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Friday, October 21, 2016

Jem Reviewed: Episode 31 - The Bands Break Up

Last week on Jem Reviewed, Jem went nuts.  No, wait.  It was Clash pretending to be Jem.  Never mind.  This week, we have the episode that many fans love.  And many of these fans seem to have a lot of fun writing fan fiction stories which feature the stars of this episode in a romantic relationship.

Myself?  I don't see it as such...but then again, the sexual attraction between cartoon characters never really did anything for me.

This is Episode 31: The Bands Break Up.  Only, they don't really break up, they just lose a member each.  The more accurate title would be something like "The Third Band".  But I'm babbling.  Let's go on with the blog.

We open with the Holograms brainstorming ideas for new songs.  And as we've already established a couple of episodes ago, Kimber seems to be the driving force behind much of the lyrics of some of the Holograms songs.  But Kimber is also the youngest member of the band so she has to fight to be heard.  Believe me, I understand her completely.  I'm the youngest in my family, and sometimes I feel like I have to shout to be heard. 

In Kimber's case, she kicks her keyboard onto the floor in a temper tantrum.  Well, I suppose that would work too in a kindergarten kid sort of way.

Kimber's frustrated that the other members of the band seem to not take her opinions seriously and how they treat her like a kid even though she's been in the band longer than Raya.  Okay, she doesn't say it like that, but she does make an accusation that the rest of the band doesn't appreciate her, and she decides that she no longer wants to be a Hologram.  What's this, like the third time she's wanted to quit the band?  Jem seems to think that she'll be back after she cools down, but the other Holograms seem concerned.

It seems as though Jem and the Holograms aren't the only band to have a disgruntled member.  We find out that Stormer is getting disenchanted with her bandmates as well.  They've completely rejected the song that Stormer wrote and are making fun of her.  It appears that Stormer is the main lyricist for the Misfits as well, which really shocks me.  I can see her penning such songs as say "Designing Woman" or "I Like Your Style".  But you expect me to believe that a sweet, timid thing like Stormer would write "Winning is Everything" or "Take a Hike, Jack"?  Talk about suspending reality!

As it so happens, even the most meek of us have a boiling point, and Stormer storms off when Pizzazz, Roxy, and Jetta make one joke too much.  I guess the Misfits didn't appreciate Stormer's new lyrics which she called meaningful and sensitive.

Later that night, Kimber finds herself at a nightclub called "The Scene", where the entertainment happens to be The Limp Lizards.  And they seem to be singing "Broken Glass".  Again.  Seriously, Limp Lizards, you released that song two years ago.  Get another single.

As Kimber sits down to enjoy a thick peach shake that's really thick, Stormer sits down and orders a banana split, a Vanilla Coke, a whole chicken, twelve pizzas, and a quadruple layer chocolate cake.  Okay, I may be embellishing here, but Stormer definitely seems to have more of a sweet tooth than Kimber.  And naturally, Kimber and Stormer start trading barbs with each other as they have been brainwashed into thinking that they can never be friends as they are in rival bands.  I'd almost compare their relationship to that of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, but I don't think Kimber nor Stormer are that level of insanity.

But maybe the owner of the club IS insane.  Because she seems to think that Stormer and Kimber should perform a song together!  It can't hurt.  You can only take so much of the Limp Lizards' "Broken Glass" before wanting to swallow broken glass.

Reluctantly, Stormer and Kimber agree to play a song together.  That song can be heard below.

First, let's get Jem Trivia out of the way.  Kimber's voice is performed by Florence Warner, while Stormer's voice is done by Lani Groves.  At first, I thought it was the same woman singing both parts, but there is a slight difference if you listen to the vocals for "I'm Okay".  And, do I think "I'm Okay" is okay?  I do.  In fact, it's probably one of the better songs of the series so far.  I guess under the right circumstances, a Hologram and a Misfits can sing together!  Though, don't expect Aja, Jetta, Shana, and Roxy to sing together in a Bangles cover band anytime soon.

Kimber and Stormer do such a great job that the club owner offers to hire them to play all week long.  And thus, the Kimber/Stormer friendship has officially begun.

But at least one person isn't all that thrilled with who Kimber has been hanging around with.  Jerrica notices that Kimber has been going out late and has apparently put an entire coat of Glidden cotton candy pink paint all over her eyes, and is concerned that something is wrong.  But Kimber - who is still sore over destroying a thousand dollar keyboard over her band ignoring her - refuses to tell Jerrica what is going on.

And when Stormer picks her up to take her to their nightly gig at The Scene, the rest of the Holograms are shocked that Kimber would ever spend her time with a diseased bedsore like Stormer!

Okay, they don't actually call Stormer that.  They're probably thinking it though!

Meanwhile at Misfits Music, the Misfits are starting to realize that without Stormer as their lyrical and moral compass, they're just three aging old hags with zero talent and zero heart.  Naturally, Pizzazz blames Stormer for this latest turn of events because it's not as if SHE did anything that would make her feel unappreciated.  This is one of those cases in which Pizzazz is completely clueless in social skills.

