Search This Blog

Friday, February 24, 2017

Jem Reviewed: Episode 49 - Journey Through Time

So, last week on Jem Reviewed, I had a difficult time recapping the episode as it was one that I wasn't a fan of.  Basically they go to a fictional place, they play weird music, and they get chased by the abominable snowman.

I have a feeling that this week's offering isn't going to get any better.  The reason?  This is Episode 49: Journey Through Time.  The more I think of it, the more that title sounds like a "Choose Your Own Adventure" novel I read in the fourth grade.  I've got a funny feeling I'm going to hate this episode too.

We begin with an announcement, courtesy of Lindsey Pearce.  Apparently there is a huge event that is going to be taking place called the World History of Music Concert, where bands from all over the world gather to celebrate music.  I suppose it's like the Eurovision Song Contest only with all nations participating. 

Naturally, Jem and the Holograms are taking part in the festivities.  And the Misfits are not.  But fear not.  Eric Raymond is on the case, and he has an idea that will keep Jem and the Holograms away from the stage so that the Misfits can go on.  Given Eric's track record, I'd say the Misfits are already doomed, but let's watch and see what happens.

Jem and the Holograms are in their studio rehearsing a song for their concert...a song that they originally sang back in Episode 21.

This time around, the song "Rock And Roll is Forever" is set to the clip of the girls standing on flags of their country of origin while playing a tune.  Good idea in theory...except that the storyboard artist seemed to forget that Aja is from CHINA, not JAPAN.  And, I'm not sure why Jem gets an American flag and Kimber gets Scotland - unless the Benton family is Scottish-American.  Does this mean that Emmett Benton sounds like Scrooge McDuck?

Jem's not overly pleased with the song that they're playing, and Kimber tries to encourage her by saying that their song sounds great.  Kimber, the song you're playing was written by Bobby Bailey!  Remember him?  The guy whose apartment you saved?  Sheesh, no wonder Bobby hated you throughout much of Episode 21!  Jem's determined to make their performance stand out though, and she takes the rest of the band to Synergy's room so they can ask her for advice.

Unaware of what is happening outside, there's a transport truck parked outside of the front gates of Starlight Mansion.  Inside is Eric, the Misfits, and Techrat, who apparently has built - get this - a time machine.  I'd be more impressed if it looked like a TARDIS or a DeLorean.  This looks like something a high school student in 2007 would build.

But despite the Misfits disbelief, Techrat sets the time traveling device to the year 1781, and as soon as he pushes the button, something happens inside the mansion and Jem and the Holograms fade away along with Synergy!  

To make this already illogical plot even more unbelievable, as soon as the Holograms disappear, a woman who appears to be dressed like Marie Antoinette appears inside Techrat's truck!  Apparently, she's confused and looking for her beloved "Wolfie".  The Misfits wonder what is going on, and Techrat explains that while his time machine works, there is one flaw.  In order to keep the balance in check, the Holograms are traded out for someone else who shares the same body mass.  Um...unless this woman from the past weighs close to 1,200 pounds, I call BS on that theory.

The Holograms arrive safely in Vienna, March 1781.  But they have three problems.  One, Synergy isn't with them.  Two, Jem has reverted back to Jerrica.  And three, they're so not following the hip new trends of the late eighteenth century.  Someone call the fashion police!

Fortunately for them, these problems magically go away in seconds.  Synergy has found herself trapped underneath a sewer system, but the good news is that she has battery back-up power.  How convenient.  With that power, she turns Jerrica back into Jem, and gives all the girls a makeover 1700s style.

Not too shabby, huh?

At this point, a young man with probably the most annoying laugh I have ever heard in my life comes barging in looking for his lady friend, Constanze.  Ah, I'm guessing this must be "Wolfie".

Actually, the group recognize him immediately as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart!  Wow, they're actually meeting a celebrity that's already dead in the flesh.  This is...kinda weird.  Also weird is today's Jem Trivia.  Apparently, Mozart is voiced by voice actor Cam Clarke, who also is best known for playing Leonardo in "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles".  Wow, so we've had Leonardo and the guy who plays Raphael make cameo appearances.  You think Michelangelo or Donatello will complete the set?  Well, I know for a fact that a third TMNT voice actor is coming up...and he plays a significant role in Season 3.  But that's all I can say.  This episode is after all about the past...not the future.

Anyway, it seems as though Mozart is in a bit of a pickle.  He's determined to play his latest composition, but he worries about being sabotaged by a rival of his - one Antonio Salieri.  The Holograms agree to help him get to the concert without fear of getting ambushed, and it appears as though Aja has developed a crush on him.  Well, at least it's not Kimber or Danse this time.

The plan?  While the real Mozart sneaks off to the concert venue where Salieri is waiting, the Holograms transform Shana into a Mozart hologram to fool the henchmen of Salieri.  Sure enough, the Holograms end up getting kidnapped by Salieri's goons and are taken to another area via horse drawn carriage.  Seems their plan is to make Mozart miss the concert so that Salieri can take over the whole show.

