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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Naked Truth About Peer Pressure...

It's been a couple of weeks since I shared the first of several life lessons that I have learned through the many experiences that I've lived through - as well as some of the many pieces of pop culture that I have experienced over the years.

Today, I thought that I'd share another one for all of you.  It's up to you to decide whether or not you want to take it in.

Here's today's PCA life lesson...

Okay, okay.  The lesson here is the same title of his 1986 single "We Don't Have To Take Our Clothes Off". 

And, on that note, it's not a bad song at that.

That lesson is, you don't have to take your clothes off to impress anybody.  You don't have to do drugs in order to impress anybody.  You don't have to get a tattoo, or get a piercing, or get a tattoo of a piercing in order to get people to think you are the cat's pajamas.  And you know on that note, you can say extremely outdated expressions like "the cat's pajamas" whenever you want to.

You see, we're talking about peer pressure, and how utterly stupid it is.  Well, at least, based on my experience, peer pressure is stupid.

And yet, it's a situation that almost every single one of us has been involved in.  We're brainwashed into thinking that we have to do what the status quo does in order to get respect and popularity, and that if we refuse, we're considered not worthy for society.  You see, when I phrase it like that, it sounds insane, right?  Yet this is what teenagers and young adults have lived their lives by.

I don't think there's a single sitcom that hasn't explored this topic in depth.  We all watched Stephanie on "Full House" struggle with whether smoking a cigarette with Gia and Mickey would automatically make her the coolest girl in school.  We all watched as Lisa Simpson gave herself a makeover so she could hide her geek status from a group of friends she met while on summer vacation.  And people from my generation MUST remember the one-off television special where a bunch of cartoon characters came together to tell a young boy that there were a million wild and wonderful ways to say no to drugs!  Though, part of me wonders if the writing staff of that special were actually ON drugs when they penned the script.  So trippy.

Anyway, back to peer pressure.  It absolutely sucks no matter what your age is.  I've never been a fan of the whole "Keeping Up With The Joneses" mentality that people have where they have to have something because everyone else has it.  It's silly, and in many cases, impossible to achieve.  Why go into levels of stress and financial debt just to "keep up" with someone else when you can do your own thing and probably be happier? 

Then again, I suppose part of the reason why I never had the desire to keep up with Joneses, Kardashians, or any other family for that matter was because I never really cared that much about material possessions.  I still don't, to be completely honest.  Believe me, I'm probably the cheapest date you could find.  The jury's out on whether or not that is a good thing.

But I can tell you that there have been instances in my own life where I have felt the pressure to do something in order to win friendship.  It was just that the child me actually believed the tripe that friendship was something to be "won". 

I can think of all of the people who promised to be my friend if I helped them with their homework, or told them how to spell words, and when recess came, they froze me out to play with other people they deemed "cooler".  I still don't know what made them think that, but it's all in the past now.  If anything, those experiences were necessary for me to realize that I didn't need people like that in my life in the first place.

But yes...I've definitely felt pressured to fit in with people.  I can recall many times in which I was in high school, and many of the kids in the school were having wild house parties which usually involved lots of drugs and alcohol - and possibly sex.  From the way people would describe them, it was like an episode of "Degrassi".  Whether or not that was true, I wouldn't know.  It's not like I ever went to any of the parties.

To be honest though, we lived in a small enough town that I could have found where they were located and easily have snuck in.  And part of me wanted to do exactly that.  I had a hard time finding a group of people to hang around with as it was and thought that if I had the chance to crash one of their parties and drink and smoke and stuff like that, I would finally find a way to belong.

Of course, the logical side of me thought that if I had to get drunk out of my skull for them to accept me, why would I even bother to risk screwing up my own life just for "acceptance".  The way I see it, if they wanted to get to know me for me, they wouldn't have felt the need to pressure me to do things that I wasn't comfortable with.

The same deal with pressuring people to commit to a sexual relationship before they are ready for one.  It's hard enough for young people to worry about the pressures of sex without having it thrown in their faces all the time via racy song lyrics, provocative sex scenes, and Kardashians posing naked in their 500,000th bathroom selfie.  To have a relationship be put on the line based on one person's comfort level about sex...well, honestly, I don't see that relationship surviving that long. 

