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Saturday, September 17, 2016

Jem Reviewed: Season 1 Recap

Season one of Jem Reviewed is now completed!  And, that means that it's time for me to do my recap of the whole season!  In this special look back, I'll do a character analysis of each of the main characters, I'll post my list of favourite songs by both Jem and the Holograms and the Misfits, and I'll tell you my favourite episodes and least favourite episodes.

But before we do that, I want to give you all a chance to read all 26 reviews of season one, just in case you missed one, or two, or all twenty-six.  Click on the links, and it will take you to the specific Jem Reviewed entry.

All season one was basically an introductory season.  We got to meet both Jem and the Holograms, as well as the Misfits, and for the most part, I liked how each band was introduced.  Though, I have to say that the idea of the Holograms being good and pure while the Misfits were evil and tarnished was a bit much - especially since there were times when the white aura of the Holograms was dirtied up a bit.  Yeah, I'll say it.  There were times in which Jem and the Holograms acted more holier-than-thou than they really had reason to be, and I feel as though that they acted no better than the Misfits in a few instances.  But at the same time, the Misfits probably shouldn't have tried to kill Jem at various points in the show either - intentional or not.

Starting with the Holograms, I've made it no secret that Aja has been my favourite of season one.  I absolutely like how she seems to be the only one of the group with brains and common sense, and she always thinks things through before acting on impulse.  Aja's only flaw is that sometimes she is so determined to do the right thing that she can come across as being cold as ice - but deep down, you know Aja cares about her foster sisters and the other Starlight Girls.  And she's very much passionate about never forgetting where she came from.  The episode "Adventure in China" best shows this - and while it's an episode I'm not a fan of, it's not because of Aja.

I actually sort of like Shana in the first season as well, though like Aja, she's completely underused.  I do think the angle of making her the band's fashion designer is a good one - otherwise I fear that she'd have nothing to do.  Her best episode was probably "In Stitches", as you can tell how passionate she is about fashion - and how angry she can get when thrown in the Venice canals.  Shana's main flaw - aside from being invisible - is the fact that she isn't quite as grounded as Aja, and therefore finds herself in more dangerous situations.  But really, Shana's a good character this season - I like her better than the next one on the list.

Jem/Jerrica annoys me.  And, I shouldn't say that about the main character of the series, but she is easily the most confused person on this whole show.  And, I'm not talking about the swapping back and forth between Jem and Jerrica either.  I'm talking about the fact that she seems to hold a double standard when it comes to who she deals with.  She was against the Misfits cheating on that skiing race in "Last Resorts", but then she does some cheating herself in "Glitter and Gold".  And it's absolutely impossible for me to believe that in just one year, she's released albums, a motion picture, a rock fashion book, a Broadway musical, and won the Indianapolis 500.  And don't even get me started on her relationship with Rio either - a truly outrageous display of co-dependence, deception, and enablement if ever I saw one.  It's more dysfunctional than romantic, and it's honestly very cringeworthy.  But as much as Jem annoys me, there's someone else who I find even less tolerable.

Good lord, where do I even begin with Kimber?  If it weren't for the fact that there were so many single men in this series, Kimber would practice a life of celibacy.  Let's see how many people she's dated...there's Jeff Wright, there's Sean Harrison, there was that Swedish ski instructor she developed a crush on, not to mention the man she met in Hawaii, and her infatuation with Nick Mann, and Max Conley.  Let's face it, Kimber'll hit on any man with a pulse.  It's a wonder she hasn't tried to go out with Eric Raymond or tried to steal Rio away from Jem!  Okay, so Kimber's not completely irredeemable - she did save Bobby Bailey's house from being knocked down and she is a great musician.  But this show loves painting Kimber as the damsel in distress where she's nearly blown up on a movie set, kidnapped by royal guards, and thrown into an active volcano, and I hope that in season two, we see a stronger Kimber.  One that's not a floozy or says OUTRAGEOUS every other episode.

