This essay was original published at Roxy Reviews and is reprinted here with permission.
Ah, Kimber. It seems you either love her or hate her. I don't know which category I fall into-I will freely admit that every time I hear her squeal "OutRAYgeous!" on the series, my skin crawls and I want to slap her silly. However, even if one isn't exactly a Kimber fan, one must admit that she is the most interesting of the Holograms.
Much is said about the Misfits hierarchy, and the way the members of the group seem to always follow Pizzazz (this isn't true, but anyway). Nothing is said of the fact that the Holograms kowtow to Jem/Jerrica just as much. I am sure that this falls under the Good Morals the series creators were trying to impart: cooperation, comprimise and all that jazz. However, at the end of the day, in spite of their other activities (Shana's designs, etc.), the Holograms don't seem to have as much individuality and independence as the Misfits. When one of them goes against the grain-for instance Aja in "Video Wars"-it is a major event. The Holograms usually rely on Jerrica to speak for them and make their decisions, whereas the Misfits usually all chime in to ask questions.
Kimber breaks the compliant Hologram mode. She's the enfant terrible of the group-the terribly misunderstood artiste who is expected to generate an endless succession of Holograms hits, but never seems to get the respect she deserves. She throws tantrums. She speaks her mind, both out loud and in her infamous diary. Her parade of boyfriends speaks of a social life quite apart from the band.
She has guts-in "The Princess and the Singer" for instance, she shows a fair amount of bravery in her efforts to escape the evil royals of Monrovia, going as far as to jump off as roof. Kimber also walks out of the group more than once. She isn't afraid of going it alone, or pursing other musical avenues, be it a duo with Stormer or a songwriting gig for Sean Harrison. Eric Raymond plays this up on several occasions, honing in on Kimber's wishes to shine in the spotlight herself.
And when all is said and done, Kimber actually does have a brain in her dizzy little head. When Jerrica/Jem leaves with Riot during "The Day the Music Died," it is Kimber who is left to sort out the pieces. In the beginning sequence of "Glitter and Gold," Kimber is keeping better tabs on the music industry's opinion of Jem than anyone else. She's the composer of the group, and on several occasions ("Father's Day," "Scandal!") she is able to whip up tunes for the Holograms in a matter of hours. Her diary entries show a great deal of insight about the workings of both her own group and the Misfits. It's interesting that Kimber paints the Misfits with a more sympathetic veneer than the other Holograms.
The flip side of this, of course, is Kimber's renowned ditziness. She does completely brainless things such as booking herself two dates at once ("Glitter and Gold") and falls over her crushes-actor Nick; Sean Harrison-like a junior high school girl. More than once she slips and almost inadvertently reveals Jem's identity (as in "The Day the Music Died," where she comments on the handwriting on the forged postcard). To be fair, Jem trips herself up just as often, so Kimber can be forgiven for this transgression. Kimber never really seems to be entrusted with any of the business aspects of Starlight Music, the company she partially owns, until the end of the series--and perhaps there is a reason for that. It is also interesting that Emmett Benton bequeathed Synergy to Jerrica, and not to Kimber. Perhaps he thought that Jerrica needed more help; perhaps he thought that little Kimber would be too flighty to put Synergy to good use.
And she's irritating.
Kimber's age? Christy Marx put her at 17, but that seems off to me. For one thing, in KJEM, she is reminiscing with an old friend from high school who is now in college. I would put Kimber's age at 21 or so-the baby of the group, but too old to be a Starlight Girl.
JERRICA AND KIMBER
Ramona and Beezus. April and Elizabeth. Kimber and Jerrica. It's the old stereotype, of course: the brilliant, unruly little sister and the sensible big sibling who has to deal with her.
Kimber seems, at times, to have a strained relationship with her older sister. They clearly care for each other, but underlying that concern is a tension that is never resolved in the series. Jerrica seems to take on a maternal role toward Kimber, bossing her around in a way you would not generally expect between adult sisters. The other Holograms pick up on this and frequently baby and boss Kimber as well-for instance, there's the scene in "The Bands Break Up" when Aja jokes, "we're older, so you have to do what we say." Even Stormer, in "The Bands Break Up," notices: one of her first snide remarks to Kimber, is "where's your sister? Does she let you out after 4:30?" When Kimber rebels during this episode, Jerrica takes her role of makeshift parent to the extreme, questioning her sister about her whereabouts and even rummaging through her room.
Kimber, for her part, openly resents this, and snipes back against Jerrica and her friends. This rebellion seems to be a regular occurence: in "Father's Day," Jerrica sighs, "she's having one of her tantrums," as if it is a commonplace event. Kimber's diary entry in "Scandal" is very telling: "sometimes I wish Jem was my sister." She wishes for her sibling to be a friend rather than a guardian. Kimber seems to turn to outside help for her problems, and uses Jerrica as a last resort (as in "The Bands Break Up.")-for instance Harvey Gabor in "Father's Day" and Synergy in "Scandal."
Kimber's also a bit jealous of Jem/Jerrica. She makes no secret of this in the earliest episodes, such as the moment in Truly Outrageous where she storms out of the mansion, upset because the Holograms have not been invited to an interview. Perhaps she resents being the musical heart of the band, but a mere "and the..." backup player in the eyes of the public. Of all the Holograms and Misfits, Kimber is the person I would peg as most likely to eventually walk out of her group permanently, or else foster a successful solo career on the side.
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