I guess the point I'm trying to make is that peer pressure is a frustrating experience that we all go through.  But we also have to look at the big picture and ask sleeping with this person really worth it in the long run?  Is getting stoned with a group of friends worth it just to gain acceptance?  Is risking your own future worth sabotaging your present?

Just think about it.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Jem Reviewed: Episode 43 - The Presidential Dilemma

Previously on Jem Reviewed, we celebrated January.  But it was a fairly decent episode overall.  I can't say the same about this one.  It's in the running for worst Jem episode ever. 

But just what makes Episode 43: The Presidential Dilemma so terrible?  You'll see as we go ahead...but hey, at least this one's posted a week before Donald Trump gets inaugurated.  The timing's much better with this one.

Well, right off the bat, I can tell that this is one of the six episodes with the terrible animation.  I mean, just watch how Kimber answers the front door of Starlight Mansion.  Very choppy.

It appears that a couple of secret service men have appeared on the front steps of the mansion, and they have a telegram for Jem!

It seems as though Jem and the Holograms have been cordially invited to play for the President and the First Lady at a special concert at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.!  Wow, now that is a special honour indeed.  Now, at the time this episode aired, the President at that time was Ronald Reagan.  Let's see if this episode even remotely comments on this.

The concert is scheduled for the day after tomorrow, so we still have to get through tomorrow's events beforehand so the action shifts to tomorrow which becomes today.  Got all that?  Jem meets with the entertainment coordinator of the White House, Paul Davis to discuss the concert plans.  My question there really such a position as entertainment coordinator?  And just who is it?  Or, who was it during Barack Obama's presidency?  Someone fill me in?

One of the things that Paul shows Jem is the high tech security system that the Kennedy Center has.  Fair enough.  Jem's a big ticket entertainer by this time, and they want to make sure that Pizzazz doesn't shoot her or anything.  The problem with the security system is that it has an unintentional side effect.  The system successfully blocks Synergy's transmissions, and when Jem gets too close, she reverts back to Jerrica.  This could pose quite the problem when it comes to the concert itself.

So, Jerrica calls Kimber at Starlight Mansion and tells them to bring Synergy with them when they fly out to D.C. later that day.  Oh, yeah, like they can really get a seven thousand pound computer across the country in that short a notice without drawing suspicion!  But having Synergy in D.C. will give her enough power to override the security system or something.  I don't know how it works, we just need to have a conflict for this episode.

And as if bringing Synergy to Washington wasn't the group's only problem, it seems as though the Misfits have learned about Jem's trip to Washington through Lindsey Pearce's show...and they are definitely NOT happy about it.  So, they talk with Eric about flying them out to D.C. so that they can upstage Jem in front of the President.  Eric's like...oh, why not?  What's the worse that could happen?  Well, aside from the butcher job they did on Pizzazz's face, that is.  Thanks, Korean based animation company!

Well, they could barge into a session with the U.S. Congress armed with their instruments and begin playing a song!  Oh, yeah, that's sure to help you with endearing yourself to the President!

Now, expect there to be a lot of patriotism in this episode, starting with the Misfits song "Star-Spangled Fantasy".  It's a cool name for a song, but the song itself is largely forgettable.  I've definitely heard better from this group.  And apparently the politicians in the room have heard better too as they throw the Misfits out of the room threatening to arrest them!  Better luck next time.

The Misfits decide to go to Plan B.  They dress up as coffee shop girls (likely raiding Jetta's closet after being inspired by her Burger King ensemble last episode) and raid the hotel that the Holograms are staying at in hopes of sabotaging them there.  But all they spot is Jerrica and the Holograms bringing up pieces of electronic equipment inside their room.  Now, we all know that these bits and pieces are Synergy, but the Misfits don't know this.  They call Eric up to let him know what they found out, and Eric reveals that he knows exactly what they are talking about.

Yeah, remember that little plot point way back in episode five where Eric hired a spy to take pictures of Synergy but really went nowhere?  In a rare bit of continuity, Eric still has the photos taken two years earlier, and seems to come up with the idea that the computer parts are VERY important to Jem's act.  Eric, you have no idea how right you are on that!  He them makes a couple of calls to various people.  Why do I get the feeling that Eric's going to do something very bad?

Synergy is hooked up as normal, she transforms Jerrica into Jem, and the band goes out for a night on the town before performing at the Kennedy Center.

