Search This Blog

Friday, March 24, 2017

Jem Reviewed: Episode 53 - Hollywood Jem: And The Winner Is...


It's time for the second part of a two-part Jem Reviewed, as well as the finale for Season 2!  In Part One, it appeared as though Kimber has broken the heart of one man by accepting the proposal of another.  And somewhere along the way, Jem got herself nominated for an Academy Award.  What other craziness can we expect from the second season conclusion?



Well, we've no time to waste.  Time for Episode 53 - Hollywood Jem:  And the Winner Is...



So, since Kimber has accepted the proposal of Jeff Wright and crushed our pseudo-British teen idol Sean Harrison's heart into a fine powder, it's only natural that the show begins at a bridal shop.  My question is...exactly how much time has passed since the proposal?  It seems as though Kimber has gathered her Hologram pals to go dress shopping THAT SAME DAY!  Maybe Jerrica was right about Kimber rushing a wee bit too fast.  After all, she's not present with Kimber and the others who are looking at ugly and hideous dresses.  Seriously, has anyone ever seen a canary yellow dress and thought "I'm gonna get married looking like a banana"? 



Well, at least Kimber is thrilled to know that Jerrica has decided to show up after all.  Jerrica still is hesitant about the wedding and still has reservations about Kimber making the right choice.  However, she loves Kimber and will give her blessing to her and Jeff.  And in celebration of Kimber's wedding tomorrow (WHAT?!?), the Holograms sing a song about how tomorrow is Kimber's wedding day.



No, seriously.  The name of the song they sing is "Tomorrow Is My Wedding Day".  And as you might expect, it's super cheesy and makes Barney's "I Love You" song sound like death metal punk.  I'm actually more shocked that Kimber chose to get married with one day's notice!  Is she really serious?  Or is she trying to upstage Jem because she got nominated for an Academy Award?  I just...yeah, my brain hurts.



Later that day, Kimber is on the movie set getting ready to watch Jeff's stunt for the movie and she happens to cross paths with Rio.  Kimber goes to Rio and apologizes for being so curt with him the other day (oh, sweet Jesus, she really DID only get proposed to yesterday).  Rio, to his credit, accepts without kicking any trees over.  Rio does seem shocked that Kimber has accepted Jeff's proposal though - but not for the obvious reason of the fact that Kimber seems to want the shortest engagement in history.  He's wondering why Kimber decided to accept Jeff's proposal when she seems more intent on hanging around Sean. 



But before Kimber can give Rio an explanation, it's time for the stunt to begin, and Jeff speeds the car towards the danger...but Rio notices that Jeff is driving the car a little bit too erratically and realizes that the driver has lost control of the car!  The car crashes right into the side of the gigantic truck and spins completely out of control, knocking the driver of the car silly.  Rio and Kimber rush towards the car and Kimber is extremely worried that Jeff is dead and that the wedding will have to be called off.



So, you can imagine everybody's shock when the helmet is pulled off and Sean Harrison is in the stunt man costume!  It appears as though Sean got the brilliant idea to perform the stunt himself so that he could prove to Kimber that he is just as tough as Jeff is.  And then Sean passes out from the pain.  Sheesh, Sean is just as stupid as Kimber is.  Maybe they really SHOULD be endgame.



An unconscious Sean is brought to the nearest hospital, and Rio and Kimber are waiting to hear word.  Kimber is blaming herself for this, but Rio tries to comfort her.  I actually can't believe that I am saying this, but Rio is actually coming across quite well here.  And since Rio isn't annoying me this episode, I'll share some Jem Trivia about him.  He's voiced by Michael Sheehan, who during the late 1970s and 1980s voiced several characters in animation - mostly Hanna-Barbera cartoons.  And on "Zoobilee Zoo", he filled in for Sandey Grinn as Bill Der Beaver when Grinn was presumably unavailable due to illness or previous commitments.

Since Sean is unconscious and likely will be until morning, Rio offers to stick around the hospital to wait for word so that Kimber can get home and get some sleep for her wedding day tomorrow.  But right off the bat, you can see in Kimber's face that maybe she hasn't made the right choice after all.  I wonder what is going to happen?



The following morning, Jerrica, Aja, Shana, and Raya are helping Kimber into her wedding dress, and while Kimber is excited about the day, she's very distracted about Sean, and hopes that he is okay.  Fortunately, Kimber is relieved that Rio has called Jerrica to let everyone know that Sean has woken up and is alert.  Rio also lets them know that he'll be running late to the wedding, but that Sean is going to be just fine, which makes Kimber feel even better.



But Kimber's relief turns to anxiousness when she realizes that the groom hasn't shown up yet.  And right away Kimber jumps to the conclusion that she has been stood up at her own wedding.  Geez, with all these mood swings, you'd have thought that Jeff knocked her up or something!  Fortunately, Aja spots Jeff arriving through the front gate of Starlight Mansion - on a motorcycle.  Not exactly what Kimber pictured...or Shana who sarcastically remarks how romantic it is.



