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Friday, May 26, 2017

Jem Reviewed: Episode 62 - Straight From The Heart

There's only four weeks left in the Jem Reviewed series.  I know, it went by quickly, didn't it?  And last week, we performed a little bit of magic with famous magician Astral.  What's going to happen this week?

Well, this is Episode 62: Straight From The Heart.  Hmm, I wonder if Bryan Adams will be making an appearance?  Somehow I have my doubts.

We start the show at a fireworks display.  4th of July, maybe?  No, wait.  It's actually a fashion show.  I don't know too many fashion shows that use fireworks except for maybe the Victoria's Secret lingerie show every December.  Whatever the case, the Holograms are there along with the Countess Danielle DuVoisin, and they are there to meet one of the hottest up and coming designers this side of France.

Her name is Regine Cesaire, and she admittedly is as cute as a button.  She is also the subject of today's Jem Trivia, and for this one I'll be talking about Astral as well.  You see, when Episodes 61 and 62 were being made, there were plans to make them much more prominent characters.  So prominent that both of them were supposed to have their own dolls, as well as the Stingers.  However, not long after these episodes were produced, Hasbro decided to pull the plug on Jem dolls, as they weren't selling.  So, as a result, the Astral and Regine dolls were scrapped.  It does make me wonder how long the show was slated to last for.  By the way they were talking, they might have been hoping to keep the Jem train going until at least 1990. 

The Countess explains that Regine is a superfan of the Holograms and has all of their albums and videos, and it would be a dream come true for Regine to design something for them.  In fact, when Regine finally meets the band, Shana and Regine click right away.  This makes me fairly happy for two reasons.  One, it's nice that Shana and Regine are bonding since they have a shared interest in fashion.  And two, it's nice to see Shana GET A STORYLINE!  I mean, Raya's had more lines than she has!

Regine is eager to please the Holograms by designing the dresses for their upcoming concert, but she is a little frustrated when the Holograms don't exactly know what look they want to go for.  To give Regine a bit of moral support, they sing her a song as they sketch.

That song is "It All Depends On The Mood I'm In", which also appeared in Episode 12 (another episode about fashion design).  Unlike the original video which shows Jem, Kimber, and Aja playing dress-up, this one is more sophisticated.  I like the idea of making Jem and the Holograms sketches against a pencil crayon background.  Very creative, and still a solid tune fifty episodes later!

That song seems to have sparked a creative flow in Regine, and she has come up with a brilliant idea - but she wants to keep the Holograms from knowing until her work is finished.

The next day, she drags the Countess to a fabric store and like a Project Runway contestant she goes crazy with selecting fabric.  I half expect Tim Gunn to pop out from a door and say "Thank You, Mood"!  The Countess is glad to see Regine so passionate, but she questions some of the choices she is making.  Having designed clothes for Jem and the Holograms since their "Only The Beginning" days, she knows what they like.  Regine is undaunted, and she believes that the Holograms will find the designs to be gorgeous.  She definitely believes in least for now.

But while Regine has grabbed a couple of bolts of fabric (without paying for them, might I add), she notices a giant red bolt of fabric rolling towards her feet.  Part of me thinks she's thinking of taking it so that she can make Kimber some culottes, but in actuality it leads to a horse drawn carriage.  What is this, the 1800s?

No, it's just the egotistical yellow and black clad rockers known as the Stingers.  And yes, Riot, Rapture, and Minx are still just as insufferable as they were the last few episodes. 

It seems as though Riot has heard of Regine's success story and has decided that he wants to capitalize on it.  He tells Regine that he wants her to design a new look for the Stingers - and proceeds to shower himself and his group with compliments.  Regine is honoured by Riot's request, but makes a note of pointing out that she is already committed to Jem and the Holograms - a confession that makes Rapture and Minx comment on how boring and mundane Jem is.  Yep, still bitchy.

Riot still won't give up, and he pops in a CD (wow, a horse drawn carriage with a CD Player - how modern) of the Stingers singing a song.

It's very rare that we get to see two songs before the first commercial break, but here we are.  Once again, the Stingers provide a great sound with "All In The Style" - even if the song is devoid of substance and is more of a fluff piece. 

When Regine still presses her commitment to Jem, Riot gets the driver to stop the carriage and throws her out!  Wow, how gentlemanly.  But of course, Riot can't help but try to shatter Regine's confidence by telling her that the Holograms won't like her stuff.  Because we all know that Riot doesn't like the word no.  Just look at how he's stooped to practically stalking Jem every minute he gets!

Still, Regine believes that she's made the right decision, and she arrives at Starlight Mansion with five boxes in her arms.  She seems surprised that Shana opens the door to greet her, as she believed that the Holograms had people to do it for them.  I...I don't know how to react to that statement.  She also seems shocked that Jem and the Holograms spend their nights taking care of twelve girls and doing chores instead of clubbing all night on the Sunset Strip.  Jem explains that they have a lot of responsibilities that come first - well, except for when they go from country to country without bringing any of the girls along.  Regine refers to it as mundane - exactly the same word the Stingers used to describe the Holograms.  Uh oh...I think they corrupted her.

