Written by Marv Wolfman
Jem and the Holograms are going to New York to audition for a new Broadway musical. But the Misfits want the parts aswell. So to keep Jem and the Holograms out of their way, Eric goes on TV and offers a reward of $100,000 for anyway who can expose Jem's secret background.
Jem/Jerrica and the Holograms, The Misfits, Synergy, Rio, Eric, Lin-Z, Rio's friend, Bob Merrit Broadway producer, Bob's assistant, taxi driver, lottery man, gypsy Mama Pama Bama, greedy construction worker, older construction worker, Lindsey's camera man.
Jem/Jerrica, Pizzazz, Rio.
Locations & vehicles:
New York, Bob Merrit's office, beach in Los Angeles, gym in Los Angeles, Misfits Music, helicopter, taxicab, Theater Palace on Broadway and 53rd, VTV, Hotel Americana (Plaza Hotel), Bethesda Fountain in Central Park, Gapstow bridge in Central Park, Central Park Zoo, Misfits' hotel or apartment, Circle line ferry, Statue of Liberty on Liberty Island, motorboat, subway station Lexington, Bob Merrit's mansion.
"Who Is She Anyway?" The Misfits
"Can't Get My Love Togheter" Jem and the Holograms
"Broadway Magic" Jem and the Holograms
Part of songs:
"Makin' Mischief" the Misfits, "Broadway Magic" Jem and the Holograms.
"You Gotta Be Fast" the Misfits.
Adventure, Drama, Humor, Romance, Action, Sport, Message.
Italy: Aired on TV. Released on VHS. The episode title was "Un Segreto Da 100,000 Dollari".
France: Aired on TV. Released on VHS. Released on DVD. The episode title was "Broadway Magic".
Holland: Aired on TV.
Sweden: Released on VHS.
Venezuela: Aired on TV. The episode title was "La Magia De Broadway" (The magic of Broadway).
UK: Aired on TV. Released on VHS.
USA: Originally aired on TV on 4 October 1986. Released on VHS. Released on DVD.
Australia: Released on DVD.
"Disaster" (Rio complains to Jem that she won't tell him who she is),
"Adventure In China" (Jem and the Holograms are travelling and having trouble with Jem's identity because of stole earrings),
"Hot Time In Hawaii" (Jem and Rio meet for the first time since this episode, and kinda make up),
"Culture Clash" (also takes place in New York),
"Glitter and Gold" (Jerrica plans to tell Rio about her secret identity),
"The Bands Break Up" (same writer),
"The Fan" (The Misfits again try to find out Jem's real identity),
"Beauty And The Rock Promoter" (also about a musical play),
"Out Of The Past" (here we learn even more about why Synergy was created and is best kept secret),
"Midsummer Night's Madness" (Song "Can't Get My Love Together is re-used").
The writer of this episode Marv Wolfman, who is also the comic book writer behind "The New Teen Titans", actually included a mention of Jem, referring to this episode, in an issue of the comic. One of the stories includes a theater in the background that reads "Broadway Magic starring Jerrica Benton". Apparently a joke on the fact that Jem is really Jerrica Benton.
We see a newspaper called "Showbiz Daily" that has the headline "Merrit seeks top rockstars for new b'way musical".
There's a magazine in the Misfits music video of "Who Is She, Anyway?" called "FABS" featuring Jem.
The man who is trying to trick Jem that she won money, appears already among the reporters after Jem and the Holograms and Rio land with the helicopter.
Synergy warns that in the wrong hands, her holograms could be used for evil and innocent people could be hurt. In the much later episode "Out Of The Past", we hear Emmett also warn for Synergy falling into the wrong hands.
Rio actually asks Jerrica if she and Jem are the same person.
Jem (Jerrica) is great at skateboarding and hang gliding, or very lucky.
The Mask the animated series by Sunbow Entertainment, also had a Broadway episode, called "Broadway Malady".
There are two versions of this episode, with very small differences. The first one was included on the Rhino DVD collection. The second and most common one appears to have some more or less unimportant retakes. If you have this episode from another source than the Rhino DVDs, then you have an early and very rare version of this episode from before retakes, which might even include missing scenes. I would love to hear from you. Here is how to tell what version you have: When Eric goes on TV to give his offer to find out Jem secret, before retakes, the view would scroll longer along the reporters, so that you could see a poster from the famous 1980 Broadway musical "42nd Street" by Broadway producer David Merrick, on Eric's wall to the left of the gold records. After the retake, the poster of the 1981 musical Cats is instead more visible under the gold records. Before retakes, you could see Eric's head sticking out of the TV, which it doesn't in the correct version. They decided to zoom in on some things in retakes, like when Mrs. Mama Pama Bama shows her crystal ball to Jem, and when Jerrica creates a hologram of Jem in Central Park Zoo they zoom in so much on Jerrica and the Jem hologram that Rio is not seen at all at this point. When the Statue of Liberty appears while Jem reads the fake loveletter, it was originally straight and not showing it's torch, and in the retakes it became leaning and showing it's torch. And after one of the workers has pushed his friend out of the boat and takes off with Jem in the boat, the view originally stayed on the friend longer, but was changed to scroll to the boat much faster to show it up close as it started.
While Eric is on TV, you get to see a TV store with alot of TV:s, and one of them is showing the character D'Compose from Inhumanoids, which is also a cartoon made by Sunbow. In a later Jem episode (One Jem Too Many, by another writer) Jem and Inhumanoids even shared a character called Hector Ramirez, which also appeared in G.I. Joe and Transformers and was meant to appear in My Little Pony. The Statue of Liberty is also featured in the Inhumanoids episode "Primal Passions" (by another writer), which aired on november 23, 1986, not long after this Jem episode.
Have a look at the storyboard for the "Who Is She, Anyway?" music video [offsite link].
The voices of some of the background characters are mostly likely done by the regular cast: Rio's friend / falling window cleaner / greedy construction worker by Charlie Adler (who is also the voice of Eric), Bob's assistant by Marlene Aragon (Synergy), reporter who asks if Jem is a spy by Samantha Newark (Jem/Jerrica), taxi driver by Bobbie Block / Samantha Paris (Roxy), Gypsy Mama Pama Pama by Cathianne Blore (Kimber), boat guard by Michael Sheehan (Rio), and skateboard boy by Susan Blu (Stormer/Lindsey).
Marv Wolfman, who wrote two Jem episodes, has also written for two other cartoons by Sunbow from the same time, two episodes for Transformers and two episodes for G.I. Joe.
Wolfman is also the creator of wellknown Marvel characters Blade (together with comic book artist Gene Colan), Bullseye (with comic book artist John Romit, Sr), and Nova (with comic book artist John Buscema), aswell as Destiny (with comic book artist Berni Wrightson).
The scene where Jem and the Holograms and Rio land with a helicopter, originally included a blooper in form of the helicopter being blue instead of orange in the short moment when we see the characters from above. This was corrected before the episode was released, but there is an animation cel that has appeared for sale reveals the blooper.
There could be a missing fashion for Shana in this episode, since in the ending scene she is the only one who does not get a new outfit.
Animators apparently referred to this episode as #11, probably starting counting from the first 22 minutes episode "Starbright Part One".
New York, Empire State building, producer, window cleaners, windows, birds, office, toupée, Broadway, music, radio, notepad, hanging, falling, bucket, assistant, volleyball, sand, parasol, palmtrees, hotdogs, newspaper, gym, working out, weights, upside down, magazine, music cassette tape, earphones, masks, questionmarks, reporters, cameras, TV, store, reward, helicopter, heliport, microphone, spy, running, chasing, taxi, hotel, traffic, stage, audition, stairs, control room, stool, noise, spotlight, fire exit, curtains, tears, leaf, wind, night, subway train, handkerchief, tv-show, publicity, announcement, couch, kiss, envelope, fire hose, check, gypsy, crystal ball, sleep, name, interuptions, bubblegum, hotelroom, drawer, mirror, arguing, spying, park, fountain, bridge, zoo, distraction, rollercoaster, poster, pillow, typewriter, table, letter, stereo, Statue of Liberty, boat, wristwatch, lock, doorknob, guard, screaming, workers, earring, hammers, elevator, motorboat, life buoy, parade, skateboard, hang glider, convention, roof, sky, landing, dancing, dancers, show, audience, party, interview.
