually about to make a post about model-centered books/TV episodes (and now I’m dying to get my hands on some of my nostalgic faves) but I hadn’t gotten around to it yet.  This episode is definitely among those.  This recap’s taken longer than I’d expected–a lot of distractions this week–so hopefully it lives up to the hype.  Enjoy!

Previously, on the Babysitters’ Club: The BSCers are convinced that the Slade house is haunted and that Mrs. Slade is an evil kitten-sacrificing, Satan-worshipping witch.  When Claudia comes to the old lady’s defense, they’re convinced she’s under the thrall of Wicked Witch Slade.  The BSC make asses of themselves trying to rescue Claudia, and we find out Mrs. Slade’s actually a retired vet who’s tutoring Claudia in science.  The BSC make a new friend, who is never seen or heard from again.

Before the episode proper begins, we’re treated to a hilarious preview segment featuring some truly awesome voice acting.  It’s sort of like the chapter two info dump, but perkier.  A highlight was when the narrator says, “Jessi’s a great dancer!” whilst showing Jessi doing what looks like severely spastic hopscotch.

You know something’s very, very off when Claudia isn’t the most ridiculous-looking person in the picture.

The episode begins with the BSC at a pizza parlor.  Claudia waxes poetic about the hairstyle of a model in a magazine.  Nobody appreciates it properly so Claudia calls over Stacey, establishing her as a woman of taste.  I don’t know if I’d consider someone sporting a vibrant green beret and checked shoulder-padded blazer as a paragon of taste, but hey, it’s the 80s.  The BSC leave the pizza parlor and it’s time for the opening credits!  Watching this, I can’t believe that a part of my brain has still retained this theme song, pushing out other valuable information such as the chemical formula for caffeine and whatever the hell I needed to buy at Long’s the other day.  I especially like the freeze frames that initially made me think VLC player was borking up or something.

We begin with a BSC meeting.  Jessi’s sitting on the floor practicing ballet arm positions.  Now I know where Make It or Break It stole that idea from!  Man, cribbing off the BSC TV series.  That’s dire.  Also noteworthy is the fact that rather than her usual visor in the books, Kristy’s sporting a truly garish orange baseball cap.  It goes beautifully with her cobalt-blue turtleneck and army-green hoodie.  Hey, is this the same costume designer who picked the leos in Make It or Break It?  Cobalt-blue and puke-green seems to be a common motif.  And orange.

OMG, they’re totally the same show!

Can you guys imagine the BSC if they were gymnasts instead of sitters?  Kristy would probably be even more OCD than Payson, and she’d grow up to be this coach who trumps even the Karolyis in batshititude.  And Claudia would do some freak intepretive dance on floor and Tim and Elfi would be all like, “On any other gymnast, those dance moves would look like she was having an epileptic fit, but on Claudia, they look great!”  Mary Anne would burst into tears anytime she scored under a 9.5 (remember, they were still rocking the 10 in the 80s) and Dawn would brag about how all her leos are made with recycled aluminum foil, Stacey would constantly be the center of rumors because there’s totally something going on between her and the coach, guys (although she’d get some fabulously dramatic John Tesh-narrated fluffs about her diabeetus).  Jessi would be upset because she isn’t the first black gymnast to go to the Olympics and Mal would faceplant more times than Kim Kelly, and once she retired she’d totally page Shannon Miller and have like, five cosmetic surgeries and two marriages to crazy people. 

Stacey breezes in a couple seconds late (literally; Kristy just called the meeting to order) and excitedly shares the news that nepotism landed her a sweet gig modeling for the Bellair’s department store catalog.  The BSC members are so excited, Kristy even forgets to ream Stacey out for being late.  Claudia rhapsodizes about the “beautiful” clothes.  Given the getups we’re about to see at Stacey’s fashion shoots, I have to dispute this, but we are talking about someone who dresses in papier-maché earrings and skirts made out of recycled toilet paper rolls.  Dawn shares that her cousin is a model who travels all over the world.  This cousin, named Plot Device (known in the modeling world as “Pointless”) intrigues me, because this is the first time we’ve heard of her.  Come on, you know if you had a supermodel cousin you’d be bragging about that shit every day.  Especially if you were new at school.  “Yeah, I might be some health nut save-the-earth freak from SoCal, but my cousin is a model!”  Oh and guys–she makes $50 an hour!  Oh, the 80s. 

