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Monday, June 26, 2017

A Message From The Pop Culture Addict...

I know it seems like it's been a while since I last wrote in this space.  The truth is that I've felt mentally exhausted for a few days now.  At first I thought it was all of the Jem episodes that I reviewed.  To this day, I can't hear the word Jem without adding in "is truly outrageous, truly truly truly outrageous".  I know.  I'm sick.  Help me.



But it's a lot less complex than that.  I'm just a little burned out on writing, and I feel as though I have a case of writer's block so huge that I don't think the largest chisel in the world could break through it.

I've had quite a lot of things going on in my mind right now...and I want to be able to share that with all of you.  But I don't think today's the right day to do that.  For one, I don't even know what the heck is causing the writer's block.  Maybe it's the fact that I've been writing in this blog for six years and have simply run out of stories to tell.  Maybe I fear that I am repeating myself and unintentionally writing three blogs on the same subject. 

Or maybe the cause is much deeper and psychologically based and I need to stare at seventy-seven different ink blots before I can come up with a subject to talk about.

I definitely don't think it is a lack of interest in writing.  As much as I have struggled to come up with topics, I still have the desire to write every single day.  I just think that like many of us, I need structure in this blog (and life in general).  I seemed to have no problems writing when I was doing the cartoon reviews every Friday, or Throwback Thursday posts, or even the Christmas advent calendar every December. 

(I know...December is one of the busiest and most stressful months of the year, and yet it seems to be the only month where I can actually do a blog entry every day!  My brain works in strange ways.)

So, while I continue to try and implement some more structure in this blog, I ask that you please be patient with me.  I know that the Throwback Thursday posts will at least continue on, so you have one day out of the week where I will write at least something down.  But bear with me here.  I'm sure this writer's block will pass at some point. 

In the meantime, if any of you have any ideas for this blog, or suggestions for theme days, send them to me.  Maybe you'll help re-spark my creativity!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

June 22, 1918

Welcome to another edition of the Throwback Thursday post.  And this week's entry might seem a little out of the way considering the range of other topics I could have chosen.  Why I went with the selection I chose for today is because of the story behind this event - as tragic as it may be.

We'll get to that in a moment, but for now, have a look at some of the other things that happened on June 22 throughout history.

1774 - The Quebec Act is passed by the British

1807 - British warship HMS Leonard attacks and boards the American frigate USS Chesapeake

1813 - Laura Secord sets out on a journey spanning thirty kilometers to warn Lieutenant James FitzGibbon about an upcoming attack by the Americans on Beaver Dams in Ontario

1825 - Feudalism and the seigneurial system system is abolished in British North America by British parliament

1870 - U.S. Congress creates the United States Department of Justice

1906 - The Swedish flag is adopted

1911 - George V and Mary of Teck are crowned King and Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland

1922 - Fashion designer Bill Blass (d. 2002) is born in Fort Wayne, Indiana

1928 - Actor Ralph Waite (d. 2014) is born in White Plains, New York

1941 - Journalist Ed Bradley (d. 2006) is born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

1942 - The Pledge of Allegiance is formally adopted by U.S. Congress

1944 - The G.I. Bill is signed by Franklin D. Roosevelt

1945 - The Battle of Okinawa concludes

1954 - Actor Freddie Prinze (d. 1977) is born in New York, New York

1969 - Singer/actress Judy Garland dies at the age of 47

1978 - Race car driver Dan Wheldon (d. 2011) is born in Emberton, Buckinghamshire, England

1984 - Virgin Atlantic Airways launches its first flight from Heathrow International Airport

1986 - Diego Maradona scores the controversial "Hand of God" goal during the quarter-finals of the 1986 FIFA Cup

1987 - Actor/singer/dancer Fred Astaire passes away at the age of 88

1990 - Checkpoint Charlie is dismantled in Berlin

2004 - Mattie Stepanek, the child author of the Heartsongs poetry books, dies at the age of 13

2008 - Comedian George Carlin dies at the age of 71

2009 - Nine people are killed when a Washington D.C. Metro train collides with another train parked outside of a train station

2012 - President of Paraguay Fernando Lugo is impeached

2015 - The Afghan National Assembly building is attacked by gunmen following a suicide bombing; 18 people are injured and all six gunmen are dispatched

And for celebrity birthdays, I'm not going to lie...we have a ton of them today!  A very happy birthday goes out to George Englund, John Cunningham, Prunella Scales, Kris Kristofferson, Chris Blackwell, Klaus Maria Brandauer, Peter Asher, Howard Kaylan, Todd Rundgren, Larry Junstrom, Alan Osmond, Meryl Streep, Lindsay Wagner, Elizabeth Warren, Christine L. Tudor, Graham Greene, Cyndi Lauper, Green Gartside, Tim Russ, Garry Gary Beers, Bruce Campbell, Erin Brockovich, Tracy Pollan, Jimmy Somerville, Clyde Drexler, Amy Brenneman, Emmanuelle Seigner, Steven Page, Kurt Warner, Carson Daly, Champ Bailey, Stephanie Jacobsen, Dustin Johnson, and Lara Bingle.