Dolls: Jem/Jerrica in doll fashion, Kimber in doll fashion, Aja in doll fashion, Shana in doll fashion, Rio,
Pizzazz in doll fashion, Roxy in doll fashion, Stormer in doll fashion.
Fashions: 1987 Flipside "We Can Change It" (Jerrica's), 1986 On Stage "Only The Beginning", 1986 Smashin' "Outta My Way", 1986 Flipside "Up & Rockin'" (Jerrica's), 1986 Flipside "City Lights" (Jerrica's), 1986 Onstage "Music Is Magic", 1986 Rio "Truly Outrageous".
An absolutely amazing episode, perhaps my favorite, and it's got something for everyone.
Jem and the Holograms travel to New York for the first time. They plan to audition for a Broadway show Rio spotted in a newspaper, but they have no idea what awaits them. To keep Jem and the Holograms out of the way for the Misfits who also want the roles, Eric has offered $100,000 for anyone to find out Jem's real identity for him, and so the hunt begins. There's love trouble, Misfits trouble, lots of action, and a Broadway show. And three absolutely fantastic songs with amazing music videos! This episode is a must see and a high point of the series.
This story by writer Marv Wolfman is a complete masterpiece, for other writers to take note from. It has some of the most memorable and important scenes of the entire Jem series. In fact even additional memorable scenes were originally included in it (at least 98 takes but probably over 100, which would translate to anywhere from 1 scene to maybe 19 at most, or lots of single takes). Those scenes were definitely animated and voiced, but were cut out by Sunbow only to include an about 30 seconds long Superstar clip at the end. Jem fans have very little idea what takes place during the cut out scenes, but I will try to go into it later in this review.
This episode has a very surprising start, because it doesn't include any recognizable character for as much as 1 minute and 15 seconds.
But Wolfman does certainly know what he wants to do with this story, and he doesn't waste a single moment telling it.
The first thing we see in this episode, is the skyline of New York city, with some familiar buildings, and the view goes straight to Bob Merrit, a genius but somewhat goofy older producer.
Window cleaners are working outside his office while Bob worries about his career, and his almost equally silly assistant takes notes and repeats every last word he says, or so (in fact she doesn't say a single word of her own in the entire episode). One of the things he says is "my career is over because of this three act turkey with intermissions", which is referring to plays at Broadway, divided into three acts (which can in many cases be two or even one act aswell). When one of the window cleaners turns on the radio with the music of the Misfits song "You Gotta Be Fast", Bob closes his window in disturbance, right on one of the window cleaners' foot. The window cleaner falls and tries to hang onto their lift, terrified of falling to the ground. At the same time Bob realizes what kind of music he needs for his musicals, modern music like the Misfits, which apparently he previously hasn't put as much effort into in his Broadway shows. He opens the window again and tells the window cleaners his idea, while one of them is still struggling to hang on. This scene has one of the most hilarious resolutions ever. Wolfman is a genius to start off with a scene like this. Watch the episode to see what happens, and there are additional hilarious and great scenes in the rest of this episode.
Next scene shows Jerrica and the Holograms, playing volleyball. Something Wolfman does very well is let us catch up with characters in scenes while they are actively doing something, which adds realism to their introduction in the story. Jerrica and the Holograms sure seem to like volleyball, because it's played in so many episodes after this. But this was the very first time. For the only time in the series, Rio speaks with a male friend about his relationship with Jerrica. Rio says he thinks sometimes he and Jerrica are so close, and suddenly they're strangers. It's nice hearing Rio's perspective, especially since a lot of Jem fans are very hard on Rio as a character and can't figure out what it's like for him, without hearing him point it out like this. I get you Rio! Who would like their partner to deceive them with a fake personality? Too many secret holographic identities is the typical thing to ruin a relationship. Here comes also the next funny scene, with Rio kicking over the tray of hotdogs, without even noticing. I like these jokes which are included right in the action without stealing too much attention.
Having been absent for the first episode ever, in the previous episode, Eric is now back and ready to cause more trouble.
Here comes a scene with the Misfits and Eric at the gym. For some reason it's kinda funny seeing Eric in a situation like that, since we most often see him in a suit, which he originally was meant to wear in this scene aswell (I guess he didn't come there to workout himself, or the model designers came up with his workout outfit late). It seems the Misfits have really taken up their workout since the episode "Last Resorts" where it was a big pain to them, which it also was in the later episodes "Hot Time In Hawaii" and "Danse Time". I guess the main approach of many other Jem writers was to always make the Misfits be the opposite of Jem and the Holograms, so if Jem and the Holograms were working out, the Misfits needed to show the negative side of it by being lazy. But not Wolfman, he puts the Misfits in the gym here, which is realistic to stay in shape. They didn't have to be in the gym for this scene, but I like that Wolfman placed them here also because in many episodes they would just be sitting in the Gabor mansion when they were all gathered, in a couch and discussed something. It's more believable that they are doing something active sometimes, even the Misfits. Funny detail that Stormer is hanging upside down, attached to her exercisemachine.
Nice to have Eric and the Misfits find something to do that they discover without hearing it via Jem and the Holograms, as Eric finds the audition article in the newspaper. And they do suspect Jem and the Holograms will want to get the job, they aren't surprised to meet Jem and the Holograms like they are in several of the few other episodes where they meet Jem and the Holograms by accident rather than on purpose.
Already in the very first episode of Jem, after the fans have screamed the band- and bandmembers' name, the second sentence that is spoken is a question to Jem from a reporter, "What's your real name?". The curiosity about Jem's real identity continues in the original five parter especially by Eric, and then somewhat in episodes like "Adventure In China" and "The Music Awards Part 1". But in this story it's interesting how Eric and the Misfits finally start wondering again about Jem's real identity, because it seems this series is sometimes forgetting one its main ingredients and it's main character. But here, the characters are using their brains again. Especially Stormer. They aren't just touching on the subject but going straight to the point. This leads up to the song "Who Is She, Anyway?", where the attentive listener can learn alot about Pizzazz' personal view on Jem. It's one of the most iconic Misfits music videos ever made, beautifully animated and with very imaginative artistic scenes. Especially the masks shown towards the end, fits the Broadway theme of this episode perfectly. No surprise they choose to include the song again in the later episode "The Fan" (infact, in a way, that episode seems like a continuation of this story in spirit, although it was written by another writer). Their curiosity soon even affects Rio.
Eric goes on TV, from Misfits Music I guess (and this is apparently also shown in New York) to ask anyone to help him find out who Jem is. So why would anyone care who Jem is, you may ask yourself. Well, Christy gave a good answer to this right here. And besides, in this episode Eric is offering a 100,000 dollars for that information.
While Eric is on TV, we see people watch him on TVs at different locations, and at a television store we can also see a TV showing "Inhumanoids", another series by Sunbow from that time. This scene ends with an injoke where Eric says the famous Uncle Sam line "I want you" and points his finger.
I'm not sure whether it would be legally possible to make a public offer like Eric does here. But throwing out a big number like that, is probably quite effective for catching the interest of people to do his dirty work, without getting paid unless they find something, and causing disturbance for Jem and the Holograms regardless, aswell as for viewers of this story to find it exciting to watch to see what happens. And I really like that Eric is a total bad guy here, no goofiness in sight in this episode.
Infact on a sidenote, the Italian dubbing of this episode changed the title to include nothing about "Broadway", but instead the "100,000 dollar" offer Eric made. But let's remind ourselves the Italian dubbing even went as far as to write it's own theme song for the Jem cartoon, which btw included scenes from Jem's Broadway performance from this episode.
This episode is one of those where the action just keeps going from scene to scene. Suddenly a helicopter lands on a roof, and Jem and the Holograms step out. They could had arrived slowly and comfortably at an airport like in many other episodes, but Wolfman made a more extraordinary scene where they land on a roof. And considering they are landing at a somewhat inaccessible place like this, and are STILL directly chased by reporters who were somehow able to inform themselves that the band would land there and got themselves up there, shows how much impact Eric's offer had and will have in this episode.