The BSC also discusses this episode’s subplot, a Snow White play they’re putting on with their charges.  Mrs. Johannsen calls for a sitter, prompting Mallory to suggest Charlotte as Snow White.  We get a nice touch of book!continuity when Kristy mentions the Little Miss Stoneybrook debacle.  Then Mrs. Stewart from Bellair’s calls for Stacey, and I have to wonder how she knew to reach Stacey at Claudia’s house.  Did Stacey give Mrs. Stewart a BSC flyer or what?  To be honest, this wouldn’t surprise me.  She probably sold Mrs. S the entire pitch when the possibility dawned on her that Mrs. S might have kids or know someone who does.  The upshot of the call is that Stacey’s taking pictures tomorrow, and everyone freaks out again.  Stacey worries about her look, wondering if her hair is too curly.  Well, if you aren’t into curly hair, maybe you shouldn’t take so many perms, just saying.

“Mirror, mirror, on the wall
Is this not the dullest subplot of all?”

Next, we see Stacey reading Snow White to Charlotte on her next sitting gig.  Stacey gives Charlotte the hard sell to play Snow White, but Charlotte remains resistant.  Stacey finally talks her into it by coming up with a secret code between the two of them–if Charlotte gets nervous, Stacey will make clicking noises with her tongue.  Charlotte thinks she sounds like a cricket.  I think she sounds like a moron, but I’m also not eight years old, so I’ll let that one slide. 

Come on, guys, do I even need to caption this one?

We segue into the next scene at Casa Kishi, where 80stacular pop plays as Stacey models prospective outfits for the BSC.  Now, going by what I’ve learned of modeling through various model-centered novels (some even for grown-ups!) and America’s Next Top Model, I am under the impression that you generally don’t pick your own outfits for modeling shoots.  You wear what the stylist puts you in.  And if Stacey’s shooting a department store catalog, wouldn’t she be wearing their clothes? And I’m putting far too much thought into this, aren’t I?  After a montage of several more outfits, Stacey finally settles on a men’s shirt, leggings, and blue blazer with some serious shoulder pad action.  Stylin’.

“Remember, Stacey… ~smile with your eyes!~”

Next we have intercut modeling shoot/Snow White rehearsal scenes.  At the first shoot, Stacey poses in front of a Sears Portrait-style backdrop while a dude in a polka-dotted shirt feverishly snaps photographs.  I love this guy.  He’s so obviously gay without the show actually coming out and telling us (oh hey pun!).  Mrs. Stewart, in the combined role of Tyra, Miss J, and Jay, pretty much presides over everything.  We watch Stacey model more 80slicious outfits and the wacky hijinks that ensue.  She has to wear shorts, you guys!  Outside, in the fall (I assume, since there’s no snow on the ground) in Connecticut!  This is actually realistic as models sometimes do shoots under less-than-ideal conditions.  Still, it’s hilarious the way Stacey bounces up and down to stay warm.  It looks like she has to pee real bad.  She does another shoot on roller blades and rolls right off-camera into oncoming traffic (at least, I assume she has because of the horns honking).  Nice to see Bellair’s looking out for the safety of their models.