Wow...that is a LOT of celebrity birthdays, don't you think?

So, given everything that happened on June 22, I think I had a lot of possible topic choices to pick from.  But when it came to making my decision, I wanted to choose a topic that not a lot of people knew about.



And the date that this event happened was ninety-nine years ago today on June 22, 1918.  And I warn you ahead of time.  This tale doesn't have a very happy ending.  Despite that, it is a story that should be told, and I admit that I came up with the idea to choose this topic based on a recent event.

By now I am sure that you've heard that the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus has entertained its final audience.  The circus hosted its final performance in May 2017.  I seem to recall that not long after its final performance, a friend of mine posted a photo on their social media page which depicted the remnants of the circus heading towards its final destination by train.  It certainly is a bittersweet moment because I can remember being very entertained by the circus and liking most of the acts performed there.  I wasn't too fond of the acts that featured animals, and truth be told, any of the circuses that featured only human performers were ones I liked better.  But still, it's sad to say farewell to an institution that lasted nearly a hundred and fifty years.

At least in that case, the circus performers put on their final show and presumably went their separate ways.  Unfortunately back in 1918, a train loaded with circus performers didn't end up with such a happy ending.  In fact, for some of the people aboard the train, it would be the last day that they would ever be seen alive.

This is the story of the
Hammond Circus Train Wreck - a train disaster that killed at least eighty-six people and wounded over a hundred more.



At the time of the accident, the Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus was the second largest circus operating within the United States (Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey was the largest), and in 1918, the circus was well on its way to having another successful year.  On June 22, 1918, the train was on its way to its next performance in the city of Hammond, Indiana.  A total of four hundred circus performers were aboard the twenty-six car train, and it was expected that they would arrive at their destination as scheduled.

Unfortunately, that train would not make it.

In the early morning hours of June 22, 1918 at around four in the morning, a second train being driven by Alonzo Sargent was heading on the same track as the circus train in the same direction by directly behind.  And by all accounts, Sargent was in no condition to be manning the controls.  It was reported that Sargent was extremely sleep deprived prior to boarding the train, and had hardly gotten any rest in the twenty-four hours prior.  Combine the sleep deprivation with the kidney pills that he was taking at the time, and you have a combination for instant sleepiness.  Sargent had fallen asleep in front of the controls, and by the time he woke up and realized what was happening, it was already too late to stop it.

It is believed that when he woke up, he had already missed two automatic signals and warnings posted by the brakeman of the circus train, and the circus train had actually pulled to a stop to check a hot box on one of the flatcars.  So when Sargent's train approached the circus train, there was not nearly enough time for Sargent to release the brake and Sargent's train plowed right into the back of the caboose and four wooden sleeping cars that were right next to it at a speed of 35 miles per hour.



The train impact was so severe that many of the eighty-six people that died aboard the circus train died almost instantly - at least thirty seconds after the crash.  A fire erupted almost immediately after the crash due to the oil lamps that were aboard the train cars, and since many of the cars on the circus train were made of wood, the fire spread very quickly.  Many of the performers that were stuck on the train were burned beyond recognition, and those that survived suffered terrible injuries.  It is estimated that 127 people were injured in the crash as well.



Suffice to say, the incident left a black mark on the Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus, as they mourned the loss of eighty-six of their own.  Five days after the crash, most of the people who died were buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in a section set aside as "Showman's Rest".  Because many of the victims were never formally identified, graves marked "Unknown Male" and "Unknown Female" had to be erected.  Surrounding the graves of the victims are statues of elephants in a mourning position. 

As for the fate of Alonzo Sargent, he and his fireman, Gustave Klauss were facing charges for the accident and the case was brought forth to trial - but the jury of the trial was deadlocked, and the judge was forced to rule a mistrial.  Since the prosecution decided not to re-try the case, the charges were dismissed two years after the accident in June 1920.

Now, you might think that this story has a sad ending...and well, it does.  However, one thing that you might not know was that the residents of Hammond, Illinois really stepped up to help the survivors of the crash, providing them with meals, changes of clothing, and a place to stay while they recuperated from their injuries. 

And in the circus world, the words "The Show Must Go On" are a standard - and in the case of the Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus, competing circuses in the area (including Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey) lent the circus some equipment that was lost in the crash so that they could go on and perform the shows as scheduled.  The only shows that the circus tour missed were the ones in Hammond, and one in Monroe, Wisconsin. 

And while some may have the opinion that it may have been poor taste to continue with the circus so soon after a tragedy, I would like to think that it was a form of healing for those left behind...and for those who died, I think they would have wanted the show to go on.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Jem Reviewed - The Final Recap



That's the end?  Afraid so, my friends.  This is the final recap for the final season of Jem Reviewed.  And let's just say that there's a lot to talk about.  Season 3 was an abbreviated one where parts of the show didn't make much sense.  We also had the Stingers replace the Misfits as the main antagonists of the Holograms, which had mixed results.  And unlike the previous season reviews, I think I'm going to present this a little bit differently.

