We’re deviating slightly and going to the treasure trove of ’80s made for TV movies – the kind that would take something you just assumed was safe and then terrified you to no end. Sort of like what plays on Lifetime at any given moment.
You may ask – “What sets this apart from any of the other things I can find on Lifetime at any minute?”
That’s right. You’re all about to get Shatner’d.
The plot is right there – Mom’s going to go nuts, and Shatner’s going to venture into undiscovered country – which is being seduced by underaged girls. Strap in.
Behold Tara, all-American girl. That is, if you’re definition of a all American girl is middle class with a inattentive father and expressing her emotions to a doll. But lets face facts- if a evil babysitter hadn’t infiltrated their way into the house, she may have been on her way to becoming one.
Like most made for TV situations, this family lives near a quaint dock, far from questioning eyes. Just serene upper middle class heaven – the kind of environment where the girl from nowhere doesn’t get questioned and is automatically offered free room and board in exchange for babysitting services.
Every Star Trek enthusiast (I’ll throw in the TJ Hooker fanset too) know that.
How did you meet your babysitter? Craigslist? Friend referral? Did you almost hit her with your car and feel bad about, and THEN offer her a job? One of these options applies to this movie and therefore the most reliable.
In case you’re wondering, “I don’t know. This family clearly would have been okay had it not been for a crazy babysitter”, let me put it to you. This movie opens with Tara, the 13 year old girl talking to dolls and then trying to steal her parents car.
“Do you always walk in front of passing cars? Your boldness would be a good match for my daughter’s mousiness and budding mental problems. Which she gets from me.”
This horrifyingly bad decision signifies that Mom has some mental instability. Not that the movie caught on.
And as this movie cannot stress enough – MOM IS HANGING BY A MENTAL THREAD.
We should probably talk about how Tara dresses like she’s late for her shift at Alice’s Diner while complaining about oatmeal. The fact she never says “Kiss my grits” is the biggest missed opportunity.
Let’s talk about the babysitter. She’s lovely in a 70s made for TV way. She had nothing going on in life but is a fantastic housekeeper and cook and enjoys talking to people from her past when there’s no one in the room. Also, when the camera does one of these tight close ups on her face, you will be treated to the sounds of a creepy moog synthesizer, which represents the tortured state of her mind. Also, she’s single.
It was mentioned that due to the Babysitter’s positive influence, Tara is not watching as much television and is no longer afraid of the outdoors.
HANGING BY A THREAD.
“I think my husband’s having an affair.”
“Do you mind if I take your car and go to a movie?”
The tension in this film is through the roof.
Now this movie starts getting interesting….the Babysitter tries on a fairly modest looking nightgown and waits for William Shatner to walk in on her.
Which he does….
The spiral of destruction is in full force. The head of the house, William Shatner is a man of action. He was the Captain of the Enterprise and yelled at people to do his bidding….
…but in this case he stares at her and speaks in whispered tones for her to get out.
Naturally, she doesn’t, but she does say, “Fine. I’ll put it back.”
She comes back to him the next day with these words of comfort, “You had sex with your wife last night, didn’t you?”
No one plays it more mild than Shatner. They don’t call it Shatnering for nothing.
“Whatever you do, stay bland.”
This kid let all of his emotions show through – even the ones where he was casually enjoying a boat ride with a sexy babysitter.
Know where it got him?
We get a small glimpse of his emotional threshold when she accuses him of being to judgey. Then he springs to action. Kind of. His face muscles still remain slightly rested.
“Hey Mom – I think the babysitter is doing a lousy job of taking care of the house. Should we fire her? Plus, why are you drinking at 9am in your slip?”
“Hello? Am I alone in here?”
Poor Tara. She’s one more traumatic incident short of becoming her own manipulative babysitter.
When the Babysitter REALLY snaps, we are treated to a all out monologue, one that I suspect was used in an audition. It has everything – a tragic backstory about being a foster child, the desire for love and belonging, and she throws in a little, “No one understands me”. Its amazing – so much so that she snaps, espescially when talking about all those other families she murdered.
The bland arms of William Shatner cannot save her from herself. Drastic measures are taken…
She goes on a murderous rampage for Tara who cleverly hid herself in a room with glass windows.
It all comes crashing down – the friendly neighborhood police take a break from cracking the case of missing bicycles and issuing citations for dogs without licenses and take the Babysitter away. Presumably to sit in jail and clean and cook for the inmates there, where she’ll convince them all that they’re alcoholics that should just give up on life all together.
On second thought, this is TV. She’ll get out and prey on a TV family, hopefully starring Heather Locklear.