Season Two: Exploring FATHER'S DAY
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This is an episode (surprisingly) about family. Relationships between father and daughter, between friends, between siblings and between cousins. Though the episode is titled "Father's Day", it does not specify which of the paternal relationships it is referring to. There are four father and daughter relationships drawn upon in this episode: Pizzazz and Harvey Gabor, Kimber and Emmet Benton, Video and her father and Clash and her father.
PIZZAZZ AND HARVEY GABOR
This is probably THE most revealing episode ever made where Pizzazz is concerned. Harvey himself tells us that "she's been uncontrollable, ever since her Mom left". Since her mother walked out when she was a kid, its obvious that it made a huge (negative) impression on the girl herself. From the flashback in Jem's song, it's fairly clear that little Phyllis and her dad were close when she was very small. It's possible therefore to pinpoint the breakdown of the relationship between father and daughter to the breakdown of the one between father and mother and presumably, a messy divorce. No mention has ever been made of Pizzazz's mother except in this episode and Pizzazz herself never mentions her. This suggests she still carries an emotional scar and has not forgiven her mother for ruining her childhood.
It's possible to interpret the situation as Harvey burying himself in his work to avoid the pain of his divorce, whilst Pizzazz was a kid who needed a lot of attention. The more she was starved of this human interaction and showered with material gifts, the more troublesome and wild she became. Essentially Father's day (to me) explains entirely why she is such an attention-grabber and why she makes such public scenes. She is still looking for the attention she was deprived of as a child. The fact that this has been an ongoing struggle between them is also made clear by Harvey's reluctance to approach her and by the ease in which he pulls back. It is a deep rift, and we see for the first time that he is not just the doting, spoiling father who showers her with gifts, but also the troubled man who has long since given up on taming his wild daughter.
But if Harvey could realise it, things are not so hopeless as all that. The fact Pizzazz wants to buy him a father's day present (with her own money, no less) proves she loves him - Harvey's words to JATH prove he loves her. I find the end of the episode tragic because they are so CLOSE to making up and yet so far away from it, too. Pizzazz's cruel words to Clash at the end "you're either born a misfit or you're not" are actually more true than she realises. Clash's father might be a dope but he does adore his daughter and she's never wanted for love. Pizzazz, on the other hand, has had an archetypal misfit upbringing and has never really known what love is. I honestly think that when she sees Clash with her dad she is jealous of the relationship they have - when she realises that yes, a father CAN adore his daughter. And I think it is that (and nothing else) that makes her cruel to Clash at the end. Clash has so much she wants, but the Misfits is something SHE has that Clash does not, and she's using the opportunity to "even it up". All of this is indicative of the fact that what Pizzazz most wants is a relationship with her father - and for Harvey to be proud of her and what she does.
CLASH, VIDEO and THE MONTGOMERY FAMILY...
Well, the prime movers in plot throughout this episode are the Montgomery family, since most of the episode takes place in and around their hometown of Malberry, a small town somewhere in the south of the USA, one presumes from the accents :)
The whole family is a contradiction in terms. Buzz Montgomery spoils Clash rotten, explaining why she can be such a darling little madam on occasion, no doubt. It's always unclear how old Clash is, except that Video is two years older (as we discover from the home movies in this episode) but they have always been rivals and Clash has always tried to steal attention away from Video from the start. This episode indicates for the first time that the rivalry is two-sided, that Video resents Clash making scenes and getting everyone's attention as much as Clash resents Video for always being the best at things. More is revealed too when it becomes apparent that John and Buzz Montgomery have a rivalry of their own, even though it is often concealed in slick words and friendly overtures. Video and Clash, therefore, are simply acting out a family feud that was begun by their fathers (and possibly even before). Video's desire to "do something special" for her Dad for father's day begins as simply a sweet daughter-like wish to have a really original gift for him. But once Clash and the Misfits appear in Malberry and start stealing public attention, Video begins to use this "special gift" as a way of regaining some of the public's attention - announcing that Jem and the Holograms will be playing in Malberry and more, they will be playing a song dedicated to her father. If Video felt none of the resentment for Clash that Clash has for her, she would not have seen any need to take notice of Clash or the Misfits and their behaviour.
KIMBER AND EMMET BENTON
The Kimber and Emmet storyline is secondary to the Pizzazz one to me, not because I am a Misfit fan but because we've seen something of Emmet and Kimber in other episodes anyway (Out of the Past provides far more in terms of flashbacks, Scandal gives some insight and Truly Outrageous sets the scene). Really I find Kimber too melancholy and Jerrica too insensitive for the most part...I find it surprising that Kimber does not confide how she is feeling in one of the Holograms since she and Aja and she and Jerrica in particular seem very close. She does not even confide in Synergy, which she has done before. However Jerrica's preoccupation with video and the song is surprising to me. I would have expected her to put her sister before everything else.
Kimber's bond with her father is exceptionally close - but then this is something we already know. She is the real Benton musical talent, rather than Jerrica, whose abilities are predominately administrative, and it's this love of music which draws Kimber and Emmet together. "Something Is Missing" is a good song (in a much more poignant setting) for this episode because of it's obvious meaning - Kimber is missing her father. It is hard to interpret the depth of Kimber's grief, however, because this episode takes place some time after Emmet's death and is the first really open showing of grief we have in the series from Kimber. That, perhaps, makes it ring a little false, or maybe overdone for the sake of the plot.
The song -Always There In My Heart - I have always felt should have been Kimber singing, not Jem. Kimber wrote it and wrote it from the heart - in my mind's eye it should have been sung by a true Benton and Jerrica when she is Jem is a whole other person.
Kimber and Harvey are a great pair up in terms of understanding each other's loss. Kimber is probably the most sweet natured person on the jem planet, because she wants to help Harvey make up with Pizzazz. She possibly even understands Pizzazz a little more at that point and maybe even sees a likeness between them. Unfortunately for her Pizzazz associates Kimber with humiliation and failure and interprets her with Harvey as Kimber stealing yet something else belonging to her. Maybe deep down Pizzazz too sees the likeness between herself and Kimber. Though their rivalry in the love stakes is often alluded to, this is the first episode where it reaches a personal level. Both girls are missing a father figure and have lost their mother figures too. Kimber has Jerrica and the Holograms, but Pizzazz has always only had herself. Pizzazz's obvious jealousy and hurt makes it clear that she's fed up with Kimber always getting one ahead of her. That she should now be moving in on Harvey's assistance is entirely unacceptable.
I won't spend much time on Jem here, but her "so what?" shrug when Pizzazz is so obviously upset speaks volumes. Whilst Jerrica is insensitive towards Kimber and even verges on the violent with her at one point), Jem's obvious preoccupation is with her music and wanting to perform her song. She could not care less if Pizzazz is upset over Harvey's "betrayal" or if Harvey and Pizzazz make up at all. She just wants to sing.
Another example of how shallow that hologram really is.
One of the best yet saddest Jem episodes ever to be produced. Bittersweet would be a good word for it, in fact. Not even here, with her father, can Pizzazz win. It seems that as a Misfit, you are forever cursed.
It would have been nice to see more in this episode followed up. The Clash situation was, but sadly, the Harvey and Pizzazz one remained unmended and was never really dealt with in such a personal way again.
Episode rating: 9/10.
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