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Friday, March 31, 2017

Jem Reviewed: Episode 54 - The Stingers Hit Town, Part 1

This is it.  We are in the final stretches of the Jem Reviewed series.  Season 2 ended with a marriage proposal and Jem losing the Academy Award.  How will Season 3 begin?  Why, with a new band, of course!  Because having only two bands just isn't enough.

This is yet another two-part episode.  Episode 54: The Stingers Hit Town, Part 1.  And we begin at Misfits Music where Eric is having a meeting with the band that has been his cash cow for the last three years - the Misfits.  And, might I add that it's about time we see them again!  I was almost missing them the last couple of episodes.

Unfortunately, that cash cow of Eric's has been running dry, and Eric is basically admonishing them for spending more money than Misfits Music is making.  They've been destroying things, shopping way over their budget, and they are all unrepentant about it.  When Eric tries to throw his weight around, Pizzazz helpfully reminds Eric that her father owns the record company, so he can't really do anything to them.

Actually, that's not true.  Eric could purchase the company from Harvey Gabor, which would give him full power.  And after Eric shares with Harvey all of the things that the Misfits have done (including smashing musical instruments and charging thousands for room service), Harvey is unimpressed with Pizzazz, and decides to make Eric an offer.  I'm still wondering what the hell Pizzazz ordered from room service that would cost that much money - A pint of Haagen-Dazs topped with beluga caviar?

But Harvey also knows business when he sees it, and he shocks Eric by doubling the offer he made the first time.  That means that Eric will have to come up with some major funds in order to purchase Misfits Music.  And in what I believe to be the greatest use of laser-guided karma that I have ever seen, Eric sells close to everything he owns - including his own home!  It actually makes me feel some schadenfreude when I see Eric basically living in one of the offices of Misfits Music.

And the first thing he does is set the Misfits straight.  Although he will still keep them on contract at Misfits Music - or Raymond Records as he has the desire to rename the company - they will have to do what he says and pay for any expenses out of their own pocket.  No offense, but if Eric didn't want the Misfits to be spoiled, he probably should have been doing this before he took them on.

Naturally, Pizzazz is furious that Harvey sold the company to Eric and she threatens to pull the Misfits out of his company.  But Eric takes her dare and says that now would be the time to add some new blood to the mix.  When did Eric suddenly develop cojones?!?

Over at Starlight Music, Jerrica's secretary Joanie is expressing some concerns of her own.  Although Starlight Music is still generating profits, most of the money is going towards the maintenance and upkeep of Starlight Mansion, so there's not a lot of money left to go around.  Jerrica seems to think that they need to sign a couple of new bands to Starlight's roster to increase profitability, but she's not sure who the next big thing is.

Perhaps Lindsey Pearce can help Jerrica out.  Turns out that Lindsey has a bit of gossip that she's sharing exclusively with Jerrica.  A band who hails from West Germany (remember, the Berlin Wall didn't get knocked down until 1989) is playing at Le Klub Kool.  They call themselves The Stingers, and they have already established a career in Europe.  However, they're looking for an American record label to spread their popularity even further.  Jerrica seems to think that she could get them signed with Starlight Music, and she decides to take Kimber along for the ride.

Unfortunately for Jerrica and Kimber, it seems as though Eric Raymond has the same idea.  After a heated verbal confrontation which requires a waiter at the club to move the Benton sisters to another table, Jerrica is more determined than ever to score a deal with the Stingers before Eric has a chance to.

And just who are the Stingers?  Well, they're all dressed in black and yellow like bees.  Because bees when they get aggressive sting.  Yeah, I find it kind of lame myself.  But let's introduce them, shall we?  The male lead singer with hair like Bon Jovi and clothes like Liberace is Riot.  And Riot loves himself.  Yes he does.

The woman on keyboards with the hat, long hair, and German accent is Minx

And the other woman with the giant ponytail is Rapture.  Interestingly, she has an American accent just like Riot.  I wonder if we'll find out the story behind that.