But regardless of the feelings of the Holograms and Misfits, Kimber and Stormer have developed a really strong bond, and it appears that at least where Kimber is concerned, Stormer's influencing her in many ways.  I mean, look at what Kimber's wearing.  She looks like what might have happened if Daisy Duke became a heavy metal princess!

Apparently, the music that Kimber and Stormer have been making together has attracted the attention of Dave Danielson, who represents a company called "Can't Dance Records".  Gee, I wonder who owns that record label?  Elaine from "Seinfeld"?

Anyway, it appears as though Dave has an offer for the girls.  Since they work so well together, why not release a full album of songs?  Kimber and Stormer seem to relish this idea for different reasons.  Stormer wants to be able to write the kind of songs that she has been yearning to write ever since she became a Misfit.  And Kimber wants to take her solo success and cram it down Jerrica's throat!  Okay, did Kimber and Stormer switch personalities too?

Of course, Kimber and Stormer don't have the cash flow to make a record themselves, so Kimber decides to put up her half of Starlight Music as collateral.  Because that just sounds like such a winning idea, you know.  In fact, it seems kind of suspicious that it's DAVE that brings up that fact and not Kimber.  I smell a set-up.

Ah, yes.  I knew Eric would pop up like a pimple on prom night!  I guess we now know who owns Can't Dance Records!  Listen to this latest scheme.  Eric plans on purposely botching the record release planned by Kimber and Stormer so that the contract that Kimber signed would cause him to own her half of Starlight Music.  And as we know, if Eric owns half of the recording company, Jem, the Starlight Foundation, and the whole world would die a slow and painful death.  And I'm being melodramatic.  Apologies.

Of course, Kimber and Stormer aren't aware of this plan just yet.  They're too busy dressing like hoochies on Lindsey Pearce's show and basking in the glow of success.  And by this point, both the Misfits and Jem and the Holograms have had enough of this and decide to put an end to any future Kimber/Stormer collaborations with what I consider to be one of the best mash-ups in the show so far.

I've mentioned before that I don't like the mash-ups between Jem and the Holograms and the Misfits, but with "Bad Influence", I have to say that this is one exception to the rule.  Granted, the song itself is basically trashing both Kimber and Stormer, but the way the song is presented, as well as the lyrics and vocal stylings of Ellen Bernfeld and Britta Phillips.  Pure genius.

Too bad their song doesn't work.  If anything, the performance just solidifies the friendship between Kimber and Stormer, and they vow to be best friends forever as they one day aspire to be a part of the Lilith Fair Festival or Coachella or some other festival.  I'm guessing this was also the moment in which the lesbian fan fics started to get popular.

Don't worry though.  You can always count on Jerrica to suck the fun out of a room.  In this case, Jerrica comes across the contract that Kimber signed while searching through her belongings...because invasion of privacy is always a guarantee that your sisterly bonds will improve.  Just ask D.J. and Stephanie Tanner.  It's also here that Jerrica informs Kimber of the Can't Dance scandal that has Eric's name written all over it.  Kimber is horrified that Eric seemingly has gotten the better of them - but then Kimber recognizes that her self-esteem has greatly improved due to her friendship with Stormer and she flat out tells Jerrica that she and Stormer WILL finish the record.  I...I never thought I'd say this, but I'm absolutely on Kimber's side here!  I must be delirious.

Of course, that's not to say that Kimber and Stormer's recording session at Flash Recording Studios will go off without a hitch.  With horrible back-up singers, musicians that can't decide what genre of music to play, and tapes constantly breaking, Kimber and Stormer wonder if they've gotten in over their heads.  Stormer actually comes up with the great idea to seek help from outside, but stubborn as an ox Kimber rejects the idea, saying that they don't need help from her sister to get them out of this.

But as Jem and the Holograms are finding out, they might need Kimber more than they realized when they play one of their worst concerts ever.  At first, the Holograms start blaming each other for what went wrong, but as they start to come to their senses, they come to the conclusion that they would be nothing without Kimber.  How's that humble pie taste, ladies?

And Kimber and Stormer are realizing why they have been having so much trouble with their record.  When they arrive at the studios to lay down Stormer's vocals for the remainder of the songs, they overhear the sound engineer talking with Eric on the phone and they find out the whole evil plan.  Impulsively, Kimber and Stormer fire their engineer and throw him out of the building, but they come to realize that by doing that, they've more or less made the job of releasing their record more impossible.

To add to the stress, the Misfits decide that they want to get Stormer back into their group...and they figure the best way to do this is to bribe Stormer with cold hard cash.  Jetta gives her practically every credit card that existed in the 1980s and tells her that if she rejoins the band, her credit will have no limitations.  Why do I get the feeling that somewhere out there, Harvey Gabor is about to have a major heart attack from shock?

