This essay was original published at Roxy Reviews and is reprinted here with permission.
The Day the Music Died
SUMMARY: Riot spirits Jem off to a deserted island, leaving Starlight Music in chaos. Harvey Gabor buys out SM, Pizzazz and the Misfits take over and lead a Misfits "supergroup" to the top of the charts.
GENERAL IMPRESSIONS: This episode is aptly named. It's also the Day the Series Died, because after this there are only five more shows, and they are all centered around the Stingers. The Misfits won't really be seen again until the finale. Sigh.
This is a hot and cold episode. Hot, because there are some very fine moments. The world is turned upside down here: the Misfits run the show, both with their own label and with their appropriated one. The entire cast of musicians, sans Riot and Jem, work together to create a hit. Roxy picks up Raya in the Roadster, and seems genuinely cordial. The Misfits play croquet on the lawn with the Starlight orphans. Kudos to the orphans, too, for having a Ransom of Red Chief moment and driving Pizzazz and Eric Raymond insane.
Pizzazz and her father seem to have patched things up a little, too. In the earliest episodes she can often be seen running to "Daddy" to buy her things--a movie studio, a record company, etc.--but as the business deals go sour, Harvey Gabor is seen less and less. After their out and out battle in "Father's Day," Pizzazz seems to give up. However, in this episode they are at the table in the courtroom together and Harvey is buying Starlight Music from Kimber, the very Hologram he helped in "Father's Day."
Some of the cast members---Kimber, Raya, Pizzazz, Riot and Ashley--address the viewer directly to narrate the story and fill in plot blanks. It's hilarious. At one point during a Riot monlogue, Jem interrupts to ask who he is talking to. It's great stuff.
Unfortunately there are also enough plot holes here to drive the Titanic through. For starters, the major issue of the episode is that Jem has vanished and nobody can find her. Jem, for her part, is stranded with Riot with no way to call home. HELLO! PURPLE SUPERCOMPUTER AT FOUR O'CLOCK! This is one of the frustrating moments in the series where the writers don't use the plot devices they have already established. Namely, Synergy.
In "The Fan," another "Jem's gone missing" episode, the Jemstar earrings are revealed to be lojacks of sorts--Synergy can locate Jem/Jerrica, as long as she's still wearing the earrings. Why on Earth don't the Holograms just ask Synergy for help? For that matter, why doesn't Jem simply put in a call of her own and send an SOS? Since her Jem hologram holds up on the island (and in the sea, which contradicts what is shown earlier in the series--Jem's holograms tend to fizzle underwater), she's obviously still in Synergy's range of contact.
Another gaping plot hole here is Jerrica's disapperance. Jem and Jerrica disappear at the same time, but nobody appears concerned about the latter. Frankly, wouldn't that be a bit of a clue that the singer and the business tycoon are the same individual? Things that make you go hmmmm...
Riot is downright skeevy here. His salacious remarks about 'getting what he wanted' were enough to make me raise an eyebrow. Kids TV? OK...
1. The Stingers: "Under my Spell." It fits well with the story, and is the only way to explain Jem's actions during the episode: completely flaking out, going away with Riot and then deciding to camp out on a desert island instead of calling for help...
2. Misfits: "Top of the Charts." As far as I know this is the final new Misfits song in the entire series. How nice that it's a joyous one. This is the work of the "supergroup," with the Holograms and Sitnger girls on backup vocals. The real Misfits still take center stage in the video, which is a celebration. The Misfits end the series on a high note here, having finally won their way to the top of the charts. The sound is lighter than normal Misfits, but the backing vocals are brilliant.
3. Jem and the Holograms: "All's Right With the World." This is a recycled song from "The Talent Search," but for once, I think it works better here, the second time around. I don't appreciate their trashing the Misfits billboard, but otherwise it's a superb end to the episode.
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