Regine hands over the dresses for the band to try on, and when they come out, everyone in the room is amazed.  The looks that Jem and the Holograms are wearing is from Regine's "Martinique Collection", and I have to say that it's definitely not like any of the other outfits they've worn previously.  They're nice though - at least by 1988 standards.  But Jem and the Holograms aren't sure that the image that Regine has created works for them.  They like them, but they aren't in love with them.  To Jem's surprise, Regine appears to be hurt by the comments, and she remarks that she will make something else for them with her words freshly dipped in bitter sarcasm.  I'm guessing that one of Regine's issues is being able to handle constructive criticism.  That could come back to bite her.

Back at her studio (which is set up in the Countess DuVoisin's home), Regine is trying to come up with a new design for the Holograms, but she is not having much luck.  The Countess proves just how huge a heart she has by offering to help Regine design the looks, but Regine rudely tells her that she must do it herself.  Yeah, you know how I said Regine was as cute as a button?  She's not so much that now.

The tense atmosphere is broken when one of Countess DuVoisin's servants arrives with a letter - for Regine!  It turns out to be an invitation with a voice chip embedded in it.  Riot cordially invites her to a party at Stingers Sound where only the BEST people will be there.  Naturally, Regine loves pretty much anyone who showers her with compliments, so she abandons the Jem project telling the Countess that all work and no play makes Regine a dull girl.  To which the Countess sassily remarks that all play and no work makes Regine unemployed!  Man, I missed you Countess DuVoisin!  She's more blunt than Gail Vaz-Oxlade on the television show "Prince$$"!

And let me tell you...this is one party that I would NOT love to be a part of.  

Every time Regine tries to introduce herself to some of the partygoers, they completely ignore her, or they treat her as if she is garbage.  Even another up and coming designer named Yaki Tori treats her as if she has leprosy.  I'm more distracted that he looks like Mick Jagger.

Fortunately for Regine, Riot seems to bring attention to her and continues to shower her with compliments, and it is only then that the upper crust of Los Angeles decide that she's worth talking to.  Yaki even apologizes for how badly he treated her, but it's with the same amount of sincerity as one of Riot's pick-up lines, so take it what it's worth.  At least it seems to give Regine a boost of confidence, and she decides that she will make some new sketches right this second.  

However, the sketches are NOT for the Stingers.  They are an idea for Jem and the Holograms.  And naturally since Riot is not the center of attention, he once again turns off the charm and turns on the venom, predicting that Jem will not appreciate the designs at all.  Sometimes I wish someone would just throw him off the roof!

However frustrating Riot as a person is, I will at least admit that he does know how to read people.  And when Regine presents her "royalty themed" collection which is designed to make the Holograms be respected and noticed, Jem seems to hate the collection more than the last one.  Jem at least tries to soften the blow, but Regine won't hear it.  She goes off on a tantrum about how Riot was right and how they wouldn't know great fashion if they were strangled by a bolt of green taffeta.  Oooh, reign it back in there, Regine!

Once the Holograms hear Riot's name, they try to convince her that Riot and the Stingers are just using her.  Shana, in particular, tries really hard to make Regine listen to reason.  But this just makes Regine angrier and angrier, and she flat out accuses Shana of being jealous of her!  It's like she took the bridge of opportunity between herself and Jem, covered it with C4 explosives and pressed the detonator eighty-six times!  But then again, maybe Regine is a lot like Roxy - she has to learn the hard way.

Luckily for us there's another segment to go, so we get to watch Regine's fall from grace from front row seats!  Um...yay?

So, given that Jem rejected the royal line, the Stingers waste no time in claiming the look as their own.  Makes sense, given that Riot believes himself to be better than royalty.  Anyone kind of wishing Regine had put Riot in one of the Martinique dresses?  Though, Regine is getting the first taste of what designing for the Stingers is like when Riot completely twists the message of what Regine's clothing is supposed to portray into a completely self-centered spiel.  Regine tries to protest, but her new boy toy Yaki prevents her from doing that, pointing out that she's now a star and not to ruin it. 

Oh, and in case you were wondering, it does appear that Regine and Yaki are "dating".  She sort of confirms it on the Harriet Horn show, and you know how lovely Harriet is when it comes to scandals.  Speaking of scandals, did you notice that Harriet seems to have taken over Lindsey Pearce's studio?  I wonder if Harriet made her just...disappear?