For now, it's time for the very first Stingers song heard on the show.  Appropriately, it's called the "Stingers Theme".  The lyrics are not something to write home about.  It's just Riot singing about how the band rocks and incorporates lyrics around the band names.  The musical arrangement though?  Stunning.  Definitely nothing we've ever heard before in the series.  It certainly seems to have worked on Kimber as she is following him around the stage as if he's the Pied Piper of Hamelin.

For that matter, the entire audience bar Jerrica and Eric Raymond gather around the stage and get into a major scuffle as a result.  Tables are tipped, drinks are spilled - it's just a gigantic mess.  At least, that is until Riot opens his mouth and tells everyone to sit down in the most soothing voice ever, which actually works!  Even Kimber is hypnotized into sitting back down which frightens and amuses Jerrica all at once.  But hey, since we're talking about Riot's voice, let's go ahead with Jem Trivia.  Riot's speaking voice is performed by voice actor Townsend Coleman, who has been a major force in the voice industry, having played roles in "The Tick", "Inspector Gadget", and most notably as the voice of Michelangelo in "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles".

Yeah...picture it.  The same guy who voices Riot was the one yelling "Cowabunga" all those years on the Ninja Turtles.  Mind blown.

Eric rushes up onto the stage, nearly shoving Jerrica out of the way in the process, and hands Riot his business card.  Eric informs Riot that he is the owner of Raymond Records and that he would love to have the Stingers under his roster.

But wait!  Jerrica arrives with a business card of her own, informing Riot that if the Stingers sign with Starlight Music, she will promise them a fair deal.  Eric is seething, but Riot announces that he will consider both offers as he is a fair man.  A very vain and egotistical man, but a fair man.  Jerrica even offers to sweeten the deal by having the Stingers as guests at Starlight Mansion, but Eric snaps back that he has a mansion.  Eric, I don't think Fisher-Price mansions count.

Of course, Minx seems to have developed a bit of a crush on Eric, and tells Riot that they need to go with him, so Riot decides that the Stingers will stay with Eric.  Of course, Eric sold his house to buy the record company, so he's pretty screwed.  He does tell them to wait until tomorrow and he'll have everything set up.

And Eric's idea involves convincing Pizzazz to use her mansion to house the Stingers, which immediately gets a "Flock You" look from Pizzazz.  There is NO way that she or the rest of the Misfits will allow the band that is essentially serving as their replacements for flavour of the month to come and move into her home.  Okay, Pizzazz, technically it's your father's home, but whatever.  The doorbell rings and Pizzazz marches to the door with an eclair in her hand ready to tell off the Stingers...

...and then she gazes upon Riot in all his glory and she melts like an ice scuplture in the middle of June.  If this is going to be what it's like for the next twelve episodes, I'm going to be finding myself hating Riot.

Sure enough, Pizzazz changes her tune and does a 180 about letting the Stingers move in, which stuns Jetta, Roxy, and Stormer.  After all, Pizzazz is supposed to be the STRONG Misfit.  Roxy decides that if Pizzazz won't tell the Stingers to leave, she will...

...well, at least until Pizzazz crams an eclair into her mouth and Roxy can only watch in anger and disgust as Pizzazz shows Riot, Rapture, and Minx to their new rooms.

Riot is definitely someone who thinks highly of himself, and as Pizzazz shows him around Gabor Manor, he comments about how this exquisite mansion is suitable for him.  I'd sure love to see where he lives.  Perhaps it's the Taj Mahal?  By now, it's fairly obvious that Pizzazz has fallen hard for Riot, and Riot keeps saying all the right things to make her swoon.  It's actually kind of vomit inducing, I have to say.

But after Pizzazz leaves the room, the true intent of the Stingers comes out, and Riot, Rapture, and Minx talk about how they plan on having a lot of "fun" with the Misfits.  Ladies and gentlemen, meet the Stingers.  The new antagonists of the Misfits.  But I wonder how they'll get along with Jem and the Holograms?

