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Friday, April 08, 2016

Jem Reviewed: Episode 3 - Kimber's Rebellion

Last week on Jem: Reviewed, we watched Starlight House go up in flames.  Then we watched the mansion that Jerrica and the others move into get blown up.  And now thanks to the Misfits, Jem is about to crash into a giant oil tanker!  Wow, is it just me, or was Jem really having a bad day?

Let's continue the story with Episode 3:  Kimber's Rebellion.  Gee, I wonder who the main focus of this episode is?

Well, we won't know for sure because the Countess Danielle DuVoisin's yacht is about ready to re-enact the sinking of the Titanic!  Whatever will they do?

What?  You wouldn't think that one of the richest women in the world wouldn't have a crew onboard who know how to steer a boat?  How silly you are!  The ship's captain and several other crew members find a way into the control room and violently jerk the wheel in an effort to steer the ship off course from the oil tanker's path.  Of course, this wrecks the party inside sending guests sliding into the walls like they did in the 1972 film "The Poseidon Adventure", but eh, what's a little collateral damage between friends?

The sharp turns nearly causes Jem to fly over the side of the yacht, but Rio - who seemingly has the muscles of Arnold Schwarzenegger underneath that lanky exterior - manages to hold onto her as the ship escapes harm's way.

It's here that Jem tries to kiss Rio for saving her life, but Rio rebuffs her, saying that he can't fall in love with her because he's in love with Jerrica.  Oh, please don't tell me this goes on the rest of the series...please don't.

Naturally Jem and Rio are interrupted by the rest of the Holograms who go out on the deck to check on the waterlogged couple.  While this is going on, the Misfits pull up in a motorboat to egg on the band before they speed off gorging their faces with the food they stole while singing "Makin' Mischief".

But who cares about the fact that they almost died and the people in charge are getting away with it?  This is Jem and the Holograms, not "Miami Vice"!  They have a music video to film!  And what better place to film it than in beautiful Paris, Ontario Texas France!  The city of lights! 

Which leads to the question...if the Holograms are going to Paris with Anthony Julien, who is looking after the Starlight Girls?  I suppose Mrs. Bailey would be the logical choice, but after trying to take care of twelve girls between the ages of 8 and 14, I'm surprised she hasn't lost her mind!

Especially with Ashley as part of your crew.

True to her word though, Ashley proudly holds up the thirty bucks she promised she'd get for the Honor Jar.  She conveniently leaves out the fact that she got it by letting three bad girls onto the property that may or may not have been responsible for destroying a portion of their new home, but damn it, she earned that money!

But Little Miss Lela - the warden of the girls - won't accept the money until Ashley explains how she earned the money saying that how she earned it is just as important as the money itself, and blah blah blah.  Honestly, I don't blame Ashley for going off on Lela and the rest of the girls.  It's like she's the outsider trying to do everything to fit in, but nobody else will let her have a shot.  And while I don't condone Ashley trying to steal money from the jar in the first place, I also don't condone making it so hard to fit into a new place that they make someone lash out with negativity either.  It's just one of the little things like how Ashley is treated by the other girls that makes this episode not that enjoyable.

And, where are Jem and the others when this is going on?  Rehearsing for their new song?  Look, I get that you're trying to win the contest so that you can keep the house that the wimpy Howard Sands is letting you stay in temporarily because he's too afraid to say no to Pizzazz.  But seriously, you have a crisis with your foster girls!  I think that has to be a top priority too!

We also pop in on The Misfits laying down demo tracks for their album as well - and enjoy it while you can because this episode has no Misfits music whatsoever.  Major bummer, man.  But we do learn one important secret from Eric when Pizzazz starts whining about whatever it is that diva rock singers whine about.  He's been embezzling funds from Starlight Music since the death of Jerrica and Kimber's father to promote the Misfits!  Whoa!  Now that's a bombshell.  I wonder if this will have any impact on future episodes...

Anyway, while we don't hear any Misfits music in this episode, we will see more of Eric's idiotic henchman, Zipper, who once again is paid by Eric to sabotage Jem's video shoot.  At the rate we're going, I half expect Zipper to knock over the Eiffel Tower with a scissor lift, but let's see how this plays out.