Before I do that, I should probably give you some links to any and all the previous links to past reviews...you know, in case you missed some along the way.  Click on the different looking text to access the links to
SEASON 1 and SEASON 2

And the following twelve links below will take you to all of the episode recaps for season three.


Now, because the third season was so short (and because the Misfits only appeared in like four episodes), I'm going to do the character profiles over the course of how they improved (or devolved) over the course of the series.  I'm going to rank them from worst to best, and I'm going to do main characters.  That's all the Holograms, Misfits, Stingers, and I'll even throw in Rio and Eric Raymond for fun.  By my calculations, that's a total of fourteen characters. (I thought about including Synergy here, but let's face it, she'd be an easy #1 anyway).  Let's begin by the character I can't stand the most.



14th Place:  Rio

Gee...no shocker here, right?  I mean, I've only practically made fun of him this whole series and inserted plant kicking references at every opportunity.  To be honest, I have no use for Rio.  Even though in every opportunity, Rio was dating Jerrica, it's hard to excuse the fact that he'd cheat on her with Jem (and Jaime in "Midsummer Night's Madness") at a drop of a JemStar earring.  His jealousy towards every male who got near Jerrica/Jem got tiring after a while, and he really just comes across as an arrogant jerk most times.  Sometimes I think he'd be better off chasing after Kimber.



13th Place:  Eric Raymond

I know...how can I rank Eric above Rio?  His personality is so slimy that you'd think he was born in a vat of motor oil!  This is true.  But unlike Rio who always tries to make excuses for his jerky behaviour, at least Eric owns up to the fact that he's a complete jerk.  That honesty is why he's ranked higher than Rio.  Make no mistake though...I still can't stand him.



12th Place:  Rapture

There isn't really anything wrong with Rapture of the Stingers...but there's not a whole lot right either.  She's just...there.  I mean, yes, she has the ability to use hypnosis, she's skilled with magic, and can read tarot cards like nobody's business.  But that's really all she did.  Easily the Stinger with the weakest sting.



11th Place:  Jetta

On one hand, Jetta does personify the real meaning of the term Misfit.  She's such a Misfit that even her own parents seem ashamed of her and vice versa.  The problem is that Jetta is such a Misfit that she almost seems sociopathic in comparison to the other three.  From hiring people to smash Raya's dad's greenhouse to trying to scam her own bandmate out of millions, Jetta's unlikable personality leaves me wondering how she managed to stay in the Misfits in the first place!



10th Place:  Shana

I hate to rank Shana so low, mainly because she's probably one of the nicest characters in the whole show.  Her placement at #10 is merely because she was always shoved to the side in favour of Kimber and Raya quite often.  When she was heavily featured in a show, it was in a fashion themed one, like when she designed clothes in Venice, or helping Regine Cesaire out.  I wish that there was a way that they could have incorporated more of Shana into the show because she really deserved more.



9th Place:  Minx

Minx was one of the more complex characters in the whole series.  Even when she tried to be good after Rio saved her life, you could tell that it was either misguided, or that she really was causing mischief behind the goodness.  But I will give Minx a lot of credit.  She's fiercely loyal to those who respect her.  After all, she left a successful group to form the Stingers with Riot because she opened her heart and trusted him.  She didn't get a chance to do a whole lot in the series, but what she did was noticeable.  I mean, she even got to touch Techrat without him curling up into a ball!



8th Place:  Jem/Jerrica

I actually considered ranking her much lower than 8th, to be honest.  After all, she annoyed me in both of her identities and suffers from so much insecurity she has to adopt a second identity to boost her self-confidence.  And at times, she can be as selfish and pig-headed as a Misfit or a Stinger.  But you know, I have to give her props for being a foster mother to twelve kids (even though CPS should have taken them away on like seven different occasions), and running a successful record company.  And despite all of her flaws, she does have good intentions a lot of the time.  Though, I have to say that Rio and Jerrica deserve each other as do Jem and the person at #7.



7th Place:  Riot

Riot really surprised me.  He is one of two characters (the other one is at #5) who as the show progressed, I liked more and more.  He began the show as an arrogant rock god who believed that he could use manipulation to get anything and anyone he wanted - but by the end of the show, he became almost the polar opposite.  Sure, he still had confidence and swagger...but he also had humility and compassion - especially after Jem reunited him with his estranged father.  And as much as I hate to say this, I think Riot brought out more of the best in Jem than Rio ever could.



6th Place:  Roxy

I was really indecisive about Roxy when she first appeared on the show.  At first she was a sociopathic woman who didn't care who she hurt.  She was the second in command of the Misfits; she had more power than Stormer, but was portrayed more as Pizzazz's lackey a lot of the time.  But it wasn't until Roxy's secret of being illiterate came out that we learned just how rough Roxy really had it.  And it was Ba Nee's gift of a children's book that set Roxy on the path to self-improvement.  Roxy was already considered the most street smart of the Misfits...here's hoping that by the end of the series, she could improve her book smarts as well.  If any character deserved it, it was her.