At the same time, we have another potential sideplot that is happening in the city.  Somewhere in town is a criminal who calls himself the Washington Marauder, who has been stealing historical artifacts from various museums and historical landmarks all over the city.  Nobody has ever caught him in the act, and he remains at large.  Gee, I wonder if we'll get to meet this masked man at some point in the episode.

Well, we know one thing.  It seems as though the Holograms ironically never implemented their own security system to protect Synergy because someone breaks into the room where she is kept and starts to disassemble her!

And it's not until Jem changes back into Jerrica that the girls realize that something is terribly wrong!  They rush back to the hotel to find out what is going on.

Okay, so I won't really recap this in detail because frankly this episode is kind of boring.  But what I can tell you is that Synergy was confiscated by the FBI and taken to the Pentagon for further testing.  Apparently the U.S. government received an anonymous call from someone who made the claim that Jem and the Holograms were smuggling illegal equipment into Washington, and the FBI seized Synergy to examine her. 

Oh, and it should come as no surprise that Eric Raymond was the one who made the call. 

Naturally, this strikes fear into the hearts of Jerrica, Kimber, Raya, Shana, and Aja, and they decide that they must meet with the President in order to issue some sort of presidential pardon so that Synergy can be released back into their care.  But given that the FBI now has control of Synergy, it won't be easy.

I mean, we have an entire music montage featuring a song from episode 12 - "Time Is Runnin' Out".  I think used in this context, it's a bit more effective than it was used in the episode "In Stitches".  I just wish the sound effects peppered throughout this video weren't quite so loud.  It drowns out the sound, and it's actually one of the group's better songs from season one.

Anyway, after what seems like a battle to get through to see the President, they manage to get their audience with the commander-in-chief...who might I add looks NOTHING like Ronald Reagan.  I'm guessing that they went with some generic looking President instead.

JEM TRIVIA:  They never once reveal the name of the President in this whole episode.  I guess they did that so they could play the episode over and over again since the writers all felt that only white males could ever be president.  Well, at least that was the case until January 2009, that is.  And might I add, I'll miss you Barack Obama.  And I'm not even American!

So, back to the story, Jerrica tries to explain to the President that the government has made a mistake and that Synergy is theirs without actually revealing that Synergy is the machine responsible for making Jem who she is.  But the President is reluctant to turn over control of the machine as the scientists who are examining Synergy are baffled by the technology which they see as being years away.  Okay, this episode was made in 1987.  We now live in a world where computers can be found in devices as big as a cell phone.  Just what did the writers think the future was going to be like thirty years later?

Somehow though, Jerrica and crew convince the President to show them where Synergy is, and the President takes them to the area where the experiments are being done.  To everyone's shock, they find Synergy has been taken apart and is in about twenty-five not quite so bite sized pieces, and it will definitely take some time to put her back together again.

But what nobody is aware of is the fact that above an air vent (how contrived) is the Washington Marauder...and he's there to grab the last treasure needed to complete his collection.  So help me, if that item happens to be Synergy, this episode will have surpassed its level of unbelievable happenings.  Oh, wait.  Plot twist.  Turns out that the Marauder wants the President himself as his final item.  So, it seems as though theft and burglary isn't enough to keep him it seems that he wants to add kidnapping charges to his police dossier.

But Jerrica happens to spot the kidnapping going on with her own eyes, and tells the other Holograms to stay behind to reassemble Synergy while she hops on the back of the van that the Marauder is driving in hopes of saving the President's life.  That's mighty ballsy of Jerrica to do this, but again, this episode just seems to throw together every possible plot twist from every single action movie ever made.  It's just so...terrible.

We later come to find that the Marauder is a little bit on the insane side.  He's used all of the historical artifacts that he has stolen over the last few weeks to build his very own shrine to American history.  He even has Abraham Lincoln's cane!  But of course, the crown jewel of the collection is the President, whom he plans to keep locked up in a cage that looks exactly like the Oval Office in the White House.  So, yeah, our Marauder has obviously gone off the deep end.

And unfortunately for Jerrica, the Marauder has friends who work for him, as they have no trouble capturing her when they spot her sneaking around.  Jerrica's only hope now is that the Holograms remember how to rebuild Synergy.

Well, you have Aja and Raya who seem to have the brains of the group, Shana who has the heart of the group...and then there's Kimber who really isn't doing much of anything.  Well, at least 75% of them are useful.  But they've done a fairly good job of recreating Synergy as she was before they brought her to Washington.  The only thing is...have the managed to put her together in time to save Jerrica and the President?

