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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!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

August 23, 1949

It's time for another edition of the Tuesday Timeline, and this time around, I'll be putting the spotlight on a man who has worn many hats during his career.  And, by hats I don't mean literal hats...I mean that he's a real renaissance man who could be considered a real jack of all trades.  A fair dinkum kind of mate, if you will.

I'll let you Google what I just wrote while we go over the list of events that took place on this date in history.

30 BC - Octavian executes Marcus Antonius Antyllus and Caesarion following the successful invasion of Egypt by the Romans

1541 - French explorer Jacques Cartier arrives in Quebec City during his third voyage to Canada

1831 - Nat Turner's slave rebellion is supressed

1904 - The automobile tire chain is patented

1912 - Actor/singer/dancer Gene Kelly (d. 1996) is born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

1914 - Japan declares war on Germany during World War I

1928 - Actress Marian Seldes (d. 2014) is born in New York City

1929 - The Hebron Massacre takes place during the 1929 Palestine Riots

1942 - The Battle of Stalingrad begins

1944 - Sixty-one people are killed when a United States Air Forces B-24 Liberator bomber accidentally crashes through a school in Freckleton, England

1946 - The Who drummer Keith Moon (d. 1978) is born in Wembley, Middlesex, England

1951 - Survivor frontman Jimi Jamison (d. 2014) is born in Durant, Mississippi

1966 - Lunar Orbiter 1 takes the first photograph of Earth from orbit around the Moon...and speaking of moons...

1967 - The Who's Keith Moon drives his car into a hotel swimming pool during his 21st birthday celebration

1970 - Actor River Phoenix (d. 1993) is born in Madras, Oregon

1973 - The term "Stockholm Syndrome" is coined following a failed bank robbery in Stockholm, Sweden where the hostages took pity on the robbers

1989 - The "Singing Revolution" takes place where two million people from Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania stand on the Vilnius-Tallinn Road holding hands

1991 - Tim Berners-Lee opens the World Wide Web to new users

1993 - The Galileo spacecraft discovers the moon Dactyl

2006 - After spending eight years in captivity, Natascha Kampusch escapes her kidnapper; the kidnapper - Wolfgang Priklopil commits suicide by jumping in front of a train

2008 - Madonna kicks off her "Sticky and Sweet Tour"

2010 - The Manila hostage takes place on a tourist bus where eight people are killed

2012 - Puppeteer/voice artist Jerry Nelson dies at the age of 78

And for celebrity birthdays, we have the following famous faces turning one year older; Vera Miles, Barbara Eden, Mark Russell, Richard Sanders, Willy Russell, Rowena Wallace, Shelley Long, Mark Hudson, Queen Noor of Jordan, Charles Busch, Edwyn Collins, Chris Potter, Dean DeLeo, Alexandre Desplat, Shaun Ryder, Kenny Wallace, Wendy Pepper, Jay Mohr, Ray Park, Shifty Shellshock, Eliza Carthy, Scott Caan, Kobe Bryant, Julian Casablancas, Andrew Rannells, Ritchie Neville, Ozzy Lusth, Natalie Coughlin, and Sky Blu.

Oh, there's one other birthday that I have to add to that list - the birthday of our Tuesday Timeline spotlight.



He was born 67 years ago today on August 23, 1949.

As I mentioned before, this is a person who has had many different career paths.  In some cases, he dominated the music scene with several hits to his credit.  In others, he was a television actor appearing in everything from soap operas to teen dramas.  He's also dabbled in writing and voice work!  Quite the list of achievements for this Australian born entertainer!



Yes, today is the 67th birthday of Rick Springfield, and to celebrate his birthday, I thought we'd have a look at just a few of the many hats he wore during his life and times.  Many of these you'll probably already know, but there may be a surprise or two along the way.

So, let's start with the hat that Rick Springfield has worn the most and go from there.



