How Each Episode Of The New Baby-Sitters Club Updates The Books We Know & Love

Warning: spoilers are ahead for The Baby-Sitters Club on Netflix.

Say hello to your friends in Netflix's The Baby-Sitters Club, who are putting a Gen Z spin on a millennial classic. Each episode is based on a book from Ann M. Martin's series from the '80s and '90s about a group of entrepreneurial teens. Thanks to showrunner Rachel Shukert (Glow) and executive producer and director Lucia Aniello (Broad City) the BSC has gotten a proper 2020 update without losing any of the charm of the books so many know and loved.

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This series, streaming now, modernizes the young girls' world in both big and small ways. These seventh graders are clapping back at sexist teachers who make them write essays on decorum and forgoing a digital business model so as not to "sell personal information to, like, the Russians," as Claudia (Momona Tanada) so eloquently puts it.

While some things never change: the '90s fashion, parental pressure, middle school crushes, and Kristy's leadership style. ("I'm bossy, get used to it," the BSC's president and founder, played by Sophie Grace, proudly says.) A lot of things have. Kristy's bestie Mary Anne (Malia Baker) still has an overprotective dad, but she's now biracial. Dawn (Xochitl Gomez) is still a green juice drinking Californian, but she's also Latinx and dabbles in new moon share-amonies and social justice. Stacey (Shay Rudolph) still has diabetes, but this series takes even greater care to show what it means to live with the chronic condition.

These tween girls haven't stopped being polite, but they have started getting real about political and social issues that affect the girls (and boys) of their generation. The kids in The Baby-Sitters Club reboot are definitely more than alright, they're thriving. They're the responsible young women you'd be happy to leave your kids with and the kinds of kids you wish you were friends with in middle school. Just list this as another thing the writers of this new Baby-Sitters Club didn't change. To see the 2020 glow-ups the show made to the legendary book series, click ahead.

Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.

Episode 1: "Kristy's Great Idea"


What is the book about?
In the first book of Ann M. Martin's series, published in 1986 with the same title, Kristy comes up with the great idea for the BSC, a baby-sitting service for the local Stoneybrook, Connecticut community.

It also introduces us to the club's first official members: Kristy's BFF Mary Anne Spier, secretary; Kristy's next door neighbor Claudia Kishi, vice president; and new girl in town Stacey McGill, treasurer. Kristy is the club's president, naturally.

The 2020 update:
As her mom (Alicia Silverstone) complains of the good ol' days when you could just call a sitter on the phone, Kristy (Sophie Grace) has a great idea to start a club that meets at the same time three times a week, giving parents a set day and time in which they can call and schedule a baby-sitter. It's a real analog business operation complete with a landline and a vintage phone Claudia (Momona Tamada) got off Etsy.

No websites or social media; they plan to hand out homemade fliers. It's a sweet throwback to the original novels that celebrated young female entrepreneurs in a far less digital time.
Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.

Episode 2: "Claudia and the Phantom Phone Calls"


What is the book about?
The 1986 novel, which was the second in the series, introduces us to the most artistic, fashionable, and sweet toothed member of the BSC, Claudia Kishi. It also introduces us to a jewel thief nicknamed "the Phantom Caller" who is on the loose and creeping out the club members.

The 2020 update:
When Mary Anne (Malia Baker) comes home late, her dad (Marc Evan Jackson) takes away her fancy new phone for an old flip phone. Talk about mortifying.
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Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.

Episode 3: "The Truth About Stacey"


What is the book about?
The third book in the series reveals that Stacey, who recently moved from New York City to Connecticut, has diabetes. She's worried people will judge her, which is why she's been keeping her diagnosis a secret from the BSC.

The 2020 update:
A rival baby-sitting crew, The Baby-Sitters Agency, pulls out all the viral stops: digital branding, commercials with high production values, and so much merch. It's a clever digital marketing plan from high school-aged sitters who can stay out late and have their own Instagram accounts. "Welcome to the free market," the BSA founder tells Stacey (Shay Rudolph). Leave it to Kristy to find another way to entice new customers by keeping it old school: lo-fi kid kits.

Like in the books, Stacey's move comes after she was diagnosed with type 1 or juvenile diabetes, a chronic condition in which the pancreas doesn't produce enough insulin. However, in the series, her family's move is spurned by cyberbullying. A video of her going into insulin shock goes viral around the Manhattan private school crowd forcing her to relocate.

The show also goes into great detail to show what it's like to live with diabetes. For Stacey, that means wearing an insulin pump that, at first, she tries to hide. She soon realizes that there is no reason to be ashamed of who she is and that a bedazzled insulin pump is a cute fashion accessory.
Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.

Episode 4: "Mary Anne Saves The Day"


What is the book about?
The fourth book in the series, published in 1987, gives the shy Mary Anne a chance to speak up. Here, it's for a sick child she's babysitting.

The 2020 update:

Unlike the book, this episode isn't just about Mary Anne making the mature decision to call an ambulance for a sick child she's watching. Here, she advocates for Bailey (Kai Shappley), who is trans, after the doctors misgender and ignore the little girl's requests for a different color hospital gown. Mary Anne reprimands the doctors for not taking a moment to understand their patient. For parents, the episode also offers a helpful way to talk to children about what it means to be transgender.

We also meet Dawn (Xochitl Gomez), whose dad is gay and whose aunt is a proud witch/spiritual healer. She also sees a therapist, which her bestie mom brings up nonchalantly because luckily, on this show, as it should be in life, there is no stigma in seeking counseling.
Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.

