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Friday, November 04, 2016

Jem Reviewed: Episode 33 - Father's Day

Last week on Jem Reviewed, the Misfits performed their cruelest act towards the Holograms yet, and poor Jem nearly ended up institutionalized.  But Jem recovered and the show goes on.

This is Episode 33: Father's Day.  And yes, I am aware that it's November.  It's just how it worked out.

We're at a film studio where Video Montgomery is filming the newest video for Jem and the Holograms.  The weird thing is that the song the video is for is "When It's Only Me and the Music" - a song we heard all the way back in Episode 13!  Talk about falling behind schedule.

Whatever the case, the Holograms are thrilled that Video has made yet another masterpiece and Jem asks if there is anything that they can do to repay her for her hard work - well, aside from paying her lots of cash that is.  Video does mention something about wanting to get her father something for Father's Day, and mentions that her hometown of Mulberry is holding an annual Father's Day banquet.  I pause to wonder if Video just wants to bring Jem along to have her Mary Tyler Moore moment where she throws her hat up in the middle of the street proclaiming that she's made it after all.  She doesn't exactly mention anything about inviting them, but Jem comes up with the idea of filming a video for Video's father, which Video is receptive to.

This prompts all of the other Holograms to talk about their own dads.  We know Raya's is still alive, but the other four lost theirs.  Nevertheless, Jem, Aja, Shana, and Raya talk about how they have old photos and home movies of their dads and think about possibly watching some of them to get inspired.  But far in the distance, Kimber is not having any of it.  In fact, she looks like she wants to tear off all of their faces!

Later on their way back to Starlight Mansion, Jerrica and Kimber are having  a talk and Kimber flat out tells Jerrica that she thinks the idea to perform at the Father's Day banquet is a silly one and she's against it.  Jerrica, who we know has a habit of disregarding Kimber's feelings tells her to get over it and write the song they plan to sing.  Wow...sisterly love.  You gotta love it.

It's not until we get to the attic of Starlight Mansion that Kimber finds a box of her father's old things - which feasibly should have burned up when their old house burned down in the first episode, but we're going to pretend to ignore that plot contrivance.  As Kimber looks through the stuff, she starts to get very emotional, and we hear a song playing in the distance.

See, now THIS is how "Something is Missing in My Life" should have been used!  Not like in Episode 10 where Jerrica is singing about earrings!  No, Kimber losing her father is MUCH more poignant.  It also explains why Kimber is so reluctant to help with Video's Father's Day gift.  She was extremely close to her father and she worries that it will bring up bad memories.  Oh, and here's some Jem Trivia for you.  The person who storyboarded this video concept is Vicky Jenson.  She would later go on to work on the 2001 animated feature, "Shrek". 

Kimber locates the old movies, but tells everyone that she's not staying - which prompts the other Holograms to dismiss her thoughts as being yet another Kimber tantrum.  But we see Kimber crying in the doorway as the others watch the movies of Emmett Benton and I'm beginning to understand why she is the way she is.

It seems as though Kimber's not the only one dreading the idea of Father's Day.  Spoiled little rich girl Pizzazz is trying to get her father's attention, but her father is completely ignoring her again.  In fact, Pizzazz is so frustrated by him that she leaves in a huff.  In this case, I can't say I blame her - though the relationship between Pizzazz and Harvey Gabor was never considered to be close.

Pizzazz joins her bandmates and Clash in the next room and vents about everything that just happened.  Clash has a wonderful idea though.  She wants the Misfits to go with her to Mulberry for the Father's Day banquet!  Uh-oh, I knew this was coming!  Pizzazz scoffs at the idea, saying that all fathers are the same, but Clash counters with the fact that her dad adores her!  The other Misfits think it might be a good idea, so Pizzazz relents.

Mulberry is your typical small town with a big heart.  It's the kind of town you might see in television sitcoms.  And the big purple house is the home of Clash's family!