5th Place:  Kimber

I DESPISED Kimber during the first season in which she changed boyfriends more than I change my underwear.  I mean, seriously, if you looked up indecisive in the dictionary, her photo would be right next to it.  Over the course of the series though, she went from being incredibly annoying to a character I felt major sympathy for.  Still not over the passing of her father, I can see how Kimber would have a hard time with finding a commitment with a man.  By the time she settled down with Sean Harrison, I have a feeling that moment was the one in which Kimber finally matured.  How outrageous is that?



4th Place:  Pizzazz

I'm really surprised I have Pizzazz ranked so high on this list - mainly because she's the quintessential spoiled brat (a type of personality I cannot stand).  Ah, but it's the reason why she became that way that makes me understand why she is the way she is.  She feels that if she can finally make something of herself, she can please her ungrateful father.  Her story is very tragic, and I feel like I have to rank her high just because her character is so complex.  That, plus she has some awesome one-liners.



3rd Place:  Stormer

Ah, Stormer.  The nice Misfit.  The pushover Misfit.  The Misfit that is secretly good.  It's a brilliant concept, don't you think?  Anyway, Stormer is probably even more complex than Pizzazz, because in many ways she is forced to hide who she really is in order to gain acceptance from the other Misfits.  When in actuality, if she just would be herself, she'd ironically be loved even more.  Both Ashley and Kimber can testify as to what a great person Stormer is, and even Aja has to admit that she's a good gal...after all, Aja is dating her brother.  Stormer is far from being a perfect angel though, and it's hard to excuse the fact that she makes mischief with the other Misfits...but deep down inside, anyone who knows the real Stormer knows that they've made a friend for life.



2nd Place:  Raya

I was torn between whether to have Raya and Aja as my favourite character of the whole series.  Both characters are awesome.  But I think the reason why Raya get the silver is because she sometimes has the tendency to be a little bit too much of a yes woman.  When Raya first came on the scene, she was a little timid, but had a fighting spirit that came out when she was really fired up.  I wish we got to see more of that in Season 3.  But Raya is definitely a loyal friend, a kind-hearted individual, and a talented drummer.  Easily the best choice the Holograms could have made to replace the then-departed Shana.



1st Place:  Aja

Aja is the most valuable player the Holograms have...and she's also my favourite character of the whole series.  She was calm, cool, and collected most of the time and only brought out the badass side of her whenever needed.  She could be counted on coming up with most of the brilliant ideas that the Holograms executed, and she's sort of the female version of Techrat - only better dressed and less creepy.  For someone who can take Synergy apart and find all the secrets inside of her, Aja would make a great detective.  And if you have kept track - aside from Raya, Aja is the only Hologram that NEVER LEFT THE BAND.  Extreme loyalty there.

All right, now it's time for the music portion of the recap...and like I did for the character profiles, I'll be posting songs that I loved, and songs that I didn't love.  This time around, I won't exactly be talking about the songs.  I figure the videos are more than enough.  Instead, I'll post links to all the videos, and you can click on them to see what the cream of the crop were...as well as the worst of the worst.

I've selected fifteen songs in total for my like list (five from each season), and ten from the worst.  Agree with my lists?  Please comment on it below.

MY PICKS FOR BEST JEM SONGS (15-1)


Yes...I make no apologies...I LOVE the Misfits.  80% of my Top 5 are Misfits songs.  That said, I do have some Jem and Stingers songs on there.  I even have Ba Nee's ode to her father.  Love the show or not, Britta Phillips, Ellen Bernfeld, Gordon Grody, Vicki Sue Robinson, Diva Grey, Florence Warner, and all of the other talented vocalists did a phenomenal job!

Even on the tunes that I really didn't like so much...they sang their hearts out!  And the ten songs that I didn't like from bad to worst are as follows...

MY PICKS FOR WORST JEM SONGS (10-1)


Interesting how I find some of the worst songs of the series to be from the latter half of the show as opposed to the beginning.  Nothing against the singers, but perhaps the songwriting took a nosedive as the show headed towards cancellation?  Who can say, really?  Just something I noticed.

And now we come to the episode discussion.  And since we had an abbreviated season for the final one, I'll go ahead and do three episodes I liked and three episodes I hated. 

SEASON 3 EPISODES I LOVED:



1.  Episode 64:  Riot's Hope - This was the episode that made me start to see Riot as more than an arrogant rock star.  The story behind how the Stingers formed was very interesting, and unlike Jem and the Holograms, the Stingers really had to work hard to get their success.  That's to be applauded.



2.  Episode 61:  That Old Houdini Magic - Okay, so maybe my love of Harry Houdini is clouding my judgment here, but I will say this...the storyline was very unique and presented well.  I really liked the climax of the show where Astral saved Rapture from drowning after the trick went out of control and Rapture had to eat a giant slice of humble pie. 



3.  Episode 65:  A Father Should Be - All right, so this episode was far from being the perfect finale...however seeing Ba Nee finally reunited with the father she dreamed of finding.  That moment was easily one of the most touching moments of the whole series. 