The reporters ask Jem things like whether she is a spy. That assumption sounds a bit extreme doesn't it? Well that's nothing against how the story of this episode was described on the cover backside of the Swedish VHS cassette in the 80's, which incorrectly said Jem was suspected of being an alien with the mission of taking over the earth (of course the actual Swedish dub was great and included nothing like that).
Here Jem and the others run away from the reporters, and suddenly they are on the street and there's a taxi. Perhaps this is where one of the cut out scenes went, on their way down the building.
I really like Jem's orange outfit here btw, a shame it barely appeared again in this series, until a later episode "Beauty And The Rock Promoter" which is also about a musical play.
Nice choice by Wolfman to make the taxidriver female. Not extremely common to see otherwise. But he wasn't just attentive to creating female roles, he also gave her a very special and likeable personality (well also thanks to the model designer and voice actor of course), and she sure likes to drive fast. She re-appears later in this story and is very helpful to Jem and the Holograms among everyone who is just trying to find out Jem's identity.
Now it comes time for the auditions of the bands at the Broadway theater. They aren't singing a song from the upcoming Broadway show, instead it seems Bob has asked them to sing any of their songs. And this works well for us viewers aswell because it let's us hear a new Jem song. Clever of Wolfman to not let this song be about the Broadway theme and where the characters are at at the moment, but rather about where Jem is at emotionally at the moment.
First, the Misfits are playing part of one of their songs "Makin' Mischief" (interestingly in the French dub, only the background music is heard at this point) from an early episode, "Disaster". Bob likes it and so does his assistant. They even say they're the best, and that they've got one last group left, which apparently means others auditioned before them. Infact I'm kinda surprised someone like Bob likes the Misfits, but on the other hand I've never given it much thought what a typical Misfits fan looks like. I guess if they can look like Ashley or Clash, they can also look like Bob.
Here comes Rio, Jerrica and the Holograms to the Broadway theater. And here is a big questionmark why Jem has turned into Jerrica, since she was already Jem and was supposed to perform as Jem. Infact Eric asks for Jem, and it seems Jerrica forgot she is currently Jerrica and not Jem (like she does in Starbright part 1). How did they explain to Rio that Jerrica is suddenly there, and how did Jem get there if not with them? Right before this scene, was most likely the place for a cut out scene. Only clue that is still in there, is that Jerrica says they had trouble at the airport. But we never saw an airport in this episode.
We also realize there must be a missing scene where Jem and Rio had some kind of fight, that's why the love trouble theme in "Can't Get My Love Together" video fits in, and why Rio later in the episode says he lost both Jem and Jerrica, while he was only shown having a fight with Jerrica. And a piece of evidence of this fight has shown up in form of an animation cel (for sale by one of the largest and most trusted online animation art dealers, Van Eaton galleries) of Jem looking sad and standing close to Rio in the same outfits they had when coming out of the helicopter and stepping into the taxi.
So when and where did this fight happen and what did they talk about, and what happened at the airport?
Let's make some educated assumptions of what took place in the missing scene/scenes:
According to my count of scenes, between when the reporters first arrive to question Jem, until when the Misfits are done performing for Bob, there should be around 20 mini-scenes/takes lost, which would add up to about one or two entire scenes as we viewers think of a scene.
First, earlier right after Jem and the Holograms arrived with the helicopter, there seems to be a missing scene, maybe just a short one, on the way down the building to the street level where the taxi is. Because that transition is very quick. Perhaps this is where an unused model cel featuring a female reporter called Mrs. Anderson originally went. But my main guess would be Jem and the Holograms and Rio went to hotel Americana (which we hear Rio ask the taxi driver for in the episode) to leave their luggage and change clothes (because they are each carrying some kind of luggage when getting out of the helicopter, and are then wearing other clothes at the Broadway theater). If Rio didn't confront Jem already going down the building where they arrived with the helicopter, then by now Rio has heard of Eric's offer, so at the hotel Rio probably questions Jem, they have an argument, and Jem leaves. And then Jem went to the airport where she was chased by reporters (because Jerrica tells Bob they had trouble at the airport, and since the Misfits are making such a big spiteful deal of them being late) and took the chance to change into Jerrica in time for Rio and the Holograms to pick Jerrica up.
Believe me I've really given this some major thought and excluded many other possibilities. But no matter how much anyone tries to guess this scene, we can't guess what exactly took place and much less what was said. Which is unfortunate because this missing scene with Rio and Jem might be the most exciting scene of the entire series, if Rio asks Jem who she really is. And exactly what takes place during that scene is priceless to Jem fans. Wolfman wrote what might have been the most iconic scene of the entire series, it was voiced, animated, and then cut out, just so they could include a public service announcement at the end of the episode where the viewers learn graffiti is bad. According to Christy who wrote them all "I'm not quite sure precisely where they originated (whether from Sunbow or Hasbro), but I think it was from Hasbro. It was most likely motivated by the desire to make the show look as moralistic as possible...".
After Eric asks for Jem during the audition on Broadway about 5+ minutes into the story, he does appear again a couple of times, but he has no more lines in this episode. I wonder if any of the cut out scenes included him in a further scene. Like a scene where someone tried to pick up their money for Jem.
When Jerrica says she will go get Jem, Roxy almost sees Jerrica change into Jem. Infact it was so close, that Jerrica was really just lucky Roxy didn't see it. This is a realistic moment that oughta had happened more often in the series, considering how careless Jerrica is about changing back and forth into Jem. With all the action scenes of the series, I still find this one of the most exciting moments that takes place as a cliffhanger before a commercial break. I remember I really expected Jem's identity to be revealed here, the first time I saw it, I could never had imagined what Roxy would do instead. Some may say it would be silly of Roxy not to take the chance to watch Jerrica transform, but that would be illogical because Roxy had no reason to expect anything exciting like a holographic projection to appear. Of course this was probably mostly included as a cliffhanger for the commercial break, and was dropped as far as discovering Jerrica's secret, which could of course not had been done more with at this point in the series. But nontheless exciting and it fit well with the plot of this episode.
Roxy seems surprised by the sounds she started at the control room. But according to what she said before she went in there, she wanted to create a disturbance. Too noisy even for Roxy? Clever scene with Roxy who leaves the control room and blames Jem, who was still up there to turn off the sound, when the others arrive.
After "Deception", "Who Is He Kissing?", and "Love Is Doin' It To Me", we again see Jem sing a song about her feelings and insecurity about the situation with Rio, for the last time in the series actually.
This second song of the episode "Can't Get My Love Together", is an extremely popular song among Jem fans. Jem is brought to tears, and the song is about Rio. This song really relied on that removed scene where she and Rio had an argument, especially considering that Rio and Jerrica hadn't had their fight yet at this point. It still works because we know how worried Jerrica has been in previous episodes about revealing her identity to Rio, and jealous of herself, but it would make so much more sense with the missing scene included. Jem is so sad it must have been a big fight. Watch this music video again and guess for yourself what their cut out fight must have looked like. Strangely Rio is right there in the audience when Jem sings about him (well atleast he was during the noise Roxy caused), which is kind of awkward, but he isn't actually seen there during the song, so maybe he stayed backstage or something. Or wait, did he actually leave right there? Are the scenes we see with him in the music video actually taking place as he leaves the Broadway theater? Could be, although if that's they case, he's suddenly wearing different clothes. After initially sharing that taxi earlier, Jem and Rio actually don't interact a single time during this entire episode. We don't even see Jem and Rio talk to each other until two episodes later, in "Hot Time in Hawaii", in a very short moment at the end of it, in a private moment where you might even think of it as if they are making up (although it was written by another writer, and the episodes really had no official connection other than the imagination of a fan).
