Season One: Exploring HOT TIME IN HAWAII
Britrock website copyright EA Woolley
HOT TIME IN HAWAII
Hawaii, sports events, two bands who hate each other. Deep and meaningful episode? Well, actually, in a way yes. This is a "don't do this, kids" episode which basically instructs the viewing audience how cheating never gets you anywhere. Which, of course, it doesn't.
(Unless you're Jem. Ahem. I didn't say that.)
THE HOLOGRAMS' ATTITUDE TO EXERCISE
Oh boy. I get tired even watching them. There is rarely an episode where the Holograms aren't doing something highly energetic for some pointless reason. This episode opens with them doing a work-out with Aja, when the invite comes for the Battle of the Music Stars. It's important to note that at no point is it made clear what this contest is until the groups are in Hawaii - the first time I watched this episode it made no sense to me that they were working out for a music battle of the bands, but of course it isn't. For some reason it's a sporting contest involving celebrities.
The exercise madness does not stop there, though. Kimber's latest love interest, Steve, offers to coach her in her swimming (we learn here that Kimber is an excellent swimmer) and the Holograms are very keen to get in shape and be the best through fair means.
I do wonder if there is a subtle message running through all this that exercise is a good thing and that kids should take their sport lessons seriously. As a kid who was good academically but bullied all through P.E because I couldn't hit a ball straight, I beg to differ. Sport lessons are very traumatic things.
Aja is the real fitness fiend out of the Holograms and it is she who schools her bandmates into getting in shape. Her motivation is indeed fitness, whereas the others - it's more difficult to say. They join in, but whether it's out of loyalty to her or out of a desire to be fit I don't know. Of course, once they are entered into the competition, things are different. Winning may not be everything to the Holograms, but I doubt there is a single competition they enter that they're not in to win!
Actually, the Holograms' moral stance in this episode is impeccable. There is a strong message throughout but there is no loss here of characterisation because of it. Kimber is still the flirt, yet she makes time to swim and practice hard even despite Zipper's attempts to put her off with a fake shark (yeah, I know.) Even after being kidnapped and hidden in an active volcano (very unrealistic, but still), Kimber is eager to continue - they all are. And, though they grumble about it in asides to each other when the Misfits keep winning, they do not make any rash accusations in public. In fact they don't make any accusations at all until Kimber recognises Zipper's voice as the voice of the man who kidnapped her. It winds up in a nasty mud bath for the Misfits, as the Holograms prove once and for all that working out and having right on your side wins you the competition.
Ironically though, it is not the Holograms but a local girl called Giselle (lack of imagination here, this is also Danse's name) who discovers where Kimber is and who helps to rescue her. Indeed, I am most impressed in this episode that Jem and the Holograms think first of Kimber and second of either their image (potentially they were blowing off a fan, if Giselle's information hadn't proven so critical) or the contest the next day. This is Jem and the Holograms how I like to see them -in the right and winning the day by maintaining the moral high ground. All too often that moral high ground becomes murky or cloudied by a dubious action on a Hologram's part, but not so in this episode. Thankfully they really do "play the game."
KIMBER vs PIZZAZZ: THE LOVE BATTLE
This episode also features one of the classic Kimber vs Pizzazz romance battles of the series. Initially it seemed that Pizzazz would be pitted against Jem for Rio -that is the hint dropped in Truly Outrageous - but over the course of the series it becomes very clear that the angle has shifted. Whilst Rio has enough of a plotline dealing with Jem and Jerrica, Pizzazz becomes Kimber's nemesis in the man stakes - or maybe that should be the other way about. After failing to secure Shawn Harrison away from Kimber in The World Hunger Shindig, Pizzazz sets her sights on Steve, the Hologram coach. Being the flirt that she is, of course, even the revelation that he knows who was behind the shark (or assumes, presumably on Kimber's information, that they were somehow involved) does not deter her from trying to lure him away.
Steve is unnecessarily cruel to Pizzazz here. Not only does he insult her music (which for once she doesn't flare up to, so she really is serious about hooking this one), but he is roundly unpleasant to her and stalks off. Inadvertantly he has done exactly the wrong thing to do the night before the competition, because he sparks Pizzazz off in a fit of revenge-seeking and it results in Zipper's plot to land Kimber inside the volcano.
