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Friday, March 31, 2017

Jem Reviewed: Episode 54 - The Stingers Hit Town, Part 1

This is it.  We are in the final stretches of the Jem Reviewed series.  Season 2 ended with a marriage proposal and Jem losing the Academy Award.  How will Season 3 begin?  Why, with a new band, of course!  Because having only two bands just isn't enough.

This is yet another two-part episode.  Episode 54: The Stingers Hit Town, Part 1.  And we begin at Misfits Music where Eric is having a meeting with the band that has been his cash cow for the last three years - the Misfits.  And, might I add that it's about time we see them again!  I was almost missing them the last couple of episodes.

Unfortunately, that cash cow of Eric's has been running dry, and Eric is basically admonishing them for spending more money than Misfits Music is making.  They've been destroying things, shopping way over their budget, and they are all unrepentant about it.  When Eric tries to throw his weight around, Pizzazz helpfully reminds Eric that her father owns the record company, so he can't really do anything to them.

Actually, that's not true.  Eric could purchase the company from Harvey Gabor, which would give him full power.  And after Eric shares with Harvey all of the things that the Misfits have done (including smashing musical instruments and charging thousands for room service), Harvey is unimpressed with Pizzazz, and decides to make Eric an offer.  I'm still wondering what the hell Pizzazz ordered from room service that would cost that much money - A pint of Haagen-Dazs topped with beluga caviar?

But Harvey also knows business when he sees it, and he shocks Eric by doubling the offer he made the first time.  That means that Eric will have to come up with some major funds in order to purchase Misfits Music.  And in what I believe to be the greatest use of laser-guided karma that I have ever seen, Eric sells close to everything he owns - including his own home!  It actually makes me feel some schadenfreude when I see Eric basically living in one of the offices of Misfits Music.

And the first thing he does is set the Misfits straight.  Although he will still keep them on contract at Misfits Music - or Raymond Records as he has the desire to rename the company - they will have to do what he says and pay for any expenses out of their own pocket.  No offense, but if Eric didn't want the Misfits to be spoiled, he probably should have been doing this before he took them on.

Naturally, Pizzazz is furious that Harvey sold the company to Eric and she threatens to pull the Misfits out of his company.  But Eric takes her dare and says that now would be the time to add some new blood to the mix.  When did Eric suddenly develop cojones?!?

Over at Starlight Music, Jerrica's secretary Joanie is expressing some concerns of her own.  Although Starlight Music is still generating profits, most of the money is going towards the maintenance and upkeep of Starlight Mansion, so there's not a lot of money left to go around.  Jerrica seems to think that they need to sign a couple of new bands to Starlight's roster to increase profitability, but she's not sure who the next big thing is.

Perhaps Lindsey Pearce can help Jerrica out.  Turns out that Lindsey has a bit of gossip that she's sharing exclusively with Jerrica.  A band who hails from West Germany (remember, the Berlin Wall didn't get knocked down until 1989) is playing at Le Klub Kool.  They call themselves The Stingers, and they have already established a career in Europe.  However, they're looking for an American record label to spread their popularity even further.  Jerrica seems to think that she could get them signed with Starlight Music, and she decides to take Kimber along for the ride.

Unfortunately for Jerrica and Kimber, it seems as though Eric Raymond has the same idea.  After a heated verbal confrontation which requires a waiter at the club to move the Benton sisters to another table, Jerrica is more determined than ever to score a deal with the Stingers before Eric has a chance to.

And just who are the Stingers?  Well, they're all dressed in black and yellow like bees.  Because bees when they get aggressive sting.  Yeah, I find it kind of lame myself.  But let's introduce them, shall we?  The male lead singer with hair like Bon Jovi and clothes like Liberace is Riot.  And Riot loves himself.  Yes he does.

The woman on keyboards with the hat, long hair, and German accent is Minx

And the other woman with the giant ponytail is Rapture.  Interestingly, she has an American accent just like Riot.  I wonder if we'll find out the story behind that.

For now, it's time for the very first Stingers song heard on the show.  Appropriately, it's called the "Stingers Theme".  The lyrics are not something to write home about.  It's just Riot singing about how the band rocks and incorporates lyrics around the band names.  The musical arrangement though?  Stunning.  Definitely nothing we've ever heard before in the series.  It certainly seems to have worked on Kimber as she is following him around the stage as if he's the Pied Piper of Hamelin.

