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Friday, April 07, 2017

Jem Reviewed: Episode 55 - The Stingers Hit Town, Part 2

Season 3 of Jem Reviewed kicked off last week where a new band called The Stingers arrived.  They've already caused a lot of trouble with their manipulative mind games and so far Eric Raymond, Pizzazz, Kimber, and Jem have found themselves caught up in their twisted web - all because two record companies want to sign them.

How will it all end?  Let's watch Episode 55 - The Stingers Hit Town, Part 2 to find out!

We left off at a gigantic harp statue somewhere outside of Los Angeles where Riot just planted a kiss on Jem.  But Jem pulls away, saying that she doesn't feel right about it.  You know, you didn't see it as a problem when Rio fell in love with both you and Jerrica.  Just saying, Jem.  Riot is not willing to give up though.  In his eyes, he's the perfect man, and Jem's the perfect woman, and they'll have a perfect marriage and have perfect pink-haired children.  Nice to see Riot's gotten more humble since last episode.

Of course, Jem is determined to get Riot to sign the contract which will make the Stingers a part of Starlight Music, and she still is determined to do so...but Jem also finds it difficult to resist Riot's charms.  Uh oh. 

Meanwhile, Riot's band mate Minx has decided that she wants to steal Rio away from Jem.  Her plan was to take Rio club hopping under the premise that she believes that Riot took Jem there.  But after six different clubs, Rio is not impressed and tells Minx to beat it.  Minx does not stand for the rejection and angrily tells Rio off as he drives away. 

Back at Gabor Manor, Pizzazz is losing her mind over being away from Riot and Rapture is telling her that she has a plan to get Riot to fall for her and only her.  This sets off the usually serene Stormer who flat out tells Pizzazz to wake up and that Rapture is just using her.  Unfortunately, Stormer seems to forget that Pizzazz is much stronger than her, and Pizzazz violently shoves Stormer away.  Fortunately, Jetta and Roxy break Stormer's fall, but Pizzazz is clearly under the Stingers' spell.

I mean, look at what she is wearing!  She looks like a Chatty Cathy doll possessed by Chucky from "Child's Play"!  But according to Pizzazz's new best friend Rapture, Pizzazz is dressed perfectly to capture Riot's attention as he's always been drawn to pure and innocent types.  Either Riot has a really weird fetish going on, or Rapture is making a fool out of Pizzazz.  I'm going with the latter.

As if Rapture's cruel game isn't bad enough, she amps up the intensity by forcing Pizzazz to drink a special concoction that is guaranteed to make Riot fall in love with her.  A concoction that includes ingredients such as raw eggs, carrots, milk, ketchup, and other things that should never go into a smoothie.  Needless to say, this ain't Love Potion No. 9!

I'm sure that the green in Pizzazz's face may match her hair shade quite nicely...but it's enough for Pizzazz to run to the bathroom to throw up while Rapture can just laugh at her in the background.  But three other people who are watching the whole thing unfold are the rest of the Misfits, and judging by their reactions, they are really disgusted by Rapture.  They are also incredibly worried about Pizzazz (something that stuns even myself, as they aren't exactly known for being that close), and they think she's developed a case of love sickness.

And speaking of sick is "Lovesick"?  It's the first new song of the Misfits this season, and it is spectacular.  I think that this song definitely has one of the best music videos, and it is a contender for best song of season three.  So good!

Roxy, Jetta, and Stormer decide that there's nothing they can do for Pizzazz tonight, so they end up leaving the mansion - only to get shoved to the side by an angry Minx who calls the three stupid Americans.  Well, at least she's 66.7% right.  Man, for someone who hates Americans, she's in the wrong country!  Of course, Minx's mood changes when she sees Rapture manipulating Pizzazz into doing a cross between the Hokey Pokey and the Macarena - all to win Riot's heart, of course.  Then Minx decides she wants to be part of the fun.  I never thought I'd say this, but I almost feel sorry for Pizzazz here.

Riot enters the room not long after this, and playing along with Rapture and Minx acts as if he is head over heels in love with Pizzazz, which satisfies her enough to retire for the evening.  But after Pizzazz leaves, Riot announces that there will be a change of plans.  I wonder what that means?

