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Friday, August 26, 2016

Jem Reviewed: Episode 23 - The Jem Jam, Part 1

On the previous episode of Jem Reviewed, Jem won the Indy 500.  I wish I could say that I was lying, but it happened.  And reality is suspended once more.

What's going on this week?  Another two-parter.  This time, it's Episode 23: The Jem Jam - Part 1.

The scene is a luxurious hotel in the heart of the Hollywood Hills, and it seems as though a huge party/press conference is about to take place.  It seems as though Jem and the Holograms have a surprise that they plan to reveal at this conference, and Rio is with Jerrica to wish the band luck.  I'm sure he would rather wish Jem luck, but since Jerrica is a yellow-bellied coward, he'll have to wait until she contacts Synergy in secret.

Lindsey Pearce is also at the party and she too wants to know what the deal is.  I also note that Video and Danse are at this party as well, but neither have any lines in this episode.  Too bad too...Danse was so good in the last two-parter.  Video, on the other hand, doesn't really garner my attention as much.  It appears as though all of the Starlight Girls are at the party as well - and much like the Starbright party, Jerrica has all of them doing chores.  In Ba Nee's case, she's the guard at the door taking tickets.  At this point, she's only one step above a Walmart door greeter, but she seems to be having fun, so let's not burst her bubble.

Though the Misfits seem to want to puncture a hole inside Jem's perfect little party.  They are hiding in a room at the hotel along with Eric and Techrat where Techrat has a television monitor sitting on a table.  The television is their way to watch what happens at the press conference so that they can figure out what Jem has planned.  Eric has also recruited Clash to assist in their plan.  Clash's job is to pose as a television reporter covering the press conference, and the camera that she will be using will send the images to Techrat's television monitor.

The only obstacle in Clash's way is Ba Nee, but Clash seems to think that she can outwit the little girl.  She tells Ba Nee that her father is looking for her - which given that Ba Nee is living at a home for foster girls should clue her in that it's a trick.  But for some reason, Ba Nee gets excited and runs off, leaving Clash free and clear to enter the party.

Ba Nee runs to the hotel lobby in search of her father, but Ashley manages to find her and brings her back to reality - somewhat.  You see, Ba Nee has this notion that her father is still alive, and goes on about how he has red hair.  Ashley tries to comfort her, but Ba Nee is more than determined to find her father.  I get the feeling that this episode will explore that more.

Inside the venue, Starlight Girl Krissie serves fruit punch to the guests, and a boy around her age grabs a drink from her tray without saying please or thank you, and proceeds to sass her from here to next century.  I get the feeling that Krissie would love to throw a glass of acid in his face, but Hawaiian Punch is as close as she'll get!

With Jerrica now changed back into Jem, she joins Kimber, Aja, and Shana on stage as she makes her announcement.  Everyone listens as Jem talks about a music festival called "The Jem Jam"!  It's essentially the same concept as other music festivals like Lollapalooza or Coachella, but with an eighties flavour.  To help with the Jem Jam, Jem has managed to get several high-profile artists to perform alongside them.  Not bad, considering that the band's only been around a year at this point!

The first guest is a guy by the name of Roland Owens who is meant to be Stevie Wonder, but they can't actually use his name because of copyright.  Because he's blind, Kimber escorts him to the piano where he plays beautifully.

Next we have a Mick Jagger lookalike, Ronny Cox.  Man, they got him near perfect right down to his lips!

Our next guest is R&B soul queen Tina Turner...but for the sake of copyright, we'll refer to her as Lena Lerner.  Oh, and the little boy who happens to be doing the Michael Jackson moonwalk on stage?  That's Lena's son, Dominic Lerner - the same boy who was rude to Krissie.  I get the feeling that by the end of this episode, it'll be punch drunk love between those two, but Krissie just feels embarrassed that she snapped at him, even though he was being quite rude to her.

Not all the guests are able to make it.  Our Madonna wannabe, Luna Dark, hasn't arrived in town yet.  But Jem insists that she will be there in time for the Jem Jam.  Good to know.

At this point, Pizzazz, Roxy, and Stormer are wondering how the heck Jem managed to snag all of those superstars.  At this point, I get the impression that if the Misfits tried this, they couldn't even get the Limp Lizards to sing at their Misfits Jam.  But Techrat has another plan for the Misfits to steal the attention away from Jem, and it seems as though he has some weird black costumes for the Misfits to wear to demonstrate this.

Back at the main stage, Jem introduces her final celebrity, Johnny Deacon - who's really Bruce Springsteen, but just go with it for now.  

And as Johnny takes the stage, Ashley - who is watching the press conference with Becky, Deirdre, and Lela fantasizes about how good it would be if she were a music star.  And, this is the first of two songs that deviates from the typical format.