At the Fashion Mall, Regine and Yaki are fabric shopping once again, and of course, Regine seems to be putting more into the relationship than Yaki is.  Frankly, I find Yaki kind of...well...yucky.  But he's a key player towards Regine getting a nice taste of humble pie so for that reason alone, we're going to have to deal with him.  Uh, yay

Before that, Shana arrives at the fabric store to make one last plea to Regine.  Unlike the Stingers (and Yucky), Shana and the other Holograms are genuinely concerned for Regine, and she warns her that choosing image over substance will not get her very far.  Shana reaches into her purse and gives Regine a ticket to their concert hoping that Regine will accept it and that when she's ready to value substance again, they'll be waiting.  Finally, Shana gets a storyline and she also is the voice of reason.  I really missed her.

Though part of me wishes that Rapture and Minx would disappear for good.  They overhear the conversation between Shana and Regine and decide to intervene.  Rapture gives Regine hell for conversing with the enemy.  Oh brother.  And when Shana gives both of them a piece of her mind, Rapture covers Shana's head with transparent fabric as Minx pours an entire cup of soda into Shana's purse! old are these Stingers?  Six and a half?  Not even Ashley acted this bratty in the first few episodes of the show!

Once Shana leaves, Regine is appalled that they treated Shana that way, and this sets the tone for Minx and Rapture turning on Regine.  I get the feeling that much like Pizzazz, Mrs. Farnsworth, and an entire section of Athens, Greece, Regine will be the next victim of the Stinger sting.

Sure enough, the plot for revenge against Regine begins with Rapture holding up a crystal.  She explains to Regine that Riot is very choosy when it comes to colour.  If she holds the crystal up to Riot's face and the crystal changes colour, that will be the colour of Riot's aura, and blah blah blah.  Basically, Regine is being tricked into embarrassing herself.

And that's exactly what happens when she yanks the crystal out during a board meeting at Stingers Sound.  Riot is confused, the staff (including Yucky Tori) laugh at her, and Regine runs out of the room in tears.  Man, I know Regine needed to learn a valuable lesson, but this was just cruel.

Regine's day gets much worse when she discovers that her lovely boyfriend has been cheating on her with Minx of all people.  Wow, first Techrat, now Yucky?  Minx really doesn't have high standards when it comes to men, does she?  I mean, her first crush was RIO of all people!  Seems as though Yucky hasn't been a very nice guy, and he was using Regine to get an in with the Stingers so that he could show his designs!  Wow, talk about cutthroat!  Honestly, if I were Regine, I'd club him over the head with a sewing machine...but poor Regine is so broken down, she just flees the room with Minx and Yucky laughing at her expense. 

Think that's the end of it?  Think again.

It's when she meets with Riot that the final straw is broken.  Riot flat out rejects Regine's new designs and fires her on the spot for being boring.  And, who should get her old job but Yucky!  How's that humble pie taste, Regine?  Bet it's quite sour isn't it?  But at least there's some good.  Regine reminds Yucky that the Stingers might see him as the flavour of the month now, but it'll be a matter of time before they see him as stale and toss him out on the curb.  Actually, that'd be poetic justice.

So after swallowing the last spoonful of humble pie, Regine looks at the ticket that Shana gave her, and thinking of her words goes to the concert to see the Holograms and tell them what happened.  At first, she is embarrassed to admit that the Stingers and Yucky drove her to tears, but Jem reveals that she always feels better after a good cry.  Well, I guess your sister wrote the book on that subject, eh Jem?

(CONFESSION:  I poke fun here, but I totally agree with Jem.  But let's keep that between us, okay?)

Regine also apologizes for how badly she behaved, and luckily the rest of the Holograms forgive her - Shana in particular seems pleased with seeing Regine decide on her own to do the right thing.  But Regine was so focused on the Stingers that she never had time to design new costumes for the Holograms.  But Jem reveals that she has a surprise for Regine - and that Regine should go into the crowd and see the concert to discover what it is.

Regine sits down in her seat and as the show begins, Regine is in for a shock.  Jem and the Holograms are wearing the Martinique dresses that Regine made the first time.  Jem even announces that the dresses were made by Regine and points her out in the crowd as they play the final song of the episode.

Now, if you had told me that Jem and the Holograms would do a song with a reggae flair, I'd call you crazy.  But "Straight From The Heart" is a brilliant tune, and Britta Phillips sings it with...well...heart!  It's a song that has typical Jem lyrics and a Jem theme...but with an island twist.  I love it myself.

And so does the crowd.  In particular, the people who have called to place orders with the Countess for the outfits that Jem wore!  Regine is pleased that her Martinique collection is a huge hit, and now it's Jem's turn for a slice of humble pie.  While she wasn't sure about the dresses at first, she's glad they gave them a chance because they ended up liking them a lot, and they were the very pieces that helped Regine become a success.  So, the moral of this episode is...don't let people influence your decisions.  If something feels right, go with your gut.

And NEVER date anyone named Yaki Tori. 

That's a wrap for Episode 62.  Next week, we're at the third last episode of Jem Reviewed.  In this one, one of the Stingers undergoes a personality change when they are caught up in a traumatic event.  But which one is it?  And how does this impact everyone else?  And the Misfits are back!!!

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