Stormer cries during the music video "Can't Get My Love Together", which is one of around 20 times a Misfit is even shown in a Jem and the Holograms music video (and Jem and the Holograms btw appear in more than half of the Misfits' videos), although Stormer does cry for Jem and the Holograms' sake in the earlier episode "Disaster" aswell. And btw, both in the storyboard for this music video, aswell as in that earlier episode, they mistakenly drew Roxy instead of Stormer. But it was changed to Stormer in retakes in "Disaster", and in this episode it worked out right away in the animation as Stormer. The fact that Stormer cries in this episode could be because she is the nice Misfit, which Wolfman picked up on, but as a Jem fan you might even speculate that Stormer understands Jem on a deeper level, and Stormer does say in a later episode by another writer that "love's not easy" for her.
Bob is also crying during Jem's performance, and is standing up of excitement after Jem and the Holograms performed, and he forgets all about the Misfits for a moment. When Bob praises the Jem and the Holograms song, Pizzazz points out that's what Bob said about the Misfits aswell, and woozy as he is, he looks at his assistant and asks "I did?". Which is probably the reason she writes down every word he says, because he is so forgetful.
Bob seems friendly with Lindsey Pierce, and it seems almost as if he takes for granted that she would have him on her show, maybe because it's about Jem though, but of course he is a wellknown Broadway producer. But he'd have to be friends with Lindsey to know that she is currently hosting her show in NY, because her show is usually located in Los Angeles! Probably a blooper though, and this kind of thing happens a few times in Jem episodes (like in "Culture Clash" by David Wise, where Misfits Music was suddenly located in NY instead of in LA). Well I don't blame the writer, because it was never really specified what city Jem and the Holograms live in, neither in the Jem bible nor in any previous episode. Funny how Bob reads up the result as if he didn't know, or forgot, what group he had decided upon.
Roxy seems quite cocky after Pizzazz turned on the hose and caused trouble, enough to pressure Bob, and he actually promises to make the Misfits the understudies of Jem and the Holograms for the Broadway show, by saying that if anything happens to Jem and the Holograms, the Misfits become the stars. Good job Bob, not a safe position to be in for Jem and the Holograms! Pizzazz even dares make a comment about it.
Funny people who arrive to trick Jem to reveal her identity. The gypsy woman must be a reference to a famous production at this very theater in 1959 called "Gypsy" where the lead role of Mama Rose was played by actress Ethel Merman, produced by one of the biggest producers of Broadway, David Merrick (Bob Merrit was most likely based on him, although the name bares more resemblance to one of Merrick's most successful songwriters Bob Merrill). And funny how Bob's assistant (I guess she was more or less based on Merrick's assistant Helen Nickerson) chews bubblegum and blows a bubble, a funny detail like that must probably have been in the script. Wolfman really filled this story with funny details of humor and/or realism like that. And there is reason to believe there were even more people who originally approached Jem here, in cut out scenes.
Back at hotel Americana, now we get the first glimpse of the outside, and can see it's the Plaza hotel, opened in 1907, and a historic landmark since 1986, located on 768 Fifth Avenue, Manhattan, south of Central Park. Here Jerrica does something that was actually extremely rare for this series, and that I wish she would had done more often, she asks Synergy for advice. Adding a scene like this, is clever, also because it reminded the viewers that Jem and Jerrica are the same person and why the secret can not be revealed. And I really think this was a great scene to showcase how Synergy was so much more than a holographic computer, unlike what was seen in most episodes, here we see she can offer some advice and I think Emmett really meant this to be a big part of her role for the girls. Infact Emmett says in the much later episode "Out Of The Past" that he wanted Synergy's role for Jerrica and the others to "be a friend, mother, teacher, guide, all rolled into one", even if none of that was directly established in Christy Marx's "Jem bible". But Wolfman came up with his scene anyway.
Here comes a scene where Rio sneaks into a room at the hotel. First let's mention something that is wrong with this scene. Because when Rio enters a room to try to find out about Jem's real identity, he appears to be entering it from the hallway, but when he has entered, the outside we see does no longer look like where he came from, instead it appears to have a painting on the wall which a few seconds ago was located in the same room as where the Holograms were sitting. This could be the spot for a short missing scene, because all of the Holograms may have exited that room, and left via the hallway, which is when Rio was waiting for them before we see him sneak in, first through the room they were previously sitting in, and then into Jem/Jerrica's room where Jerrica returned and found him. Or the background designers might aswell have made a blooper, because this missing scene theory doesn't work with the fact that the Holograms seem to be going nowhere from what we see, and Jerrica leaves them going further into her room, rather than out. Besides, there is barely any room for a scene here unless it consisted of a couple of takes at most.
It seems Jerrica and the Holograms did not share room, and apparently neither did Rio, but it seems he had the key to Jerrica's room. Or perhaps they had like an apartment at the hotel, each with different unlocked rooms. Perhaps this scene is a bit revealing about the earlier missing scene aswell, since Jerrica seems really surprised about Rio trying to find out about Jem, as if Rio's cut out argument with Jem was not so spot on about her identity, maybe even about something else. On the other hand Jerrica gets very upset with Rio, like it was the last straw. Depends on how you interpret it.
Also very interesting, is that Jerrica here almost says "and I thought I loved...", before she interrupts herself. Those are words she never actually says in the series. Perhaps writers avoided those lines because Christy included the following line in the Jem bible "neither of them has quite worked up the nerve to say 'I love you.'". But unlike characters like Barbie and Ken who are just "good friends", it wasn't considered taboo to say the words in the Jem series according to Christy Marx: " There was no deliberate policy to avoid the words". Christy also said "I'll lay the blame on my bios for the characters in the bible, as it indicates that Jerrica and Rio developed such a gradual relationship, that it was taken for granted. Then, once the Jem-Jerrica-Rio triangle got into full swing, they'd all be careful about such words because of the impact they could have. If Rio said it to either Jem or Jerrica, or she to him in her Jem persona, there would inevitably be a betrayal involved that neither of them wanted to deal with.". Jem does sing alot about love and Rio in several episodes though. And later in this same episode, Jem does believe that Rio says "I love you" later in this same episode, when Pizzazz sends her the fake letter.
When Jem and Jerrica both fail to arrive at the Broadway theater, Rio actually says he lost them both (which the Misfits must have heard at this point, since they were right there), as if he is actually dating them both. And this is not the only episode where he seems to think a little too much that it's okay to show openly he has something going with aswell Jem. I'm just surprised Pizzazz doesn't tease Jerrica about Rio being interested in Jem, well except for picking up on it by sending that fake love letter later in this episode.
I like seeing when Aja and Shana walk around like regular people in their rockstar outfits in Central Park. This was the 80's, with somewhat less paparazzis, and I'm not sure how famous the bandmembers were among the majority (that differs in different episodes). Infact this was likely the place of some more missing scenes! Because according to my count of scenes by now, there seems to be one or more missing scenes inbetween when Jem turns off the sound at the Broadway theater, and when Rio reaches Jerrica at the zoo. And during that time, I can't find any more logical place than here. Rio does seem to find Jerrica a little fast here, so my guess is there were originally longer scenes included here where Rio and the Holograms search for Jem at additional known locations, especially considering we never did see Kimber at all in Central Park looking for Jem. What famous sight may she have visited in Central Park? My best guess would be the amusement park at the Wollman summer rink ("Wollman" would even kinda resemble "Wolfman"). Or even Tavern on the Green, or Ladies' Pavilion. Speaking of the Holograms, after this, they aren't seen again in the episode for almost five minutes.
A great moment happens when Rio actually guesses and asks Jerrica if she and Jem are the same person in Central Park, and Jerrica creates a diversion with a hologram of Jem. Kinda makes up for the missing scene with Jem (perhaps why they felt it was okay to remove that earlier scene with Jem and Rio, if it was somewhat similar).
