A Short & Sweet Documentary
The Claudia Kishi Club feels like a DVD extra – in the best possible way. It’s the sort of short and sweet hidden gem you’d find tucked away in that Special Features menu. It’s a short documentary no doubt but one that pays homage to the Vice-president (and let’s face it, the best) girl in The Baby-Sitters Club, Claudia. At the same time, it also shines a light on the issues of representation on both the small and big screen for Asian-Americans.
With a combination of stop-motion graphics and face to face interviews, The Claudia Kishi Club looks at the representation (or lack thereof) for Asian-Americans in mainstream media and how that’s changed over time. With specific reference to some of the more famous examples in the West, including the Yellow Ranger, the documentary then moves on to discuss Claudia Kishi herself.
It’s here the movie really explores her unique personality by reading out a series of excerpts from the books and discussing how much of a free spirit she was.
As someone who spent most of their childhood reading every single Goosebumps and Point Horror book I could get my hands on, the nod toward the Scholastic Book Club is a definite nostalgic blast from the past and really highlights just how far mainstream media has come since that time.
Of course, things still aren’t perfect on both the big and small screen but as last week’s The Baby-Sitter Club showed us, you can write these characters in an enjoyable and empowering way without ever feeling like you’re bludgeoning your audience over the head.
Having said all that, The Claudia Kishi Club is a short but enjoyable documentary that’s certainly worth 16 minutes of your time. It may not be as hard hitting or insightful as one may expect – especially given the short run-time – but there’s certainly enough here to act as a proverbial decent dessert after ploughing through the main course of The Baby-Sitters Club.