People call Pizzazz egocentric but this is an episode which does prove that she really isn't all that impressed with what she has at all. She doesn't like being rejected by Steve, but it's fairly clear that being rejected by a guy is not a foreign occurance to her, because she immediately begins to do something about it. Her reasoning is that if Kimber is out of sight she will also be out of Steve's mind and then "maybe I can have a shot at that cute coach."
Pizzazz's understanding of love and attraction is fairly limited and she does not realise that Steve's attraction to Kimber is too strong for her to have any effect. She is too used to seeing people as possessions and dealing with the world materialistically to realise that she cannot simply grab a guy and expect him to like her the moment the rival is no longer in view. It's quite sad, really - a pitiful revelation of how lonely Pizzazz's life must really be.
THE MISFITS' ATTITUDE TO EXERCISE
I honestly share the Misfit attitude to exercise wholeheartedly. I mean, who wants to jump up and down energetically in a hot place when you could be relaxing on the beach, exploring the venue or enjoying the local cuisine??
Fun episode fact one - this is one of those times where we see the Misfits cramming food and Jem and the Holograms not eating more than a cracker - if that. What kind of subliminal message that is supposed to send out is beyond me, but there are at least three distinct moments I can think of where the Misfits are eating.
#1 at the celebration banquet for them being invited to join the Battle of the Music Stars
#2 Ice Cream as Zipper displays the gadgets
#3 Shark soup, more Zipper cuisine ;)
There might well be more - I have a feeling there is another example but it won't spring to mind right at the moment. The Misfits, as I've probably noted before, are always eating. How they keep their figures is utterly beyond me (maybe there's some secretive working out going on, but I highly doubt it!)
The amusing thing about the Misfit attitude to exercise is that they are quite simply working as hard as they would have been to train properly, except that they are learning the "art of cheating" instead. And boy do they have to learn it thoroughly! Zipper is a master of this kind of stuff and he lacks the scruples that even Eric Raymond has when it comes to the punch. His gadgetry (was this developed by Techrat, his essential series rival as Eric's sidekick? We're never told) includes a bicycle that spews oil and spikes, running shoes with springs in the sole and a pole vault stick that could vault you into outer space if not careful (or, in Pizzazz's case, up the nearest tree. May I just say that this scene invokes one of the classic Misfit lines of the whole series - "Do you want me to build a nest up here?" - see screen capture at the top of the page!!)
Well, they cheat like heck. Let's face it. With the aforementioned gadgets at their disposal they manage to put the competition outta sight, though why they don't spark off any curiosity when Roxy's bike starts spewing stuff is beyond me...never mind. It's beyond dispute that their intention is to cheat their way to winning the competition and of course, this is the BAD thing to do in the episode.
However, there is a line to be drawn here and I'm going to be the one who draws it. The Misfits cheat. Yes. The Misfits gatecrash the luau to perform their (highly hilarious tongue in cheek) song - yes. Pizzazz tries to make a move on the guy who likes Kimber - oh BOY yes.
But kidnapping Kimber and putting her in the volcano? Uh-uh.
Let's take this blow by blow. Steve (Kimber's latest beau) gives Pizzazz the ultimate brush off - not only that but he does it in front of the other Misfits (much to Roxy's clear amusement.) Pizzazz, annoyed, tries the spoiled brat technique on Zipper "Zipper, he was terribly mean to me", and when Zipper is unimpressed, goes on to hint that maybe it would be a good idea that Kimber did not turn up for the swimming competition the next morning. Zipper agrees and trots off to formulate a scheme.
This is one of those scenes where reality and wishful reality gets blurred. Yes, Pizzazz asks Zipper to incapacitate Kimber for the competition - so that there is noone to stop her winning the swimming race. However, the scheme that Zipper concocts is all his own, entirely out of his evil brain. It is he who kidnaps Kimber, who ties her up inside the volcano and who leaves her, essentially, to die. It's made clear that he doesn't care if that is the outcome.