As Stormer starts racking up bills driving from store to store in her brand new Porsche, Kimber is wondering what is taking her singing partner so long to get to the recording studios. 

A message from Stormer sadly confirms what Kimber's greatest fear was all along.  Stormer was leaving the project to rejoin the Misfits.  And with that, Kimber is left to lick her wounds and sign over her half of Starlight Music.

So, why does Stormer seem to look heartsick over it?  Pretty bizarre behaviour for someone who won a golden ticket to an endless fortune.

The next morning, a Cheshire cat grinning Eric Raymond is gloating at his success at scamming half of Starlight Music from Kimber, and Kimber is about ready to get a full on lecture from Jerrica about reading between the lines.  It's all such an embarrassing scene all around.

But wait!  Stormer crashes the meeting with a tape in her hands!  And no, she doesn't use it to tie Eric to his chair and throw him through his office window - though I'd actually sort of like to see that happen.  No, Stormer explains that she went into the studio late last night to lay down her vocals so that the record would be finished on time.  Stormer explains that while the Misfits tried to buy her off with fancy gifts, Kimber just showed her genuine and sincere friendship...and that meant more to Stormer than any dollar amount.

The show of friendship between Kimber and Stormer is touching - but naturally Eric has to rub salt in the already festering wound by telling Kimber and Stormer that he will refuse to fund any promotion tied to their album, making it a failure.  I should also note that the contract that Kimber signed also stated that the album had to sell a certain number of copies.  Nice.

At least this time around, Kimber and Stormer realize that they do need Jerrica's assistance, and after a brief conversation - surprisingly without the words "I told you so" dropped in for flavour - Jerrica, Aja, Shana, and Raya agree to help Kimber and Stormer sell their record to the masses. 

This leads to our final song - a rehash of a song from Episode 3.  Amusingly, the song "Gettin' Down to Business" has now been used in both episodes where Kimber has quit the band!  So, let it be known...if you hear this song played, Kimber has thrown a temper tantrum.  The song itself is still meh, but it does a good job of showing how hard everyone works to make the album a success.

And how awesome that the album title is called "Back to Back"?  It's like symbolism for how Kimber and Stormer have each other's backs! 

It appears as though the promotion worked!  Back to Back has gone double platinum!  Starlight Music is saved!  And Kimber and Stormer are the real heroes of it all!

Jerrica's so shocked by the success - I wonder if that has to do with the fact that Back to Back sold two million copies while "Glitter and Gold" only sold 500,001 - that she almost hires Stormer to be a Hologram!  Geez, you only added Raya three episodes ago!  You have a band, not a Carnegie Hall choir!

Of course before Stormer can say anything, Pizzazz, Roxy, and Jetta barge into Jerrica's office and practically beg Stormer to come back telling her that they really need her and that the Misfits are nothing without her.

With a heavy heart, Stormer tells Jerrica that she cannot accept her offer, and a crestfallen Kimber is saddened to see that Stormer is set to go back to the band that held her back.

But wait!  Stormer's friendship with Kimber has improved her self-esteem and she verbally yells at her bandmates by telling them that they are not allowed to walk all over her and that she is an equal partner from now on!  Whoa!  This Stormer's awesome! 

Of course, the episode ends with Kimber and Stormer agreeing that they wouldn't change a thing about what happened and that they genuinely found out a lot about themselves by allowing a friendship to happen between the two of them.  Okay, so the episode sort of ends the same way an episode of "Full House" would end, but it's still a decent ending.

In fact, I dare say that the friendship between Kimber and Stormer has actually made both of the characters better!  Kimber became a little more mature and less impulsive while Stormer grew a backbone and demanded respect!  It would be nice to see if there are any more instances of the friendship between the two in future episodes because it definitely worked.  At least they didn't use Aja and Roxy.  Those two would likely kill each other.

Next week - Jem gets gaslighted!  Very appropriate for Halloween weekend, no?

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

October 18, 1984

Although this week's Tuesday Timeline has a tragic twist to it, it definitely changed the way that actors looked at various props - and how no matter how much effort producers take to make movie and television sets safe, there's always a certain amount of risk that we all take when we go to our respective workplaces.

Before we get to this week's subject, let's have a look at some of the other events that took place on October 18.

1356 - Basel, Switzerland is completely destroyed by an earthquake

1648 - The first American labor organization is established by Boston shoemakers

1775 - African-American poet Phillis Wheatley is freed from slavery

1779 - The Franco-American Siege of Savannah is lifted during the American Revolutionary War

1851 - Herman Melville's "Moby Dick" is first published

1867 - After purchasing Alaska from Russia for over seven million dollars, the United States formally takes over the territory

1898 - The United States takes possession of Puerto Rico from Spain

1919 - Former Prime Minister of Canada Pierre Trudeau (d. 2000) is born in Montreal, Quebec

