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Friday, June 24, 2016

Jem Reviewed: Episode 14 - The Music Awards - Part 2

In the first part of the last episode of Jem Reviewed, we met a whole slew of new people.  We met Danse, a dancer who works at a home for teen runaways, Krissie and Deirdre, who became teen runaways, and some unknown kid who was forced to be a runaway.

Would you like to know how this story ends?  Let's watch Episode 14: The Music Awards - Part 2!

Okay, so we last left off with Krissie falling off of an antenna to her death.  But killing off a thirteen year old girl would be too much drama for this show, so her backpack saves her fall long enough for unknown kid to pop up and carry her the rest of the way down.

After the title of the episode appears, we're standing outside the concert venue where we learn the kid's name is Danny.  Deirdre, Krissie, and Ba Nee explain that they've run away from home too, and they make a vow to stick together.  Danny at first rejects this offer, but Krissie shows some sense and tells Danny they'd be better off together.  How nice of Krissie to use her brain now.

Before they can do anything, the scalper approaches and grabs Danny, demanding that he pay for the Misfits ticket he stole.  Krissie, Ba Nee, and Deirdre try to reason with him by trying to give him twenty-two bucks (I get the feeling that the girls never planned their running away strategy very well), but the guy (whose name is Mick) has other plans.

Mick takes them inside of an abandoned school bus - which is from the Marx School, (a clever pun alluding to the showrunner, Christy Marx), and feeds them bread and Jif - because choosy con artists choose Jif.  His partner seems to be wondering why he's doing this, but we learn that Mick plans to use Danny and the girls for something big.  Big - and evil judging by the sound of his voice.  Oh, and those Misfits tickets that Danny swiped?  They were fakes.  As if we hadn't already guessed before.

The kids, of course, are too much into their peanut butter induced nirvana to take notice though.  In between mouthfuls, Danny interviews the three girls, wanting to know what was so bad at home that they had to run away.  These may as well have been their answers.

DEIRDRE:  We all used to have our own bedrooms in a big mansion, but we weren't getting attention from our four foster mothers, so I decided I'd leave home to make a career as a street entertainer.

KRISSIE:  I left because these two needed a chaperone.  But I also think our swimming pool was too cold!  70 degrees is child abuse!  CHILD ABUSE!

BA NEE:  I hate Jerrica so much!  All she did for me was take abuse from the very band we just saw so she could pay for me to see again, and she wouldn't even take us out for a banana split at Dairy Queen afterwards!  That bitch!

Okay, maybe they don't actually SAY that...but whatever they say, it makes Danny look at them as if they have six heads and point blank tells them that they are the stupidest girls in the whole world.  He said it, not me.

And just how is the search for their three missing foster girls going?  Not well.  Despite another search around Los Angeles, Jerrica, Kimber, Aja, and Shana have come up empty.  And to make matters worse, the child welfare worker, Mr. Sobieski has shown up to relay the message to Jerrica that someone reported her for neglect.  This is the last thing that Jerrica needs to deal with, and I almost think she'll use her JemStar earrings to summon up holograms of the three missing girls. 

You know what?  Why DOESN'T she just do that?!?  Problem solved!  It's not as if Mr. Sobieski has to touch them...he just has to see them!

But Ashley arrives with a bunch of pamphlets in her hands, and she explains that the three girls are out posting handbills for the upcoming benefit for Haven House, which buys them some time.  But Mr. Sobieski will be returning the night of the concert, and if there's no sign of the three girls, he'll be forced to take the remaining nine girls and put them in different foster homes.

You see what your neglect has got you, Jerrica?  Whatever the case, the Holograms head back to Starlight Music while the rest of the girls search for the girls.

Over at Misfits Music, it seems as though Eric and Techrat have come up with a plan of their own to promote the Misfits.  By sending Pizzazz, Roxy, and Stormer over the city on hang gliders, they'll throw leaflets and posters of them all over the city.  Which basically means millions of dollars in littering fines for nothing since the Misfits are merely nominated for an award and not performing.  Seems silly to me.

Roxy seems to think it's silly as well, and you can tell she has a fear of heights...but the rest of the Misfits are gung-ho, and before you know it, it's time for a song.

The song is "You Oughta See The View From Here", and again, it's another solid Misfits hit.  I've said that the concept for Jem's "Twilight In Paris" video would look stunning in real life.  I would say the same for this video by the Misfits. 

After the song, Roxy and Stormer glide to safety in a nearby park.  But Pizzazz seems to enjoy being up in the sky.  That's because Techrat installed a laser gun on Pizzazz's glider which prompts Eric to hilariously respond with "You let Pizzazz loose with a laser gun?!?"

Yes.  Techrat let Pizzazz loose with a laser gun.  And you see that great big billboard of Jem's head above Starlight Music?  She uses the gun to draw a mustache on Jem.  That's...mature.

But Pizzazz's aim isn't all that great, and she accidentally zaps the support beam holding the sign up...

