ByKristin Lai, writer at
MP Staff Writer, cinephile and resident Slytherclaw // UCLA Alumna // Follow me on Twitter: kristin_lai
Kristin Lai

It's weird but I recently got to discussing Harriet the Spy with one of my friends, and we realized that we don't remember much about the actual story despite loving the movie and book as kids. Granted, it came out in 1996 so it's been a while. Still, damn my aging brain!

Here are the things I remembered really vividly. 1. They had those weird sinks in their bathrooms where you stepped on a pedal to pump the water (I still have never seen sinks like this for some reason) 2. She had the coolest nanny ever, and 3. She liked her sandwiches with just tomatoes and mayonnaise on them. That third one really grossed me out, but I get it. She was a busy girl.

Naturally this led me to re-watch the movie. It might not have the exact charm as it did when I was a wee one, largely because with the advent of social media, becoming a spy is second nature to me, but it's still very watchable! So, like with all Time Flies posts, we have to ask, "Where are they now?"

Harriet M. Welsch - Michelle Trachtenberg

In retrospect, Harriet was somewhat of an anti-hero. While she did learned her lesson, she also started a Mean Girls-esque Burn Book before Mean Girls was even a thing and the once her friends lashed out on her she exacted some pretty vicious revenge. She literally tells Marion that her dad doesn't love her! Why? And as I mentioned earlier, the whole tomatoes and mayonnaise thing.

Michelle Trachtenberg has been in a fair amount of stuff following Harriet the Spy. This includes roles like playing the truly awful Georgina Sparks in Gossip Girl and in movies like 17 Again, Ice Princess and Eurotrip, amongst others. But really, we all probably know her best as the widely disliked Dawn Summers in the otherwise incredible TV show Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Sport - Gregory Smith

Sport was the greatest. Who cared if he couldn't afford milk or bread? He was a great friend could rock a mushroom haircut and old man sweater better than anyone I knew.

After playing the adorable Sport, Gregory went on to play Alan Abernathy in Small Soldiers and despite his serious 90s hair, the heart throb in the Disney Channel original movie Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century. His later acting credits include The Patriot, Ephram Brown in Everwood and most recently, Dov Epstein in ABC's Rookie Blue alongside his Harriet the Spy costar Charlotte Sullivan!

Janie Gibbs - Vanessa Lee Chester

Some (*cough* Harriet) may have called Janie a bit of a nutcase for her scientific endeavors, but who cares what they say? She was a true cinematic inspiration for any little girls who wanted to get into the STEM fields. This 6th grader was building stink bombs and what was I doing? Probably just off twiddling my thumbs and waiting for the Internet to become a bigger thing.

I know that this was a year before Harriet the Spy, but I would be remiss if I didn't mention Vanessa's role as Becky in the equally classic 90s movie A Little Princess. In the following year she played Kelly in The Lost World: Jurassic Park. Vanessa is still acting and has had various roles, mainly in television, for shows ranging from Malcolm in the Middle to How I Met Your Mother.

Ole Golly - Rosie O'Donnell

Oh Golly, you beautiful nanny, you. I was always jealous that I didn't have a nanny like Golly. I think I had a nanny for all of about a minute and that was it. Not to mention, this was actually a great display of Rosie's acting chops.

Honestly, what hasn't Rosie been up to? Listing each of her accomplishments would take me an hour and would still end with a comment along the lines of "you forgot about her role in..." In short, she's a comedian, actress, author, TV personality, and activist. This past summer she regained her spot as a cohost on The View, so thankfully we'll be hearing a lot more from her!

Mrs. Welsch - J. Smith-Cameron

Yes, she and Mr. Welsch did fire Golly and took Harriet's notebook. But she really wasn't the bad guy. Mrs. Welsch was willing to admit that she just didn't understand some of Harriet's little quirks and apologized. That's the sign of a good parent.

J. Smith-Cameron has had a long career spanning over stage and screen. She has made quite a name for herself on the Broadway scene and won a Tony award for Best Featured Actress for her role in Our Country's Good. Fans of [True Blood](series:200767) might recognize her as Melinda Mickens. She also worked with Anna Paquin in the 2011 movie Margaret.

Mr. Welsch - Robert Joy

Not much to say about Mr. Welsch other than that he was a good parent. He might have gotten in some hot water with Mrs. Welsch for trying to play the good cop to her bad cop, but he was just trying to defuse the situation! Typical dad move.

Robert Joy has a pretty wide acting range when you consider his roles in movies like Charles Olom in the thriller Fallen, Lizard in The Hills Have Eyes, and Charlie in Land of the Dead. As far as TV goes, Robert worked from 2005 to 2013 as Dr. Sid Hammerback in CSI: NY.

Marion Hawthorne - Charlotte Sullivan

Marion was the classic 90s blonde meanie. Kind of the 6th grade Regina George, if Regina George poured paint all over Cady Heron. But she did give a stunning performance as the dancing gravy boat in the school show.

Charlotte has maintained a pretty steady stream of acting work, including a number of TV series including being cast in the daunting role of Marilyn Monroe in the 2011 mini-series The Kennedys and also played Mary Mitchell in the Canadian drama film Edwin Boyd: Citizen Gangster. We can assume that Marion and Sport have since become friends since Charlotte stars alongside him as Gail Peck in Rookie Blue.

Boy with the Purple Socks - Dov Tiefenbach

The boy with the purple socks who Harriet thought was mysterious, but also thought he should hang himself, apparently. Pretty harsh words against a classmate. Why was Harriet the protagonist in this again? What did the Boy in the Purple Socks ever do to her?

Since donning the purple socks, Dov went on to Broadway in the play A Thousand Clowns and work in a bunch of Canadian films, short films, and TV movies. He also played the hippie student in Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle and Oogie in Mark Ruffalo's directorial debut Sympathy for Delicious. It is not clear whether Dov still owns the famed purple socks. We can only hope that he does.

This movie taught me a lot. First and foremost, even the closest friendships have their boundaries. Luckily, if you're willing to apologize people are generally pretty forgiving. Especially in the 6th grade. I mean, you're all the same size and you're going to be stuck in school together for another six years or so. Everyone might as well get along. Secondly, if you're going to write down your mean thoughts you'd better keep that in a locked safe. And finally, kids dancing dressed as food will always be pretty funny.


What are your thought on tomato and mayonnaise sandwiches? (I'm sorry, I really can't let this go for some reason)


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