1922 - The BBC is established

1927 - Actor George C. Scott (d. 1999) is born in Wise, Virginia

1935 - Actor Peter Boyle (d. 2006) is born in Norristown, Pennsylvania

1938 - Singer Ronnie Bright (d. 2015) is born in New York City

1945 - The wedding of Juan Peron and Eva "Evita" Duarte is held in Argentina

1947 - Singer-songwriter Laura Nyro (d. 1997) is born in The Bronx, New York

1954 - Texas Instruments announces the invention of the first transistor radio

1966 - Cosmetics businesswoman Elizabeth Arden dies at the age of 87

1969 - The Temptations' "I Can't Get Next To You" reaches #1 on the Billboard Charts

2000 - Actress/singer Julie London dies at the age of 74

2008 - Rihanna and T.I. score a #1 hit on the Billboard charts with "Live Your Life"

2012 - Professional wrestler Marvin "Brain Damage" Lambert dies, aged 34

And for celebrity birthdays, I'd like to wish Chuck Berry, Dawn Wells, Mike Ditka, Cynthia Weil, Joe Morton, Joe Egan, Sheila White, Pam Dawber, Chuck Lorre, Arliss Howard, Vanessa Briscoe Hay, Martina Navratilova, Jon Lindstrom, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Erin Moran, Wynton Marsalis, Vincent Spano, Curtis Stigers, Dave Price, Angela Visser, Eric Stuart, Lisa Chappell, Rachel Nichols, Chris L. McKenna, Ne-Yo, Josh Gracin, Freida Pinto, Esperanza Spalding, Lindsey Vonn, Zac Efron, Bristol Palin and Carly Schroeder a very happy day indeed!

Now, as I mentioned before, today's Tuesday Timeline date is one that surrounds a tragic event caused by an accident that was easily preventable.

For it was on October 18, 1984 that this actor would draw his last breath.

Now, chances are, if I say the name Jon-Erik Hexum, you're probably not going to have any idea who I am talking about.  It's okay if you don't.  When I first read about him, I didn't know who he was either.  His career was one that burned out almost as quickly as it started.  He was just 26 years old when he died - a really young age for anybody to go.  And at the time of his death, he was just starting to make a name for himself as an actor.  He starred in the short lived television series "Voyagers" from 1982-1983, and in 1983 he was cast alongside Joan Collins in the made for television film "Making of a Male Model".  By the time 1984 had rolled around, he had his first role in a motion picture - a small part in "The Bear" - and he was the lead in the television series "Cover Up", which debuted on CBS a month before he died.

I have a feeling that most of you probably won't remember the show "Cover Up", so here's a brief description.  Hexum played the role of Mac Harper, a CIA operative who also worked as a male model so that his cover wouldn't be blown.  He has been recruited by fashion photographer Dani Reynolds (played by Jennifer O'Neill) in hopes that he will be able to find the perpetrators responsible for the murder of her husband.  The reason for Mac posing as a male model is to draw less attention towards them, but also gives Dani the opportunity to tag along as the photographer.

In October 1984, the show had already taped the first six episodes of the show, and on October 12, the cast and crew were busy filming the seventh.  In one of the scenes for that episode, it required Hexum to load a .44 Magnum handgun with bullets.  Now, obviously it would be irresponsible for any film crew to leave a loaded pistol lying around the set, so instead the gun was loaded with blanks.  Though, the gun that they used for the scene was a real pistol - which might have been the first mistake.

When the scene was filmed, the director wasn't happy with how the scene looked, so he decided that he would shoot the scene over again, which meant a delay in production.  By this time, Jon-Erik Hexum was starting to grow impatient and he was looking for ways to pass the time.  This leads to mistake number two - the pistol that was used in the scene.  There are varying reports as to whether or not Hexum knew that the gun was real, but regardless, Hexum decided that he would have a little fun with the gun.

Fun in the way of a little Russian Roulette.

He had unloaded five of the six blanks from the gun, leaving one round inside.  And thinking that the blanks were absolutely harmless, he spun it around, aimed the gun at his right temple, and pulled the trigger.

This was mistake #3...and it would prove to be fatal.

The science of blanks being used in guns is to simulate a real gunshot.  It sort of has the same science behind it as one of those cap guns that you might have played with as a kid.  When the trigger is pulled with blanks inside, there is a little bit of gunpowder that is wrapped up in either a plastic casing or a paper casing, and most times, shooting a blank is perfectly harmless.  Loud, but harmless.

But there is a warning that states that blanks should NEVER be fired close to a person's body.  Because even though there are no bullets in the gun, the force that is used to shoot the blank can cause serious injury to the person - especially if placed next to a vulnerable area such as the ear, eye, throat - or temple.

In Hexum's case, when he pulled the trigger, the force of the blank caused Hexum some blunt force trauma.  Part of Hexum's skull was impacted, and pierced the inside of his brain, which lead to severe hemorrhaging.  Hexum was knocked out almost immediately after firing the blank and was rushed to the hospital.  Despite the efforts by medical staff to save his life - he reportedly was operated on for five hours the night of the accident - he died six days later on October 18, 1984 from severe blood loss from the brain, rendering him brain dead.