Back at Starlight Mansion, it appears as though Jem still hasn't returned home and Aja, Kimber, Shana, Raya, and Rio are still up waiting for her to return.  It certainly is out of character for Jem to stay out all night.  I mean, that sounds like something that Kimber would do.

Jem finally saunters through the door with a chirpy sing song voice talking about how beautiful a night it is.  Oh, brother.  Certainly Rio is not amused, and he reverts back to his caveman persona where he basically scolds Jem for being a free thinker.  I mean, yeah, I get that he's jealous of Riot (though I can't imagine why he would be), but at the same time he's really doing everything possible to turn Jem off.  And certainly Jem decides that Rio is not worth talking to when he gets that way.  Jem explains that all they talked about was Jerrica's offer.  She conveniently leaves out the fact that they kissed, but hey, that's another tale for another day.  Besides, I get the feeling that Jem doesn't want Rio to smash any of her plants.

The doorbell rings, and everyone is wondering who it could be at this time of the day.  Surprise, surprise, it's the Stingers.  They snuck out of Gabor Manor and have decided to take up Jerrica on her offer to stay at Starlight Mansion.  In the middle of the night.  All right then.

Of course, Jem is more than willing to honour the deal, but Rio gets pissy about it and says some rather snarky things to Jem.  Which then causes Minx to latch onto Rio and tell Jem all about their club hopping night on the town which causes Jem to become just as snarky as Rio.  Essentially, everyone in this house is f@#$ing nuts.

Speaking of people who are completely off their rockers, it appears as though Pizzazz's behaviour is enough of a concern for the Misfits to alert Eric.  Sure enough, when Pizzazz showers Eric with compliments drizzled with chocolate sauce, maple syrup, and powdered sugar, he wants to know what is going on.  Pizzazz is going on about how Riot wants her and how the Stingers are going to sign with Eric's company and how they will all live happily ever after and...

...when Pizzazz finds out the Stingers moved out without even so much as saying goodbye, she is quite crestfallen.  Eric isn't very impressed either, but he has a plan to get Riot, Rapture, and Minx to sign with his company.  Of course, he'll need the help of the Misfits and Pizzazz is ready and able to do whatever the Stingers - well, okay, whatever RIOT wants.

But wait!  Roxy speaks up and says that she, Stormer, and Jetta are NOT going to take part in the plan.  Furthermore, they hate seeing what Riot is doing to Pizzazz and make one final ultimatum.  Either she tells Riot and the Stingers to stuff it, or the Misfits will break up.  You know, this is probably the first time I've ever seen the Misfits pull together to try and shake some sense into one of their own.  It's...really quite cool to see.  It's just a shame that Pizzazz decides that pursuing a relationship with Riot is more important than the very band she helped form to get the attention she so desperately craved in the first place.  And just like that, the Misfits are history.  Wow.

The next morning at Starlight Mansion, the Stingers have had a really rough night with them constantly getting woken up by drug induced raves and wild parties.  No, actually, the twelve Starlight girls were the ones responsible.  As half of them crowd around the Stingers to get autographs, Jerrica explains that the girls are her foster children and despite the fact that she and the Holograms tend to neglect them at lot, they are a part of her forever.  Even if she only bothers to introduce Ba Nee, Krissie, and Ashley.  Because we all know that they are the chosen ones.  But just how will the Stingers respond?

Not well.

The first sign of trouble occurs when Ashley accidentally spills a tray of food all over Riot!  Ashley was only trying to help by getting him a snack, but all Riot can do is yell at her for destroying his jacket.  As Ashley storms off in a huff, Aja sees the whole thing unfold and is very angry.  Aja insists that the jacket can be cleaned, but Riot goes on a tangent about how everything he wears including his clothing must be absolutely perfect.  Aja gives him a perfect eye roll as she walks away.  If there weren't any witnesses around, I have a feeling Aja would scalp him with a machete.