RICK SPRINGFIELD - THE MUSICIAN

Okay, so it's fairly obvious that Rick Springfield is probably best known for his music career.  After all, the song below went to #1 in the summer of 1981.



ARTIST:  Rick Springfield
SONG:  Jessie's Girl
ALBUM:  Working Class Dog
DATE RELEASED:  February 1981
PEAK POSITION ON THE BILLBOARD CHARTS:  #1 for 2 weeks

But I bet you didn't know that Rick Springfield's career began long before that song was even released!

Having developed a fondness for playing music since he was a child and learning how to play the guitar at the age of 13, Springfield joined the Australian band Zoot in 1969, replacing original lead guitarist Roger Hicks.  And while he became a teen idol for girls in Australia around this time, the cost of being a member of Zoot was quite high.



Could you imagine wearing an all pink satin ensemble like this?  I know I definitely couldn't pull it off!  It was quite difficult for Springfield to be taken seriously as an artist when he had to dress up in Pepto-Bismol pink jumpsuits and sing songs like "Hey Pinky".  Though the band did have a very clever cover version of the Beatles song "Eleanor Rigby" in the early 1970s.



By 1971, Zoot had broken up, and it gave Rick the opportunity to cultivate a solo career.  Though his first few albums weren't as successful as he had hoped they would be, he never gave up on recording music.  It would be in 1981 that "Jessie's Girl" would be released, making him an international rock star.  Other hits followed, including "Don't Talk To Strangers", "Affair of the Heart", and "Rock of Life".  And his success came with great rewards, including a Grammy Award for Best Rock Vocal Male Performance for "Jessie's Girl".

And he's still releasing music today, with his latest album "Rocket Science" having come out in February 2016.



RICK SPRINGFIELD - THE ACTOR

But we also can't forget the fact that Rick Springfield is also quite the talented actor as well.  During the late 1970s, Springfield had made several television appearances with roles on "Battlestar Galactica" and "The Rockford Files".  But 1981 would also prove to be a pivotal year in his television career as well when Springfield landed a role on a popular daytime drama.



"General Hospital" was definitely the show to watch in 1981, and while part of that could have been because that was the year that Luke and Laura got hitched (the most watched soap opera episode in the United States ever), a lot of it had to do with Springfield's role as Dr. Noah Drake.  He had signed onto the show for a two-year contract right around the time that "Jessie's Girl" was released, which he did as a back-up plan just in case the album didn't do so well.  But when "Jessie's Girl" became a #1 hit, it doubled Springfield's workload because when he wasn't working on "General Hospital" he was touring the country with his band to promote his music.  He did the schedule for two years before bowing out of the soap in 1983, though he has returned to "General Hospital" for several appearances between 2005 and 2013.

He also made a couple of films - most notably "Hard to Hold", "Nick Knight", and "Legion".  He also appeared in "Californication", "Hawaii Five-0", "Hot in Cleveland", and "True Detective", and has joined the cast of "Supernatural" - his episodes will start airing in October 2016.



RICK SPRINGFIELD - THE WRITER

Of course, you could classify the number of songs he wrote for his numerous albums as being part of the writing career, but in 2010, Springfield penned his own autobiography entitled "Late, Late at Night: A Memoir", which did quite well on the New York Times Bestseller List (it peaked at #13).  I've read snippits of it online and it's quite interesting.  Apparently Rolling Stone Magazine thought so too - they ranked it at #23 of the 25 Great Rock Memoirs of All Time.  Not too shabby.



RICK SPRINGFIELD - THE CARTOON STAR?

Believe it or not, there actually was a cartoon in which Rick Springfield voiced himself in the cartoon "Mission: Magic"!  I really don't know much about the cartoon as it debuted a full eight years before I was even born, but needless to say it was quite a trippy series.  I suppose the best way to describe it is that it was sort of like the Magic School Bus, only using teenagers instead of fifth graders.  Unfortunately, I don't think the series aged all that well, as Rick Springfield was later quoted as saying that the cartoon scarred him for life.  Ouch!  But still...he did voice work in cartoons, so I have to include it - though I'm sure that the late Casey Kasem probably looked at the years that he did Scooby-Doo a lot more fondly!