For that matter, the entire audience bar Jerrica and Eric Raymond gather around the stage and get into a major scuffle as a result.  Tables are tipped, drinks are spilled - it's just a gigantic mess.  At least, that is until Riot opens his mouth and tells everyone to sit down in the most soothing voice ever, which actually works!  Even Kimber is hypnotized into sitting back down which frightens and amuses Jerrica all at once.  But hey, since we're talking about Riot's voice, let's go ahead with Jem Trivia.  Riot's speaking voice is performed by voice actor Townsend Coleman, who has been a major force in the voice industry, having played roles in "The Tick", "Inspector Gadget", and most notably as the voice of Michelangelo in "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles".

Yeah...picture it.  The same guy who voices Riot was the one yelling "Cowabunga" all those years on the Ninja Turtles.  Mind blown.

Eric rushes up onto the stage, nearly shoving Jerrica out of the way in the process, and hands Riot his business card.  Eric informs Riot that he is the owner of Raymond Records and that he would love to have the Stingers under his roster.

But wait!  Jerrica arrives with a business card of her own, informing Riot that if the Stingers sign with Starlight Music, she will promise them a fair deal.  Eric is seething, but Riot announces that he will consider both offers as he is a fair man.  A very vain and egotistical man, but a fair man.  Jerrica even offers to sweeten the deal by having the Stingers as guests at Starlight Mansion, but Eric snaps back that he has a mansion.  Eric, I don't think Fisher-Price mansions count.

Of course, Minx seems to have developed a bit of a crush on Eric, and tells Riot that they need to go with him, so Riot decides that the Stingers will stay with Eric.  Of course, Eric sold his house to buy the record company, so he's pretty screwed.  He does tell them to wait until tomorrow and he'll have everything set up.

And Eric's idea involves convincing Pizzazz to use her mansion to house the Stingers, which immediately gets a "Flock You" look from Pizzazz.  There is NO way that she or the rest of the Misfits will allow the band that is essentially serving as their replacements for flavour of the month to come and move into her home.  Okay, Pizzazz, technically it's your father's home, but whatever.  The doorbell rings and Pizzazz marches to the door with an eclair in her hand ready to tell off the Stingers...

...and then she gazes upon Riot in all his glory and she melts like an ice scuplture in the middle of June.  If this is going to be what it's like for the next twelve episodes, I'm going to be finding myself hating Riot.

Sure enough, Pizzazz changes her tune and does a 180 about letting the Stingers move in, which stuns Jetta, Roxy, and Stormer.  After all, Pizzazz is supposed to be the STRONG Misfit.  Roxy decides that if Pizzazz won't tell the Stingers to leave, she will...

...well, at least until Pizzazz crams an eclair into her mouth and Roxy can only watch in anger and disgust as Pizzazz shows Riot, Rapture, and Minx to their new rooms.

Riot is definitely someone who thinks highly of himself, and as Pizzazz shows him around Gabor Manor, he comments about how this exquisite mansion is suitable for him.  I'd sure love to see where he lives.  Perhaps it's the Taj Mahal?  By now, it's fairly obvious that Pizzazz has fallen hard for Riot, and Riot keeps saying all the right things to make her swoon.  It's actually kind of vomit inducing, I have to say.

But after Pizzazz leaves the room, the true intent of the Stingers comes out, and Riot, Rapture, and Minx talk about how they plan on having a lot of "fun" with the Misfits.  Ladies and gentlemen, meet the Stingers.  The new antagonists of the Misfits.  But I wonder how they'll get along with Jem and the Holograms?

Well, over at Starlight Music, Jerrica is annoyed that she hasn't heard back from the Stingers yet.  She's submitted her offer to the band three times and she is worried that Eric might have gotten the Stingers to sign with Eric instead.  But the other Holograms tell Jerrica not to worry about it and instead focus on the special presentation that they will be making at the Hard Rock Cafe.  Ah, so this explains why everyone but Jerrica is dressed as if they are going to the Academy Awards.  Fortunately, Jerrica does a "Showtime, Synergy" spiel and looks as good as the Holograms in just three seconds.  I bet a lot of women (and maybe some men) wish they had that power.

