Season Two: Exploring SCANDAL



    This is a Kimber episode!! Well, blatantly from the outset that is what it's meant to be, but there;s a lot more to it than that. We have that skulking demon Shawn Harrison causing problems in ladies' lives once again, and we have the incurable gossip rags out for the latest news on the rock and roll scene. Yes, this has all the makings of real rock and roll melodrama!
    But what it is essentially about is Kimber and her view of the world. There are several episodes which explore Kimber's rebellious streak and desire to be appreciated as an adult. This one is a little different, but it still gives us Kimber - in her own words. It is also the first episode with Raya after the Talent Search - another important point to remember, because the same applies to Jetta, too!!

    This is quite possibly the only episode in which clear evidence is made to Kimber's diary. It becomes clear over the course of the episode that Kimber has no secrets from her diary and when nobody else is willing to listen to her, she can always turn to her little book for comfort. From the moment that the diary is stolen, we get a glimpse into Kimber's inner thoughts about several people. Complaints about the Holograms - Shana;s oversensitivity, Aja's occasional lack of sentiment and Jerrica's overbearing sister responsibilites - indicate strongly that Kimber wants to be herself and that sometimes life as one of the Holograms frustrates her. That's not to say that she doesn't love them - she does. They are very much her "sisters" and she is horrified and upset that they should be made to read things which she wrote in private in a moment's pique. Obviously to Kimber it is fine to let rip when in the privacy of her own room, but when it becomes public knowledge it is definitely not okay. And we can understand that sentiment. Kimber is not a spiteful character and the last thing on her mind is ever to hurt someone else deliberately.
    Of course, since this is the first episode after the talent search to feature Raya, there is no snippet about her in the diary. In a way this is the first of many moments during the rest of the series where Raya seems somewhat apart from the team. Unlike the Misfits, who adopt Jetta wholeheartedly, Raya always finds it hard to penetrate the childhood bonds of the other Starlight Girls and on occasion she does seem to be left out. (She sounds a little hurt that she did not get an envelope!)
    Kimber's Diary also puts forward a decidedly perceptive observation, considering the author's personality. Not that Kimber is superficial in everything, but she does tend to skim the surface. However, her comments about Roxy are "Roxy is not dumb but she IS ignorant"...something which is so true that Roxy reacts to it violently. Surprisingly, even when the diary falls into the wrong hands, Jem's secret remains safe. This tells us one very important thing - Kimber, who so often almost gives her sister away in conversation is religiously careful in protecting Jerrica's secret in writing.
    The "theft" of Kimber's diary is the key point in the episode. To be absolutely correct, the diary is not stolen at all. It falls out of Kimber's bag when she goes to have her makeup done for a television appearance, and sharpeyed Jetta scoops it up, probably eager for another way to prove herself to her new associates. (I said it was key!)  Talent Search has already given us the clue that the Misfits' style of attack is undergoing a change with the addition of Jetta, but this shows it for the first time in it's full glory. Instead of violently upstaging Jem's performance, the Misfits take possession of Kimber's diary, read it and donate it to Cool Trash, who lap it up with eagerness. More, they are astute enough to take out the juiciest parts of the diary to keep just in case Kimber should demand her diary back. And from the reaction of the Holograms, the recovery of the diary is of major importance - not just to Kimber but to them all. Clearly what hurts one member hurts all of them, and besides, Jerrica can probably not be entirely sure whether her sister has recorded the truth about Jem in her secret outpourings.
    The song "Dear Diary" sums up most clearly what the diary means to Kimber. "Who do I turn to when I'm feeling bad?" - her secret confidante. It also becomes clear at the end of the episode that Kimber uses her diary to write lyrics - when with Synergy she exclaims "Oh, I wish I'd brought my diary!" And despite all of the scandal, Kimber is determined NOT to give up her diary.

