Entertainment

'The Baby-Sitters Club' Season 2 Gives Us the Perfect Representation of the Horse Girl

The episode "Claudia and the New Girl" of the Netflix series is an homage to horse girls everywhere.

Netflix
Netflix
Netflix

Season 2 of Netflix’s The Baby-Sitters Club, which adapts the classic Ann L. Martin books for a new generation, remains absolutely charming and wholesome, finding ways to tap into the specific anxieties of middle school girls while staying sweet without verging into saccharine. This season, the girls face new challenges: Kristy (Sophie Grace) moves into a posh neighbourhood with her mom’s new husband’s family; Mary Anne (Malia Baker) gets a boyfriend; Stacey (Shay Rudolph) has to remember that it’s OK not to be in total control all the time, especially when it comes to her diabetes; and Claudia (Momona Tanada) has to deal with loss.

But some new members of the team drop in with their own lessons to learn and dramas to hash out. One matter in particular comes to a head in Episode 2, “Claudia and the New Girl,” where the super-cool Claudia Kishi has to train the excitable Mallory Pike (Vivian Watson) on the eponymous club’s operations. It’s a half-hour that will speak to you if you’ve ever been the weird insecure girl who just likes to write fantasy novels about horses.

Claudia has always, even before the Netflix adaptation, been the coolest member of the Baby-Sitters Club, and the show only reaffirmed that with her tweenage effortlessness and incredible outfits that make me, a 31-year-old woman, envious. It wholly makes sense to me that Mallory is intimidated. In reality, I was probably more of a Mallory, with a dash of Kristy’s competitive streak and a hint of Stacey’s perfectionism, than I was a Claudia at that age. I was easily intimidated by girls who seemed as confident as Claudia Kishi. Whereas they were pulling together effortless looks, I was bedazzling a pair of jorts with a hot glue gun (it was as bad as it sounds) in an effort to approximate their aesthetic.

Netflix
Netflix
Netflix

The episode, told from Claudia’s perspective, is flush with secondhand embarrassment from Mallory’s desperate actions. She so badly wants to be liked by Claudia that her desire to impress translates to a disastrous overeagerness. She misidentifies fruit as being Japanese out of ignorance; she breaks plates; she wakes up sleeping babies. But she just really wants to be respected by her similarly creative peer. You see, Mallory is also a dreamer-it just manifests in a less stylish way. Instead of painting and crafting and putting together fabulous outfits, she writes stories where all the main characters are horses.

“I read this thing recently that said all great literature is two stories: A person goes on an adventure or a person comes to town,” Mallory says. “And I thought to myself, ‘What if you did both things at once? But instead of a person, it’s a horse and the horse gallops through town to, like, the end of eternity?'”

Mallory is a horse girl, which basically explains it all. I have authority on this topic because I, too, was a horse girl. We’re an excitable bunch, often consumed with fantasies in our heads, usually involving us galloping through the forest like Arwen in The Fellowship of the Ring. (What? Just me?)

The Baby-Sitters Club is, of course, a masterclass in empathy, and Claudia eventually realizes that she had been too harsh on Mallory, because Claudia acts similarly anxious around another girl she admires. She’s in awe of her sister’s new friend, Ashley Wyeth, who has been published in Teen Vogue and is basically the queen of Stoneybrook Middle School. “Claudia and the New Girl” not only captures the horse girl perfectly in Mallory, but how admiration can mess with girls’ heads, doing so in the nicest possible way.

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Esther Zuckerman is a senior entertainment writer at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @ezwrites.

Entertainment

Where to Celebrate Lunar New Year 2023 in Australia

And what it means to be in the year of the Rabbit.

where to celebrate lunar new year australia

Starting with the new moon on Sunday, January 22, this Lunar New Year ushers in the year of the Rabbit. We’ve put together a guide on celebrating the Lunar New Year in Australia.

What is special about the year of the Rabbit?

As you might know, each year has an animal sign in the Chinese Zodiac, which is based on the moon and has a 12-year cycle. This year, we celebrate the year of the rabbit, known to be the luckiest out of all twelve animals. It symbolises mercy, elegance, and beauty.

What celebrations are taking place and how can I get involved?

There are plenty of festivals happening all around the country which you can get involved with. Here they are per state.

New South Wales

Darling Harbour Fireworks
When: Every year, Sydney puts on a fireworks show, and this year, you can catch it on January 28 and February 4 at 9 pm in Darling Harbour.

Dragon Boat Races
When: Witness three days of dragon boat races and entertainment on Cockle Bay to usher in the Lunar New Year. The races will commence on January 27 and finish on January 29.

Lion Dances
When: Catch a traditional Lion Dance moving to the beat of a vigorous drum bringing good luck and fortune for the Lunar New Year. The dance performances will happen across Darling Harbour on Saturday, January 21, Sunday, January 22, and Sunday, February 4 and 5, around 6 pm and 9 pm.

Lunar New Year at Cirrus Dining
When: Barangaroo’s waterfront seafood restaurant, Cirrus, is celebrating the Year of the Rabbit with a special feast menu. Cirrus’ LNY menu is $128pp with optional wine pairing and is available from Saturday, January 21, to Sunday, February 5.

Auntie Philter
When: Hello Auntie’s owner and executive chef, Cuong Nguyen will be dishing out some of the most classic Vietnamese street foods with his mum, Linda. All of Philter’s favourites will be on offer, as well as Raspberry Pash Beer Slushies and other cocktails being served at the Philter Brewing rooftop bar on Sunday, January 22 and Sunday, January 29.

Victoria

Lunar New Year Festival
When: Ring in the Lunar New Year with food, music, arts, and more on Sunday, January 22, from 10 am to 9 pm.

Lunar New Year at the National Gallery of Victoria
When: Celebrate the year of the rabbit at the National Gallery of Victoria’s festival of art, food, and art-making activities for everyone from 10 am-5 pm.

Queensland

BriAsia Festival
When: From February 1-19, Brisbane will come alive with performances, including lion dances and martial arts displays. There will be street food, workshops, comedy and more.

South Australia

Chinatown Adelaide Street Party
When: Adelaide is set to hose a fun-filled day celebrating the Chinese New Year on Saturday, January 28, from 12 pm to 9 pm.

Western Australia

Crown Perth
When: Across January and February, Crown Perth hosts free live entertainment, including colourful lion dances, roving mascots, and drumming performances. The restaurants will also throw banquets and menus dedicated to the Lunar New Year.

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