Back at Gabor Manor, Eric is trying to get Riot to accept his deal, but Riot refuses to make a decision until he hears from Jerrica...but admits that Jerrica hasn't contacted him yet.  But Jerrica just said she tried to make an offer three times.  I bet Eric's playing dirty again.

As for the Misfits, Pizzazz continues to throw herself at Riot which makes the other Misfits angry, and when Riot hears that Jem and the Holograms are making an appearance at the Rock Hard Cafe, he decides that he wants to go.  Pizzazz decides she wants to go as well, leaving the other Misfits behind.  The other members of the Stingers are acting kind of weird as well.  Minx pushes Eric away when he gets too close, saying that she finds his American ass boring as hell.  Rapture, meanwhile, grabs a quartz statue worth nothing and brings it along.  At least Rapture asks Pizzazz if she could have it before taking it, so I'll suspend judgement.  For now.

Over at the Rock Hard Cafe, it appears as though Jem and the Holograms have made enough of a musical impact to have some of their memorabilia displayed inside the restaurant.  Jem's contribution is an old guitar of Aja's.  I wonder if all five members signed the guitar.  And as Jem thanks everyone for their support, she announces that she couldn't have done it without the help of their technician and engineer Rio Pacheco.  Mainly because if she thanked a seven thousand pound computer that looked like an extra in Olivia Newton-John's "Physical" video, she'd be carted off to a mental asylum.

But before Jem can finish, there's a commotion at the entrance of the Rock Hard Cafe.  Looks like the Stingers and Pizzazz have made their appearance, and much like what happened at Le Klub Kool, everyone is flocking towards them as if they were the Royal Family.

Jem decides that now would be a good time to get Riot alone to discuss the offer from Starlight Music, but Aja tells her that she'll just come across as another fan if she does.  Again, Aja's the brains of the operation for Season 3.  I see her ranked highly on my Season 3 wrap-up.  Jem agrees with Aja and decides to fight fire with fire...and she does this with a song we haven't heard since Episode 2.

I'll admit that I wasn't quite fond of the music video for "Like a Dream" the first time I saw it.  Too much imagery and too much Rio.  But this time around, with Riot trying to find Jem only to get thwarted at every's much more effective.  Definitely a contender for best use of a classic song for Season 3.

Now, here's where things get interesting.  After Jem's song, Riot gets mesmerized by Jem and actually pushes Pizzazz out of the way to get to know her better.  Wow, so Riot has a thing for Jem?  I wonder what Rio would say about that?

I'm guessing based on this screenshot, he doesn't think much of it.  But to my disappointment, Rio and Riot don't get into a fist fight.  And, yeah, I'm just realizing that Rio and Riot only have one letter separating their names so I'm cursing myself that I'll have to be extra careful when both of them are in an episode together.  But to Rio's shock, Jem brushes Rio off to speak with Riot and to introduce him to the rest of the Holograms!  Wow!

It appears as though the rest of the Holograms seem to find Riot quite charming.  Shana doesn't say too much (sadly this is getting to be normal for her), but Raya and Kimber seem enchanted by Riot.  Oh, here we go again.  At this point, you could drop Sean Harrison in the middle of the club in his underwear and Kimber would still swoon over Riot.  Thankfully, Aja is not swayed by the yellow and black clad rocker, and tells Rio that she does NOT trust him, and she hates the way that Jem treated Rio.  Um, Aja...Rio's treated Jem just as badly in some cases.  She must have selective amnesia.

But Aja does seem to be right about the true intentions of the Stingers.  As soon as Rio leaves the Holograms, Minx basically throws herself at Rio and tells him that they need to be alone together.  Good lord, Minx must throw herself at any man that moves.  She and Kimber should get along great!

And we learn why Rapture wanted the statue so badly.  She's using it to scam people out of money by promising that it will grant wishes.  You know, I'm sensing the theme for the Stingers.  If you get stung, your mind belongs to them.  They could be extremely dangerous for both the Misfits and the Holograms.

As for Pizzazz, she interrupts a meeting between Jem and Riot about Jerrica's offer, and when this happens, Riot turns on Pizzazz and tells her to go away!  I...I don't think anyone has ever told Pizzazz that, much less a man that isn't Eric Raymond!

