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Friday, April 15, 2016

Jem Reviewed: Episode 4 - Frame Up

Last time we checked in with Jem, we learned that Ashley was sick of being treated like a misfit by the Starlight Girls, so she decided to be a Misfit.  Kimber was sick of living in Jem's shadow and quit the band for four minutes.  And thanks to Pizzazz, Jem risks getting crushed to death on the set of Lindsey Pearce's talk show!

So much for wanting your MTV, huh?

As we kick off Episode 4: Frame Up, Jem is still at risk of being crushed to death, electrocuted, or set on fire thanks to Pizzazz shoving Rio into a bunch of electronic equipment that caused the lighting to crash down.  Fortunately, Rio didn't get hurt, and he runs to a mobile camera where he uses it as a sort of crane to pull Jem out of harm's way.  Way to go, Rio!

Jem is physically okay, but nearly collapses due to the stress of almost dying.  Lindsey tells Rio to take Jem to her dressing room while she finishes the interview with Aja, Kimber, and Shana.  Never mind that her set looks like an earthquake demolished it or anything.  The show must go on!

And while the rest of the Holograms talk to Lindsey on her ruined set, Rio and Jem get to talking about what happened, and how Rio is happy that he saved Jem, and Jem is happy that Rio saved her too, and they lean in for a big wet sloppy kiss...which Aja manages to walk in on!  Boy, Lindsey must be a quick interviewer!

Before we go on, this edition of "Jem" Trivia.  Lindsey is voiced by veteran voice actress Susan Blu, who would later become the voice director for "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles".  Susan Blu also does the voice for another haired gal you might know as Stormer!

Of course, Aja and Shana can't help but poke fun at the situation that Rio happens to be in love with both Jem and Jerrica, but Jem is not amused.  This was the last thing that she wanted to have happen, and she is tired of making Rio believe that Jem and Jerrica are two different people.  She's tired of the deception and she just wants to tell him the truth.

My thoughts are if Rio is too stupid to notice that Jem and Jerrica are the same person, he doesn't deserve either of them...I mean know what?  Screw this.  Let's move on from it.

Instead, let's pop in on the Starlight Girls where Mrs. Bailey has come to Jerrica to voice her concerns with Ashley.  Lately Ashley has been sneaking out and staying out all hours of the day, only coming back to the house to eat and sleep.  Given that Ashley has bought a Misfits T-shirt that she plans on wearing to the Battle of the Bands concert later that week, we can only guess that she's been getting her milk on with the Misfits. 

Jerrica makes a lame effort to try and talk to Ashley about what's going on, but completely abandons her when Kimber announces that a promoter from Las Vegas has arrived to talk to them.  Wow.  Jerrica Benton.  Foster mother of the year.  No wonder Ashley wants to hang around Pizzazz, Roxy, and Stormer all the time!

Anyway, the promoter - a Dirk Hayes - is your stereotypical snake oil salesman with a splash of Southern charm.  He has booked Jem and the Holograms for an exclusive gig at one of Vegas' many casinos.  There's just one catch.  Their warm up band happens to be The Misfits!  And naturally, the Holograms are upset by this revelation - especially since Hayes openly admits that he did it to see sparks fly!  I'm only speculating that had he been a real person, he'd be producing The Maury Povich Show.  But while most of the Holograms aren't too pleased, Shana makes a rather intelligent observation.  The Misfits certainly won't like being their warm-up act!

Seems as though Shana was right on the money!  Roxy even threatens to bash Hayes with a Misfits poster!  But Pizzazz is unfazed by the situation.  After all, they have their ace in the hole - a little girl named Ashley.  Yeah, because if Mrs. Bailey isn't concerned enough about Ashley staying out all day, she won't mind if Ashley goes to another city in a different state with three women she hardly knows!

So here it is.  Vegas, Baby!  It's a place with lots of neon lights, slot machines, and the home of a brand new game called "FOKER"!  I wonder if you can play it like Poker?

Inside the casino where they're set to play, Shana asks Jem what she's going to do, and it's our tie in to what I think could be the worst song that Jem and the Holograms have performed so far.

You want to know what I hate about "Deception"?  Well, for one, the song has a strange arrangement.  It seems as though it was recorded in like two minutes and the chorus and stanzas seem rushed.  But aside from that, Jem asks how long can she go on with this deception...but I think deep down, she secretly enjoys the attention.  That's what makes "Deception" so ironic.  She whines about keeping up the charade, but she does nothing to stop it. 