I'm guessing that Starlight Mansion is where the wedding is taking place.  And although all the Starlight Girls are present at the wedding, we only focus on Ba Nee, Ashley, and Krissie, since those three are the only ones who had dolls made of them.  They seem really excited about the bags of rice that they have, and they almost seem giddy to throw it all over Kimber and Jeff.  Honestly, rice is so...boring.  If they really wanted to make it memorable, they should have used rice pudding. 



And it looks as though the guest list is quite sizeable.  It's like a Where's Waldo picture of guest stars from seasons one and two!  Can you name them all?



Kimber and Jerrica are thrilled that they have so many friends to wish them well.  But Kimber sees that someone is missing.  She asks Jerrica to call on Synergy, and with Synergy's help, she projects a hologram of Jem so that both Jem and Jerrica can see her marry Jeff.  This is actually a rather smart idea...though Jerrica's been kind of careless about who she's revealed her identity to.



But then, Jeff seems to be distracted more than Kimber.  Howard Sands actually catches him working out in the gym just minutes before he is set to marry Kimber.  He tells Howard that he's just working out some nervous energy, but I'm wondering if he's thought this through.  I mean, their engagement has only lasted a little over twenty-four hours.



And as Kimber walks down the aisle, it's time for another schmaltzy song called "Happy Ever After".  Seriously, I get that it's a very special episode of Jem, but why the sugary sweet music?  I think I'm going to need a root canal after this episode!  But if you watch the video towards the end, you're going to see Kimber have visions of marrying both Jeff and Sean...and I get the feeling that Kimber's not looking to become a bigamist.  It just illustrates her confusion over who she really wants to marry.



But it appears as though Kimber has made up her mind.  As soon as the priest asks both of them if they will take the other one as their spouse, they both say "I do" even though Kimber says it with as much enthusiasm as someone who's been sick with pneumonia for three days.



But in what has to be one of the most bizarre moments of the series, Rio rushes into the wedding to make an objection.  And in front of all of the stunned guests, he gets down on one knee and proposes to Kimber!  Wh-Wh-WHAAAAAAAT?  Sheesh, is Kimber that irresistible that now RIO is in love with her?  Oh. My. God.



But wait.  Before Jerrica slaps Kimber in the face and crams an entire cactus down Rio's throat, Rio has a simple explanation.  He's actually proposing to Kimber by proxy.  Seems as though Sean kept the ring that he bought for Kimber, and Sean asked Rio to ask Kimber to marry Sean!  Ohhhhhh, so Rio isn't that kind of guy after all.  Though, you have to admit, Rio dumping Jerrica for Kimber would have been a plot twist for the ages.



Now, if you were thinking that Jeff might have something to say about it, he does.  But he actually holds up the white flag of surrender and realizes that he and Kimber can only be friends.  He realizes that Kimber loves Sean more, and he's taking a step back so that Kimber can truly follow her heart's desire.  I have to say, this is a classy move on Jeff's part.  It's so weird how all of these characters are stepping up their adult game.  I kind of like it.



So, Kimber leaves Jeff at the altar and rushes to the hospital to give Sean her answer in person.  As for Rio and Jerrica, they're the ones who get pelted with rice by the Starlight Girls, with Ashley saying that they didn't know what else they could have done with the rice.  Well, you could try EATING it for starters.  Sheesh.  What a waste.



Now, here's where one of the most heartwarming, but yet incredibly foolish events of the whole series takes place.  Kimber arrives at Sean's hospital room, and Sean is pretty beat up.  With a couple of broken legs and some head trauma, Sean is going to take some time to recover.  Naturally, the picture is on hold until he can get better.  But Kimber does have an answer for him - and I have to say that Kimber's grown up a lot with her response.  She explains to Sean that the only reason she accepted Jeff's proposal was to spite Jerrica and to move out of Starlight Mansion so she wouldn't be nagged by her.  You see?  I told you her passion for marriage was fueled by her secret desire to escape Jerrica!  But Kimber tells Sean that she realizes that she was getting married for the wrong reasons, so that's why she turned down Jeff.  She also tells Sean that while she has chosen him, she can't accept the ring because she would also like to get to know him better.  Sean seems to agree and they kiss. 

But then Kimber completely loses her mind and tells Sean that he should get better because he's holding up her SISTER'S MOVIE CAREER?  What the?  Did Kimber just tell Sean that Jem and Jerrica are the SAME PERSON?!?  Like, seriously?  Kimber, you realize that you just told Sean that your sister is Jem?  And that not even RIO knows?  Wow, Kimber...just...wow.  I mean, yeah, Jerrica's been sloppy when it comes to changing Holograms, but you just blurt it out.  I'm thinking Sean must be on morphine or something because he doesn't even flinch!  But yeah...wow.