Hexum was just weeks from his 27th birthday when he died.

Suffice to say, the show "Cover Up" never quite recovered from the loss of its male star.  The show went on - with Antony Hamilton taking the place of Hexum in a new role for the remainder of the 1984-1985 season.  But despite the show's attempt to keep "Cover Up" on the air, it was cancelled at the end of the show's first season.

As for Jon-Erik Hexum, his death was just one reminder that one can't be too careful when it comes to safety on a film set - and that sometimes you really have to second guess your decisions and trust that things are how they are supposed to be.  But if there is any positive message that can come from this, it's that Jon-Erik Hexum was an organ donor.  And because of that, he managed to help a lot of people recover burned skin tissue, regained their ability to see, and allowed them to add several more years to their lives. 

If he had lived, Jon-Erik Hexum would be almost fifty-nine years old.  It's almost impossible to predict what his career would have been like.  Would he have continued to get roles where his body seemed to be the main focus - such as on "Baywatch"?  Or would he have gone on to do great things in the acting world and earn himself an Oscar nomination?  Or, perhaps he might have abandoned acting altogether and focused on another career path. 

No matter how you look at it though, those were dreams that never really came true for Jon-Erik Hexum.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

General Hospital - The Heart of the Jones Family

It's the continuation of Soap Suds Sunday where all this month we take a took at some of the most talked about soap storylines that have happened over the years.  Some raised awareness for social issues, some were storylines that no other show tackled.  And some storylines defied reality.

Trust me, we'll get to those stories the closer we get to Halloween.

For now, let's get on with today's featured soap...and storyline.

Two weeks ago, we talked about the subject of racism with a classic storyline from "As The World Turns".  Last week, we looked at the soap opera "The City", which featured one of the first transsexual characters to appear on an American soap.

This week, we're going to be raising awareness about organ donation.  And how one soap opera came up with a storyline that caused tears and heartbreak for millions of viewers.

First, let me ask the many of you out there are organ donors?  Let's see a show of hands.  I'm currently raising mine.

Yes, I made the decision to become an organ donor when I was sixteen years old.  I'm all about the idea of organ donation because it saves lives.  And sadly, organ donor lists get longer and longer because there aren't enough organs to meet the demand.  Many people die waiting for the very organs that can save their lives.  I think that was part of the motivation behind my decision to become an organ donor.

And one soap screened a series of episodes in May 1994 that I am sure caused thousands of people to sign up to be on the donor list.

As of 2016, "General Hospital" is the longest running soap opera that is currently on the air.  Since April 1963, millions of people have tuned in to watch the escapades of the citizens of fictional Port Charles, New York.

And while the main setting of the soap opera is the hospital in town, that's not to say that the show is purely a medical drama.  There have been dozens of storylines that have gripped the series.  Some storylines have been captivating, such as Robin and Stone's relationship in which AIDS took center stage.  And some storylines have been completely unbelievable, like the one where the main villain tried to put the entire city of Port Charles underneath a permanent frost. 

And then there was Luke and Laura's wedding - the television event that took place thirty-five years ago and remains the most watched episode of a daytime drama in history.

And in May 1994, the organ donation storyline that everyone was talking about first screened. 

First, a little background.  In October 1986, a little girl was born to Tania Roskov and Tony Jones.  The little girl was named Barbara Jean Jones, but everybody close to her called her "B.J.".  And little B.J. was the pride and joy of the Jones family.  The little girl was named after Barbara Jean "Bobbie" Spencer, who helped deliver the baby during a blackout.  As fate would have it, B.J.'s mother was killed in a car accident not long after B.J.'s birth, and Bobbie would later fall in love and marry Tony, making her B.J.'s stepmother.  Bobbie later legally adopted the little girl as her own.

Some time after B.J.'s birth, Tony's brother Frisco and his wife Felicia had their own child - a little girl of their own whom they named Mariah Maximilliana Jones.  But since that was a mouthful to pronounce, they simply referred to her as Maxie.  Maxie and B.J. became extremely close, and their bond as cousins was firmly cemented.  In fact, Maxie became extremely close to Tony and Bobbie as a result, since Maxie's dad was often out of the picture due to his job.

Unfortunately, Maxie had health problems very early on in her life.  And in 1994, the Jones family was given the news that Maxie's heart was failing her and that she would eventually require a heart transplant in order to keep her alive.  It was a devastating blow to the family, and with the donor list being very long for heart donations, the best thing the family could do was to keep her alive for as long as Maxie continued to fight until a new heart could be found for her.

Tragically, that heart would come at the cost of a person who was very close to Maxie.

On one May day in 1994, B.J. was on her way to school, but she never made it.  The school bus that she was riding in had an accident on the way, and she was seriously injured.  Tony and Bobbie had hoped that B.J. would be all right, as they were already worried about Maxie.  But sadly, the little girl had severe brain damage to the point that she was considered brain-dead.  And Tony and Bobbie made the heartbreaking decision to take their daughter off of life-support on May 18, 1994.  B.J. was just seven years old.