SEASON 3 EPISODES I DID NOT LOVE:



1.  Episode 59: Midsummer Night's Madness - This episode was one hundred percent crap.  I mean, it's bad enough that I had to be subjected to the Riot/Jem/Rio/Jerrica rectangle that was really only a triangle.  But having Synergy transform Jerrica into Jamie to teach her a lesson only served to cause even more confusion and totally wrecked the episode.  The Stingers' B-plot was lame as well.



2.  Episode 60: The Day The Music Died -  Okay, so maybe hate is a strong word to describe my feelings about this episode.  The episode did have the strongest music of the lot.  But the whole way that the Starlight empire crumbled after Riot took Jem on an island getaway where they became Survivor contestants...it just seemed way too unbelievable.  And it made everybody look like a complete moron.



3.  Episode 56: Video Wars - The Misfits got hosed this season.  I mean, they really did get forced back to background status so that the Stingers could be featured more.  And on the one rare occasion that the Misfits headlined a show, they were overshadowed by Clash, who came up with a plot so twisted that in the end, she was left all alone without a friend in the world.  It's really one of the few episodes with a bitter ending, and honestly, it could have been done so much better.

And now, I want to say...thank you to all of you for reading along with the second cartoon series that I have reviewed.  This one wasn't easy to recap at times.  Sometimes when I had an episode that I really didn't like, I found it hard to stay focused and even gave up on one before it ended (cough cough Aztec Enchantment cough).  But for the episodes I really enjoyed, it was a lot of fun to review.  I may even consider myself to be a fan of the cartoon after all.  The storylines were quite complex for a kids show, the music was fantastic, and the chemistry of the voice actors was off the charts.  In a way, I'm sort of sad to see the Jem Reviewed series come to an end...but in a way I am happy because it gives me more time to think of other things to write about in this blog.

And you never know...I might begin another cartoon review series before you know it.  But not now.  After 65 episodes, I'm exhausted!




So, once again...this is farewell...but not goodbye.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Jem Reviewed: Episode 65 - A Father Should Be...

Say it isn't so!  This is the final Jem Reviewed post?  Wow...I can't believe I made it through the whole series.  I also can't believe that last episode I found myself liking Riot after thinking he was a complete jerknugget throughout Season 3.

And now here we are...the finale.  One that I think was sort of rushed.  You'll see why as we proceed...but at least this one will answer one mystery that has been ongoing since the latter half of season one.



This is Episode 65: A Father Should Be.  Hey, isn't that the name of the song Ba Nee sang during the Jem Jam?  I bet this episode features her prominently.



What do you know?  I was right.  Seems as though Jerrica is attending some open house at Ba Nee and Krissie's school.  Ba Nee's teacher proceeds to tell her nothing but good things about Ba Nee, and even shows off some of the artwork that she has done.



Okay, so all of the male characters have red hair.  That must be coincidence right?  Other than that, not bad for a kid.  She definitely was a better artist than I was.



However, Ba Nee isn't interested in hearing how well she's doing.  All she can do is stare at all the kids who have fathers and she suddenly bursts into tears right in the middle of the school.  Ba Nee tearfully tells Jerrica that she doesn't have a father and that all she wants is to have him come back.  It certainly breaks Jerrica's heart, but Ba Nee is supposedly an orphan.  Even if her father was alive, she wouldn't know how to find him.  Especially in 1988 where the Internet wasn't exactly readily available.



Ba Nee is moping in her room when Ashley and Krissie arrive to cheer her up with a nice slice of carrot cake.  Ba Nee is in no mood for sweets and tells both of them to leave.  Jerrica is absolutely stunned that Ba Nee didn't want the carrot cake.  To be honest, I agree with Ba Nee.  Carrot cake is an acquired taste.  At least it is for me.  I would much rather have devil's food even though it is no good for me.



Jerrica believes that she might have a way to cheer Ba Nee up.  She remembers that Randy James is in town working on a collaboration with the Stingers and she thinks that a visit from Randy might be just what Ba Nee needs.  If you recall, Randy was the guy who Ba Nee thought was her father and she nearly got eaten by a bear at the zoo trying to prove it in the "Jem Jam" episodes.  I hope you liked the "Jem Jam" episodes, because this episode seems to bring up a ton of references to them.



It doesn't take much convincing on Jerrica's part to get Randy to visit Ba Nee, and Randy is excited to see the girl who claimed that he was her daddy.  Yeah, I can't believe I just typed that sentence out either.  To Randy and Jerrica's shock, Ba Nee greets him somewhat coldly and bursts into tears about wanting her father.  Jerrica does try to comfort Ba Nee by singing a song about how a family can be made up of people who love you and that Ba Nee has a family that loves her.



Seriously, she sings a song called "Family Is" - the last original song by Jem and the Holograms.  And while the song is nice, I get the feeling that it misses the point that Ba Nee is trying to make.  Because as soon as the song stops, Ba Nee cries even harder and makes the admission that she knows that her father is alive and if she can't find him she doesn't want to live anymore!

