Starbright Part One: "Falling Star"
Howard is throwing Jem and the Holograms a party to celebrate the start of their movie. Anthony introduces Jem to Video, who wants to film a documentary about the film. The first day at the studio, Jem and the Holograms find out that the studio has been sold. Eric is now in charge, he has a new script and plans to make the new co-stars the Misfits, the hottest stars in Hollywood. The contract says that if Jem and the Holograms fail to perform for any reason, they are out. The setbacks continue when Anthony is fired, and Eric takes over directing the movie. And Video's troublemaker cousin Clash sneaks in and befriends the Misfits.
Jem/Jerrica and the Holograms, The Misfits, Synergy, Rio, Eric, Lin-Z, Video, Clash, Starlight Girls (Ashley, Ba Nee, Krissie, Deirdre, Terri, Lela, Anne, Marianne, Joellen, Becky, Nancy, Delaree), Danielle, Howard, Anthony, Jeff, Harvey, Mrs. Bailey, Miguel assistant director, Georgia makeup artist, Nick Mann actor, Debra script woman, Patricia second assistant director, Carrie continuity woman, receptionist World Studios, ophthalmologist, grip film crew, electrician film crew.
Jem/Jerrica, Eric, Ba Nee, Video, Clash, Mrs. Bailey.
Locations & vehicles:
Starlight Mansion, Gabor mansion, Rockin' Roadster, World Studios, Clash's car, Video's car, Gabor business building, hospital.
First appearance of:
Video, Clash, Harvey, Jeff, Nick Mann, Gabor Mansion, Gabor business building, World Studios, Video's car, Clash's car. New looks for Jem/Jerrica, Pizzazz, Roxy and Lindsey.
"Who Is He Kissing" Jem and the Holograms
"Jealousy" Jem and the Holograms
"Universal Appeal" The Misfits
Part of songs:
"Like A Dream" by Jem and the Holograms.
Drama, Romance, Humor, Action.
Italy: Aired on TV. Released on DVD. The episode title was "Una Stella Cadente" (Falling Star).
France: Aired on TV. Released on DVD. The episode title was "L'étoile Filante (1)" (The Shooting Star).
Holland: Aired on TV.
Sweden: Released on VHS. The episode title was "En Fallande Stjärna" (A falling star).
Denmark: Released on VHS.
Finland: Released on VHS.
Venezuela: Aired on TV. The episode title was "Estrella Fugaz 1" (Shooting star 1).
UK: Aired on TV.
USA: Originally aired on TV on 5 July 1986. Released on DVD.
Australia: Released on VHS. Released on DVD.
New Zealand: Released on VHS.
This episode was expanded with extra scenes and/or partly re-animated.
Danielle makes a new line of Jem and the Holograms fashions.
Synergy can project 600 holographic images a minute without powerloss.
Rio thinks Jem looks good, she "makes the air sizzle like some bright and dazzling dream".
In the music video of the song "Who Is He Kissing?" by Jem and the Holograms, Jerrica is reading a newspaper with the headline "Who is he kissing?" and a picture of Rio.
Kimber meets Jeff as he catches her when she is about to sit down and someone is grabbing her chair for Pizzazz.
All Harvey cares about is business and money, and keeping Pizzazz happy, to keep her out of his hair.
In this episode we get an example of how Rio takes it one step further when he gets upset. As mentioned in the Jem bible he seldom resorts to real physical action unless he absolutely has to. Well here he certainly does, when he hits Nick Mann in the face out of jealousy.
"Frame Up" (Has a song, "Deception" in a similar theme as "Who Is He Kissing?")
"Broadway Magic" (Has a song, "Can't Get My Love Together" in a similar theme as "Who Is He Kissing?")
"Father's Day" (We find out a little more about the past of Pizzazz' family)
And as for other cartoons:
"Spidey Goes Hollywood" of Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends (Includes filming of a Hollywood movie, holographic projections, a character similar to Nick, jungle and shark scenes, written by Christy Marx)
"The Maxie Horror Picture Show" of Maxie's World (Maxie and her friends film a horror movie)
hills, party, celebration, guests, movie, cookies, napkins, cups, fashions designs, hat, bedroom, tv, eyes, eyesight, worry, opthamologist, holographic wall, documentary, kitchen, ice, bench, balcony, shoes, newspaper, street, taxicab, kiss, light, eyes, lips, running, clones, dancing, binoculars, spying, fame, kick, chair, fireplace, mirror, office, desk, telephone, statue, Washington monument, birthday, movie studio, car, palmtrees, city, entrance, jail, script, contract, Hollywood, guard, gate, old west, director, schedule, makeup, hairbrush, snob, announcement, chair, stuntman, co-star, pass, cymbals, fans, spotlight, stairs, appointment, saturday, bed, bedroom, sad, bullhorn, fog, fire, jealousy, slap, fist, teasing, anger, knock-out, papers, reporters, camera, microphone, romance, publicity, surprise, wedding, press conference, banner, pen, skyscraper, moon, sun, universe, blow, orbit, planets, observatory, constellation, earth, disco ball, stage, friends, spraypaint, flashlight, orphan, parents, blind.
Fashions: Jem's original doll outfit, Kimber's original doll outfit, Aja's original doll outfit, Shana's original doll outfit, Pizzazz' original doll outfit, Roxy's original doll outfit, Stormer's original doll outfit, Video's original doll outfit, Clash's original doll outfit, On Stage: Award Night, Smashin': Let The Music Play, On Stage: Music is Magic, Rio: Truly Outrageous, Flip Side: Up & Rockin' (Jem and Jerrica), Flip Side: Gettin' Down To Business (Jem and Jerrica), Flip Side: Like A Dream (Jem and Jerrica), Flip Side: City Lights (Jem and Jerrica), Flip Side: Music In The Air (Jem version worn by Kimber, Jerrica version worn by Aja), On Stage: Permanent Wave, Flip Side: Sophisticated Lady (Jem), On Stage: Dancin' the Night Away, On Stage: Encore, Smashin': Winning is Everything, On Stage: Twilight in Paris (worn by Roxy), Smashin': Makin' Mischief.
Vehicles/playsets: Rockin' Roadster.
This is the only Jem episode that starts by telling us what happened in a previous episode, of which it was not a part of (since this is its own "trilogy" of episodes). Kinda like a restart for the series with an introduction of what Jem is about.
Although the introductions were made already in the previous five episodes, it's nice to have an explanation of things now that Jem was going from mini-segments into a full length episode series. The narrator (I don't know who wrote the introduction btw) tells us some things, like Jerrica being Jem by the help of a hologram, that she is a rockstar, and Eric and the Misfits being rivals. Funny though that they use clips from this trilogy itself (that appear in the story later in this trilogy) to explain the previous events. But they do leave out stuff like the Misfits being bad guys, Starlight Mansion having been a prize in the contest, who the Starlight girls are, who Rio is, and even details like Synergy being a holographic computer and Jem's identity being a secret. So what does this first episode in this trilogy do to explain this?
Well Jem and Jerrica being the same person, is cleverly explained in the story by Christy, with Jerrica sneaking around hiding when changing back and forth, and we even see Synergy soon. We see the Starlight girls working at the party, and the younger ones watching TV. And I guess the first music video explains the love trouble with Rio, and then we see the Misfits soon after where a jealous and selfcentered Pizzazz longs for fame.
Very interesting to see the background art of this episode as it starts, showing how Starlight Mansion is located nearby some mountains, which means it's in the wealthy areas.
The ever changing Starlight Mansion gets a balcony above the entrance. Which is not the same as the patio we soon see Jerrica and Rio on though (which is also on the second floor).
We even get to see straight inside through the front doors as guests arrive. A mix of people, Which was requested by Christy. And you can see some of the same guests appear in view several times during these party scenes.
Interesting having a party at Starlight Mansion, because since the main characters run around a bit, we get to see a bunch of rooms. Not that it tells us alot of how the rooms are connected though. And no, this is not a toy commerical for a doll house, because Hasbro never thought of releasing anything like that for Jem.
The narrative voice tells us Howard Sands is throwing Jem and the Holograms a party to celebrate the start of their movie. But I think the narrative voice got it wrong (and Christy never wrote that Howard paid for anything at the party) because Jerrica and the Starlight girls seem to be working hard, being responsible for everything. Maybe he just paid for the food or something, and he probably invited most of the guests.
I can't think of any episode that has a bigger amount of characters in it than this, all the main ones, lots of secondary ones and even background characters with lines.