Now, here's where a tragedy for one branch of the Jones family turned into relief for another.  As it turned out, B.J.'s heart was considered a perfect match for the ailing Maxie, and Bobbie and Tony made the gut-wrenching decision to donate B.J.'s heart to Maxie so that Maxie's life would be spared.

It certainly was a week filled with raw emotion as Tony and Bobbie came to grips with saying goodbye to their beloved Barbara Jean, and Frisco and Felicia were overjoyed that their own child was being given a second chance because of B.J.

One of the most emotional scenes of that whole story arc was after Maxie went into surgery for the heart transplant, and Tony leaned his head onto Maxie's chest, so that he could listen to his daughter's heart beating inside.  It's definitely tear inducing.  Trust me, it got to me when I watched the clip for this blog entry.  Have a look at that moment below.

So, suffice to say, Maxie made a full recovery, and as of 2016 is a main character on "General Hospital" today.  And while she has had her fair share of trauma and turmoil in her life, Maxie has also had some good moments as well.  And Maxie literally keeps B.J. close to her heart at all times throughout it all.  In fact, when Maxie suffered a setback in 2005 when she suffered a heart attack, she absolutely refused another heart transplant because she was determined to keep B.J.'s heart inside of her for as long as she lived.  To me, that shows that even though B.J. has been gone for over two decades, the love that Maxie had for B.J. never died.

And that storyline still remains one of the show's most memorable ones.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Jem Reviewed: Episode 30 - One Jem Too Many

On last week's episode of Jem Reviewed, Kimber caused a scandal...which really wasn't a scandal, but they said it was so it must be so!

Let's have a look at today's episode - Episode 30: One Jem Too Many.  Oh, why do I get the feeling that this is going to be another doppelganger episode?  We already had one last season that was horrible!

I'm only assuming that the subject of this episode is Jem, but we have to watch Jerrica instead losing her mind over the fact that Terri and Marianne have smashed one of her windows and they appear to be trying to smash each other up in their fury.  Jerrica will have none of this and tells both girls that if they don't shut up, there will be no more Lindsey Pearce shows, no more free vacations, and no more Honor Jar.  I think they get the message.

When Jerrica is later talking to the other Holograms, we get to understand why Jerrica is such a crab apple this episode.  Starlight Music's quarterly tax returns are due soon and she has decided that she would rather balance the books than go shopping at Forever 21 or whatever stores twentysomethings shopped at in the late 1980s.  So the others leave her behind.

At some point, Jerrica decides that she needs a break from doing her taxes and comes up with the random suggestion of singing and recording a song.  I certainly hope she's not going to sing a Schoolhouse Rock song.  Not even Britta Phillips could pull off "Conjunction Junction".

For what it's worth, the song that Jerrica does sing - "Imagine Me" -  is quite good.  I think in a way, it's the perfect song that illustrates the stress that she goes through - trying to run Starlight Music, taking care of twelve foster children, having Kimber as a sister - and then there's the whole Jem thing.

In fact, Jerrica is so into the song that when she finishes it, she almost doesn't notice Rio coming into the studio.  And Rio exclaimed that he thought he heard Jem singing.  Oh, but don't worry...Jerrica happily tells Rio that he was merely listening to a playback of a song that Jem had recorded earlier because she hasn't told Rio the truth yet...why should she start now?  Oh, Jerrica, you're so pathetic.  The only other thing of note is that Rio asks Jerrica to go to lunch with him, but Jerrica flat out refuses because she's much happier pulling her hair out with tax forms than dining on chicken tetrazzini with her man.  So, Rio leaves, presumably to go to the nearest McDonald's to grab some Chicken McNuggets in honour of Jerrica.

But before he can get a chance to ask if he would want fries with those McNuggets, Jem shows up out of the blue.  That's...odd.  But Rio is delighted to have Jem come with him as he won't have to eat alone.

The place where Rio wants to take Jem is a place inside the Fashion Mall - or "Fashon Mall".  I guess they never bothered to put up an "I" after the last earthquake.  Jem is excited that Rio is taking her to the Red Rock Cafe - the mall's best fine dining area.  But once they get inside the restaurant, Jem turns on her bitch switch and immediately begins insulting the wait staff and being incredibly demanding - which totally turns Rio off. 

In fact, Rio wants to leave the restaurant right away, but Jem's all "LIKE FUDGE WE WILL".  Seriously, that's what she says.  And in order to get the best table, she grabs the soup bowl of a customer sitting at the table and pours it all over his head!  Now that's a lawsuit waiting to happen.

A paparazzi happens to be in the restaurant and snaps a photo of Jem's meltdown which causes Jem to take the guy's camera and throw it through the window!