Um...wow.  It's like Ba Nee just ripped Jerrica's heart out and stomped on it.  I mean, I get why Ba Nee is so upset, but she does realize that she has eleven adoptive sisters and five foster mothers who love her enough to get abused by the Misfits so she could see again.  It's another one of those "What the hell, Ba Nee" moments, but given how upset she is, I can't get mad.  It's so frustrating.



However, unselfish Jerrica does seem to be touched by Ba Nee, and she decides that she will try and find her father, if for no other reason than to give her peace of mind.  She gathers all the other Holograms around for a brainstorming session where Jerrica goes over all the information they know about her father.  They know that Ba Nee was born in Vietnam at the tail end of the Vietnam War.  Her mother's name was KeOH-ChinH (and yeah, I know I butchered the spelling), and she died shortly after she and Ba Nee immigrated to the United States.  All they know about Ba Nee's father was that he was a soldier in the war, his name was Martin, and that he had red hair.  Not much to go on.

However, one of the Holograms (I think it was Aja or Raya) comes up with the idea that since Ba Nee's father served in the army, maybe Riot could help.  After all, his father served for the army.  Perhaps he could get into a database for all soldiers who fought in the war.  Jerrica seems to think that's a great suggestion, but knows that she'll have to dress in her Jem outfit to make that happen.  Because as we know, Riot is as obsessed with Jem as he is with hair spray.



Riot is reluctant to help out at first, mainly because of his troubled history with his father...but admits in the same breath that it was because of Jem that they are talking to each other in the first place.  After Jem promises to give Riot a kiss (I'm surprised he didn't ask for more to be honest), he goes to talk to his father who is more than willing to help out his son with Jem's request.  Aw...it's nice to see that Riot has softened up a bit.  He's still obnoxious and arrogant, but his heart is in the right place.



Thanks to Riot, the Holograms have found three men who match the criteria in the search for Ba Nee's father.  The first man is Leonard Martin, who lives in Nebraska.  Jerrica sends Raya and Rio to meet him.  Kimber and Aja seek out Martin O'Carolan, whose address is unknown.  This leaves Jerrica and Shana to fly out to Las Vegas to meet up with Andy Martin.  Jerrica has hopes that one of them will turn out to be Ba Nee's father.



Right off the bat, Kimber and Aja are unsure of what to do first, since they have no current address for Martin O'Carolan.  Since they had heard that Martin might have undergone treatment for war injuries, they seek the help of his primary physician, Dr. Sakai.  At first, he plays the doctor-patient confidentiality card, but after convincing from Kimber and Aja and telling the doctor the story about Ba Nee, the doctor gives in and reveals that his address isn't that far away from Starlight Mansion.  He also warns Kimber and Aja that Martin was a prisoner of war, and sustained serious injuries.  One injury to his head caused him to lose all memory of the time he spent in Vietnam, so it could be difficult for him to remember.  But that's a chance that Kimber and Aja are willing to take.



Raya and Rio strike out in Nebraska where they discover that Leonard Martin is a paraplegic who works at an assembly plant.  It's implied in the conversation that there is no way that Leonard could be Ba Nee's father, and Raya and Rio agree...but my question is...how do they come to that conclusion?  I mean, unless it's implied that the accident that left Leonard paralyzed also left him sterile.  Alas, we'll never know as that's the one and only appearance Leonard makes.



And in Las Vegas, Shana and Jerrica arrive to see a scuzzy looking man with red hair gambling all of his money away at roulette, craps, and blackjack.  Ah, yes...we can't have a shot of Vegas without a compulsive gambler, can we?  Shana and Jerrica try to introduce themselves to Andy, but Andy is not interested and brushes them aside.  Shana and Jerrica are appalled, but Jerrica seems to notice that Andy is rubbing a picture of Jem, telling her to bring him luck.  I find that really creepy...but surprisingly, Jerrica thinks that could be the ticket to getting him to open up.  Okay, seriously, everything about this guy is a red flag.  Leave him be and go find another lead!



Back at Starlight Mansion, Ba Nee is still obsessed with finding her father, and she's sort of scaring Krissie a bit when she keeps drawing pictures of him...smoking a pipe.  Well, I guess in Ba Nee's eyes, you can't be a dad if you don't blow smoke out your mouth. 



And once more we're treated to the song that Ba Nee sang on the "Jem Jam" episodes - "A Father Should Be".  I don't mind though.  Of the three Starlight Girl songs sang on the Jem Jam shows, this one was the best.  But after Ba Nee sings the song, she bursts into tears, and all Krissie can do is comfort her and tell her that Jem will find him for her.  You know, I get that Krissie is trying to help, but if Jem comes up empty, that false promise would scar her even more.



