This essay was original published at Roxy Reviews and is reprinted here with permission.
SUMMARY: Roxy makes an error on a live TV broadcast because she can't read the Teleprompter. When the other Misfits ridicule her illiteracy, she walks out of the band. She accidentally finds a million-dollar winning lottery ticket and uses her newfound fortune to buy a car, a makeover, and a carnival for her neighborhood in Philadelphia.
GENERAL IMPRESSIONS: This, along with Rock Fashion Book, Island of Deception and In Stitches, is my favorite, favorite Jem episode. It's the only one that really "spotlights" an individual character. "The Bands Break Up" comes close, but there's still a lot of interplay from the other Holograms and Misfits. This, in contrast, is really about Roxy alone. Jem is added almost as an afterthought, and the Misfits' actions revolve around Roxy here.
This well-written episode really shows another side of a character that is so often dismissed as a sidekick or goon. Here, the situation is more obvious: She gives what she receives. Roxy is absolutely nice to the people she meets in this episode, even going so far as to give the lottery clerk an impromptu hug. She talks candidly with the valet at the House of Glamour. She's sweet to Ba Nee when the orphan offers her a reader. She's even civil to Jem, until Ms. Pink Hair decides to start lecturing her. It's only then that Roxy goes on the defensive.
I think Roxy's actions in Philadelphia are quite telling. She does hire the Red Aces to ruin Jem's stay in Philly, but how do they accomplish this? They don't trash the Holograms' equipment, or appear at the concert to sabotage it, or do anything of a violent or aggressive nature. Instead, Roxy throws a fair. It isn't even a fair she profits from, since she distributes all the food and clothing for free. Perhaps the kids in Roxy's neighborhood wouldn't be able to afford such an event if they had to pay. At any rate, she's giving something to the community and getting nothing back. While the fair is going on, Roxy doesn't even appear to be thinking about the Holograms. Yeah, she's distracting the crowds from Jem's Illiteracy tour, but she is also doing something absolutely nice and selfless for "her" people.
Also of significance to me are Stormer's actions in this episode. To me, this is more proof of a strong Stormer-Roxy friendship. For one thing, Stormer knows, when everyone else doesn't, that Roxy is illiterate. Considering the lengths Roxy goes to in the series to conceal the secret (see "The Fan," when Roxy is "reading" on the floor!), this is a biggie. Also, Stormer immediately comes to Roxy's defense in the TV studio fracas. She is the only one not to attack Roxy, either in the TV station or Eric's office. When Roxy walks out Stormer is clearly upset. Later in the episode, she worries that the Misfits might not be able to convince Roxy to return to the group. In Roxy's video for "I'm Gonna Change," Stormer cheers Roxy on, while the other Misfits look decidely displeased.
Jem. What about Jem in this episode? She's there as a footnote, almost, to get across the moral of the story. I don't think she was even necessary: it's already obvious, through the course of the story, that Roxy's illiteracy holds her back and gets her into trouble (ie, signing the concession contracts without reading them!). Ba Nee's moment with Roxy at the end of the episode, when she offers her a book, is sweet, though.
1) Roxy: "I'm Gonna Change." Well, well, well, Roxy can sing leading vocals, too! I don't know why Roxy wants to fly on a leaf, but there it is. Seriously, it's a great song, not quite Misfits and not Jem. The video, which alternates between black and white (sad Roxy) to color (happy Roxy) is very Hollywood.
2) The Misfits: "Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie." Roxy goes on a shopping spree and hires the House of Glamour to make her look lik Marilyn Monroe. The video is a scream, and the (recycled) song works well. They could have also used "Designing Woman" here and it would have worked. So who is singing, Roxy or Pizzazz? I'd like to believe the latter. =)
3) Jem and the Holograms: "Open a Book." You knew this one was coming. It's recycled from "The Treasure Hunt," less than ten episodes prior! It's one of Jem's Public Service Songs, so I don't know what to write about it. It has a more unique beat than some of the Holograms' other stuff, but it's still treacle.
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