Well, over at Starlight Music, Jerrica is annoyed that she hasn't heard back from the Stingers yet.  She's submitted her offer to the band three times and she is worried that Eric might have gotten the Stingers to sign with Eric instead.  But the other Holograms tell Jerrica not to worry about it and instead focus on the special presentation that they will be making at the Hard Rock Cafe.  Ah, so this explains why everyone but Jerrica is dressed as if they are going to the Academy Awards.  Fortunately, Jerrica does a "Showtime, Synergy" spiel and looks as good as the Holograms in just three seconds.  I bet a lot of women (and maybe some men) wish they had that power.

Back at Gabor Manor, Eric is trying to get Riot to accept his deal, but Riot refuses to make a decision until he hears from Jerrica...but admits that Jerrica hasn't contacted him yet.  But Jerrica just said she tried to make an offer three times.  I bet Eric's playing dirty again.

As for the Misfits, Pizzazz continues to throw herself at Riot which makes the other Misfits angry, and when Riot hears that Jem and the Holograms are making an appearance at the Rock Hard Cafe, he decides that he wants to go.  Pizzazz decides she wants to go as well, leaving the other Misfits behind.  The other members of the Stingers are acting kind of weird as well.  Minx pushes Eric away when he gets too close, saying that she finds his American ass boring as hell.  Rapture, meanwhile, grabs a quartz statue worth nothing and brings it along.  At least Rapture asks Pizzazz if she could have it before taking it, so I'll suspend judgement.  For now.

Over at the Rock Hard Cafe, it appears as though Jem and the Holograms have made enough of a musical impact to have some of their memorabilia displayed inside the restaurant.  Jem's contribution is an old guitar of Aja's.  I wonder if all five members signed the guitar.  And as Jem thanks everyone for their support, she announces that she couldn't have done it without the help of their technician and engineer Rio Pacheco.  Mainly because if she thanked a seven thousand pound computer that looked like an extra in Olivia Newton-John's "Physical" video, she'd be carted off to a mental asylum.

But before Jem can finish, there's a commotion at the entrance of the Rock Hard Cafe.  Looks like the Stingers and Pizzazz have made their appearance, and much like what happened at Le Klub Kool, everyone is flocking towards them as if they were the Royal Family.

Jem decides that now would be a good time to get Riot alone to discuss the offer from Starlight Music, but Aja tells her that she'll just come across as another fan if she does.  Again, Aja's the brains of the operation for Season 3.  I see her ranked highly on my Season 3 wrap-up.  Jem agrees with Aja and decides to fight fire with fire...and she does this with a song we haven't heard since Episode 2.

I'll admit that I wasn't quite fond of the music video for "Like a Dream" the first time I saw it.  Too much imagery and too much Rio.  But this time around, with Riot trying to find Jem only to get thwarted at every's much more effective.  Definitely a contender for best use of a classic song for Season 3.

Now, here's where things get interesting.  After Jem's song, Riot gets mesmerized by Jem and actually pushes Pizzazz out of the way to get to know her better.  Wow, so Riot has a thing for Jem?  I wonder what Rio would say about that?

I'm guessing based on this screenshot, he doesn't think much of it.  But to my disappointment, Rio and Riot don't get into a fist fight.  And, yeah, I'm just realizing that Rio and Riot only have one letter separating their names so I'm cursing myself that I'll have to be extra careful when both of them are in an episode together.  But to Rio's shock, Jem brushes Rio off to speak with Riot and to introduce him to the rest of the Holograms!  Wow!

It appears as though the rest of the Holograms seem to find Riot quite charming.  Shana doesn't say too much (sadly this is getting to be normal for her), but Raya and Kimber seem enchanted by Riot.  Oh, here we go again.  At this point, you could drop Sean Harrison in the middle of the club in his underwear and Kimber would still swoon over Riot.  Thankfully, Aja is not swayed by the yellow and black clad rocker, and tells Rio that she does NOT trust him, and she hates the way that Jem treated Rio.  Um, Aja...Rio's treated Jem just as badly in some cases.  She must have selective amnesia.