So, did I mention that Jem is nominated for an Academy Award?  The wedding scenes kind of threw us off a bit.  Whatever the case, Jem has invited all of the Academy members to view the film "Starbright".  As Jem explains, it's a courtesy for all of the members to view each film so they can make their decision.  One person who likely won't be giving Jem his vote is director Francois Truchet, who wastes no time badmouthing Jem to the other members.  Ah, yes...the old sabotage someone's chances because they turn you down for a film.  How immature.  Rio and Flint Westwood are ready to show our less than friendly French director "la porte", but Jem tells them to stop.  After all, she wants ALL the members to feel welcome. 



It's the night of the big show, and for once, Jem is nervous about her chances.  Thankfully we have Kimber and the others giving her moral support even though Kimber basically told Sean who Jem really is.  Rio is Jem's escort, of course, while Shana's date is Anthony Julian.



To Kimber's surprise, Sean pops out of the limo with leg casts and crutches, eager to be Kimber's date for the show.  Of course, Kimber promises to be gentle with Sean.  Things are somewhat awkward when Jeff pops out of the limo as well...but it becomes less so when it's explained that Aja and Raya have agreed to be his dates.  Or, maybe it's made more awkward.  Whatever, let's just head over to the red carpet.



Thankfully, we're spared an interview from Harriet Horn, or a critique from the fashion police.  We just see Jem and Rio walking into the venue with all of the other Holograms.  Interestingly enough, this happens to be the 60th Annual Academy Awards - which in real life aired the same year this episode did - 1988.  And interestingly enough, 1988 was the year that Cher won for Best Actress.  Could this be foreshadowing?



Well, before we get to that, we've got to sit through twelve hours of other awards.  For instance, Lena and Dominic Lerner are presenting the award for Best Make-Up in a Motion Picture - which I don't even know if that's even an actual category.  But Kimber essentially says what I am thinking - how long until we get to the important awards?  It's one of the reasons why I tend to skip the Academy Awards on television.



Finally, it's time to announce the nominees for Best Actress.  And Cher is not one of the nominees.  Instead, we have our Meryl Streep doppelganger in some "Working Girl" spoof.  We have our Sigourney Weaver twin in some Alien Poltergeist movie which - let's face it - would have NEVER been nominated.  And of course, we have Geraldine Pathos who admittedly does a decent job in the short clip we have of her.



And then there's Jem - with what is literally the same Starbright footage that was shown in Episode 8.  If this is what Jem thinks is her best clip, she may as well already call it a day.

Flint Westwood announces the winner, and to nobody's surprise, Geraldine Pathos takes the prize.  Kimber is visually upset and calls her a few choice words, but Jem tells her to take the high road.



It seems as though Geraldine has taken the high road as well.  In her acceptance speech, she singles out Jem and formally apologizes to her for being so rude to her and for dismissing her talent.  To Jem's credit, she accepts her apology, and as Geraldine celebrates her win, Jem heads off to the bathroom.



But when Kimber follows her and sees Jem bawling at one of the sinks, she sits down beside her, comforts her, and tells her that she really is a great actress.  Jem is very upset that she lost and she really wanted to win, but Kimber tells her that as her sister, she'll always be a winner to her.



Which would be a sweet moment if Jem and Kimber weren't in the washroom with ALL THE OTHER NOMINEES!  Sheesh, Kimber, why don't you just rush up to the podium and tell the world that Jem is your sister?!?



I especially love how the bathroom is called the POWDER ROOM!  Rio is waiting outside of the room to take Jem and the others home, but before they can leave, a man approaches them with some good news for Jem.  Apparently, Geraldine Pathos got hit by a bus and Jem is now the winner!



No, wait.  That didn't happen.  But Jem did earn a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame!  Not bad for someone that's only been in the entertainment industry for all of THREE YEARS!  Sigh...so many discrepancies. 



And why not end this dismal episode off with an encore of "Hollywood Jem"?  I mean, we only heard it in Episode 52 which was LAST WEEK!

You know, normally I love the multi-part episodes, but this was just a chore to get through.  The lessons we have learned in this one is that Kimber should probably NEVER get married, Sean should NEVER become a stunt driver, Jem will probably NEVER make another movie, and Jem should probably get Kimber to stop calling her sis!  I mean, how many people did Kimber accidentally tell?  I lost count.



Whatever the case, that's a wrap for Season 2.  Coming up on Monday, I'll recap the whole season for you.  And on Friday, we'll kick off Season 3 where we're introduced to yet another new band!

And with only twelve episodes left, it's sort of an abbreviated season.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

March 23, 1987

This week's Throwback Thursday is filled with drama, excitement, and fashion.  And while it's been a topic that I've talked about before in this blog, I think I can find a way to make it different from the original post that I did years ago.

Before we get into today's selected topic, let's have a look at some of the other events that took place on this date in history.