Let's talk a little about the remade looks. It's most of all Jem/Jerrica, Shana, Pizzazz and Roxy. Their looks in the original five episodes were based on doll prototypes. Most of the changes made here, were to make the characters look more like the released dolls. The most notable changes were: Jem now got brighter pink eyemakeup, and her main outfit a white belt instead of red. Jerrica got longer hair, her main fashion lost it's hat for some reason, went from pink/blue striped to white/blue, her belt from red to white, and shoes from pink to blue. Shana's main outfit got a longer jacket. Pizzazz got her main dress re-designed in shape, got a bracelet, lost her wristband, and her sock switched leg. Roxy's main shirt went from black to purple, her pants from two-colored with letter prints to multicolored, she lost her necklace but got a bracelet, and got pumps instead of sandals.
Several of the new characters, like Nick, Jeff, Video and Clash, and even Miguel which I'll mention a little later, went through some stages of changed looks in time for their first ever appearance in the "Jem world" in this episode. Take a look at those really cool model cels of their early looks. As for characters like Clash and Video which started out as dolls, they originally resembled their very first look from the Jem doll creator Bill Sanders, from which they still kept several details in their final design, while some things were changed beyond recognition. And some of those changes were made after the storyboards were already done.
But why the characters that were never planned to be dolls, changed in looks, is a mystery. Lindsey had a change of hairstyle and main outfit. Ashley got blue eyes. Howard changed color of his main suit and became much younger (well Danielle became much younger too, but not an as visible difference). Anthony got a new main outfit. And why did Rio's (who had now been released as a doll) main outfit get no changes on the other hand? Well Rio was most likely still going through changes by Hasbro, since he was created after all the other dolls of the first year.
And many of the main characters got slightly re-designed faces, perhaps softer, but more detailed, and more individual looks in my opinion. Just look at the picture below to see how easy it is for anyone who has seen the series to tell them apart, without even seeing their haircolors.
Suddenly a new way of drawing, time seemed to have passed in the animation industri. Better movements instead of the sometimes still bodies and only moving heads and mouths, seemed like they drew more frames of inbetween cels, and even the surroundings have a different feel to them and look more modern. Overall less early 80's, and more contemporary 80's. Still the same studio though, and somewhat new team of animators (but some of their personal and somewhat characteristic drawing styles can still be recognized). But it's likely also because Hasbro were able to put more money into it now that they expected it to turn into a series. And interestingly, this trilogy was animated long before the retakes were added in the previous five episodes! But just like those original five episodes, this trilogy received the retake treatment aswell, and if you thought the retakes in the first five episodes were bad, wait 'til you see the retakes in this trilogy.
How much time has now passed storywise? A few weeks? Since the party is a celebration for the start of their movie, which I assume means the movie script must have been pretty much ready already for the contest. And in the second episode of this trilogy, Jerrica and the Holograms go back to Starlight Music for the first time since the contest (yeah the similar scene at the end of the five parter was added after this trilogy was done, that's why it happens twice).
Interesting to see the cakes and cookies and stuff on their tables. I never looked at details like this until I started reviewing these episodes. I guess those are Jem-cakes! I'd like to make that red one, looks delicious.
When Howard asks Jerrica for Jem, we see some oldfashion framed photos or paintings in the background. Looks like something that might have been there since Howard owned the place, like maybe his ancestors? Although Jerrica and the others have lived here for over six months now (since they moved in before they won it), they probably didn't have barely anything left from Starlight house. So let's just say those are Howard's mother and father! Speaking of Howard, and cookies, funny how Howard grabs one and eats after Jerrica left. Not how it was written by Christy. He almost has a guilty look in his face, but he is paying for the food, right?
When Kimber brings Jem to Danielle, we see Aja hold up a newly designed fashion that is actually correctly a new one that was created for this episode and correctly for Aja, nice detail, since sometimes in this series they would just hold up some random piece in a scene like this or an already seen fashion. Same thing with Jem, and her outfit does look elegant and expensive with those feathers. The model designers of this show had their ways of designing clothes that fit the scenes and spoke to us with many details. There will be more occasions in this trilogy where the looks of the clothes says alot to us viewers of how we should interpret the situation.
But oh no, a second occasion in this series where Shana does not get a new fashion when the others do, and this time the scenes really called for it and Christy requested a new fashion for her in the script! Well it has happened to Kimber too in an earlier episode. And it happened to several characters after this, that they created sets for all the girls and then for unknown reasons something was screwed up with giving them to them. I'm guessing the animators lost a model cel for a fashion during production (they were after all sent overseas from the US to Japan), was uncertain because the storyboard showed something else, or someone deliberately thought it didn't fit the occasion.
Danielle talking to Howard is probably the first sign we get in this trilogy of some really bad animation, done when they ruined these episodes with re-drawn animations in retakes. Not horrible quite yet, but if you compare the retakes to the original version of these particular scenes, you will understand how weird things like shapes of the heads became in retakes, and facial expressions that made them look like monsters sometimes (yes monsters, and I'm not the kind of person who calls people ugly). If you thought I was overly negative about the retakes in the original mini-series reviews, then welcome to retakes hell in this trilogy (although most screencaps I made for this page is from the original animation). I guess they didn't pay enough for the best team to do the retakes, but then why do them at all, if they're going to turn out much worse? If you can, try to get ahold of the originally released version of these episodes, because it's worth it! Luckily the retakes of these episodes were not released in most European countries.
Rio actually tells Jem (who is not his girlfriend!), that she looks so hot she'll "melt the cameras". Jem acts happy (but a moment later we see Jerrica worrying about Rio's view on Jem. Well, probably not only his comment in particular, but rather what we've seen in previous episodes).
We now learn from Jem that Rio is in the movie aswell. Well he was already in several music videos, so why not the movie aswell?
Mrs. Bailey isn't forgotten either, she gets her moments also in this trilogy. Mrs. Bailey and Jerrica walk into an actual established room, that the characters in Starlight Mansion later returned to several times in the series, unlike many other rooms that were just created each time a scene called for a room.
The Starlight girls are watching the music video "Like A Dream" on TV, although Jem is wearing her original outfit in it, which she didn't in the music video we saw as viewers in that episode.
Now it's showtime for another Starlight girl, the Vietnamese-American Ba Nee, now that Ashley has found her place at Starlight Mansion with the other Starlight girls. Attentive of Mrs. Bailey to realize Ba Nee has trouble with her eyes (keeping track of them all). We hear she worries about it, so I guess she cares personally about the girls (infact she was also worried about Ashley in the five parter).
Although the Starlight girls were still around, Christy probably needed a more urgent noble reason for Jem and the Holograms' to stay and go through with the movie deal, now that Jem and the Holograms won a home for the Starlight girls and a way to support the Starlight Foundation. And along came Ba Nee's eyesight.
Ba Nee was named after a real life girl. Christy had worked with a woman named Ina Balin during production of a TV movie, “The Children of An Loc”, where Ina co-starred in the movie as herself, based on the real life event of two American women during the fall of Saigon in the Viet Nam war, who stayed until the end to air-lift an orphanage of children to safety. Ina adopted two Viet Namese baby girls, one of which was named Ba Nee.
Nice detail by Christy, to include the real work title of the Ophtamologist in this trilogy, since she could aswell had called it eye-doctor. That's one of many examples of how Christy made Jem a sophisticated cartoon, piece by piece.
And Christy was good at building up stories with clues, like here, step by step, instead of making something occur out of nowhere like introducing Ba Nee's eye condition as she was approaching the doctor's office later on.
As for the rest of the Starlight girls, we see here that all aren't working at the party. Eight of them are just relaxing, Krissie, Joellen, Deirdre, Anne, Nancy, Terri, Marianne, and Ba Nee. So only Becky, Ashley, Lela and Delaree are working, = the four oldest ones. Seems positive to learn to take responsibility at their age. But the reason they are working is probably based alot on how Jacqui and Emmett taught them well, and also because all of the girls of Starlight house needed to learn to do their part when both Jacqui and Emmett died, and that's the kind of spirit we've seen already from the start in this series.
Anthony and Shana come around together. At this point in Christy's script he was still called "Anthony Daniels", although it was changed into "Julian" in the actual episodes already in the original five parter. Anthony asks for Jem. So Jerrica runs to "get her" (her own other identity). Jerrica runs from the TV-room, which seems close to where the party is held, and it doesn't take long until she is in Synergy's room. In the previous episode they first moved Synergy here, and now we re-see that same room. But as mentioned in a previous review, something they never mentioned in this series (unlike Batman and his Batcave), is where exactly this room is located! Well, that wasn't priority with any room in this series. But Christy did mention it in the Jem bible as being in a secret room in the basement, and in the script it's mentioned Jerrica goes down a stairway, but there is no visible clue in any episode (not even this one) that the characters go downstairs to get to Synergy. Buuut considering the TV-room is somewhat established as being on the first floor, and in Christy's script says Jerrica goes down a stairway, I guess it really was in the basement.