So instead of telling Rio, which Jerrica has been wanting to do for so long, she creates a hologram of Jem at the same time in the park, to prove they are not the same person. This would normally probably prove that, unless there's a Synergy, and let's remind ourselves that Rio has already seen Jem and Jerrica both at the same time before, and he is still suspecting they are the same person here, so maybe he suspects something like Synergy at this point (but maybe we read too much into this scene if we assume it was a continuation of a particular scene from several episodes ago by another writer). Rio appears to buy it. Or maybe he's just disappointed that Jerrica choose to not trust him again. I guess it was Jerrica's insecurity of Rio's reaction that kept her from telling Rio at this point, aswell as her anger from the previous scene where Rio spied on her, along with the warning Synergy gave her before that, and of course because they are in a public park with alot of people listening, and because she didn't want to reveal something so big while they're away in NY and with only hours away from their Broadway premiere. Because according to Christy "He would certainly leave Jerrica initially, with serious doubt as to whether or not he would ever forgive her.".
People in the park notice the hologram of Jem right away, probably not because she is a rockstar, but because she is worth money in this episode. Aren't alot of background people in this episode quite greedy and rude to a nice person like Jem (although that's very realistic, but on the other hand we don't pay attention to all the people who do not chase her)? And what did they really intend to do to make her reveal her identity?
Now we get to see the Misfits at some location that must be a hotel, or perhaps Harvey Gabor has a NY apartment where Pizzazz has a room (or it's a blooper that they had a place in NY?). The stereo aswell as the Misfits poster on the wall makes it seem more like a home than a hotelroom. They even have a typewriter there, nice 80's detail (but yeah people often had these back then).
Here is an interesting scene to discuss: Why does Pizzazz write a fake loveletter from Rio, addressed to Jem? First of all even Pizzazz knows Rio is officially Jerrica's boyfriend. But also, Pizzazz knows "Jem" is just a stage name, infact everyone does. Does Pizzazz not think Rio would address Jem by her real name, atleast inside the letter? Atleast considering it is revealed that Pizzazz thinks Rio knows Jem's real name in the later episode "The Fan"? Maybe things have changed by then. But Pizzazz could have been more attentive in the episode "Battle of the Bands" where Eric is told by Malone that Jem and Jerrica may be the same person. Or Eric would have told Pizzazz then, or in an story like this, and did keep those pictures of Synergy. Pizzazz could had remembered when both bands were in China, and Jem couldn't perform because she didn't have her earrings. Pizzazz could had been slightly more clever with her letter, she could had lured away Jerrica in this episode, just to see what happens. Of course this scene is written to lure Jem away from Broadway, and yes I do realize most viewers wouldn't go into this much detail and wouldn't get it otherwise.
The fake lover letter that Pizzazz writes, interestingly says "darling" inside and is signed "I love you, Rio" to Jem. While Jem is reading it, and considering Rio has never told Jerrica, as far as has been shown in the episodes anyway, that he loves Jerrica, she should have kinda mixed feelings that he wrote it to Jem. But on the other hand, at this point he has revealed to Jerrica that he suspected they are the same person, so it should make no difference who he writes to.
Really nice to get the Statue of Liberty into the story, and make it be part of the story. Especially since 1986, when this episode first aired, marked the hundred year anniversary of when the statue was built. Really nice transition from when Pizzazz tells Stormer what to write, to when Jem reads up the letter to herself. And nice camera angle (lots of good ones in this episode infact) showing Jem reading the letter on the boat, while the boat arrives at Liberty Island with the Statue of Liberty showing up in the background. None of the other people on the boat react to Jem being there though, so I guess all people aren't greedy to reveal Jem, or I maybe they were just tourists from overseas and had no idea about the whole hunt for Jem's identity. Poor Jem waits a long time for Rio, and is then instead locked in by Pizzazz. A fun paradox how Jem gets LOCKED IN inside the "Statue of LIBERTY". But then she is able to free herself, much like the Statue of Liberty frees her chained feet.
Funny how Pizzazz answers to the boat guard that no one is still up there inside the statue, and still she stands on the boat waving up towards the statue. She has no shame at all! And by the way, what a terrible outfit Pizzazz had, too ordinary for her, but of course it was only to kinda disguise herself in public (clever, unlike Jem, or the Holograms who went to Central Park in their most known stage clothes, but on the other hand they weren't trying to hide while causing trouble). Although her neon green hair was all out, which is of course for keeping some recognition for us viewers at the same time.
Wolfman was clever to have Jem throw away an earring to make it possible to project a hologram of Jem at the bottom of the Statue of Liberty, on Liberty Island, like Christy Marx did outside the Starlight drive-in in "The Battle of the Bands", while some other writers overlooked that the earrings can't project holograms too far away or through closed doors. The earrings are part of the whole Synergy ingredient of this show, so this is a special scene when Jem throws one of them off and we get to see it up close as it falls all the way down to the ground. Neat to hear it make metallic sounds as it bounces. Lucky though that it didn't fall into the water or break. Although, unlike in the other mentioned episode, Jem does not pick up her earring here, infact the cut from the elevator to the boat is very quick, definitely room for a cut out scene here aswell.
Jem's star earrings' seven spikes actually remind me of the crown of the Statue of Liberty, which also has seven spikes on it's crown, which represents the seven oceans and the seven continents of the world.
When one of the workers pushes his friend into the water, Jem shows that she cares, and Wolfman even wrote in that the bad guy replies to Jem about his friend "he can swim...", which was probably to show us viewers that he didn't drown, which would had been too cruel.
What follows when the bad guy and Jem steps out of the boat, is one of the coolest and creepiest holograms Jem ever creates! She makes it seem as if she is taking off her hair and face like a mask, and underneath is the same face as the man that wants the reward money for her. He is terrified of course. Again as a follow-up to the other construction worker who fell into the water, Jem cares enough to throw him a life buoy, incase he "can't swim". But he must have been scarred for life right there! What a genius scene, I love it! I can imagine him going to the media at some point claiming he knows who Jem, that she looks like him, and trying to patch things up with his friend who did not see Jem's hologram and can not support his story.
Hilarious when Jem happens to step into the same taxi as earlier in the story, with the very likeable female taxi driver who likes to drive fast! Unfortunately they are stopped by a parade which appears to be the Chinese new years celebration. And in 1986 when this episode was animated and first aired, the Chinese new years took place on February 9, 1986, which most likely also thereby gives us the exact date of the premiere of the Jem and the Holograms Broadway show. It was the start of the year of the Tiger btw, having been the Ox previously. Although it would be winter at this time of year, and according to the nature in Central Park, and the clothes the characters wear, it appears to be summer.
Here starts Jem's amazing adventure towards her Broadway show. She borrows a skateboard, and skates down the stairs to the subway onto a subway train, arrives at Lexington Avenue subway station, runs up a building into a hang glider convention held on observation deck. She runs right out on the roof and borrows a hang glider which she flies for probably the first time in her life. Infact she says she doesn't know how to fly it but that she is going to learn fast. Can you imagine the sight for people to see this pinkhaired rockstar make her journey through the streets this way? Even in New York that probably doesn't happen every day. She is very polite and apologetic btw to all the people she meets along the way, as far as she can be on this hectic journey, by paying the taxi, promises tickets and so on. I guess she had to be a good role model to the viewers, but then again Wolfman himself is a very nice guy.
When Jem runs out of the subway train, two guys follow her. Did you notice these are the same guys still following her into the building with the hang glider convention? Apparently they ran after her through the city.
These spectacular scenes have gotten alot of attention and discussion among Jem fans, because they are so extraordinary and also because they are cool. And how often did we see women star in these kind of scenes in the 80's, or even today? And who can say these things are impossible? Because it's a woman? Do we even question male roles like this? Infact also Christy Marx made the Misfits fly hang gliders previous to this, where Pizzazz even has a lasergun that she is able to keep steady enough to aim with. And fact is, the construction of hang gliders (well don't ask me to go into details, because I know enough) improved alot during the 80's, and suddenly allowed the pilot to soar for hours, it's a fact which apparently Christy Marx and Marv Wolfman picked up on. Of course flying in a big city with tall buildings is still probably not common, and a huge risk to take. As for the skateboarding, we've seen lots of talented people do amazing skateboard stunts these days, and besides, maybe Jem had regular shoes underneath the hologram of the heels?
I guess this is the perfect moment to tell you, there might have been cut scenes also during Jem's amazing journey, with additional extraordinary things on her way to Broadway. My guess they likely occured right as Jem exits the taxi, and runs through the parade, possibly including a bunch of food vendors, some of which can still be seen slightly as the taxidriver hits the brakes.