On the flipside is the Misfits, and I must say that there must be something about the colour blue because Stormer is my favourite Misfit as Aja is my favourite Hologram.  She may be Misfit in name, but deep down inside is a Hologram waiting to come out.  She's adorable, delightful, really cares about people, and tried to save Ashley when she defected to the Misfits in the first major plot of the series.  Mind you, Stormer isn't perfect.  It's hard to deny that she loves to make mischief like her bandmates and can come across as not the best role model in the world - but it also makes her one of the most intriguing and well-rounded characters in the whole series.  I hear that she grows even more during season two, and I am looking forward to it.

Surprisingly, Pizzazz is the Misfit that I like second best - and she would likely kill me if she were real and heard me say that about her.  I think what prevents her from being ranked higher than Stormer is the fact that she gets off on making others feel bad about themselves, and I don't really care for bullies that much.  At least when it comes to how she treats the Starlight Girls, for instance, or how she uses people to do what she wants, like in the Starbright three-parter.  When she uses that attitude on people like Eric Raymond who basically ask for it, then I cheer her on.  Pizzazz was in danger of being a total one-note character which almost made me rank her below Roxy - but her one saving grace was at the end of "The Music Awards" when she shattered her award after seeing the end of the benefit concert that Jem put on.  It definitely affected her more than we were meant to be let in on, and I think that in season 2, I'm just guessing we'll find out more about why she is the way she is.

I could also say the same about Roxy as well.  Something or someone must have hurt her in the past and she's deciding to lash out at the world because of it.  But whereas Stormer has a clear understanding between right and wrong, and Pizzazz has her moments, Roxy is at the point where she might just be a sociopath.  She doesn't show any emotion other than anger, she was the one who nearly blew Kimber up on the Starlight set, and she totally trashed Howard Sands' property by letting a bulldozer run loose (nearly killing Jerrica in the process).  That's why Roxy is my least favourite Misfit - at least for season one anyway.  But don't worry...I hate Eric even more than Roxy.

There's not much I can say about the male characters of Jem...Rio is wishy-washy and immature, Eric is a slimeball who needs to be hosed down, Zipper was dangerous and insane, and Techrat clearly has issues with society.  Really, the only sane male character on the show was Anthony Julien, and he only appears on like four episodes of the show. 

As for female supporting characters, I think Danse and Lindsey are the best of the lot.  Although Lindsey does show the Holograms preferential treatment, she's not above giving people second chances, or third, or many times have the Misfits been kicked off her show?  And Danse is 100% class as far as I'm concerned.  She's like the polar opposite of Clash!  And, Video bores me to tears.  I hope she's not like this in Season 2.

So, what songs/videos did I love in Season 1 of Jem?  I have my list of Top 5 songs by both Jem and the Holograms and the Misfits!  Have a look, and see if you agree!


1.  When It's Only Me and the Music (Episode 13) - Maybe it has to do with Danse being the star of the video, but this song is absolutely beautiful and singer Britta Phillips certainly knows how to sing a ballad.  The video storyboarding is brilliant as well, and I can easily see this being a hit had this been a real video.

2.  I Got My Eye On You (Episode 3) - Jem's music didn't start getting interesting until episode three when this sexy and sultry single aired at the end.  And yes, while this song does feature Jem and Rio, I do love this song a lot, and think that they made the right choice singing it on their talk show debut.

3.  Can't Get My Love Together (Episode 16) - While I have to say that Episode 16 is one of my least favourite episodes of the series (which you'll find out why later on), this ballad which sends chills down my spine was a rare high point in that whole show.  I hate the fact that all the Jem songs I like have Rio in them though.

4.  Music is Magic (Episode 5) - Looking back on it, the video for this song isn't the greatest, but what saves it is Britta Phillips' incredible high note at the end.  Plus, the song's message is fantastic about how music makes everything better.  I completely agree with that sentiment.  Great song all around.

5.  Glitter and Gold (Episode 26) - Okay, so I have major issues with the ending of this episode, but the song "Glitter and Gold" certainly ushers out season one with a bang.  It's catchy, it's got a great hook, great imagery, and it's a solid hit.