Here we see Jerrica watch behind her back as she enters that room, as to make sure no one else is nearby. So atleast sometimes she was careful with changing and hiding the location of Synergy. But why would anyone else be down in basement level at this party?
All of these back and forth scenes, between Jem and Jerrica, tells us Jem and Jerrica are the same person, which is good to be reminded about for viewers here when the show was becoming a series, and it also gave Christy a chance to give us some info on Synergy's abilities, for those who (like me) think it's cool with futuristic technology details. But with that said, we don't see any holographic projections for the rest of this episode, other than Jem appearing directly as Jem!
Anthony introduces a new character, the yellow-haired Video, as the brightest talent in the video tape scene today. Really cool name in my opinion, and a word that is understandable worldwide. Despite this character being a Hasbro doll (originally invented by Bill Sanders who gave her silver hair, as in "silver-screen") that needed to be included, this turns out to be such a likeable character, the way Christy writes her, and I really liked this early look of her hair and makeup (well there was an even earlier cartoon look of her that more resembled Bill Sanders' design, see the picture earlier on this page). Too bad Hasbro made the character almost unrecognizable when they changed the look of their prototype, into the doll we all have come to know (which led to yet an updated cartoon look after this trilogy).
I've always thought "Video" is such a cool name, a genderless name btw, and a name that worked better than probably all other names of Hasbro dolls that were introduced as characters in the cartoon, because in most countries "video" was a known word. We even learn her real name is Vivien Montgomery (whose first name she shares with Julia Roberts' character in the movie "Pretty Woman", but that movie was released years after this episode).
But ouch, Hasbro introduced Video as the videomaker, although Christy had already created Anthony at this point! How did this happen? Both Christy's character Anthony, and Hasbro's concept of Video (by Bill Sanders) were created in 1985. So Video could pre-date Anthony. But I doubt it, because Christy had already finished the first draft of the episode as early as somewhere between March and May of 1985, so even if Bill Sanders finished and sent his concept to Hasbro earlier in that year, I doubt any information about Video was sent Christy's way while she still had so much developing to do for the main characters. And it looked like Sanders' idea was a new additon to the line, since his concept art for Video said "Introducing Jem's new friends". Christy has never said this "clash" was a problem, rather that she sees Video more as a documentary-style person and Anthony as a music video director, and Christy even made them friends.
Which is logical since they're in the same business. And it's common in series when a character is replaced, to make it on good terms between the old and new (like in Charlies Angels where Farrah Fawcett was replaced with Cheryl Ladd who was introduced as her younger sister). Video may not be replacing Anthony in this series, but she is stealing some of his spotlight. Although Anthony isn't seen as much as Video in this trilogy, he still gets to be the director of the movie, and is featured in a music video.
According to the Jem bible, Video has storywise even done some work for Anthony prior to this, and thereby got some more acclaim in the music industry. And yes, even though Bill Sanders invited the original concept of Jem and many characters and their original looks, and kept adding new character designs for the doll line, it was up to Christy to invent their fictional background and personality for the cartoon series.
And by the way, Christy never aspired to have Anthony made into a doll (although he eventually was, as a commemorative doll by Integrity Toys, 30 years later).
The pink drinks Rio come by with is punch according to Christy's script.
Lela looks kinda short compared to Jem, although she is the oldest of the Starlight girls at 14 years, only a few years younger than Kimber. Perhaps the animator referred to Christy giving Lela a younger age by mistake in the script where it says she is just 13. And funny how Lela's hair looks when she is standing in front of that mirror, it flows together with its mirror image.
The reason they are standing by a mirror in this scene was for Jem to see she is currently Jem, and not Jerrica, whom Lela called for (I don't think the animators made this super obvious though). Jerrica is forgetting who she is, and the identities are really starting to be a problem.
Here is the Starlight Mansion kitchen, located on the second floor. It looks nothing like in the first five episodes, and it will never look like this again in the series neither. And here is Ashley, the previous troublemaker, nicely working along with the other Starlight girls.
From being a responsible underdog in the five parter, Jerrica seems like a full-fledged modern businesswoman by now, who has everything in control (well except for her two identities, but who would), even big homeparties with important guests.
It seemed a little abrupt for Rio to drag Jerrica away from the four Starlight girls who needed her. But before he did, there was a cut line by Rio that Christy had written, that covered this a little more.
After this moment in this episode, it took as much as six episodes before the Starlight girls Delaree, Marianne, Becky and Krissie were seen at all again.
It's funny to hear Rio talk about Jem to Jerrica, and we find out his view on Jem. Has he no shame??? Although, he knows by now that Jerrica is kinda okay with the Jem situation (because he has given her so many hints options for him to back off from having anything to do with Jem), but she wanted him to stay, and she has voiced no concerns at all to him previously. Of course Jerrica never said it was okay to kiss Jem, but then again Jerrica was the one who kissed Rio as Jem. But since Rio doesn't know they are the same, he is still insensitive here, but he probably feels confident about his feelings for Jerrica.
This song that starts here, "Who Is He Kissing?" is a complete masterpiece, one of the definite best in the series. And the music video is absolutely stunningly beautiful! Probably the best! Storyboarded by Will Meugniot himself.
Storywise it's almost a continuation of the song "Deception", but with a new angle, going from Jerrica being concerned how she has tricked Rio, to being concerned how he is now cheating on her with her other identity.
This video works a little different than most videos, in the way that we see Jerrica sing the song! And here, Jem and Jerrica do not feel like the same person to me, atleast not how Jerrica looks at Jem in this music video story. Well I guess that's the point.
In one scene though, they become the same! When we see their faces up close, next to each other, slided into each other. Despite how great this video turned out, this particular scene did not turn out exactly as Meugniot intended it. Because instead of Jerrica's face covering Jem's, Jem's and Jerrica's faces were supposed to blend into each others, like making Jerrica's face 50% transparent. This was to "match features" as Meugniot put it himself. Which at the same time would be very interesting for us Jem fans, because we would get the best possible example of how alike they are in the cartoon, according to facial features, without the different makeup and haircolors. This is a constant question about shows with secret identities, how alike they are meant to be to the other characters in the story.
The difference in animation quality between stories and music videos becomes more apparent here than in previous episodes. This music video is handdrawn animation at it's very best in my opinion, and I prefer it to any other forms of animation. I like the cold reality feeling here in the beginning of this particular music video, with a slight touch of comic book style, shown with Jerrica walking the street and seeing Rio cheat on her. I wouldn't had mind if the entire episodes had a slight bit more of this feel to them.
The redhead boy is one of many background characters in this series that has red hair, an extremely common haircolor for secondary male characters in this series (a longshot guess would be a reference to some of the producers, which had red hair and actually had specific redhead characters, the 5th Avenue Boys, created as an homage to them in a later episode by Christy, "Glitter And Gold").
I like the scene where lots of Jem's walk around, which btw reminds me of similar scenes in the five parter. In the five parter though, music videos seemed slightly more about separate segments of cool situations. From this episode on, the music videos still keep the ingredient of mixing different artistic styles to present it's message, but are stepping up a notch with so many different ways to make the characters move and pop up and such nice transitions between it all, while at the same time also managing to move towards telling more of a story in the music videos, even if sometimes only by subliminal hints. However, after this trilogy, music videos go even much further into being mostly storytelling, which is a shame though, because artistically the music videos were at a high point right here, and this music video is a great example of that.
This music contains the line "...is he making love to a fantasy?", which might seem daring for a cartoon, but in the 80's everything was not sexualized and people's mind didn't search for a sexual meaning in every word. "Making love" still simply meant creating a relationship of loving feelings. Apparently Jem is referred to by Jerrica herself as "a fantasy", or atleast Rio's view of Jem, and I guess everyone in the cartoon who doesn't know who Jem is at this point, considers her mystical and flawless since she is a perfect hologram that only shows up in glamorous situations.
I also especially like the ending scenes where it switches between Jerrica and Jem with Rio, and the camera circles around them and zooms in closer and closer.
Rio is almost taken for granted by now to appear in Jem and the Holograms' music videos. Of course some are only for us viewers, and he probably did not actually appear in their released videos storywise.
This music video was great as it was, with some minor unnoticable bloopers in color. But it didn't escape the retakes-madness, and even some of it's scenes that had no bloopers still got the do-over treatment that left them looking more flat and weird. Whoever did the retakes for Sunbow for this trilogy robbed them badly. I would had done a better job in a matter of minutes, and I can barely draw.