Pizzazz doesn't seem to take this rejection very well and decides that she will take revenge by ripping the guitar off the wall and smashing it into a hundred pieces.  The owner of the cafe sees what she is doing and tries to grab the guitar back.  There's a bit of a struggle, but the cafe owner wins and sends Pizzazz flying into a replica of the Statue of Liberty...

...which crashes into a table filled with customers.  Shortly after, a massive food fight erupts right in the middle of the cafe, and everyone is trying to get out of the way.  I, meanwhile, am laughing at the irony of Riot unintentionally being the cause of another Riot.  I'm thinking we know where the stage name came from!

Though I have to give Riot some credit.  Around Jem, he's a perfect gentleman, and he gets her out of the chaos safely.  Though Rio is not impressed when he and Kimber spot Jem and Riot driving away in the Rockin' Roadster.  Kimber's probably upset that the other Holograms have no way to get home, but Rio has reason to be more upset than that.  Pizzazz is also steamed until Rapture cozies up to her and tells Pizzazz that she will help her win Riot's heart.  Yeah, given Rapture's introduction, Pizzazz should be frightened.

As Jem drives down a secluded area, Riot tells her a little more about himself.  His real name is Rory Llewellyn, and he was an army brat growing up, having moved all over the world (ah, so that explains Riot's American accent).  As for how he and the Stingers got together, I can tell you that we'll find out more about this in the second-to-last episode of the series, but we're not quite there yet.  Either way, Jem seems interested in learning more about him.

They make their way towards a...giant harp?  Okay, anybody living in Los Angeles in 1988 - was this really a thing?  And if so, does it still exist?  I'm really curious to know!  Anyway, the breeze is causing the strings to vibrate and there's beautiful music in the air as Riot lets Jem know how he feels.  Riot wants her.  He thinks that he and Jem would make the perfect couple.  At first, I think Jem might accidentally out herself as she explains that Rio and Jerrica are dating...but Riot doesn't pick up on it.  Instead he tells Jem that Rio can have Jerrica...what Riot wants is her.  Cue the final song of the episode.

You know, I can sort of understand why Eric and Jerrica are fighting over the Stingers in spite of their toxic personalities.  The song "Perfect Match" is definitely a standout!  Very different from any song heard in Jem before, but in a really good way.  Incredibly smooth, and very reminiscent of what was hot in pop music at that time.

And as the episode ends with a TO BE CONTINUED graphic, Riot plants a kiss firmly on Jem's lips.  Okay, let me see if I have this straight.  Jerrica and Rio are technically dating, but Rio's in love with Jem as well even though Jerrica and Jem are the same person.  Minx also has developed a crush on Rio, but Rio rebuffs her.  Riot on the other hand has Pizzazz after him, but Riot's heart seems to only want Jem.

This sounds like an episode of Dallas!  I can't keep up!  Hopefully part two of "The Stingers Hit Town" will clarify some things.  That's coming up next Friday.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

March 30, 1981

All right...this is the final Throwback Thursday for the month of March.  And while I can't really say that this event that we are flashing back to is a happy occasion, it was a very important part of modern day history - one that I am sure will be making an appearance in future history textbooks.

Let's have a look at some other events that took place on March 30.

1822 - The Florida Territory is created in the United States

1841 - The National Bank of Greece is founded in Athens

1856 - The Crimean War ends following the signing of the Treaty of Paris

1867 - Alaska is purchased from Russia by William S. Seward for $7.2 million

1870 - Texas rejoins the United States of America following Reconstruction after the American Civil War

1929 - Actor Richard Dysart (d. 2015) is born in Massachusetts

1943 - Singer Jay Trainor (d. 2014) is born in Brooklyn, New York

1945 - During World War I, Austria is invaded by the Soviet Union, while the city of Danzig, Poland is liberated by Soviet and Polish troops

1949 - Following Iceland's decision to join NATO, a riot erupts in Reykjavik's Austurvollur Square

1965 - Twenty-two people lose their lives and 183 more are injured following the detonation of a car bomb outside of Saigon's American Embassy during the Vietnam War

1973 - Adam "DJ AM" Goldstein (d. 2009) is born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

1979 - British MP Airey Neave is killed by a car bomb outside of the Palace of Westminster

1982 - Space Shuttle Columbia lands safely in New Mexico following the completion of the STS-3 Mission

1991 - Gloria Estefan's "Coming Out Of The Dark" - the first single released since her 1990 bus accident - reaches #1 on the Billboard charts

