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Friday, May 27, 2016

Jem Reviewed: Episode 10 - Adventure in China

Previously on Jem Reviewed, Jem and the Holograms took part in The World Hunger Shindig, which saw romance, jealousy, theft, and charity.  What a combo, huh?

It's time for us to take a trip to China, and watch Episode 10:  Adventure In China.  Great title, huh?  Apparently the people in charge of titles didn't think it was, so they left it off!  So, I took initiative and made one.  I don't know what font they used, but I think mine doesn't look too terrible!

It looks like Jem, Kimber, Aja, Shana, and Rio are on the trip to China.  And based on conversations between the band, we learn a few things.  We learn that Jem and the Holograms were invited as specials guests of the Chinese government to perform a pair of concerts for the people - the latter of the two being at the Great Wall of China.  And we also learn that Aja is really excited about the opportunity, meaning that it appears that Aja's background is Chinese.  Either way, it's a phenomenal opportunity for the band, and if memory serves me, this is their first concert abroad.  What could go wrong?

Oh, right.  The Misfits are on the same flight.  They too are performing in China, but not nearly with the same amount of fanfare that Jem and the Holograms are getting.  That must suck.  The Misfits started their career before Jem did, and yet Jem is getting more attention.  At least Stormer is trying to get assimilated with the culture of China by reading about it, but Pizzazz and Roxy couldn't be bothered.

Jem and the Holograms arrive at the airport to a hero's welcome, and for some reason we see a little girl in the crowd.  Who is she?  And why so much attention on her?  What are the odds that this won't be her first appearance?

The Misfits - or, should I say Misfats - have a much smaller crowd, which Pizzazz is irked by.  Roxy is grateful that they have fans though, even though she doesn't notice the spelling mistake on the banner.

Jem and the Holograms and the Misfits arrive at the security checkpoint where everyone is instructed to remove all metal objects including jewelry before entering the country, as per international law.  Three of the four Holograms abide by the law.  Can you guess which one doesn't?

Naturally, Jem is very hesitant to remove her earrings because they are her link to Synergy which causes her to become Jem in the first place, and the guard is doing his job and refusing to let her through until she complies.

At least that is until a government official who just happens to be in the area tells the guard that it's all good, Jem and the Holograms are guests, and that they can bend the rules this time.  That's...contrived.  But whatever, Jem passes through the metal detector and gets into China.

The Misfits are left wondering how Jem has so much clout - and honestly I can't say I blame them!  But even more curious is why Jem freaked out over the earrings in the first place.  Stormer seems to think that they might be good luck charms, while Pizzazz thinks they might be worth a lot of money.  But it's Roxy who makes the connection that Jem's paranoia about her earrings could mean that they're important to the Holograms act, and this prompts Eric to do some more scheming.  Interestingly enough, this is the last we see of Eric this episode, so I'm guessing he's leaving his dirty work to the Misfits.

Back at the hotel where the Holograms are staying, Kimber, Shana, and Aja are enjoying a warm mineral bath, and they encourage Jem to get inside and relax before their first concert.  Jem agrees, but she has to remove the JemStar earrings because getting electronic equipment wet is never a good idea.  Why the earrings wouldn't work.  And Jem could possibly get electrocuted.  

Of course, this sets the stage for the Misfits to pull off their plan.  When Jem is in the bath, Roxy snatches the earrings from the bench that Jem left them on, and flees into the darkness...or some dark area, given that it's like two in the afternoon.

And when Roxy is out of range, Jem changes back into Jerrica, which leaves the rest of the Holograms in shock for two reasons.  One, they can't understand why Jem changed into Jerrica so quickly - and two, they can't believe that Jerrica would wander into the mineral bath FULLY DRESSED!  I mean, those clothes would weigh fifty pounds soaking wet!  Why would she project a hologram of a bathing suit when Jerrica could just wear a bathing suit?  And this is just one of the many things that make NO SENSE in this episode!

Jerrica realizes that the earrings are gone, and she is at a loss over what to do.  Okay, Jerrica, here's what you do.  Go to a store and buy pink hair dye.  It's the 1980s, I'm sure China sells it.  Dye your blonde hair pink.  Then sing your heart out at the concert.  It's simple, it's easy, and really, you know you can sing, so what's the big deal?

Apparently, Jerrica thinks having no earrings is a big deal, and she flat out cancels the concert!

I need a headbash picture right now.

Naturally, the Chinese government officials are disgusted by the lack of commitment caused by a pair of lost earrings, so they decide to give their concert to the Misfits, who rub it in their faces.  And Jerrica and the others dejectedly leave, telling the officials that they WILL make it to the Great Wall concert.

