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Friday, September 02, 2016

Jem Reviewed: Episode 24 - The Jem Jam, Part 2

We were introduced to the Jem Jam in the last episode of Jem Reviewed, where we learned that Ba Nee was longing for a father, the Misfits were starving for attention, and Jem never wanting to see a balloon again for the rest of her life.

Let's see how this two part episode concludes with Episode 24: The Jem Jam - Part 2.

So, when we last left off, Jem was about to have her face ripped off by the dogs guarding Gabor Manor in an effort to get Luna Dark back to Starlight Mansion.  Luna Dark, of course, being the pop star who looks a lot like Madonna during her "Into The Groove" era.  Jem tries a half-hearted attempt to get the dogs to go away by having Synergy transform her into Pizzazz, but the dogs are too clever to fall for that.

So Jem instead instructs Synergy to project a hologram of a dog large enough to pass for a float in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.  Maybe the dogs aren't that smart after all.

The dogs make such loud noises that it alerts Pizzazz, Roxy, and Stormer who are inside the mansion at the time and they rush outside to find out what is going on.  Taking advantage of this, Jem manages to sneak inside the house just as the Misfits are exiting and locates Luna Dark in a side room.  Luna is thrilled to see Jem and decides to do an impromptu version of "Daddy Don't Lecture" right in the middle of Pizzazz's living room to celebrate.

Or, maybe Jem just guides her to the Rockin' Roadster so that they can go to the safe zone - Starlight Mansion.

It appears as though the Misfits will be safe and sound too...inside of the doggie kennel.  The dogs lunge for the girls, but Pizzazz locks them safely inside the kennel area...where it appears they'll remain the whole weekend!  Guess we won't be hearing from them until the first commercial break, huh?

Back at Starlight Mansion, the Starlight Girls and the Jem Jam guests are relaxing by the pool, having a great time - well, all except Ba Nee that is.  She's strapped on her roller skates and is stalking Randy James who is jogging down the street in one of those quintessential 1980s track suits.  Because as we know, Ba Nee thinks Randy is her father just based on the fact that he has red hair and he served during the Vietnam War once upon a time.  Ba Nee tells Randy that she was born in An Loc, and Randy admits that he's heard of the place before, which delights Ba Nee enough for her to tell him that she's his daughter and that he needs to buy her a pony.

Too bad Ba Nee absolutely sucks on roller skates.  She trips and falls, skinning her knee really badly.  Randy picks her up and decides that he will take her home so that Jerrica can bandage up her knee.  Ba Nee just hugs him, believing that he is her father and that he will take her home.  Oh, Ba Nee...why do I get the feeling that you're setting yourself up for heartbreak?

Krissie isn't having much fun back at Starlight Mansion.  It's bad enough that Dominic Lerner has stolen her room, but now Dominic expects her to do his laundry on top of all that!  Wow, what year is Dominic living in?  1787?

Fortunately, living with sixteen other women has given Krissie a lot of independence, and she throws Dominic's dirty underthings right back at him and tells him that she's no longer impressed by his star power and chooses to confront him by...singing him a song.  All right then.

"You May Be A Star" is not as strong as "A Father Can Be", but I think it's a little better than "I Can See Me".  You can definitely feel Krissie's anger and frustration towards Dominic, that's for sure.

But did you wonder why this two-part episode featured songs by Ashley, Ba Nee, and Krissie?  Well, perhaps this piece of Jem Trivia can help.  You know how Jem and the Holograms were first manufactured as dolls by Hasbro?  Well, Ashley, Ba Nee, and Krissie were the only Starlight Girls who were made into dolls - hence the reason why these three are featured the most in the series.  Sorry for those of you who wanted a Lela, Deirdre, or Delaree doll.

To make matters worse, Lena refuses to let Dominic perform at the Jem Jam, saying that he is way too young for the responsibility, setting Dominic off even more.