After the music video, Rio and Jerrica have just kissed storywise, which tells us the thoughts of the lyrics in the music video went through Jerrica's head during the kiss (well it probably didn't take as long as a minute!). I know it's said Kimber writes the songs for this band, but this song I have a hard time seeing Kimber writing the lyrics of, so I guess we can safely say the other bandmembers contributed and wrote their entirely own lyrics at times. I wonder btw if Jerrica would mind giving herself credit officially with her name as "written by Jerrica Benton" for songs she wrote, like in the information of their albums on LP. But I guess she would write "Jem" even there, just to keep her identities apart as much as possible since Jerrica was the boss.
The backside balcony/patio of Starlight Mansion was never visited again in the series.
If you expected this to be a fun playful episode about making a movie with no obstacles, then you must think you're watching a Barbie cartoon! We get plenty of realistic references of behind the scenes situations of making a movie from here on.
Five minutes into the episode we get to see the Misfits again, as Christy works them back into the story. The Misfits are watching Starlight Mansion from the backside of the building through binoculars at Gabor Mansion. The Gabor mansion must be nearby.
The Misfits looking at Jem and the Holograms in binoculars happens atleast a couple of more times in the series, like in "Intrigue at the Indy 500" and "The Presidential Dilemma". It's kind of a typical way of cartoons to make the bad guys learn what the good guys are doing, but atleast in Jem there was usually no secret spy that went to eavesdrop, although Clash does in a later Christy-episode "The Jem Jam Part 1" and "Aztec Enchantment".
Once we see the Misfits, sorry but they look completely awful, horrible animation work here! In the retakes version that is. Some of the most unnecessary retakes of this entire trilogy, since there was nothing wrong with the original version where they looked great here.
From here, we see re-designs of especially Pizzazz' and Roxy's outfits which keep the same style and are recognizable, but changed somewhat in shape and color to compliment the final look of the released Hasbro dolls. I guess this was somewhat an improvement, but it depends on your taste. Buuut apparently Integrity Toys who released commemorative dolls of the Misfits in 2013 thought some details and colors from the original cartoon version looked better, so they got Hasbro's permission to change them back.
Such a surprise to suddenly see Pizzazz as the rich girl who begs her father for something. It kinda removes some of her tough streetwise image, and makes her seem more spoiled. Or... it explains where her bad behvaiour comes from, being spoiled. If we thought we knew her before this, we were wrong. Well infact we learn even more details about Pizzazz and how she became the way she is, in a much later episode, "Father's Day".
And hereby Christy kinda brings out the "magical helper" for the Misfits. A way to bring them into Jem stories again, and not being poor unemployed musicians. With the help of Pizzazz' wealthy father. We get no explanation though why she did not use his help nor told the other Misfits about him prior to this. We can only assume she didn't think of a way his money could help her so far, or didn't have good relation to him (which is kinda obvious in the Jem bible and even asserted in later Christy-episodes and by other writers aswell, like the mentioned "Father's Day") and wanted to make a career without his help.
I guess the Misfits needed Harvey now that Eric is out of a job and Jem and the Holograms had a movie contract, a company, a mansion and was the most popular band among them.
Christy kinda comments on this sudden change, by letting Roxy and Stormer say to Pizzazz that she never told them her father was so rich.
The view of Gabor mansion is some beautiful background art! Christy intended the Gabor mansion to be larger than Starlight Mansion. When seeing the Gabor Mansion it's almost like a royal castle in comparison. It's got so many details to say it's a luxurious residence, like four pillar entrance, larger stairs to walk up, with a huge balcony over it, four floors, larger windows, and a very nice looking garden. It's interiors, like the curtains and decorations on the walls, and every piece of furniture looks especially chosen to be impressive, well except for that chair Pizzazz kicks and the sofa Roxy sits in. Pizzazz also tells us the Gabors have even bigger places, and I don't think she is exaggerating!
Here we get to hear Pizzazz' values in life, and we're practically reminded she is the badgirl. Pizzazz walks into the big heart of the mansion, her father's home office, where he spends most of his time, according to the Jem bible, behind that large black shiny desk doing business by phone. Well when he isn't at his business building office, which we also see in this episode later on.
We see lots of computers, phones and a statue of the Washington Monument (which is btw the world's tallest obelisk) which Pizzazz waves around in an immature way to get her father's attention (although this statue was not in Christy's script). We also see art on the walls, which I assume is expensive. I guess they had to go over the top with Harvey's wealth to make it believable for Pizzazz to beg her father for her own movie studio within seconds.
Interesting to see how they made Harvey look, some resemblance to Pizzazz, like the eyes in my opinion, and interesting that they made him look so old. Harvey did not look entirely as Christy intended him though, he was supposed to be balding according to the Jem bible, and apparently he isn't supposed to be older than possibly 50 years at most. His view on the film industry is hilarious "ridiculous, a poor investment". I guess that's a typical kind of line most people in the entertainment industry have heard at times from people who don't understand creative work, and Harvey is certainly one of those people. Well I guess Christy made Harvey somewhat hard to convince, to I guess not overdo him too much for the rest of the series.
So why doesn't Pizzazz ask her father to buy her her own movie studio rather than the one of the Jem movie? I guess she was interested in a script that was ready and set to go for an allgirl rockband, AND Pizzazz wants revenge on Jem. Good thing, otherwise Jem and the Holograms and Misfits wouldn't meet in this great trilogy.
Harvey doesn't let Pizzazz own the studio though. As she mentions soon in this episode,
it's her father's studio. Well she probably knows nothing about business (nor acting, nor does Eric
know how to make movies). I guess that was a smart move by Harvey, incase things go bad.
Spoiler: And this way, Christy could later write out the Misfits from the studio and movie theme, because the Misfits weren't going to be in the movie business anymore after this trilogy.
One could wonder why Pizzazz needs Eric now that she has Harvey. I guess she wanted someone who disliked Jem and the Holograms as much as she did, and could take charge while she concentrated on being a moviestar, and Eric is one of few people who can see the beauty of the Misfits (atleast while working with them).
This is actually the last we see of the Gabor mansion in this three-parter. But it does appear many more times in the series, and plays a very visible role.
A new day, probably several days have passed since the partynight, to allow time for Harvey to purchase the studio, and for Jem and the Holograms to get ready for their first day of filming.
Now Jem and the Holograms make their journey to Hollywood (well they live in L.A. so it wasn't a long ride with the roadster) after an unexpected phonecall from Howard.
We see the studios are called "World studios" as in "Universal studios" (which was the company that later released the live-action Jem movie in 2015).
How can Jem enter the world studios without identifying herself to the guards (and even more so when Jem and Jerrica both need to enter every day)? I guess it's the same thing as I mentioned in the review for "Kimber's Rebellion" about travelling. But in this episode apparently those guards aren't so attentive to tell the difference even between Video and Clash later on.
Howard tells Jem and the Holograms that the studio has unexpectedly been sold. How could that happen? Didn't Howard own the studio? Well I guess he was just the producer.
Movie studios are probably not bought as easily and quickly in real life. But even though the name World Studios refers to the name Universal studios, it could aswell had been its' completely own thing here and a much smaller studio. Infact, although Christy did pick this name, she instead referred to some other known studios in her scripts for the look.
Here comes some high intense scenes! Jem and the Holograms are surprised to see the Misfits, which they have just recently won the Battle of the Bands against, and here they are again, standing there with pleased faces, without the need to force themselves inside to cause trouble. And Jem and the Holograms are about to learn this movie will be a whole different experience with the Misfits being there.
I really like Samantha Newark's tone when she says the line for Jem "What are they doing here?" about the Misfits. Sometimes in this series she says lines with so much power, it's like she really raised the level of the scene a notch.
Clever to have Eric's chair turned against the Misfits as if they were talking, and then have him turn around towards Jem and the Holograms to reveal he is also part of the deal. No need for Zipper in these episodes though since Eric and the Misfits are now controlling the movie. And perhaps Zipper is in prison at the moment, we never really did find out if they caught him in particular.
Some weirdly re-animated retake-cels at this point, of Jem, Eric and the Misfits. The retakes versions is not how I grew up seeing these episodes, and I feel sad for any Jem fan who did, and who didn't get to see how beautifully animated this episode was originally.
And here comes a repeat of the last line Jerrica said to Eric in the last episode of the five-parter. This time it's Jem saying it though. It actually first appeared here, but when retakes were done to the the original five parter and they choose to add an extra scene with Eric at the end, they had to explain already there why Eric wasn't in prison.
Eric actually mentions "Hollywood" when he tells Jem and the Holograms this movie is going to "make the Misfits the hottest stars in Hollywood". Well Christy didn't mention Hollywood in her script, she instead originally had Eric say the title of the Misfits movie, which we find out in the third part of this trilogy instead, "The Misfits Hit It Big!".