You may say getting Jem to Broadway with all those obstacles like hangglider and skateboard was a quickfix at the end, but then you have to remind yourself that Wolfman didn't need to put Jem at the Statue of Liberty at that point if he felt the need to come up with a quick solution to get her out of there. And even so, he didn't have to create that obstacle of the parade when Jem takes the taxi. He purposely wanted those scenes at the end of the episode. And I love them!
Of course, Jem is risking her life for a Broadway show, but I guess it's a case of "the show must go on". And if Jem wanted to avoid the snoopy masses, she could easily turn back into Jerrica or anyone else. But where? She was chased all over town! And then these scenes wouldn't look as cool for us viewers, and then she might had forgotten to change back to Jem before the Misfits and Rio saw her heading for the roof top to the Broadway show. The Misfits already had a hard time grasping that Jem was suddenly in costume, and they would have had a real hard time buying that Jerrica had turned into Jem on that roof.
On a sidenote, I think it was those cool scenes that made me love that outfit Jem is wearing at this point, which is a Hasbro design (called "We Can Change It") which is first introduced here. Somewhat 80's and funny with it's huge dots, but I always thought it looked great! This outfit is infact very interesting! Because it was part of the second year line of Flip Side fashions by Hasbro, and was the only fashion that appeared this early in the series, while all others from that set (of those that appeared in the cartoon), including the flipside version of this same fashion, first appeared as much as 10 episodes later (according to production numbers of the episodes) which was over five months later! It's a mystery how it could possibly had made it early enough to fit into this episode. Does it have another story than the other 1987 Jem fashions? Did it start as a cartoon fashion? Not likely because it does include that white hood which was meant for Jerrica to wear on the doll to cover the pink hair. Was it just finished first? Did Sunbow/Hasbro want this scene with Jem at the Statue of Liberty to be something special, and thought it would be extra noticed and required a Hasbro design early on? Hasbro/Sunbow didn't think of naming it after a song in this particular episode though (instead another very different looking fashion in that same line was named "Broadway Magic"), although they named all (but one) of the 1987 Flip Side fashions after songs from this time in the series.
These kind of eventful episodes, with scenes like the action at the Statue of Liberty, paints a beautiful picture of New York as an exciting big city. This episode by the way was released years before the Ghostbusters made the Statue of Liberty come alive in Ghostbusters II. And there are several nice references to NY. The Broadway theatre in this episode on 53rd street, exists in reality, rebuilt in 1986, the same year this episode was made and aired, but it used to resemble it more before that (and it probably didn't have that roof window, which was most likely invented for this story so that Jem could be seen from inside landing on the roof). As mentioned, Jem and the Holograms stay at the Plaza Hotel. In Central Park we see Aja pass by the Bethesda Fountain, and Shana crosses over what is most likely the Gapstow bridge. Jem/Jerrica is seen at the Central Park Zoo, and we even see part of the Wollman Rink amusement park in the background (although it at this time had been closed for six years as far as I've found, but re-opened that same year in 1986. And when it comes to writing about New York, it was certainly a justified decision by Wolfman, who was born there, 1946 in Brooklyn, and studied at High School of Art and Design in Manhattan. He worked for DC comics already in 1968, and in 1972 Wolfman started at Marvel Comics where he eventually became the editor. Wolfman has written comics for known characters like Batman, Superman, Tarzan, Spider-Man, Howard the Duck, the Avengers, Daredevil, Ghostrider, among many others.
The music video for "Broadway Magic" looks great! We don't get to see what the Broadway play was about storywise, but how clever of Wolfman (or the songwriters) to name it after the episode title, because thereby it keeps repeating the episode title during the song lyrics and kinda celebrates all that took place in the story.
Jem and the Holograms do not dance alot in their music videos otherwise, and they don't usually do Broadway shows. So it was a joy to see this and how it totally works! This is one of the many times in this series it seems there was so much more work behind a Jem music video than behind your typical real life singer music video. I don't know who to praise the most for something like choreography for the Jem videos, the writer who made the story happen, the storyboard artist Victoria Jenson who planned the particular scenes, or the animators who made it flow and look so good.
The storyboard artist Victoria Jenson actually recommended the animation crew to watch and study the movie "A Chorus Line" in order to get the right idea for this music video as far as dance movements and timing. Jenson also mentioned Liza Minelli as a reference for Jem's dance movements, and Madonna from her music video "Dress You Up".
I really like the dresses Jem and the Holograms wear in "Broadway Magic" music video. Holograms' outfits are kinda simple (here's another early color variation of Kimber's btw), and Jem's looks great. This stunning design is the main fashion Jem fans associate with this Broadway themed story, and very common in fanart (see some links further down on this page). And just like the orange outfit first seen on Jem in this episode, this pink dress also makes a return in the later episode "Beauty And The Rock Promoter" which is also about a musical theater play. This fashion was actually made into a doll outfit released in 2013 by Integrity Toys, and they even named it after the episode title and song, and included accessories based on the story of this episode like the fake love letter, a Broadway showbill and tickets. Well actually other fashions/characters featured in this episode, have been released as dolls by Integrity Toys, even if they did not first appear in this episode. But this is of course one of the episodes that made them popular, because they weren't originally Hasbro inventions/products: Eric Raymond in his regular outfit, Rio in his original cartoon outfit, Pizzazz in a yellow coat outfit, Pizzazz in black coat outfit, and Kimber in a mustard outfit.
The very last spot in this episode where I can imagine a cut out scene for now, would be inbetween the last music video and what we see directly after that, when Bob says the audience is still applauding. But on the other hand there was a fashion designed for Roxy, that was designed to appear in this episode, although it only ever appeared in a much later episode "Britrock". This fashion has a higher production number than the very last last fashion shown for Roxy in this episode. This could suggest that there was an ending scene where we perhaps saw more of how the Misfits reacted to not becoming Broadway stars (maybe just a superquick moment of the Misfits watching Jem's speech on TV). Of course this fashion could, regardless of production number had been included in an earlier cut out scene, which sounds more likely since there are no lost fashions found for the other Misfits nor any unused production numbers for those characters, so a missing scene would had to include Roxy going off on her own doing something (or of course Pizzazz and Stormer could had worn re-used fashions in that scene). I'd say this lost Roxy fashion looks very casual, like she was wearing it at home/hotel or during rehearsing.
At the very end of this episode, for the celebration scenes, is a confusing background that shows a large mansion. It looks a little too much like Starlight Mansion, with wings on each side, same amount of floors, a pool in the back. Although this is likely the premiere night and Bob and his assistant are there, so they couldn't have gone all the way to LA to visit Starlight Mansion. It does have some noticable differences from Starlight Mansion though, like the entrance, and shape above it on the attic floor, the stage in the back, fountain and another construction behind the pool. It most likely was Bob Merrit's mansion.
At the party after the Broadway show, comes an extremely iconic and memorable scene, as even Lindsey wants to know Jem's big secret. Being a friend of Jem as she is, I like how Jem let's Lindsey have this first comment Jem makes to a reporter in the entire episode about her identity. I thank Wolfman for writing this, and I also thank whoever cut at other places of this episode, for atleast leaving this scene intact and not letting the episode end after the Broadway show.
First we see Rio telling Jerrica he doesn't care who Jem is, and that Jerrica is what is important to him (and fact is this is a lasting change, he keeps his word and he never bothers Jem/Jerrica with a question about her identity in the series ever again). Then Jem talks to Lindsey, and Jem gives a beautiful speech on camera, where she opens her heart and says there's never been a big secret about Jem, that she just likes her private life, is just a normal person like everybody else, and loves to sing. A beautiful ending, and lines that I love! And we get to see Bob and his assistant dance at the party, maybe there was something more between them?
And oh, the fashion Jem is wearing at this point is interesting because it shares fashion number with Jem's iconic onstage pink dress from her Broadway show, with an "A" added. I'm guessing they did this with last minute fashion inventions when the originally planned amount of fashions was extended and the next episode had already reserved the upcoming numbers.