2002 - Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother passes away at the age of 101

2003 - Actor Michael Jeter dies at the age of 50

2004 - Journalist and former host of "Masterpiece Theatre" Alasdair Cooke dies at the age of 95

2014 - Actress Kate O'Mara passes away at the age of 74

And birthday greetings go out to the following people; John Astin, Rolf Harris, Warren Beatty, Kenneth Welsh, Eric Clapton, Eddie Jordan, Jim "Dandy" Mangrum, Dana Gillespie, Robbie Coltrane, Paul Reiser, Maurice LaMarche, Martina Cole, MC Hammer, Tracy Chapman, Piers Morgan, Celine Dion, Mark Consuelos, Norah Jones, and Jason Dohring.

So, as I said...this date in history that we're flashing back to today is a dark day - but it's one that I'm sure most people who are old enough to have experienced it remember as if it was yesterday.

Unfortunately, I am NOT one of those people.  I was still in the womb at the time and wouldn't be born for another seven weeks.

That's because the date is March 30, 1981.

Thirty-six years ago, a stunning event took place in the middle of Washington D.C. which had the whole world talking.  In the middle of broad daylight at 2:27 that afternoon, somebody would take some shots of the current American President at that time, Ronald Reagan.  Only instead of using a camera, they would use an actual gun.

It was the first assassination attempt on an American president in six years - an unsuccessful plot to kill Gerald Ford was foiled when the gun of the planned assassin - Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme malfunctioned.  In the case of Ronald Reagan, the end result was much different.  Reagan was shot, as were three other people.  The most seriously wounded of the four was White House Press Secretary James Brady, whose injuries from the shooting left him permanently paralyzed for the rest of his life. 

Fortunately for Reagan, he would recover from the shooting and remained as President for two full terms before being succeeded by George Bush in January 1989.  The gunman, John Hinckley Jr. was arrested and found not guilty by reason of insanity.  He would spend the next thirty-five years in psychiatric care before being released into the care of his mother in September 2016.

But what would cause John Hinckley Jr. to do such a callous crime such as assassinating the President of the United States?

Would you believe that it had to do with a girl?  In fact, one could call her one of the biggest child stars of the 1970s.

These days, Jodie Foster makes her living behind the camera as a famous director.  But during the late 1960s all the way through the 2000s, she made a living as an actress.  Who could forget her role as Clarice Starling in "The Silence of the Lambs"?  Or some of her roles during her teen years during the 1970s which included everything from "Bugsy Malone" to "Candleshoe"?

Perhaps Jodie's finest performance was in the movie "Taxi Driver", where she played the controversial role of a child prostitute opposite Robert DeNiro.  The film was a cinematic masterpiece (at least in my opinion anyway), and it earned her an Academy Award nomination at just fourteen years of age.  But while "Taxi Driver" was a huge hit for the young starlet, she would have no idea that it would be her performance in this film that would trigger John Hinckley Jr. to commit his crime.

You see, Hinckley watched Jodie's performance in "Taxi Driver".  A lot.  It is estimated that he watched the film at least fifteen times prior to 1981 and had developed an unhealthy obsession with her.  He even went so far as to tracking down where Jodie's dorm room was at Yale University and called her, sent her notes, and even tried enrolling in a writing course.  But despite Hinckley's attempts to get closer to Jodie, Jodie turned him down, and started to show the dean of the university the notes that she continued to receive.

At some point, the school had tried to contact the police department to bring Hinckley in for harassment, but the school failed to track him down.  By then, Hinckley started to put his plan into motion.

Having been a fan of "Taxi Driver", Hinckley decided to emulate the role that Robert DeNiro portrayed - a man who plotted the assassination of a U.S. Senator to try and protect Jodie's character from harm.  Hinckley had attempted to kill President Gerald Ford in 1980, but he was taken in by authorities for possession of illegal firearms, and wasn't able to follow through with the plan.  And even though Ford was in Washington at the time that Hinckley planned to take him out, the incident was not reported to the Secret Service as authorities failed to make a connection between Ford and Hinckley. 

So, Hinckley decided that he would shift his focus to the newly elected Reagan, and he believed that if he killed Reagan, he would impress Jodie Foster enough that she would immediately fall for him. 