Okay, so maybe Ashley and the Starlights won't earn a #1 hit with "I Can See Me".  To be honest, it's a typical pop fluff song from what would be a band of teenagers.  But you have to admire the show for trying to have people other than the Misfits and Jem and the Holograms sing.  In fact, this is one of only two episodes not to feature any songs by either band.  The other episode comes much later.

But no sooner do we finish watching Ashley's song than all havoc breaks loose.  As Jem is hosting the press conference, Pizzazz, Roxy, and Stormer bust into the room with black jumpsuits that shoot blue laser beams.  That's...actually kind of cool.  But what isn't cool is that the Misfits broke into the press conference without being invited, and Jem angrily tells them that the party was invitation only.  Pizzazz simply remarks that they invited themselves before releasing the next phase of their attack.

That attack is a bunch of punks (hey, maybe they're from that club from Episode 17) who come in and smash cameras, flip tables over, and in the case of the one guy pictured above...eats an entire roasted chicken with his mouth only.  My, that's classy.

Clash manages to get some of the reporters away from the scene by telling them that Jem's "friends" are too dangerous for them, but a few like Lindsey stick around to help.  Johnny, Lena, and all the other Jem Jam guests also pitch in to get them to stop.

Aja immediately gets the party rolling by doing a karate flip to one guy without him even expecting it!  See, this is why I love Aja...she gets the job done.

Jem uses a little bit of Synergy magic to transform a couple of guitars into...movable pinata monsters?  That's about the description that I would use.  Either way, it causes the punks to drop the guitars and gives Rio and Johnny Deacon enough time to throw them off the premises.

Lindsey and Lena use the power of flirtation and karate kicks to abuse another one of the punks, distracting him enough for Kimber to rescue one of the cameras stolen by him.  Nice work, ladies!

Even the Starlight Girls get in on the action.  Ashley leads a charge of Starlight Girls which include Krissie, Deirdre, Ba Nee, Becky, and three other girls we have yet to meet - JoEllen, Marianne, and Terri - to lasso up two of the gang members and tie them up as if they were dancing around a maypole at a Renaissance Faire!  Colour me impressed!

Eventually, the Misfits get bored with the party after Jem and her guests beat everyone up, and take off leaving a hotel lobby with broken furniture, food splattered on the walls, and shredded posters of Luna Dark and Johnny Deacon all over the place.  Jem is absolutely embarrassed, but with encouragement from Johnny, Lindsey, and the others, Jem cheers up enough to temporarily forget about the large bill they'll likely owe.

The next day, all of the Jem Jam guests arrive at Starlight Mansion where they will be staying for the duration of the Jem Jam.  Man, Starlight Mansion must be larger than I thought - unless the Starlight Girls have to share with each other.

Certainly one person who isn't interested in sharing at all is Dominic Lerner, who decides that he will be taking over Krissie's bedroom all for himself - despite the fact that Krissie apologized to him for absolutely nothing and tried to be nice to him even though he was being rude.  All Krissie can do is vent to another Starlight Girl, Anne, about how much of a jerk he is.

Okay, so let's see...Ashley, Ba Nee, Krissie, Deirdre, Anne, Terri, Delaree, JoEllen, Marianne, Lela, Becky.  I count eleven girls out of twelve that are supposed to be there.  Can anyone tell me who the twelfth girl is supposed to be?

I guess that will have to wait, as Ba Nee is moping on the staircase of Starlight Mansion, still longing for her father. 

Now, I have to say...this song will lead into our weekly edition of Jem Trivia.  Because even though Ba Nee is a young girl, the person who supplies her singing voice in "A Father Should Be" is Ari Gold - who was then a twelve-year-old boy!  But I have to say...Gold did a phenomenal job with this song, and it's probably one of the better songs in the Jem discography as far as evoking feeling and emotions.  And it's not even a Jem song!  At least if one of the Holograms left the band, they could recruit Ba Nee as a stand in.  Not that anything like that would EVER HAPPEN...

Ashley manages to snap Ba Nee out of it long enough for her to stop being anti-social and start meeting some of the Jem Jam guests.  As if we haven't met enough new people in this episode, Johnny Deacon introduces Jem to one of his band members, Randy James.  And notice how red his hair happens to be?  Didn't Ba Nee's father supposedly have red hair?

Uh oh...somehow Ba Nee seems to believe that Randy is her biological father and she starts clinging to him the same way that a sheet of Bounce fabric softener clings to a pair of jeans in the dryer!  Jem doesn't seem to think that this is a bad thing, and even Randy seems to be charmed by the young Vietnamese girl.  But I have this sinking feeling that this is going to end in heartbreak for our young Ba Nee.