And as Clash runs into the arms of her doting father, Buzz, Pizzazz is completely in shock at the scene - not because of the fact that they are in small town suburbia, but because Clash's father really does love her!  And just like that, a little crack in Pizzazz's hard exterior begins to form!

As luck would have it, Video's family lives not just on the same street as Clash's father, but they live just next door!  And compared to Clash's outspoken father, Video's parents are as sweet and boring as their daughter!  Now, because the two families live so close together, it's only natural that they greet each other.  And Clash's father greets everyone by inviting himself, Clash, and the Misfits to his brother's house for dinner!  I'm getting the feeling that I know why Clash is the way she is now.  Video's mother is worried that she doesn't have enough food to feed everyone, but relents and lets them all in to Video's annoyance.

Sure enough, the Misfits eat the Montogomery family out of house and home, and Clash's dad shows no remorse about it.  But that's all done and good because Video's father has some home movies to show!  Okay, does EVERY family in this show have old school movie projectors in their houses?  My family never even had a video camera until the mid-1990s!  It's just so bizarre!

I don't have clips of the actual home movie portion - mainly because it's kind of boring - but the clips basically show that Video and Clash's rivalry began at birth.  Highlights include Video getting her first video camera at age 10, Clash getting her first set of cymbals at the same age, and Clash's natural hair colour as being dark purple despite being introduced with bright pink hair in the series.  And when is dark purple a NATURAL hair colour on anyone that isn't a Furby?

No, the more interesting part is that the Misfits uncouth behaviour at the screening, which include throwing popcorn on her and sending her chair flying backwards!  Video's father angrily throws them all out, and Video is upset that the Misfits and Clash have ruined their dinner.  She wonders if there is any way to get back at Clash.

Back at Starlight Mansion, Kimber is still sulking about not wanting to write the song, and Jerrica thinks that she has an idea to get Kimber's wheels of inspiration going.  Um, Jerrica, unless you can bring your father back from the dead without turning him into a zombie, I think you're out of luck.  But regardless, Kimber agrees to go with them, thinking that the day can't get any worse.

And in Mulberry, the Misfits are incredibly shocked at how boring the town of Mulberry is and they decide to sing a song about it.

To be honest, the lyrics of the song "Let's Blow This Town" can be exactly the same way I feel about my hometown.  It's small and sleepy like my own community, but unlike Mulberry, it's very easy in my town to feel like an outsider even though you were born and raised there.  But that's another topic for another day.  This song's a good one.  Not their best, but it's a good one.

The Misfits pull up in front of Clash and Video's homes where Video is hanging around with a group of kids.  I believe Video is teaching them how to operate a video camera or something like that.  Maybe it has to do with the Father's Day gift she's working on with Jem.  Unfortunately, Clash has major insecurity issues and she makes the claim that she has brought her friends, the Misfits, to the Father's Day celebrations, and the Misfits proudly announce that they will be happy to sign any autographs for the townspeople.  Humble, thy name is NOT Phyllis "Pizzazz" Gabor.

Though, true to their word, they honour their commitments and sign pretty much anything the townspeople have - including their own skin!  And naturally, Video is seething that Clash has one-upped her once again.

But when Clash makes insinuations that Video doesn't really know Jem and the Holograms as well as she claims, this sets Video off and she angrily declares that Jem and the Holograms will be performing a new song at the Father's Day banquet!  How nice of Video to make that claim without letting them know!  Sure, she did it out of anger, but if Jem doesn't show up, she'll look like a fool.  But hey, Jem and the Holograms will be in Mulberry anyway to deliver a special video gift, so Video will have the last laugh, right?

Tell me I'm right.

For now, it looks as if Jem and the Holograms are going to go horseback riding at a place called Christy's Stables.  Ah, nice reference to showrunner Christy Marx there!  It appears as though Jerrica and Kimber used to go riding there all the time when they were children and Kimber's beloved horse "Lucky" is still there waiting to give Kimber a ride.