1857 - Elisha Otis' first elevator is installed in New York City

1868 - The University of California is founded in Oakland, California

1909 - Theodore Roosevelt goes on a post-presidency safari

1919 - Benito Mussolini founds his Fascist political movement in Italy

1924 - Liquid Paper inventor Bette Nesmith Graham (d. 1980) is born in Dallas, Texas

1933 - Adolf Hitler becomes the dictator of Germany following the passage of the Enabling Act of 1933 by the Reichstag

1964 - Actor Peter Lorre dies at the age of 59

1965 - NASA launches Gemini 3

1977 - The first of twelve interviews between Richard Nixon and David Frost regarding the Watergate scandal are videotaped

1982 - The government of Guatemala is overthrown in a military coup

1983 - Ronald Reagan makes his initial proposal to develop the technology necessary to intercept enemy missiles

1991 - Timmy T's "One More Try" tops the Billboard Charts for one week

1994 - The Green Ramp Disaster: Two military aircrafts collide and crash at Pope Air Force Base, killing twenty-four soldiers on the ground

2001 - Russian space station Mir is disposed of - it eventually breaks apart and falls towards the Earth into the Pacific Ocean

2003 - The Battle of Nasiriyah takes place during the invasion of Iraq

2011 - Actress/businesswoman Elizabeth Taylor passes away at the age of 79

2012 - The Disney Channel show "Doc McStuffins" debuts on television

2016 - Actor Ken Howard passes away at the age of 71

And for celebrities who are turning one year older today, we have the following famous faces - Mark Rydell, Craig Breedlove, Tony McPhee, David Grisman, Alan Bleasdale, Elizabeth Ann Scarborough, Ric Ocasek, Kim Stanley Robinson, Chaka Khan, Kenneth Cole, Amanda Plummer, Hugh Grant, Catherine Keener, Hope Davis, Damon Albarn, Mitch Cullin, Gail Porter, Randall Park, Jayson Blair, Michelle Monaghan, Keri Russell, Miklos Perlus, Brett Eldredge, and Ayesha Curry.

And now we've come to the date that we're going to look at today.  And trust me, it's a date that many people who watch daytime television might know.



We're taking a trip back in time thirty years to March 23, 1987.

So, as I mentioned before in the opening of this piece, today's topic is all about drama, excitement, and fashion.  NONE of which I have in my life.  So, you'd think that I would be at a disadvantage, right?

Well, not really.  One can simply get those things by watching television.  For fashion, all you really have to do is watch E!  For excitement, any action show would do.  And for drama...well, let's face it.  Any of those dull reality shows on MTV are chock full of it.  Not that I actually make a habit of watching shows like "Teen Mom" or anything like that.  Truth be told, those people get too much attention as it is.

But it's very rare that you see all those things in one television show.  And for thirty years and over seven thousand episodes, the show has done exactly that.



Can you believe that thirty years ago today, The Bold and the Beautiful first debuted on CBS Daytime?  This was back in the days in which the hottest fashion trends were jelly bracelets, acid-wash jeans, and mullets!  Oh, how fashion has evolved in three decades!  The show was commissioned as a replacement for the cancelled serial "Capitol", and was created by William J. Bell and Lee Phillip Bell - the same team that also brought us "The Young and the Restless" - a show that has been on the air since March 1973.

The show has also evolved over the last thirty years as well.  It's a show that has combined the cutthroat fashion business with love triangles and scandalous secrets.  It's sort of like what might happen if you combined "Melrose Place" and "America's Next Top Model".  



Originally, the show's focus was on the wealthy Forrester family, who established their own fashion house "Forrester Creations" prior to the show's debut.  As well, the show also focused on the Logan family, a family of lesser social status than the Forrester family.  Naturally, one of the main focus points of the show was making these two families clash at every opportunity to see what might happen.



During the first week of shows, we are introduced to each member of the family one by one.  There are the husband and wife duo at the helm of Forrester Creations, Eric (John McCook) and Stephanie (Susan Flannery).  They also have five children between them - Ridge, Thorne, Kristen, Felicia, and Angela (the latter of which died before the series began).

And the reason why I haven't listed the names of the cast members who played each Forrester child is because each one has been recast at least once, and it would take me a full page to go over each one.  But for the sake of argument, let's just say that when the show debuted, Ridge was played by Ronn Moss and he is now currently played by Thorsten Kaye.

Anyway, back to the opening week of shows.  When we first meet the Forrester's, Ridge is planning his wedding to publishing heiress Caroline Spencer (Joanna Johnson), and it seems as though this wedding has been the talked about event of Los Angeles.  The way the show describes it, prior to the show's debut, Ridge was a bit of a playboy who refused to settle down, and him getting engaged to Caroline was a huge deal.  



A party is thrown by the Forrester's to celebrate the event, and as it so happens, one of the caterers for the party is working class chemistry student Brooke Logan (Katherine Kelly Lang), who immediately becomes charmed by Ridge.  Brooke is one of the children of Beth and Stephen Logan, and much like Ridge, also comes from a large family.  The eldest girl, she has a brother named Storm, and two sisters named Donna and Katie.

