The Babysitter

Long before REBECCA De MORNAY's hand rocked any cradle, serpentine usurper extraordinaire STEPHANIE ZIMBALIST rocked the worlds of extreme overacting power duo WILLIAM SHATNER and PATTY DUKE. As the icy 18-year-old Joanna Redwine, ZIMBALIST elbows her way into the squabbling couple's homestead insuring its downfall, if not by her manipulations than by the termite like power of the couple's own competitive scenery chewing. Of course Joanna is a gift from God at first, taking daughter QUINN CUMMINGS under her wing and throwing about helpful bon mots, but before long, she's making goo-goo eyes at SHATNER and pushing PATTY towards the bottle. It doesn't take much convincing to get mom to put on her VALLEY OF THE DOLLS lampshade and soon she is slurring her words more than the elocutionary impaired QUINN. Dad is a harder nut to crack, but when he walks in on Joanna wearing his wife's lingerie he too starts to melt to her will. (In this 1980 TV movie's most bizarre break from reality, ASTIN and ZIMBALIST wear the same size). Thanks to JOHN HOUSEMAN's detective work, which mostly consists of calling people on the phone, Joanna's reign is short lived. With the discovery of her previous employers packaged in clear plastic, she is carted off to jail. The dysfunctional Benedict family is free to return to their previous existence but whether that is an improvement is this tales biggest mystery.


  • Joanna gets a little over zealous while clubbing a fish
  • After Joanna's canoodle buddy Scott's not so accidental death, QUINN comes in to console a crying Joanna only to discover she is laughing hysterically
  • PATTY's final, furniture throwing breakdown
  • ZIMBALIST wandering around her previous victims' home, and talking to the former occupants as if they were still alive
  • Family perfectly preserved in plastic wrap on the master bed

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Amanda By Night
15 years ago

Don't you think Quinn Cummings character was a tad old to be playing with dolls? 
I love this movie, btw. Zimbalist is fantastic and the movie is great fun, all while keeping a fairly cerebral and sophisticated vibe. Plus the boyfriend is freakishly hawt, I tell you!

14 years ago

I used to LOVE this movie. When it would come on TV when I was a kid I would be like :Hive Five!" even if I was the only one in the room. Recently a video store near me went out of business and I excitedly bought the VHS copy of this movie. Boy, it has not aged well! The only Cool Part is the saran-wrapped dead family in the bed! And William Shatner's over-acting…but you already knew that.