Pissed off at Krissie's "I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar" speech/song, and angry at his mother for being overprotective, Dominic decides that he'll ruin someone else's day instead.  He passes by a room where Ashley and the Starlights are rehearsing and point blank tells them that they suck.  Who's Dominic's father?  Simon Cowell?  Turns out that Ashley doesn't seem to want to listen to Dominic either and tells him that they'll get better with practice and that he should leave.

Dominic heads out to the pool area where Anne and Terri try to convince him to take a dip in the pool, but once again Dominic turns everyone off by bragging about how good he is and how he can outswim anyone.  This sets Krissie off and she gets so fed up with him that she shoves him into the pool with all of his clothes on.  This gets a few chuckles from Anne and Terri in the process and Krissie seems satisfied with her little stunt.

At least that is until Dominic doesn't come up to the surface, drowns in the middle of the pool, and Krissie is charged with his murder and goes to jail.

Just kidding.  As if they'd kill off Lena Lerner's son!  Krissie manages to save him from drowning and successfully pulls him up to the side of the pool with help from Anne and Terri.  Of course, Dominic tries to blow the whole thing off by saying that he did that on purpose to keep them on their toes, but Krissie could tell that he was really scared because he didn't know how to swim, and doesn't know why he just wouldn't admit to it.

Probably because Dominic Lerner is a narcissist with a fat head.  But hey, that's just my opinion.

Some time passes, and it's time for the Starlight Girls to go on a fun adventure to the local zoo where they hope to see lions, tigers, and bears.  Oh my!  And Ba Nee is super excited to be going on this trip with Randy because according to Ba Nee, he's her dad and he will do everything for her.  But when Ba Nee discovers that all the Starlight Girls are going, she is upset because she thinks they'll interfere with her getting to know her "father" more.  Jerrica is tired of Ba Nee's selfish attitude and tells her that if she doesn't apologize to her friends, she won't go.  Wow, where was this firm attitude 24 episodes ago?

Someone else who is in a foul mood is Dominic, who is still sulking that he won't be taking part in the Jem Jam.  He sasses back his momma who gives him a backhand right across the face!  Well, okay, that doesn't happen.  But Lena grounds Dominic and forbids him from leaving the mansion which means no zoo trip for him.  As Dominic sulks away, Krissie decides that she will stick around Starlight Mansion while everyone else is at the zoo, mainly so she can find out what's bothering him.

I'm guessing that three days have at least passed in between Dominic's near drowning and the zoo trip because the Misfits and Eric Raymond are inside Techrat's metal igloo demanding that the super creepy genius find a way to get the Misfits enough of a gimmick so that they can outshine the Jem Jam.  And after nearly getting electrocuted by one of Techrat's inventions, Pizzazz decides that this creepy setting would make a fantastic place to shoot a new music video.

I think this video was largely inspired by the weird music videos that debuted on early MTV combined with the stutter of Max Headroom and the visual aids of the Nu Shooz video for "I Can't Wait".  Either way, "Gimme a Gimmick" is definitely a song that sticks with you long after the song ends.  I do like it quite a lot, and the song style basically tells you that this is definitely an eighties cartoon!

And it seems as though Techrat has come up with a gimmick that he promises will overshadow anything that Jem and the Holograms could even be capable of.  We don't actually see what the invention is, except that is glows bright blue and is large enough to fit in some sort of airport hangar.  Oh, and Roxy and Stormer are completely mesmerized by its beauty.  Pizzazz wonders if the invention is safe, and Techrat gives his seal of approval.

Okay, so Techrat had his fingers crossed the whole's still good, right?

Back at the zoo, the Starlight Girls are having fun looking at the animals, and a couple in particular note how funny looking the bears are.  Rio warns the girls that even though the bears look funny, they can also bite off their faces and feast on their intestines for dessert.  Okay, he doesn't quite say it like that, but you know he's thinking it.

