Comics – Educating Cheryl!

Cheryl-Blossom-7
Writer: Dan Parent
Pencils: Dan Parent
Inking: Jon D’Agostino
Coloring: Barry Grossman
Lettering: Bill Yoshida
Original Publication: Cheryl Blossom, No. 7
Cover Date: November, 1997
Length: 11 pages

Although I have the original issue, I’m reviewing this story from the digital edition.

It’s the first day of school, and Cheryl joyfully announces this fact to her fellow students as they make their way into Pembrooke Academy. Priscilla is annoyed, pointing out the homework, studying, and rules. Cheryl counters with perks, such as willing slaves boys to carry their books. Priscilla basically says that’s a perk for Cheryl alone.

Priscilla even gets angry and yells at guys when they ignore her in favor of carrying Cheryl’s books. An unnamed blonde girl wants to transfer schools. An orange-haired girl with glasses asks how Cheryl does it. Priscilla eliminates money, since they’re all rich, and guesses Cheryl just has a way of getting what she wants. Cheryl agrees, saying it’s something that she’s always had and calling it kind of a “Blossom trait”. Priscilla asks her to share.

Cheryl likes the idea and says she can start her own “school for losers”. This angers Priscilla and the blonde girl. Cheryl tells them to come to the inn after school, and she’ll “whip [them] into shape”. Glasses says they may regret this.

After school, Priscilla, Glasses, and the blonde girl arrive at the inn. Cheryl has already had a sign printed and hung over the entrance that reads “Cheryl’s School of Being a Winner”. This amazes the girls. They go inside.

Cheryl greets them and asks them if they’re familiar with The Rules. Glasses says yes and asks if they’re going to use it as a guide. Nope. They’ll be using Cheryl’s Rules. Glasses asks Cheryl when she wrote this. Cheryl wrote it in study hall and made copies, which amazes the blonde girl.

The lessons begin. The girl with the glasses is named Marcie. Cheryl asks her for rule #1. It is “Never betray a friendship for a boy, unless the boy is a famous celebrity or has major connections.” Cheryl praises Marcie and then asks Bunny what a girl should always bring with her on a date. Wait, Bunny? That was her name in the 1980s, but, ever since Cheryl returned, her name’s been Priscilla. The sole exception was probably done to be consistent with the 1980s reprint story that they were using as a flashback. Anyway, the answer is “A portable phone, so a friend can call you and get you out of the date if he’s a loser.” Cheryl praises Bunny. The blonde girl asks Cheryl how they can get boys to fall all over them at school. Cheryl says that’s a 3-step plan.

Step 1: Huddle with your friends, giggling and whispering, to make the boys feel insecure. Step 2: Act aloof and preoccupied. Step 3: a specially-mixed secret blend of perfume (Cheryl will supply it). Cheryl has them practice their walk, acting like the hallways are their fashion runways. Bunny’s happy that Cheryl’s showing them this. However, Cheryl is videotaping all of this (which she’ll explain later). She’s making a Cheryl’s Rules how-to video to sell. Um, yeah, good luck selling a video consisting of one static shot from the point of view of an indoor cactus. Jason sees this and thinks Cheryl is making a fool out of the girls (he actually gets a laugh out of this). He decides to stir shit up by calling someone and asking a favor.

On another day, at Pembrooke Academy, a guy named Brad asks the girls what they’re whispering about. Bunny has him carry her books in exchange for thinking about telling him. Cheryl praises Bunny. Cheryl’s cameraman “in disguise” (as in not at all) is taping all of this.

Cheryl thinks she’ll be on every talk show. Jason has brought Cheryl a visitor: Seymour Flopsy. Wait, this asshole?! They brought back him?! Cheryl says she hasn’t seen him in “months“, but the footnote tells the reader to consult an issue from 1995. Does the story address how Cheryl was able to celebrate Christmas in the “months” between last seeing Seymour and the start of the new school year? Of course not! Anyway, Cheryl gets a raging lady-boner for Seymour, shocking the blonde girl. Marcie hopes this is a joke. The blonde girl agrees, because Seymour’s “a nerd squared”.

Bunny fills the girls in on Seymour. Marcie cites Cheryl’s rule about ignoring and attraction. Bunny says it works. Sure, but I doubt Seymour is doing this to make Cheryl interested in him. The blonde girl (who steals Marcie’s glasses for a single panel) points out that Cheryl is making a fool of herself by chasing Seymour around school. She wants to get their “mentor” back in line.

Bunny yells at Cheryl to knock this shit off. She then spells everything out for Cheryl, including what Jason did and why Cheryl is attracted to Seymour. Marcie tells her “sister” that they’re here to help her. Cheryl tells Seymour to fuck off. Seymour leaves, relieved.

The girls do a group high five. Cheryl thanks them for saving her. Marcie says they have to stick together. Cheryl then accidentally reveals the existence of the tape. Marcie spots the cameraman, who she thought looked too old to be a student. The three angry girls ignore him (and the tape) in favor of chasing Cheryl. Cheryl tells the guy to turn off the camera, despite the fact that he’s clearly not taping them. Jason has been secretly taping them with his own camera…somefuckinghow.

This story was okay, but it hasn’t aged well.

Extras

Between Parts 1 and 2 is are a 1-page Cheryl illustration titled “Back To School Fashion” and another 1-page Cheryl illustration titled “Cheryl’s Back to School ‘Do’s”.

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Comics – What a Disaster!

Cheryl-Blossom-6
Writer: Dan Parent
Pencils: Dan Parent
Inking: Jon D’Agostino
Lettering: Bill Yoshida
Coloring: Barry Grossman
Original Publication: Cheryl Blossom, No. 6
Cover Date: October, 1997
Length: 21 pages

Although I have the original issue, I’m reviewing this story from the digital edition.

Part 1

Priscilla and Cheryl leave the movie theater after seeing a disaster movie called Flash Flood. Priscilla found it to be “such a thrill”. Cheryl found it to be “quite dull”. Priscilla thinks Cheryl is cray-cray. Cheryl explains: “It was the same old tired disaster movie formula! If you’ve seen it once, you’ve seen it 100 times!”

At Priscilla’s prompt, Cheryl admits she thinks she can do better, so Priscilla reminds her of her past failed attempts at acting. Cheryl angrily says she was “just a kid”. She says her recent media adventures have taught her a lot about the business. Cheryl decides to make her own disaster movie. She has the money but tries to figure out how she can make her disaster film stand out.

Her idea is for all disasters to happen all at once. As they arrive outside the Blossom estate, Priscilla asks to be in the movie. Cheryl agrees to give Priscilla a bit part. They part ways, and Cheryl goes to make some phone calls.

Cheryl calls up a Steven Spielberg knockoff and introduces herself. He recognizes her as “that nitty redhead who’s always on Hard Copy“. She asks him to direct her movie, but he’s in the middle of one. She says she’ll pay him three times his fee, so he closes the set for the rest of the day and flies to Pembrooke (without even getting Cheryl’s address).

Once he meets with Cheryl at her place, she asks him if he’s interested. He lists things that he has to do. Cheryl wants the movie in theaters before school begins (which is in one month). He says it’ll take one to two years. In desperation, Cheryl offers to “pay through the nose for this”, because she wants to hit “while this trend is big”. He’ll have his writers work on a script. Cheryl gives him lengthy outlines. She also offers to work cheap in order to act in the film. She asks him for the cost of the film and guesses $1,000,000 – $2,000,000. He laughs and says the “average Hollywood blockbuster” costs $15,000,000. Hahahahahahaha! That’s nowhere near true! Not even for the time period and especially not for his movies. Cheryl is worried but tells him that she’ll get it.

Cheryl goes to the bank to make a withdrawal. The bank calls her father to inform him, because, even though the account is hers, she’s still a minor. Cheryl is asked to wait. Her dad arrives and is like “What the fuck?!” Cheryl explains. Clifford forbids it.

Part 2

On the ride home from the bank, Clifford lectures her about wasting money. Cheryl says making movies can be a learning experience. He suggests she go to film school. He also suggests getting financial backing for her movie. She thanks him for the idea.

While watching a movie at home, Cheryl notices product placement, so she gets knockoffs of Pepsi and Doritos to be used in her movie (she’s known for her media attention, which they view as a good thing). Cheryl signs up a bunch more companies and gets the needed funding. Clifford is impressed and predicts Cheryl will probably run Hollywood one day. Jason makes an insult.

When Cheryl reads Steven’s script, she finds it terrible, because there are “only 3 or 4 disasters” in it. He says they need some reality. Cheryl wants to go all out. She tells him to fire the writers, and she’ll write the script herself.

The next day, Steven reads Cheryl’s script and isn’t impressed. Apparently, she wrote the product placements into the script, which I’m sure isn’t how it’s done. He calls it a big-budget infomercial. He also calls her out on the implausibility of so many disasters hitting the same town. He quits to save his reputation. She tells him to go “hack out some sequels”.

Deciding to direct the movie herself, Cheryl goes out to the set, which is Club Blossom. Apparently, this was a last-minute decision, because Jason is surprised and says she can’t use it. Cheryl says she has no choice, because there’s no time to build sets. He tells her to go elsewhere. Louella, however, says this is great publicity. They agree to let Cheryl use the inn, if she gives them parts in the film. She agrees and gives them instructions about product placement. The actors arrive. They include knockoffs of Jean-Claude Van Damme (who Cheryl loves), Macaulay Culkin (who still looks like he did in Home Alone, despite this being seven years later), and Madonna (who Cheryl hugs and reminds of the last time that they met). Madonna doesn’t give a shit.

Part 3

A couple hours later, on the set, Cheryl compliments Madonna for being in her movie, but Madonna admits she’s doing it for the money. Cheryl takes credit for delivering Madonna’s baby, which she didn’t do. She tells her three actors to take their places and only now tells them who they’re playing and what they’re doing. Yeah, no, bullshit. Any serious actor (and director) would have discussed this long before the first day of filming.

Anyway, they’re the Reynolds family, running this rustic country inn. Cheryl then links a volcanic eruption to tornadoes, massive storms, flooding, and earthquakes. Madonna is confused. She and Jean-Claude check their scripts (which they apparently pull out of their asses) and ask how a blizzard and an asteroid attack come into play. Cheryl says she’ll work that out later and tells them to take their places (again).

Meanwhile, the Clumpitts observe this from their treehouse and decide to come over and investigate. They assume they’re gonna be in the movie, but Cheryl doesn’t want them around. Then, suddenly, a crane smashes their treehouse. I guess it’s some worker performing work for the club, because Cheryl apologizes to the Clumpitts and begs them not to sue. Louella offers to let them stay here until they replace their home. Cheryl would rather be sued. But, seriously, why were these fuckers allowed to live in a treehouse?

They shoot the first scene. Jean-Claude’s character’s name is Hank. Cheryl plays Dr. Mona Delite, the town genius that rushes over to save the day. Jason and Louella (quietly) disapprove of Cheryl’s hammy acting. Cheryl starts with the product placement, which is way more blatant than in actual movies. This causes Madonna to quit.

Cheryl decides to play the wife. The Clumpitts arrive, asking for food (considering the dad already asked about food earlier, while Louella was taking them into the inn, why didn’t she see to it?). Cheryl angrily calls cut. Jean-Claude and Macaulay quit. Cheryl decides to play all of the parts.

Part 4

So they film the entire movie, Cheryl promoting various products through all of it. Cheryl calls it a wrap and thanks everyone. A camera operator predicts the film will be a disaster.

Cheryl calls the special effects lab to see how they’re coming, even though there’s no indication that she’s sent them the footage yet. The guy says they’ll need months. Cheryl says the premiere is in one week and tells him to do what it takes to finish by then. She then slams down her…cell phone…outside.