Krissie is the next Starlight Girl to get stung.  After she finishes painting a picture, Minx goes all Simon Cowell on her telling her that she is a horrible artist - but then all American artists are.  Krissie runs away crying and this time it is Raya who is prepared to go all Chuck Norris on her.  Minx dismisses Raya, calling her an untalented American.  Uh, Raya's Mexican, Minx.  Perhaps you need an atlas.  And considering that Minx is all anti-American, it's quite ironic to realize that she's voiced by an American.  In this edition of Jem Trivia, I'll share this.  Minx is voiced by Kath Soucie, who has done hundreds of voice roles over the last thirty years.  Perhaps two of her most famous roles are that of Phil and Lil on the cartoon "Rugrats".

Don't think that Rapture is innocent either.  She targets Terri with an evil curse that obviously doesn't exist - but the resident scaredy-cat of Starlight Mansion is so frightened that she practically leaps into Shana's arms.  So, that makes three Holograms now that are pissed off at the Stingers.  Should we try to antagonize Kimber next?

It appears as though we don't get a chance to as Aja, Raya, and Shana decide to confront the Stingers about their appaling behaviour.  But in true Riot fashion, he defends himself and his band with a song.

Again, the Stingers are proving to have about as much personality as a Venus Flytrap, but they also have some awesome music.  "Take It Or Leave It" is about as antagonistic as you can get for a song, but the style in which they perform it in...incomparable.  Like them or loathe them, they do have musical chops.  I can ALMOST see why they are irresistible.  Well, on the music charts anyway.

By this point, the Holograms have had enough of Riot.  As Jerrica, she agrees with them that the Stingers are more trouble than they are worth.  But Jerrica insists on getting them to sign with Starlight Music as their band can potentially double the earning power of the record company meaning more money for the Starlight Girls.

Riot looks over Jerrica's offer, and he admits that the proposition that Jerrica has drawn up is a fair offer.  But he is still unsure of what to do.  Jerrica tries to tell Riot that Eric will promise them the world and he would still find a way to screw them, but Riot isn't very interested.  He starts to make a comment about how he might take the deal if Jem offered it to him but before he can get the words out, there is a loud commotion going on outside of Starlight Mansion.

When the Stingers and the Holograms run outside, there is a huge parade of people (and elephants) entering the front yard carrying loads of Stingers' banners and playing the Stingers' theme song.  And who should happen to be in the front of the pack than Eric and Pizzazz!  It's impressive, I'll grant you that one...though I get the feeling that Kimber is wondering who is going to clean up the mess should the elephants feel the need to go to the bathroom.

It appears as though Eric has thought things through and has offered up an amendment to his previous deal.  Eric has decided that the best way to get the Stingers on his side is to give them what they want.  And Eric's method is to give them half of the record company that he just bought - half of the company that he SOLD HIS HOUSE TO BUY.  On one hand, I think that Eric is playing unfairly to try and become the big winner.  But on the other hand, given how slimy and horrible he is, I would call this instant karma.

Jerrica immediately blasts Eric Raymond on his tactics, but Riot turns towards Jerrica and says that he would rather sign with Starlight Music...on the condition that Jerrica matches Eric's offer and sign over half of Starlight Music to the Stingers.  Kimber tells Jerrica that she can't possibly take the deal, while Raya tells Jerrica that it is her decision and trusts her to make the right one.  Jerrica tells Riot that she can't possibly make a deal like that, and with that the Stingers officially decide to go with Eric.  Jerrica is bummed about it, but given how the Stingers are, I would say she dodged a bullet.

Rio is pleased as punch to hear that the Stingers are not going to be a part of Starlight Music, and he hopes this means that Riot will stay away from Jerrica and Jem.  But when Jerrica gets a call from Riot asking Jem to meet him at their special place, Jerrica is unable to say no, which makes Rio develop his "I have to kick a plant" face.  I only wish I had a screenshot of this, but I guess my iPad failed to capture one.

At the gigantic harp, Jem meets up with Riot where Jem tries to convince Riot not to sign with Eric and that Eric is nothing but trouble.  To Jem's surprise, Riot agrees with Jem that Eric is a jerk, but Riot also admits that he can control Eric and make him do whatever he says.  He seems to be doing a great job of it so far - which almost makes me like Riot out of principle.  Almost.  But Riot would change allegiances if Jem would be his.