In this three parter, Eric isn't trying to get Starlight Music back (unlike what the 1986 sticker album by Diamond interpreted it as, funny, and I mention it because that was one of few re-tellings in book form of this trilogy), which he did in the five parter and in some of the rest of the series. Here he is just out to ruin the experience of the movie for Jem and the Holograms as revenge for beating him and the Misfits in the contest, aswell as hopefully make them quit so that he can do the movie with the Misfits alone, and make them moviestars. Pretty much the same thing as the Misfits want.
Here comes the first cliffhanger. But like in the two previous episodes, there are no dangerous cliffhangers in this episode. Christy saves those for the upcoming two episodes. If you think making a movie is going to be pleasant though, you're wrong. This trilogy really explores the soap opera storytelling, with alot of feelings, discussing and fighting.
I don't feel it's entirely logical for Jem and the Holograms to be so determined not giving up the movie (and the mentioned 1986 sticker album by Diamond, Howard even offered his lawyers to solve this in court!). First of all, they've got Starlight Music back and with their career going upwards they shouldn't be far away from being able to support themselves and the Starlight Foundation fully. On top of that, they have a home now that isn't in bad need of renovation (but it probably costs to own such a big home).
But I can understand making a movie is important to market themselves, especially in L.A., and Jem is a strong woman who isn't going to let someone just take over. She has already gone through some of the worst possible things, and isn't going to take a step back. I don't know what kind of movie she expects to be able to do with Eric and the Misfits in charge though, but I guess she has trust in her contract, aswell as the crew (until Eric fires most of them), probably trusts the movie unions (which we do see in part three), and the media reporting during filming. She certainly didn't expect several of them to almost be killed.
Next time Jem and the Holograms arrive for their first day of filming, we see the roadster drive by some filming sets, which is a realistic addition in retakes. But just like the other added scenes in this trilogy, it's short and not necessary. And the fact that these scenes added in retakes don't add alot to the stories doesn't make it seem like it was added later to complete things, but rather like it was originally animated but cut before the first version and re-added for the retakes version. Two more things speaks for that, these scenes were all part of Christy's original script, and the animation of all of these added scenes is better than the re-animated retakes animation. This western set here isn't just an coincidence though. It appears also when Jem and the Holograms first leave the film, and also in the music video "Show Me The Way" in the next episode.
Exciting when Jem and the Holograms arrive to the studios to film, with the Misfits being there, and all of the upcoming movie scenes. And Christy builds up this first day in the studio by letting Anthony and Rio be there, and then soon throwing in Clash and Video into the mix.
Something to keep an eye out for in this episode from here on, are known Hollywood stars. Because although Christy did not plan for celebrity lookalikes according to her scripts, the model designers did some model cels that were meant to be included, and atleast one was!
When Jem and the Holograms get to the studio, with spotlights in the roof and microphones, it feels like we viewers get to come backstage. Infact throughout these episodes we see alot of establishing overviews like this, showing us what the locations look like.
As a viewer, unless you visited the toystore by then, you would have a hard time figuring out what characters here were to be re-appearing main characters, because there are so many characters in this trilogy. As for the nordic countries, where Jem was never aired, and only available on VHS, the new main characters in this trilogy were the last new main characters ever introduced, since only three later (random) episodes were released on VHS and they mainly included characters from the five parter.
Here we find out Anthony is directing the movie (so he doesn't just do music videos). I wonder if Howard and Anthony first met at Danielle's yacht in "Disaster" or if they have been making films before.
I guess when Harvey bought the studio, they kinda stole the right to bring in Eric to act like a very intrusive producer over Howard's head (whom I assume is the producer and not just a funder). But already here Eric, acts like the producer, and has already made enough changes in the script to anger Anthony.
Yet another occasion in this episode where Anthony and Shana show some love, is when Jem and the Holograms first arrive inside the studio. While Jem is speaking, look at Anthony and Shana in the background taking each others hands. It's quick, but it's there, and written by Christy.
Jem is wearing a long-awaited outfit from the doll line, Award Night, which was designed as a model cel already for the five-parter (but with a boa like in the Hasbro doll line), and infact appeared already in the opening theme, colored purple. The Holograms are in their original stage clothes, which they are going to wear many times more in the series (yeah they didn't always get new fashions). But already here it seems kinda illogical storywise that they kept wearing those. I mean this is over six months after they first found them in the Starlight Drive-in and wore them in their first performance in the park, and this is a movie set.
Jem is forced to say no to makeup, so that the makeup person won't touch her holographic disguise (makeup was no problem in the 1986 hardcover storybook "Night of a Thousand Earrings" though). A makeup scene wasn't necessary here. Rather, if you're picky, there are so many occasions before this where there could had been problems for Jem's hologram, but which were ignored to make things flow. But I think it's clever of Christy to once in a while add realism like this. Spoiler: But I assume she also wrote it for two more reasons, one to remind viewers that Jem is a hologram, and two to get Georgia on Pizzazz' side so that she in the third episode of this trilogy can give Clash a makeover and then be the only one who can reveal her at the Starbright set.
Here the Misfits each have their negative own line about Jem and the Holograms as they enter the makeup room (and then again as they exit), which they say one by one following up in each other, always first Pizzazz, then Roxy and lastly Stormer. This is something Christy was known to do with the Misfits in her episodes, which I like because their lines were kinda funny and it added a characteristic to their group. Christy was great at adding these kind of personal features to the characters and even groups.
We see some makeup men, how refreshing already in an 80's cartoon. I guess there are all kinds of makeup artists for movies, from creating masks for science fiction, to more daily makeup. But if you want, you could choose imagine these as the first gay characters in Jem, long before the IDW Publishing comics made several main characters gay. Well atleast the redhead (yes most male background characters in this cartoon were redheads) guy, which was called "Make-up man" in his model cel. And he also happens to resemble a male makeup artist from a Jem book "Night of a Thousand Earrings" who seemed even more gay to me. But that book was most likely drawn before this episodes was made.
After the makeup scenes came a scene that never made it into the episode, but can be found in Christy's script. It included fashions, and I wonder what fashions were going to appear here, because there were some model cels created that never appeared in this trilogy.
Here comes the dream man, by his looks and media image anyway, who introduces himself as Jem's co-star, Nick Mann.
In the five-parter, there was a story about Kimber not feeling equally important in the band. But here it's kinda taken for granted that Jem is the star, and has a leading role in the movie. Especially obvious to Nick who ignores Kimber, and Pizzazz.
Jeff likes Kimber though. But she only has eyes for Nick at the moment, so she didn't even notice how Jeff was actually giving her attention and knew who she was.
If you think about it, there's alot going on here as for love interests and jealousy. Roxy is ignored by Jeff, Jeff is ignored by Kimber, and then Kimber is equally ignored by Nick (and so is Pizzazz), and Nick is kinda ignored by Jem (although Christy had written Jem to avoid Nick even more). But Jem is nice enough to Nick for Rio to get jealous, and Rio even argues with Jerrica in this trilogy. Pizzazz instead takes the chance to flirt with (or rather control) Rio (which she did several times in the five parter, although one of those scenes were added after this trilogy was animated). Creative love-mess (reminds me of the later episode Midsummer Night's Madness, by another writer though).
Roxy coming up to Jeff was an added scene in retakes though (although originally in Christy's script), because before it was added she didn't flirt with him until next episode. This trilogy hereby actually shows the only ever man Roxy hits on in the series.
Nick and Jeff are kinda similar in looks, with the difference that Jeff has slightly darker hair and looks more average and unstyled, being the stuntman. Both were originally meant to look slightly differently.
Does Jeff's clothing style remind you of James Crockett in Miami Vice (1984-1900)? Perhaps an inspiration for his look. I didn't think of the resemblance though until the doll company Integrity Toys (who made the commemorative Jem line 2012-2017) introduced their Miami Vice-inspired doll, called Ollie Lawson, and all attentive Jem fans unanimously dubbed him the official "Jeff".
Such cleverly written lines when Pizzazz takes the chance to tell everyone that, even though her father owns the studio, she wants to be treated as any other star. Barely anyone there probably knew who she was and that her father owned the studio, but now they realize they have to treat her well.
Here the first time we see Clash, she has a mix of two haircolors (well her original cartoon look was quite different and more resembled the look designed by the original Jem creator Bill Sanders, who created Clash and gave her multi-colored hair), kind of a dark pink color, and dark green/turquoise. And apparently people see her haircolors extremely differently, because when she was released as a collectors doll in 2014 by Integrity Toys, they surprisingly gave her orange (why?) and green hair. But luckily also two (!!) extra heads with purple hair from her doll look (and later cartoon look), and a blonde from her disguise look in the third episode of this trilogy.
