Western Animation / PJ Sparkles


P.J. Sparkles is a 1992 animated movie that was released with the Mattel doll of the same name, courtesy of Mike Young Productions. Jodi Benson of The Little Mermaid fame lends her voice to the protagonist, and a few other big stars lent their voices, such as Robby Benson.

Poor P.J. is a sweet orphan girl who lives in Miss O'Malley's orphanage. Discouraged that everyone she gets close to is adopted, and that she hasn't been adopted herself, she wishes on a star for someone to love. Thanks to this wish, she is transformed into a magical girl, gives herself the last name "Sparkles" and soon finds herself in Twinkle Town. There she finds other children who wished for someone to love them, and with The Power of Love, she makes Twinkle Town live up to its name.

P.J. is soon summoned to help Peter, a lonely boy back on Earth, leaving Twinkle Town open to the machinations of The Cloak and Betty, who prefer things drab and dreary. Will P.J. be able to undo the damage done to Twinkle Town while still helping Peter?

Tropes related to the special:

  • Aerith and Bob: The Cloak's wife is named Betty, while the inhabitants of Twinkle Town get names like Glimmer, Glowee, and Sparks.
  • Age Lift: In the toyline PJ looks to be anywhere from three to five, while in the cartoon she's at least ten.
  • Bad Is Good and Good Is Bad: The Cloak and Betty revel in the dreary Twinkle Town, enjoy spreading filth, and get a headache and indigestion, respectively, when exposed to sunlight. So they're not pleased to find that PJ has suddenly made Twinkle Town match its name.
    The Cloak: Well then, everyone's so nasty and upset. Nerve-wracking, isn't it? It brings out a sickly green color in your cheeks.
    Betty: Why, you old rotting rat head. Oh, you'll turn my head with your sweet talk, not to mention my stomach.
  • Be Yourself: PJ delivers this aesop to Peter.
    You were so desperate to have friends, you tried to be tough and force them to like you, when all you ever had to do was care about them and give them your love.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Everything the Cloak and Betty talk about is spreading evil and misery, and they take joy in bad things.
  • The Chosen One: P.J. is chosen by a wishing star to bring love back to Twinkle Town.
  • Cool Horse: Blaze becomes this thanks to the Wishing Star.
  • Everything's Better with Sparkles: PJ Sparkles has sparkles in her last name, and her powers are accompanied by magic sparkles.
  • Expository Theme Tune: "She closed her eyes and made a wish for people to love and care for, and in a beautiful blinding light, she got everything she asked for!"
  • Flower in Her Hair: Glowee has a flower in her hair.
  • Gasshole: Betty can't stop burping, as light gives her indigestion.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Literally. One of the things Twinkle Town used to smell like is used kitty litter.
  • Gods Need Prayer Badly: Once she gains her powers, P.J. lives on love and will die without it. When The Cloak's Malice Mist saps all the love from Twinkle Town, P.J. becomes weak, and Blaze turns back into an old horse. Conversely, the love of just one boy is enough to recharge her powers.
  • Hair Decorations:
    • The actual doll had a huge red light-up hair bow.
    • Glimmer also has a red ribbon for her side ponytail.
  • Hand Wave: PJ's powers and other things are never properly explained, leading her to wonder how she did that and move on.
  • Happily Married: The Cloak and Betty, surprisingly.
  • Helping Would Be Killstealing: Why P.J refuses to use her magic to get Peter some friends.
  • Heartwarming Orphan: P.J. starts out as this before becoming a magical girl.
  • Hostile Show Takeover: After getting rid of P.J. (or so they think), The Cloak and Betty sing their own version of the theme tune:
    Here comes Cloak and Betty
    In their vehicle
    Punching all the lights out
    Stinking up the world! Yes!
  • I Just Want to Have Friends: Peter acts tough at school in an attempt to make friends.
  • "I Want" Song: "Wishing For Love" is PJ's song about wanting someone who will love her and never leave.
  • I Would Say If I Could Say: Blaze, the horse, comments at one point, "Pardon the expression, but 'Whoa!'"
  • Larynx Dissonance: Betty is voiced by Roger Rees.
  • Mad Scientist: The Cloak is very adamant about being a scientist, not a magician.
    Crack out the chemistry set, Betty. We have a light to extinguish!
  • Make a Wish: PJ's wish upon a star ignites the plot.
  • Magical Girl: PJ becomes a magical girl who can bring love and happiness back to Twinkle Town.
  • Magical Land: The place Twinkle Town is part of was created by "the light of every star ever wished upon by children."
  • Meaningful Rename: PJ renames herself PJ Sparkles after her powers, and is able to give the other children of Twinkle Town names.
  • Merchandise-Driven: PJ Sparkles dolls had been around since 1988, with the cartoon being made to promote the Soft PJ Sparkles doll and her friends Glowee, Glimmer, and Sparks.
  • Mirror Morality Machine: The Malice Mist turns anyone that comes into contact with it evil and apathetic, including PJ herself.
  • Number Two for Brains: Betty is much less threatening than the Cloak and doesn't really do anything, mostly acting as comic relief.
  • Only One Name: Before becoming PJ Sparkles, PJ was just PJ.
  • Orphanage of Love: O'Malley's Home for Orphans is where PJ grew up.
  • Paint It Black: Everyone sprayed with the Malice Mist instantly becomes paler, and their clothing becomes darker. The heart on P.J.'s dress even turns completely black.
  • Pink Means Feminine: PJ's clothes are very pink, and Blaze's mane and tail are also pink.
  • The Power of Love: Love is the strongest magic of all. P.J. can do almost anything, provided she phrases it "I'd love it if X happened."
  • Power Perversion Potential: A G-rated version. Seeing P.J.'s power in action, Peter is convinced she can just zap all the kids at school to make them his friends.
  • Sapient Steed: Blaze becomes this after his transformation.
  • Shout-Out: There are a couple throughout the special.
    "She's the one who started all this lovey-dovey 'you light up my life' stuff."
    "We don't need your stinky badges."
  • Swiss Army Tears: P.J. starts to die after she is hit with Malice Mist by the villains, since she now needs love to survive. Peter's tears, while declaring that he loves her, revive her.
  • The Symbiote: PJ is a mutual version of the trope, as she gives other kids the love they need but needs them to love her in return to survive.
  • Talking Animal: Blaze can talk after his transformation.
  • Toyless Toyline Character: The Cloak, Betty, and Mrs. O'Malley did not get toys.
  • Unlimited Wardrobe: In the runtime of a 24-minute cartoon, the Cloak and Betty go through about 4 different outfits.
  • Unusual Euphemism: After seeing that his evil plot has failed, The Cloak cries out "Oh, spit!"
  • Weakened by the Light: Betty and The Cloak get bad indigestion and headaches (respectively) when exposed to the sun.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Ms. O'Malley is never seen after the intro.
  • World-Healing Wave: Once Peter's love heals P.J., her love spreads across Twinkle Town, healing the land and its inhabitants.