Of course, for the moment, Ba Nee is cheering Randy on in a game of volleyball that Jem and the Holograms are playing with the Jem Jam musicians, and I have to say, I really like how close this group has gotten.

There's also a scene in which Johnny Deacon tells Jem about how he can fly a helicopter and invites Jem to take a ride with him.  Jem accepts - with Rio standing just a few feet away!  And somewhere out there, the song "Jealousy" starts to play in the background.  Though Rio, to his credit, lets Jem go on the helicopter ride without feeling the need to punch Johnny out.  Maybe his temper is getting better?

While the helicopter ride is going on, it seems that over on the rooftop of Misfits Music, Eric, Clash, Techrat, and the Misfits are embarking on a new promotional gimmick.  Apparently that idea is for the group to release ten thousand helium balloons over the city of Los Angeles with the Misfits logo stitched onto them.  Pizzazz and Roxy think the idea is stupid and they let Eric know this.  I actually agree with them!  The balloons are going to eventually pop or deflate and litter the city streets with multicoloured latex confetti...and since the Misfits name is on every balloon, guess who will be blamed?  Don't even get me started on the damage those balloons would do to the ocean!

Anyway, the balloons are launched at exactly the same time that Johnny flies his helicopter over Misfits Music.  So what happens is that the balloons get caught up in the propellers of the helicopter stalling the engine.  The helicopter crashes onto the roof of Misfits Music in a huge fireball incinerating both Johnny and Jem.  The end.

Just kidding.  Nobody dies in Jem except for Emmett Benton.

Johnny gets the engines going just in time and they fly off towards Starlight Mansion.  And once more, the Misfits get away with attempted murder.  Though it wasn't premeditated.  I don't know.  It's just wrong, I tell you!

Once Jem and Johnny arrive back at the mansion and Jem tells the group everything that happened with the helicopter, Kimber and Aja pick up a couple of stray balloons and deduce that the Misfits were responsible.  Since, you know...their names were on the balloons.  Geez, these girls make the Scooby-Doo crew look like Sherlock Holmes!

At Techrat's metal igloo, the Misfits and Eric have another meeting with Clash, who somehow has successfully gotten the flight schedules for the following morning.  We have no idea how she gets the itinerary, but it doesn't matter that much.  The important thing is that the Jem Jam isn't complete without Luna Dark, and the Misfits now have the exact time when she will be arriving.  I get the feeling that the plan involves the Misfits intercepting Luna Dark and keeping her hostage before Jem can get there.  My question is...what are they going to do with Luna Dark after they have her?  Force her to sing?  It's not a well thought out plan, but Techrat has the device that will change the electronic signs in the airport to deceive Jem.

And when Pizzazz, Roxy, and Stormer test out Techrat's device on the flight arrival screen, they are surprised to see that it works!  The device changes the arrival gate of Luna's flight to Gate 13.

In the meantime, the Misfits arrive at the true arrival gate - Gate #2.  And Luna Dark seems kind of surprised that Jem now has lime green hair and that she seems to be quite snarly and crude.  Nevertheless, Luna decides to go with them because the plot dictates it.

So when the Holograms arrive at Gate #13 and there's no sign of Luna anywhere, they start to wonder what has happened - well, at least that is until Aja recognizes Stormer getting into a black car and comes to the conclusion that they've kidnapped Luna Dark.

Jem tells the others to go ahead to Starlight Mansion so that they don't lose any more music stars, and she sets out alone to Gabor Manor where Pizzazz lives.  She uses Synergy to first transform the Rockin' Roadster (which I guess has been fixed up since the last episode) into a taxi cab so she can follow the Misfits van onto the property without being noticed.  She then uses Synergy to transform into Pizzazz so that she can sneak past the obviously confused guard at the gate - confused because the real Pizzazz drove onto the property just thirty seconds earlier.  

Jem gets out of the Rockin' Roadster and transforms back into her old self before going out to investigate the mansion to see where the Misfits have locked up Luna Dark.  You know, I'm just gonna go on the record and say that if it were Madonna they had locked up, Madonna would not allow herself to be kidnapped so easily!

But it appears as though Jem's quest to find Luna Dark is about to end prematurely as three vicious looking dogs appear out of nowhere and lunge towards Jem, ready to bite off her face...and...

...TO BE CONTINUED.  Why do they always freeze two part episodes whenever someone's face is about to be bitten off?  So annoying!

I'll comment fully on this episode when I post part two next Friday.  But coming up next week, who comes up with their biggest invention yet?  Who decides to call a truce with a Starlight Girl?  And who nearly gets eaten by a bear?  All this and more happens in the conclusion of the Jem Jam!

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