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Friday, April 14, 2017

Jem Reviewed: Episode 56 - Video Wars

In the last installment of Jem Reviewed, we learned that the Stingers are here to stay - much to the frustration of the Holograms, the Misfits, and as of right now, this recapper.  And to top it all off, we have one of the Korean animated shows that I feel is the worst produced one ever.

Find out why I say this as I recap Episode 56: Video Wars.  It's also the last great storyline that features the Misfits in a starring role, as they seriously get pushed to the background by the Stingers.  One reason why Season 3 isn't a favourite of mine.

Right away, we kick off with the "newest" Jem video...for a song that was first released in the 1985 episodes...and was just reused for a second time in Episode 54.  Seriously, was "Like a Dream" really that popular of a song?  I find it sort of bland myself.  And as far as the video goes, it's just Danse bouncing along a light stage.  The other two versions were much better produced.  Again, one of many reasons why I don't like the production of this episode.  Trying to pass off a song as new when it was in one of the first episodes of this series?  Fail.

Of course, the Misfits and Clash are not interested in minor details like that.  They are more interested in the news that Lindsey Pearce will be turning over hosting duties of her program to Jem and the Holograms next week - and at 9:00pm one week from today, the Holograms will be debuting their latest video directed by Video Montgomery - a fact I'm sure will cause Clash to feel extreme jealousy.

Sure enough, Clash is furious at all the attention and declares that she can make a better Misfits video.  Jetta sasses back that the last time she tried to make a video for them, it was a complete disaster - which is true (See "Aztec Enchantment").  This just makes Clash more determined to follow through with the project despite Pizzazz stating that Video has always bested Clash in everything.  Wow, when did Pizzazz become a Video fan?  Clash also wants to be the fifth Misfit, but Roxy tells her that they hardly need four, staring daggers at Jetta in the process.  Ah, nice to see that Roxy and Jetta still hate each other after all this time.  Despite the fact that the Misfits don't believe in her much, she has a plan to get them to take her seriously.

For now, we're in the editing suite where Video (with help from Shana and Krissie) is putting the finishing touches on the video, and we get a nice scene in which Video explains how hard her job is.  It's not just about filming and editing scenes together that make's the high expectations that record companies, video channels, and fans themselves have for her.  Each new clip has to be better than the one before.  I like Video's analogy...but let's face it.  ANY video would be better than the "Like a Dream" fiasco that opened the show.

Back at Gabor Manor, a mousy looking woman arrives to pay a visit to the Misfits.  And naturally, three of the four Misfits (Stormer refuses to play along) decide that they want to antagonize their special guest.

They steal her glasses, call her names, and basically bully the poor woman.  But looks can be very deceiving and eventually the guest rips off her face to reveal one covered in bright make-up.  Clash, the master of disguise herself shows off her latest disguise which admittedly has the Misfits impressed.  But what does she plan on doing with it?

Well, nobody at Starlight House seems to recognize Clash as she pays them a visit.  Clash assumes the identity of film student Sara Murgamont, and "Sara" initially comes off as a bit shy and meek.  But after Ashley of all people tells "Sara" to let her feelings out and tell them what is bothering her, "Sara" weaves an incredibly fabricated tale.  "Sara" is in danger of losing her film scholarship and she needs to get an A on her next project in order to stay in school.  Her idea is to follow the Holograms on tour for one week and film a documentary about them, which she hopes will earn her a high enough grade to keep the scholarship.

Not all the Holograms are on board with this plan.  Aja seems to think that the rough schedule they keep will be too much for "Sara", and Jerrica seems to initially agree with Aja.  But Raya has been listening in the background and seems to want to go to bat for "Sara".  She leaves the room to talk to Jerrica in private.  I can see where this is going.  The Holograms gave Raya a chance way back when and this is her chance to pay it forward.

Sure enough, Raya's words to Jerrica work like a charm, and she tells "Sara" to meet them at Starlight Mansion the next morning at 5:00 to get started.  "Sara" is overjoyed at the news and Raya thanks Jerrica for hearing her out.