Meanwhile, Ashley arrives in Vegas with the rest of the Misfits, and I can hardly wait for Ashley to explain how she managed to pull this off.  Pizzazz, Roxy, and Stormer come up with a plan to sabotage Jem and the Holograms enough so that they miss the concert, and the Misfits will have all of the glory.  They plan to have Ashley distract one of the band members so that she will make them get lost.  Ashley is reluctant at first, but with coaxing from Pizzazz, Roxy, and Stormer, she agrees.

Ashley's target seems to be focused on Aja, and as Ashley runs through the casino lobby, Aja screams out "What are you doing in Las Vegas?".  I think a bigger question is "Why can't you care about the Starlight Girls to see whether all twelve of them are where they should be?" 

You know, in general I'm thinking that Aja is my favourite Hologram, but she certainly didn't act bright here.  For one, Aja just may as well have worn a huge sign around her neck saying "I'm a bad foster mother".  And two, Aja somehow seems to believe that Ashley would board a bus through its luggage hold, and thanks to Roxy and Stormer, Aja gets locked inside of the bus that is heading to New York City!  Certainly one way to make a statement.

A funny thing happens when Aja is locked in the cargo hold.  She remembers that she has a brain.  She pounds on the doors of the hold hard enough for passengers on the bus to suspect that something is wrong.  The driver stops, opens the cargo hold, and Aja makes her escape.  She still happens to be a long way from the casino and she has only minutes to make it back in time for the concert. 

A lucky break for Aja arrives in the form of a cowboy driving a motorcycle - and I have to admit that it might have been funnier had he appeared on the back of a horse, but whatever the case, Aja manages to make it fairly close to the casino before a parade blocks off access to the road.  It's up to Aja to make it on foot.

Back at the casino, the Misfits make it a point to Dirk Hayes that only three-quarters of the band bothered to show up, and while Jem, Kimber, and Shana are wondering what the heck happened to Aja, Hayes is about ready to cast aside the Holograms in favour of the Misfits.  But just as Pizzazz and her leopard skin dress is about to seal the deal... runs Aja just in the nick of time!  That was too close.  Too close for their own good.  Hmmm...why does that remind me of a song?

Oh, yes.  It's time for another Jem and the Holograms single.  Unlike "Deception" though, I do think this song is much better.  You can certainly hear the passion in Britta Phillips' voice, that's for certain.

And you can certainly hear the anger in Pizzazz's voice when she learns that she failed to stop Jem and the Holograms again.  This time though, Pizzazz's temper tantrum is so intense that Ashley is a little bit taken aback that her newest friend is a little bit of a psychopath.  Ashley gets a little more upset when Pizzazz and Roxy take out their anger on her, and Ashley runs out of the room and hides.  But before anyone can go out to find her, Pizzazz and Roxy are speaking with Eric, who has another plan to get Jem and the Holograms out of the picture.  But considering that his plan involves the incredibly stupid Zipper, I can't see it being a very good one.  Interestingly enough, Stormer seems to be absent through this arc of the story.  I wonder where she went?

Uh-oh.  It seems as though Stormer has found Ashley's secret hiding spot behind a Jem and the Holograms display, and Ashley is terrified that Stormer is going to bite off her face.  But this is where the story gets complex.  Stormer's not like the other Misfits at all.  Sure, she likes to make mischief and may believe that winning is everything...but underneath all that scary make-up and blue hair is a softy!  Stormer makes it a point to calm Ashley down and even confesses that Pizzazz and Roxy scare her sometimes!  It's an interesting confession that makes one wonder how a nice gal like Stormer got hooked up with the Misfits in the first place, which I'm sure we'll investigate a little further as the series goes on.  But for now, Ashley and Stormer are the witnesses to a crime.

Zipper and a couple of his goons have decided to blow up a safe that is located inside of Hayes' office.  Inside is a secret stash of money.  Zipper's plan is to plant the money inside Jem's belongings so that she will be arrested for burglary and be in jail so that the Misfits will win the Battle of the Bands by default.

Now I know why this episode is called "Frame Up".

