Netflix’s “The Babysitter’s Club”

How Netflix’s “The Babysitter’s Club” is a Perfect Example of Grief After Loss of a Loved One

For those born in the early 2000s, you may be well aware of The Baby-Sitters Club book series by Ann M. Martin.

If you didn’t know, the BSC was recently adapted into a bingeable Netflix show and it doesn’t shy away from topics such as death and divorce.

As a show adapted from a children’s book, it’s one that can easily be disregarded by people scrolling through the platform. I chose to watch the show because of nostalgia and a genuine love for the books, but it kept me hooked all the way through.

The show tries hard to be respectful of the topics it covers while still leaving the message easy to swallow for children.

A great example of this is The Baby-Sitters Club Season 2 Episode 7 titled Claudia and the Sad Goodbye.

The contents of this episode was adapted directly from the original book series and covers the topic of loss and growing through grief cycles.

As someone who read the books as a kid, I was well-aware that this would be a plot point that would come up eventually, but that did not prepare me for the intense accuracy of Claudia Kishi’s grief.

With her grandmother’s last words to her being “Goodbye, my Claudia”, it tips the audience off as to what’s going to happen.

The next morning, Claudia awakes to the news that her grandmother passed away in her sleep.

This results in a whirlwind of emotions for Claudia and, in a voiceover, says “My parents were saying all the things people always say when someone dies. Stuff that sounds nice, but nobody believes it. It’s just something to fill the air when you feel like screaming.”

This is a concept that the author of the books based on her own reactions when her grandmother died. Ann M. Martin wrote, “I began working on Claudia and the Sad Goodbye shortly after my own grandmother died. She didn’t have a stroke like Mimi, but just like Claudia, I was angry at her doctors for not saving her… Having just been through that experience helped me to describe Claudia’s feelings.”

The show takes a simple direction to show the ups and downs of Claudia slowly coming to wits end with her grief. This includes changing the subject when people bring it up, and refusing to talk to her parents or even sleep in her own room.

After a talk with her friend Mary-Anne, Claudia accepts the loss of her grandmother and resolves to use traditional matcha tea that Mimi taught her to make to bring her family and friends back together.

The episode ends with a voice-over from Claudia where she says, “I wish I could tell you that day made me stop missing Mimi so much. The truth is, I think I’ll always miss her. But what that day showed me is that that’s okay. Because as long as I miss her, she’s still here with me.”