Back in Las Vegas, after Synergy gives Jerrica a Jem makeover, it's enough for Andy to have a change of heart towards the two of them.  In fact, the very sight of Jem makes Andy actually blurt out that he is Ba Nee's father!  Um...wow?  Yeah, Shana looks just as confused about this bombshell revelation as I am.  And honestly, there should be a lot of red flags going up because all Andy seems to talk about is how rich Jem is and how famous she is, and he even butchers Ba Nee's name by calling her Bonnie.  Despite all this, Jem decides to fly the complete stranger home with her and Shana to meet Ba Nee because Jem has taken a whole bottle of stupid pills.  Seriously, this is the reason why this finale isn't as good as it could have been.



So, what about Kimber and Aja?  The address that the doctor gave them leads to a building with a sign reading "O'Carolan Gallery".  Ah, so Martin O'Carolan is an artist.  And a fairly good one too.  Martin O'Carolan is a handsome chap complete with red hair and a red beard, and he treats Kimber and Aja with charm and courtesy.  Unfortunately, Kimber is disappointed when Martin reveals that he is not Ba Nee's father...though his memory is still quite fuzzy from when he served in Vietnam.  As much as I hate to say it, Andy Martin seems like he really could be Ba Nee's dad.



At least until Aja alerts Kimber to a discovery she found hanging on Martin's wall.  It's a portrait of a young Vietnamese woman.  In fact, Kimber remarks that it looks a lot like Ba Nee, only grown up.  Very curious.  Kimber and Aja ask Martin who the woman is, but Martin has no idea.  He says that she keeps appearing to him in his dreams, but can't explain why this is the case as he still suffers from memory loss.  Still, this clue seems to be a huge one, and Kimber and Aja aren't ready to let Martin O'Carolan slip away.  They invite him to come to Starlight Mansion to meet with Ba Nee, and while Martin seems to dismiss their claim as being silly, he at least agrees to hear them out.  So, we have Andy Martin and Martin O'Carolan both on their way to Starlight Mansion.  Which one is going to arrive first?



Well, it looks as if it's going to be Andy Martin, who immediately runs towards Ba Nee and gives her what could be the creepiest hug ever.  I mean, seriously, even Shana comments on how horrible a man he is.  But Jem, still under the influence of stupid pills, insists that as long as Ba Nee is happy, that's all that matters.  Ba Nee wastes no time in showing Andy her room which has everything that a girl could ever want - and I can just see the dollar signs glowing more and more green with each item Ba Nee shows her "father".  And yes, I did put that word in quotation marks.



Now, to prove that Jem isn't entirely an idiot, she does try to ask Andy some follow up questions - especially after Andy accidentally calls Ba Nee "Betty".  Again, more red flags pop up, but Jem chooses to ignore them.  And when Andy refuses to answer any questions about Ba Nee's mother or where he was stationed in Vietnam, Jem grows even more frustrated.  Despite this, Jem decides to let Andy take Ba Nee for a car ride because Jem is as dumb as a box of rocks.

Jerrica Benton.  WORST. FOSTER. MOM. EVER.  THERE, I SAID IT!



Not more than ten minutes after Andy leaves with Ba Nee, Kimber and Aja arrive with Martin O'Carolan, who are excited to share with the rest of the Holograms their news.  But Jem responds that they already found Ba Nee's father, and that he's with Ba Nee right now - to which Aja smacks Jem across the face and calls her every name in the book.  Okay, that didn't happen - but it really should have.  Jem does offer to have Martin stay over for dinner, and Martin does accept graciously.  Personally, if Martin does end up being Ba Nee's father, I hope he tells Jem off.  I really do.



So, Andy brings Ba Nee to an old abandoned zoo, and immediately Ba Nee starts to get frightened.  When she starts sobbing, Andy screams at her to shut up which tells Ba Nee that this guy is NOT her father.  It's kind of sad that a preteen girl has more common sense and brain power than a 22-year-old woman who essentially has dual identity disorder.  Andy sneers that Ba Nee is correct.  He's NOT her father.  But she will be his meal ticket towards a better life for himself.  Oh, Jem...you done screwed up good this time.



Ba Nee tries to escape, but she is no match for Andy, and Andy locks her in an area of the zoo with a gigantic high wall that Ba Nee cannot climb up.  In fact, this looks EXACTLY like the bear pit that Ba Nee fell down when she tried to claim that Randy James was her father.  Wouldn't it be something if Ba Nee was at the same zoo and because of the accident involving the bear, the zoo was shut down for safety concerns?  Mind. Blown.  Kaboom.



Back at Starlight Mansion, Dummy...ahem...Jem, along with all of the other Holograms hear the story of Martin O'Carolan...or at least what he can remember.  As Martin finishes up his story, Jem receives a call from Andy who demands a million dollars in exchange for Ba Nee.  She can deliver the money to the abandoned zoo or else she'll never see the girl again.  Yep...Jem's really blown it now.  Fortunately, Martin decides that he will help Jem rescue Ba Nee.  Rio offers to tag along as well, but Martin tells him no, as too many people will cause Andy to flee or cause him to do harm to Ba Nee.  Rio looks like he might cry, but agrees that Martin just might be right.



