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Friday, May 06, 2016

Jem Reviewed: Episode 7 - Starbright: Colliding Stars

Before I go ahead with today's entry, I just want to send my thoughts out to the people of Fort McMurray, Alberta.  The area has been greatly devastated by wildfires, and hundreds of people have lost almost everything they own.  Please keep them in your thoughts, and if you can, donate to the relief fund.

When we last left off with Jem Reviewed, we learned that Jem and the Holograms movie deal was soured by the fact that Eric bought out the movie studio so that the Misfits could be in the film.  The Misfits caused so much trouble that they forced Jem and the others to quit.  Oh, and Ba Nee is going blind, as if there weren't enough problems in the world.

The story continues with Episode 7 - Starbright: Colliding Stars.

We revisit the doctor's office where Jerrica is still trying to process the news that Ba Nee is losing her sight.  The reason why is due to a degenerative eye disease that Ba Nee inherited from her biological parents.  But fear not!  There is hope.  You see, laser eye surgery was a fairly new invention back in 1986, and although very few surgeries were performed with laser technology back then, it is implied that if Ba Nee has the surgery, her vision will be restored.

Unfortunately, since this is the 1980s, the surgery is EXTREMELY expensive.  Like a quarter of a million dollars expensive!  Does Lasik even cost that much now thirty years later?  I don't know.  I'll never find out either, because I'm scared to death of getting lasers fired into my eye sockets.

So now Jerrica has to raise enough money to pay for Ba Nee's eye surgery.  After all, she promised Ba Nee she would.  Later on in the series, it becomes painfully clear that Ba Nee is Jerrica's golden child, but we'll sit on that plot development for now.  In the meantime, Jerrica, Kimber, and Shana are trying to come up with ways to raise the money, and I don't think the Starlight House honor jar will cut it.

Aja remarks that they must all have half a brain cell in between them - which is probably the most true statement she's ever made about the group in general.  But her suggestion is a good one.  Remember that music company that Jerrica won back from Eric Raymond in episode five?  I believe it was Starlight Music?  Surely Jerrica could use some of the money from the savings accounts there to pay for the surgery!  What could go wrong?

Well, entering Starlight Music with the power cut off, no employees to be found and repo men taking all of the furnishings out of the building might be one hurdle.  We quickly learn from a woman named Joanie that Eric Raymond was responsible.  Remember how way back in episode three how Eric confessed to Pizzazz that he was embezzling funds from Starlight Music to promote the Misfits?  Well, this is the end result.  A company that is in danger of busting apart at the seams.

Well, not if Jerrica can help it!  She puts the other Holograms to work in making the calls to get everything back up and running, and for the first time, we actually get to see Jerrica the business person take charge.  I have to admit, I kind of like seeing this side of her.

Apparently, so does Joanie, who admits that if Emmett were around, he would be proud of her.  I'm meanwhile distracted by the fact that Joanie sounds like Synergy if she had the Irish brogue program installed into her circuitry.  But I suppose it makes sense, given that in this edition of Jem Trivia, Joanie and Synergy are voiced by the same woman - Marlene Aragon.

Unfortunately, the Holograms have used all remaining resources to get Starlight Music back up and running...and as much as Jerrica refuses to admit it, she can only think of one way to get the money for Ba Nee's operation.

Cue a defeated Jerrica Benton inside Eric Raymond's office, begging him to bring Jem and the Holograms back on the movie set so they can use the proceeds to pay for the operation.  And Eric takes great pleasure in kicking Jerrica when she's down by agreeing - provided that Jerrica becomes the personal assistant for him and the Misfits.  This should prove to be a bit problematic considering that Jerrica and Jem are the same person!

And the very next day, Jem and the others arrive back on the set where some people - such as Jeff Wright - are thrilled that they came back.  And others, like Georgia the judgmental make-up artist - scoff at the idea.

And of course, the Misfits are absolutely furious with Eric for even entertaining the idea of bringing Jem back onto the least until Eric reveals that he's arranged it so that the Misfits can make the Holograms do whatever they want!

And when Clash reveals to the band that one of the Starlight girls is in need of an operation (after Video accidentally reveals the information to her in a fit of anger), it just makes Pizzazz and Roxy even more determined to make Jem and the Holograms' lives a misery.  Though, I suppose it was nice of Stormer to ask which Starlight Girl needed the operation.  Heck, if it were Ashley that needed the operation, Stormer would probably have clawed out her own eyes and given them to her!

Yeah, that's an image I don't want in my head.  Let's move on to the scene where the Misfits throw Jem and the Holograms out of their dressing room and sing a song about it - with Stormer trying to be tough and telling them not to forget their toothbrushes!  Ha!