So, whatever hat you associate with Rick Springfield, know that he has proven to be skilled in all of them. 

Happy birthday, Rick Springfield!

Friday, August 19, 2016

Jem Reviewed: Episode 22 - Intrigue at the Indy 500

Previously on Jem Reviewed, Kimber proved that she wasn't quite the boy-crazy airhead we all thought she was and ended up saving the home of a rock legend from being bulldozed by Eric Raymond.  And, I have to admit, I really liked last week's episode to the point that it might be my favourite of season one thus far.  I wonder if the next one will be just as good.



Let's see...Episode 22:  Intrigue at the Indy 500.  Sounds...intriguing.  You might notice that in behind the title is a black and white glossy of Eric that Pizzazz is using as a dartboard.  I guess we now know that the Misfits think about Eric as little as Jem and the Holograms do.  But when Pizzazz runs out of darts to throw, she decides that she'll just use raw eggs instead. 



And guess who just happens to walk through the door just as Pizzazz throws the egg?  If you guessed Eric, you're right...though Jem could have walked through the door and Pizzazz would have gotten just as much satisfaction out of the deal.



It appears as though the Misfits have a reason for being angry with Eric.  The Misfits and Eric are in the city of Indianapolis, home of the Indy 500 - one of the largest auto racing events in the world.  There's a fancy dress party going on at a restaurant in town in which all of the racers would be present.  Eric received an invitation to the party, but the Misfits did not.  And Eric isn't exactly keen on having the Misfits make an appearance as he likely believes that the Misfits would cause nothing but trouble.  Naturally, Pizzazz is steamed, and she makes it a mission to find a way in.



The night of the party arrives, and Eric is seated with two large men who are quite intimidating.  And if you're wondering how Eric scored an invitation to the party, it's quite simple.  He's one of the sponsors who has a driver in the race.  Raymond's driver will be driving car #007.  Geez, who is this driver anyway?  James Bond?



Naturally whenever Eric is around, there is bound to be trouble.  Further investigation reveals that these guys are Eric's prospective business partners who would happily partake in betting and gambling to ensure that they make a fortune.  They have given Eric a huge sum of money to place a bet on Car #007 with Eric's bookie, Harry.  And, to ensure that Car #007 is the winner, Eric has done some damage control of his own.  The real threat of the race is four-time winner Martino Grandzetti, and Eric used his funds to bribe Martino's sponsors to back out of the race.  Apparently when it comes to the Indy 500, no sponsor, no race.  Oh, and your Jem Trivia for today?  Martino Grandzetti is apparently based off of the character of famous auto racer Mario Andretti.

So, with Martino seemingly out of the race, and it's all but certain that Eric's sponsored driver will win, what could go wrong?  I suppose the announcement that Martino has a new sponsor and is back in the race might make Eric sweat a little bit.  That sponsor just happens to be a little recording company known as Starlight Music.  Gee, I wonder where I've heard that name before.



Oh, right!  That's Jem's record company.  And it's time for a performance and a song.



Okay, first off, I'm going to avoid the obvious racy jokes that could stem from a song title like "I'm Coming From Behind".  Won't go there.  Trying to keep this blog PG-13 rated at most.  That said, I actually don't mind this one.  It's not Jem's best song, but it's hardly "Deception" quality.  I'd firmly place this one right in the middle of my list of Jem's greatest hits.



Now while Eric is not very pleased with Starlight Music backing Martino up. Martino couldn't be more grateful, and he is incredibly charmed by Jem and the Holograms.  That's okay with me though.  He seems to have a charming personality anyway.  But when Martino asks where Jerrica Benton is, it causes Jem to panic a little bit.  How is she going to explain this one?