Before you know it, we're live in Paris and Anthony Julien is showing Jem the choreography for the video shoot.  In the background, Kimber is seething, and we soon learn why.  Seems like little sister Kimber is jealous of big sister Jerrica/Jem getting all of the attention and she becomes so angry that she takes a walk to cool down, nearly getting abducted by Zipper in the process.

Rio manages to get to Kimber before this happens and Rio wonders what is up with her.  In Kimber's anger, she almost reveals that Jem is really Jerrica, but Aja and Shana stop her before she gets the chance, with both of them reminding her that it is Jerrica's secret to tell, not hers.  Oh, sweet Jesus, at this rate, it'll be at the old folks home before the secret is revealed. know what, let's just watch the video.

Okay, two things about "Twilight In Paris".  First, this video would be an absolutely brilliant concept if this were filmed with real people.  For an animated cartoon, this video is visually stunning.  Second, I kept thinking that Jem was singing "I visit Walmart, but I'm lost in a dream", when she's actually singing about Montmartre.  Silly, right?  As if Jem'd ever be caught inside of a Walmart!  Though, seeing how bad the fashion is, she might make it on that People of Walmart website one of these days.

On the final shot of the video, when the girls are posing in front of a building, Zipper is taking a crowbar to one of the gargoyle statues up above.  See, Zipper thinks that the only way to take care of the video shoot is to crush Jem and the Holograms to death.  Seriously, where the hell did Eric find this guy?  The Serial Killer Store?

Fortunately in addition to murder plots, Zipper is horrible at physics, because his gargoyle misses the girls and Rio pushes them out of the way before they become Jem and the Pancakes.  Aja gets a glimpse of Zipper as he's escaping, but he's too fast and up too high for them to do anything about it. 

Back in California (where Jem and the Holograms live), Ashley decides that if the Starlight Girls won't want her, she'll be better off as a Misfit, and somehow she finds out where the Misfits hang out even though there were no smartphones, GPS's or even Google Maps back in 1985.  See, Ashley's no moron.  She's very street smart.  And upon hearing that Ashley has decided to leave the Starlight Girls behind, Pizzazz, Roxy, and Stormer happily welcome her aboard, toasting her with a round of...milk?  Well, I suppose Ashley is underage.  And milk does a body good.  And Misfits with milk moustaches are kind of sexy.  But, for Ashley to truly show that she is a Misfit at heart, she'll have to prove herself. 

While Ashley is learning how to do this, Jem and the Holograms are arriving back home where the Countess is talking about how she's come up with a new line of Jem fashions.  Of course, Kimber angrily pouts that the Holograms are part of the band too, and Danielle insists that all of them will be a part of the new fashion line.  Once again, Kimber is seething.

And when they start to drive home, they notice that The Misfits (and Ashley) have plastered Misfits posters all over the place, while tearing down and destroying all Jem memorabilia.  There's no way they'll stand for this, and they start to sing a very powerful song about standing up for themselves...

...or, they'll sing a light fluffy pop song called "Getting Down To Business".  Whatever the case, Kimber's fury now is directed towards the Misfits, and she arranges a meeting with Eric Raymond at Starlight Music to tell him a thing or two.

Of course, Eric - who worked with Jerrica and Kimber's dad for years - knows exactly what buttons to push.  And Eric tells Kimber that Jem is taking over all the attention and that she should consider breaking out on her own if she ever wants to get noticed.

No sooner do Jerrica and the others arrive home from putting up posters of their own that they get a call from Lindsey Pearce.  She has an opening on her video show and she wants to know if Jem would be interested in giving an interview that day to promote the Battle of the Bands contest and to introduce themselves to their new fans.  There's just one catch.  Jem is the only one they want to interview.  Gee, I wonder how that will resonate with Kimber?

Not well.

Yep.  Kimber proves how immature she is by quitting the band, stealing the Jem car and speeding off the mansion property, leaving Jerrica, Aja, and Shana in shock.  And Jerrica quickly realizes that even though Kimber is being a brat, she's her brat, and she wants to find a way to convince Kimber to come back to the band so that they can take down the Misfits and be as relevant as Madonna one day.

Or, at the very least, take down the Misfits.