Episode 5: "Dawn and the Impossible Three"


What is the book about?
Dawn, the newest member of the BSC, has her first babysitting gig watching the three Barrett kids who are a real handful in this 1987 novel. When one of the children go missing, things go from bad to worse. Especially, since Kristy was already convinced that Mary Anne's new friend wasn't right for the club.

The 2020 update:
The Barretts are still the babysitting gig from hell, but Dawn shows way more compassion for their mom, who just went through a divorce. "That's kind of reductive," she tells Kristy, who says Mrs. Barrett is "in a recently divorced wrecking ball phase." After all, Dawn knows what it's like to have a mom who is a little all over the place.

However, this mom is definitely taking advantage of Dawn in a big way and putting her kids in danger, which the episode doesn't shy away from showing and discussing. The message here? Parenting is complicated, perhaps, especially post-divorce.
Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.

Episode 6: "Claudia and Mean Janine"


What is the book about?
The 1987 novel and seventh book in the series has the artsy Claudia going head-to-head with her bookworm older sister Janine. When Claudia's grades start to slip, she has her grandma and closest confidante, Mimi, tutor her instead of Janine. However, after Mimi suffers a stroke, Claudia comes to an understanding with her sister.

The 2020 update:

Claudia and Stacey propose a Queer Eye makeover for Mary Anne's dad. Got to love that sweet sweet Netflix cross-promotion!

After Claudia's grandma Mimi (Takayo Fischer) has a stroke, we learn that as a young child, she spent three years in a Japanese internment camp. The series confronts America's racist past head on to show how keeping children in cages at the border is history repeating itself. Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it and it feels like a message that couldn't be more appropriate for 2020.
Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.

Episode 7: "Boy-Crazy Stacey"


What is the book about?
Number eight in the series, published in 1987, has Stacey and Mary Anne babysitting at the beach. When Stacey meets a cute lifeguard, she leaves Mary Anne in the dust, only to find out her new crush isn't the teen dream she imagined him to be.

The 2020 update:

Dawn's mom (Jessica Elaina Eason) is swiping right on Tinder after her breakup with Mary Anne's dad, which is why they've launched "Project Parent Trap."

The BSC code of conduct, written by Kristy, of course, includes "no texting during sitting hours."

While Stacey's crushing on a guy who's way too old for her — something Mary Anne continuously brings up — Mary Anne's new Broadway-loving buddy Alex (David Raynolds) tells her about a crush he had on a guy at his theater camp. "Things really escalated when I was cast as his father in The Fantasticks," he tells her. Queer visibility on a young adult shows isn't new for Netflix, but it's always encouraging to see more.
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Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.

Episode 8: "Kristy's Big Day"


What is the book about?
Kristy's mom is getting married in the sixth book in the series and Kristy is doing double duty. She's a bridesmaid, but also a babysitter for the 14 little kids in attendance at the very fancy wedding. Fun fact: It's reportedly Ann M. Martin's favorite BSC book.

The 2020 update:

Kristy's mom's fiancé Watson Brewer (Mark Feuerstein) is mega rich and Kristy spends more time thinking about what this means for her family, who, just a year before, were fighting with the power company to lower their electric bill. This episode opens up a conversation about income inequality and privilege.

Kristy's big day also includes her getting her period for the first time and her friends helping her use a pad. "We've all been through it," Claudia says. "Now you can commiserate." No period shaming here.

We also get Dawn's aunt, Esme (Karin Konoval) explaining the sexist connotation of the term "witch," which she's trying to take back. "Now, historically, the term 'witch' has been used to describe people, primarily women, who refuse to conform to society's expectations of who they should be," she says. "We got a lot of witches here." Go off, Esme, go off.

We would also be remiss not to shout out Claudia's very Euphoria-like makeup. Apparently, someone has an HBO login.

Episode 9: "Hello, Camp Moosehead! Part 1"


What is the book about?
Baby-sitters' Summer Vacation was the second book in the Baby-Sitters Club Super Special series, longer novels that allowed for multiple narrators instead of just one.

This 1989 novel has the BSC working as CITs (Counselors In Training) at Camp Moosehead. Stacey, who had just recently moved back to New York, suggests they all keep a diary of their summer adventures which include getting lost in the woods, learning to use mascara, getting poison ivy, and falling in love.

The 2020 update:
Dawn signs up to make the morning announcements because it gives her a chance to talk to campers about social justice issues. "Gotta love a free platform," she says. The head of the camp (Tami Sagher) definitely disagrees with her.

Claudia and Dawn also fight their camp overlords, who they feel are promoting "socioeconomic stratification" or income inequality, which, as Dawn points out, is creating a camp of haves and have-nots. These girls are just not having that so they find a way to help that brings their loves of art and economic justice together. Oh, not to mention The Hunger Games. Got to love their use of the three finger salute.

Also, that Cats dig feels rather timely, don't you think?
Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.

Episode 10: "Hello, Camp Moosehead! Part 2"


What is the book about?
It's also based on the 1989 novel, Baby-sitters' Summer Vacation, where readers got to see how the camp experience affected Kristy, Claudia, Mary Anne, Stacey, and Dawn. Oh, and hear about them putting on an end of camp show.

The 2020 update:
Dawn is planning a revolution after Claudia becomes a "political prisoner" for their art stunt. She's got the campers holding a peaceful protest, a lie-in, to be exact. She's got them chanting, "Hey Hey! Ho Ho! This unfair system's got to go!" and stacking furniture as a barricade. It's all very Les Mis, which is fitting with all the show's Broadway references. Dawn definitely has a bright future in community organizing.
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