However, not everyone is thrilled by this development.  Aja is downright pissed at Jerrica for even entertaining the idea of bringing "Sara" along.  For one, she is paranoid that "Sara" could film Jerrica changing into Jem.  Admittedly, that's a genuine concern.  And Aja seems to have the feeling that something doesn't seem right about "Sara".  But Jerrica has had enough of Aja's negativity and calls her stubborn and unreasonable which leads to Aja kicking Jerrica's ass.  Okay, so she doesn't do that.  But there's definite tension between Aja and Jerrica, and I'm sure that "Sara" will film every moment of it.

Back at Gabor Mansion as Clash again, Clash tells the Misfits that now that she has an in with the Holograms, she'll use the time spent with them to film instances in which the Holograms are at their worst.  Then once the tape is complete, she'll switch it with Video's tape.  Then when the Holograms host their show, they'll play the blooper tape and look completely humiliated.  I don't know...sounds like a lot of trouble for a lame plan.  However, it doesn't take much for the Misfits to get amused, and they give Clash their full support.  Pizzazz even goes as far as promising that if Clash succeeds, they will make her a fifth Misfit.  That's enough incentive for Clash to keep the charade going.

At 4:59am the following morning, "Sara" is there bright and early to film Kimber, Shana, Jerrica, Raya, Aja, and Rio boarding the bus to their next concert, and "Sara" is extremely excited to be there.  Raya tells "Sara" that they are glad to have her around as well which makes me love Raya even more.  But when "Sara" asks where Jem is, and Aja snarkily comments that Jem should be there, Jerrica is forced to summon a Hologram of Jem leaving Starlight House.  Nice save, Jerrica...and "Sara" is impressed that Jem could look that radiant at five in the morning.  Well, when you have a holographic computer at your disposal, you could make anybody look like Chris Hemsworth or Mila Kunis.

Fortunately, "Sara" is not wise to the hologram of Jem sleeping in the backseat.  With Jerrica in control of the hologram, she can have Synergy make Jem sleep in the back of the van until next Friday if she so desires.  But Aja just seems to want to take the opportunity to razz Jerrica some more, and I gotta say, this is a really bad side to see of her.  It may impact my ranking of her when I do my final season recap.  Even Kimber and Shana tell Aja and Jerrica to knock the fighting off because they don't want "Sara" to film them.  Raya can just shrug her shoulders and say that it's just one of those days.

Ah, a segway into the Jem and the Holograms song "One Of Those Days".  The song itself is not the best - I was kind of hoping that the Misfits would actually sing in this episode.  But what is even more ridiculous is the fact that this video seems to insinuate that Jem and the Holograms are the klutziest, dizziest women to ever take to a rock stage.  I mean, some of the images in this video can legitimately happen, like Shana breaking a guitar string, or the bus getting a flat tire.  But having Kimber smash a keyboard?  Raya punching a fist through her drum?  Two amplifiers getting smashed in a truck accident?  I mean, come on!  Not even Jinx Malloy in Archie comics is that accident prone!

After the montage of Dick Clark's Bloopers and Practical Jokes, we arrive at the next concert venue.  It will serve as a rock arena later on, but right now it's a circus venue complete with lions, and tigers, and bears.  Oh my!

"Sara" compliments Jerrica on how great she looks, and "Sara" actually says something that shocks even me.  She remarks about how the Holograms really seem to have each others backs, and how great she feels to be a part of it.  I mean, we all know that Clash is wearing her "Sara" mask...but a part of me wonders if maybe all the time she spent with the Holograms and how genuinely nice they are as people is starting to make her realize that they aren't the bad people the Misfits portrayed them to be.  Raya adds to the conversation by sharing what it means to be part of a group of friends, and how the Holograms made her feel like she was a part of something special.

