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Friday, October 21, 2016

Jem Reviewed: Episode 31 - The Bands Break Up

Last week on Jem Reviewed, Jem went nuts.  No, wait.  It was Clash pretending to be Jem.  Never mind.  This week, we have the episode that many fans love.  And many of these fans seem to have a lot of fun writing fan fiction stories which feature the stars of this episode in a romantic relationship.

Myself?  I don't see it as such...but then again, the sexual attraction between cartoon characters never really did anything for me.

This is Episode 31: The Bands Break Up.  Only, they don't really break up, they just lose a member each.  The more accurate title would be something like "The Third Band".  But I'm babbling.  Let's go on with the blog.

We open with the Holograms brainstorming ideas for new songs.  And as we've already established a couple of episodes ago, Kimber seems to be the driving force behind much of the lyrics of some of the Holograms songs.  But Kimber is also the youngest member of the band so she has to fight to be heard.  Believe me, I understand her completely.  I'm the youngest in my family, and sometimes I feel like I have to shout to be heard. 

In Kimber's case, she kicks her keyboard onto the floor in a temper tantrum.  Well, I suppose that would work too in a kindergarten kid sort of way.

Kimber's frustrated that the other members of the band seem to not take her opinions seriously and how they treat her like a kid even though she's been in the band longer than Raya.  Okay, she doesn't say it like that, but she does make an accusation that the rest of the band doesn't appreciate her, and she decides that she no longer wants to be a Hologram.  What's this, like the third time she's wanted to quit the band?  Jem seems to think that she'll be back after she cools down, but the other Holograms seem concerned.

It seems as though Jem and the Holograms aren't the only band to have a disgruntled member.  We find out that Stormer is getting disenchanted with her bandmates as well.  They've completely rejected the song that Stormer wrote and are making fun of her.  It appears that Stormer is the main lyricist for the Misfits as well, which really shocks me.  I can see her penning such songs as say "Designing Woman" or "I Like Your Style".  But you expect me to believe that a sweet, timid thing like Stormer would write "Winning is Everything" or "Take a Hike, Jack"?  Talk about suspending reality!

As it so happens, even the most meek of us have a boiling point, and Stormer storms off when Pizzazz, Roxy, and Jetta make one joke too much.  I guess the Misfits didn't appreciate Stormer's new lyrics which she called meaningful and sensitive.

Later that night, Kimber finds herself at a nightclub called "The Scene", where the entertainment happens to be The Limp Lizards.  And they seem to be singing "Broken Glass".  Again.  Seriously, Limp Lizards, you released that song two years ago.  Get another single.

As Kimber sits down to enjoy a thick peach shake that's really thick, Stormer sits down and orders a banana split, a Vanilla Coke, a whole chicken, twelve pizzas, and a quadruple layer chocolate cake.  Okay, I may be embellishing here, but Stormer definitely seems to have more of a sweet tooth than Kimber.  And naturally, Kimber and Stormer start trading barbs with each other as they have been brainwashed into thinking that they can never be friends as they are in rival bands.  I'd almost compare their relationship to that of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, but I don't think Kimber nor Stormer are that level of insanity.

But maybe the owner of the club IS insane.  Because she seems to think that Stormer and Kimber should perform a song together!  It can't hurt.  You can only take so much of the Limp Lizards' "Broken Glass" before wanting to swallow broken glass.

Reluctantly, Stormer and Kimber agree to play a song together.  That song can be heard below.

First, let's get Jem Trivia out of the way.  Kimber's voice is performed by Florence Warner, while Stormer's voice is done by Lani Groves.  At first, I thought it was the same woman singing both parts, but there is a slight difference if you listen to the vocals for "I'm Okay".  And, do I think "I'm Okay" is okay?  I do.  In fact, it's probably one of the better songs of the series so far.  I guess under the right circumstances, a Hologram and a Misfits can sing together!  Though, don't expect Aja, Jetta, Shana, and Roxy to sing together in a Bangles cover band anytime soon.

Kimber and Stormer do such a great job that the club owner offers to hire them to play all week long.  And thus, the Kimber/Stormer friendship has officially begun.

But at least one person isn't all that thrilled with who Kimber has been hanging around with.  Jerrica notices that Kimber has been going out late and has apparently put an entire coat of Glidden cotton candy pink paint all over her eyes, and is concerned that something is wrong.  But Kimber - who is still sore over destroying a thousand dollar keyboard over her band ignoring her - refuses to tell Jerrica what is going on.

And when Stormer picks her up to take her to their nightly gig at The Scene, the rest of the Holograms are shocked that Kimber would ever spend her time with a diseased bedsore like Stormer!