Aja flips the power switch, and Jerrica fiddles with her earrings, and quicker than you can say "Showtime, Synergy", Jerrica's earrings begin to glow, and she sends out one illusion after another, surprising the President and scaring the Marauder and his goons.  But to Jerrica's credit, she does summon an Abraham Lincoln hologram, so it would be the equivalent of her bringing him back from the dead.  She very well may have summoned Holograms of all of the U.S. Presidents.  Maybe she even summoned Donald Trump, for all I know. 

Whatever the case, the illusions force the bad guys into the cage and the President locks them inside.  The terror of the Washington Marauder is now over.

But now that Jerrica has essentially showed the President that she can do magic tricks with her earrings, she realizes that if she has any hope of getting Synergy back, she will have to reveal her secret.

So while they are on the ride back to the White House, Jerrica uses her earrings to transform into Jem, right in front of the President.  So, now we have the President of the United States to add to the list of people who know Jem's identity.  What's hysterical is that she has no problem telling the President who she is, but she still won't tell RIO!

The President agrees to keep Jem's identity a secret, and he has no problem with returning Synergy back into Jem's care.  Aw, that's nice. 

And just like that, it's time for the concert at the Kennedy Center.  And remember how I said that you could expect a lot of patriotism in this episode?  Have a look at the video for the Holograms' single "Freedom".  And, no, it's not a cover version of the 1990 George Michael song.  It's actually a song about how much Jem loves her country.  It's actually not horrible, but the music choices for this episode are kind of lackluster.

And so is the ending where Synergy pops up out of nowhere to meet the President and they have a grand old joke of it all. 

Yeah.  Worst. Episode. So. Far.  This is really disappointing.  Season 2 started off so strong, and the first dozen episodes were really well written...and now we have THIS tripe?  I sure hope that this was just a rough patch that we'll soon be leaving because if the rest of Season 2 is like this, I can sort of see why Season 3 was the last year of the show.

So, next week, the Holograms take a cross-country tour of the United States on the train.  But when Misfits and a con board the same train, will it derail their careers permanently?

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

January 11, 1922

Did you miss me?

Okay, so I've only been gone four days.  But I needed the time off after writing in this blog for 40 consecutive days.  And to think there was once a time where I wrote one of these a day for a whole year.  I think it's safe to say that those days are over.

This is the second of eight Wayback Wednesday entries, and I have to say that the subject that I have chosen to talk about today is a real life saver for millions of people all over the world.  And that will be your one and only clue as we kick off the news and events of January 11 throughout history.  Here we go!

1569 - The first record of a lottery takes place in England

1693 - Sicily and Malta are devastated by a powerful earthquake

1759 - The first life insurance company is incorporated in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

1787 - The two moons of Uranus - Oberon and Titania - are discovered by William Herschel

1843 - Francis Scott Key - composer of "The Star-Spangled Banner" dies at the age of 63

1861 - Alabama secedes from the United States

1908 - The Grand Canyon National Monument is created

1912 - Immigrant textile works in Lawrence, Massachusetts go on strike to protest the wage reduction as a result of the mandate to shorten work weeks

1917 - As a direct result of sabotage, the Kingsland munitions factory explodes

1927 - The creation of the Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences is announced by Louis B. Meyer

1930 - Actor Rod Taylor (d. 2015) is born in Lidcombe, Australia

1935 - Amelia Earhart becomes the first person to fly from Hawaii to California solo

1942 - Saxophonist Clarence Clemmons (d. 2011) is born in Norfolk County, Virginia

1943 - Carlo Tresca is assassinated in New York City

1957 - The African Convention is founded in Dakar, Senegal

1973 - Major League Baseball owners vote to adopt the designated hitter position for American League baseball games

1996 - STS-72 launches from the Kennedy Space Center, marking the beginning of the 74th Space Shuttle Mission

2008 - Mountaineer Edmund Hillary dies at the age of 88

2014 - Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon dies at the age of 85

2016 - Actor David Margulies passes away at the age of 78

And blowing out birthday candles on their cakes today are the following famous faces; Alfonso Arau, Jean Chretien, Bud Acton, Naomi Judd, Tony Kaye, Daryl Braithwaite, Charlie Huhn, Diana Gabaldon, Lee Ritenour, Vicki Peterson, Brett Bodine, Rob Ramage, Tom Dumont, Mary J. Blige, Christian Jacobs, Amanda Peet, Rockmond Dunbar, Darren Lynn Bousman, and Cody Simpson.

