Samantha “Sunshine” Jensen

Twelve years before she roared into immortality as Catwoman in Batman Returns, Michelle Pfeiffer played a different type of cat, a B.A.D Cat, to be precise. A what, you ask? Well, I’ll tell ya what.

After starting her career with guest spots on television series like Fantasy Island and ChiPs, Michelle nabbed a regular gig on the Animal House sitcom adaptation Delta House. She played the sexy anthropology student with perfectly cascading blonde hair and a penchant for really tight sweaters, referred to only as “The Bombshell.” The 21 year old Pfeiffer was the token hot blonde, a staple of TV and film back then. The series only lasted thirteen episodes, so Michelle took her Bombshell act over to another ill-fated new series called—wait for it—B.A.D. Cats, which stood for Burglary Auto Detail, Commercial Auto Theft, a fictional LAPD squad charged with busting car thieves.

As the sun-kissed, perpetually smiling California girl with one of my pfavorite Pfeiffer character names, Samantha “Sunshine” Jensen, Michelle was the third wheel to the show’s two undercover detectives, assisting them on cases and, of course, laughing at their inane antics and “humor” because these two discount bin versions of Bo and Luke Duke were the ostensible stars of the show. Well, where are they know, I ask you? I don’t know because I can’t even be bothered to look up their names, that’s how inconsequential they are to me.

Look, whenever I catch a clip or an episode, the only reason I’m paying attention to this hot mess is because of La Pfeiffer. B.A.D. Cats will always be all about Baby Pfeiffer, so new and unformed, not yet the ladder-straddling, singing, dancing, tough-talking Pink Lady she would become just two years later as Stephanie Zinone in Grease 2. It’s always exciting to see a future star in early roles before they ascended, and seeing Michelle in a fairly cheesy police show, the kind that dominated the television landscape back in the 1970s and 1980s, is super trippy. It’s so far outside the realm of what we expect from the woman who gave us Elvira Hancock (Scarface), Susie Diamond (The Fabulous Baker Boys), or Laura Alden (Wolf), but it’s that curio quality that makes her turn as Samantha so intriguing.

Sadly for Michelle’s hardcore pfans, B.A.D. Cats does not appear to have received a legitimate DVD release. I think Shout Factory needs to step up to the plate with a complete collection Blu-ray set, finally giving us what we want, what we need: more Baby Pfeiffer. Sometimes Shout includes a poster with their releases, and who couldn’t use a Samantha “Sunshine” Jensen poster hanging in their homes? I certainly could!

While we wait for that—come on, Shout Factory!—let’s just gaze upon the stunning beauty and mellow Golden State vibes of Baby Pfeiffer as Samantha “Sunshine” Jensen.

3 thoughts on “Samantha “Sunshine” Jensen

  1. I loved her on Delta House when I was a kid. An utterly flawless beauty– and I believe her character, the Bombshell, was also a genius student, iirc.

    Liked by 1 person

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