On the way back to the hotel, they run into Rio where Jerrica makes up an excuse about why Jem isn't there, which Rio seems to buy - even though he doesn't understand why the concert couldn't go on.  Join the club, Rio.

But as the Holograms glance at the Misfits performing their concert, Jerrica proves her brain isn't completely dead when she notices that all three Misfits are wearing JemStar earrings.  And Jerrica decides that they need to give them a special ovation.  I wonder if this involves brass knuckles and baseball bats?

No, it's just a confrontation.  Which leads to a pedestrian chase set to a Misfits tune.

"You Can't Catch Me".  A solid song from the Misfits, and one which could be interpreted in a couple of ways that range from positive to negative.  I'll let you make the call.

This chase between the Holograms and the Misfits becomes exhausting to watch.  First they board a sky lift where the Misfits get at the controls to shake things up for the Holograms...okay, seriously, whenever there is electronic equipment, the Misfits have to play with it, and they are always unguarded!  Should this not tell people anything?

Then the Holograms try to catch them by climbing up a mountain, but Aja dislodges one of the statues which almost kills Kimber and Shana.  Seriously, Aja?  You're supposed to be the SMART one!

Then they lose the Misfits during a judo class taking place outside...though Pizzazz throwing a guy to the ground is somewhat funny.

The chase ends on a train - seriously, how many miles did they cover?  And despite a valiant effort to get the earrings back, the Misfits dispose of them.  Stormer throws her pair into a textile basket passing by.  Roxy's end up at the site of an archaeological dig.  And Pizzazz's end up inside a random garbage can.  We don't know which pair was the real one, but since all three are gone, it looks like Jem and the Holograms are sunk.

And this means it's time for another song!

I said in the last entry that Jem and the Holograms' strength seems to be in ballads.  And as far as "Something Is Missing In My Life" goes, it's a very good one.  But somehow singing about a pair of lost earrings kind of cheapens the punch that the song is supposed to make.

Here's your Jem Trivia for today.  All of the songs in the series - for Jem, the Misfits, and any other singing parts - were arranged by Anne Bryant.  And it's not her fault this song was used so poorly.  If it were used anywhere else, it would be phenomenal - and rumour has it that this song does make another appearance later on in this series.  I'll keep an eye on that as I do more of these.

It appears as though the Holograms are dejected and lost.  It also appears that Jerrica still hasn't thought of my idea to fake being Jem - unless Jerrica has the singing voice of a 60-year-old chain smoker and Synergy actually auto-tunes her voice.  They consider dropping out of the Great Wall concert, but Aja insists on picking up a magazine so she can determine whether or not she can still read Chinese.  An...odd request, I must say.  "Yeah, our concert is screwed, but if I can still understand Chinese, it's not a waste!"  As it turns out, Aja's decision is a good one.  They find an article about how a jewelry company will be issuing new earrings based on the JemStar naturally, they head to the factory to see what's up.

It appears as though the earrings that Stormer was wearing ended up at this factory, where the workers have now succeeded in making millions of pairs of them for sale all over the world.  I guess China was a superpower in manufacturing even back in 1986!  Of course, now that the earrings have been made, the owner of the factory sees no need for the original pair, so he gives them to Jerrica.  How nice of him to profit off of Jem's merchandise before giving her the earrings!  At least Jerrica's taking it well.

Too bad it meant nothing.  Stormer's earrings turn out to be a dud.  Too bad.

We also learn what happened to the earrings that Pizzazz was wearing in a random scene.  A father has picked them out of the trash can that they landed in, and he has decided to give them to his daughter as a gift.  Look, it's that same little girl that was at the airport!  Very peculiar...

Once again, the Holograms make the decision to cancel the concert, and once again, it's Aja who holds them up, saying that she wants to check out some exhibits of ancient Chinese artifacts.  The others are like..."what the hell, after today we'll probably be banned from China, Hong Kong, and possibly even Taiwan...we may as well enjoy it now."

For what it's worth, the Holograms do have a lot of fun immersing themselves in Chinese culture - at least until Aja notices something odd about one of the exhibits.

Well, we now know what happened to the earrings Roxy was wearing.  Apparently they're now a treasured piece of Chinese history.  We all know the truth, and so does Jerrica, who immediately snatches the earrings and puts them in her pocket!  Oh, stupid, stupid woman...don't you know that stealing things from a museum is a felony? 

At least if they get arrested, they have a legitimate reason for missing the concert.  There.  I said it!

Oh, but fear not.  The curator of the museum arrives and he too notices something strange about the earrings.  After a quick scan with a magnifying glass, he discovers that there's a message on them that says COPYRIGHT 1985.