One week later, the inn is getting ready for the premiere of Cheryl’s film, The End is Near. Jason asks her if the film is ready. Cheryl says they’re still putting it together, and she needs to see the final cut. Cheryl either calls someone or gets called and learns the film won’t be ready until 7:00 tomorrow. She realizes she’ll have to see it with everyone else. Wait, one week earlier, she said the premiere was in one week. Is this a goof, or is the story implying Cheryl is delaying the premiere by one day? Anyway, Cheryl hopes the film comes out okay.

The next day, at the premiere, Cheryl is excited, but Louella quickly notices the less-than-convincing model work. Cheryl notices a stagehand visible in the film and notes they didn’t zoom in as they should have. Cheryl is excited to see herself on screen. An audience member says the multiple product placements are distracting. The stage hand is visible again, and Cheryl asks about cropping him out. I have a few things to say about this. One, this isn’t really a special effects problem, just basic editing incompetence. Two, these aren’t special effects at all; they’re practical effects. They would have been filmed separately from the actors (and likely by a different director); they wouldn’t have been handled by the SFX house that Cheryl hired (unless special effects were added to the shots). Three, Cheryl knows enough about filmmaking to know more than the people behind that complete fucking abortion of a so-called “HD remaster” of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Yes, stage hands and other crew do get picked up by cameras during production. Crop them out. It’s not hard. It’s especially inexcusable during shots involving miniatures. Rant over.

Cheryl is horrified to see the Clumpitts appearing in multiple scenes, mugging for the camera, and guesses they must have been snooping around the whole shoot. How did she not notice them while she was directing and starring in the film?! She’s literally in at least one camera shot with them! The audience (especially Jason) finds it hilarious. The final scene has slightly different dialogue than the scene that we saw filmed earlier, and Cheryl and Louella are wearing completely different outfits. Cheryl wants the film to at least end normally, but the Clumpitts are in the final shot. Cheryl starts crying.

After the film ends, Cheryl’s still in tears. Priscilla comes up to her and tells her that everyone’s talking. Cheryl feels she deserves it for rushing the movie. Jason informs her that everyone’s in love with the Clumpitts. Louella tells her that everyone thinks Cheryl made them “these goofy stars” on purpose. The Clumpitts don’t know how to respond to reporters’ questions. Cheryl takes charge of the situation, taking on the role of the Clumpitts’ agent. A reporter asks her about her decision to finally make a parody of disaster movies. Cheryl says she figured it was time to laugh at the genre. Jason’s upset about Cheryl’s good press. Louella is happy and says, as long as it benefits the inn, she doesn’t care.

As if you couldn’t already tell, this story was basically just a rehash of the Cheryl Blossom (Goes to Hollywood) miniseries – but done in a third of the space. It offers nothing new. Cheryl has learned nothing from her previous moviemaking experience. But she ended up being an accidental visionary.

Extras

Between Parts 1 and 2 is a 1-page Cheryl illustration titled “Cheryl’s Hairstyles”, which include The 60’s Look, The Clueless Look, The Grungy Look, The Elegant Look, and The Wavy Look.

Between Parts 2 and 3 is a 1-page “Dear Cheryl” letters column by Sara Algase.

Also between Parts 2 and 3 is a page of Cheryl fan art with entries from Jessica Bertino of Hammonton, New Jersey; Rachael Frimberger of Vancouver, Washington; Jamie Andreson of Mill Valley, California; Nathalie Sosa of Miami, Florida; and Anum Tariq of Fremont, California.

Between Parts 3 and 4 is a 1-page Cheryl illustration titled “Cheryl’s Blossomy Looks”, which are flower-themed.

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Comics – Water Songs!

Betty-and-Veronica-Double-Digest-Magazine-295Writer: Jamie L. Rotante
Pencils: Dan Parent
Inks: Jim Amash
Colors: Glenn Whitmore
Letters: Jack Morelli
Original Publication: Betty and Veronica Jumbo Comics (Double Digest Magazine), No. 295
On-Sale Date: July 14, 2021
Length: 5

Betty and Veronica attend the Riverdale Mermaid Day celebration in Pickens Park. Um, either Riverdale delayed the celebration for social distancing reasons, or this story was meant to be published around four months earlier. Anyway, the girls are dressed up as swashbucklers for the “big day”. Betty can’t believe they’re finally old enough to work at the Riverdale Mermaid Festival. She wonders why Ronnie isn’t excited. Ronnie had hoped they’d gotten roles as mermaids.

Betty is perfectly content with “selling lemonade as “scallywags”. They go to the lemonade stand and get to work. Archie and Jughead show up, dressed in some rather half-assed costumes (Jughead especially). Archie asks if they’ve seen this year’s new Mermaid Queen. Jughead asks if they’ve seen this year’s new clams casino stand. Betty is in love with the role of the Mermaid Queen, who is “always so magical”. Ronnie gets a tummy ache at the thought of eating clams at a festival. On the stage, a figure dressed as Poseidon introduces the Mermaid Queen, who turns out to be Cheryl. She’s dressed as a mermaid and wearing a gold crown shaped liked seashells.

Cheryl wants a free lemonade from the “wenches”. Ronnie’s upset, but either she or Betty give Cheryl a glass of lemonade. Cheryl spits out the lemonade in disgust, calling it too bitter and insulting Ronnie and Betty. Betty advises Ronnie to just ignore Cheryl. Ronnie starts listing the benefits that Cheryl has. Betty reminds her that it’s for only one day and advises against feeding Cheryl’s ego. Ronnie’s pissed, which Betty mistakes for “pirate spirit”. A boy asks for an extra drop of sugar in his lemonade. Betty jokingly sings one line about it in sea-shanty style, which the crowd immediately goes wild for. An excited Ronnie tells Betty to keep singing.

Betty and Ronnie start singing about squeezing fresh lemons…over…and over…and over again. They follow that up with a line about a thirsty sailor…over…and over…and over again. The crowd goes nuts for this shit. Meanwhile, Cheryl sings one line about a prince off key, and everyone runs away from her. The crowd starts dancing to Betty and Ronnie’s repeated line about a thirsty sailor. Cheryl angrily declares “This must be stopped!”

Cheryl starts singing off key again, and the crowd screams in agony. Then they suddenly run away from all three girls. Ronnie blames Cheryl, but Betty’s surprised that the crowd is actually running toward another singer, whose voice Archie describes as “like magic”. It’s Sabrina, who’s dressed as a mermaid and sitting on her own private stage with her own sound system. She had decided to sing in order to “save the day”. Um, sure. Did she just decide to do this and conjure all of this up within the span of a few seconds?

This story was pretty meh. Why would a crowd get so worked up about two girls singing songs that aren’t, y’know, in any way good?

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Looking for Mr. Mumps!

Cheryl-Blossom-5
Writer: Dan Parent*
Pencils: Dan Parent*
Inking: Jon D’Agostino*
Lettering: Bill Yoshida*
Coloring: Barry Grossman*
Original Publication: Cheryl Blossom, No. 5
Cover Date: September, 1997
Length: 6 pages

*Only the lead story in the issue is credited. I assume the credits apply to all of the stories.

Although I have the original issue, I’m reviewing this story from the digital edition.

Cheryl gets in bed after an exhausting day. Once she makes sure nobody’s looking, she gets out her old teddy bear, Mr. Mumps. She’s secretive, because “people wouldn’t understand” a “sophisticate” like her with an old teddy bear. She tells Mr. Mumps that she loves him. She’s slept with him since she was a baby. She kisses him on the cheek and wishes him good night.

The next morning, Cheryl wakes up and is shocked to find Mr. Mumps gone. Worried, she searches her room and then gets angry when she recalls only Jason knows about Mr. Mumps.

Cheryl goes downstairs and asks her mom where Jason is. Penelope says he’s at the beach.

Cheryl goes to the beach, where she finds Jason hanging with some girl. Jason is annoyed to see “the big pain”.

Cheryl angrily asks Jason what he did with Mr. Mumps. A surprised Jason says he “wouldn’t touch that thing”. Cheryl starts crying and says she can’t sleep without it. Jason promises he would never mess with Mr. Mumps. Cheryl believes him and walks off, wondering what happened to Mr. Mumps. Jason actually feels sorry for Cheryl.

Back at the mansion, they try to narrow down the list of suspects. Jason rules out a prowler, because they have an “airtight laser security system”. Cheryl rules out their parents.

Jason mentions Sophie, their maid. Cheryl is suspicious of her, because she’s been acting strange lately, and she always leaves with a large bag. Cheryl bets Sophie kidnapped Mr. Mumps and is going to blackmail her for a reward. Jason points out Sophie, who’s going home. Cheryl gives chase and spots something in Sophie’s bag, but it turns out to be a dust rag. Cheryl admits she overreacted but then starts crying, wondering where her “beloved” Mr. Mumps is.

That night, Cheryl wishes on a star to show Mr. Mumps’ location. She then sees Mr. Mumps in a tree out her window, rushes outside, and climbs the tree to get him. However, the artwork is confusing. The tree branch that Mr. Mumps is sitting on is shown to extend to Cheryl’s bedroom window. However, Cheryl goes downstairs and runs outside. She’s then seen in the tree, approaching Mr. Mumps from the end of the branch (rather than climbing up the trunk). Also, stars are shown behind the crescent moon, and that always irritates me whenever I see it. These people do realize the moon remains whole, right? Anyway, a squirrel angrily grabs Mr. Mumps. Cheryl guesses the squirrel sneaked into her room and grabbed Mr. Mumps, and it’s small enough to dodge their security system. Um, but how did the squirrel get in and out of the mansion?

Cheryl angrily tries to swipe the bear, but the squirrel amusingly holds it out of reach. Cheryl demands the squirrel give the bear back, but the squirrel just snickers.

The next morning, Penelope comes to Cheryl’s room to wake her and is surprised and worried to not find her in bed. Jason has a laugh when he spots Cheryl sleeping on the tree branch (the squirrel sleeping on her legs) while holding Mr. Mumps. That’s all sorts of dangerous. Clifford appears out of nowhere and asks if she sleepwalked. Jason says she’s just sharing her stuffed toy and then walks off. Clifford asks him if he’s going to get her down. Jason says he’s going to alert the media, because they’ll eat this up.

This story was nice. It’s cute that Cheryl still sleeps with a teddy bear. I gotta call out the artist on the depiction of Cheryl’s bedroom, though; it doesn’t even look like a bedroom; it looks like a general large room (complete with a column) with only Cheryl’s bed and a “C” wall decoration. I know Cheryl’s bedroom (and indeed all of the characters’ bedrooms and houses) look different in every story, but this was very lazy. Also, there was no reason to randomly add Clifford to the tail-end of the final scene. Penelope easily could have delivered his lines.

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Comics – Waterparked!

World-of-Archie-Digest-110Writer: Francis Bonnet
Pencils: The Kennedy Brothers
Inks: Bob Smith
Colors: Glenn Whitmore
Letters: Jack Morelli
Original Publication: World of Archie Jumbo Comics (Double) Digest, No. 110
On-Sale Date: June 16, 2021
Length: 5 pages

Veronica has rented the entire water park for just herself, Betty, Archie, and Jughead. Betty is in disbelief. Ronnie explains she “does not wait in lines”. She’s brought her two poodles. Smithers is on-hand to serve refreshments. Archie wants to check out the water slide first, and Jughead wants to check out the snack stand first. Ronnie, Betty, and the poodles go surfing (Betty’s glad that there are no sharks to worry about).

While on a ride, Ronnie says this would be more fun with more friends. Betty suggests inviting all of their friends. Ronnie decides to text out an invite. Betty suggests waiting until the ride ends. Oh, the poodles are along for the ride, because that’s totally safe.

Reggie, Ginger, and Toni arrive. Ronnie greets them. Toni hopes Jughead left some food for her in the snack stands. A poodle has helped itself to a bunch of sausage links. Ginger has invited “a few others” to join them. Toni and Jughead take a bunch of snacks with them on a ride.