But before Raya can finish her statement, a crisis unfolds.  The lion who is named Simba (wow, a full six years before "The Lion King" debuted) goes postal and escapes from the men loading him onto the transport truck.  The lion makes a beeline towards Raya, but "Sara" pushes her out of the way to safety!  

But Simba isn't finished yet, as he has his sights set on Jerrica for his next meal.  Luckily, Aja manages to get in front of Simba and distracts him long enough for the trainers to regain control and drag him away.  See, this is one reason why I am against circuses that use animals.  Simba probably just wanted to escape and be free.  Not held in captive.  No wonder he's so cranky in this episode.

With Simba now away from the group, Jerrica and Aja apologize to each other for being bitches to each other and they hug each other the way that sisters do.  Awwww.

Even more impressive is the fact that any ill feelings that Aja had towards "Sara" have been wiped clean now that "Sara" saved Raya from getting gobbled up by Simba.  Double awwww!  Of course, this puts Clash in an extremely difficult position.

When she catches up with the Misfits after the concert is over and shows them the Holograms' mishap tape, all four Misfits are thrilled with Clash's good work and are literally salivating at the mouth at the chance to humiliate Jem and the Holograms.

So it's really interesting that Clash suddenly has a change of heart and decides that she doesn't want to go through with the plan!  Clash makes a compromise and tells Pizzazz that she can have the tape to watch anytime she wants in her own home, but Pizzazz won't have any of it.  Once again, Pizzazz plays on Clash's insecurities and tells her that if she doesn't go through with the plan, she'll always have the knowledge that Video will be BETTER than her, and that she will NEVER be the fifth Misfit.  They bully Clash enough that she does another about face and goes ahead with the plan.

Wow, you know...I'm starting to really understand why Clash acts the way she does...and why I sort of feel sorry for her.  But we'll get to that at the end of this recap.

For now, it's time for Clash to put on another disguise - this time, dressed as Video Montgomery!  It's very confusing to see "Video" stealing a video from Video but it's effective.

It's so effective that when "Video" arrives at the studio to drop off the video to some man named Glenn, Glenn actually hangs up on the real Video who is trying to get through to him!  I wonder how many times I can say the word video in this damn blog entry?  One thing is for sure, Clash can not only look the part, but sound the part as well.  I wonder if she's related to Rich Little?

We also learn that the name of the video is "The Last Laugh".  Sounds ominous.  But wait...what's stopping Jem from getting to the studio in time, finding out the tape has been switched, and stopping the plan from going forward?

Well, I suppose giving Jem a ton of alcohol might do it.  Look at how badly she's driving on the road!  But Jem insists that she isn't the one controlling the car!

That's because the Misfits have recruited Techrat to install a device on the Rockin' Roadster that allows Techrat to control the car instead.  Stormer worries that it isn't safe, but Techrat insists that he won't harm them.  He just plans on having the Holograms drive so far out of town that by the time they reach the television studios, they will have missed the 9:00pm deadline.  I guess it's good that the Misfits don't want to kill the Holograms, but still...this plan is dangerous.  If they get into an accident, they'll be accessories to the crime!  They don't really think these plans through, do they?

While Jem and the Holograms are hoping that they don't drive off a cliff, back at Video's studio, Video is forced to work twice as hard to get another video edited by the time the show starts.  She gets help from Ashley, Ba Nee, Becky, and Krissie, but time is running out.  Video knows that Clash and the Misfits are responsible for taking her original clip, and she wants to find a way to make them pay.  Krissie seems to have a way to do this, and Video's like...what the hell, I'm screwed anyway, let's see what the twelve-year-old thinks!

Back on the road - and in one of the most contrived scenes featured in this cartoon - the Holograms spot a traffic chopper in the sky and Jem uses Synergy to send up an S.O.S. via pink lightning to get the traffic reporter's attention.  Surprisingly it works, and Jem and the other Holograms re-enact a scene from a 1980s action movie to escape the out of control Rockin' Roadster.  Of course, it may take some time for them to get their car back once Techrat finally parks it, but hey, with all five of them in the chopper, they should get to the television studio in plenty of time.