(Ridge?  Thorne?  Storm?  Where the hell do they come up with these names?)

Oh, and plot twist alert - Eric was once college sweethearts with Brooke's mother.  Bet you didn't see that one coming.

This chance meeting would set the stage for the fiery love affair between Ridge and Brooke - a love affair that has quite literally lasted the entire thirty year run of the show.  If one were to count the number of times that Brooke and Ridge broke up and got back together again...well, I don't even know if I can count that high. 

Of course, Brooke waffling when it comes down to commitment certainly caused a lot of stress within the Forrester family.  After all, in between trysts with Ridge, she also had love affairs with Eric and Thorne as well!  And if you thought that Stephanie would take this lying down, think again.  Over the course of the first twenty-five years of the show, Brooke and Stephanie were arch-rivals, and they would do everything they could to one-up the other one.  Here's one of MANY examples!



Of course, when Susan Flannery left the show in 2012, her character was killed off, and Brooke and Stephanie finally buried the hatched between them.  In fact, of the original cast that kicked off the show in 1987, only two remain - John McCook and Katherine Kelly Lang.

Now, over the thirty years the show has been on the air, the show has tackled some serious issues.  They've dealt with AIDS, affairs, murder, rape, kidnapping, psychological abuse, physical abuse, transgender awareness, and even having a mother engage in sexual intercourse with her daughter's boyfriend during the middle of a masquerade party.

Yes.  That really happened.

But despite the crazy plotlines and constant recasting, the show has survived and thrived.  Over its thirty years on the air, the show has earned a total of thirty-one Daytime Emmy Awards and won the award for Outstanding Drama Series in 2009, 2010, and 2011.  It is also the most watched soap opera internationally, with the series broadcast dozens of countries all over the world and translated into several different languages.

And it seems as though the show hasn't really changed all that much.  Brooke is still waffling over Ridge, Forrester Creations is still in business, and Spectra Fashions is looking to best them once more (the original Spectra opened in 1988 headed by Sally Spectra, played by the late Darlene Conley, and is now being run by Sally's niece, also named Sally).  

And, as a special treat for all of you here, to close this retrospective off...why not watch the very first episode of the series right here?


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Long Lost Board Games Bought At Garage Sales!

When it came down to toys, I think that most of mine were used - at least they were for the first eight years of my life, anyway.

Fortunately, my sisters really liked gender-neutral toys, so I ended up having tons of treasures to play with from the Weebles treehouse to leftover Lego pieces from Lego sets that couldn't possibly be completed.  I didn't care if they were old or new...as long as they were fun to play with, I was definitely interested.

In fact, I think that some of the greatest toy finds that I have ever come across have been at garage sales.  Where else can you find such treasures for a fraction of the price that people originally paid for them?  And this includes eBay, which I regularly would pay up to $30 in SHIPPING COSTS just to purchase one small thing!

My favourite thing to buy were old board games.  Especially games that weren't as well known as "Clue", or "Monopoly", or "Scrabble".  To me, these sorts of games were worth getting a hold of just for the nostalgia factor, and also to try and figure out how to play them.  In some, the instruction manual came with the games, but in others, I was forced to make up my own rules, and hope that I was playing it the way it was supposed to.

Unfortunately, I no longer own these games (and you know what, I have no idea where they ended up...for all I know, my family could have sold them).  Whatever the case though, these were some of the ones I owned.  Do you remember them at all?  And do any of you still have them?



SHARK ATTACK

Well, all right...I suppose this game isn't all that rare.  It was definitely a must have game to own when I was a kid - but I didn't get my hands on it until I saw it for sale at a garage sale.  It's the game with a battery powered shark that could swallow up your fish token if you didn't roll the right colour on the dice.  It was a game that almost brought forth as much anxiety as "Perfection", only using sea creatures.  Eventually the shark died (and wouldn't move no matter how many batteries I tried), and the game was rendered useless.  But for the time that I owned it, it was fun to play.



THE SMURF GAME

This is a game that I thought was a good idea at the time (I liked the Smurfs cartoon and thought that this would be a great game to play).  But all you really have to do is move your Smurf character to the final HOME space at the end.  It was very anticlimactic, and not much thought was placed into it at all.



THE GARFIELD GAME

This game almost becomes as boring as the Smurfs game, but there are twists to this game to make it more fun.  Garfield can set rules to the game using Player Cards, and these rules can make you miss turns, go only when you roll an even number, and you can even blindfold Garfield and keep rolling the dice until you roll an odd number.  The ultimate goal of the game is to earn three rings by going around the course three times.  Again, it could be made more fun, but at least it's better than the Smurf game.