To everyone's surprise, the horseback riding excursion goes very well at first, and Kimber's mood seems to be improving.  Well, at least that is until Aja opens her big mouth and asks Kimber if she's inspired to write a new song yet. 

This causes Kimber to go into complete meltdown mode where she burst into tears and steers Lucky away from the group so she can be alone.  But Kimber loses control of Lucky and Lucky accidentally throws Kimber to the ground where she breaks her neck, loses consciousness, and dies.

Okay, just kidding.  Kimber doesn't die.  But she is seriously hurt and none of the Holograms seem to know how to do first aid.

As fate would have it, Harvey Gabor just happens to be in the area on his own horse, and he instantly springs into action.  He sits by Kimber's side and orders a couple of the Holograms to get the doctor who lives nearby to take a look at Kimber.  Wow, who knew Pizzazz's dad could have it in him to be nice?  Of course, with the medical drama surrounding Kimber, it's going to be hard to get a hold of them.  Sure enough, Video's trying to get a hold of Jem to let them know that she sort of promised that they would perform at the Father's Day banquet, but since they are unavailable at the moment due to a horse nearly killing one of them, Video's quickly realizing that she may have to go to her non-existant Plan B.  I hate to say it, but it sort of serves Video right stooping to Clash's level in a way. 

Kimber recovers from her injuries enough to recognize the fact that Pizzazz's dad saved her life.  The rest of the Holograms are grateful as well and Harvey is happy he could help.  It seems as though Harvey is also aware of the fact that his daughter has been a pain in the neck to their band - after all, last episode, she tried to drive Jem nuts!  But Harvey does the honourable thing and apologizes for his daughter's actions. 

Here's where things get really interesting though.  It turns out that Kimber and Harvey have a bit of a heart-to-heart talk about fathers, and it ends with Kimber breaking down in Harvey's arms over how much she misses her father.  Now, this is a pivotal scene for two reasons.  Firstly, it's telling that Harvey seems to be absolutely perfect comfort for complete strangers, but has a very difficult time connecting with Pizzazz.  We also learn that Pizzazz's mother ditched the family a long time ago, so he overcompensated for that loss by buying Pizzazz anything she wanted.  So, right there is why Pizzazz is the way she is.  She just wanted attention from her father, but her father mistakenly believed that providing monetary items would fill the void.  It's quite a sad situation, and for the first time I find myself feeling pity for the lime-haired Misfit.

But I also think it's important to note that Harvey seems to show more compassion towards Kimber than HER OWN SISTER!  Seriously, Jerrica/Jem comes across as a real jerk in this episode.

Kimber does feel better after a bit though, and Harvey's words of wisdom have actually given Kimber the courage and inspiration to write a very powerful song.  But a problem arises when the Holograms realize that they won't make it to Mulberry in time for the banquet due to Kimber's accident, and Harvey excuses himself to make a phone call.  The other Holograms believe that Harvey is putting business before everything else, but Harvey's actually making plans to get all of them to Mulberry using a private jet. know, aside from the fact that Harvey's a lousy dad, there does seem to be a little bit of good in him.  A very complex character, he is.

It's the night of the Father's Day banquet and everyone who's anyone in Mulberry has shown up to celebrate with food, drinks, and thanks to Video, a live performance from Jem and the Holograms! 

It's just too bad that Jem and the Holograms haven't arrived yet.  And while Video's parents try to offer her some moral support, it's not nearly enough for the angry mob of people who have seemingly only come to see Jem.  It's like, who cares about Dad!  We wanna see Jem!

Clash's father pipes up his opinion by stating that Clash's band can perform instead.  Wait...Clash has a band?  That's news to me!  And apparently, it's news to Pizzazz who questions what Clash is talking about.

Oh, I think I understand.  It appears as though Clash has fudged the truth to her loved ones back home by making them believe that she was a Misfit too!  To be honest, I'm surprised she isn't one.  Sure she's tone deaf and I doubt she plays any instruments, but she's the ultimate Misfit groupie!  You'd have thought they would have made her a Misfit through osmosis or something.