Ah, "Congratulations" - probably one of the most passive-aggressive songs in the Misfits repertoire.  Only the Misfits could take a congratulatory message and turn it into a mega insult!  Here's the kicker...I actually like this song!

So now comes time for Jem to share a scene with Nick Mann - and Pizzazz.  But at the same time, Eric wants Jerrica to run some errands for him.  Now, at this point in time, Jem has changed back to Jerrica, which means that Jem is now late for her scene.  And Eric has put Jerrica in a bit of a pickle, as he announces that if Jem does not show up within one minute, he will fire her from the film!

Of course, Eric doesn't realize that Jerrica can use the JemStar earrings to summon a hologram of Jem so that Eric will believe that both of them are there.  It takes a lot of trickery and a lot of quick movements on Jem's part, but she manages to successfully summon a Jerrica hologram while changing back into Jem so she can film the scene with Nick and Pizzazz.

Sure enough, when the time comes for the scene to be shot, Jem is doing quite well, and Nick is a natural ham...but Pizzazz is probably the worst actress I've seen in a long time - even the kids from "Barney & Friends" could be more convincing! 

It's time to call it quits for filming for the day, and a production assistant reminds everyone to pick up their call sheets for tomorrow's filming.  Those sheets will tell all of the actors and film crew which soundstage they will be filming at.  I'm sure that after taking Eric's abuse and fetching Pizzazz a couple of beers ginger ales, Jerrica could use the rest.

It's just a shame that there's no security in the production offices.  Why anyone with cymbals around their wrists could sneak in and switch the papers around so that nobody would know what stage they're supposed to be at.

Sure enough, Jem, Kimber, Aja, and Shana all have different soundstage assignments.  This leads to a frantic search for the right stage as a Jem and the Holograms video plays.

Now, I have no issue with the song itself.  "Show Me The Way" is an okay song.  It's not great, but it's got potential.  No, my problem is the fact that Jem and the Holograms just barge onto the sets of three different films and disrupt them - and get NO sort of reprimand for it!  I mean, we get it.  You're lost and need assistance to get to where you want to go.  Don't ruin other people's films to make it happen!  That film footage isn't cheap.

Fortunately, Video manages to find the Holograms before they have the chance to destroy any other film sets.  But you can bet that Eric will be ever so pissed.

And ever so pissed Eric is.  He not only reprimands all four girls in the middle of the right soundstage in front of the entire film crew, but he decides to hit them where it hurts by docking them a day's pay for missing their call time.  As much as I hate to say it, Eric does make a point.  At the same time, Clash was the one who set the ball rolling, so it's really not Jem's fault.

The other members of the crew are actually confused.  They don't understand why Jem would make such a huge deal about losing earnings from the filming of the movie.  But Video does, and before long, she's telling everyone else about Ba Nee and her eyes.  I wonder if this will have an impact on the next episode...time will tell.  I'm thinking maybe Video should change her name to Chatterbox myself.  Who's she going to tell next?  Joan Rivers?  Phil Donahue?  The Limp Lizards?

Rio is appalled by the way Eric is treating Jem and Jerrica, and when he comes across Jerrica, he tries to help in his own Rio way by telling Jerrica that she's an idiot for taking Eric's abuse.  Smooth, Rio.  Real smooth. 

But Jerrica actually tells off the big lug, angrily informing him that she is there because Jem asked her to be, and that she doesn't need him telling her what to do.  Where the hell was this backbone when Rio punched her co-star out?!?  I mean, sure, Nick's a bigger jerk than Rio, but still...

It's time once more for Jem to go on stage, and before you can say "Showtime, Synergy", Jerrica becomes Jem and joins the rest of the cast in a cage underneath a log.  Yep, I don't even know what the hell this film is about either.  You're not alone.

A minor setback occurs when Jem projects a Jerrica hologram, and Eric tosses a script to Jerrica - which goes right through her.  And as everyone knows, holograms cannot pick up objects.

Once again, Aja and her brain come to her rescue.  She attacks Pizzazz right where it hurts - her ego - and manages to get Jem out of the cage long enough for her to change into Jerrica so she can hand Eric back his script.  She does this by telling Pizzazz that Jem has more scenes than her, and Pizzazz orders Jem out of the scene.  Good one, Aja!