But Aja does seem to be right about the true intentions of the Stingers.  As soon as Rio leaves the Holograms, Minx basically throws herself at Rio and tells him that they need to be alone together.  Good lord, Minx must throw herself at any man that moves.  She and Kimber should get along great!

And we learn why Rapture wanted the statue so badly.  She's using it to scam people out of money by promising that it will grant wishes.  You know, I'm sensing the theme for the Stingers.  If you get stung, your mind belongs to them.  They could be extremely dangerous for both the Misfits and the Holograms.

As for Pizzazz, she interrupts a meeting between Jem and Riot about Jerrica's offer, and when this happens, Riot turns on Pizzazz and tells her to go away!  I...I don't think anyone has ever told Pizzazz that, much less a man that isn't Eric Raymond!

Pizzazz doesn't seem to take this rejection very well and decides that she will take revenge by ripping the guitar off the wall and smashing it into a hundred pieces.  The owner of the cafe sees what she is doing and tries to grab the guitar back.  There's a bit of a struggle, but the cafe owner wins and sends Pizzazz flying into a replica of the Statue of Liberty...

...which crashes into a table filled with customers.  Shortly after, a massive food fight erupts right in the middle of the cafe, and everyone is trying to get out of the way.  I, meanwhile, am laughing at the irony of Riot unintentionally being the cause of another Riot.  I'm thinking we know where the stage name came from!

Though I have to give Riot some credit.  Around Jem, he's a perfect gentleman, and he gets her out of the chaos safely.  Though Rio is not impressed when he and Kimber spot Jem and Riot driving away in the Rockin' Roadster.  Kimber's probably upset that the other Holograms have no way to get home, but Rio has reason to be more upset than that.  Pizzazz is also steamed until Rapture cozies up to her and tells Pizzazz that she will help her win Riot's heart.  Yeah, given Rapture's introduction, Pizzazz should be frightened.

As Jem drives down a secluded area, Riot tells her a little more about himself.  His real name is Rory Llewellyn, and he was an army brat growing up, having moved all over the world (ah, so that explains Riot's American accent).  As for how he and the Stingers got together, I can tell you that we'll find out more about this in the second-to-last episode of the series, but we're not quite there yet.  Either way, Jem seems interested in learning more about him.

They make their way towards a...giant harp?  Okay, anybody living in Los Angeles in 1988 - was this really a thing?  And if so, does it still exist?  I'm really curious to know!  Anyway, the breeze is causing the strings to vibrate and there's beautiful music in the air as Riot lets Jem know how he feels.  Riot wants her.  He thinks that he and Jem would make the perfect couple.  At first, I think Jem might accidentally out herself as she explains that Rio and Jerrica are dating...but Riot doesn't pick up on it.  Instead he tells Jem that Rio can have Jerrica...what Riot wants is her.  Cue the final song of the episode.

You know, I can sort of understand why Eric and Jerrica are fighting over the Stingers in spite of their toxic personalities.  The song "Perfect Match" is definitely a standout!  Very different from any song heard in Jem before, but in a really good way.  Incredibly smooth, and very reminiscent of what was hot in pop music at that time.

And as the episode ends with a TO BE CONTINUED graphic, Riot plants a kiss firmly on Jem's lips.  Okay, let me see if I have this straight.  Jerrica and Rio are technically dating, but Rio's in love with Jem as well even though Jerrica and Jem are the same person.  Minx also has developed a crush on Rio, but Rio rebuffs her.  Riot on the other hand has Pizzazz after him, but Riot's heart seems to only want Jem.

This sounds like an episode of Dallas!  I can't keep up!  Hopefully part two of "The Stingers Hit Town" will clarify some things.  That's coming up next Friday.

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