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Friday, July 01, 2016

Jem Reviewed: Episode 15 - The Rock Fashion Book

Hello, everybody, and Happy Canada Day to those Canadians out there!  Hope you have a blast celebrating Canada's 149th birthday...just remember to do so safely!

I do wish that this edition of
Jem Reviewed actually took place in Canada to make this a themed entry, but no such luck.  But after what happened last week with the girls running away from Starlight House, I think we need a lighthearted one.

This is Episode 15:  The Rock Fashion Book.

So, remember back in episode 12 when Jem and the Holograms won that fashion contest in Italy by using Synergy to cheat for them?  Well, that contest win has helped the band secure a contract to publish a rock fashion book.  It's essentially similar to Madonna's "Sex" book, but without the nudity and poor taste.

They meet with publisher Robert Arlington to discuss the plans for the book, and at some point Jem has to change back into Jerrica to sign the contract.  But it seems as though all is a go.  The girls will be working with famous photographer Richard Carling and art director Soo Mi and will be going to several different locations to shoot photos for the project.  As well, Jem and the Holograms will be wearing Shana's designs, giving her some additional solo promotion as well.  It's always nice when someone other than Jem or Kimber get all the attention!

Word spreads quickly about the rock fashion book, and before you know it, Lindsey Pearce is talking about it on her music video show!  I bet everyone is excited about it!

Well, okay.  Almost everyone.

But it looks like the Misfits have come up with a solution.  They plan to go ahead and release their own rock fashion book before Jem and the Holograms can even get theirs finished so they can have the upper hand.  But leave it to Pizzazz to go one step further and send Clash out to the Holograms first location so she can gum up the works.  

That first location just happens to be at a marine park similar to that of Sea World.  In 2016, it's become a site for protests by animal activists, but back in 1986, it was known as a fun place to spend the day studying marine life.  But Clash seems to be more concerned about the fact that the prices to get into the marine park have gone up!  A whole ten bucks she had to pay!

Just putting it out there - in 2016, this would easily be eighty bucks.

Inside the marine park are Jem and the Holograms, Rio, Richard, and Soo, who are setting up the first photoshoot.  The Holograms are to get up close and personal with some playful dolphins!  To make sure that nothing goes terribly wrong, animal trainer Robin is there to ensure that no sea creature tries to eat Jem.

Kimber thinks the dolphins are incredibly cute and announces that she wants to take one home with her.  Gee, brilliant idea, Kimber.  Maybe it can share a room with Ba Nee or something. 

Though, one thing I will say about the marine photo shoot.  It leads straight into a halfway decent Jem video.

There's nothing quite spectacular about the composition of "Come On In, The Water's Fine" - at least not until you get to the bridge of the song.  However, the video's concept would actually be quite expensive to shoot had this been filmed live-action.  The person who sketched the storyboard for this video did a great job!

Unfortunately, while Jem and the Holograms are getting their photos snapped, Clash snatches the itinerary for the upcoming photo shoots for the book.  That way, she can sabotage every place that they go to. 

So the dolphin shoot was a success.  Now comes the hard part.  They now have to climb up to the top of what seems like a fifty foot platform and get some shots feeding killer whales.  This seems a little bit dangerous to me, but everyone seems to be gung-ho about it, so what do I know?

At first, the shoot with the killer whales seems to go swimmingly.  At least, that is until Kimber decides that she wants to be the main focus of the shot.  When she moves closer, she loses her balance and nearly slides off the platform.  She somehow manages to take Shana with her.  Jem and Aja try their best to pull Shana and Kimber back up onto the platform but Kimber and Shana ate one too many pancakes as breakfast and all four of them fall into the massive pool filled with the killer whales!  This...isn't good.

Of course, what would be worse is if the pool were filled with hammerhead sharks...but that would be too cruel!

Richard and Rio immediately dive into the pool to try and rescue everyone before they either drown or get squashed by some killer whales.  Again, the urgency would have been felt more had the tank been filled with sharks, but that's just my observation.

Kimber and Aja are quickly rescued followed by Shana (who seems to have found some styling gel that has kept her hair in perfect shape since episode 12).  But Jem is nowhere to be found.  Where could she have gone?

Oh...wait.  Another one of Synergy's weaknesses exposed!  Turns out that Jem's decision to take off her earrings during that Japanese mineral bath five episodes ago was a good one.  If the earrings get wet, they won't work.  Hence the reason why Jerrica is now underwater and not Jem.

When Richard and Rio are unable to find Jem, Robin comes up with a solution.  She pushes a button and releases the dolphins that were posing with Jem and the others earlier.  One of the dolphins carries Jerrica to safety before the whales have a chance to eat her or something.

Jerrica is totally waterlogged, but somehow manages to change back to Jem before Rio finds her because she's too afraid to tell him who she really is.  She even tells Rio to hold her tightly because Jerrica will understand.  Enabler, thy name is Jerrica Benton. 