Okay, they don't actually call Stormer that.  They're probably thinking it though!

Meanwhile at Misfits Music, the Misfits are starting to realize that without Stormer as their lyrical and moral compass, they're just three aging old hags with zero talent and zero heart.  Naturally, Pizzazz blames Stormer for this latest turn of events because it's not as if SHE did anything that would make her feel unappreciated.  This is one of those cases in which Pizzazz is completely clueless in social skills.

But regardless of the feelings of the Holograms and Misfits, Kimber and Stormer have developed a really strong bond, and it appears that at least where Kimber is concerned, Stormer's influencing her in many ways.  I mean, look at what Kimber's wearing.  She looks like what might have happened if Daisy Duke became a heavy metal princess!

Apparently, the music that Kimber and Stormer have been making together has attracted the attention of Dave Danielson, who represents a company called "Can't Dance Records".  Gee, I wonder who owns that record label?  Elaine from "Seinfeld"?

Anyway, it appears as though Dave has an offer for the girls.  Since they work so well together, why not release a full album of songs?  Kimber and Stormer seem to relish this idea for different reasons.  Stormer wants to be able to write the kind of songs that she has been yearning to write ever since she became a Misfit.  And Kimber wants to take her solo success and cram it down Jerrica's throat!  Okay, did Kimber and Stormer switch personalities too?

Of course, Kimber and Stormer don't have the cash flow to make a record themselves, so Kimber decides to put up her half of Starlight Music as collateral.  Because that just sounds like such a winning idea, you know.  In fact, it seems kind of suspicious that it's DAVE that brings up that fact and not Kimber.  I smell a set-up.

Ah, yes.  I knew Eric would pop up like a pimple on prom night!  I guess we now know who owns Can't Dance Records!  Listen to this latest scheme.  Eric plans on purposely botching the record release planned by Kimber and Stormer so that the contract that Kimber signed would cause him to own her half of Starlight Music.  And as we know, if Eric owns half of the recording company, Jem, the Starlight Foundation, and the whole world would die a slow and painful death.  And I'm being melodramatic.  Apologies.

Of course, Kimber and Stormer aren't aware of this plan just yet.  They're too busy dressing like hoochies on Lindsey Pearce's show and basking in the glow of success.  And by this point, both the Misfits and Jem and the Holograms have had enough of this and decide to put an end to any future Kimber/Stormer collaborations with what I consider to be one of the best mash-ups in the show so far.

I've mentioned before that I don't like the mash-ups between Jem and the Holograms and the Misfits, but with "Bad Influence", I have to say that this is one exception to the rule.  Granted, the song itself is basically trashing both Kimber and Stormer, but the way the song is presented, as well as the lyrics and vocal stylings of Ellen Bernfeld and Britta Phillips.  Pure genius.

Too bad their song doesn't work.  If anything, the performance just solidifies the friendship between Kimber and Stormer, and they vow to be best friends forever as they one day aspire to be a part of the Lilith Fair Festival or Coachella or some other festival.  I'm guessing this was also the moment in which the lesbian fan fics started to get popular.

Don't worry though.  You can always count on Jerrica to suck the fun out of a room.  In this case, Jerrica comes across the contract that Kimber signed while searching through her belongings...because invasion of privacy is always a guarantee that your sisterly bonds will improve.  Just ask D.J. and Stephanie Tanner.  It's also here that Jerrica informs Kimber of the Can't Dance scandal that has Eric's name written all over it.  Kimber is horrified that Eric seemingly has gotten the better of them - but then Kimber recognizes that her self-esteem has greatly improved due to her friendship with Stormer and she flat out tells Jerrica that she and Stormer WILL finish the record.  I...I never thought I'd say this, but I'm absolutely on Kimber's side here!  I must be delirious.

Of course, that's not to say that Kimber and Stormer's recording session at Flash Recording Studios will go off without a hitch.  With horrible back-up singers, musicians that can't decide what genre of music to play, and tapes constantly breaking, Kimber and Stormer wonder if they've gotten in over their heads.  Stormer actually comes up with the great idea to seek help from outside, but stubborn as an ox Kimber rejects the idea, saying that they don't need help from her sister to get them out of this.

But as Jem and the Holograms are finding out, they might need Kimber more than they realized when they play one of their worst concerts ever.  At first, the Holograms start blaming each other for what went wrong, but as they start to come to their senses, they come to the conclusion that they would be nothing without Kimber.  How's that humble pie taste, ladies?