I.Q. 2000

One of the bad things about buying trivia games at yard sales is the fact that sometimes you might get questions that were extremely outdated.  This game was originally released in 1984, which meant that every question was about events that took place before that time period.  Which wouldn't have been so bad had I not found this game in 1991.  Needless to say, I always did terribly at this game as a kid.  But the concept was fun.  You had to answer questions to get further into the solar system where your ultimate goal was to make it to the lost planet of Quizaar.  In retrospect, it would've made a great game...but not for someone who grew up in the late 1980s and 1990s.



TV GUIDE'S TV GAME

Again, this game like I.Q. 2000 would be useless to a millennial.  There is no question about a television show that was released before 1984.  But this was also a game that I could actually play.  I watched a lot of older television shows when I was a kid, and I could answer questions as well as some of the adults in the room.  The way the questions were printed was really unique - they were printed in a set of four TV Guides!  I often wish that they would have released an updated game for the 1990s and 2000s.  It really wasn't a bad concept for a game at all.



WHERE IN THE WORLD IS CARMEN SANDIEGO?

As a computer game, it reigned supreme.  As a board game, it sort of lost its luster.  The funny thing is that I think the losing contestants on the PBS game show of the same name actually received this game as a consolation prize!  It is one of the few games from my youth that I still own today, and it's still fine to play - though the world has changed a lot in the 27 years since this game was first released.  I reckon some of the questions about the Soviet Union would make someone scratch their head and go "HUH?"



WHEEL OF FORTUNE

This is another game I wish I still had, just because of the really cool puzzle board that came with it.  You could actually reveal letters just like Vanna White did on the television show.  I just wish the wheel piece was more elaborately done than just a plastic arrow spinner, but hey, it was a great game.  Again, I wish I still had it.



FIREBALL ISLAND

YES!  I so remember this game, and it is another one that I would LOVE to get my hands on again.  It was a three-dimensional game that took place on a giant mountain with rivers, caverns, and a gigantic idol statue that could spit out fireballs (red marbles).  The goal of the game was to get the sacred ruby that the idol was guarding and reach the end of the game board to escape.  This game was such fun to play.

Anybody else remember these games?  Share your stories here!

Friday, March 17, 2017

Jem Reviewed: Episode 52 - Hollywood Jem: For Your Consideration


We are just two episodes left before we end off season two of Jem Reviewed, and I mentioned in last week's review that Episode 51 should have served as the season finale.  I think it would have been better than the two parter we're about to watch.

Oh, and Happy St. Patrick's Day to all of you reading this.  Because of that, the accent colour will be green today.



So, let's go ahead with Episode 52:  Hollywood Jem:  For Your Consideration.

We open the show with the Holograms gathered around a television set waiting for some big news to happen.  What exactly could it be?  Starlight Music starts trading on the stock market?  Misfits Music gets destroyed in an earthquake?  Rio finally finds out who Jem really is?



No, it's even more farfetched than that!  Jem's been nominated for an ACADEMY AWARD!  Um...WHAT?  Okay, at this point in time, Jem's only made one movie.  And, I'm guessing that while "Starbright" was a financial success (it paid for Ba Nee's operation), I don't know if it was really good enough for Jem to get a Best Actress nod.  Though, I suppose if Cher could win an Academy Award for acting, anything is possible.



As part and parcel of the nomination process, Jem and the other nominees are guests on the Harriet Horn Show.  Now, the first two actresses are knockoffs of Sigourney Weaver and Meryl Streep.  Not much to say about either of them, but both are very supportive of Jem.  Not so much for Geraldine Pathos - the seasoned vet who happens to be seated next to Jem.  When Jem reveals she never underwent any formal training for acting, Geraldine essentially calls Jem a phony and a fraud.  And technically, she'd be right, as Jem is really Jerrica Benton.  Just saying.



Of course, Harriet Horn uses this moment to promote her show, and uses the show sponsor of "Cool Trash Magazine" to amp up the feud between Jem and Geraldine. 



But Jerrica doesn't have time to worry about that.  Here's the Countess DuVoisin (who I don't believe we've seen since Episode 12) dropping by Starlight Mansion because she has a huge problem.  Well, okay, Howard Sands has a huge problem and since we've already established that Howard has no balls, he sends the Countess to do his dirty work.  Nice to see Howard Sands is still the same spineless jellyfish that he was in Season 1.



It seems as though Howard Sands is filming some space movie, and his female star - would you believe that her name is Cherries Jubilee? - is opposed to the fact that she has to act alongside a Max Headroom like contraption.  (For you millennials who have no clue what I'm talking about, Max Headroom was a huge figure in pop culture circa 1985 - remind me to do a blog about him someday).  Personally, I'd be more upset that I got stuck with a name like Cherries Jubilee.  Whatever the case, Cherries quits the project.  I'm sure the next time we see her, she'll be the September 1992 centerfold for Playboy Magazine.