Meanwhile, Snow White rehearsals are is pretty much what you’d expect–oh, those adorable little kids and their adorable little shenanigans.  Predictably, Kristy’s the control-freak director.  I’m surprised she doesn’t have a clapperboard and megaphone.  And where’s the director’s chair?  I can’t believe Kristy wouldn’t drag it out of Claudia’s room for just such an occasion.  Charlotte is sulky and uncooperative, whining for Stacey.  The remaining BSCers do their best to console her, but she’s pretty unbearable here.  But hey, Director Kristy–it’s all part of the job.  Next thing you know Char’ll be demanding a bowl of M&M’s with all the green ones taken out and throwing a fit because her trailer isn’t arranged according to Feng Shui.

MARY ANNE: “Models are into Coke? Does that mean you can’t drink Pepsi now?
KRISTY: “Not that coke, Mary Anne.”

Back at the pizza joint, the BSC conglommerates and they eagerly ask Stacey about her shoot.  Stacey’s not so excited..being a model is harder than it looks, guys!  By the way, I love the old-skool Pepsi cans.  I miss the old Pepsi can.  We see further evidence of the fashion world’s insidious influence as Stacey abstains (wow, here I thought I’d never use that word in reference to Stacey) from pizza.  Lest we forget about her diabeetus, Jessi makes sure to bring it up.  Look out, Stacey–one day you’re turning down pizza, the next you’re doing lines off a D-list rocker’s stomach in the men’s room of Le Deux on a Tuesday night while Morrissey’s greatest hits play in the background and a jailbait Disney star offers to get her Katy Perry on with you. 

Charlotte shows up with her mother, but totally blows Stacey off when Stacey comes over to say hi. Upset at the inroads being made into her baby-sitting life by actually having another interest, Stacey returns to the BSC table and defiantly bites into a slice of pizza.  Way to stick it to the man, Stace!

… Yeah, I don’t think I really need to caption this one, either.

We now cut to the Bellair’s fashion show, which features stylin’ outfits that look like a cross between Blossom and Schoolmarms’ Wear Daily.  Stacey wins the fashion show, and the grand prize includes all sorts of great things like a trip to Hollywood!  I admit I got my hopes up for a BSC Super Special video, “BSC Goes to Hollywood!”  But you know that’s not meant to be, because I can’t imagine this show could cough up the budget for that.  It would be so awesome, though.  Stacey gets a gig writhing on the hood of an Impala in a Whitesnake video while the rest of the BSC gets sucked into the seamy underworld of supermodels and the rockers who shag them.  Mary Anne becomes a groupie, Jessi becomes a backup dancer, Kristy experiments with a backup dancer, and Claudia just gets totally wasted all the time (no one can tell the difference).  Dawn gets kicked out of the BSC for constantly lecturing everyone on how bad coke is for your metabolism, and Mal decides to write a hard-hitting exposé on the world of supermodels.  This pisses off the remainder of the BSC and she gets kicked out with Dawn, but Mal scores her a sweet job writing for US Weekly, so there’s a silver lining.

After the fashion show, our fave gay photog snaps a group pic of the BSC, and as usual they’re posed like a bunch of lunatics instead of normal people.  Stacey invites the BSCers to the after party but they can’t, since they have a Snow White rehearsal.  The BSCers regale Stacey with funny stories of rehearsals past, and Stacey looks wistful.  Mrs. Stewart whisks Stacey away for more model business, and the BSC sighs over how lucky she is.

Is that the same blazer from the opening scene?  For shame, Stacey, a repeat outfit!

Cut to a Snow White rehearsal, a scene which is largely unmemorable save for Charlotte’s continuous whining over Stacey.  Dear God, child.  I’m starting to wonder if Charlotte has psychological problems.  I get kids being shy and stuff, but this is just ridic.  Meanwhile, Stacey’s in a waiting room at Bellair’s. A mother is there with her unruly little daughter, providing an opportunity for Stacey to flex her BSC-fu.  The mother is impressed, which is all the encouragement Stacey needs to give her the full BSC sales pitch.  When Mrs. Stewart comes to fetch Stacey, the little girl has already grown attached to her.  Man, these girls really can’t do anything that doesn’t involve children somehow, can they? 

