Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Julie and the Phantoms 1x05 Review: “The Other Side of Hollywood” (What You Want Comes at a Cost) [Contributor: Jenn]

“The Other Side of Hollywood”
Original Airdate: September 10, 2020

How much would you be willing to pay to get what you want?

I’m not talking about physical money though. What would you be willing to sacrifice to get something you think will make you happy? Would you sacrifice your friendships? Your integrity? Your time?

Recently on The Community Rewatch Podcast, our guest Gavin aptly noted that it’s often easier to convince people of things when they’re angry. And if we’re honest, that’s part of why it was so easy to convince Luke, Alex, and Reggie to stay at The Hollywood Ghost Club in this episode of Julie and the Phantoms. The boys are still mad and bitter at their former bandmate and friend, Bobby (a.k.a. Trevor), for stealing their songs and making money in the wake of their deaths.

The boys want revenge. They want Bobby to suffer, and they’re willing to do whatever it takes to ensure that happens. “The Other Side of Hollywood,” however, reminds us that even when we get what we want, it’ll cost us. And it certainly costs the boys — in more ways than one.


Let’s start with the obvious: the boys get some sort of hex or curse put on them after they visit Caleb’s club. It painfully zaps the boys to the point that they feel like they’re dying all over again. The zaps will only get worse as the series progresses, unfortunately. But Caleb knows exactly what he’s doing when he puts the stamp on them.

It’s implied, of course, that all of the “lifers” who are at The Hollywood Ghost Club are able to see ghosts because they sold their souls to Caleb so they can experience the club when they die. The boys are so enraptured with Caleb, the club, the dancing, the ability to eat real food again, and the prospect of having adventures like traveling the world that they ignore their commitment to Julie. They trade a hypothetical for their real friend.

And it’s easy to understand why. After all, even though they died 25 years ago, Luke, Alex, and Reggie are very much teenage boys whose critical thinking skills haven’t yet been developed (even in death). They’re so fixated on what THEY want that they forgo what Julie actually needs. They died in the prime of their lives — on the cusp of becoming superstars. And that fact has blinded them thus far. They’re focused on the praise and acclaim and fame they could receive if they accepted Caleb’s offer. They could travel the world and be seen all the time, no strings attached (or so they think). They could get back at Bobby. They could feel like their afterlives have a purpose again. 

But they forget one important thing that those of us who are blinded by revenge or our own selfish desires often are: it’s not about us.

The boys made a promise to Julie. They were going to show up to the school and perform with her in front of all of her classmates at the school dance. Instead, they get swept away with the promise of something bigger that they forget what’s in front of them. And while “The Other Side of Hollywood” is mostly plot-building and doesn’t really capture my attention as much as the episodes that’ll follow do, I love that when the guys finally do show up to the empty gymnasium, Julie lets them have it.

She doesn’t just tell them that she’s disappointed; she tells them how much it hurt to know that they KNEW how hard it was for her to sing after her mom’s death and they chose not to care. Ouch. The boys, especially Luke, are wounded by the consequences of their choices. And that’s really the thing about trying to get what we want regardless of the cost — we rarely think of other people or what will happen when we do get the thing we think will satisfy us. Julie tells the guys that joining their band was a mistake. And she reminds them that bandmates and friends don’t treat each other the way Luke, Alex, and Reggie treated her. It’s heartbreaking but a reminder that when you’re hurt, it’s okay to admit it and also demand better from the people you care about.

“The Other Side of Hollywood” ultimately reminds our characters that getting what you want may be easy, but it’s rarely simple and definitely never without consequences.

Hitting the right notes:

  • Even though I don’t love Caleb’s songs as much as the others in the show, there’s no denying just how talented Cheyenne Jackson is. Also it’s super weird to watch him as a villain here and the romantic lead in Call Me Kat.
  • I also enjoy that this is the first musical number that was shot so that Kenny could show the network just what they could do in the series.
  • “I always knew rich people did weird stuff like this.”
  • “We found out like two weeks okay, okay? We didn’t have the heart to tell him.” THE BEST JOKE.
  • Cheyenne and Charlie’s eyes look insanely bright in this episode for some reason and I’m here for it.
  • I want to know how much the boys hated having to eat that food take after take.
  • Are we just going to ignore the cute kid sliding over intermittently in the gym to sit closer to his crush or what? I NEED THAT STORY.
  • This episode leans a little too hard into the whole “Carrie is a mean girl” trope. Her burns weren’t that great and there’s no way an entire school would immediately be able to follow her to her house. SHE LIVES IN MALIBU. HOW WILL THEY GET THERE? THEY CANNOT DRIVE.
  • “Reggie, are you kissing that meatball sub?”
  • “That’s what we get for depending on boys.” I love how Flynn is a true ride-or-die bestie in this episode.

What did you all think of the episode? Sound off in the comments below!


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