The guard outside the World Studios is drawn after the same model design as also later used in "The Jem Jam Part 1", but there he is the security guard at the gates of the Gabor mansion. Maybe Pizzazz hired him after this movie, for having the "good" taste of letting Clash in?
Clash only said her last name to the guard, Montgomery. Very clever way for Christy to get Clash inside, by making the Hasbro dolls Video and Clash cousins so they have the same last name (although we don't realize quite yet that Clash is the cousin of Video, but Video tells Jem that in a moment).
Interesting that Video calls her cousin by her nickname Clash, which must mean Clash has gone by it for some time. But she does call her by her real name "Constance" some times in later episodes.
Hereby two new voice actresses join the cast as Clash (voiced by Cathy Cavadini) and Video (voice by Noelle North). They get to do five more episodes together after this trilogy, aswell as appear in some episodes without the other.
Two new lasting characters, Video and Clash, and we already get to see what their cars look like. Clash has the cooler car, and it gets featured in later episodes aswell and even in several Misfits music videos, even without Clash.
Nice scene when Clash introduces herself to the Misfits. You get the feeling the Misfits finds another one of their kind (and Bill Sanders intended for Clash to be "the new 'Misfit'", whatever that meant in particular). I guess Pizzazz was receptive towards Clash because Pizzazz hadn't had as many admirers as Jem and the Holograms, as far as we see anyway, and especially since Nick turned her down. And Pizzazz probably doesn't underestimate the power of human resources. Spoiler: But it's sad when you know the rest of the series, because this is as far as the Misfits ever let Clash in, they hung out with her, but used her services and never let her get her dream to join the band officially, nor become a real friend. I guess it's not enough to have colorful hair and wanting to cause trouble, I guess the Misfits want someone who has talent, and according to the Jem bible Clash "...has no true talents of her own (except making trouble)...".
I guess Clash answers the question of whether the Misfits' in-story fans realize what troublemakers they are and like them despite their behaviour. Well they are called "the Mis-fits" so I guess that's a hint. And Clash certainly has taken notice of how the Misfits like to cause trouble, since she disturbs Jem and the Holograms to impress them (and even the cymbals were invented by Bill Sanders, although Hasbro changed their mind somewhere along the line and excluded them from the doll). Anthony tells Clash to leave the set (and this is yet another scene misinterpreted in the 1986 sticker album by Diamond, which assumes Anthony tells Clash off so directly because he recognizes her from disturbing other movie sets previously). What a great feeling it must be for someone like Clash, when Pizzazz takes her side and tells Anthony that Clash is her "friend" and she stays. Isn't Clash like many people in reality, who find friends only by showing how they can put down common rivals?
Anthony is the first one Eric replaces (well the mentioned sticker album by Diamond, interpreted it as Anthony choose to leave if Clash was staying). Well except for whoever was meant to be the producer of the movie before Eric (Howard?). Eric is now the producer and director.
The man working as the grip of the movie, makes a comment about the movie being in trouble now, with Eric as the director. My first thought here was that he meant Eric could not handle the task. But I guess Christy was talking to use viewers, but perhaps also wanted to show us the crew knew Eric was a bad dude, and that some of them were starting take Jem's side already here.
Strong scene where Anthony leaves. It tells us Anthony is a strong character. I don't see how he would had taken any more crap from Eric anyway. Just sorry that Anthony left, and especially sad for Shana who had probably hoped to work with and be directed by her boyfriend. I guess Jem and the Holograms could had left for his sake right here, atleast Shana, but then we wouldn't have much of an episode.
Another appearance of Mrs. Bailey, and in no other episode does she appear this much and has so many speaking lines. Mrs. Bailey tells Jerrica about Ba Nee's operation. But I feel there is something missing here. Why is Jerrica returning to Starlight Mansion alone and changed to Jerrica? Jem lives there too. Nothing missing here from the script though. But perhaps this scene was originally supposed to appear later in the trilogy, after Jerrica had been Ba Nee to the eye doctor.
Kimber is laying on the bed with pink hair. Blooper by the animators. Being a big Jem fan you can clearly tell this is not Jem's style, laying like that in a kinda sloppy way. Or you can atleast recognize Kimber by her outfit. The model designers did a very good job on making the characters look very different in many ways other than just haircolor.
We hear Shana say when Jerrica returns at night "things couldn't get any worse" which she probably meant specifically about Anthony leaving, and she was supposed to cry in this scene. But he does return for a music video appearance in the second episode of this trilogy, aswell as in more scenes in the third episode.
New day at the studio. They start off with a song, "Jealousy". Some impressive looking stage sets. This is such a strong one it beats most songs we have seen in the series so far. It kinda leans more to the Misfits style with it's tempo and tough lyrics. The version that appeared in the cartoon had a better intro than the cassette tape version, I think, because it's got more drumbeats in the intro, maybe they accidentally doubled them, but it sounds great.
Isn't it cool to see Kimber has two keyboards? All of the girls have old outfits in this first film music video of theirs, but I like the outfits, especially Jem's and Aja's. Nick doesn't get alot of different outfits either, even when it's time to do a music video.
What happens in this music video actually takes place in the story, because it's scenes in the movie. Another super high quality Jem music video, except for a few badly re-animated scenes, (and despite retakes, they missed to fix the only actual blooper, Rio's skincolored sideburn). Rio actually knocks out Nick in the face here. Rio is a tough guy, he knocked out Eric in the previous episode.
"Jealousy" seems almost like a response to "Who Is He Kissing", but now it's Rio who is jealous instead of Jerrica. Good thing Jerrica isn't as violently jealous as Rio, because she would have had to slap herself in the face, or hit right through a holographic projection.
So, why did Christy make Rio hit Nick here? I guess there was some need for action since this episode had no action otherwise, until the end. However, in this music video the scenes that take place, were originally meant by Christy to almost be reversed between Rio and Nick and how Jem acts towards them.
Eric quickly tells Rio to leave. You might think Eric takes the chance as soon as he gets it, and sure he does, but it's not because Eric had fresh in his mind from the previous episode being punched by Rio himself, because that scene was, as mentioned, written and added after this episode was already done.
Pizzazz makes sure Rio stays. Quick thinking there Pizzazz! Finally you got an advantage on him. Pizzazz continues to flirt with Rio, and now he is dependant on her and can't do anything about it, other than kinda accept it or leave the movie, and she tells him that literally.
Now Jem gets mad at Rio. Didn't she hear how Pizzazz took charge of Rio? Doesn't Jem realize Rio is only staying for Jem's sake? Is Jem mad because now Rio put himself in the same position as Jem was, where she felt she had to be nice to her co-star Nick, and Rio choose not to trust her, and now he does the same with Pizzazz? Or does Jem simply think Rio really messed up now and put himself below Pizzazz? Should he had done like Shana's boyfriend and left, to show more dignity and for Jem's sake? I think Jem was also letting feelings she has as Jerrica about Rio, shine through as Jem. Because she knows he is hitting on her both as Jerrica and Jem, so she's irritated she (who isn't even his official girlfriend) can't even do her role without him interfering. Or perhaps it's a little much for Jerrica, if she even thinks Rio is now getting himself involved with a third woman, Pizzazz.
This is the first real argument Jem and Rio has in the series. So I guess Jem isn't always the happy glamorous one and Jerrica the "boring" one.
Spoiler: Good thing Rio decided to stay here and be below Pizzazz, because Rio saves Jem's life in the next episode.
Eric's assistant is named Miguel. A real nice guy, and about the only one who can take Eric's crap. He seems to be of Mexican heritage, just like the father of Raya who got the same name, whom we meet in a later episode also by Christy. This Miguel had a slight change to his looks before the final version was set, he originally had longer hair with a little more volume. See the earlier picture on this page.
I like seeing Lindsey return. And being a reporter, she can tell us viewers things directly. Kinda works as a shortcut to tell us viewers things without showing them through the acts of the characters (like this being a multi-million dollar film).
Lindsey gets a whole new style, completely unrecognizable, except for still having blonde hair. I guess she wasn't invited to the party earlier (or couldn't come?) or Christy wanted her entrance into the restart of the series to be in her homeground, among other reporters, and perhaps keep her a bit unbiased. Being so changed in looks, I think it was a good thing Christy let Lindsey Pierce announce herself with her name when reporting from outside the studio. This is the look she keeps for the rest of the series, with a few temporary variations of clothing. Although, after originally being an exciting new acquaintance of Jem and the Holograms in a previous episode, after this trilogy Lindsey is kinda stiff in the series and mostly just does her part in announcing music news.