I am totally distracted by that poster in back.  I can’t tell if it’s two guys or not.  It’s driving me nuts.

Stacey is at Mrs. S’s office for a commercial rehearsal, which isn’t going very well.  Stacey is all antsy and tells Mrs. S that there’s somewhere she has to be soon.  Mrs. S informs her that the commercial’s being shot at 4, and Stacey’s like, “Oh, hale naww!”  She needs to be at the Snow White play!  Mrs. Stewart speaks for most of us when she says incredulously, “You’re cancelling a commercial for some BSC play?” (OK, not her exact words, but that’s the gist of it).  Stacey explains that she has plenty of time to be famous when she’s grown up.  Not really, Stace, if you want to model.  Maybe till you’re about 30.  For now, the BSC is where she belongs.  I can’t dispute this.

Strangely, still not the weirdest outfit a BSCer’s ever worn.

Now it’s time for this episode’s penultimate event, the Snow White play.  It’s a very informal affair being held in someone’s living room, and the only audience members are the BSCers and various siblings–no parents, because the show’s budget couldn’t be extended to include some adult extras.  I find it a little absurd for Kristy to be comparing this play to Little Miss Stoneybrook, although arguably the audience probably consists of mostly the same people.  Stacey rushes in and is there to make her tongue-clicking noise when Charlotte freezes up.  Of course, Charlotte immediately remembers her lines and gets a sudden burst of confidence. 

We cut ahead to the final scene where Kristy, playing the prince, gallops up on a hobby-horse while sporting a Burger King crown.  There are so many utterly wrong jokes I could make about Kristy being a lesbian, but I won’t.  After the play, everyone congratulates Charlotte on her performance, and Stacey tells the BSC that she quit modeling.  They’re all shocked, but Kristy finishes up with a line that encapsulates this entire episode perfectly: “Anyone can be rich and famous, but not everyone can be a member of the BSC!”  True that.  The power of the BSCult compels you!

And here the curtain falls on the play and on “Stacey’s Big Break.”  But don’t feel bad, Stace. I’m sure you’ll find another opportunity to be on top soon enough.

4 thoughts on ““You Wanna Be On Top, Stacey?” or BSC TV series #3, “Stacey’s Big Break”

  1. Heh. Charlotte was uber obnoxious…seriously, she seemed like an EXTREMELY slow five year old, not a precocious, really smart eight year old.

    Do you remember when Stacey’s all, “I need to lose five pounds” and doesn’t want to eat pizza and Kristy tells her that some models are anorexic? And Jessi says that’s not true? I was so thinking, uh, yeah, sure, Jessi, no one in YOUR area of expertise is anorexic AT ALL. Ever.

    Also is it totally wrong that I thought that the actress playing Kristy was prettier than the one playing Stacey? She just looks so gosh darned cute. Stacey kind of left me cold.

    • I watched this over the weekend [sad, huh] and the pizza thing got me as well.. Like duh, Jessi. For someone who needs to remind us of the obvious EVERY. BOOK [Jessi is black, anyone?] she certainly missed the fact that dancers have eating disorders. But worse than that, Dawn “organic” Schafer was hoeing into a massive slice of NY style pizza.
      I thought Stacey was pretty though, and Charlotte was adorable [although clearly no genius].

  2. That poster in the background is definitely two dudes. Between that and the photog, this show subtlely gave the thumbs up to the gay lifestyle. Perhaps that was Ann M’s doing?

    Also, I saw Shannon Miller on some Comcast 360 show she’s doing. I thought she looked weird! I didn’t even consider it was plastic surgery, because…yanno, you generally don’t think about 31 year olds getting plastic surgery. Also, are you sure she married crazy dudes, or is she the crazy one?

  3. Oh HA! Totally buying this one off ebay. LOL @Stacey’s tuxedo outfit and model-weight angst [maybe someone should tell her to ditch the insulin for a bit?]

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