On March 30, 1981, Hinckley made his move.  Having read his schedule printed in a copy of the Washington Star two days prior, he decided that he would meet Reagan at the Washington Hilton Hotel - where Reagan would deliver an address to AFL-CIO representatives.

While most public events would have required the President to wear a bulletproof vest (something that became commonplace after the 1963 assassination of John F. Kennedy), Reagan chose not to wear one as he would only be in exposure for the 30 feet between the hotel and the limousine that would take him back to the White House.  That was mistake #1.

Mistake #2 was related to the Secret Service and a "colossal mistake" that was made.  While the majority of the people in the area were screened by the Secret Service to prevent anything from happening, a small group of unscreened civilians were left standing just fifteen feet away from the area behind a rope line.  Can you guess who was part of that unscreened group?

Needless to say, the cards were set up for a perfect storm.  And as Reagan passed Hinckley on his way to the limo, that storm struck in the form of half a dozen bullets.

Reagan was struck in the abdomen.  Press Secretary James Brady took a bullet to the head.  Police officer Thomas Delahenty was struck in the neck.  Secret Service agent Tim McCarthy was shot as he dove onto the wounded President to protect him from further harm.

It didn't take long to apprehend Hinckley, and all of the wounded were immediately taken to area hospitals.  Because the brand of ammunition that Hinckley used were "Devastator" cartridges - bullets that were designed to explode upon impact - surgeons had to wear bulletproof vests to extract the bullets.  Amazingly, the bullet that struck Brady was the only one to fully explode - explaining why Brady ended up taking the most physical damage.

Although Reagan had sustained some internal bleeding and a punctured lung in the attempted assassination, he would go on to make a full recovery.  Delahanty and McCarthy also recovered, though due to the severity of his injury, Delahanty was forced to retire.  

As for Brady, even though the attack left him paralyzed, he continued to serve as Press Secretary until Reagan left office, and afterwards became a serious advocate for gun control.  As a result, the Brady Handgun Violence Protection Act was passed in 1993.  Brady passed away in August 2014, and in a surprising move, his death would be ruled a homicide thirty-three years after the shooting.

The events of March 30, 1981 served as a terrifying reminder that being in political office is a very risky job.  And it's a date that for those alive during that time remains a shocking event.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Jem Reviewed: Season 2 Recap

Yes, fear not...Jem Reviewed will be coming back as planned this coming Friday.  But before we get to the abbreviated third and final season of the show, we must recap the previous season gone by.

This is the official Season 2 recap of the cartoon series Jem.  And, I guess the general consensus of the season is this.  Started off incredibly strong, dipped in quality a LOT in the middle, had moments of greatness towards the end, and then the finale was one dismal mess.  So, all in all...a very confusing season.  But we were introduced to new characters, heard some more complex music (including some from different characters), and saw both the Holograms and Misfits go all over the world to promote the gift of music (and other social issues).

Now, did you miss any episode reviews prior to this one?  No problem.  Clicking
HERE will take you to the list of episodes from Season 1.  There's 26 in all.  And for the 27 episodes of Season 2, just click on each individual link below to catch up.

First, we'll begin with character profiles from Season 2, and both bands received a new member a piece.  And, unlike season one where the roles of good versus evil were black and white, this season blurs that line considerably.  We see a couple of the Misfits soften up with one even becoming friends with a Hologram.  On the flipside, we see a couple of instances in which the Holograms act more like Misfits.  Fortunately, Rio doesn't kick any plants this season.

Once again, we'll start with the Holograms.  And in a surprising upset, newcomer Raya is my pick as my favourite Hologram of Season 2!  From the moment she joined the show, she resonated with me because of her inital lack of self-confidence (who can forget that her father orchestrated getting her an audience with Jem), as well as her extreme loyalty to the band (refusing to tell anyone about Jem's real identity when she accidentally found out).  Being a Hologram means the world to her, but so does doing the right thing.  When Shana came back to the band, Raya considered stepping back, but Shana and the others insisted that she stay.  She made a good choice too, as she's absolutely delightful.  Just don't attack her family's greenhouse or you might lose some hair.

Aja drops down to second place, but I still hold her in high regard.  I think Aja's biggest problem this year was lack of storyline - though at least the showrunners gave her a love interest in Craig.  Still, I think more should have been done to explore this - especially since Aja is dating Stormer's brother.  The possible plot points that could have come from that alone would have been gold.  And besides, it was Aja who helped Jerrica release her mother's music on record after successfully infiltrating Synergy's memory banks.  That alone makes her a standout.