...which crashes straight through the window of Jerrica's office!

Luckily, nobody is hurt by the shards of flying glass and thousand pound billboard - however, Jerrica decides to use Synergy's help to get Pizzazz to stop.

Synergy conjures up a gigantic bird to appear in front of Pizzazz which spooks her enough for her to lose control of the glider.  But don't worry...Jerrica's scheme doesn't kill Pizzazz.  She just ends up falling into a pond in the park.  See, Jerrica's not heartless!

Though, Techrat's very upset that Pizzazz broke his laser gun - and Pizzazz is very upset that Techrat's invention nearly broke her neck!  Let's call it even.

At the same time all this is going on, we're taken to a city street where there is an electronics store in full view.  Danny and the Starlight Girls are there with Mick.  And it's here where we learn just how evil Mick is.  He forces Danny to go inside the store and steal an item to pay for the ticket that he swiped even though the tickets were worth nothing.  Krissie immediately calls out Mick on his dishonesty (which in reality would get her shot or something else that is horrific), and begs Danny not to do it.  But Danny feels as though he's over a barrel and isn't sure what to do.

We come across what looks like a metal igloo inside of a junkyard, and I'm wondering why we have this place setting in this episode.  Turns out that this is Techrat's "home".  Not creepy.  Not creepy at all.  It turns out that Techrat is designing another invention that will gum up the works for Jem and the Holograms at the benefit concert.  Naturally after Pizzazz broke Techrat's previous inventions, he refuses to let her come near him, which makes Pizzazz exclaim that he's a weirdo.  Finally...something I can agree with her on.  Surprisingly, Eric defends Techrat, calling him a genius.  Well, he's already proven himself more intelligent than Zipper, so that's a start.

Back at the electronics store, despite the pleas from Deirdre, Krissie, and Ba Nee, Danny swipes what looks like a CD player from the store.  As soon as he exits from the store, Krissie runs to him and tells him that he will ruin his life if he goes through with it.  Krissie's words seem to sink in to Danny and he decides to go back in the store and put the CD player back. 

Mick and his buddy don't like the fact that Krissie is wrecking their plan, so Mick goes in to intervene and make sure that Danny goes through with the plan which sends Deirdre and Ba Nee out to confront them.

The group ends up making so much noise that the shopkeeper comes out to stop them.  At the same time, a police car pulls up and two officers pop out and give chase.  And you know what would go great with a chase scene?  A Jem and the Holograms song!

"Runnin' Like The Wind" does what it's supposed to do.  It provides backing music for a music montage that includes the Starlight Girls evading the police intertwined with a worried Jerrica desperate to locate her missing girls.  If it weren't for the fact that this song was plot based, it would unfortunately be a bit forgettable.

The girls, Danny, and Mick seem to have hit a roadblock.  A huge chain link fence that is covered with crates seems to be in their way.  And with one of the two officers hot on their trail, they decide the only way to go is over the fence. 

The Starlight Girls make it over the fence without too much difficulty.  But when the police officer tries to reach Danny and Mick, Mick throws the CD Player at the officer which makes him lose his balance and get crushed by the cascading crates!  Oh, we're going to add attempted murder to the charges.  Good one, Mick.

It is Danny who risks getting caught by lifting the crates off of the officer, hoping that he isn't hurt too badly.  By the time the officer's partner comes around the corner with Mick's friend in handcuffs, Danny makes it over the fence and runs away with the Starlight Girls.  And when Mick is apprehended, Mick brags about how he made sure the kids were so scared of cops that they wouldn't approach another one for help.  This is a statement that makes both police officers (and me) cringe in disgust.  It's too bad too because I know those police officers would have helped them out - especially with Danny helping to free one of them.

The action shifts to Stouffer Stadium where Jem and the Holograms are doing a sound check with Rio on stage while the other nine Starlight Girls are sitting in the audience, worried about their foster sisters.  Well, okay, maybe eight of them are.  Ashley's more concerned with knocking Deirdre out for scaring Jerrica half to death.  Nice to see Ashley hasn't lost her edge, but with Mr. Sobieski in the vicinity, Ashley probably should mind her P's and Q's.  Of course, Mr. Sobieski has given Jerrica to the beginning of the concert to produce the missing girls, so she has no reason to panic yet.  But time is running out.

Oh, wait.  That song isn't in this episode.  Never mind.

It seems like Danny and the girls have found temporary refuge at a hamburger restaurant, where the girls have used their money to buy them all food.  But now that their money is all gone, they're talking about what their next move is.  The girls can go back to Starlight Mansion, but Danny has nowhere else to go.  Krissie and Deirdre seem to think that Danny could move in with them, but Ba Nee points out that it's the Starlight House for Foster GIRLS.  And since Danny makes a pretty ugly girl, he's pretty much out of luck.

At least until some random waiter approaches them and starts talking to them.  Because I know when some random stranger starts offering me unsolicited advice, I immediately perk up.  And yes, that's sarcasm.