However, Cherries' loss is Jem's gain.  Howard finally finds his balls and asks Jem if she'll take the role.  While Jem looks over the script, Kimber moves towards the Max Headroom monitor and realizes that he looks really familiar.  As if the British accent doesn't give it away!  Yes, it's Sean Harrison back for another round of "let's lead Kimber on".  Fortunately, Kimber leaps into Sean's arms.  Huh, maybe Kimber's actually settled down for once.



And there's good news for Howard Sands.  Jem's agreed to star in the picture which causes Raya to give Jem a new nickname.  Hollywood Jem!



Oh, listen...that's what the song is that's being played first.  And does it not sound like it should be used for a commercial?  That's because it was supposed to be.  In this Jem Trivia segment, I can tell you that a Hollywood Jem doll was released right around the time that this episode was aired.  Which is the MAIN reason I don't like this episode.  It's essentially a commercial for Jem dolls.  Of course, one could argue the whole series is a commercial for Jem dolls, but this episode makes it blatantly obvious.



Anyway, after Jem takes the job, it's not long before Jem and the Holograms get an invitation to a fancy party at a director's estate in Beverly Hills.  The director is one Francois Truchet, and he is very much interested in meeting with Jem.  The other Holograms decide that this is the only time that they will be going to a swanky celebrity party, so they accept the invitation.

At this point, I wonder what the Misfits are thinking about all this.  We don't find out because THEY AREN'T IN THESE EPISODES.  Missed opportunity.  I would have loved to have heard a Pizzazz screech.



But there is a lot of Jem and the Holograms.  They arrive at the party along with Rio and Sean, and they are immediately mesmerized by all of the celebrities such as Flint Westwood and Michael J. Badger.  Because those names sound MUCH better than Clint Eastwood and Michael J. Fox.  Kimber begs Sean to introduce her to them because apparently Sean Harrison has about as much clout to Hollywood royalty as George Clooney.  Or, would that be Jorge Clooney in this episode?



While Sean and Kimber are mingling with the Hollywood elite, Jem and Rio have finally met up with Francois.  It appears as though Francois is very pleased that Jem has been nominated for an Oscar and he has decided that he wants to cast Jem in his next picture!  Okay, so when did Jem become this high powered actress?  I don't understand this.  Of course, Francois becomes angry when Jem refuses, saying that she has already made a commitment to finish Howard Sands' movie.  He storms off, and Jem makes the decision to stay and enjoy the party...



...after all, Kimber and Sean appear to be enjoying the hot tub...fully clothed.  Oh, you crazy kids.

The fun stops though when Raya gets Jem's attention and tells her that Francois is now talking heavy duty smack against Jem.  Boy, he sure holds a grudge doesn't he? 



When Jem and company arrive, Francois is on one of those pool chairs that float in the pool, telling the press about how Jem's an idiot for turning him down and how she wouldn't be able to be a star without him.  Rio grabs Francois by the jacket, gives off his "I hate deception" speech that he performs at least twice a season, and tosses the French director into the pool!  I'm guessing this party had no plants - otherwise, Rio would have thrown one of those at his head.  And surprisingly enough, Jem approves!

Not so much for Francois, who screeches at Jem that he will ruin her career!  I think we have our plot point for Part II!



While all this is going on, Kimber and Sean decide to sneak away from the party and go walking along the beach.  It's painfully obvious that the way they have featured Sean and Kimber that they're supposed to be endgame.



I mean, just listen to the song "You Already Know".  You already know that Sean and Kimber are fated to be together just like Aja and Craig, and Shana and Anthony, and Eric Raymond and his money.  As if we need a song to remind us of that fact.  It's a nice song though.



Now here's where we get conflict.  Sean is so infatuated by Kimber that he wants to make a commitment.  But Sean's idea of commitment is "let's go steady and you can wear my class ring".  Kimber misinterprets this as "let's get married RIGHT NOW!"  Sean does his best to try and smooth things over and explain himself, but the way he does it crushes Kimber's heart and she practically bursts into tears right there.  



As if Kimber hasn't suffered enough humiliation, she waltzes home at three in the morning and Jerrica scolds her for being out past curfew!  One, Kimber's presumably eighteen and can stay out as late as she wants.  And two, you can't even be bothered to spend time with your own foster girls because you're too busy trying to win your alter-ego an Oscar.  Just shut up, Jerrica.



The next day, everyone is gathered around to watch a stunt being performed.  According to the description that Rio gives of the stunt, it's too dangerous for Sean to perform himself, so he has a stunt double - much to Sean's delight.



Kimber arrives late to the shoot, but she stands with the others as Sean's stunt driver begins the dangerous stunt.  But something peculiar happens when the stunt driver takes one look at Kimber and crashes the car into a nearby hay bale! 



It's not until we see him pull off his helmet that we understand why that is.  The stunt driver is Jeff Wright - the guy whose last appearance was as a dark haired man sailing through a window fighting with another man over Kimber!  You know, that was the incident that sparked Rio's plant kicking hobby.  Given that he's supposed to be Sean's stunt driver, I'm surprised they let him go back to being light haired.