At this point, the staff of the Red Rock Cafe physically throw Jem out and Jem goes into such a tirade that she calls Rio a flunky!  I'm like...YES!  FINALLY!  She gets what a leech he is!  And after Rio storms off towards McDonald's, another man approaches her and asks her if she'll stop by his record store to sign some autographs.  Jem gets a sick smile on her face as she ever so sweetly agrees.

In another part of the mall, Kimber, Aja, Shana, and Raya have shopped until they are ready to drop.  But just as they are about to leave, a stray record comes flying at them!  After they recover from the shock and irony of nearly being decapitated by one of their own records, they rush to a record store where they get the shock of a lifetime.

Looks like Jem's not content with destroying one store.  She's now inside the record store smashing every single one in response to the fact that the record store admitted that they made a deal with Starlight Music to lower the prices on any Holograms albums so that more fans could buy them.  And when Kimber tries to intervene, Jem tells her to BUG OFF.  Tsk. tsk.  Such language.

It's time to find out what's going on.  And as Jerrica is finishing up the last of the tax returns, Rio arrives and tells her all about Jem's meltdown at the Red Rock Cafe - a fact that stuns Jerrica.  She claims that Rio's mistaken and that Jem going nuts at the record store is an impossibility.  But when Rio leaves to mail Jerrica's tax returns, the rest of the Holograms get angry at Jerrica over Jem's explosion at the record store, which causes Jerrica to ask if all of them are on drugs.  Well, okay, she doesn't ask that, but she wonders what is going on.

Aja suggests that Jerrica has been working too hard and that she go with them tomorrow to the music trade show.  Jerrica agrees to attend the show and is legitimately having a good time.  But Aja, Kimber, Raya, and Shana are concerned that Jerrica could turn into evil Jem at any moment, so they try to keep an eye on her.

Needless to say, it doesn't work.  Jerrica goes out of sight and evil Jem is seen destroying music displays.  The other Holograms give chase to the evil Jem, but only run into Jerrica who tells them that she went past her.  At this point, all of them are confused, and Raya makes the remark that she keeps changing back and forth. 

Even Jerrica seems to lose it when she runs into a cleaning lady who tells them that she never saw Jem despite the fact that Jerrica saw her pass by.  This is getting incredibly weird.  What is going on?

Well, it seems as though Jem's reputation is sinking due to the reports of Crazy Jem on the loose.  Cool Trash Magazine even has it on their front page.  See, now THAT'S a scandal.  But Jerrica is wondering what the heck is happening.

Would you believe that as Jerrica and the others are watching television that they see Jem arriving at a live movie premiere where she is attacking the stars of the movie with buckets of popcorn?  This causes the other Holograms to tell Jerrica that they were sorry.  Ouch...that must really sting for Jerrica knowing that her own bandmates didn't believe her! 

The other Holograms think that Jem should issue a statement about the recent events, but Jerrica doesn't think it would fly.  Not only would people not believe her, but they risk having the Jem imposter disappear.  Jerrica thinks the best way to handle this is to lure the Jem imposter out in the open and expose her in public.  The only problem is that they have no idea who is responsible for Crazy Jem.  Okay, seriously...there's only one possibility.

Told you the Misfits were responsible. 

And who better than to play the role of fake Jem than the master of disguise herself, Clash?  Seriously, it's a shame that Clash is a villain because she really does have immense talent for costumes.  She'd make a great costume designer...or at the very least, a costume consultant at Value Village.

To celebrate the fact that the Misfits and Clash have damaged Jem's reputation, they have a song to sing about it.

It's just a shame that it's a repeat of a previous hit.  Nothing against the song "Congratulations" - which first appeared in Episode 7 - I was sort of hoping for a new hit by them this time around.  We're already four episodes into season 2 and the Misfits have only had two new songs in comparison with Jem's five.

Anyway, for some reason, Pizzazz and Clash seem to have an idea as to where Jem and the Holograms next concert is going to be, and it gives both of them an idea to really cause trouble. 

And for the first time in this blog, instead of posting a dozen photos, I thought that I'd post a video clip of the dastardly plan that the Misfits have cooked up for Jem.

So, to summarize, Fake Jem arrives on the set of the concert that Real Jem and the Holograms will be taking part in.  Dumb as a post Rio notices both Jems and alerts everyone that there is a Jem imposter.  Real Jem confronts Fake Jem, but Fake Jem gets away by activating a castle prop that nearly kills Jem, Raya, and Danse.  Fake Jem steals Jem's car, but Rio and the others give chase in a van.  With Eric and Techrat sabotaging the tugboat that is just behind the one that Fake Jem drives onto, Jem and the Holograms realize that Eric is the one behind the fake Jem and now they're trapped on an out of control tugboat.  Got all that?

Ah, but wait!  Jem has found an axe!  And I don't mean a bass guitar either.  I mean an axe!  She orders everyone on board (the Holograms, Danse, and Rio) to chop up whatever wood they can so that they can build a raft.  This episode is almost as contrived as the other doppelganger episode but somehow I like this one mainly because psycho Jem is entertaining to watch.