Some of the model designs of these reporters would appear in later episodes in the same or new colors, with no way of knowing whether they were supposed to be the same reporters or if the model designers just saved time on using the same model drawings.
Kimber now wears the fashion Danielle designed for her earlier in this episode, rather than the one she originally wore with Aja's and Shana's fashion here. Kimber was known to wear Permanent Wave with those, (infact she wore that outfit also with another set of more glamorous outfits of the others, and there was no previous dress for Kimber to choose from), which was a jacket and pants, and I guess she needed to match the others better by also having a dress here.
The Misfits are now in new outfits, except for Roxy, who gets her green one "Let The Music Play" from the five parter. In the Rock Jem cartoon fashion guide, I've matched Pizzazz and Stormer with a later outfit that Roxy is first seen in in the episode "Roxy Rumbles", although no one knows the production number of it, it might have been created already for the scene in this episode originally (but probably not, since Jetta also got her matching outfit for this set in that later episode, and Jetta was not yet introduced here).
So unusual to see Rio be so sweet towards Pizzazz. Funny to see. And a weird situation because he is doing it mostly for Jem/Jerrica, and perhaps a little bit for his own career.
So funny with the reporters asking the most shallow questions and trying to push things like a love affair between Jem and Nick. Maybe Christy is having fun at reporters or paparazzis.
Here is an added retakes scene where the Holograms discuss while Nick kisses Jem for an extra looong time. Well it was originally in Christy's script but not added until later.
Here Kimber is back to thinking Jem is taking too much attention, atleast from Nick whom
I feel sorry for Kimber again, for not being viewed as one of the
big stars by the reporters. And Christy follows up on how Eric gets to Kimber (from the five parter) by pretending he
cares and trying to fill in how she should feel negatively about Jem.
Kimber doesn't really fall for his attempts this time, so she has actually matured or learned a
lesson from three episodes ago. But she does accept Eric's offer of her own scene with Nick.
I guess because there doesn't appear to be a direct catch to it.
We never quite learn what Eric had in mind this time for Kimber, other than trying to win
Kimber over a little bit. I guess he just dropped
whatever he might have had in mind after what happened in the next episode in Kimber's scene.
Spoiler: Well in a later episode, "The Bands Break Up" Eric does manage to get Kimber to sign for him, although she doesn't realize it, and he's not really after her talent there.
Nick is almost like an early version of Riot of the Stingers. Although Nick probably had even less genuine interest in Jem as an actual love interest and person than Riot. And Riot has alot more dignity and class and isn't a coward.
Here is another occasion where the Misfits each have their own line, one by one, to the reporters, in that Misfits way.
This is actually the very first time Lindsey and Eric meet, but Lindsey apparently knows enough about Eric already before she realizes he is now the director, to know he never directed a film prior to this.
Now we see the Gabor business building for the first time, a skyscraper. Taller than Starlight Music, but maybe not wider. This is where Harvey Gabor has his executive office, on probably the top floor since the views scrolls all the way up before we see the inside, and since he's of course the boss.
Howard goes to see Harvey here, a brave move to try to appeal to him, and so early in the movie even before any major "accidents". Retakes made Harvey's head huge for a moment here, thanks to the retakes-team!
When Jem says Jem and the Holograms are ready for their big number, all of them have new fashions. Infact Christy requested something special for these fashions. So sad for Jem and the Holograms, they got their first ever directly corresponding outfits, for a new music video, and here the fashions only got to be featured in a Misfits music video.
And right before the Misfits video, a short scene was added where Aja says "He can't do that, can he?", which was originally in Christy's script though.
Here comes "Universal Appeal" by the Misfits. Kinda funny having a song include the word "universal" at the "World Studios" which more or less is a homage to Universal Studios. the Misfits take it up a notch with their music, infact they're better than ever! Ellen Bernfeld really takes the chance to shine once the Misfits songs become a little more diversive compared to the first five episodes. So cool when Pizzazz starts with a "huh!".
This is a very iconic Misfits video, that got everything right! Absolutely beautifully planned and how the animation flows, like when Pizzazz blows Jem and the Holograms off the star, straight our way, looks so real in movements. Watch this video carefully and you will see Jem and the Holograms and some other characters fly around, even their own groupmembers Roxy and Stormer and their fan Clash which may seem like the animators threw in whatever characters they had in the episode, but these characters were requested in the storyboard (well everyone but Miguel, which should had been Eric instead, but he did appear later in this music video). Just like "Jealousy", this song was remade for the cassette version, by having one line "universal" less at the end. I thought it sounded best here.
The Misfits got no new outfits for this bigtime music video of theirs though. Interesting that Pizzazz has star earrings, but regular stars though. Out of pure speculation, maybe this outfit was originally intended to be worn by Jem instead, because this fashion appeared in very early drafts of the Jem intro storyboard at which point Jem still was to have earrings shaped as regular stars (but even there it appears to be worn by Pizzazz by the look of the makeup). Here Roxy strangely wears that mysterious outfit "Twilight In Paris" which I speculated about in the review of the episode "Kimber's Rebellion". Directly after the video ends, Roxy suddenly has a new outfit though! I wonder what Jem and the Holograms had planned with their outfits with stars, hard to beat this song by the Misfits though, no wonder Jem was upset!
Can't say the title "Universal Appeal" fits exactly into the storyline of the movie from what we know so far though. Except, it does present Pizzazz the way she wants to, being the most important person in the universe. Which is what Christy had in mind.
This is the first episode where Jem really has a big burstout, and really challenges Pizzazz in that way. Jerrica did it before. Kinda relieving to see for Jem too, and it makes Jem more into a character, a personality, showing more sides (and also how she earlier had a little argument with Rio).
And really strong scene when Jem and the Holograms leave the movie. I really like Jem putting down her foot, and so early in this trilogy, and so much! Again Rio still didn't leave, so I guess he either thought he had lost Jem earlier on, hoped she'd return, or thought he needed the salery of his role, well as I said before it was a good thing for Jem in the next episode that he stayed around here.
Unlike Rio, Video runs after Jem and the Holograms. Video though, had the chance to do a documentary about a big budget Hollywood movie, probably regardless of whether Jem and the Holograms were in it or not, and yet she choose to leave at first chance with some new stars which she had befriended, Jem and the Holograms, and is probably (partly therefore) a very appreciated friend of Jem and the Holograms from this moment on.
You can actually see the office building of World Studios here in the background as Jem and the Holograms leave, very attentive of the background designers.
Good thing Roxy had a spraycan at hand here as part of the Misfits' celebration that the movie is only theirs. And nice transition from the black spray paint on the poster, to Ba Nee's eyes. And here comes a scene that grounds this episode after the glamour of Hollywood and all the high drama. Christy isn't forgetting the Starlight girls. This is a sad scene that really affects you while watching with Jerrica's reaction of how much she cares for Ba Nee. Ba Nee risk going blind at age 8.
So much to say about this episode, so many news, so much happens. How does Christy manage fit it all into one episode? Also the songwriters Anne Bryant, Ford Kinder, and Barry Harman, storyboard artists, animators and everyone involved with the series was at their top here in my opinion.
Jem and the Holograms and the Misfits are first and foremost rockbands, but here Christy brings them into the movie industry which is a fresh temporary theme. And it was also logical since they won a movie contract in the previous episode, and since the music and movie businesses meet so often in reality. And I guess there must have been some plan with Jem and the Holograms living in L.A. to begin with, the entertainment capital of the world.
The whole movie idea seems to have been taken seriously by Christy and everyone else involved in this episode. We really get the feeling of being in a realistically spacious place where they can set up all kinds of sets and scenery for different kinds of scenes.
We aren't told alot about the movie itself, what the story is or even genres, other than it obviously being a musical. But Christy has commented on this by saying: "...Given the weird variation in sets and scenes, maybe we can say it was a movie about making movies.".
There are no extraordinary holograms created in this episode, only Jerrica becoming Jem. Synergy gets going a little more in the next two episodes with holograms though.
Although very visible in many scenes, Shana only gets a single line of her own in this episode. But on the other hand, this episode has alot of characters with speaking roles, and thereby competing for the limited time of an episode.
In this episode we really see the result of the fact that Jerrica previously convinced Rio to stay with Jem and flirting with him as Jem. Not alot of action, but lots of love trouble and drama here. But most of all, this episode is a nightmare situation for Jem and the Holograms. It keeps us entertained nonstop.