Reggie challenges Archie to a race down the water slide, and Archie accepts. They each try to hide the fact that they each have their eyes closed. They argue over who won the race, and Midge calls them out on having their eyes closed. Yes, Midge, Moose, Dilton, and “a bunch of other friends” have just arrived. Dilton’s trying to study the mechanics of a wave pool, but Chunk points out that it’s just Moose. Moose apologizes to Chuck and Nancy for the impact. Raj is “filming” everything for a water park documentary (it’s a comedy).

Archie goes to find Betty and Veronica, but Cheryl wants to go on a ride through the Tunnel of Love with him. Ronnie’s pissed. Betty messes with the water pressure in order to murder Archie and Cheryl ruin Archie and Cheryl’s ride. They crash.

Archie apologizes to Betty and Ronnie. Ginger comes and gets Archie, Ronnie, and Betty, because “everyone’s waiting for” them to join them at the wave pool party. Jughead asks if they still have the water park to themselves. Archie says it’s just them and a few hundred of their closest friends.

This story was pretty meh. It was mostly just a bunch of random shit that didn’t amount to anything. I guess the big “draw” (if you could call it that) was the large number of characters. Even Mr. Weatherbee and Ms. Grundy make appearances. Notably, excluding cover appearances, this is Cheryl’s first appearance in a Classic Archieverse story in well over a year.

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Comics – Gigonometry!

Everything's-Archie-one-shotWriter: Fred Van Lente
Pencils: Dan Parent
Inks: Bob Smith
Colors: Glenn Whitmore
Letters: Jack Morelli
Original Publication: Everything’s Archie, No. 1 (one-shot)
On-Sale Date: June 9, 2021
Length: 4

This is a 32-page one-shot that consists mostly of reprints, but it does contain a new lead story. The entire issue retails for $3.99, which seems excessive. Oh, and there are three variant covers (retro, chibi, and New Riverdale).

Archie walks by a music store and gets a raging boner for a red guitar in the display window. His behavior startles a woman, and a boy thinks he’s nuts. Archie declares the guitar must be his. He goes into the store and asks an employee for the cost of the “Turbocaster”.

The employee reveals it’s a “honeypot”, basically the opposite of a bait-and-switch scam. The employee correctly guesses Archie can’t afford the guitar. After seeing the price tag, Archie leaves Guitar Planet in a daze while the employee makes a joke.

Archie walks by Betty, who’s sitting on a wall and reading a book. She asks him what’s wrong. He asks her if he looks poor. Betty responds with this groaner: “You’re rich in awesome, that’s all that matters to me!” Archie isn’t pleased with her response. He calls her his “best friend”, which Betty seems to take as a metaphor for “potential fuckbuddy”. Anyway, Archie mentions his money troubles, so Betty brings up the gig economy, which Archie misunderstands. She explains about the app that she downloaded on her phone, but Archie gets upset when he finds out that actual work is involved.

Betty assures him that “it’s never anything too challenging”. She jokes about how “apps are doing things your mom used to do for you”. Archie signs up and is excited that he immediately gets his first gig. He’s confident that he’ll soon own his dream guitar. Archie thanks Betty and kisses her on the cheek. Betty daydreams about her and Archie together, and the dialogue that ends the story seems to indicate Betty and Archie are not together in any romantic capacity, and it’s strictly a one-way attraction on her part, which is very weird.

This story was okay. It seems like only the beginning of a story. The first half is about Archie wanting to get a guitar; the second half is about Betty helping Archie out and desiring a relationship with him. It seems kinda half-baked.

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Comics – Getting Along Swimmingly!

Cheryl-Blossom-5
Writer: Dan Parent*
Pencils: Dan Parent*
Inking: Jon D’Agostino*
Lettering: Bill Yoshida*
Coloring: Barry Grossman*
Original Publication: Cheryl Blossom, No. 5
Cover Date: September, 1997
Length: 6 pages

*Only the lead story in the issue is credited. I assume the credits apply to all of the stories.

Although I have the original issue, I’m reviewing this story from the digital edition. However, the digital edition, as of this writing, is missing page 5; fortunately, I located another source that has the missing page.

At Club Blossom, Cheryl and Louella are walking along by the pool, happy that all’s well. Cheryl spots a blond guy in a speedo, gets a lady boner, and asks who it is. Louella says that’s Ken, the swimming instructor that she hired.

Cheryl compliments Louella’s decision making and then proceeds to “accidentally” fall into the pool. Some random guy offers to save the “fair damsel” (who talks like that?), but Cheryl drowns him. Ken saves her.

Cheryl mentions she’s part owner of this place. Ken realizes she’s “the famous Cheryl Blossom”. Cheryl claims she can’t swim (which we know is a lie) and doesn’t want to cause a distraction by joining the class. She asks Ken to tutor her privately. He agrees. She says she’ll meet him out here tonight at 8:00. Jason has overheard and is amused.

That night, beneath a full moon, Cheryl shows up at the pool in a dark pink gown. Ken compliments her appearance but questions the practicality of it. Cheryl delays the swimming lesson.

Cheryl wants to have a romantic candlelight dinner with him. She claims to have made it, but the server quietly disputes that. Ken wants to go change, but Cheryl talks him out of it. They sit at the table, and the tray with the food disappears. Jason comes out to announce something called the “Blossom Retrospective” is about to begin. Cheryl asks what that is. Jason explains it’s a little film that he put together from their home movies. They’re all suddenly inside as Jason continues his explanation: it’s so all of their guests will get to know them a little better.

The movie (shown on a TV) starts. It shows Cheryl and Jason as kids. Jason explains Cheryl’s nickname was “Divebomb”, because she was an expert diver. Ken is shocked and angry. Cheryl tells Ken that Jason is exaggerating. Jason shows videos of Cheryl winning dive at the junior finals and showing off all of the swimming trophies that she’s won. Cheryl claims to have forgotten about those. Ken angrily yells at Cheryl that she lied to him. Cheryl tells him to consider it a compliment.

Ken is upset that Cheryl is taking time away from people that can’t swim. Cheryl apologizes, though I don’t know if she’s sincere. Ken says he doesn’t like being used as an object. Not sure that’s an accurate description of what Cheryl did, but whatever. Cheryl angrily says now he knows what females have gone through since the dawn of time. Jason’s proud of himself, but Cheryl, recalling Jason can’t swim (I’m sure other stories show otherwise), grabs hold of him, ties up his hands and feet, forces him to the edge of the diving board at the swimming pool, and jumps up and down on the board in an attempt to murder Jason get Jason to “confront [his] fear”. Well, that was violent.

This story was okay, I guess. Cheryl was wrong in what she did. I’m kinda surprised that she isn’t working as a swimming instructor at her own club. Maybe she doesn’t want to bother with it.

A page of Cheryl fan art follows the story. Entries come from Miranda Flowerdew of British Columbia, Canada; Jennifer Bezaire of Ontario, Canada; Marc Gentle of New Rochelle, New York; Samantha Lynch of Creastview, Florida; Ellice Butler of Sunvalley, Nevada; and Araseli Torres of El Centro, California.

Josie and the Pussycats (film)

josie-movie-poster-1Josie-movie-poster-2Josie-movie-poster-3Writers: Harry Elfont and Deborah Kaplan
Directors: Harry Elfont and Deborah Kaplan
Original Release Date: Sunday, April 11, 2001
Length: 98:26 (PG-13), 98:09 (PG)

I’ve been meaning to review this movie for a long time. With the 20th anniversary of the movie here, I decided now was the puuurfect time (sorry, not sorry). In the interest of length, this post will cover the movie only. I already reviewed the soundtrack album. A later post will cover the impact that the movie had upon release and in the decades since. A still later post will review the official novelization of the film.

A coproduction between Universal Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Marc Platt Productions, and Riverdale Productions, Josie and the Pussycats, based on the comic book and cartoon series of the same name, was filmed in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, in 2000 and early 2001.

Then-current “it girl” Rachael Leigh Cook, star of films such as She’s All That and Antitrust (as well as the replacement voice of Chelsea Cunningham on Batman Beyond) was cast in the lead role of lead vocalist / guitarist Josephine “Josie” McCoy. Per Wikipedia, AV Club, and Collider, Cook later expressed surprise at her casting: “somehow, they gave one of the title roles to me, and I cannot sing at all. I don’t play guitar. I have no idea.” Cook said the producers considered her for the titular lead in Josie having remembered Cook from her audition for the lead role in Can’t Hardly Wait (both films were co-written and directed by Kaplan and Elfont).

Tara Reid of American Pie fame was cast as ditzy drummer Melody Valentine.

For the role of bassist Valerie Brown, BeyoncĂ©, Aaliyah, and Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes auditioned, but the role ultimately went to Rosario Dawson.

The girls were put through “band camp” for two weeks, so they could learn to convincingly play their instruments on screen. Cook didn’t sing Josie’s lead vocals (those were provided by Kay Hanley of Letters to Cleo), but she and the other girls were brought into the recording studio and sang the backing vocals of the Pussycats.

Josie-film-001-UniversalJosie-film-002-MGMAs the movie begins, the music kicks in during the logos. This movie can’t wait for its own video footage to start rocking out!

Josie-film-003-logo-morphJosie-film-004-screaming-fanIn a clever twist, the MGM lion morphs into a screaming fan.

Josie-film-005-screaming-fansJosie-film-006-excited-fanJosie-film-007-crying-fanJosie-film-008-crazy-fanAll of these fans are gathered at an airport to see:

Josie-film-009-DuJour-arrivesDuJour, the hottest boy band around!

DuJour’s band members are:

Les Frame (possibly related to Wyatt), played by Alexander Martin

DJ Parker, played by Donald Faison

Travis McCoy (probably no relation to Josie), played by Seth Green

Marco Brown (probably no relation to Valerie), played by Brecklin Meyer

Song: “Backdoor Lover” by DuJour

Josie-film-010-DuJour-creditsJosie-film-011-DuJour-LesJosie-film-012-DuJour-DJJosie-film-013-DuJour-TravisJosie-film-014-DuJour-MarcoJosie-film-015-DuJour-credits-2The band starts performing their hit song, “Backdoor Lover”, their tribute to anal sex.

Josie-film-016-crowd-screamsThe crowd goes wild and starts singing along. I bet all of the girls in the crowd (and some of the guys) are hoping a member of DuJour will be their backdoor lover.

Josie-film-017-Jann-CarlJosie-film-018-Jann-Carl-bandJann Carl covers the event for Entertainment Tonight and interviews the band.

Josie-film-019-band-signJosie-film-020-DuJour-signApparently, they became the #1 band in the world (and have the #1 song) within one year.

Josie-film-021-DuJour-sings-ET-themeAfter a short fluff interview, the band sings the Entertainment Tonight theme.

Josie-film-022-DJ-crowdThe crowd really loves this band.

Josie-film-023-Wyatt-boards-planeThe band and their manager, Wyatt Frame (Alan Cumming), then board their plane.

Josie-film-024-band-planeOnce they’re en route, Wyatt informs them that they’ll land in Riverdale in a half-hour. They’re booked on the Riverdale, Rise and Shine show, and then they’ve got an in-store gig at 8:00 AM.

Josie-film-025-Marco-CokeJosie-film-026-monkey-candyJosie-film-027-DJ-ballsJosie-film-028-Marco-Wyatt-DJJosie-film-029-Travis-WhatJosie-film-030-Travis-faceJosie-film-031-Marco-faceWyatt has to put up with complaints and fighting from the band regarding stupid shit like a limited-edition Coke can, Marco’s pet monkey (Dr. Zaius), and Travis accusing Marco of stealing his “face”.

Oh, you might have noticed a very large amount of product placement in this film. That was deliberate on the part of the filmmakers. It’s part of the movie’s overall satire of our consumerist culture.

Josie-film-032-DuJour-fightThe band gets into a bit of a fight. Oh, a common phrase among them is “DuJour means…[insert whatever they’re trying to achieve].”