Ba Nee couldn't care less about the animals.  All she cares about is being around Randy James.  So when she overhears a conversation between Jerrica, Randy, and Johnny Deacon about Johnny's upcoming concert in Cincinnati, Ohio, Ba Nee happily declares that she needs to get her suitcase so she can pack.  Jerrica questions why she would need to do that, and Ba Nee drops the bomb that Randy is her father and that Randy came back to take her home.

Randy denies the accusation, but since Maury Povich didn't have a talk show in 1987 and paternity tests were not easily achievable, we're going to have to take his word for it.  Ba Nee cries foul and claims that his red hair and the fact that he served in Vietnam is proof enough for her, but Randy explains that he was nowhere near Ba Nee's birthplace of An Loc, and that he can't possibly be her father.

Ashley tries to do her best to console Ba Nee, which is a hell of a lot more than what Jerrica does - she just stands there and watches her scream and shout that Randy has to be her father - and just like that Ba Nee takes off running towards the bear enclosure at the zoo.

Ba Nee shouts to the group that she will prove that Randy is her father.  Her plan is quite simple.  She plans to slide down into the bear pit where two gigantic bears are waiting for their next meal.  If Randy saves her life, she'll know that he's her father.

Let me say this again...Ba Nee is risking getting torn apart by two giant bears in order to manipulate a random red-haired stranger into adopting her as his own child.


I'm guessing Ba Nee didn't think this plan thoroughly because once the bears spot her, she freaks out and now wants anybody to rescue her.  And at first, I'm thinking that it won't be Jerrica as she's just standing there with Randy making her "oh no, the bear's gonna eat my foster child and I'm gonna go to jail" face.  Jerrica's not very good at crisis management, is she?

Fortunately, Johnny Deacon, Randy, and Rio decide that they'll step up and save Ba Nee's life.  Their plan is to make a human ladder down the bear enclosure so that Ba Nee can climb up it before she becomes their next meal.  Unfortunately, Ba Nee is too short to reach Johnny's hand.  

Jerrica decides that now would be a good time to be a foster mother and try to save Ba Nee, so she climbs down to the bottom of the human ladder and attempts to reach out for Ba Nee.  But with Ba Nee still being too small to reach Jerrica's hand, Jerrica leaps down to the ground, scoops Ba Nee up, hands her to Johnny Deacon, and climbs back up the human ladder before the bears can attack. 

Away from the bear enclosure, Ba Nee cries that she risked everybody's life because all she wanted was a father, and that she feels completely alone without one despite the fact that she is one of twelve foster girls who can see because of Jerrica and some random musicians from the Jem Jam risked their lives to save hers.  Do you all now understand why I get so aggravated with Ba Nee?

Randy comes up to Ba Nee and tells her that although she is not his daughter, he would love to be Ba Nee's friend anyway because even though she almost got him eaten by a bear, he still thinks she's peachy keen anyway.  Ba Nee happily accepts his offer and gives him a big hug with Jerrica staring at them all like a big goon.  Meanwhile, Ba Nee seems to get away scot free.  At the very least, Jerrica should have taken away the TV for a month, locked up her books, and put a blindfold over her eyes as a reminder that if it wasn't for her, she wouldn't be able to see anything at all!  I mean, seriously, I get that she is feeling left out because she doesn't have a father but come on!  You can't let her control you!

Sigh.  You know what?  Let's just see how Krissie is doing with Dominic.

It looks as though Dominic is continuing to ignore Krissie, who is trying to get through to Dominic.  Dominic is too hurt by the fact that his mother doesn't think he is ready for a huge concert like the Jem Jam and he is pushing away people who legitimately want to help him because he is too proud to ask for it.  I guess this might explain why he's been so saucy with Krissie. 