All right, so what date are we going back in time to this week?  Last week, we only went back six years, so I'm hoping it's a more significant time jump.

Ah, now we're talking.  January 11, 1922.  That's almost a whole century ago! 

As it so happens, this date was one that was very important in the world of medicine.  People didn't know it at the time, but this date marked the first time that a particular treatment was used to battle a disease that millions of people suffer from.  And while in the 95 years since this treatment was first used there has not yet been a cure for this ailment, since the discovery of this treatment, people have lived much longer lives than those who lived prior to 1922.

Diabetes is a disease that many people have, and if left untreated, it can be fatal.  Fortunately, people have found a variety of ways to control their diabetes.  In some cases, depending on the type of diabetes you have, it can be maintained one of two ways.  Sometimes it can be as simple as popping a sugary candy in your mouth to keep from passing out due to low sugar levels.

But there's also those who require a shot of insulin to try and control their diabetes as well.  And would you believe that the idea of using insulin to treat diabetes was a fairly NEW concept?

The first time it was ever used was on this date 95 years ago at the Toronto General Hospital (side note: how cool is it that this treatment originated just a four hour drive away from where I live!)

The patient was a fourteen-year-old boy named Leonard Thompson.  And while the first dose was administered on January 11, 1922, it took some considerable time before the treatment was even approved.

After several years of medical research that originated in Europe by several different scientists, it wasn't until 1920 that Canadian scientist Frederick Banting and professor J.J.R Macleod actually came up with the method.  Banting had hypothesized that after reading research recorded by Nicolae Paulescu, he could use the natural internal secretion of the pancreas to extract the insulin which could then be used to stablilize sugar levels within a diabetic person's blood.  After approaching Macleod with his theory, Macleod allowed him use of his lab, as well as the help of lab student Charles Best.  Banting's method was to tie a ligature around the pancreatic duct, and over the course of weeks, the digestive cells of the pancreas would die and left behind were islets which were then extracted to produce insulin.  Beginning on July 27, 1921, Banting used the extract to test on dogs, and through the tests done by both Banting and Best, they successfully managed to keep one of the dogs alive the rest of the summer.

When they presented their findings to Macleod, he was intrigued, but felt that they needed better equipment to ensure success.  Another roadblock came up when it was discovered that the process in which to extract the islets would take up to six weeks, which was simply too long.  The idea was suggested to use fetal calf pancreas - which worked, and made the extraction process much quicker.  By the end of 1921, the team felt that enough research had been done to perform a clinical test.

And as we know, Leonard Thompson was the first patient.

Unfortunately, the dose that Thompson was initially given was impure, and Thompson sustained a very severe allergic reaction to the substance.  It would take another twelve days and more testing to be done before Banting would try administering another improved dose.  And not only was the second dose much more effective than the first, but it also eliminated the glycosuria sign of diabetes without any side effects.  As for Thompson, he would live for at least thirteen more years after taking insulin every day.

The discovery was revolutionary for the medical community in so many ways.  It earned both Banting and Macleod a Nobel Prize in 1923, and it was seen as an effective treatment for Type 1 Diabetes (which prior to 1922 was seen as a terminal illness).  In 1978, a synthetic composition of insulin was first manufactured - which is currently how it is made today.  I can't even begin to tell you how many lives have been saved because of the discovery that insulin could help diabetics live longer and more productive lives.  It's certainly a medical miracle in many ways.

Friday, January 06, 2017

Jem Reviewed: Episode 42 - Trick or Techrat

Welcome to the first Jem Reviewed of 2017!  Last week, we watched as Jem saved a radio station from going belly up.  Let's see what's going on this week.

It's time for Episode 42: Trick or Techrat.  I'm guessing based on the title that this is a Halloween episode.  Too bad we're a couple of months too late.  Or, maybe we're actually ten months early.  You make the call.

Anyway, it looks as though the Starlight Girls are watching a retro horror movie on television late at night.  See, that's how you can tell that this is a Halloween episode.  And it appears to be a film that is sort of a combo between Dracula and the Hunchback of Notre Dame.  I'm not sure what the plot of this film is, but one thing is for sure, it's enough to make Starlight Girl Terri extremely scared.