She doesn't get a chance to do anything though, as Pizzazz, Roxy, and Stormer crash the party by crashing through the front doors of the restaurant where everyone is gathered.  To add insult to injury, they do this by stealing Jem's Rockin' Roadster!  So either Roxy knows how to hotwire a car, or Jem was stupid and left the keys in the ignition.  Either way, the Misfits have to be stopped before they scratch any of the paint off the vintage race cars inside.  Or until they kill a person.  You know, priorities.  At least this gives us an opportunity to see just how skilled a driver Martino is.  He leaps inside one of the cars and drives it in an effort to slow the Misfits down.  It takes a little bit of clever steering as well as avoiding obstacles like tables and the maitre d', but Martino successfully causes the Misfits to lose control of the car, which goes crashing into the kitchen of the restaurant!  I sure hope Jerrica has a hefty insurance policy on the car!



The Misfits are covered in spaghetti and are immediately thrown out of the restaurant - but when Pizzazz recognizes Eric, she helpfully points out that they were with him, and thus Eric is tossed out as well.  I guess this is Pizzazz's revenge for Eric not taking them to the party in the first place.  Thing is, I actually like the Misfits better when Eric ISN'T around, so maybe the real antagonist in this show is Eric.  After all, Eric doesn't seem to really care about the Misfits either.



But Eric does care about money.  And to ensure that he comes out on top, he's not above hiring someone to sabotage Martino's car before the race.  Not cool, Eric.  Those cars can go extremely fast.  If one of them were to crash, it could mean serious trouble.  Look at what happened to Dale Earnhardt.



Fortunately the race isn't scheduled for a few days yet, so as it stands, only practice runs are being held today.  Sure enough, Martino's in tip-top form as a driver, and the Holograms have decided to see him in action to cheer him on.



Also at the venue is Rio, who I assume is Jem's personal guest.  Or Jerrica's.  Yeah, whatever.  He's climbed up on top of some scaffolding to take some shots of Martino with his camera.  I guess Rio must be a racing fan or something.



Turns out it was the worst thing that Rio could have done.  As Martino is passing by Rio and the girls, one of the wheels comes loose, and Martino is spinning out of control.  He manages to avoid Jem and the Holograms but crashes right into the scaffolding where Rio is perched, which sends Rio falling to his death and Martino burning up in a fiery inferno.



Just kidding.  They only up in Intensive Care, since nobody is allowed to die on Jem except for Emmett Benton.



Jerrica decides to pay Rio a visit and is shocked to see a mummy lying in one of the hospital beds.  Jerrica is horrified to think that Rio could be under those bandages, but in actuality it is Martino - who seems to have an unbelievably good attitude about nearly dying on the track.  Fortunately, all Rio seems to have is a broken leg and a couple of head injuries.  Or, maybe the head injuries were already there from his inability to see that Jem and Jerrica are the same person.  Who can say?



But with Martino bruised and bandaged and his car completely smashed, there is no way that he can compete in the Indy 500.  What's more, Jerrica was informed that Martino's car was sabotaged and she gets so angry that she destroys the flowers that she brought Rio as a Get Well Soon gift.  Hilariously, she gives Rio the broken stems anyway.  It's like...yeah, I brought these for you, but I destroyed them.  Love you, mean it!



Certainly the car that Martino was in looks as though it has seen better days.  Seriously, I've seen cars on "Canada's Worst Driver" in better condition.  Kimber, Aja, and Shana decide to try and help Jem fix up the car, but none of them took shop class in high school and have no idea where to even start.  Jem decides that she has an idea.  Calling for Synergy to appear, Jem asks Synergy to project a set of blueprints for Martino's car as it looked before the accident and that way they can go from there in reassembling the car.  I question this strategy because Jem seems to have the idea that the car can be rebuilt like a Lego playset - but I suppose that it's better than having Synergy project a hologram of Martino's car.