It's time for the next scene, which involves Jem and Nick running across a spinning log to safety.  I should mention that this log is several feet above the ground and if anyone fell off the log, it would be kersplut all over the stage.  Nick wastes no time in making Jeff do his stunt for him, but Eric reveals that in order for Jem to have a stunt double, it would cost her more money!  Wow...that's not cool, Eric.  And apparently several staffers on the film set agree with me.  Unfortunately, Eric's ego is even bigger than Pizzazz's, and when he is challenged, he fires them all!

So Jem is forced to climb across the spinning log by herself while Eric gleefully salivates at the mouth for the chance to humiliate her.  Interestingly enough, Video takes the time to film the scene as well with her own camera.

Predictably, the log looks as if it's made of styrofoam and fiberglass, and Jem falls through the log to her death.

The end.

No, wait.  Rio comes to the rescue by grabbing a nearby vine and swinging towards a falling Jem, saving her life and impressing Jeff in the process.  Jem is absolutely smitten with Rio and plants a big wet one on him.

And Video is also quite proud of herself...she filmed Jem's accident with her camera, and I don't think that any of the film unions would take too kindly to the fact that one of the top rising stars in the music industry nearly became a glittery pink pancake on the ground.  But why in the hell would she label the tape "JEM'S ACCIDENT"?  Why not just decorate it in neon lights and put arrows all over it?  I know Video's a bit naive, but COME ON!!!

I mean, because of Video's mistake, Clash easily swipes the tape, borrows a magnetic tape eraser, and erases the tape.  Or does she?

Seems as though Video isn't that naive.  The tape that Clash erased actually contained footage that the Misfits shot!  I wonder if Clash will still be the Misfits #1 fan after this? 

Jeff insists on taking the tape to the union right away, but Jem tells him not to, fearing that the film will shut down production leaving her without a way to pay for Ba Nee's operation.  And this in turn angers Rio who tells Jem that she's being an idiot for letting this film continue, which causes Jem to tell Rio to f@#$ off - PG rated as possible, that is.  Despite the tension between Jem and Rio, Jeff agrees not to do anything with the tape, provided that the rest of the film shoot goes smoothly.

Back at Starlight Mansion, Jerrica is tucking Ba Nee in for the night, and Ba Nee's eyesight is fading away each passing day.  Ba Nee flat out asks Jerrica if her eyes will ever get better, and Jerrica makes Ba Nee a promise that she will find a way.  It's really one of the more tender moments in the series so far, and I kind of found myself getting a little misty-eyed.  I know...getting misty-eyed over a cartoon.  What's happening to me?

Meanwhile, Kimber is excited to find out that she has a scene with the fantastic Nick Mann, and as it turns out, her scene takes place in the middle of a deserted field that happens to be filled with step mines.  Wow, way to live dangerously.  But don't worry though.  Having learned his lesson from the Jem fiasco, Eric ensures that Kimber actually has a stunt double this time.

And Kimber might want to substitute her stunt double for the scene.  Nick Mann is acting more like a...well...Dick Mann.  He refuses to give Kimber attention when she arrives.  Furthermore, a teenage fan who just wants Nick's autograph is given the cold shoulder, leaving her in tears and Kimber thinking that Nick's not so great after all.

It fades into another fairly decent Jem and the Holograms song entitled "Love Is Doin' It To Me".  It's a song that illustrates Kimber's confusion brilliantly. 

After the song is over, a disappointed Kimber runs into Jeff, and although she is sort of bummed at first, she perks up when Jeff runs Kimber through the scene, introducing her to the stunt double, and making Kimber understand how special effects are designed.  To Kimber's credit, she's very interested, and even gives Jeff a kiss for good luck!  Aw...Kimber's not as shallow as we thought!

It's too bad that Roxy tries to plant a kiss on Jeff as well - only for Jeff to rebuff her advances.  And since Roxy is the Misfit that seems the most unstable, she decides that Kimber has to pay for coming in between them. 

With help from Clash, they sneak up to the control booth where the special effects technician is ready to detonate the step mines.  With a clash of the cymbals, the technician is temporarily stunned, giving Roxy the chance to play with the equipment.

One that moment, Eric is directing Kimber to run towards Nick on the motorcycle, and as she runs, the explosions start going off.  Scared out of her wits, Kimber is stunned by the dangerous explosions going off around her, knowing that one false move could turn her into Kimber Tots.

She sees her saviour in Nick...but the coward drives away in fear, leaving Kimber to die in the middle of the field, a horrified Jerrica looking on.

And that dreaded TO BE CONTINUED message pops up again in the melee.  What happens next week?  Does Kimber get fried?  Do Ba Nee's eyes get fixed?  And how does this movie finally end?  The finale of the Starbright saga is just one week away!

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