So when two of the Starlight Girls pop out of the next room wearing scary monster masks, it's enough for Terri to lose her wits and immediately seek comfort in Jerrica's arms.  Naturally, Jerrica tells Terri that everything is going to be okay, but needless to say that Halloween is not one of Terri's favourite holidays.

Once the movie is over and the Starlight Girls go to bed, Rio arrives and tells the girls that they have a meeting to go to - at midnight.  What a strange time to be going out for a meeting.  I wonder what it could be about?

Well, it turns out that their meeting is taking place at an old abandoned opera house in the middle of town.  It seems as though the building is in danger of being completely demolished, and Rio has a plan to preserve the building for historical purposes.  You want to know how I know?  He tells us.  Yep, Rio's insecure about his own successes that he feels the need to brag about how important he is.  Sigh.

They meet the owner of the opera house, one Frederick Vincent.  And yes, the fact that he looks almost like a double of horror star Vincent Price is meant to be intentional.  In fact, Raya instantly remembers him as the star of the film that they had just finished watching.  Apparently, Vincent was quite the horror film star back in the day.  But now he's having trouble keeping the opera house afloat.  It doubles as his own private residence, and he's gotten behind on the taxes.  If he doesn't come up with enough money before the deadline, it opens the door for other people to come in and buy the property.

Well, Jem and the Holograms decide that they will have none of that.  They decide that they will host a benefit concert on Halloween night (this is the plan that Rio had in mind) where all of the proceeds will go towards paying off the taxes and restoring the opera house to its former glory.  Gee, aren't we optimistic about our fundraising goals?  And a concert on Halloween night?  Great plan.  Your target audience is probably going to be too busy trick-or-treating to even think about the concert!  The least you could do is throw Skittles to the audience!

Back at Starlight Mansion, Jerrica invites Danse over to teach them choreography for the Halloween concert, and Danse naturally says yes.  Sheesh, just make her a Hologram already!  

But the conversation is interrupted when Terri is scared by another Starlight Girl which causes the jack-o-lantern that she is carving to get broken.  Terri screeches that she hates Halloween and she hates being scared!  She does come across as a bit of a wuss here, but in this edition of Jem Trivia, here's some shocking news for you.  Terri is voiced by Patricia Alice Albrecht - who plays PIZZAZZ!  The fact that she can go from meek and scared girl to evil bitch on wheels Pizzazz shows just what range Patricia Alice Albrecht has!

Jerrica tries to comfort Terri by singing a song about how fun it is to be scared.  No, seriously.  It's like...we know everything scares you, but lighten up!  It's FUN!  Those goose pimples are FUN!  Your bulging eyes are FUN!  Your being unable to breathe is FUN!  FUN!  Okay, so the song itself isn't's just used in the worst possible context, and really does nothing to ease Terri's fears. 

As the Holograms arrive at the opera house to being setting up and rehearsing for the show, we learn that in addition to being scared of everything that Terri is also superstitious.  When she discovers that the address number of the opera house is 1313, she refuses to go inside until Ashley reassures her that it's okay.

Meanwhile, Techrat and Eric are holed up in one of Techrat's secret labs, and considering that this episode is entitled "Trick or Techrat", I knew he'd be making an appearance in this one.  The Misfits are also there and Pizzazz is not amused over the fact that Jem's benefit concert is making front page news. 

Eric tells the Misfits to put on their own concert and hands them a business card.  It belongs to real estate developer Terrance Landau and Eric says he can help them out.  But what would a real estate agent know about concert promotion?

Oh, I see...Terrance has an ulterior motive.  He wants to destroy the opera house so that he can build another condominium.  And naturally he sees the Misfits concert - which Pizzazz schedules for the same night as the Holograms show - as a way to ensure that the taxes for the building don't get paid.  It's an elaborate plan...but will it work?

Well, Pizzazz interrupts a live feed of Lindsey Pearce's piece about the opera house restoration project to throw some promotion towards the Misfits concert - which appears to be taking place on an inflatable stage?  Okay, whatever.  Pizzazz also remarks that their show will be the only one taking place because the opera house could have structural problems.  This coming from a group who plans on doing their own show on a bouncy castle.  The logic's flying out the window with this episode, isn't it?