Besides, we need another excuse to play another Jem song.  This time, we're hearing "Back in Shape" - which admittedly could have been used in "Last Resorts" or "Hot Time In Hawaii" as both those shows dealt with getting in shape.  That said, the song does work here, and I do like the imagery that Synergy projects throughout the video.  If not for the fact that Synergy is meant to be kept a secret, this would make a good concept video.



It appears as though Synergy was of excellent help because the car is like new and even Rio is quite impressed.  But that leaves the question of who will drive the car, as Martino is still bandaged up.  The camera then pans to Jem who seems to have a very strange look on her face.  I wonder...



...oh, you can't be serious.  You mean to tell me that JEM is going to drive the car?  I mean, I get it.  Danica Patrick was only four years old when this episode aired and she was likely only driving around in one of those Power Wheels toys at that time.  But Jem?  Seems like we have another one of those "this episode is impossible, but let's believe it anyway because plot" shows.  Just when I had such high hopes for this episode too.

But with Jem taking over Martino's car, this means that she'll be starting off in the pole position - not a bad place to start.  She's in Car #11.  And right next to her is Eric's driver, Car #007.



And up in the stands, Eric and the Misfits are blown away by the fact that Jem is driving Martino's car.  Actually, I'm blown away too.  To be honest, if anyone should be driving the car, it should be the one who drives it for 75% of the series so far.  But it's not the first time Aja gets shoved to the side for Jem's sake, and it probably won't be the last either.

For Eric though, Jem racing in Martino's place is not exactly comforting for him.  Especially since his "business associates" are seated a few rows behind him.  And with Jem somehow mustering up enough driving skills to take the lead in the race, it causes Eric's paranoia to skyrocket.  And to top it all off, Pizzazz is getting hungry and demands that Eric buy her a hot dog with mustard.  Can't say I blame her.  Mustard is the only condiment I put on hot dogs.



This does work out well for Eric, as Eric's bookie has set up a hot dog stand that doubles as an impromptu betting station.  And Eric is so paranoid about the race that he actually places a bet in favour of Jem!  Eric's paranoia also causes him to be forgetful as all he brings Pizzazz is a hot dog bun!  Okay, so technically Eric's betting slip was stuffed inside the bun.  Harry could have at least thrown a hot dog in there.

Although Pizzazz is angry that she has to go hungry, she is even more upset that Jem seems to be in the lead.  And considering that Eric promised that the Misfits would play at the victory party for his driver after the race should he win, that's more than enough ammo for Pizzazz to take drastic measures.



So when Eric's driver pulls in at the required pit stop of the race, Pizzazz more or less assaults him and tells him to beat it because she was going to drive the car the rest of the race.

You know, I'm pretty sure Pizzazz can't do that.  I'm almost positive that she would be arrested or at the very least escorted outside of the venue.  But we have to somehow believe that it's okay for Pizzazz to drive a race car because plot.  I didn't think I could hate an episode more than "The Princess and the Singer", but this episode is just horrible!



Oh, and Pizzazz's method of trying to stay ahead of the game?  Smashing into every single race car to make them crash.  Seriously, I get that Pizzazz wants to win at all costs, but threatening the lives of innocent race car drivers to do it?  This is an all time low for our green haired Misfit, and it's actually kind of painful to watch.  Though once again, Eric is panicked about the fact that Pizzazz could now win the race and he races towards the hot dog stand to change his bet from Jem to Pizzazz.  I sure hope that bookie is charging him a fee for his wishy-washy decision making.

Of course, Pizzazz saves her worst for Jem, and she manages to run Jem off the road straight into the path of one of the race cars that Pizzazz was responsible for destroying!  It looks as though Jem might be completely out of the race for good.



Nah, turns out that the obstacle was no match for her.  Though Jem's car does suffer a little bit of damage and is forced to the Pit Stop for repairs, leaving Pizzazz to once more get ahead of the game.