Once Jem and Martin arrive at the zoo, he tells Jem to go ahead and try to stall Andy long enough for him to track down Ba Nee.  Once Ba Nee is found, he'll double back to assist Jem in apprehending Andy once and for all.  Despite the fact that the duo probably shouldn't stray too far as they don't know if Andy has a weapon, Jem decides it's a good idea.  Besides, she's already done enough to put Ba Nee in harm's way as it is.



And just in case you needed any more indication that Martin O'Carolan is Ba Nee's father, he conveniently has flashbacks to his days in Vietnam as he searches for Ba Nee.  We see him get shot by snipers in Vietnam, we see him meet a young woman, and we see him get nursed back to health by the same woman.  The woman of course is the same one in the portrait that Aja and Kimber discovered.



While Martin is having his flashback episodes, Andy confronts Jem and demands that she give him the money he was promised for Ba Nee's safe return.  Jem stands her ground and informs Andy that she has no money to give him, as all the funds are tied up with Starlight Mansion.  Andy calls Jem a liar, and Jem is beginning to really fear the man.  It's a very tense situation that JEM CAUSED mind you, but still...she must be frightened.



Meanwhile, Martin is having more flashbacks.  This time, he flashes back to his own wedding, where he marries the girl who saved him and nursed him back to health.  He remembers sending the woman to safety as bombs explode all around him.  And the last thing he remembers is getting knocked out by the enemy - right after he says "I'll find you...Keyo-Chinh".



Yep.  The man with the art gallery and beard is none other than Ba Nee's father.  And luckily for him, he has super sonic hearing, as he hears Ba Nee screaming from a ways away.  He arrives in time to see his daughter hanging from the wall and manages to catch her before she goes kersplut on the ground.  A tearful Ba Nee grabs Martin and holds him tightly, and Martin is relieved that his daughter is okay.  It is such a sweet moment.  Gimme a minute.  I need to find a Kleenex.



And I'm sure that Jem wants a can of pepper spray to get rid of Andy who chases her through the abandoned zoo.  At first, Jem seems to think that her stupidity has gotten her killed...at least until some lucidity comes back into her brain and realizes that Synergy can save her.  She gets Synergy to project the image of what I can consider to be a gorilla in heat, and it's realistic enough for Andy to run for his life!



Though Martin O'Carolan might be a far scarier sight than a holographic gorilla.  He physically grabs Andy by the scruff of his neck, blasts a glorious "The Reason You Suck" speech, and locks him in the monkey cage like a damn, dirty ape.  And when Jem asks if everyone is all right, Ba Nee remarks that she's fine now that her dad is back...and Martin responds that he is never going to go away again.  Awwww...where's that box of Kleenex?



So the final scene takes place at Starlight Mansion where a "Farewell, Ba Nee party is taking place.  It seems as though overnight, Martin O'Carolan has gotten a DNA test done, signed the birth certificate, won legal custody, and packed up all of Ba Nee's belongings for their new life together.  Boy, he wastes no time, does he?



The Stingers are there at the party, as I assume they made amends with each other following Jem helping Riot reconcile with his family.  Riot insists that Jem deliver on that kiss he was promised, and Jem responds by picking up Ba Nee and making her plant a kiss on Riot's cheek!  Heh...I guess Jem's stupid pills must have worn off.  That was actually pretty clever.  Luckily, Riot's not mad.



The party is somewhat interrupted by the arrival of Pizzazz, Roxy, Stormer, and Jetta, and everyone is shocked to see them there.  Jem even accuses Pizzazz of trying to start trouble.  But it's Stormer who explains the reason why they are there.  They heard that Ba Nee was moving away and they wanted to present her with some gifts to show how much they care.  Well, okay...maybe Roxy and Stormer had some gratitude to show her.  Pizzazz and Jetta...not so much. 



But hey, this ends with a truce between the Holograms and Misfits, so um...yay?  I really wish this was a two parter episode and that the Misfits would have helped Jem find Ba Nee's dad...but I guess this cameo appearance is enough.



It's time for Ba Nee to leave with her father, but Jem is feeling very sad.  Aja tries to talk to her, but Jem reveals that not once did Ba Nee ask to see Jerrica, and she's insecure that Jerrica didn't make as much of an impact on her as she thought.



At least that is until Ba Nee refuses to leave the party until she says goodbye to Jerrica.  With that, Jem changes back into Jerrica, gives Ba Nee a huge hug, and tells her that she'll always be her little girl.  Okay, I need another box of Kleenex now.  And Martin promises that he will bring Ba Nee back for visits with all of them very soon.  For now...this is farewell.  And I'll end this recap off with the final song featuring all of the talented vocalists who sang on this show for 65 episodes.



I can't believe that I made it through the whole series.  I can't believe it's really over.  I can't believe that Rio never discovered who Jem really was!  But hey, as rushed as the finale seemed, I did kind of enjoy it.  And, for a first, I have no Jem Trivia this episode.  I think I used all of it up!

So, stay tuned this Sunday, June 18th - appropriately enough on Father's Day - for my Season 3 recap, as well as my thoughts on the show overall.




Thanks for sticking with me the last 65 weeks!