Josie-film-033-Wyatt-bandJosie-film-034-Wyatt-LesLes brings something to Wyatt’s attention. The band was working on some remixes of the last single, and they heard a really strange background track and were wondering if he knew what it was all about.

Wyatt says he doesn’t know. The band wants answers. He says he’ll get them and excuses himself for the moment. He leaves and closes the door.

Josie-film-035-Wyatt-pilotIn the cockpit, Wyatt tells the pilot (co-writer/co-director Harry Elfont in a cameo), “Take the Chevy to the levy.

Josie-film-036-Wyatt-parachuteThey bail out.

Travis casually notices it. Marco starts doing his face again, so another fight ensues.

Josie-film-037-monkeyThe plane starts falling.

Josie-film-038-pilot-planeJosie-film-039-Wyatt-landsThe pilot and Wyatt land safely.

Josie-film-040-Wyatt-phoneWyatt gets on his phone and informs someone that they need to find a new band.

Josie-film-041-Wyatt-Riverdale-signSong: “3 Small Words” by Josie and the Pussycats

The movie then transitions to its opening theme song, where we get our first look at our heroes. The fast-moving montage serves as a very convenient way to get up to speed on these characters and their situation in life. I don’t really have anything to say about this. Just enjoy the pictures.

Josie-film-042-Melody-sticksJosie-film-043-Pussycats-spraypaintJosie-film-044-titleJosie-film-045-Josie-jumpsJosie-film-046-Melody-jumpsJosie-film-047-Valerie-jumpsJosie-film-048-Melody-drumsJosie-film-049-Josie-guitarJosie-film-050-Melody-drums-2Josie-film-051-Valerie-bassJosie-film-052-Valerie-tailJosie-film-053-Pussycats-danceJosie-film-054-Pussycats-mirrorJosie-film-055-Pussycats-mirror-2Josie-film-056-Pussycats-vanJosie-film-057-Josie-titleJosie-film-058-Josie-title-2Josie-film-059-Josie-work-1Josie-film-060-Josie-work-2Josie-film-061-Josie-work-3Josie-film-062-Josie-work-4Josie-film-063-Josie-crane-gameJosie-film-064-Josie-guitar-catJosie-film-065-Josie-guitar-vanJosie-film-066-Josie-guitar-cat-2Josie-film-067-Pussycats-rockJosie-film-068-Valerie-title-1Josie-film-069-Valerie-title-2Josie-film-070-Valerie-raceJosie-film-071-Valerie-race-2Josie-film-072-Valerie-climbs-1Josie-film-073-Valerie-climbs-2Josie-film-074-Valerie-SantaJosie-film-075-Valerie-work-1Josie-film-076-Valerie-work-2Josie-film-077-Valerie-food-driveJosie-film-078-Melody-jumpsJosie-film-079-Melody-title-1Josie-film-080-Melody-title-2Josie-film-081-Melody-sign-hugsJosie-film-082-Melody-dog-waveJosie-film-083-Melody-dog-wave-2Josie-film-084-Melody-sign-rainbowsJosie-film-085-Melody-tongue-animalJosie-film-086-Melody-sign-PussycatsJosie-film-087-Melody-accidentJosie-film-088-Melody-full-signJosie-film-089-Melody-runs-away-1Josie-film-090-Melody-runs-away-2Josie-film-091-Alexander-jumps-cell-phoneJosie-film-092-Alexander-titleJosie-film-093-Alexandra-jumpsJosie-film-094-Alexandra-titleJosie-film-095-Alan-jumpsJosie-film-096-Alan-titleJosie-film-097-Pussycats-excitedJosie-film-098-Pussycats-morning-routineJosie-film-099-Pussycats-catsJosie-film-100-Pussycats-bowling-alleyAs the song ends, we are treated to one of the greatest reveals in cinematic history: the Pussycats are playing at a bowling alley.

Josie-film-101-bowlersJosie-film-102-bowling-laneJosie-film-103-Josie-thanksJosie-film-104-ValerieJosie-film-105-Melody-drumsUnrealistically, no one at Riverdale Pin Palace gives a shit about their motherfucking kickass rock song. The business needs the lane and the shoes back, so the girls have to leave.

Josie-film-106-Pussycats-paidThey get paid $20 – minus $5 shoe rental (each).

Josie-film-107-Pussycats-load-gearOutside, as they load their gear into their van, Josie is way too positive, calling this their “best show yet”.

Josie-film-108-Riverdale-Pin-PalaceJosie-film-109-mean-girlsThe local mean girls show up (listening to “Backdoor Lover”), and the leader talks shit about our girls.

Josie-film-110-Melody-JosieNot missing a beat, Josie talks shit about them.

Josie-film-111-mean-girls-2Josie-film-112-mean-girls-3The girl in the back talks shit about their “stupid bunny ears”.

Josie-film-113-Melody-Josie-2Melody corrects them: they’re “special” “leopard” ears.

Josie-film-114-Pussycats-vanShe also says they’re special.

Josie-film-115-mean-girls-4The leader calls them “special ed”.

Josie-film-116-Melody-Josie-3Josie-film-117-mean-girls-5The leader tells Josie to enjoy the gutters, because she’ll be playing there forever.

Josie-film-118-Melody-ValerieJosie-film-119-Melody-Valerie-2The mean girls then drive off, leaving the band upset.

Josie-film-120-Josie-ValerieJosie-film-121-Josie-Valerie-2Josie-film-122-Josie-Valerie-3Valerie tries to cheer Josie up, asking her “Who’s a rock star?” Josie replies “I am.”

Josie-film-123-RiverdaleRiverdale looks like a nice, upscale town.

Josie-film-124-Pussycats-houseJosie-film-125-Pussycats-house-2So of course the Pussycats live in a shitty house by a dirt road.

Song: “Come On” by Josie and the Pussycats

Josie-film-126-Josie-mirrorJosie-film-127-Josie-mirror-2Josie-film-128-Josie-mirror-3Josie-film-129-Josie-mirror-4Josie plays guitar while looking at herself in the mirror. I assume she’s playing the same song that’s currently heard in the film.

Josie-film-130-Alan-arrivesAlan M (Gabriel Mann) stops by and is amused. He calls out to her. We learn Josie’s last name is McCoy – an invention for this movie; in the comics, Josie’s last name alternated between Jones and James.

Josie-film-131-Josie-knocks-over-CDsJosie is startled and knocks over a tower of her CDs. The music abruptly cuts off (complete with record scratch).

Josie-film-132-Josie-pissed“What the fuck, dude?”

Josie seems a bit embarrassed to be caught doing this but then asks what’s going on. He informs her that his truck died.

Josie-film-133-Josie-works-on-truckJosie-film-134-Alan-Josie-truckWhile Josie works on his truck, Alan plays his guitar and sings an impromptu song, asking her how he fucked up the truck. He tells her to jump in any time.

Josie-film-135-Josie-sings-truckShe informs him that he abused the accelerator.

Josie-film-136-Josie-reprimands-AlanShe reminds him that she’d told him that he can’t drive it uphill when it’s hot outside. She’s genuinely upset and says he doesn’t deserve a truck this good, because he totally takes it for granted.

He seems upset but then starts singing about it.

Josie-film-137-Josie-smiles-truckShe can’t stay mad at him.

Josie-film-138-Alan-JosieThere’s this moment of romantic tension when Alan wants to tell Josie something (he plays it off like a hypothetical situation), and she thinks it’s about his feelings for her (she advises him to “always tell”), but it’s actually about a really stinky guy at work.

Josie-film-139-Josie-laughsJosie laughs at herself for jumping to the wrong conclusion.

Josie-film-140-Josie-celebratesShe seemingly fixes his truck and does a half-assed celebratory…thing.

Song: “I Wish You Well” by Josie and the Pussycats

Josie-film-141-Pussycats-ramenLater, the girls are sharing a pack of ramen. That’s a smart idea, considering their lack of income.

Josie-film-142-Cabots-arriveThe Cabot Twins, Alexander (Paulo Costanzo) and Alexandra (Missi Pyle) arrive bearing donuts, much to Melody’s delight (Valerie’s happy, too).

Josie lets Alex know this doesn’t make up for him missing their gig.

Josie-film-143-CabotsAlexandra talks shit about the girls and her brother. Alex talks shit about his sister.

Josie-film-144-Josie-ramenJosie’s like “You fuckin’ weirdos.”

Alex asks them how their set went. Josie calls him out (again) on missing it.

Josie-film-145-Melody-runsAn offhand comment by Alex about not being everywhere at once sets Melody to running around the house in a demonstration of what it would be like to be able to do that.

Valerie calls Alex out on not having any other clients, but he claims he’s “on the streets, spreading the Gospel of the Pussycats”.

Josie-film-146-Alexandra-ticketsAlexandra mentions he waited in line for DuJour tickets.

Josie-film-147-AlexJosie-ValerieJosie and Valerie are pissed at Alex, but he claims it’s “for business”, since he’s “checking out the competition”.

Josie-film-148-Melody-runs-2Melody’s still at it. Notably, she exclaims “And I can go in the closet!”

Alex fakes a phone call from someone supposedly wanting a demo tape of the Pussycats. Josie calls him out on it. He leaves. Alexandra needlessly points out that he’s lying. Josie points out that her fly is open. Alexandra zips up while saying Josie sucks and then leaves. Melody calls them into the living room.

Josie-film-149-newsJosie-film-150-Serena-AltschulJosie-film-151-Serena-Altschul-DuJourJosie-film-152-Pussycats-watchJosie-film-153-Serena-Altschul-DuJour-TVOn MTV News, Serena Altschul reports on DuJour’s disappearance forty miles east of Riverdale (it seemed a lot closer than that). Instead of a statement, DuJour’s label, MegaRecords, has released a limited-edition commemorative box set – complete with a CD-ROM history of DuJour – in stores tomorrow.

Josie-film-154-Pussycats-watch-2Melody is sad but remains hopeful.

Josie-film-155-Serena-Altschul-DuJour-TV-2Josie-film-156-Melody-planShe decides they’ll raise money for a search party and hold a bake sale. She runs off to make it happen, but I guess it doesn’t, because it’s never mentioned again.

Josie-film-157-Josie-ValerieJosie is sad.

Josie-film-158-DuJour-tributeJosie-film-159-Josie-Valerie-handsValerie says “But at least they had a record deal.”

Josie-film-160-Josie-motivatedThis motivates Josie to get off her ass (literally) and try to kickstart the Pussycats’ career in the hope of getting a record deal.

Josie-film-161-Valerie-smilesValerie admires her girlfriend’s friend’s determination but tries to give her a dose of reality.

Josie-film-162-Pussycats-living-roomJosie is undeterred and gets Valerie and Melody on board. She tells Valerie to pack up her bass and has them follow her.

Song: “Money (That’s What I Want)” by Josie and the Pussycats

Josie-film-163-Downtown-RiverdaleWe then get a montage of random people shopping and eating in Downtown Riverdale. Plenty of product placement.

Josie-film-164-girls-shoppingThree girls have ditched their red shoes for pink shoes. One of them declares “Pink is the new red.”

Josie-film-165-DJ-Wyatt-CDJosie-film-166-DuJour-CDJosie-film-167-DJ-WyattWyatt comes into the local MegaRecords store (yeah, they have their own store) and has the DJ play the suspiciously-titled new single from DuJour, recorded just a few days ago, in order to “test the reaction”. He also crosses himself left-handed.

Song: “DuJour Around the World” by DuJour

Josie-film-168-girls-listening-stationsFor some reason, even though this song is playing overhead, some girls go up to MegaRecords listening stations to listen to it.

Josie-film-169-girlsThe girls from earlier want to buy the single – and orange shoes. The girl that earlier declared “Pink is the new red” now declares “Orange is the new pink”.

Elsewhere, two guys wanna buy other stuff.

Wyatt is pleased with the response.

Josie-film-170-girl-WyattHowever, he meets a girl that hates bullshit music like that.