But as mentioned, not all Jem songs I like.  In fact, "Deception" used in Episode 4 is a complete joke.  The arrangement is terrible, the lyrics are cheesy, and it essentially is a song chock filled with irony.  Sure, Jem hates putting on the deception with Rio, but does she do anything to stop it?  Nope.  She actually ENCOURAGES it!

As for Misfits songs I enjoyed?  Here's my TOP 5 MISFIT SONGS (PLUS ONE I HATE).

1.  Designing Woman (Episode 12) - "In Stitches" had a really decent setlist for music, but "Designing Woman" is easily the Misfits cream of the crop.  Aside from the sick beat and wonderful imagery, the song is actually a positive message one about not letting life pass you by and taking charge of your own destiny.  I absolutely love this one, and Ellen Bernfeld definitely takes charge with the vocals here!

2.  Makin' Mischief (Episode 2) - Right off the bat, I totally believed the theme song where the Misfits declared that their music was better.  For the most part, their rock songs ARE!  This was one of their first songs, and it's also quite a catchy number.  Okay, so the Misfits are at their complete worst in this one...but it's still entertaining.

3.  You Oughta See The View From Here (Episode 14) - When I first saw this video, I thought it would make a brilliant concept for a real life music video, and I still hold that claim.  The song itself is typical Misfits fare, but it's exciting, fresh, and definitely like nothing ever heard before.  It's very eighties, but very fresh at the same time.

4. Universal Appeal (Episode 6) - Pizzazz as the center of the universe.  Would we expect anything less?  In all seriousness, the song is fantastic and the visuals are quite good for a cartoon.  Definitely a song in my Top 5 for sure.

5.  It Takes A Lot To Survive (Episode 20) - I don't like a lot of the music from the last half of the season, but this song from "Island of Deception" has a great storyline and an awesome storyboard for the video.  And, having Jem almost get eaten by a crocodile was a nice touch.

There's actually not a lot of Misfits music I dislike, but one song I don't care for comes from Episode 18 - "We're The Misfits In Hawaii".  It's a total throwaway song that would likely get the Misfits banned from Hawaii for the next thirty years.  The animation sucks as well.

Finally, I'll close this post off by listing my five best and five worst episodes of Jem: Season 1, as well as a brief summary as to why.  Remember, you can access every single episode review up above.


1. Episode 8 - Starbright: Rising Star - The whole arc was really very well done, but I single out the last part because we all learn a valuable lesson in how we treat other people.

2. Episode 14 - The Music Awards - Part 2 - Much like Starbright, this two-parter was also well done, but since I can only choose one episode, I choose the second part where we see a happy ending for most.

3. Episode 15 - The Rock Fashion Book - I didn't think a show about fashion would garner my interest, but I have very little nitpicking to do about this one.  It's almost perfection from start to finish.

4.  Episode 20 - Island of Deception - Okay, so there are some instances in which I cry foul, but overall I like the survival angle, and it showed that the Misfits and the Holograms really COULD get along...for a bit.

5. Episode 21 - Old Meets New - Saving the best for last, I absolutely love this one because it's heartwarming, semi-historical, and makes Kimber not look crazy!


1. Episode 10 - Adventure in China - Somehow losing a pair of earrings seems like a really stupid plot line - especially since Jerrica had several options to fix the problem.

2. Episode 16 - Broadway Magic - Bad plot, check.  Jerrica acting like a delusional jerk, check.  Countless spelling errors, check.

3. Episode 17 - In Search of the Stolen Album - Good idea, bad execution.  And it made Jem and the Holograms look like stupid mean girls.

4. Episode 19 - The Princess and the Singer - Another dumb doppelganger storyline made worse by the fact that Kimber was the subject.

5. Episode 22 - Intrigue at the Indy 500 - The only intrigue is how Jem could even get clearance to even drive the race car, let alone win.

So, that's a wrap on Season One!  Season Two begins Friday...only 39 more episodes to go...

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