Needless to say, when Mozart arrives on stage a few minutes later, it thwarts Salieri's plans, and the concert goes ahead as planned.  It's also interesting to note that they actually incorporate classical music into the episode - one of the few positives I can note about it.

Jem and the Holograms escape their captors by having Synergy summon a hologram of a band of thieves ready to attack the carriage, causing their kidnappers to flee.  I'm not making this up.  And, Jem and the Holograms arrive at the concert hall in time to catch Mozart in action.  But those storm clouds in the sky don't look too promising.

Remember way back in Episode 12, when the plane the band was on passed through thunderclouds and it reverted Jem back to Jerrica?  Seems like the same thing is about to happen given Synergy's...shocking appearance.

Sure enough, Jem and company revert back to their 1980s counterparts - which doesn't make sense as Jem doesn't change back to Jerrica.  But whatever the case, the audience sees Jem and her friends as witches and they launch a full out assault on them by throwing rocks at them.  

Yep...apparently in the 1700s, stoning people to death was perfectly legal.

Luckily, Techrat manages to do some tweaking and Jem and the Holograms escape their fate.  Little Miss Constanze also gets teleported back.  But a new problem arises when two soldiers make an appearance in Techrat's truck, and they question whether they're still in London.

Wherever they came from, it's under attack as buildings are on fire and war sirens are going off.  What a perfect place for Jem and the Holograms to hide out at.  Much safer than getting pelted with rocks.  Jem and the others wonder where they are.

Shana notices a poster hanging on a wall advertising a special concert event starring the hottest band of 1944.  Apparently the show didn't get clearance rights to use the Glenn Miller Band name, so they've been renamed to the
Ben Tiller Band.  Oh, and Jem and the Holograms are in the middle of London during World War II!  Needless to say, they need to get off the streets before they get blown to bits!

Luckily, Synergy's battery power is still working, so Jem transforms her and the others into 1940s outfits - which immediately draws the attention of two soldiers who happen to be nearby.  They seem taken aback when Jem introduces themselves as a female band, mainly because these sexist blokes don't seem to think that girl bands can exist.

Jem and the Holograms are quite taken aback themselves, as these two guys happen to be members of the Ben Tiller Band.  Ben is also skeptical about the playing power of the Holograms, but Kimber issues them a challenge.  If they give them thirty minutes, they will show them that they know their stuff.  It's a challenge that Ben accepts and before we know it, we have what could be one of the most unusual songs in the Holograms discography.

Thing is, I kind of like "We're Making It Happen".  Sure, the Holograms singing style kind of resembles the Andrews Sisters, but that was the idea back in the 1940s.  And the combination of brass horns and piano certainly makes this single stand out.  It's a rare departure of style for them, but it really works.  Again, credit to Britta Phillips for making this song a brilliant one.  It's very reminiscent of another song that was performed earlier called "Jazz Has".  Simple, but effective.

Unfortunately, the Ben Tiller Band doesn't have time to congratulate them as a bomb detonates outside of the club they're performing at.  Well, that's one way to stop a show.  The Holograms are huddled in a corner as the club collapses all around them, and they think their time is up...and it is.  Well, in London 1944 anyway.  They fade out of the scene just as the ceiling falls down.  That was too close.  But where are the Holograms headed now?

Considering that the soldiers fade away in Techrat's truck and are replaced by a group of 1960s hippies, I'm guessing that the swingin' sixties are the next tour destination through time.  At this point though, the Misfits are getting pissed off with Techrat and they launch a barrage of insults towards him, causing Techrat to send the Misfits back in time as well!  I get the feeling that Techrat enjoyed that a little too much.  But as more hippies fill the truck, Eric is now upset because he has no idea where the Misfits went to.  I've a feeling that the Misfits and Holograms are going to meet up very soon.

The place?  The Woodstock Music Festival of August 1969!  A festival that I would gladly travel through time to experience!  Lucky ducks.

The Holograms arrive in time to accidentally make a man fall onto the ground.  Whoops.  But it's okay...the man just happens to be...wait for it...guitar legend Johnny Beldrix.  I'm guessing Jimi Hendrix had the flu.  Seriously, just take the fine and use their real names.  This ain't the Jem Jam you're at.

Fortunately, the Holograms are dressed crazy enough to blend into the scene - which is a good thing as Synergy is apparently trapped on a truck and is incapacitated at the moment.  But Johnny tells the Holograms that he is not very impressed with his concert promoter as he is making Johnny perform with a group called the Misfits.  It's only at THIS point that the Holograms clue in that the Misfits are responsible.  Because apparently time travel is perfectly normal for them.  As is getting trapped in an erupting volcano.  Or driving a car in the Indy 500.  Or having your very own Broadway musical.