Josie-film-171-Wyatt-girl-vanWyatt sends out the code phrase “Smells like teen spirit” and takes the “nonconformist” downstairs and into an unmarked van, which speeds off.

Josie-film-172-Fiona-handJosie-film-173-Fiona-mouthWyatt gets a call from his upset, impatient boss (Parker Posey), who we don’t see all of yet for whatever reason. He swears he’ll have a new band for her first thing in the morning.

Josie-film-174-Pussycats-unpluggedWhile some workers remove a sign from a DuJour display, the Pussycats want to play unplugged outside on the sidewalk.

Josie-film-175-Valerie-guyJosie-film-176-Melody-JosieA guy selling new, orange things stops them before they can start, claiming they’ll somehow dissuade people from shopping.

Valerie’s like “Free country, motherfucker.”

Josie-film-177-Pussycats-guyThe guy says he’s gonna call the cops.

Wyatt drives along, complaining about his boss.

Josie doesn’t think the guy’s really gonna call the cops, but…

Josie-film-178-Pussycats-police-lightsThey run and cross the street, right in front of Wyatt’s car, and he just barely manages to come to a stop before hitting them.

Josie-film-179-Wyatt-CD-caseJosie-film-180-Pussycats-signJosie-film-181-Pussycats-streetJosie-film-182-Wyatt-HelloJosie-film-183-Wyatt-cardThe stars align, and Wyatt finds a new band.

Josie-film-184-Pussycats-Wyatt-StarbucksJosie-film-185-Valerie-earsThey go to Starbucks. Wyatt gets the name of their band wrong.

Josie-film-186-Wyatt-MegarecordsHe wants them to sign with MegaRecords.

Josie-film-187-Josie-surprisedJosie is surprised.

Josie-film-188-Alex-interruptsAlex interrupts and tells them not to sign anything. Wyatt says, as their manager, he’ll be entitled to 15% of everything that they make.

Josie-film-189-Alexandra-WyattAlexandra flirts with Wyatt. He calls her out on her bad breath.

Josie-film-190-Josie-StarbucksJosie points out that Wyatt has never even heard them play.

Wyatt pretends he thinks they’re not interested and starts to get up to leave, but they make him stay.

Josie-film-191-Josie-disbeliefJosie’s still in disbelief.

There’s some odd humor regarding the Beastie Boys.

Josie excuses herself to go to the bathroom and gets Valerie to come as well. This is obviously so they can have a private meeting, but poor, stupid Melody doesn’t get it (she went before they left and preaches doing so), so she has to be dragged along.

Josie-film-192-meeting-restroomSo the Pussycats, Alexandra, and Alex crowd into the restroom for a meeting. Valerie pretends she needs a tampon, and that gets rid of Alex.

After discussion of Wyatt (including his choice of coffee) and the suddenness of the offer, the girls reach a decision:

Josie-film-193-girls-scream-restroomJosie-film-194-girls-restroomAlexandra is happy that she’ll have Alan M. all to herself.

Josie-film-195-Alan-Josie-planeSo of course Josie brings Alan along. Alan’s excited, but Josie tells him to shut the fuck up, because he’s officially her “guitar tech”.

Josie-film-196-Alexandra-planeOf course, Alexandra came along as well. I wonder what her excuse is. Even Alex wonders why she’s here, and she breaks the fourth wall by saying “I’m here, because I was in the comic book.”

Josie-film-197-Pussycats-planeJosie goes and sits in Valerie’s lap, and Val is surprised but also quite happy with “big butt” sitting there. Just saying.

Anyway, the girls love their first taste of their new life. Valerie loves the private plane. Josie loves the record deal.

Josie-film-198-Melody-coasterMelody loves the coasters. I love Mel; it takes so little to make her happy.

Wyatt’s on a phone call, but Alan’s guitar playing and singing distracts him, so he shuts that shit down.

Josie-film-199-Valerie-bus-passValerie finds her Riverdale Transit Authority bus pass in her wallet and considers tossing it (they posed for a group photo for their passes, and there’s debate over who jumped in on whose photo). It’s dumb that it doesn’t indicate which state that Riverdale is in, but it’s basically an Archie tradition. Anyway, looking closely at the bus pass, the ZIP code seems to be either 46520 or 46529, neither of which are valid, but they fall within the range used in Indiana. That’s…different.

Anyway, Valerie then changes her mind and says they should keep their bus passes to remind them where they came from.

Song: “Spin Around” by Josie and the Pussycats

Josie-film-200-Pussycats-promiseAt Josie’s suggestion, they promise each other, no matter what happens, they will always be friends first and a band second. They swear on their bus passes.

This pleases Wyatt, who goes to the cockpit. The pilot (Lex) is ready to bail, but Wyatt assures him that they won’t have any trouble with these girls.

Song: “You’re a Star” by Josie and the Pussycats

Josie-film-201-plane-NYCJosie-film-202-Pussycats-Wyatt-John-FriedaJosie-film-203-Pussycats-Wyatt-John-Frieda-2Josie-film-204-beauty-crewWhen they arrive in New York City, Wyatt takes them to John Frieda to (somewhat forcibly) get a makeover.

Josie-film-205-Pussycats-hairdryersJosie-film-206-Melody-hairdryersThey eventually get into it.

Josie-film-207-Pussycats-Wyatt-sidewalkOnce they leave the salon, Josie sees something and is like “Holy shit.”

Josie-film-208-Pussycats-sign-Times-SquareJosie questions Wyatt’s decision to put this up already, considering they’ve done jack shit.

Josie-film-209-Josie-worriedShe’s worried that they’re gonna flop.

Wyatt’s brutally honest about replacing them, which surprises them, but then he laughs it off. He motions for them to get in the limo. Josie gets in, but Valerie points out that they’re just the Pussycats. Wyatt says Josie is the singer, and the public needs someone out front to identify with. He brings up some supposed stats to back this up, but Valerie brings up the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and the Backstreet Boys. Wyatt pretty much breaks the fourth wall when defending the name change, basically referencing the comic book, cartoon series, and movie. Melody comes to like the name change and gets in the limo. Valerie stays behind for a moment and tries reciting the name, and then they nearly leave without her. Wyatt claims he didn’t notice. Melody’s excited that there are more coasters in the limo.

Josie-film-210-mysterious-figureAs they drive off, a mysterious figure looks on.

Josie-film-211-Wyatt-suit-fittingLater, Wyatt is talking to his boss, Fiona, on the phone while getting fitted for a suit. He tries to describe the band to her, and, yeah, he’s definitely racist. This might be a reference to what almost happened to Valerie on the cartoon series. Not sure.

Josie-film-212-Fiona-backFiona has had enough. She tells Wyatt to put them in the studio tomorrow. She ends the call, because “the feds are here with some foreigners”, and she has to give them the tour.

Josie-film-213-FionaWe finally see Fiona’s face as she greets the arrivals. Not sure why it took them so long to show it.

Josie-film-214-feds-and-foreignersAmong the federal agents present is Agent Kelly (Tom Butler).

Josie-film-215-Fiona-deskJosie-film-216-panel-cocaineJosie-film-217-panelWith the feds present, Fiona naturally starts the tour by wiping a bunch of cocaine off a panel and typing in a secret code.

Josie-film-218-Fiona-descendsThe entire office descends to a lower level of the building.

Josie-film-219-Fiona-command-centerFiona takes them into the command center, where an army of workers determine trends and popularity – everything from movies to fashion to slang (the new word for cool is “jerkin'”) – among teens.

Josie-film-220-Fiona-lightsAfter praising “the Chinese guy” for understanding what’s going on, Fiona has them watch “a short educational film” that explains how they influence the teens.

Josie-film-221-Eugene-LevyJosie-film-222-Eugene-Levy-2The film, narrated by Eugene Levy, spills the secret: subliminal messages in rock music. The government is in on it, of course. This is all about the money: getting kids to spend the “wads of cash” that they have from babysitting and minimum-wage jobs on stuff that they normally wouldn’t want in order to boost the economy. I find this hard to believe. It’s probably solely to boost political donors’ personal wealth.

Josie-film-223-Eugene-Levy-woman-flag“God bless the United States of America, the most ass-kickin’ country in the world!”

The video ends with two frames of the words “Tail Pop” with a circle around it. I have no idea what this is, and, hilariously, I can’t get a screencap of it, because the screen in the film ends up completely black in every screencap of this that I try to take.

A foreigner asks what if the rock bands find out about the hidden messages in their music. Fiona responds with plane crashes and drug overdoses (specifically Elvis Presley). Also, it’s the reason that the Spice Girls fell apart. They also use bankruptcy, shocking scandals, and religious conversions (among other things). Behind the Music was created to explain what happens to these people. Everyone is impressed.

Josie-film-224-Pussycats-Wyatt-studioThe next day, Wyatt takes the girls into the studio.

Josie-film-225-Melody-wallMelody loves the “mooshy” walls.

Josie-film-226-brand-new-instrumentsJosie is in awe of the brand-new instruments.

Josie-film-227-Melody-mixerMelody likes the mixer for its shiny knobs.

Wyatt’s like “Hands off, bitch.”

Josie-film-228-Wyatt-Pussycats-mixerJosie-film-229-Megasound-8000It’s the Megasound 8000, the most expensive piece of equipment in the studio.

Valerie asks Wyatt how it works, and he’s evasive.

Josie-film-230-Pussycats-tease-WyattThe girls tease Wyatt about keeping a secret. He decides to show them how it works in order to shut them up. He asks them to play something for him.

Song: “3 Small Words” by Josie and the Pussycats

Josie-film-231-Pussycats-playJosie-film-232-Josie-singsJosie-film-233-Melody-drumsThey play a bit of “3 Small Words”, and then Wyatt works the machine.

Josie-film-234-Wyatt-Pussycats-mixer-2Josie-film-235-Melody-Big-MacJosie-film-236-Melody-Big-Mac-2When they listen to the playback, right before which Valerie gives Josie a tight squeeze (just saying), Melody suddenly wants a Big Mac, despite being a vegetarian, and suggests getting one on the way back to the hotel.

Josie-film-237-Valerie-JosieValerie agrees, but she also wants to go shoe shopping at Foot Locker. So does Josie. Josie even uses “jerkin'” and lets out a cute little slightly insane laugh.

Wyatt suddenly stops the playback and threatens to drop them back at Riverdale Mall if they’re not ready to make a record. Where did this come from? Is it because they wanna do other shit? They clearly wanna do that shit on their way back to the hotel.

Josie-film-238-Wyatt-Cabots-studioWyatt and the Cabots watch and listen as Josie and the Pussycats lay down their first track.

Josie-film-239-Josie-nervousJosie is nervous.

Josie-film-240-Valerie-smilesJosie-film-241-Josie-calmsValerie gives her lover friend a reassuring smile.

Josie-film-242-Valerie-looks-behindValerie checks on Melody.

Josie-film-243-Melody-smilesMelody’s ready.

All right, Pussycats are all in place. Let’s do it!

Josie-film-244-Melody-countsMelody counts.

Song: “Pretend to Be Nice” by Josie and the Pussycats

Josie-film-245-Pussycats-playJosie-film-246-Pussycats-play-2Josie-film-247-Josie-singsJosie-film-248-Josie-sings-2Josie-film-249-Josie-sings-3Josie-film-250-Pussycats-play-3Josie-film-251-Melody-drumsWyatt is pleased. Alex is into it. Alexandra seems disinterested.

Y’know, it occurs to me that it’s unclear who wrote this song (the ‘cats or the corporates) and why they didn’t just record “3 Small Words”, but the real-world answer is “We already heard that.”

As the song continues playing, we get a montage:

Josie-film-252-Pussycats-photo-shootJosie-film-253-Pussycats-photo-shoot-2The band does a photo shoot.

Josie-film-254-Pussycats-music-video-1Josie-film-255-film-strip-montageJosie-film-256-music-video-2Josie-film-257-music-video-3Josie-film-258-music-video-4Josie-film-259-music-video-5They also shoot the music video for this song.