Considering that the Misfits saved the Holograms from a bomb in Morvania, I really don't think that, had they known that Kimber was in the volcano in danger of her life, they would have left her there. Stormer would certainly not have stood for it. So this particular piece of evil is all Zipper's own work.
And, obviously, the hawaiian authorities agree, since Zipper is arrested for the kidnap but the Misfits are not.
Interestingly, it's been bandied about (and I believe somewhat confirmed, though I am not sure by whom and cannot say if it was confirmed by official channels) that Zipper was considered "too bad" for the series and parents did not like the ideas he was putting into young heads. After Hot Time In Hawaii he makes no more appearances as Eric's sidekick and the slightly shady Techrat becomes the full time replacement. Sadly the two never met up. I woulda liked to have seen that.
Getting back into indepth analysis mode, this is one of those episodes where the Misfits believe that the only way they can win is by cheating. Zipper says bluntly that there is no way that Pizzazz can win the swimming race because Kimber is too good - and rather than trying to better herself, Pizzazz immediately looks to eliminate the competition. It's a sad Misfit failing that often they cannot see that the quick route is not always the most successful one, and if they could only have more self-belief they would have been far more potent a threat to Jem and the Holograms.
Stormer must also get a mention here. It's no secret that I think the world of Stormer, and this is one of those episodes where you get a flavour of that conscience (which is why the How You Play The Game video is such a travesty, see below). Stormer is reluctant about winning the contest "by any means possible". She asks whether they really "should do this", she sympathises with Pizzazz after the knockback from Steve and really seems uncomfortable with the whole concept of cheating. This is more evidence that Stormer has not been taught the same values (or rather has been fortunate enough to have been taught values) as her bandmates have. Sadly at this point in the series she is not strong enough in herself to stand up for what she believes and take the lead. Stormer is a character who goes through many developments, but this is early in the show's career, and at this point she is just Misfit rank #3, trying to keep control of her conscience while the others run riot.
HOW YOU PLAY THE GAME!!
I have several issues with this song. Though this is the educational "message" of the episode - Jem taking her chance to get across the message that cheating is a bad thing. I have no problem with that - it's a good message and one that the story does put across well. But however the words of the song contradict Jem's behaviour in certain other episodes. Still, my biggest problem with the HYPTG video is the animated sequence involving Aja and Stormer in the race.
There is no way in the world that Stormer - sweet, gentle Stormer- would deliberately set out to hurt Aja like the song video suggests. It's just not possible.
Significant too is the misconception that should Roxy win, nobody would be there to celebrate the win with her. That's nonsense and disproved by the episode itself, when the Misfits are cheering her on every step of the way.
Is this going to be a Taffie rant against Misfit discrimination, I hear you asking?
Actually, no. I have another point in mind. See, having watched this through and considered it carefully, there is only one reason why two such illogical Misfit scenes should appear in this music video. And that is?
This is not an "actual" video, but a "Jem's thought process" video. She's singing about playing fair but visualising in her mind how she sees the Misfits - even Stormer - as rough, dysfunctional and quite clearly mad to even consider opposing her. Taken that way, it's actually quite a powerful music video. A glimpse into the mind of Jem...wow, not sure I want to be somewhere quite so mixed up!!
TALKING TO STRANGERS....MAKES YOU A SUPERSTAR?
And yes, the tacky superstar clip has to get a mention here.
How is it that Jem can jump out of her car and talk to a girl who she doesn't know yet the girl is told not to talk to strangers?
Can you get much stranger? *grins*
One of the funniest Jem episodes of the pre-Jetta era. The Misfits are a very different band without her and somehow I could not picture her slotting into this episode at all. The humour of the Misfits' song and the scenes with them practicing the "art of cheating" are hilarious, whilst Kimber's classic "Steve, I wanted to tell you that...hey, what are the Misfits doing over at the luau?" is another priceless way of showing why Kimber's such a wow with the guys (or maybe not!)
Of course, as Jem says herself, the real "star heroine" of the piece is Giselle. But hey, who doesn't love seeing Pizzazz flipped up into a palm tree??
Episode rating: 7.5/10.
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