The Hitchhiker – My Enemy (11/25/89)

Holly is a little miffed at her boyfriend that she had to spend her birthday with her future in-laws at the restaurant they chose — the Burger Hut.

Lou:  There’s no pleasing you, is there?

Holly:  Just because you can’t doesn’t mean there isn’t.

Well now, starting off with a fun zinger like that, and spoken by a circa 1989 Joan Severance, this episode of The Hitchhiker has immediately established a lot of goodwill.  I have to debit the account for the awful wig they put her in (not pictured), but this is still a good start. [1]

Meanwhile in another part of town, movie star Jane Ambergris [2] — also played by Joan Severance — pulls up to the studio in her white Porsche Carrera.  The awful wig on Holly in the first scene was just to contrast the well-coiffed beauty of this character.  Her license plate 813 FAD is thrust in our face like it means something, but I don’t get it.  Jane gets a look at some of the contestants in her look-alike contest and takes off in disgust like she had just seen contestants in my look-alike contest.

In her tiny, run-down house, Holly gets dolled up for the contest.  She makes herself up every bit as beautiful as Jane, which I predict will not make Jane any happier.  It really makes you wonder what the hell Lou used to reel her in.  She goes to the studio where Jane has reluctantly returned.  Kudos to the director for a nice bit of business here with the contestants all wearing identical purple gowns.  The clacking of their heels as they flock up and back on the sound-stage floor is pretty fun.  A slightly malevolent look-alike mannequin the background is also effective.

Jane hides out in her dressing room until everyone is gone.  However, Holly has hung around.  She brags about how she can do anything Jane can do; so Jane shoots her.  She puts the gun in Holly’s hand so it will appear Jane Ambergris committed suicide.  Jane dumps out Holly’s purse and finds her drivers license.  She makes herself over to look like Holly.  Here, it gets complicated.

Jane makes herself over as Holly so she can escape from the fun, glamorous, fast-paced, high-pressure life she is living — I guess Holly didn’t have a picture of Lou in her wallet.  She writes a suicide note and leaves it for the studio chief.  She also takes the time to set a fire before leaving.

On the way to . . . somewhere, Holly’s car breaks down.  A cop gallantly drives Jane to the address on the car’s registration.  At the house, the cop says, “I’ll just wait here until you’re safely inside.”  Jane opens the door and enters.  After the cop drives off, Jane explores Holly’s house.  She screams when she discovers Holly has murdered her boyfriend and in-laws.

Jane suddenly doesn’t want to be Holly anymore.  She tears off the wig and cries, “I can prove who I am!  I’m still Jane Ambergris!”  A radio apparently turns itself on and the announcer says, “A suspicious fire broke out tonight at the studio of glamorous star Jane Ambergris.  However, thanks to the the actions of a passing maintenance man, there were no injuries.”  Jane is confused and says she couldn’t have missed.  Fearing Holly will take over her life, Jane goes back to the studio.

She sees the studio head and concocts a self-defense story to explain why she tried to kill Holly.  He takes her onto the sound-stage where she sees a mannequin on the floor with a bullet hole between the eyes and a pistol in its hand.  She tries to run.  The exec stops her.  He asks, “Why did you sign the suicide note “Holly”?  Was it because that is you too?  Who are you now, Jane or Holly?”  Jane looks as confused as I am.  The titular hitchhiker shows up, but that guy’s never any help.

“For Jane Ambergris, fame had become a facade she could no longer bear to hide behind.  But by discarding one mask, only to assume another, she was doomed to lose touch with the woman she once was.”

Thanks for clearing that up.  What are we to believe?  I think we are supposed to believe that movie star Jane Ambergris invented Holly to find the simpler life she wanted?  How long was this going on?  She said she had heard Lou’s stories 10,000 times, so they have been together quite a while.  And why would she be with this loser anyway?

They do have a little bit of an out because the studio exec says he has not seen Jane in a week.  Is that because she was playing house with Lou?  I like a good identity mystery, but there are just too many loose ends and contradictions here to make any sense.

Maybe the duality of her personality is reflected in the same license plate appearing on both Holly’s car and the fire chief’s car.   Or maybe someone screwed up.

Other Stuff:

  • [1] I also love the simple dress she is sporting as she runs into the house.  But really, Joan Severance was going to make anything look good.  Lou, on the other hand — I don’t know what the hell he’s wearing.  He has a short-sleeved T-Shirt that somehow still has the sleeves rolled up, a sleeveless denim jacket, and a rogue hoodie mysteriously hanging out of his back collar.
  • [2] What is up with Hollywood and ambergris?  It sounds like a disgusting slime.  Let’s just leave it alone.
  • The writer has a story-by credit on the similarly incomprehensible Miracle of Alice Ames.

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