The first thing Jerrica does is call Lindsey back and demand that she features all of the band, which Lindsey doesn't seem to mind.  I get the feeling that if Lindsey likes someone, she'll bend over backwards to please them.  Then Jerrica comes up with the idea to go on the air of Kimber's favourite radio station to send her a message, hoping she'll listen to it.

Of course, if Jerrica Benton were to go barging into a radio station and demand that she be heard, she'd be escorted out of the building by a couple of security guards.  But as Jem...well, let's face it.  She's not exactly well known and in all honesty she should get the same treatment.  But since this is a cartoon, anything goes, and Jem manages to record her message to Kimber, telling her how much they love her even though her jealousy is totally ridiculous and outrageous.

(Okay, I made that last part up.)

Whatever the case, the message came through and Kimber rejoins the band with ten minutes to spare.

Of course, on the way to the television studio where Lindsey films her show, Rio once again has a talk with Jerrica and questions his feelings for her and Jem and honestly at this point I am too distracted by that thing that Jerrica is wearing on her head to care.  Bad 80s fashion alert!

Of course, Jem and the Holograms being on Lindsey's show has caught the attention of everyone in the area, and when the Misfits get wind of it, they make it a mission to hijack the show and take over.  But in order to do that, they need to give a special mission to the newest Misfit groupie.

Mind you, all Ashley does is insult and kick the security guard, but hey...she's 12.  She hasn't had the time to plot a scheme with Inspector Gadget technology yet. 

Meanwhile, Jerrica tells Synergy it's showtime, and we get the third of three Jem and the Holograms songs featured in this episode.

Wow.  This is a first.  A Jem and the Holograms song that I really enjoy.  There's something sultry about "I've Got My Eye On You", and Britta Phillips, who does all the singing for Jem really delivers on this track.  I don't even care that Rio's in this video at all.

And, I suppose this is a good time to produce some "Jem" Trivia here.  It's probably universally known in the Jem world, but just as Jem has two different personalities, she also has two different voice actors.  I mentioned that Jem's singing voice is done by Britta Phillips, but her speaking voice is delivered by Samantha Newark - who was in her late teens when she was cast as Jem!  Impressive!  And who knew there was such a thing as a JemCon?!?  The things you learn doing research for a blog, eh?

The band sits down for their interview just as Ashley is distracting the security guard, and Pizzazz, Roxy, and Stormer manage to sneak onto the set.  I'd have thought that MTV would have had better security in place than one chubby guy, but whatever.  We can't have a cartoon without conflict.

And certainly the Misfits like to stir it up.  Pizzazz interrupts Jem and Lindsey to talk about how wonderful they are, while Roxy and Stormer exert such force to sit on Lindsey's couch that poor Kimber gets flung on the floor.  Jem responds with as much class as she can muster and insults Pizzazz without flat out calling her a mealy mouthed bitch who takes her fashion cues from Wilma Flintstone.  Because let's face it.  That's what Jem's really thinking.

At this point Lindsey is fed up with them all and cuts to a commercial.  During the break, Lindsey informs the Misfits that any chance of them having an interview is now over and instructs security to throw them off her set immediately.

The Misfits reluctantly oblige, though Pizzazz actually backhands Lindsey on her way out!  Yeah, I'm sure that'll get your ban from her show lifted!

Oh, and I should mention that we're going to be introduced to one reason why Pizzazz can't stand Jem or Jerrica.  Seems as though she has a little crush on Rio, and she basically tries to throw herself over him as he escorts her out of the building.  But Rio essentially tells Pizzazz to go to hell, so Pizzazz shoves him down right into the path of some electronic equipment.  The wall of electronics collapses into another, and we have a domino effect of expensive equipment being destroyed.

And poor Jem is right in the middle of the disaster as the dreaded TO BE CONTINUED flashes across the screen.

What happens next?  Will Jem be crushed, zapped, fried, or rescued by Rio?  (Spoiler alert:  One of these actually happens).  How long is Jem/Jerrica expected to use deception with Rio?  What happens when Ashley gets caught up in one of the Misfits' evil plots?  And what happens when someone gets a little too close to Synergy?

You'll have to wait until next week.  But one last thing...was it just me, or was Kimber's actual rebellious streak kind of lame?  I mean, if Kimber really wanted to rebel, she would have teamed up with one of the Misfits and released a duet album with them.  But come on...what are the odds of THAT happening?

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