Of course, Jeff and Kimber are initially thrilled to see each other, and it's not hard to tell that Jeff still has feelings for Kimber.  But when Kimber tells Jeff that she's hanging around Sean, Jeff gets angry again and calls Kimber everything but a two-bit whore before storming away.  That...escalated quickly.



Rio watches the whole thing unfold and actually goes up to Kimber to give her advice!  Um, the last time you gave her advice, you screamed in her face and caused Kimber to run away bawling.  But this time around, I'm happy to say that Kimber's gained a lot of edge since that time, and when Rio encourages Kimber to make a choice between Sean and Jeff, Kimber snaps back that it's hard for her to take him seriously when he can't decide between Jem and Jerrica!  Oh, snap!  I bet she got that snark from Stormer!



Kimber does make the decision to help Sean with the lyrics for the soundtrack music though - a gesture which Sean does appreciate.

But just before Sean and Kimber can start...ahem...making beautiful music together, Jeff decides that now would be a good time to jump off a building.  Good lord, is he THAT upset over Kimber?



I don't know about that, but judging by this screenshot, Kimber looks far from impressed!



Relax.  Jeff doesn't succumb to the temptation of suicide.  As if a kid's show would actually show one of those.  It's all a designed stunt as he lands safely on an inflatable mat on the ground. 




Kimber tries to speak to Jeff, but Jeff continues to give Kimber the cold shoulder as we hear the third and final song of the show.  This one is one that we heard all the way back in Episode 4 - "Too Close".  This is one of those rare songs that have a second meaning.  In the original use, it's all about how Jem and the Holograms manage to make it to a concert despite sabotage by the Misfits.  This time, it's a great song to illustrate the tension between Jeff and Kimber.  It's done quite effectively too, I must admit.



Kimber heads over to Jeff's trailer and she tries to have a talk with him.  But Jeff is still too angry and actually throws a can of soda at her!  Okay, what is it with the Benton women and hot-headed men?



Kimber asks if there's anything that she can do to make him not mad at her anymore, and Jeff practically proposes to her right there and then.  Say what?!?  And judging by Kimber's gooney bird look in this frame, I think she accepts!  Now, to us watching at home, it's painfully obvious that Kimber is only taking Jeff's marriage proposal because she's hurt that Sean wouldn't commit as fast as she wanted to.  But Kimber doesn't even seem to recognize that, and just like that, she's already planning a wedding!  Now you understand why I don't care for this episode!



But wait...maybe Jerrica can talk some sense into her.  She certainly tries.  She tells Kimber that she's way too young to get married (and given Kimber's track record with men, I totally agree with her).  But Kimber's temper is about the same colour as her hair and she essentially tells Jerrica that she WILL marry Jeff and that she WILL get out from under Jerrica's suffocating thumb.  And with that, Kimber storms out of the house leaving Jerrica shaking her head in disgust.



But what Kimber doesn't realize is that Sean has really taken Kimber's words about commitment to heart.  He's at a jewelry store picking out an engagement ring for Kimber!  Oh, you can see the heartbreak coming from a mile away.  And when the hell did this turn into an animated episode of "The Young and the Restless"?  Seriously, this is a storyline for Victor and Nikki, not a bunch of emotionally flawed cartoon characters!

Back at the movie studios, Sean tries to pull Kimber aside so that he can pop the question, and for a minute there I almost believe that he'll succeed.  Too bad Jeff decides at this moment to pretend he's Tarzan and glides down towards the two on a rope.  He grabs Kimber (I mean literally grabs her) and takes her away from Sean! 



And heartbroken Sean can only watch from above as Jeff gets down on one knee, asks Kimber for her hand in marriage, and Kimber accepts.  



But now here's where things get really screwed up.  After Kimber accepts the proposal, she immediately runs to Sean and asks for his opinion!  Okay, seriously, what do you expect?  That he'd be happy?  That he'd be sad?  That he'd take a machete to Jeff and propose marriage to you over his decapitated corpse?  This is what Jerrica means when she thinks you're too young to get married!  Fortunately, Sean does give his blessing to Kimber and heads off towards his trailer.



Though it kind of ruins the moment when Sean passes by Jem doing a scene rehearsal and you really get to understand just how HORRIBLE an actress Jem is.  Seriously, Tara Reid could emote more emotion than Jem!  I'm thinking maybe Geraldine Pathos may have a point.



Of course, the end scene shows Sean throwing the ring he just bought for Kimber in the trash and him breaking down as the three words TO BE CONTINUED pop up.  What?  You were expecting them to be I LOVE YOU?



Tune in next week for the season two finale of Jem Reviewed, where we learn if Kimber gets married, if Jem wins an Oscar, and if Rio will kick another plant or two.  And coming up on Monday, March 27, I will have the Season 2 recap posted in case you missed any episodes.  And on Friday, March 31, we're going to be entering the Season 3 episode guide.