And Krissie - having learned nothing from the time that she ran away from Starlight Mansion with Deirdre and Ba Nee - climbs up a large tower in order to convince Dominic to talk with her.  I say this because the last time she climbed a tower like this, she almost fell down and died.  Ten episodes later, and Krissie's fear of heights comes back with a vengeance, and she is paralyzed with fear midway through her climb.  
At first, Dominic teases her about not being able to make the climb, but when he sees how afraid Krissie is, he realizes that she needs help, so Dominic climbs down and helps Krissie to safety.  

Krissie and Dominic decide that they will make a deal with each other.  Krissie will teach Dominic how to swim, and Dominic will try to be nicer to everyone, and they shake on it.  Aw!  They made up!  I bet in 10 years time, they get married!  Well, okay, maybe not.  But at least Krissie and Dominic managed to learn something about each other, and became better people because of it.  At least neither one got eaten by a damn bear!

Night falls and the Jem Jam is about to start.  Jem and the Holograms are on stage to introduce the stars that will be taking part in the event.  Otherwise known as the people who are supposed to represent Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder, Madonna, Mick Jagger, and Tina Turner. 

But what Jem and the Holograms don't know is that Techrat has found a way to sneak into the audience of the Jem Jam - just as he had done at the Haven House Benefit Concert ten episodes ago.  This time around, he has a funky looking remote control that he turns on just as Jem is set to perform her first song.

What comes out of the darkness is a futuristic looking flying saucer!  What, has the Jem Jam become so popular that aliens from outer space have come to see it?  No, it's the Misfits wearing the laser beam outfits that they wore last episode singing "Gimme a Gimmick".  I have to say though, the amount of work that Techrat put forth in creating this portable light show is remarkable, and I think that if Techrat could have used his work for good instead of evil, he really could have been a technological revolutionary.  

However, I think Techrat's problem is that he did too good a job, because the crowd watching the show seem to believe that aliens really are attacking the Jem Jam, and they start to flee the stadium.  They crash into Techrat who loses the remote control which promptly gets crushed by the stampeding concert goers.

Because the controls are broken, the flying saucer careens out of control, and Pizzazz, Roxy, and Stormer are hanging on for dear life screaming their guts out.  Meanwhile, Luna Dark, Lena Lerner, and Jem are actually making fun of them as they spin out of control. 

On one hand, I think it's cruel for them to do that because there's a good chance that Techrat's flying saucer could crash and burn, killing all three women.  But on the other hand, Eric's balloon promotion nearly killed Jem and Johnny Deacon.  Maybe it's a draw.

It does seem as though the Misfits have a guardian angel watching over them as the flying saucer crashes into a tree and the only injuries that Pizzazz, Roxy, and Stormer sustain are bruised...dignities.  Techrat and Eric might want to take out extra insurance though, as Pizzazz, Roxy, and Stormer turn their fury blasters on them, and their story arc ends with Techrat and Eric being chased by the angry Misfits as the final song of the show is played.

I appreciate the concept of "Jam All Night Long".  It's very reminiscent of the song "We Are The World" in which different vocal styles come together in perfect harmony.  And I do like the fact that singing voices other than that of Ellen Bernfeld and Britta Phillips were used in this song.  What would have been better is if I actually knew who all of these singers were because they were all quite good.  The only complaint I have is that the song is sort of boring.  I mean, you have all of this hype about the Jem Jam being the biggest concert event of the 1980s and this was the best song that the powers that be could come up with?  I would have probably composed something more elaborate, but then again...I can't write music, so I suppose they did the best that they could do.  At any rate, that wraps up another two-part episode, and I think in general the double episode story arc works better than the standalone episodes.  I don't think this one was as well done as "Starbright" or "The Music Awards", but it still told a great story.  It's also nice to get to know the Starlight Girls more, even though Ba Nee annoyed the hell out of me.  

Coming up next week in the penultimate episode of season one, the Holograms go to New York to film a music video with a legendary video director - and get caught up in a diamond smuggling investigation in the process!  Sure, why not?

1 comment:

  1. Ba Nee... what can I say?
    The most annoying and least likeable character apart from Jetta!!!