And Kimber and Stormer are realizing why they have been having so much trouble with their record.  When they arrive at the studios to lay down Stormer's vocals for the remainder of the songs, they overhear the sound engineer talking with Eric on the phone and they find out the whole evil plan.  Impulsively, Kimber and Stormer fire their engineer and throw him out of the building, but they come to realize that by doing that, they've more or less made the job of releasing their record more impossible.

To add to the stress, the Misfits decide that they want to get Stormer back into their group...and they figure the best way to do this is to bribe Stormer with cold hard cash.  Jetta gives her practically every credit card that existed in the 1980s and tells her that if she rejoins the band, her credit will have no limitations.  Why do I get the feeling that somewhere out there, Harvey Gabor is about to have a major heart attack from shock?

As Stormer starts racking up bills driving from store to store in her brand new Porsche, Kimber is wondering what is taking her singing partner so long to get to the recording studios. 

A message from Stormer sadly confirms what Kimber's greatest fear was all along.  Stormer was leaving the project to rejoin the Misfits.  And with that, Kimber is left to lick her wounds and sign over her half of Starlight Music.

So, why does Stormer seem to look heartsick over it?  Pretty bizarre behaviour for someone who won a golden ticket to an endless fortune.

The next morning, a Cheshire cat grinning Eric Raymond is gloating at his success at scamming half of Starlight Music from Kimber, and Kimber is about ready to get a full on lecture from Jerrica about reading between the lines.  It's all such an embarrassing scene all around.

But wait!  Stormer crashes the meeting with a tape in her hands!  And no, she doesn't use it to tie Eric to his chair and throw him through his office window - though I'd actually sort of like to see that happen.  No, Stormer explains that she went into the studio late last night to lay down her vocals so that the record would be finished on time.  Stormer explains that while the Misfits tried to buy her off with fancy gifts, Kimber just showed her genuine and sincere friendship...and that meant more to Stormer than any dollar amount.

The show of friendship between Kimber and Stormer is touching - but naturally Eric has to rub salt in the already festering wound by telling Kimber and Stormer that he will refuse to fund any promotion tied to their album, making it a failure.  I should also note that the contract that Kimber signed also stated that the album had to sell a certain number of copies.  Nice.

At least this time around, Kimber and Stormer realize that they do need Jerrica's assistance, and after a brief conversation - surprisingly without the words "I told you so" dropped in for flavour - Jerrica, Aja, Shana, and Raya agree to help Kimber and Stormer sell their record to the masses. 

This leads to our final song - a rehash of a song from Episode 3.  Amusingly, the song "Gettin' Down to Business" has now been used in both episodes where Kimber has quit the band!  So, let it be known...if you hear this song played, Kimber has thrown a temper tantrum.  The song itself is still meh, but it does a good job of showing how hard everyone works to make the album a success.

And how awesome that the album title is called "Back to Back"?  It's like symbolism for how Kimber and Stormer have each other's backs! 

It appears as though the promotion worked!  Back to Back has gone double platinum!  Starlight Music is saved!  And Kimber and Stormer are the real heroes of it all!

Jerrica's so shocked by the success - I wonder if that has to do with the fact that Back to Back sold two million copies while "Glitter and Gold" only sold 500,001 - that she almost hires Stormer to be a Hologram!  Geez, you only added Raya three episodes ago!  You have a band, not a Carnegie Hall choir!

Of course before Stormer can say anything, Pizzazz, Roxy, and Jetta barge into Jerrica's office and practically beg Stormer to come back telling her that they really need her and that the Misfits are nothing without her.

With a heavy heart, Stormer tells Jerrica that she cannot accept her offer, and a crestfallen Kimber is saddened to see that Stormer is set to go back to the band that held her back.

But wait!  Stormer's friendship with Kimber has improved her self-esteem and she verbally yells at her bandmates by telling them that they are not allowed to walk all over her and that she is an equal partner from now on!  Whoa!  This Stormer's awesome! 

Of course, the episode ends with Kimber and Stormer agreeing that they wouldn't change a thing about what happened and that they genuinely found out a lot about themselves by allowing a friendship to happen between the two of them.  Okay, so the episode sort of ends the same way an episode of "Full House" would end, but it's still a decent ending.

In fact, I dare say that the friendship between Kimber and Stormer has actually made both of the characters better!  Kimber became a little more mature and less impulsive while Stormer grew a backbone and demanded respect!  It would be nice to see if there are any more instances of the friendship between the two in future episodes because it definitely worked.  At least they didn't use Aja and Roxy.  Those two would likely kill each other.

Next week - Jem gets gaslighted!  Very appropriate for Halloween weekend, no?

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