For fun stuff:
Very unusual and imaginative beginning, and kinda risky with telling us the story from someone else's perspective,
since Bob is an unknown character at this point. But it works to not show any recognizable characters,
because of the humor.
Something weird: How the second year Jem outfit that appears so early in this episode before any other second year fashions. And the cut scenes that cause confusion, and makes us wonder why Jem is so sad in the song "Can't Get My Love Together".
Question: Does Rio really know that Jem is Jerrica?
Best thing in the entire episode: The Misfits song and video, infact all music videos were great. And Rio confronting Jerrica.
Worst thing in the entire episode: That we didn't get more of it, that some stuff was cut out. The graffiti public message at the end.
New style: Broadway fashions and a couple of cool fashions for Jem herself. This episode really gave us a feeling of New York, made the most of the city in the limited time of an episode.
Surprises: Rio really asks Jerrica to her face if she is Jem! Jem in a Broadway show is something new. The surprising humor baked into alot of scenes.
Most exciting moment: Again, absolutely when Rio asks Jerrica if she is Jem. And the cliffhanger when Roxy is about to watch Jerrica turn into Jem. But also when Jem is chased by reporters, and is "forced" to alot of action scenes to get to Broadway.
What should be cut out: Nothing! But if they had to, the scene where Jerrica goes to get Jem, and Roxy starts a noise. It wasn't important and wasn't followed up upon. Nothing wrong with it, but if had to remove something, I'd remove this (because although it was ontopic with Jem's identity it was made to set up for a commercial break) especially in favor of including the important scenes that actually are known to be cut out.
What else could it had done: Even more sights of NY? Included roadster, Starlight Mansion, Starlight Music and/or Starlight girls, which would be kinda difficult in another city but they could call home or something to show how everything moved along. Anthony could have directed the Broadway show, Danielle design the costumes, Danse could definitely have choreographed the show, the Misfits could had sent Clash to the Statue of Liberty, Harvey could had bought the show for the Misfits, Techrat could had caused disturbance during the show. The reporters could have thought of asking Rio or the Holograms about Jem's identity.
Biggest argument: The one between Jerrica and Rio in Jerrica's room! But also when Pizzazz gets furious at Lindsey's show and sprays water over everyone.
Best look: Jem's Broadway dress. Jem during the action scenes on her way to Broadway. And Jem being chased by reporters in the beginning.
Worst look: Pizzazz trying to blend in at the Statue of Liberty. Also Jem's outfit at the party after the Broadway show, it's not that great, is it?
Where could the Rama Llama fit in: I guess instead of taking the taxi twice, the llama could had shown up giving them, or atleast Jem, a ride. It would explain why Jem was so late to the audition for Bob. It would have made sense since it's New York, and pink llamas could show up there if anywhere.
Is Rio a: "hero" or "Ken doll": Well he doesn't get to rescue anyone in this episode really, but he is atleast a man with his own thinking and even causes some disturbance for Jerrica therefore in this episode. Ken would never have an opinion, especially not a negative one, especially not about a "female friend".
Who do Rio love most, Jerrica or Jem: Well he only argues with Jerrica (and also with Jem but only in a cut out scene, but he's hurt in the music video "Can't Get My Love Together"). He never does make up with Jem, but he does with Jerrica at the end. I'd say Jerrica is most important for him in this episode.
What character practically does nothing: The Holograms. They say some lines, but have no own agenda. They mostly observe in the background. Well slightly because of cut out scenes.
Why didn't that character do this instead: Why did Jerrica come with them to New York at all? Why didn't Roxy continue to watch Jerrica when she was about to become Jem? Why didn't Pizzazz write the love letter "from Rio" to Jerrica instead? Why did Lindsey's cameraman turn his camera to follow Pizzazz as she walked off the set on Lindsey's show, and why didn't he try to stop Pizzazz from spraying water? Why didn't the gypsy have a regular crystal ball, was she trying to hypnotize Jem or record Jem's words? Why didn't Bob just let Jem and the Holograms get the roles right away, and why was he so harsh on Jem and the Holograms to replace them with the Misfits?
This episode has alot of...: NY sights. Reporters, and nosy people.
Someone should make a toy out of this: All Jem outfits, all Broadway outfits for the Holograms and Misfits, and Misfits workout outfits. Jem's hangglider, and skateboard. That taxi driver. Statue of Liberty playset.
What character from another cartoon should be brought into a scene: Denver the last dinosaur, could come along and show Jem how to disquise herself, he always got away with silly costumes, and Jem is having trouble coming up with holographic disquises when she is being chased here. Or Jem could create a hologram of Optimus Prime to distract attention. Or the Real Ghostbusters could show up and make the Statue of Liberty come alive and walk with Jem inside to Broadway, yeah that's it!
What would Barbie had done: She would never had believed the fake loveletter from the Misfits was from Ken, because Ken and she are just friends. She would had gotten the Broadway show without an audition, because the Rockers was the only band in the world, and they would probably had performed with one of their Beatles songs, and then ended the episode by going to space again.
Best mischief-award in this episode goes to: Pizzazz, for tricking Jem to the Statue of Liberty. Such a cool setting, and Jem obviously fell for it.
Challenge for you while you watch this: Help me figure out who that zillion dollar check man is based on, is it a character from a known play from Broadway? Any ideas? Feel free to draw me a map of what the hotel rooms of the Holograms, Jem, Jerrica and Rio look like from above, to make it all logical, with them getting from one room to another, with Synergy daring to appear although Rio is close by, and whether they have their own rooms in an hotel-apartment. Help me identify more NY sights from the surroundings. And help me guess missing scenes. Tell me on the message board or send me an email.
And for you enjoyment here is an offsite-link to a quiz about this episode. Check and see if you know this episode by heart. I don't know who created this quiz, but atleast one question is kinda debatable as for being correct. But good for most part and still fun.
How could Jem's identity had been revealed by mistake: Roxy could had seen Jerrica change. Rio could had walked in on Jerrica at the hotel while Synergy was there, or found something in her room. Rio could had figured out what happened at Central Park, with Jem suddenly appearing. The man who saw Jem take off a mask and become him, could had continued to cause trouble for Jem and wonder what that was all about.
Animals: Birds outside Bob's window. Some elephants at the zoo. No pink llama.
Where could another song fit in: Maybe some scene while rehearsing the Broadway play, maybe a duet with the Misfits, where they made references to known Broadway plays.
Room for a yeti or timetravel somewhere in here: No.
Would it make any difference if the Holograms switched lines: Not really, the Holograms barely had any lines. They had a total screentime of less than 3 minutes in this entire episode, including separate appearances, and less than ten sentences of lines combined.
What made the series take a step forward or back: A big step forward was the pace and serious tone, first and foremost. Then the action and humor. And to mention a specific scene it would be when Rio pushed Jerrica about her identity to it's limit. They went to a location, not just because, but showed alot of sights and really created this feeling of NY. They also did something new with their careers by doing a Broadway show, and they didn't force it in, but rather very tastefully, with a great song. The Misfits really set a high standard with their music video aswell. This is a great episode because it was well written and had great songs among other things, but I also feel this was one episode where Sunbow put a little extra effort into.
Animation quality: 5 of 5 Jemstars.
Ending: What may seem like a quick ending by stressing Jem to Broadway, was planned to be extraordinary. The very last scenes after the Broadway show, is one of not only my favorite endings to an episode, but one of my favorite scenes ever, with Jem's speech.
My mind was blown the first time I watched this episode, and I love rewatching it. Probably the most entertaining episode of all.
There are three plots going on at once in this episode, Jem and the Holograms making the Broadway show happen, The Misfits and Eric creating a public hunt for who Jem is, and the Jem/Jerrica and Rio love-trouble, and it all merges perfectly.
A few people may get stuck at the extraordinary action and the humor of this episode. But those features are handled extremely well and work out positively by keeping us entertained and attentive. Although it's partly a comical standalone adventure, this episode does certainly have alot of drama and depth aswell! Because it is also highly ontopic and emotional. Infact it's amazing how well it mixes all ingredients.