But the waiter's advice is good.  He gives Danny a card to a nearby home for runaway teens, and encourages him to at least give them a call if he won't go there directly.  Danny's hesitant at first, but Krissie practically grabs the card and force feeds it down Danny's throat, telling him that he should have done this a long time ago!

And I'll bet that the place on the card just happens to be Haven House.

What do you know?  I was right.  Yay me.  But to their surprise, it looks as though nobody is home.  What kind of a teen runaway shelter is this anyway?  Is it like Sears?  Only open from 10-7?

Oh, wait.  They see Danse pulling out of the driveway and flag her down.  Krissie explains the situation to Danse - that they're all runaways and all of them need help - with Danny needing the most help of all.  Danse explains that everyone at Haven House is out at a benefit concert, but if they want, they can hitch a ride with her to Stouffer Stadium where they can see Jem and the Holograms perform.  That's all the motivation any of them need.  Danse also promises that Danny can speak to a counselor after the concert if he needs to.  And this is why I love Danse as a character.  Whereas Jerrica/Jem can seem flawed and even hypocritical at her worse, Danse is 100% genuine class.  Jerrica can learn a lot from this lady.  Danse has only known Deirdre for five minutes and already she's shown her more attention than Jerrica has the whole damn series so far!

Once Danse arrives at the stadium, the three Starlight Girls make a beeline towards Jem and the Holograms, and there's a tearful reunion to be had for sure.  This should also get Mr. Sobieski off of their backs once and for all.  But there's still one minor glitch that has to be taken care of first.

Techrat has managed to sneak into the concert hall with a remote control.  The remote control is a mobile version of the electronic jammer that we saw him use in the last episode.  One click and everything electronic in the stadium will go haywire, just as they did with Starlight Mansion.

Predictably, Techrat flicks the switch at the moment Jem and the Holograms take the stage, and every light and musical instrument starts going wonky.  Kimber narrowly manages to take Jem off the stage before the device causes her to change back into Jerrica!  Rio is completely baffled over what is going on, but Danny - who happens to be standing near Rio - seems to think that he might know where it's coming from.

While all hell is breaking loose at Stouffer Stadium, across town at the Music Awards, the winners of the Best New Rock Group Award are...the Misfits!  Wow, I guess Lindsey wasn't kidding about how showing up at the awards could mean the difference between winning and not winning.  Predictably, Pizzazz gives a self-serving acceptance speech about how much they desperately deserved the award.  It's a wonder they weren't thrown off the stage!

To add insult to injury, Pizzazz wants to go over to Stouffer Stadium to gloat about winning the award to Jem in person.  Yep, that's our Pizzazz.

Back at the stadium, Danny successfully locates Techrat and confronts the weasel right in the middle of the audience.  Techrat tries to pull Danny away, but with his aversion to being touched, he certainly doesn't put up much of a fight.  Danny causes Techrat to break his invention, and seconds later, everything goes back to normal, Jerrica changes back to Jem, and we get the final song of the episode.  Watch this video carefully - it summarizes the whole episode beautifully.

First things first...the song "Friend Or Stranger" is beautifully done, and a perfect song to illustrate the Haven House benefit and the reason why it's being held.  Secondly, I like the fact that they left Danny's fate unknown at the end of this episode because to give everyone a happy ending would seem a bit unrealistic.  I'd like to think that Danny went with Danse to Haven House to take her up on the offer of counseling because judging by how Danny was thrown out of his own home, I get the feeling it wasn't his fault.

It was a nice touch to have Krissie, Ba Nee, and Deirdre reuniting with the Starlight Girls during this video.  And while Ashley nearly does deck Deirdre, she instead bursts into tears and hugs her.  That was a nice touch.

Perhaps the greatest surprise of all was how Pizzazz reacted.  You could see her expression change from snark to shock to embarrassment in the time frame of 45 seconds.  Seeing everyone coming together and's nothing that would ever happen at a Misfits concert.  Truth be told, I expect to see mosh pits at one of their shows.  But looking at how Pizzazz stares at's like even though they won a coveted award, they'd rather have the adoration of people instead for doing something meaningful.  By the end of the song, the award means so little to Pizzazz that she lets it shatter on the ground.  I don't care what anyone says...Pizzazz was definitely affected by that song.  What we don't know is why that is.  Maybe it'll come up in a future episode.  Maybe not.

One final footnote that makes this episode even more special.  It's part of this week's Jem Trivia.  At the end of this episode during its original run, Christy Marx displayed a toll free number of a runaway hotline to help people out who needed it.  After the conclusion of the episode, the hotline received an increase in volume of calls and even succeeded in reuniting a few kids with their families!  Now THAT'S awesome!

Coming up next week - remember the fashion contest the band won?  It's time for them to work on a fashion book.  But with the Misfits and Clash doing everything to stop them, will the book come out at all?

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