I watched Quints over the summer with my grandmother and was reminded of how much I really love this DCOM. Kimberly J. Brown starred in this film between Halloweentown and Halloweentown II, and I think her work as Jamie Grover is just as wonderful as her Marnie Piper portrayals. In Quints, Jamie is an eighth grader who is frustrated by the constant attention of her parents. Her father works in a hardware store, her mother is a local journalist, and Jamie is an only child. Kimberly J. Brown breaks the fourth wall to tell us all about Jamie’s life and her parents’ wishes for her to excel in her studies and attend a magnet school.
Jamie’s life is turned upside down when her mother becomes pregnant with quintuplets. The family focuses on preparations for the babies, many of which play out over a lovely montage, set to Britney Spears singing “Soda Pop.” Though I’ve seen this DCOM many times, I still feel badly for Jamie after the quints are born — her formerly attentive parents are focused solely on the babies. The saddest part is that they completely forget about Jamie’s art show when they are honored as Parents of the Year at a Governor’s Dinner on the same night. Art is Jamie’s outlet and escape from a boisterous baby zone, and her teacher, Mr. Blackmer, continually encourages her. Her best friends, Brad and Zoe (Shadia Simmons), are also very patient with Jamie as she adjusts to a new family structure. Even the Grovers’ nanny, Fiona, becomes so overwhelmed by the babies that she quits the job.
One of the best family moments in the film is after the Grovers have hired a handler for the babies’ media appearances (Albert, played by Vince Corazza of Jackal Johnson fame). One of the quints, Adam, becomes very sick. While he is recovering, Jamie’s parents finally realize that Albert wants Jamie out of the picture, and they stand up for her by firing Albert. For the first time in months, Jamie seems like part of the family. Albert’s stunt offering Jamie a role in the family commercial — where she would play a giant diaper — didn’t count.
I think one purpose of DCOMs back in the day was to show kids stories and circumstances that differed from their own. Many of us can’t relate to having five quintuplet brothers and sisters, but Jamie’s struggle is still compelling. I’m always relieved when her parents realize they are missing the art show (and even take Don Knotts to see it with them). I’m always angry for her when she feels neglected; I’m likewise satisfied when the family figures out how to work together and support one another. This is a one-of-a-kind DCOM with a true star in the lead role, and I hope you’ll check it out or revisit it!