This montage has some really clever transitions; screencaps can’t do them justice.

Josie-film-260-popularity-growsJosie-film-261-Pretend-to-Be-Nice-CDsThe girls’ popularity grows. They’ve got “the best CD ever”.

Josie-film-262-chart-86I see they sneaked another pussy joke into the movie.

Josie-film-263-chart-86-close-upJosie-film-264-Fiona-merchFiona has visions of merchandise.

Josie-film-265-Melody-fanA fan recognizes Melody on the street.

Josie-film-266-MelodyJosie-film-267-fan-Melody-streetJosie-film-268-Melody-runsMelody gets scared and runs away, because…she thinks she sees herself?

Josie-film-269-Josie-singsJosie-film-270-Melody-singsJosie-film-271-Valerie-singsJosie-film-272-Pussycats-singJosie-film-273-chart-32Josie-film-274-chart-32-close-upJosie-film-275-Pussycats-poseJosie-film-276-Pussycats-crowdJosie-film-277-Rolling-StoneJosie-film-278-Melody-drumsJosie-film-279-chart-7Josie-film-280-Pussycats-limoJosie-film-281-chart-1Josie-film-282-Pussycats-headlinesHa! That’s pretty damn funny. It’s a joke that was, no doubt, put in by the editor, Peter Teschner.

Josie-film-283-Melody-drumsJosie-film-284-Melody-drums-2Josie-film-285-Sold-Out-1Josie-film-286-Sold-Out-2Josie-film-287-DEAJosie-film-288-Pussycats-celebrateJosie-film-289-Pussycats-hoseJosie-film-290-Pussycats-celebrate-2Josie-film-291-BillboardJosie-film-292-Pussycats-celebrate-3As the montage ends, Alexandra refuses to accept the Pussycats’ fame.

Josie-film-293-Josie-WaitJosie-film-294-Josie-concernedEven Josie is concerned enough to pause the celebration and question all of this happening in a week. Melody and Valerie think about it, and Wyatt gets on his phone, but her bandmates end up not being concerned, so neither is Josie, so their lives are spared for now.

Josie-film-295-Pussycats-doorThere’s a knock on their hotel room door, so they answer it.

Josie-film-296-mean-girls-doorOh, Goddess, it’s the mean girls from Riverdale.

Josie-film-297-Pussycats-shockedJosie doesn’t recognize them, but Valerie does, and then so does Josie.

Josie-film-298-mean-girls-door-2The mean girls fangirl over Josie and the Pussycats, calling them “the new DuJour”. They are about to show the girls their Pussycat tattoos, but Valerie and Josie quickly slam the door.

Wyatt is unconcerned and vaguely talks about revenge against high school enemies.

Wyatt informs them that Fiona, the head of MegaRecords, is throwing a huge party tonight in their honor: “a celebration of all things Josie”.

Josie-film-299-Josie-photoHe gives Josie and Melody invitations. We see Josie’s face is on Josie’s invitation. We don’t see the photo on Melody’s invitation, but it’s presumably of Melody. Maybe. Valerie asks why she didn’t get one. Wyatt feigns innocence and allows her to come along. Racist motherfucker.

Alexandra asks about herself and Alexander, but Wyatt shoots that down.

Josie-film-300-Wyatt-JosieJosie is overwhelmed at the idea of the party, nervously calling it “kinda cool”. So of course Wyatt brings up playing their own stadium concert this weekend (supposedly breaking his promise to Fiona that she could tell them). Josie suggests playing some small clubs and doing a few gigs in Europe first to build a following. Wyatt’s dismissive of her idea and says the stadium concert will have a “simultaneous pay-per-view webcast, live streaming video” (which I’m sure is redundant). This must have been cutting edge in 2001. Anyway, they will have an audience of millions.

Josie-film-301-Melody-Wyatt-hug“Mely-Mel” is excited for their first concert and thanks Wyatt, but he tells her to thank Fiona.

Josie-film-302-Fiona-feathersWhat the fuck is Fiona wearing?

In the command center, Fiona talks about Operation: Big Concert, where they finally take things to the next level.

Josie-film-303-Fiona-headsetThe entire concert audience (live and home) will have to purchase these cat-ear headsets, which will debut “3DX Surround Sound, a new technology that makes the music feel like it’s happening all around you, like 3D”. As funny as Fiona’s delivery of this line is, this hasn’t aged well and was actually outdated even in 2001.

Fiona gives them a demonstration by playing a bit of “Pretend to Be Nice” and then revealing the subliminal message, which is delivered by Mr. Moviephone: “Conform! Free will is overrated! Jump on the bandwagon!” He does all of their subliminal tracks.

Josie-film-304-Agent-Kelly-headsetAgent Kelly congratulates Fiona.

Josie-film-305-Fiona-Agent-KellyThere’s then a bit of time wasting on a gag where Fiona keeps accidentally hinting there’s more to her plan than she told them, and he questions her on it, and she has to bullshit her way out of it. It wears out its welcome.

Josie-film-306-hotelJosie-film-307-Behind-the-MusicJosie-film-308-The-ChiefJosie-film-309-The-Chief-Tennille-and-CaptainJosie-film-310-Josie-robeJosie-film-311-The-Chief-Tennille-and-Captain-2Josie-film-312-The-Chief-Tennille-and-Captain-3Josie-film-313-The-Chief-Tennille-and-Captain-4Josie-film-314-Josie-robe-2Josie-film-315-Chief-firedJosie-film-316-Chief-mops-floorJosie-film-317-Josie-robe-3Josie-film-318-Josie-robe-4Back at the hotel, Josie watched an episode of Behind the Music about the Chief (Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, the executive producer of the soundtrack album), a former bandmate of Captain & Tennille that Captain kicked out of the group. Supposedly, Captain had told him the same thing that Josie had told Valerie and Melody: friends first, the band second. Josie thinks about this.

Josie-film-319-Melody-shower-1Josie-film-320-Melody-shower-2Meanwhile, Melody is taking a shower and singing “If You’re Happy and You Know It“. The joke is, every time that she claps her hands, she drops her loofah, so she has to pause, bend over, pick it up, and continue.

Josie-film-321-mysterious-figureShe misses a mysterious figure moving past the shower.

Josie-film-322-Melody-screamsJosie-film-323-mirror-messageJosie-film-324-Melody-mirrorShe sees this, though, and is horrified.

Josie-film-325-MelodyJosie-film-326-Melody-mirror-2“That’s better.”

Josie-film-327-Josie-dressJosie-film-328-Alan-pizza-JosieAlan heralds his arrival with a knock and a song about pizza. Josie apologizes for forgetting about their pizza date, which was never mentioned, but we haven’t even seen Alan for, like, 21 minutes.

Josie-film-329-Josie-wristbandsAnyway, Josie explains about the party and expects Alan to make fun of her dress. She didn’t pick it out, but she cut up the front and made wristbands. He likes it.

Josie-film-330-Josie-smilesJosie-film-331-Josie-chainJosie-film-332-Alan-JosieJosie-film-333-Alan-Josie-2Josie-film-334-Josie-chain-2Josie-film-335-Alan-Josie-3Josie-film-336-Josie-chain-3Josie-film-337-Alan-Josie-4Josie asks Alan to help her with a chain.

Josie-film-338-Alan-Wyatt-JosieThen Wyatt comes in and ruins the moment. Wyatt gets Alan’s name wrong (“Alec N.”), and Alan corrects him. Wyatt makes fun of his initial. The movie doesn’t address it, and I doubt the comics ever established what the M stands for, but Alan’s name in the comics is Alan M. Mayberry.

Wyatt literally drags Josie out the door. Josie lamely tries to comfort Alan by saying there’s free cable in the room. Alan asks her if she wants to do something tomorrow. Josie does, but it has to be worked into her schedule in between TV interviews. Wyatt eventually schedules it at 4:15 PM – and also insults Alan and gets his name wrong again (“Adam-12”) on his way out. Josie apologizes to Alan on her way out.

Josie-film-339-partyAt the party, which looks more like a celebration of all things Fiona, “Pretend to Be Nice” is playing on the speakers.

Josie-film-340-Wyatt-Pussycats-arriveWyatt, Josie, Valerie, and Melody arrive.

We hear the girls’ thoughts:

Josie-film-341-Josie-arrivesJosie is uncomfortable with people staring at them. She’s convinced that no one thinks she should be here.

Josie-film-342-Valerie-arrivesValerie is upset that people are staring at Josie. She’s convinced that no one thinks she (Valerie) should be here.

Josie-film-343-Melody-arrivesMelody is singing “If You’re Happy and You Know It”.

The lights dim, and Fiona is introduced.

Josie-film-344-Fiona-arrivesFiona arrives, descending a staircase, to what seems to be her own cover of “Pretend to Be Nice”. If you were a music artist, how would you feel about the head of your record label doing this?

Josie-film-345-Fiona-welcomesFiona introduces herself to the girls and welcomes them to their party.

Josie-film-346-Pussycats-applaudThe girls awkwardly applaud.

Fiona takes them away to “go be girls”.

Josie-film-347-girly-roomJosie-film-348-Fiona-bedShe takes them to her “girly room” (“No boys allowed.”) and invites them to sit on the bed and gossip. A hot guy brings in a tray of snacks.

Josie-film-349-Fiona-Melody-bedMelody excitedly goes for the Pringles.

Josie-film-350-Fiona-comeFiona seems way too eager to get Josie into bed.

Josie-film-351-Josie-Fiona-PringleJosie-film-352-Fiona-massages-JosieThis is so fucking weird.

Josie-film-353-Pussycats-Fiona-bedFiona’s asks for Josie’s weight (which is none of her fucking business), and we learn it’s 118. Fiona is (supposedly) 115 and gloats about it.

Fiona suddenly speaks with a lisp and talks about how Josie is “so pretty and popular”. Josie asks her about it (the comment, not the lisp), and Fiona bullshits she was talking about the song. Valerie asks “What song?” Seriously? Well, anyway, Fiona says the new single. She then catches on to her own lisp and bullshits she has something caught in her teeth. She leaves and comes back, her voice now normal. She suggest french braiding.

Josie-film-354-Josie-ValerieWhen our girls go outside, Valerie asks about Fiona being a freak.

Josie-film-355-MelodyJosie-film-356-Pussycats-outsideMelody talks about an “ice-cold chill” creeping up her spine, but Valerie points out that it’s because of where Melody’s sitting (the “o” in Fiona’s name).

Josie-film-357-Melody-pointsHowever, Melody still has the shivers after standing up and says “It’s not the ‘o’; it’s her.”

Josie asks Valerie for her opinion. Valerie says “some things feel like they’ve changed completely” since they left Riverdale. She doesn’t elaborate on this.

Josie-film-358-Josie-Valerie-laptopFiona is watching them on her laptop, and that’s some damn good resolution for 2001. Was this even possible back then?

Josie-film-359-Wyatt-FionaFiona doesn’t like Melody and Valerie. “They’re asking questions, and that’s dangerous.” Wyatt offers to get rid of them and have a new band by the morning. Fiona points out that they’ve already sold 500,000 Josie ears for the big concert. She wants Josie kept around and Melody and Valerie killed.

Josie-film-360-Fiona-Wyatt-bedWyatt doesn’t think Josie will play without her friends. Fiona guesses they’ll persuade her and predicts Josie’s “tragic loss” will be on the next episode of Behind the Music. She and Wyatt then get into an evil laugh competition – before Fiona nearly makes him choke on a snack.

Song: “Shapeshifter” by Josie and the Pussycats

Josie-film-361-fishJosie-film-362-Alan-JosieThe next day, Alan and Josie go on a date to the city aquarium. Alan invites her to attend a short gig that he’s gotten at a bar tonight. She agrees to come.

Josie-film-363-crowdJosie-film-364-Josie-Alan-chasedThey then get chased by a crowd of Josie’s fans.