Jem does show concern about the structural integrity of the building, but Rio assures her that he did a walkthrough of the building and it's structurally sound.  Oh, so Rio's an architect in addition to being a pilot, engineer, and member of the historical preservation club?  Yeah.  Sure.

Danse is set to perform some of her new moves for the concert, but when she walks under a ladder, Terri freaks out and tells Danse that she's going to die!  Well, okay, maybe she doesn't, but she is REALLY annoying in this one.  Danse tells her to sit down and that everything is going to be fine.

But just seconds later, one of the gigantic pumpkin props comes loose and falls on top of Danse!  Okay, first she gets a leg crushed by a Christmas tree, and now she gets squashed by a pumpkin?  Maybe Danse should take the 4th of July off...just saying.

Luckily, Danse isn't hurt.  She avoided injury by standing in the spot where the eye cut-outs were.  But when Rio examines the pumpkin prop, he discovers that the chains have been cut.  Someone did this on purpose, but who?

It's at this point that Vincent appears...only this time around, he announces that the place is haunted and that they need to leave.  Um, what?  A few days earlier, you were happy to have them there because they were trying to save your home, and now you're wanting them out?  Something doesn't seem right here.

Of course, Jem and the Holograms refuse to leave, and instead get to work on polishing up a beautiful antique chandelier.  It's like the one on "Phantom of the Opera".  I just hope it doesn't fall on anybody!

But just as the crew is finishing off the last bit of spit and polish, the Misfits arrive with a surprise.  A building inspector has come to see if the building is safe.  If it's not, it will be condemned which means no concert.  Now, I'd be more angry at the Misfits for interfering like this, but I'm too distracted by the fact that Jetta appears to be dressed as if she's working the lunch shift at Burger King.  Seriously, Jetta...not your best look.

Fortunately for Rio and Jerrica, the building inspector is pleased with the work they've put into the building, and he leaves...but he plans to do one final inspection before the concert to make sure of it.

And while the Misfits are upset that their plan has failed, Jetta is just upset that a creepy looking hand has popped out of a cupboard, and the Misfits are so terrified that...they sing a song about it?  Again.  Logic out the window.

Though, I will admit.  "Don't Look Now" is an appropriate song and video for the Halloween themed episode.

And once the Misfits finish their song and run away from the building, something happens with the pulley that is hoisting the chandelier.  It breaks down and it sends the chandelier careening down towards Terri!  I guess it also didn't help matters much that a black cat happened to cross Terri's path just seconds before the mishap.  Luckily, Raya acts quickly and pulls Terri to safety before the chandelier turns her into a pancake.  But this prompts Vincent to make another plea to the Holograms to leave the opera house for good.

This time around, Jerrica and Rio start putting two and two together and realize that this does not make any sense whatsoever.  What in the world is going on?

We flash forward to the night of the concerts, and the Misfits are standing outside their inflatable stage dressed in their wicked cool Halloween costumes.  Pizzazz sort of looks like a bat in hers.  But Pizzazz is upset that Eric and Terrance are a no-show, and wonder where they've gone to.

Inside the opera house, the Holograms are putting on their scary Halloween costumes that Shana designed for them, and Jem remarks that even the crowd has dressed up in great costumes.  But their conversation is interrupted when some scary images pop up on the mirror behind them and tell them that they must leave the opera house now or else they will suffer their doom.

And on the stage area itself where Danse is performing and where Ashley and Terri are seated, the ground starts to shake, the lights begin to flicker, and Terri screams a scream so loud it could wake the dead.

And when the vibrations continue after Jem and the Holograms appear on stage, Terri gets so freaked out that she runs away.  Jem tries to follow after her, but Terri gets so lost that she accidentally falls through a trap door!  Man, this show is really being sadistic, isn't it?

Jem goes back to the stage which is still experiencing spooky things.  It looks like there is more bad news as Rio appears saying that the building inspector is here early.  Jem realizes that if the building inspector comes into the opera house with everything going out of control, the place will be shut down for good, so Jem orders Rio to stall him while the rest of the Holograms try to find out where Terri could have disappeared to.