As predicted, after the concert is over, Hayes is alerted to the crime via a couple of security officers at the scene, and a search is ordered in every single room.  During the search, Pizzazz makes another pathetic attempt to hit on Rio, but Rio is too committed to Jerrica and Jem to even worry about taking on another love interest at this point in his life, leaving Pizzazz to stew in her own juices.

When Jem's belongings are searched, and the money is found, they waste no time in slapping the cuffs on Jem, and Jem is pleading for them to let her go, but it's gonna be pretty hard to do when the evidence is laid out.

Amusingly, Ashley decides to make an appearance, and she confirms that Jem is telling the truth about someone planting the money in Jem's personal belongings.  Even more amusingly, nobody ever questions Ashley on how she got to Vegas in the first place.  Ah, once again, the women of Starlight House prove how capable they are in raising a dozen kids...

Pizzazz and Roxy are furious at Ashley, and pretty much tell her that she's dead to them.  Furthermore, they tell Hayes that they should not believe the word of a preteen who ran away from home.

But maybe they'll believe the testimony of some random bag lady who appeared out of the middle of nowhere.  A bag lady that is doing a really bad job of disguising her voice.  A bag lady that seems to have the same makeup style as Stormer...

...well, I'll be damned.  The testimony of the bag lady did work, and Jem is free to go! 

And surprising nobody, the bag lady is revealed to be Stormer, who promises to keep what she did a secret with Ashley for good reason.  For one, Pizzazz and Roxy would likely kill Ashley if they found out...and for another, Pizzazz and Roxy would likely kill STORMER if they found out!

In the meantime, Eric is fed up with the fact that his flunky Zipper keeps screwing up, and Pizzazz is fed up that Eric isn't doing anything to get the band more success.  Of course, Eric shuts Pizzazz up in a hurry by calling her by her real name - Phyllis!  I tell you, the scream that she releases upon being called Phyllis is enough to make anyone's hair stand up on end!

But Eric has another plan.  He's hired a private investigator to keep tabs on Jem.  Malone has the power to unearth even the most carefully guarded secrets - and Eric has trusted him to find out Jem's real identity, thinking that if they find out who she is, it will give him and the Misfits enough ammo to destroy her.

Of course, Jem and the Holograms have no idea that this is even going on because they're at the fashion show for Danielle DuVoisin, who is about to launch her own fashion collection based on the style of Jem.  I still say it's kind of risky for Danielle to base an entire line around a group that's only been out for a few weeks, but hey...what do I know?  If the Olsen twins could design a fashion line at age 12, then I no longer question the fashion industry.

And all I can say about Danielle DuVoisin's line is that it's truly outrageous.

And, took us four episodes, but we finally have the full-length video for the theme song of this series.  The song's actually not bad, but I do NOT understand the video concept at all.  "Twilight In Paris", "I Got My Eye On You"...hell, I'll even give in and say that a horrible song like "Deception" has a concept.  This is like the end product of what might happen if Lisa Frank collaborated with a hippie on LSD for this video.  It makes no sense.

And once more we have an episode with no Misfits music.  Are the Misfits angry about it?  Hell yeah!

In fact, they're so angry that they decide to sabotage the fashion show by aiming a super heated spotlight over the sprinkler systems sending water pouring down all over their new clothes!

I'm just guessing based on this screenshot that they aren't very impressed.

Jem and the Holograms go to the Starlight Drive-In where they get out of their wet clothes and into some dry ones (of course, we don't see any of this), and have a powwow with Synergy before driving off again.

What none of them realize is that Malone has been spying on them, and he gets really suspicious when he sees the girls drive through a wall in their car.  He decides to investigate closer when the girls are far enough away and slides right through the wall coming face to face with Synergy.

He manages to pull out a retro style spy camera (seriously, it looks like something that I would have won by redeeming my Kool-Aid points), and takes a picture while Synergy goes haywire announcing that there's an intruder inside.  I expected a more powerful alarm system than a robot woman shouting INTRUDER over and over again, but then this isn't the first time this show has disappointed me.

But Malone is tired of Synergy's alerts and decides to do something about it.  So he picks up a chair, smashes the keyboards to smithereens, and Synergy blows up in a gigantic explosion.

The End?

Nah...just another TO BE CONTINUED.  But with Synergy seemingly destroyed, what will happen to Jem now?  Well, hang on to your JemStar earrings everyone...this arc will conclude next week.

Only 61 episodes to go...

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