Ah, yes...that's the same name of the Misfits song in this episode.  And, it's a good thing that "Ahead of the Game" has a decent beat and a great video because right now the music is the only thing that is holding this stupid episode together.  Seriously, what the hell was Roger Slifer thinking?  We know he's capable of writing good scripts (I believe "Last Resorts" was his creation as well), so why would he submit this one?  It. Makes. No. Sense.



Anyway, Jem's ready to get back out on the track even though she's a couple of laps behind.  Rio warns Jem that it might not be a good idea and tells Jem that one of her wheels isn't holding out that well and that too much speed could cause the axle to snap.  But Jem seems to have caught the "I'm too good to listen to you" disease that the Misfits have gotten and speeds off in the quest for victory. 



And just like that it is neck and neck between Pizzazz and Jem, with Pizzazz having a slight lead over Jem.  Of course, Jem isn't above using Synergy to play mind games with Pizzazz, and she summons up a hologram of Pizzazz's "conscience", who admonishes Pizzazz on her poor sportsmanship.  I have to admit though, I chucked when Pizzazz was shooing the hologram away telling it that she didn't HAVE a conscience.  Pizzazz truly does have the best lines in this series - and kudos to Patricia Alice Albrecht who delivers Pizzazz's lines so flawlessly.



Eric once again decides that he wants to change his bet again to Jem, but this time around Harry refuses to honour his request as the cutoff point for final bets has arrived.  Eric pleads for Harry to reconsider, but all Harry does is take his money and give him a hot dog.  With mustard.  Too bad Pizzazz is out on the track making a mockery of the Indy 500. 



But after all that, it looks as though Eric and Pizzazz may have the last laugh as Rio's warning about the wheel failing comes true.  The faster Jem speeds up the car, the more dangerous the car becomes.  On the sidelines, Kimber, Aja, Shana, and Rio watch in horror as Jem seems destined to crash and there isn't a lot they can do.




But Jem finds some inner strength and declares that what she is about to do next is all for Martino, and with a little bit of fancy steering, Jem somehow manages to cross the finish line ahead of Pizzazz even though the wheel completely falls off, and causes Jem's car to do several somersaults through the air!  Jem wins the Indianapolis 500!

Jem should also probably be dead if this were real life.  But as I said before, nobody is allowed to die in this cartoon except for Emmett Benton, so Jem's pit crew escort her to safety before she is incinerated in the resulting explosion.

I bet Eric was wishing that he was inside that car when it blew up.  Now he has to face his "business associates" who lost a lot of money.  And it appears as though they mean business with them grabbing metal rods and threatening to strangle Eric with them.



But they back off when Pizzazz drives through the door and corners Eric with the car yelling at him for losing, and the associates decide that having Pizzazz in his life is punishment enough for Eric.  Ha!



So, Jem is awarded the trophy for winning the Indy 500 and they make remarks about her being the first woman to win.  Jem throws support to Martino who watches with pride from his hospital bed even though he'll likely be there until the 1990s.





The episode concludes with Rio planting a huge smooch on Jem, thankfully putting this edition of Jem Reviewed out of its misery.  Seriously, this episode was just plain awful.  I get that it's supposed to be a cartoon and all, and I do appreciate the fact that the show tried to show us all that girls could do anything that boys could do...but the way that Jem and Pizzazz went about it - especially Pizzazz - was so unbelievable, ridiculous, and dangerous that it sort of made the Indianapolis 500 look like a parody of itself.  Not exactly what the show was supposed to do.  And seriously, why wasn't Aja driving the car?  Aja wouldn't have let the car flip more times than Dominique Moceanu at the 1996 Summer Olympics!  Seriously, Aja is the best Hologram of the four!  Use her more!!!




Well, next week on Jem Reviewed, it's another two-part episode.  In part one, we're introduced to the Jem Jam, filled with Starlight Girls, "celebrity guests", and ways to find your father without the aid of Maury Povich!