This episode offers a very interesting situation, with Jem and the Holograms working for Eric. A friend of mine who isn't a Jem fan saw this trilogy once and wondered why Eric was so angry all of the time (she hadn't seen the original five parter though). Well he is under alot of stress trying to make the Mifits into Hollywood stars, firing everyone in the crew, forcing himself to do things he never tried before, and wants to get revenge on Jem and the Holograms. But I really like how evil and angry Eric still is in this trilogy, aswell as in the previous five parter. This is how I want to see Eric all of the time, how Christy usually wrote him. It makes him alot scarier. I don't want him to be silly/goofy or scared like in some episodes by other writers.
I think the sidestory about Ba Nee is tied in really well. But I would had liked some reference to Ashley aswell. We were convinced she was an important character in the five-parter, and here we only see her in the kitchen for a second with no lines. Well she returned with more to say in later episodes by Christy, and by other writers aswell.
If Howard was just a rich kinda cool old dude in the five parter, then he has become younger and even more relaxed, caring and more involved here.
This is the kind of Jem episode that will keep any of your non-Jem-believers on egde and interested through it all. I can barely believe the level of the tone the characters have interacting with each other here, and how fast things move.
Strangely these three episodes were not released on VHS in the US!!! It might had done incredibly good for the series, and I even think the doll line could had lasted much longer if these super high quality episodes had been released on VHS, so that people could buy and rent them. Luckily these episodes were released in many other countries of the world. So why not in the US? Well these episodes had retakes made, maybe those took some time and then they just kinda forgot about releasing these to VHS and skipped them?
For fun stuff:
A very uplifting start with the party going on, new fashions introduced, and
a new character, Video. We re-see recognizable faces from the first five episodes right here like
Anthony, Danielle, Howard, Mrs. Bailey, the Starlight girls, and of course Rio and the main band.
A party, and they're all there (except for Lindsey), even the new character Video, and Synergy
(although Synergy is very anti-social staying in her own room for the entire party).
And there's already drama, and a
music video, and soon we even see the Misfits. But it's not just a relaxed beginning, or
reminders who everyone were and the their relations,
because Christy tells us new stuff already here, so pay attention.
Questions: Who were those unknown animators who drew the retakes in this trilogy? Where did Pizzazz' father come from all of a sudden? What was Howard's role for the movie? Why did Jem and the Holograms bother to make the movie once Eric and the Misfits arrived? What is the movie about? Why was Jeff so rude to Roxy? Who is Nick Mann based on in Hollywood? Just a caricature? What are those strangely shaped yellow pants Video has?
Best thing in the entire episode: On top of that amazing writing, the songs and music videos are great!!! The mostly beautiful animation, except for retakes. The jealousy between so many people, such a puzzle. Exploration of the movie industry. The new interesting characters Video and Clash. Christy continues to deliver great lines and moments that really made us like the characters.
Worst thing about the entire episode: Hard to find anything bad in a perfect episode! But the horrifying retakes of course, and the sad fact that many people who watch this don't know how much more beautifully animated this episode was before retakes. That it was never released on VHS in the US. That we don't get to see Jerrica walk all the way into Synergy's room and reveal where inside Starlight Mansion she is. No direct follow-up on Ashley.
New style: Lots of fashions were re-designed for this trilogy and this episode in particular. But the only real consistant and matching new style must be those outfits Jem and the Holograms are wearing as they leave the studio at the end. All have star shapes as in "STARbright". And did you realize this is the very first time in the series that Jem and the Holograms are getting a fashion set that is obviously made to match? That's because these were cartoon fashions, because Hasbro never did any matching outfits like that, unless you count the somewhat matching Glitter 'n Gold doll fashions and unreleased 1988 fashions.
Surprises: The new character Video. I always liked this character when I was little, but never knew she was available as a doll by Hasbro, until many years later, nor that she appeared in more than this trilogy. Eric got be in charge of Jem and the Holograms. Jem and Rio arguing for the first time. New great style of Misfits tunes.
Most exciting moment: When Jem and the Holograms walk in to find the Misfits and Eric at World Studios. When Rio hits Nick. When we learn the scary news about Ba Nee.
What should be cut out: All of it is great, and besides, it's so closely connected it would be hard to cut out anything.
What else could it had done: Although they already spent a quarter of the episode there, I would like even more scenes from the party. I'd like to see more of how all of these now recognizable secondary characters interact, and more of what Starlight Mansion looks like. Perhaps we could have had also: Eric's reaction when Pizzazz told him about his new job (guess it would look something like "In Search Of The Stolen Album"), acting scenes with lines (like in "Hollywood Jem"), one of Jem and the Holograms or the Misfits could had been really into the movie thing with dreams of a Hollywood career, some background on Nick, and more about Eric's plans for Kimber.
Biggest argument: So many in this episode it's hard to choose. First Jem and the Holograms Vs. Eric at World studios, Anthony Vs. Eric, Rio Vs. Nick, Jem Vs. Rio (small fight buy big deal because it was their first in their "relationship"), but the biggest fight must be at the end between Jem and Pizzazz.
Best new look: Jem's look at the party in that feather dress by Danielle. Jerrica's outfit with the black skirt because Jem and the Holograms so seldom wear anything black otherwise. Award Night made a long-awaited appearance. Jem's and Shana's Starbright dresses look especially great among that set. Oh and Clash's outfit, especially the jacket is so cool and what a great piece for the doll line.
Worst new look: Pizzazz in that "clown"-dress I guess. Well actually I never disliked it really, but if I have to pick something, I'll pick especially that big ruffled collar on it.
Is Rio a "hero" or "Ken doll": He goes after both Jem and Jerrica in a none-Ken way, and kinda loses them both, and he knocks down Nick. But then Pizzazz wraps him right around her finger like a nice Ken doll.
Who does Rio love most, Jerrica or Jem: Very hard to tell here. He seems most captivated by Jem, but he does try to say some nice things to Jerrica. At the end of the episode I'd say he is on better terms with Jerrica though.
What character practically does nothing here: The bluehairs Aja and Stormer don't have much to say. Neither does Shana, although she does have the Anthony connection which adds some screentime.
This episode has alot of...: Party guests. Changing between Jem and Jerrica. Jealousy. Flirting. Arguments. New characters, mostly secondary, many movie crew workers. Amazing songs and music videos. Bad animation retakes.
Someone should make a toy out of this: Nick Mann definitely. Jem's feather dress. All Starbright outfits. Roxy's red outfit (that color!). A movie studio.
What character from another cartoon should be brought into a scene: Lance Macho and Honey Dove from the Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends episode "Spidey Goes Hollywood" by Christy Marx, as if this episode needed any more action.
What would Barbie had done: Barbie would not wonder who Ken is kissing, because she would never kiss a man other than possibly on his cheek, and Ken feels the same way. Barbie would not had taken the role against the Misfits when Eric arrived, she would had gone home and made a homevideo about trying on different outfits and combing her hair.
Best mischief-award in this episode goes to: Pizzazz for convincing her father to buy the movie studio, putting Eric on running it, just to make alot of mischief to Jem and the Holograms, and for making Rio her puppet.
Challenge for you while you watch this: Try to find something nice to say about Nick Mann other than his looks. Keep an eye on the background characters, and figure out what their job on the movie is or what famous Hollywood stars they were meant to resemble.
How could Jem's identity have been revealed by mistake: Jerrica is very uncareful atleast two times at the party when changing. Also when it's time for makeup at the studio, she had no good explanation, but on the other hand who could guess why Jem wants to do her own makeup.
Where could another song fit in: Pizzazz could had done a song about her cravings in life that we hear her talk about before she went in to see her father.
Room for a llama, yeti or timetravel somewhere in here: Maybe a timetravelling yeti riding a llama in the movie? There are so many different scenes in there anyway, so I'm sure Eric could squeeze it in if Pizzazz called for it.
Would it make any difference if the Holograms switched places: Yes it wouldn't work here.
What made the series take a step forward or back: This episode kinda re-drew the map for Jem, by giving the Misfits an advantage of Harvey's money, which we see used in more later episodes before even Techrat joins in. The beautiful animation looks very well invested into, especially the music videos. The sophisticated drama scenes were very complex. Christy made a great example of what the upcoming writers could make episodes like. Unfortunately not many writers (nor fans) had the chance to see these episodes and rather referred only to the first five episodes. Christy managed to write in alot of existing characters and yet introduce new ones without overcrowding this episode. I like how well she gave background characters lines.
Animation quality: 5 of 5 Jemstars definitely. This is the grade for the original version of this episode without retakes.
Ending: Two exciting things end this episode, the Jem and the Holograms and Misfits fight which leads to Jem and the Holograms quitting, and then Ba Nee's eyesight. We don't know it here, but those things turn out to be connected in the next episode, that's probably why Christy gave us two cliffhangers.