The Holograms promise Johnny that they will find a way to release Johnny from the contract so he can perform by himself.

I should also mention that at this point, the Misfits are EXCITED to be performing at Woodstock.  Never mind the fact that if they perform at the concert, they'll be screwing up history and keeping the tabloids in business by having them speculate on how a band from the 1960s look so young.

And get a look at their promoter, who happens to be named Willy.  My theory is that Willy is a relative of Eric Raymond, as both of them act exactly the same way.  It would be awesome if the show eluded to that possibility, but they don't.  Instead, Willy is talking to an associate of his about some exciting light and sound box that they plan to unveil during Johnny's performance.  Why does that description sound familiar?

Ah, here it is.  The big confrontation between Jem and the Holograms and the Misfits, and of course, the Misfits can't wait to rub it in their faces about how they are going to play one of the biggest concerts in history.  But Jem seems to have an ace up her sleeve.  By now, Synergy's able to respond to Jem's requests and she summons up a hologram of Eric...

...who is dressed up like one of the members of Strawberry Alarm Clock!  Seriously, this is the funniest things I think I've seen on this episode.  And Strawberry Alarm Clock Eric informs the Misfits that they are still under contract to him which means no performing at Woodstock!  And Willy is furious that the Misfits lied to him and he tells them that they are finished...well, at least they are for the next sixteen years, anyway.

Willy convinces Johnny Beldrix to go back on stage, and he launches into a rousing solo performance of the Star-Spangled Banner using his guitar.  It's quite good.  I actually kind of wonder if they re-recorded it with different musicians or if they used Jimi's version...which seems much worse to use his music without permission over his name.  Whatever the case, it's great.

And true to his word, Willy unveils his magic light and sound box on the stage...which happens to be Synergy.  The thing is that Synergy is being lowered on the stage using standard ropes...and it's at that moment that the Misfits get into a shoving match with Willy which causes the ropes to break and Synergy to go plummeting towards the ground.  Uh-oh!  If Synergy hits the ground with that much force, it's bye-bye Jem and the Holograms.  Because we all know that Jerrica would never dye her hair pink and sing the songs herself.

But before the worst happens, everyone vanishes from the scene leaving a bunch of concert spectators to question what sorts of substances they were on to create such illusions.  Everybody returns back to the year 1987 safe and sound, and the Holograms are thrilled to have undergone the fantastic, yet impossible journey they went through.  Though, Aja reminds them not to say anything as they'll get institutionalized.  Ah, Aja...always the voice of reason.

The Misfits also return to the present where they immediately turn on Eric Raymond for destroying their chance to play Woodstock.  For once, Eric is innocent and he tries to defend himself by saying that he was in Techrat's truck the whole time.  But Pizzazz forcibly grabs Techrat's keyboard, eager to teach Eric a lesson.

She types in Eric's name on the computer and he's the one that is transported back in time.  And thanks to the baby dinosaur that makes a sudden appearance, I'm guessing that Pizzazz has sent Eric all the way back in time to the year 65,000,000 B.C.!  I'm amazed Pizzazz actually knows a number that's higher than fifty!

Of course, Eric comes face to face with the baby's mama who is none to pleased to see him.  Eric runs away in terror at the sight even though in all likelihood that dinosaur is not a carnivore.  Still, she could step on him.

Back in the present, it seems as though our baby dinosaur is a bit of a brat, and he instantly turns Techrat's time machine into a pile of metal junk.  But with the time machine inoperable, it does one final trade off, with the dinosaur going back to the prehistoric times...

...and a physically frightened Eric coming back to 1987.  Though in Eric's case, I'm not sure what would be a worse nightmare.  Getting chased by a giant dinosaur or having to face four angry Misfits and a Techrat?  It's too close to call, really.

And while Techrat cries over another lost invention and Eric gets drawn and quartered by Pizzazz, Roxy, Stormer, and Jetta, the Holograms are taking their rightful place as the head entertainers for the World History of Rock Concert.

The song they perform is "Rockin' Down Through Time", and it's easy to see that they used their own time travel experiences to inspire this song.  Though one GLARING inconsistency...they mention the Glenn Miller Band in the song lyrics!  So, it's okay to sing about real musicians, but not okay to depict them in cartoons?  You know, trying to understand broadcast standards and legal terms in the 1980s would be like trying to understand how this episode could be considered realistic, so I'm not even going to try.

Despite the impossibility of the plot, I ended up liking this episode more than I thought I would.  There's some genuinely funny moments in this episode, and I think some of the music was great.  I would have liked to have seen the Misfits perform once though.  They seem to be getting the shaft in the second part of the second season.

Maybe this will be remedied in the FIFTIETH edition of Jem Reviewed.  We go back to England for this one where we learn more about Jetta's family, are reintroduced to an old friend, and are treated to a royal mystery.  Sounds intriguing!

No comments:

Post a Comment