So, the first photo shoot was a disaster.  And for once, Clash wasn't responsible.  It was Kimber and her "me first" attitude that caused this mess.  For punishment, she must swear off men for the next two episodes.  Hopefully their next stop in Washington D.C. doesn't end up a disaster.

Speaking of disasters, the Misfits are trying their best to take decent shots for their own rock fashion book, but they seem to have a problem with everyone who tries to help them.  Having learned nothing from the "Starbright" debacle, they fire their photographer and decide to go to a local amusement park and take their own photos. 

Of course, Roxy and Stormer are assigned to take the photos which makes Roxy fume with jealousy as Pizzazz will be in all the photos.  Narcissist, thy name is Phyllis Gabor.

The song that accompanies the Misfits photo shoot is a song called "We're Off And Running", and once again it is a solid Misfits hit.  I just wish that the photography skills of the Misfits was just as awesome as their music.  From out of focus photos to thumbs getting in the way, it seems as though every photo is one disaster after another.  It's going to be fairly difficult for the Misfits to be taken seriously. 

Actually, scratch that.  Try impossible.  The Misfits go to seventeen different book publishers in the area and all seventeen tell them that they aren't good enough!  That ought to put a few cracks inside Pizzazz's fragile ego. 

So, the Misfits plan to make their own book was a failure.  It's time for Pizzazz to come up with a new plan.  Since they can't publish their own book, she'll just get her father to buy out the contract that Jem is under so that they can take over their book instead.  Amazingly, Harvey Gabor says yes, thinking that it can be a great business opportunity.  I seem to remember that buying Pizzazz a movie studio was also a great business opportunity and look how well THAT turned out.

In Washington D.C., some scaffolding is set up in front of the Washington Monument, and Richard is busy snapping some photos of Jem and the Holograms pretending to play their musical instruments.  They have to play air band due to the fact that they aren't able to plug in power cords inside the monument.

Clash is nearby, hiding from the action.  At least, she is until she gets caught by a security guard driving what appears to be a golf cart.  Gee, would his name happen to be Paul Blart?  I know he uses a segway in that movie, but I'm fairly certain that they didn't exist back in '86.  

In what could very well be the most contrived scene ever in Jem history so far, security dude happens to lose control of the cart after spotting Clash and somehow crashes into the scaffolding that Jem and the others are standing on, severely damaging it to the brink of collapse!  You know, I would have probably believed it more had an earthquake struck D.C. instead, but we don't have time to think.  If that scaffolding collapses and Jem and the Holograms are still on it, they could end up wearing some fashionable metal jewelry right through their bodies!

Naturally, we can't have that.  With help from Soo Mi and the cop on the golf cart, Rio successfully manages to rescue the girls using a banner as a safety net, and everyone gets away in time before the platform breaks.  The Holograms are very annoyed by this and immediately suspect the Misfits are behind it.  Well, they're only partially right.  Clash indirectly caused the accident.

The next destination is the Grand Canyon.  Let's far they almost drowned in a killer whale tank, nearly bit it at the Washington Monument.  Somehow sending them to the biggest bottomless pit in the United States sounds like a fantastic idea, right?

At the Grand Canyon, a helicopter lands on a rocky cliff, and Richard explains that no other rock group have ever taken shots at the Grand Canyon before so this is a once in a lifetime opportunity for them.  Although paralyzed with fear over the height, the Holograms go through with it, not realizing that in a cavern just below them, the Misfits are causing trouble.

We have absolutely no idea how the Misfits even got in that cavern.  It's not as if Pizzazz, Roxy, and Stormer scaled the side of the Grand Canyon!  Though given that Eric doesn't appear in this episode at all, maybe he dropped them off with a private jet and is waiting at the bottom of the canyon for them.  

Although the Misfits have gotten Pizzazz's father to buy the rights to the Holograms book (unbeknownst to them), they decide to sabotage the photo shoot anyway.  Pizzazz, Roxy, and Stormer come across a colony of bats and come up with the brilliant idea to throw rocks at the bats so that they will disrupt the Holograms photo shoot.  Okay, number one, that is cruelty to animals.  And number two, did they ever stop to think that some of those bats might have rabies? 

Surprisingly enough, the Misfits plan works.  The bats fly out of a cave opening right next to where the Holograms are doing their photo shoot and they launch an attack on them!  Aw, come on bats...I know you have every right to be upset, but the Holograms didn't do this to you!

But aside from the danger of getting bat poo all over Shana's designs comes an even bigger danger.  The bats are pushing the Holograms backwards towards the edge of the cliff.  If any of them fall off the edge, it'll be a situation that not even Synergy can save them from.