It seems as though Terri has found herself in a secret set of catacombs.  It's not unusual for older buildings to have secret passages, and the opera house is filled with them.  And at first Terri is unsure of where to go.  But when she spots a pair of menacing green eyes in the distance, she runs in the opposite direction scared out of her wits.  But hey, this is supposed to be FUN according to Jem and the Holograms!  FUN!  FUN!  FUN!

But Terri happens to be in the right place at the right time, for she soon discovers the source of all of the problems.  It appears as though Techrat and the real estate guy are in cahoots with a Vincent lookalike.  Of course there would be a doppelganger in this storyline.  So predictable. 

Terri continues to listen to the evil plan unfold when she is startled by a black cat.  The same black cat that passed by during the chandelier incident.  Unfortunately, the cat meows which alerts the three men inside the room, and they give chase after Terri.  Okay, seriously how much more is Terri going to have to take?  No wonder she's a panic attack waiting to happen!

And to add to the fright, Terri passes by another door where she is grabbed by someone inside!  And what's really strange is that the person inside the cell is Frederick Vincent!  The REAL Frederick Vincent!  Vincent explains to Terri that he's been held captive so that the fake Vincent can ensure that the opera house gets destroyed.

Oh, and the cat that has been popping up?  That's Vincent's pet cat, Phantom.  My guess is that Phantom had tried to alert someone of the fact that Vincent was in danger, and Terri was the person he chose to alert.  Not exactly the brightest cat in the world, but he did what he set out to accomplish.  I'm sure there will be an extra piece of salmon in it for him.

For now, Vincent and Terri have to get out of there and expose the evil plan once and for all.  Luckily, Vincent knows all of the tricks of the opera house, and manages to locate all of the secret passages to keep the bad guys a safe distance away.

The climax of the chase takes place on a gigantic spiral staircase, and Terri is worried that they won't be able to outrun them.  But Vincent has one more trick up his sleeve, and as soon as they reach the top of the staircase, he pulls a lever that sends "Vincent", Techrat, and Terrance down a gigantic slide!

Downstairs, the Misfits pop over to see Rio and Jem with the building inspector, and Jem is almost ready to cancel the concert because of what is happening...but before she gets the chance to, a door opens up and out pops Techrat, Terrance, and "Vincent"! 

Pizzazz sarcastically remarks that it's about time that Terrance showed up.  And even though this is technically the first time that Techrat has come face to face with Jem, he's wearing a ghost costume, so his identity remains a secret.  But Jem is understandably confused and wonders what is going on.  And she wants to know where Terri is.

Cue the spinning wall passageway where Vincent and Terri appear safe and sound.  Terri points towards the three men and inform Jem that they were the ones responsible for all of the scary things. 

The three try to escape the theatre, but Jem uses a little bit of Synergy's magic to create an illusion so scary that Techrat actually flees the scene!  Brilliant!

Oh, and the fake Vincent?  It's actually Eric Raymond in disguise.  And Eric would have gotten away with it too if it wasn't for that meddling kid.

Wait.  Wrong show.

Yeah, it comes as no surprise that Eric and Terrance were working together in a sweetheart deal.  Eric would get the Misfits promotion, Terrance would get the land, and both would be partners in a condo development.  Both are now going to jail.  But since this is Jem, they won't stay there long.

And it appears as though the Misfits get to share in the laser guided karma.  A sudden thunderstorm causes lightning to strike their inflatable stage, and their dreams of a Halloween concert quite literally blow up in their faces.  Too bad.

And it's time for Jem's concert, where the first song they perform is one we heard back in Episode 15, "We Can Change It".  But is it just me, or does this song seem like it's been tweaked a bit to make it more scary sounding?  It could just be my ears playing tricks on me, but I think this works.

The end result is that the concert generated enough funds to not only pay off the back taxes of the building, but to fully restore it.  And this prompts Vincent to announce that he will be coming out of retirement and opening up the opera house to the public once more.  This is definitely a cause for celebration.

Oh, and Terri's no longer afraid of things.  Because in the real world that's all it takes.  22 minutes to overcome a lifetime of fears.

This is one of those episodes that is mixed for me.  It is a decent plot, and I appreciate the fact that the show did a Halloween episode.  But logic was defied at every opportunity, and the superstitions being drilled into my head were a bit monotonous.  Overall, it's an episode I'd watch again.

Next week - a week before the inauguration of Donald Trump - Jem gets an invitation to meet the President - who at that time was Reagan.  I wonder what will happen?