They ditch the crowd by going through an unlocked door into another room, and the crowd somehow doesn’t realize it, despite appearing in the shot before the door even finishes closing.

Josie-film-365-Alan-Josie-manateesJosie thanks Alan for saving her.

Song: “You Don’t See Me” (instrumental) by Josie and the Pussycats

Josie-film-366-AlanJosie asks how she’s gonna pull this off. Alan is confused.

Josie-film-367-JosieJosie-film-368-Alan-Josie-manatees-2Josie says she’s a girl from Riverdale, not a rock star (even though she’d previously admitted to Valerie that she was). Alan tells “Jose” that she’s been dreaming about this for her whole life. Josie is scared. Alan tells her to not be scared and to believe in herself. Josie asks what if she can’t. Alan says then he’ll just have to believe in her for her.

Josie-film-369-diver-interruptsThen they’re interrupted by an obsessive fan. Josie and Alan get the fuck out.

Josie-film-370-Pussycats-hotelBack at the hotel, Josie asks what they should open the concert with and suggests “Spin Around” or “Come On”.

Josie-film-371-Entertainment-WeeklyValerie’s too distracted by the media’s focus on Josie, though.

Josie then suggests “Roll On, Rolly Wheel” (which isn’t an actual song, at least not until 2006, when it was recorded by Flamingo 50) but guesses the lyrics still need some work.

Josie-film-372-Josie-canOh, and Melody’s drinking Diet Coke out of a can with Josie’s photo on it.

Anyway, Josie asks Valerie for her opinion. Valerie says it’s her call, because she’s the boss. Josie disputes that and asks what’s with her.

Josie-film-373-Josie-blimpJosie-film-374-Wyatt-arrivesWyatt arrives, and Valerie continues on about all of the focus being on Josie.

Josie-film-375-Pussycats-Wyatt-hotelWyatt says both Valerie and Melody are going on TRL with Carson Daly, so the world can get to know the other Pussycats.

Josie-film-376-Wyatt-MelodyMelody asks Wyatt if she gets to touch Carson and squeals with joy when he says “Any way you like.”

Josie-film-377-Pussycats-Wyatt-hotel-2Wyatt says the taping’s in two hours. Yeah, Total Request Live, despite the name, was usually pretaped. Valerie asks Josie if she has a problem with this. Josie doesn’t, predicting they’ll have a great time; she loves that show; she doesn’t care about petty shit like who gets to do interviews and who doesn’t.

Josie-film-378-Valerie-hugs-JosieA grateful Valerie hugs her girlfriend friend and apologizes. Josie’s confused.

Wyatt says there are stylists and designers waiting in their room, and Melody and Valerie leave.

Josie-film-379-Josie-smilesJosie-film-380-Wyatt-Josie-CDWyatt then gives Josie “homework”: listen to the remix of their next single and share her thoughts with him. Josie wants to put it off until tomorrow and explains about Alan M.’s first gig tonight. Wyatt obviously lies that Alan called his office earlier and that they’d canceled his show. Josie is disappointed but wonders why Alan didn’t call her here. He suggests checking for a message down at the front desk. He then awkwardly excuses himself to make a mumbling cell phone call while still in the room with her. He then tells her that there’s a message waiting for her. Josie decides to call Alan. A panicking Wyatt tells Josie that Alan said he won’t be available for several hours and will call Josie when he can.

Josie-film-381-JosieJosie finds it hard to believe all of that was in the message. Wyatt says yes, excuses himself, pulls the same cell phone shit, and says yes again. Can anyone possibly be less convincing?

Josie-film-382-Josie-suspiciousA suspicious Josie asks him who he keeps calling. Wyatt freezes for a moment and then goes off on “Josephine” about how he’s busy running a label.

Josie-film-383-Josie-guiltyHe also guilts her over wanting to put off the few minutes that it would take to listen to the remix and offer an opinion. Josie tries to convince Wyatt of her commitment. He leaves her with the CD.

Josie-film-384-Valerie-Melody-TRLJosie-film-385-Melody-happyMelody and Valerie arrive on the set of TRL. Melody is excited.

Josie-film-386-Melody-fake-TVJosie-film-387-Valerie-fake-cameraIt doesn’t take them long to realize something is amiss, though. Everything is fake.

Josie-film-388-fake-Carson-Melody-ValerieJosie-film-389-fake-CarsonSuddenly, Aries Spears shows up, claiming to be Carson Daly. Valerie points out the obvious lie, but he continues with it.

Josie-film-390-Carson-fake-CarsonThen the real Carson Daly shows up, so…what was the point?

Josie-film-391-Valerie-MelodyMelody is excited to see Carson, but he mocks this in his response. Dick.

Josie-film-392-Carson-fake-Carson-2Carson and fake Carson then get into an argument over the latter impersonating him, and then fake Carson impersonates Mike Tyson and references the bite. Valerie asks what the fuck’s going on.

Josie-film-393-Carson-fake-Carson-batsCarson announces this is Total Request Dead and says they’re gonna kill them.

Josie-film-394-Valerie-Melody-2Melody finds this hilarious, because killing isn’t a request.

Carson wants to be the one to kill Melody. Valerie realizes he’s not kidding. She and Melody run away, and the guys give chase.

Song: “You Don’t See Me” by Josie and the Pussycats

Josie-film-395-CD-playerJosie-film-396-Josie-bathtubBack at the hotel, Josie takes a bath and listens to the new single.

Josie-film-397-Josie-AlanShe misses a call from Alan, who’s at his gig.

Josie-film-398-Josie-reservedAaawww…

Josie-film-399-Alan-guitarAlan eventually gives up and goes back to performing (to an audience that really doesn’t seem to be paying any attention to him), dedicating his next song (“Wish You Felt the Same”) to Josie.

Josie-film-400-Alexandra-signWell, okay, he’s got one fan.

Josie-film-401-Valerie-fake-CarsonBack on the fake TRL set, fake Carson confronts Valerie with…an Eddie Murphy impression.

Josie-film-402-Carson-Melody-1Josie-film-403-Carson-Melody-2Josie-film-404-Melody-CarsonJosie-film-405-Melody-cutoutJosie-film-406-Melody-cutout-2Meanwhile, Melody tries to defend herself against Carson and is in disbelief that he’s a killer. They talk about each other’s hotness. We learn Melody is a Scorpio, and Carson is a Cancer.

Meanwhile, Valerie calls out fake Carson on his “terrible” Chris Rock impression and says he’s not funny.

Josie-film-407-fake-Carson“You know who’s funny? Bill Cosby. And he’s gonna kill yoooooouuuuuu! Have to stick the spoon in your puddiiiiiing!” Um, yeah, let’s move on.

He attacks. She dodges. He falls and is out for now.

Josie-film-408-Carson-Melody-cutoutMeanwhile, Melody and Carson are discussing their favorite movies. Melody’s is Lady and the Tramp, and Carson claims his is, too. He reveals the conspiracy to her but adds he’d date her otherwise. She seems pleased.

Josie-film-409-Melody-cutout-1Josie-film-410-Melody-cutout-2Josie-film-411-Melody-cutout-3While he’s distracted with thoughts of her, she knocks him over the railing and says she’d never go out with a guy like him.

Valerie drags her off to find Josie. In a cute moment, Melody says “Bye” to the celebrity cardboard cutout that she’d used to knock out Carson.

Josie-film-412-Josie-headphonesJosie-film-413-Josie-nailsBack at the hotel, Josie’s still listening to “You Don’t See Me” while getting her nails done. Valerie knocks on the door and calls out to Josie. Josie seems annoyed but has the manicurist let them in.

Josie-film-414-Valerie-MelodyJosie wonders how they got in, since she told the front desk that she didn’t want visitors. Melody asks Josie if she’s okay. Josie says yes and adds she has the #1 single in the country, but Melody and Valerie “should maybe be a little worried”. Melody brings up Carson’s murder attempt and theorizes it has something to do with their music. Josie takes issue with the fact that Melody calls it “our music”. Valerie is frustrated with Josie.

Josie-film-416-Josie-coldJosie then goes full-on bitch diva. This confirms Valerie’s suspicion that Josie’s been thinking this the whole time.

Josie-film-417-Josie-rock-starJosie then asks Valerie “Who’s a rock star?” Twice. An upset Valerie turns and runs away.

Josie-film-418-Josie-I-amI am!”

After Valerie leaves, Melody pleads with Josie. Josie brings her to tears by shattering her worldview, especially with this iconic line:

Josie-film-419-Melody-Josie“Puppies…turn into dogs…who get old…and die!”

Josie-film-420-Melody-Josie-2This is too much for Melody. She turns and runs away as well. Josie yells “Someday you’ll thank me!”

Josie-film-421-Josie-eyerollSong: “You Don’t See Me” by Josie and the Pussycats

Josie-film-422-Valerie-packsValerie packs to leave.

Josie-film-423-puppiesJosie-film-424-Melody-puppiesMelody goes to the shelter to visit puppies.

Josie-film-425-Pussycats-concert-posterJosie-film-426-Alan-AlexandraAlexandra tries to “comfort” an upset Alan.

Josie-film-427-Alex-BarneysAlex is dealing with his own drama.

Josie-film-428-Josie-walkingJosie-film-429-Josie-CD-playerJosie goes for a walk while still listening to the single.

Josie-film-430-Josie-looksJosie-film-431-Josie-postersJosie-film-432-Valerie-Melody-postersShe stops and looks at the posters of the band.

We then dive into Josie’s CD player and learn – shocker! – there’s a subliminal message on the single! Mr. Moviephone says: “You are the star! Val and Melody are mean, evil girls! You should have a solo career! You have the #1 single in the country! Val and Mel are trying to glom onto your talent and your credit! If they’re doing equal amounts of work, why isn’t the band called Valerie and the Pussycats?! They’re just dead weight, Josie! You can be huge without them! Madonna huge! Val and Melody talk about you behind your back! Melody thinks you can’t sing! Seriously! She told me! Dump them! They are trying to destroy you, Josie! You’ll be better off without them! Who’s a rock star?! You are! A great big rock star! A Mick Jagger-sized rock star! Go, Josie! Go! Go! Go!”

Josie-film-433-Josie-over-itJosie’s so over whatever feelings that she was starting to have.

Josie-film-434-Josie-stopsJosie-film-435-Josie-TVsJosie-film-436-Josie-looksJosie-film-437-music-videoShe stops and watches the “Pretend to Be Nice” music video through a store window.

Josie-film-438-Josie-reflectionThen she sees her picture in another window.

Josie-film-439-Josie-runsJosie-film-440-Josie-groundJosie then collides with a skateboarder and takes a spill.

Josie-film-441-Josie-looksJosie-film-442-Josie-bus-passAs Josie gathers up her shit, she comes across her Riverdale Transit Authority bus pass, which has a different photo than Valerie’s bus pass, though they’re all wearing the same clothes, so they obviously got their bus passes on the same day. It seems Josie and Melody jumped in on Valerie’s photo, and Melody and Valerie jumped in on Josie’s photo. Even though we don’t see it, we can assume Josie and Valerie jumped in on Melody’s photo.

That’s not what I wanna talk about, though. The ZIP code is completely different on Josie’s bus pass (even though their street address is the same: 110 Glenbrooke St); here it’s 99860. One might at first think this places Riverdale in California, but the ZIP code (which isn’t valid) actually falls within the range used in Alaska. Yeah. Riverdale, Alaska. I’ll buy that.

Josie-film-443-Josie-thoughtfulSeeing her bus pass causes Josie to remember her friendship with Melody and Valerie.

When she reaches to pick up her CD player, she starts to remember what Melody had tried to tell her, and ominous music starts playing. She scoops everything up and runs back to the hotel.

Josie-film-444-Josie-callsUpon arrival, she calls out for Valerie.

Josie-film-445-Cabots-hotelShe finds the Cabots there instead. Y’know, the rooming arrangement for all of them is never made clear. Do they have separate rooms? Why are Alexandra and Alex in the room that Josie expects to find Valerie in?