Though Jem definitely uses Synergy to buy them some time.  She instructs her to use high pitched sound waves to scare the bats away which works long enough for Rio and Richard to rescue them before the cliff gives way.  So, how many times does this make it now that the Misfits have nearly killed the Holograms now?  I lost count after six.

The Misfits are quite angry about it as well.  Not because they feel remorse, but because Jem's accident at the Grand Canyon made national news.  Nice, huh?  Well, it looks like the book transfer has gone through, so the Misfits decide to pay Jem and the Holograms a visit at their next stop, Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas.  If the Misfits decide to summon a hurricane to stop the Holograms, I'll eat my shorts.

Fortunately, it appears as though all is calm at Nassau.  Howard Sands is there to greet the Holograms.  Apparently he's on vacation there and wanted to see how they were doing.  And it turns out that he's just in time for the Misfits to make their grand entrance and announce that Harvey Gabor has bought out their contract.

Immediately, the staff of the book threaten to quit, but Pizzazz reminds them that they all signed a contract and the penalties could be quite stiff if they break them.  Howard Sands offers to try and find out what happened, but given his track record with handling crises, I wouldn't hold my breath.  Jem and the Holograms realize that they are at the mercy of the Misfits, and they begrudgingly accept any orders that they give them.

Of course, this leads to a montage of photos that feature Jem and the Holograms mopping floors, carrying the Misfits luggage, setting tables - basically what a layout of "Seventeen" magazine would look like in the 1940s.  Judging by the expressions on their faces, they would rather pour fire ants down their skirts.  It's quite painful and demeaning.

By the end of the day, everybody is angry at the fact that the Misfits have won, and resign themselves to finishing the project in agony.  That's why it is somewhat odd that Richard appears to be in a whimsical and wonderful mood.  It seems as though Richard has some secret ammunition that could get the Misfits off the project once and for all.  But to do that, they have to get all of his film developed in the dark room - you know, the way that photos were processed before the invention of smartphones and digital cameras.  And this ties in to the final song of the show.

I absolutely love the concept of "We Can Change It", and the song itself is quite good as well.  I think we have another episode where all three songs are winners.  Maybe there's something about the episodes having to do with fashion that seem to bring out Jem's creative side.  

And when Pizzazz comes to pick up her proofs, she and the other Misfits learn Richard's dirty little secret.  See, while Richard was shooting the Holograms, he took some shots of Clash indirectly causing the scaffolding collapse, as well as the Misfits throwing rocks at the bats.  In short, it is proof that the Misfits have sabotaged the very book that they convinced Harvey Gabor to invest in and purchase!  Oh, this is not looking good!

Sure enough, when Pizzazz announces that none of the photos they took turned out, Harvey Gabor is furious.  And when Harvey actually gets a look at the photos of the Misfits destroying the photo shoots, he sells the book right back to the original publisher leaving Pizzazz to sulk in the corner.  Honestly, it serves the lime haired princess right!  It's not often that I defend Jem, but in this case, I will definitely do exactly that.

The book is published and becomes an instant best seller, and Rio decides to pop in and surprise Jem offering his congratulations to her on the success of the book and lamenting that Jerrica isn't here to share in the good news.

Okay, this REALLY going to go on the rest of the series?  Every episode ending with Jem giving the winky face over her fooling Rio?  This is getting annoying!

Although, I must admit...of all the episodes of the series I've reviewed so far, I do think this one is one of the best ones.  Aside from the whole bat incident, I can't think of a single thing to nitpick about this episode.  It's a solid plot from start to finish, and a nice continuation from "In Stitches".  It was also nice to see the Misfits follow through with a plan without Eric's influence.  Of course, Pizzazz is just as mean as Eric, but that's a moot point.  To be honest, I truly think that Eric Raymond may be the Misfits' Achilles heel, and I think that if they could cut him loose, they might be more successful.  It's an interesting hypothesis anyway.

Since I have no
Jem Trivia related to this episode, I'll just give out a random piece from the series overall.  Did you know that Samantha Paris does the voice of Roxy in the series (though she's credited as Bobbie Block)?  And did you also know that she has her own voice over training school in Sausalito, California called Voicetrax?  And that it was the school that helped Dionne Quan land her first voice role as Kimi in "Rugrats"?  That's quite impressive!  Ironically enough, Samantha also voiced Ba Nee, which is quite fun given how different the two characters are!

Coming up next week...Jem and the Holograms try out for the leads in a Broadway musical.  Yeah, let's just continue to believe the unbelievable, shall we?


  1. The killer whale sequence where the Holograms fall into the pool would be my favourite scene in the whole series... along with the "Island Of Deception" drama in the scene they all fall into the ocean.

  2. That sequence with the security cart somehow propelling itself at the scaffolding is probably one of the most contrived scenes ever animated. I *still* cannot figure out how he got that thing airborne!!!

  3. I'm just going to guess that it was still early in the show and the animators were kind