This essay was original published at Roxy Reviews and is reprinted here with permission.
SUMMARY: The Holograms get to work on the movie contract they won in "Truly Outrageous." Pizzazz's father buys their film studio, the Misfits become co-stars in the picture, and do their best to make the Holograms' lives hellish. The Holograms quit in a rage, however they return when it is discovered that Ba Nee, one of the Starlight orphans, needs an expensive operation to save her eyesight. Clash and Video are introduced.
GENERAL IMPRESSIONS: This is actually an arc of several episodes, but I'll lump them together into one review. In my opinion, it's much better than the intital long series, "Truly Outrageous." The characters are a little more fleshed out, and there's less of an obvious emphasis on selling the Jem toy line.
In this arc, the characters actually deal with serious isues, a trend that will continue throughout the rest of the series. Here, Ba Nee is about to go blind, and the Starlight Foundation can't afford to pay for the operation that will save her (welcome to America--no universal health care here, folks). Throughout the episodes, Ba Nee's eyesight continues to deteriorate. When Ba Nee finally goes to the hospital for surgery, the doctors make it clear that the Starlight Mansion is being put up as collateral. Another series might have had the doctor donate his services, but here, it isn't dealt with quite so quickly or easily.
The Jerrica-Rio-Jem love triangle is also brought to the forefront in "Starbright." This will be a sticky issue until the very end of the series. I never do understand why Jerrica puts up with it, or why Rio doesn't figure out who Jem is. Seriously. Yes, Jem has pink hair and better makeup, but otherwise she's identical to Jerrica. I think Rio must be the only protagonist in a major children's television program who's a two-timing rat.
There are more rumblings of Kimber's unrest with the Holograms here: she actually listens to Eric Raymond, snaps up "her" scene with Nick, and hesitates when the rest of the Holograms storm off the set. She is also rather snarky with Jeff Wright, and acts like a teenybopper with the handsome leading man. Love Kimber or hate her, one must admit she has a lot more of a personality than the other Holograms.
There's the matter of Roxy and Jeff. She literally throws herself at him. I always picture Roxy with someone like Nikki Sixx from Motely Crue, but for some reason in this episode she goes after the stuntman that likes Kimber. Her actions are a bit out of character, until she tells him off and goes off to the tech board to try to blow him and Kimber into little pieces. This action, by and by, is the worst thing Roxy ever tries to do in the entire series--never again will her actions be quite so reckless.
More Misfits solidarity is on display here. When Jeff snubs Roxy, the other Misfits immediately back her up. They also come to her defense when the Holograms try to figure out who set off the explosions.
Two new characters are introduced in this arc: Video and Clash. Most conveniently they are good/evil cousins. Clash is the more entertaining of the two; a Misfits groupie, willing to go out of her way to impress them and curry their favor. Although Pizzazz refers to her here as "my friend," she'll end up being little more than a lackey for the Misfits in later episodes. She's a trip, though.
1. Jem and the Holograms: "Who is he Kissing?" This is a top-notch Holograms' song, with a sultry intro and a good beat. I am still amazed they managed to get the lyrics is he making love to a fantasy? past the censors.
2. Jem and the Holograms: "Jealousy." Not as good a song as "Who is he kissing?" but still not too bad. Jealousy is a main theme of the "Starbright" story arc: Jerrica is jealous of Jem and Pizzazz's holds over Rio; Rio is jealous of leading man Nick; Roxy is jealous of Kimber; so on and so forth.
3. Misfits: "Universal Appeal." A fantastic Misfits song with an infectious bassline, "Universal Appeal" is much more sophisticated than the music from "Truly Outrageous," and will set the tone for the rest of the Misfits' songs in the series. The image of the Misfits huddled around the glowing sun is lovely. If you had any doubt about how Pizzazz sees the world, here it is, spelled out--everyone revolves around her, literally.
4. Misfits: "Congratulations." Not one of the Misfits' better musical forays, but the video's worth it. The Misfits throw the Holograms out of their dressing room. Stormer tells them not to forget their toothbrushes, and then throws a hairbrush at Jem. Gotta love that Bad Stormer.
5. Jem and the Holograms: "Show Me the Way." One of the bland songs that seem to become the Holograms' trademark later on.
6. Jem and the Holograms: "Love is Doing it to Me." A good, serious Holograms number with a nice melody. The video features everything from pegasii to the Holograms in cages to Aja picking a boyfriend on a slot machine. And, believe it or not, it works.
7. Jem and the Holograms: "Puttin' it all Together." This song reminds me of a weaker version of "Gettin' Down to Business." This is one of the few places in the series they could have repeated a song, and it would have worked.
8. Misfits: "Welcome to the Jungle." The title always makes me smile, because as I recall, the year after this episode was aired there was a Guns N' Roses song released with the same exact name. This is the first of the Misfits' "wild in the jungle" videos, featuring Pizzazz dancing in the firelight and attacking film studio executives. Stormer and Roxy aren't in this one too much, which is a shame, but they both play a mean set of bongos.
9. Jem and the Holograms: "People Who Care." Ba Nee is in the video, and it's sweet. The song is one of the Holograms patented "be a superstar and share and care" pieces which become so common throughout the series. It's nice elevator music, I guess.
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