Already at the studio though is Clash, and when the Misfits arrive not long after she does, Clash is insistent that they make her the fifth Misfit right now, and asks if they brought her Misfits costume with them.  Pizzazz tells Clash to cool her jets.  Once the broadcast is finished, then they'll talk about it.  I get the feeling the Misfits are still sore from the Aztec Enchantment fiasco.  Let's see what happens.

Well, just before the clock strikes nine, the Holograms make it to the studio and immediately confront the Misfits about their joyride from hell.  The Misfits deny doing such a thing, but Jem doesn't believe them.  After what seems like a few minutes of squabbling but is actually something like six seconds, Raya remembers that they have to be on camera now, so the Holograms rush on stage to take over Lindsey's show.

Jetta seems concerned that their plan is kaput, but Pizzazz is still confident.  After all, the Holograms have no idea that Clash switched the tapes and when they introduce the blooper reel, they will never show their face in public again!

It's just too bad that Clash and the Misfits don't know that Video and the Starlight Girls have come up with a new video to replace the one that was stolen, and that Clash can only watch in horror as Video throws away the blooper reel and puts in her own revised version.  It makes me wonder exactly what is on that tape.

Well, it's definitely the song "The Last Laugh", which to me sounds more like a Misfits song than a Holograms song.  But the song itself is the best of the three.  Unfortunately, the show decides to do a copout by inserting past clips from previous episodes into this video.  So, we get a clip show in place of a music video?  This is why people think Video is a video savant?  Seems like lazy editing to me!  It is cool to see clips from past episodes like "The Music Awards", "Aztec Enchantment", "Last Resorts", and "Hot Time in Hawaii".  Interesting note:  Clash appears in many of these episodes!  And Jetta is hardly featured in this video at all, since most of these clips come from Season 1.  But after the video airs, the Misfits are the ones who are looking like they've been sucker punched.

One by one, each of the Misfits tell Clash off, thus ending any chance for her to become the fifth Misfit.  The only one who doesn't really take any pot shots is Stormer, who lightly taps her on the arm and looks at her with sadness.  It's like she's saying "what you did was wrong, but I still kind of respect you as a person even though the other Misfits will kill me".

Pizzazz goes one step further and refers to Clash as "Sara", which causes Jem and the Holograms to realize that "Sara" was Clash all along.  Video is deeply hurt that Clash would stoop to such levels to get back at her, while Jem and the Holograms feel betrayed.  Jem perhaps says it best when she tells Clash that when she was Sara, she actually felt as though she belonged, and maybe that's all that she wanted.  It's very insightful, and gives hope that Jem could actually forgive Clash for this.

Unfortunately, Clash tells Jem off, and runs away to go back to the Misfits, prompting Video to stand beside Jem and thank her for trying.  Unfortunately as Clash's cousin, Video knows her all too well, and says that she's one of those people who have to learn everything the hard way.

And as we watch the final scene with a desperate Clash begging the Misfits for one more chance, the show ends on a rather melancholic note.  And in this piece of
Jem Trivia, this is really the last time you see Clash in a speaking role.  So, in a way, it's sort of left unresolved as to what happens.

You know, the bad production of the episode aside, I said before that I feel really bad for Clash.  The reason why is because I know how it feels to be her.  I can think of several instances in which I wanted to be a part of the "cool crowd", so I did everything I could be to a part of it - only for them to reject me and hurt me more than I could have ever realized.  The difference is that once I was shown their true colours, I washed my hands of them and went to find others to be around.  In Clash's case, she would rather belong to a group that continues to harass and bully her instead of finding her own path in life.  Clash is co-dependent and almost suffers from Stockholm Syndrome as a result of it, and rather than hate her, I feel pity for her.

Imagine, me...feeling pity for a cartoon character.  That's funny.

Tune in next week where we'll review Beauty and the Beast - Jem style.  In the meantime, may you and yours have a very happy and safe Easter weekend!

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