No, instead the Misfits proclaim that Clash is NOT a Misfit, and they actually make fun of her for even suggesting such a thing!  Clash even begs them to make her a Misfit for the day, but Pizzazz tells Clash that won't happen as her explanation're either born a Misfit or you're not.  It is a bit cold towards Clash, but at the same time Clash is far from being a Misfit.  Truth be told, she has a loving father and seems to get along well with the people back home whereas the Misfits grew up rough.  I suppose Stormer would be the exception, but even she's had some tough moments.

By this point, the Mulberry residents have seemingly had enough of Video, Clash, and the Misfits and they almost decide to leave the banquet - but they are stopped in their tracks by the sound of a gigantic plane approaching.

I'm guessing that must be the jet that Harvey commissioned for himself and the Holograms because Jem walks out of the plane as soon as it lands and greets the crowd!  I can't wait to see the reaction of Pizzazz when she finds out her own father helped bring the Holograms to Mulberry!

Yeah!  That's the look!  Kind of like that!

Needless to say, Pizzazz is absolutely FURIOUS with her father - especially after he leaves the plane arm in arm with Kimber.  Kimber, to her credit, does try to get Harvey to listen to Pizzazz and encourages him to reach out to her so they can make up.  But when Pizzazz tries to physically kill Kimber on the ground, I'm guessing that plan doesn't quite work out so well.

Basically, it ends with Pizzazz screaming at Harvey about spending Father's Day with Kimber instead of his own daughter, and Harvey complaining that Pizzazz doesn't understand him and that he gives up on her.  Jem can just shrug her shoulders and look at Pizzazz as if she's crazy.  But the thing is that I am completely on Pizzazz's side here.  And, I'll explain why at the end of this post.

For now, it's time to listen to the song that Kimber wrote.  Video and Clash listen to the song with their fathers as Kimber touches a photo of her own father that she taped to her keyboard.

The song "Always There in My Heart" does everything it was meant to.  It packs an emotional punch, it's got a great meaning, and it even intersperses Kimber's feelings for her father with Pizzazz's conflicted one.  It's a bittersweet song, but one of the Holograms best.  

Okay, so "Father's Day" is simultaneously one of the best and frustrating episodes so far.  What did I like about it?  Well, it finally showed us the reason why Pizzazz is the way she is, and how much Harvey failed her even though he truly believed he was doing right by her.  It's such a sad situation all around.  And while Pizzazz blamed Kimber for this latest fiasco, I actually don't blame Kimber at all.  I mean, yes, Kimber and Harvey did sort of bond during this episode, but at no point did Kimber look at Harvey as a substitution for her own loss.  Kimber actually showed a lot of maturity by encouraging Harvey to make amends with Pizzazz.  I think this episode not only helped me understand Pizzazz more, but it made an effort to make Kimber more likeable - in which this time around, they succeeded.

I also feel that I want to take Pizzazz's side because even though Kimber had no desire to come between Pizzazz and Harvey, there was no effort made on Harvey's part to clear up the misunderstanding.  Granted, there was no effort made by Kimber either, but when Pizzazz wanted to kill her, Kimber obviously had other things on her mind, so I'm giving her a pass.  To be honest, Pizzazz deserved a lot better from Harvey back then - and I think had Pizzazz's mother stuck around, she might very well have turned out differently.  
But while Kimber's personality improved, the rest of the Holograms sort of dipped a bit.  They seemed more concerned about Video's feelings than Kimber's.  And while Aja, Shana, and Raya's reasons could be explained, there's no reason why Jerrica should have disregarded her own sister's feelings.  She should have at least talked things out.  Instead, Jerrica became an unlikable, irresponsible, self-centered jerk!

So, next episode, we get to go on a treasure hunt with the Starlight Girls!  How exciting!  See you then!

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