Anyway, Alex makes fun of her. Josie asks what’s going on and where Mel and Val are.

Josie-film-446-Alexandra-eatingAlexandra asks “Since when do you care?” Josie is surprised and speechless. Alexandra tells “Bitchy McBitch” that she heard what she said and wishes she’d said it.

Josie-film-447-Alex-seagullAlex informs Josie that her bandmates are gone and compares the breakup to bands like the Beatles, the Jackson 5, and A Flock of Seagulls. He then offers Josie a Red Bull.

Josie, in an act that she’d never thought she’d do, asks the Cabots for help. Alexandra enjoys that. Josie yells.

Josie-film-448-Josie-inserts-CDJosie-film-449-Josie-Cabots-mixerThey go into the studio, and Josie inserts the CD into the mixer while talking about it. “You Don’t See Me” starts up mid-song when the CD’s barely in.

Josie starts messing with the sound levels of the various tracks on the mixer. That’s…not how this works.

Josie-film-450-Josie-looksAnyway, she notices something and raises the audio on the subliminal track, which has different messaging than we heard earlier: “You should have a solo career! You could have your own primetime TV series! We could call it Josie and run it right after Will & Grace!”

Josie-film-451-Alexandra-mocksAlexandra recognizes Mr. Moviephone and somehow thinks Josie got him to put the messaging on the CD. She “realizes” Josie fucked Mr. Moviephone. Josie’s like “What the fuck are you babbling about?” and realizes Wyatt put the messaging on the CD to brainwash her.

Alexandra thinks that’s ridiculous until:

Josie-film-452-Alexandra-Josie“Diet Coke’s the new Pepsi One.”

Josie-film-453-mixer-MSJosie tries to figure out what “MS” stands for.

Josie-film-454-Megasound-8000She realizes it stands for Megasound 8000.

Josie-film-455-Josie-Cabots-Megasound-8000Josie turns it on, and they hear the subliminal track that was placed on their debut single (it’s awfully convenient that it’s still in there, but maybe MegaRecords is planning on putting it on future releases as well): “Josie and the Pussycats are the best band ever! They are totally jerkin’! You must buy their CD! You have to see them in concert! You also have to buy Steve Madden shoes! Heath Ledger is the new Matt Damon! You’re nobody without an Abercrombie & Fitch vintage tee!”

Josie-film-456-Josie-trend-pimpJosie realizes they’re selling stuff – and the band itself – through her band’s music. She somehow blames herself for this and calls herself a “trend pimp”.

Josie-film-457-Josie-pissed“Well, it stops here! I’m nobody’s pimp!”

She decides she’s not going to let Wyatt and Fiona get away with this. She says they’re going to the police and taking the Megasound 8000 with them.

Josie-film-458-Josie-pushes-Megasound-8000Josie-film-459-Fiona-arrivesBefore Josie has a chance to do absolutely nothing, Fiona arrives with some muscle.

Josie-film-460-Carson-Daly-injured-TRLCarson Daly starts covering the concert on TRL.

Josie-film-461-fansJosie-film-462-fans-2Josie-film-463-fans-3Josie-film-464-laptopJosie-film-465-fans-4Josie-film-466-fans-5Josie-film-467-fans-6Josie-film-468-KodakJosie-film-469-merchandiseJosie-film-470-fans-7Josie-film-471-fans-8Pussycats fans are psyched.

Josie-film-472-Josie-heldJosie-film-473-Wyatt-FionaJosie-film-474-Josie-held-2Josie is brought to the stadium (in different clothes), where Fiona makes fun of her. Josie refuses to play and brainwash kids, and she quits.

Josie-film-475-Josie-Wyatt-FionaWyatt tries to call Josie out on suddenly being principled, but she didn’t know about the brainwashing until just a short while ago. Fiona feels Josie is ungrateful.

Josie-film-476-Josie-Wyatt-Fiona-2Fiona tries to tempt Josie with sounds of the crowd chanting Josie’s name, but Josie won’t have it and tells Fiona to find herself another girl. Fiona would, but everybody’s already here.

Josie-film-477-Cabots-tied-and-gaggedOh, Alexandra and Alexander were also brought here.

Josie-film-478-Melody-Valerie-heldOoh, everyone’s here!

Valerie tells Melody to not talk to “Miss Diva”. Josie starts to explain the conspiracy, but Fiona shuts her up.

Josie-film-479-Wyatt-unveils-carAt Fiona’s request, Wyatt unveils a car for Melody and Valerie. Melody is happy and excited, and Fiona is frustrated at her stupidity (although, considering the presentation, she really has no one to blame but herself).

Josie-film-480-Melody-Valerie-held-2Awww, Melody’s sad that no one won a car.

Josie-film-481-Serena-AltschulJosie-film-482-Serena-Altschul-2Josie-film-483-Melody-Valerie-explosionThey have a pretaped “MTV breaking news” segment with Serena Altschul. If Josie decides not to play tonight, the car – with Melody and Valerie in it – will explode in the stadium parking lot, resulting in a “slow, fiery death inside the four-wheeled hell pit”.

This news segment establishes Valerie’s last name as Brown (although technically it was seen on her bus pass earlier) and Melody’s last name as Valentine – both inventions for this movie. Previously, in the comics, Valerie’s last name was Smith, and Melody’s last name was Jones. I really love the name Melody Valentine.

Josie-film-484-Fiona-shocked-1Josie-film-485-Fiona-shocked-2Josie-film-486-Melody-Valerie-carValerie and Melody are then put in the car.

Josie-film-487-Wyatt-Josie-FionaJosie agrees to play.

Josie-film-488-Melody-Valerie-car-2Melody is happy that Josie still likes them.

Song: “Spin Around” by Josie and the Pussycats

Josie-film-489-Josie-speechJosie then gives a speech about her friendship with the girls. It’s a nice touch that they’re using the same music here as during their friendship promise on the plane. Anyway, Josie considers them to be her best friends.

Josie-film-490-Melody-SnoopyThis leads into a discussion of time travel, and Melody expresses her desire to meet Snoopy.

Josie-film-491-Josie-smilesJosie loves that about Melody: her limitless optimism. Josie also reminds Valerie that Valerie bought Josie her first guitar. They started this band together, but Josie gives Valerie the credit for them coming this far. Josie doesn’t care what the band’s name is. She calls Valerie her “sister” and adds “I love you.” Valerie says “I love you, too, Jose.”

Melody and Valerie then express their love for each other. Then Melody expresses her love for Josie. As Josie is about to express her love for Melody, Fiona shoves Josie out of the way and tells them to start the fucking show already.

Josie-film-492-Wyatt-Fiona-JosieAs Wyatt and Fiona get the Megasound ready, Josie asks Fiona what the current subliminal message is. Fiona says it’s “much, much bigger” but isn’t more specific.

Josie-film-493-Josie-liftJosie threatens to expose their secret. Fiona asks “cookie” who will believe her.

Song: “DuJour Around the World” (instrumental) by DuJour

Josie-film-494-mysterious-figuresJust then, four mysterious figures arrive! Who could they be?!

Josie-film-495-Josie-guitar“Who the fuck are these guys?”

Fiona asks basically the same thing.

Josie-film-496-DuJourHoly shit, it’s DuJour!

Josie-film-497-Cabots-tied-and-gaggedAlexandra, who apparently wasn’t tied up very well, is excited to see Les. Wyatt is surprised to see Les.

Les tells Melody that he tried to warn her with the message on her mirror. Melody is surprised that that was him.

Josie-film-498-Melody-Valerie-car-3“DuJour was in my bathroom!”

Alexandra is suddenly hopelessly bound and gagged again with no explanation. She mumbles “I love you, Les.” He blows her a kiss – kind of. Valerie thought they were killed in a plane crash. Fiona wants answers, too – especially from Wyatt. Les says they managed to land the plane just fine. Unfortunately, it was in the parking lot of a Metallica show. All of the fans beat the crap out of them. I love how Valerie just nods like “Yeah, that makes sense.” Wyatt notes Les doesn’t look too bad.

Josie-film-499-Les“And I thank God every day I knew the words to ‘Enter Sandman’!”

Josie-film-500-Marco-ZaiusAwww, not Zaius!

Josie-film-501-DuJour-2“Let’s get ’em, boys – DuJour style!”

Josie-film-502-Fiona-Josie-ValerieUnfortunately, DuJour poses no threat to Fiona and Wyatt (though massive points for trying), but the distraction does give Josie time to untie Valerie. But then Fiona catches Josie and shit-talks the girls and their town (calling it “Shitdale”).

Song: “Real Wild Child” by Josie and the Pussycats

Josie-film-503-Josie-That's-it“That’s it.”

Josie-film-504-Josie-tackles-FionaJosie-film-505-Josie-Fiona-food-fightJosie-film-506-Valerie“Wyatt, you messed with the wrong pussy.”

Josie-film-507-Valerie-beats-up-WyattJosie-film-508-Josie-force-feeds-FionaJosie-film-509-Melody-fightsJosie-film-510-Melody-fights-2Holy shit, Melody can kick ass!

Josie-film-511-Melody-You-want-some“You want some?!”

Josie-film-512-Melody-C'mon-bring-it“C’mon, bring it!”

Josie-film-513-Fiona-fists-raisedJosie-film-514-Josie-arms-raisedJosie-film-515-Josie-slaps-FionaJosie-film-516-Josie-pulls-Fiona's-hairJosie-film-517-Valerie-knocks-down-WyattJosie-film-518-Fiona-Josie-guitar“What’re you gonna do?! Kill me with the guitar?!”

Josie tries to convince Fiona that Fiona needs her. Fiona tells “doll” that she created her and can destroy her.

Josie-film-519-Josie-looks-upJosie-film-520-Fiona-guitarJosie-film-521-Fiona-smashes-Megasound-8000Josie-film-522-Megasound-8000-smashedJosie simply gets out of the way, and dumbass Fiona accidentally smashes the Megasound 8000.

Everyone wearing Pussycats headphones gets feedback and takes them off.

Josie-film-523-Josie-sarcastic“I’m sorry, did you need that?”

Fiona demands Wyatt fix it. Wyatt demands a random guy fix it.

Suddenly, Mr. Moviephone’s voice comes on, saying the subliminal message that Fiona intended to send out to the world: “Fiona is the most jerkin’ girl in the world! Everybody loves Fiona! She’s got the best hair and the most awesome clothes! And she’s so thin! I know I want to be just like Fiona!”

Everyone is shocked. Josie calls Fiona out on her attempt to grab universal popularity. Fiona feigns innocence and goes into a lisp.

The subliminal message continues. A lispy Fiona interrupts Mr. Moviephone and takes over recording the message, because he’s “not doing it right”. She says “If I was a guy, I’d so wanna ask her out. And if I was a girl, I’d wanna be her best friend forever. We’d have slumber parties and stay up all night, braiding each other’s hair, and we’d have tickle fights!”

Josie-film-524-Cabots-Valerie-Melody-laughFiona is upset at them for laughing (even though she totally deserves it for what she’s done). She says they don’t know what it’s like to be teased and ridiculed their whole life.

Josie-film-525-Josie-feels-badJosie gets it. Still doesn’t excuse Fiona’s behavior, though.

Fiona tries reciting a tongue twister and fails. All that Fiona ever wanted was to be popular. Wyatt recognizes her as Lisa Snyder (“Lithping Litha”), which was her nickname in Huntington High School. Wyatt identifies himself as “White-Ass Wally”. Fiona is shocked that Wyatt is “the albino kid”, especially because Wyatt is a Brit. Wyatt reveals his accent is fake, and he thought it would make him more attractive. What’s really funny about this is you have a Scot playing an American pretending to be British. Fiona mentions he was so pale.

Josie-film-526-Wyatt-paleJosie-film-527-Valerie-MelodyJosie-film-528-Wyatt-wigUm, yeah, sure.