This episode is great also for people who never watched Jem to begin with. Even though it does not introduce any new re-appearing characters, I listed it on my page of the most important storyline Jem episodes. It covers most main ingredients of a Jem episode in my opinion, and manages to do so without being a typical episode, It explains Jem/Jerrica's dual identities and Synergy, the love affair with Rio, the Eric and the Misfits rivalry, even the Lin-Z show fits in. Only thing it doesn't have is other secondary characters like friends or the Starlight girls, Synergy in computer form, Starlight Music, Starlight Mansion and the roadster. But some of that is included in Wolfman's next Jem episode.
People's judgement on this episode is a good tell, according to me, of how knowledgable they are of interpreting movies and ontopic qualities of the Jem series in general.
This episode is a return of a more mature and serious look at the characters and their attitudes, as originally seen in all of Christy's episodes. Gone is most of the goofy playfulness from some of the standalone episodes that included random adventures in different parts of the world, and here it's back to being adults with careers and mature emotions. And I say this despite some the mischief by the Misfits, and extraordinary scenes with Jem. To see my point, look at scenes like: Rio worrying about Jerrica, Eric being downright evil with his offer, how serious Jem and the Holograms are already when stepping out of the helicopter as if it's just part of the transportation in their careers (rather than "wow a helicopter, wow New York"), all the creepy greedy people that chase them, Jem's feelings in the music video "Can't Get My Love Together", Bob's unforgiving attitude towards Jem and the Holograms, Rio taking his suspicions about Jerrica to the next level, and Jerrica's feelings towards Rio.
Unusually enough all of the Holograms take the backseat as characters somewhat in this episode, except for being Broadway stars at the end, unlike Jem, Jerrica, Rio, Eric and even all of the Misfits.
We could even almost had felt sorry for the Misfits for not getting the Broadway roles. Because they for once did not stalk Jem and the Holograms but found the audition themselves with Eric's help, and still Jem and the Holograms got the roles! But Eric and the Misfits are so mean in this episode even before the result is in.
The emotional focus goes more into Jem/Jerrica's love affair with Rio. It's not directly about the love triangle Jem/Rio/Jerrica, because that is kinda taken for granted in this episode, but about Jerrica hiding something and feeling the pressure of Rio being on her track and spying on her. Kinda begs the question, doesn't Jerrica always spy on Rio by seeing him with her second identity as Jem? But then again he is just as guilty on those occasions because he goes behind the back of Jerrica (unless he strongly suspects, like in this episode, that they are the same person). Alot of things to consider, and of course Wolfman wasn't allowed to let Jerrica reveal her secret this early in the series. But he certainly took it as far as he could! Infact I'm kinda surprised how much Wolfman was even allowed to do in this episode, especially for Rio.
Wolfman actually said in an interview (about 38:38 minutes into the interview) which does not refer to his work in general nor Jem in particular, but about some of his comic work: "sometimes I would throw extra stuff in there specifically for them to kill that so that I could get other stuff in, because I'd make something so outrageous that they would go there". I just thought it was interesting though, because who knows what this Jem episode started out as, considering how outrageous the finished result is!
Wolfman really writes alot of feelings and character into Rio. Him confronting Jem, being angry at Eric, sad in the music video, planning to snoop on Jerrica but having his conscience stop him, still confronting Jerrica, worried when Jem and Jerrica are missing, and happy and relieved and supportive of Jerrica at the end of the episode. I bet Christy would approve of Wolfman's portrait of Rio here, considering Rio is one of Christy's favorite characters according to herself.
Wolfman even manages to write alot of personality into Bob. His wig, thick frames glasses, and forgetfulness are some details that make him more than just a background character. I don't even mind him wearing the same outfit for all scenes for weeks (in cartoons I guess, unknown characters need to be recognizable throughout the episode). But as "bighearted" as Bob is, he is also quite hard on Jem, maybe he just feels pressured by the Misfits. First he barely believes when Jem says she didn't cause the noise, then he puts Jem in a scary situation with the Misfits as understudies, then he blames Jem for the gypsy and the zillion dollar check man, then he is ready to replace Jem with the Misfits when the show is about to start without letting her be seconds late. But he after all picked the right group and is very happy with Jem and the Holograms after the show. And why wouldn't he be? But we don't find out what the show would had been like with the Misfits, luckily I guess, because they would probably perform kinda like in the later episode "Beauty And The Rock Promoter". But originally the Misfits were meant to wear the same design of outfits as the Holograms in the "Broadway Magic", Pizzazz like Jem, Roxy like Kimber, and Stormer like Aja. The fashions the Misfits ended up wearing instead, are strangely never never seen anywhere in the series again.
As for Bob's assistant, she could had been designed to look a little less like Jerrica in my opinion, especially since they almost look like lookalikes at the end where they have matching color outfits and both have headbands. I bet some less knowledgable viewers might even have confused the secretary with Jerrica at the start of the episode.
Wolfman even gives his secondary characters personalities, which is a big advantage of this episode, how it incorporates them into the story. And this episode even goes as far as to include alot of background characters that flash by only for a few seconds and tells some of the story from their viewpoint, whether they are working somewhere, interacting with Jem on the street, or just watching Jem on a TV or live in an audience.
Only weakness this episode has, is perhaps how the bands are away in another state for so long for something unrelated to their regular gigs as bands (although I'm happy we sometimes get something different than regular music performances). Jem and the Holograms have to be away from taking care of the Starlight girls and stay at an expensive hotel, and the Misfits have to be away for roles they know they are probably not getting. We aren't told during how long this episode takes place, and we don't see day go to night very often. A musical could take months or years to write, and according to Aja at the Plaza Hotel, they are still working on their songs with only a day or so away from the premiere. Alot seems to happen quickly in this episode. I'm not expecting them to cover everything realistically. But if this episode was longer, it could had included some scenes where we learn about the inbetweens of all the things that take place, like how they get from one point to another, which atleast one of the cut out scenes definitely did.
But what Wolfman did by writing this episode, and intiating these songs to happen (all of which are great and were all released on cassette), we Jem fans can never thank him enough for. Wolfman has said he loved to write this Jem episode in particular. Unfortunately he doesn't still have the script nor memories of direct details that we Jem fans would love to know, like about missing scenes and what his intentions were with Jem's identity and Rio.
Nonetheless the outcome of this episode is amazing, and I will forever hold this episode above most others, and I'm amazed and happy each time I rewatch it. It definitely interested me in discovering more of what Wolfman has written for other series, aswell as comics, novels, video games, live-action television and live-action movies. He has been very active as a writer, and is very respected for alot of his work, has a huge amount of fans, and you'll have a hard time finding any comic or animation writer who can match what he has accomplised.
I felt this episode created a new spark for the Jem series, really made Jem come alive, and gave a challenge for later Jem episode writers to match it!
Luckily this wasn't Wolfman's only episode of Jem. The next time Wolfman wrote for the Jem series, he co-wrote it with another writer. And also that episode, "The Bands Break Up", is very important to this series, and very iconic and loved among Jem fans.
To anyone who is reading this review, and happens to have an animation cel or any kind of official art from this episode, or even a copy of the original script, I would like to ask for a big favor. Whether you intend to sell it or not, please contact me, because you most likely have a key to some very interesting information to this episode!
Here are offsite-links to some art of fashions from this episode, by various fan-artists:
- Jem cosplay by AmmieChan
- Jem's Broadway dress by Nippy13
- Jem's Broadway dress by nightwing1975
- Jem cosplay by DarrynGrey
- Comical Jem art by frandemartino
- Jem in Broadway dress anime-style by Maiko-Girl
- Jem in Broadway dress by minkiososa
- Jem in orange outfit by nightwing1975
- Jem in "We Can Change It" outfit by nightwing1975
- Jerrica's beach outfit by nightwing1975
- Jerrica's party outfit by nightwing1975
- Jem's party outfit by nightwing1975
- Rio's trenchcat by CosmicFalcon-70
- Rio's beach wear by CosmicFalcon-70
- Custom Broadway doll fashions