    This episode is the second time we meet Shawn Harrison, the so-called English Teen Idol (with the worst accent and vocabulary on the planet) My personal opinion is that Shawn is not the sort of guy Kimber should be getting herself involved with. And it's clear that Pizzazz is still sore over some past event, because she sets her stall out to compound the diary scandal by implicating Shawn in a revealing interview with the tabloid press. Since Pizzazz goes so far as to send a photograph to Kimber of herself and Jetta with Shawn, she obviously feels some kind of competition still for the guy's attention - though I don't honestly believe Pizzazz loves Shawn or ever did. The competition between herself and Kimber is fairly strong anyway, and Shawn is just another thing to be fought over.
    Shawn is a rock singer, and he and his band are playing at the Roller Rock Out, the show at which Pizzazz outs her diary Scandal about Kimber's feelings for him and Shawn's apparent disinterest. Not only does this break Kimber's heart - she skates off into the sunset in tears, despite Shawn's attempts to call her back - but it allows Pizzazz to put herself in the spotlight, calling Shawn "such a good friend of mine!"
    Part of the conflict between them in the episode is about Shawn asking Kimber to write a song for him. Kimber's love for him is clearly not reciprocated at this point, however, because he refers to her as "dear chum" (I hate that word, but it is correct, if dated british slang and it means "friend"). So despite all of his friendly play he has been leading her on - he wants her to write his song. Pizzazz has also been deluding herself into believing her own press scandal, since she is determined Shawn wants her to write the song for him. It's a very confusing situation, not helped a bit by Shawn's shoving Pizzazz around, or condescending talk when with Kimber. His own description of Kimber is that "she's a child" though he does consider her mature in some respects. However devoted Kimber is to him - at this stage Shawn has no romantic plans for his young redheaded friend.
    I find it surprising that Shawn makes no attempt to communicate with Kimber between the Roller Rock Out and the Harriet Horne performance that the press article is all lies. I also find it surprising that Kimber believes his word so naively once said on the TV show, and agrees to write the song for him. Kimber's naivety is often in evidence, but this is one of the worst examples. Clearly she is in love with him, but once again Shawn has been able to talk himself out of a sticky situation.

    On more than one occasion, Synergy shows herself to be more than just a computer for the Holograms. The end of Scandal is one such time, where she once more adopts her mantle as a pseudo-Jacqui Benton and reasons with the impulsive Kimber about her future and her hopes and dreams. It is by means of her holograms that Synergy makes Kimber see how important her music is to her, after Kimber (following the article about Shawn) has sworn never to write a song again. Synergy is wise and she uses images and memories of Emmet and Kimber as a small girl, suggesting that not only did Emmet program her with Jacqui's personality traits, but also with his own memories of Jerrica and Kimber's childhoods. In this sense she really is the guardian that Emmet hoped she would be after his death - it is Synergy here who reminds Kimber that she should always be true to herself, and give the whole audience a chance. At the end of the day, despite the Holograms' concerns, it is Synergy who puts Kimber's head straight and inspires her to write Dear Diary.

     One of the most interesting parts of Scandal is at the end, when Kimber stalks into Synergy's room and demands to be "changed" into "someone hard and mean, someone who can never be hurt!" Synergy transforms her into a pseudo-Misfit, and it's fairly clear from the dialogue and the visuals that Kimber associates the Misfits with this. However, she is not looking on them in a negative sense - rather envying them what she perceives to be a certain clinical coldness which prevents them from being hurt or upset over a guy the way she is now upset over Shawn. It is a typical Kimber misconception, since had she stopped to think about it, she would realise that Pizzazz's actions towards Shawn were as much out of resentment at being pushed aside as they were out of spite for Kimber herself. But it is not the only occasion where Kimber voices or hints at the desire to play a little bit wilder than the Hologram image usually allows her to be.
    For just a split second, Kimber is really a Misfit ;)

    Scandal is a complex episode, full of trauma and relationship scandal, but also key in explaining the way Kimber sees the world, and the introductions both Jetta and Raya have made to their respective bands. Shawn Harrison's accent is unforgiveable, though, as is his shove of Pizzazz so she falls off her seat...

    Episode rating: 7.5/10.


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