Of course, Rio decides to intrude on the couple, and at first I'm thinking that one of the men's dead corpses will be tangled up inside of the harp.  But to everyone's shock, Rio decides to call it quits with Jem once and for all and decides that Riot can have her.  I get the impression that Rio thinks that he can just shack up with Jerrica, but we all know that it would never work that way.

Jem, shocked at Rio's attitude immediately starts wailing and she wants to run after him to tell him not to go.  Riot pulls Jem back and plants a huge smooch on her lips.  But this around, Jem is not willing to surrender to the Stinger, and plants a stinging smack across Riot's cheek.  Is it just me, or has the cartoon violence escalated since season one?

The next scene sees Rio standing outside of a tree which is positioned in front of a burned out shell of a house.  The sign he is looking at says Starlight Treehouse.  Wait a minute.  Rio's at the site of the original Starlight House?  The one that burned down in the very first episode?  And they still haven't cleared the ruins away after three years?  That's...very unusual!  But, given how important the Starlight Treehouse was to the formation of the Holograms' friendship, I can see why Rio has sentimental value towards this tree.  Either that, or he's wishing he had a chainsaw so he could knock it down.

As it so happens, the treehouse becomes the place where Jem finds Rio and immediately runs into his arms.  She apologizes for being selfish (which time?) and she also realizes how selfish Riot is.  She wants to be with Rio and Rio takes her back...and we're right back to Rio dating both Jem and Jerrica.  It's like NOTHING EVER HAPPENED.  For the record, I hate both of these clowns.

And so Misfits Music is no more.  With the Stingers owning half of Eric's record company, the name has been changed to Stingers' Sound.  Admittedly, I find the name catchier than Misfits Music, but it really sucks that Misfits have been downgraded to secondary supporting characters rather than main antagonists.  Though I'm kind of distracted by the fact that Riot looks like Vanna White...

Of course, Eric is really completely unaware that Riot is the real control behind the music company - and maybe that's just desserts for how he has treated Jem and the Holograms as well as the Misfits.  Pizzazz is looking equally pathetic as she swoons over a man who only has eyes for Jem.  I see nothing's really changed since the days when the Holograms were making the Starbright movie.  But when Riot tells Pizzazz that he wants the Misfits to cut another album, this sends Pizzazz into panic mode.  After all, she was the one who walked away from the band.  Surely they wouldn't want her back after the way she treated them, would they?

Of course they want her back!  Stormer and Jetta admit that the Misfits would be nothing without her, and even hard as nails Roxy admits that they really want Pizzazz back.  Mind you, Pizzazz neglects to tell her bandmates that Riot was the one who suggested the Misfits reunite, but whatever the case, the Misfits are back and ready to rock.

Jem and Rio come back reunited and Aja is happy that they've patched things up.  Okay, so Aja isn't required to have a brain 100% of the time.  Whatever the case, it's time for a final song...and this time, all THREE bands sing together.  What is this?  The "We Are The World" song?

No, it's a song called "Now".  It perfectly illustrates the main goals of all three bands.  For Jem and the Holograms, it symbolizes the goal of remaining relevant in the music business - and for Jem, it also means improving her relationship with Rio.  You might want to start by telling him that you're really JERRICA.  Just saying.

For the Stingers, it's all about making their American debut and making their names memorable.  It's about taking power away from people who don't know how to handle it and showing them how to use it.  And for Riot, it's all about taking Jem away from Rio.  It's too bad that Jem and Jerrica really weren't two separate people, because Jem and Riot are so self-centered that they really would make the perfect couple.

Perhaps the Misfits part is my favourite because for the first time ever, all four Misfits are united.  After all, with Eric basically abandoning them for the Stingers and all four members feeling like Misfits themselves, they need each other more than ever.  They really have become like sisters and while they may not always do the most ethical things, their relationships with each other have been strengthened.  It is really good to see that.

All in all, I'm interested in seeing how the Stingers shake up the last few episodes of the series.

Unfortunately, we won't see them in the next episode.  You'll have to settle for Video and Clash instead.  But hey, at least the Misfits appear in this episode more than the last two combined!

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