No, I'm kidding.  But he does deduce that the earrings were manufactured during the 20th century, which means that they are NOT valuable - at least in a historical sense, anyway.  So, Jerrica and the others are free to go with the earrings.

Too bad Roxy's earrings don't seem to work either.  The grim reality sets in that their dreams of playing the Great Wall are all but over, and Aja even starts to cry.  It's...strange to see the normally cool Aja get so emotional about a concert, but I also look at it like this.  This is Aja's homeland in many ways, and I can see how playing in the country where her family came from would be a very fulfilling thing for her.  It's just sad that Aja's dream of playing in China might not come true.

Of course, if Jerrica would just go to a store and buy pink hair dye.  Just saying.

Jerrica and the Holograms arrive at the Great Wall gig and Jerrica makes the decision to let the officials know that Jem won't be there.  But before she can do that, she is distracted by a disturbing sight.

Look!  It's that girl that keeps popping up!  And it looks like she's being bullied by a group of boys.  That's not cool!  Jerrica decides to play hero and rescue her from least that is until the girl flips one of the boys on his back and they run away in terror!  Awesome!

Jerrica approaches the girl, tells her she was brave, and the girl opens up to her.  Her name is
Lin, and she is a huge fan of Jem and the Holograms.  The reason the boys were picking on her was because they were making fun of her earrings - the same JemStar earrings she got as a gift from her father.

Jerrica is forced to tell Lin that Jem has had some bad luck and won't be performing the concert.  Way to rip out her heart, Jerrica!  And you call yourself a mother for foster girls?!?  But to Jerrica's surprise, Lin gives her the earrings and tells her to give them to Jem, hoping that they will make her feel better and that her luck will change.  Aw...what a selfless thing to do!

Jerrica agrees, and thanks Lin for her generosity with a hug.  But as Jerrica puts the earrings on and proceeds to tell China that Jem won't be there, she whines to Kimber about how if they were the real JemStar earrings, she would put on the concert and thank Lin in person as Jem.

But Jem is interrupted by Synergy's voice who openly asks Jerrica if she's on crack why she can't do the concert.  Jerrica recognizes the voice and exclaims in excitement Synergy's name, and Synergy transforms Jerrica back into Jem.  She also synthesizes some of the most stereotypical Chinese costumes for the Holograms to wear, but what the hell...Jem and the Holograms are back, and ready to perform.

The Misfits on the other hand are pissed.  Roxy even exclaims that it was THEIR concert.  But Jem and the Holograms ignore them and tell them to enjoy the show the same way the Misfits did to them during their first concert.

And with that, the first order of business is to send out a special dedication to Lin in the audience, for helping Jem find the courage to go on stage.  And, again, I reiterate that Jem could have still done the show had she used her brain and pink hair dye, but did she listen to me?  No!  Of course, the episode would have only been four minutes long had she taken my advice.  Oh, let's just listen to Lin's song.

Okay, so Chinese stereotyping aside, I have to admit "Love Unites Us" is another solid Jem and the Holograms hit.  Actually, I think this might be the first episode where all the music is fantastic.  Okay, so "Something Is Missing In My Life" was used weirdly.  It's still a good song!

After the concert, Jem and the Holograms are signing autographs, and the Chinese government tells them that they are welcome in the country whenever they like even though they refuse to go through airport customs, steal artifacts from museums and destroy ancient statues.  How nice!

Jem spots Lin in the audience, and the way she is moving about, I think she has to go to the bathroom at first.  But Jem keeps her promise and tells Lin that her gift brought her luck.  She then hands Lin one of the pairs of JemStar earrings that the Misfits had as a present and token of friendship between the two of them, and the episode ends with Lin and Jem embracing.  This episode really does have a sweet ending...'s too bad that it's also the episode in which everyone acts really stupid.  This is easily one of my least favourite episodes plot wise so far.  Jerrica showed tons of insecurity in this episode over a lost pair of earrings.  I get that they are irreplaceable, but still...there were ways around it.  Plus, some of the behaviour that Jem and the Holograms partook in while running around China was - I hate to say it - very Misfit like.  It almost kind of makes them look like hypocrites when they bash the Misfits.  I bet that if it were Pizzazz stealing the earrings from the museum, Jem would be like the Queen of Hearts in "Alice in Wonderland", ordering her to be beheaded.  Yet when Jem does the same thing, she's given a slap on the wrist.

It just doesn't make sense!

Oh well.  Next episode, Jem and the Holograms vacation at a ski resort.  We'll see what happens then.

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