And speaking of psycho Jem, she's causing a whole lot of trouble.  She is so rude to the stage people that they almost want to cause a mutiny, she throws plates of food across the room because they happen to be an hour old, and she even turns on her friends, the Misfits, and orders them around.  Seems like being Jem has made Clash a little bit of a diva.

Meanwhile, Rio is shoveling up spoonfuls of humble pie as he tells Jem how sorry he is that he couldn't tell the difference between the real Jem and the fake Jem.  And Jem's like, "it's okay, Rio.  You can't tell the difference between the real Jem and the real Jerrica either, so I expected nothing more from you."  Well, okay, she didn't exactly SAY it...but you know she was thinking it.

Luckily for us, their moment of tenderness is interrupted by the fact that their raft is coming apart at the seams.  One by one, all of the people on the raft fall into the ocean and drown.  The end.

Just kidding.  All seven people swim to shore.  I guess they all learned their lesson when they were stranded on that deserted island ten episodes ago - well, all except Raya and Danse who weren't in that episode.  The good news is that they have all made it to shore.  The bad news is that they have no idea where they are.  And with their concert set to start in an hour from now, Jem is worried that they won't make it back to the concert in time before fake Jem has the most epic of meltdowns.

They spot a truck driving down the highway and Jem decides to try and stop the truck knowing full well that because nough people hate her as a result of Fake Jem, she could end up being pink haired roadkill.

Inside the truck is a little girl and her father who appears to be a vegetable farmer.  And the little girl is like, "Look, daddy!  Hitchhikers!  Let's give them a ride, pretty please?"  The dad shakes his head and says "Forget it...this one's so crazy she's liable to shave her head and attack us with a beach umbrella twenty years from now."

To Jem's relief, the little girl denounces her father's claims and believes with all her heart that Jem is innocent.  Jem promises her that she will give them free tickets, backstage passes, all their albums, and a pony if they'll give them a ride to their own concert.  Okay, she just promises them free tickets.  Still, that's good enough for the dad to give them all a ride.

At the concert, it's a full house!  I guess despite the negative publicity that has happened with Jem courtesy of Clash and the Misfits, Jem still has her loyal fans.  But Clash is determined to get rid of every single one of them.  Problem is, the crowd is getting restless and she is wondering if she should go out to greet them.  Eric tells her to wait a minute, for the longer she keeps them waiting, the angrier they'll be.  Of course, what Eric doesn't realize is that the real Jem is fast approaching, but we'll wait and see what happens.

By the time fake Jem comes on stage, she's going on a rant about how all her fans want to do is take from her, and how she's going to do the taking now.  I'm more impressed by the fact that Clash has found a way to mimic Jem's speaking voice perfectly.  She's like the female Rich Little!

Of course, Clash never gets to finish her soliloquy as Fake Jem as Real Jem comes storming the stage and demanding to know what the hell she is doing.  Of course, both Real Jem and Fake Jem make the statement that they are the real deal, and the audience is left extremely confused and Jem is left extremely frustrated...

...until she comes up with a sure fire way to tell the two apart.  Real Jem simply asks Fake Jem to sing one of her songs.  And right then and there, the hearts of all of the Misfits drop as Clash makes the decision to sing the song "I Believe in Happy Endings".

I only wish I had a sound clip of that performance.  Needless to say, it's pretty awful.  You can tell that Samantha Newark was doing the singing in that scene.  Funny thing is, in this week's edition of Jem Trivia, Samantha Newark has proven that she can sing a lot better than that.  Don't believe me?  Here's proof below!

Not bad, huh?  I mean, the song itself is a cheesy retrospect of her Jem days, but for a singing voice, it's pretty decent.

At this point, the fans raid the truck of the vegetable farmer and start throwing tomatoes at the Fake Jem!  Amusingly, the dad gets pissed at the crowd for ruining his veggies until Rio tells him that they'll pay for all the damage.  I guess it's the least they can do.

And when one tomato smacks Clash hard in the head, it causes her to remove her Jem mask.  The jig is up, and the Misfits try to escape - but first they have to deal with the stage crew they abused prior to the concert.  I love it when the baddies get their just desserts.

And with the Real Jem back on the stage, it's time for the most ironic song to have ever played on this series so far.

I'll admit that stylistically, "The Real Me" is epic.  It's a product of its time, of course, but it's very well done.  But, my problem with this song is that Jem sings about how Clash was NOT the real her, and how she tricked others into believing lies caused by Clash.  The only thing is...JEM'S NOT THE REAL YOU EITHER!!!  For Jem to be singing about falseness and fakery when she's essentially built a career out of falseness and fakery for two whole years - it's just plain irony.

So, we've had yet another doppelganger episode, and to be honest, there were some parts I strongly disliked...but I think the saving grace was psycho Jem.  She was comedy gold!

Next week - the episode that launched a thousand lesbian fan fics.  And no, I'm not kidding either.