Last season, she was ranked dead last...but this season Kimber improved enough for me to include her in the middle of the pack.  I think it was the last couple of episodes where she finally started acting like an adult and choosing to be with Sean (without marrying him) that firmly cemented it.  One of my main concerns with Kimber last season was her indecisiveness and immaturity when it came to men.  This time around, it seemed as though Danse had more love interests!  But, Kimber's also had some moving moments as well, such as coming to terms with her father's death, breaking out on her own and forming a friendship with Stormer, and helping Jerrica deal with the loss of their mother.  I think those moments have helped Kimber become a more sympathetic character.

Was Shana even in this season?  I mean, I can only think of two defining moments that she had in season two.  One was when she quit the band to work for the devil that wore anything but orange Prada, and two was when she was mistaken for a New Orleans singer from ages ago during Mardi Gras.  Is Shana a lovely character?  Yes.  But is she completely underused?  Well, when Danse gets more storylines and she's not even a Hologram, I'd have to say YES.  Hopefully in the final stretch of the show, Shana gets to do something.

Now, Jem/Jerrica...was it just me, or was she completely insufferable during the second season?  I mean, she's the star of the show, and yet she's the Hologram I hate the most!  I suppose Jerrica isn't too bad in comparison, and as Jerrica, I have to agree she had some really sweet moments such as her helping Laura out, and her dealing with the loss of her mother.  But as Jem, she has the most enormous ego, and is so judgmental.  I actually laughed when the old woman refused to show Jem the way to Shangri-La because she deemed Jem a big old fake.  Because it's the truth!  As Jerrica Benton, she's fine.  As Jem...she sucks.  And, to be honest, she and Rio deserve each other.  As far as I'm concerned, they're both fatheads.

Looking over the Misfits, I had Stormer as my favourite Misfit, and very little has changed in that regard.  Even though Stormer can still be considered wishy-washy, she does have a good heart.  I loved the episode where she left the Misfits and recorded an album with Kimber because it helped her realize that even without the Misfits, she could still be a star.  Granted, the Misfits took her back...but since that episode, they do treat her with more respect.  I just wish she wasn't too much of a follower when it came to the Misfits most dastardly deeds (see Episode 32).  Stormer's brother Craig put it best - she could do better than them.

She may have been at the bottom of my list at Season 1, but Roxy is firmly my second place pick for best Misfit.  I think Episode 39 was really the turning point.  That was where we learned that Roxy had a rough upbringing and that she never finished school or learned to read.  By the end of the episode, we were thinking that she was totally humiliated...until Ba Nee gave her a book to learn how to read.  Since then, Roxy's gotten a little bit softer, but still has a rough edge.  One that she uses to insult Jetta at every opportunity.  And any enemy of Jetta is someone I like.

I nearly considered putting Pizzazz at the bottom of my list, but when the Father's Day episode aired, I couldn't do it.  In the last few minutes of that episode we learned EXACTLY why Pizzazz turned out the way she did.  She wanted the love and attention of her father - a man who simply couldn't give it to her the way she wanted.  That would sour anyone's disposition.  It's difficult to ignore the many crimes that she was involved in during Season 2, but at least knowing what fueled it...well, that makes me understand and even like her at times.

Jetta - the newest member of the band - is a cold hearted bitch.  And that's putting it mildly.  She loves to cause trouble, she loves to use money to buy friends and win power, she nearly bankrupted Raya's family with the damage done to their greenhouse, and she is probably the rudest Brit I've ever seen - and I regularly watch EastEnders!  She has absolutely no likeable qualities whatsoever, and she doesn't even seem to be loyal to her own bandmates.  Who could forget the time she tried to extort money out of Pizzazz during the Britrock episode?  She's just completely insufferable, and easily the worst Misfit of the lot.

A huge part of Season 2 was the music.  And, all in all, I'd say the music on Season 2 was an improvement over Season 1.  The saxophone in selected Misfits songs helped make them pop, and even the Holograms experimented with new sounds that helped their music sound less Candy Crush and more mature.  But with a mix of Season 1 songs added in, which Season 2 songs did I find great?  Well, this time, I'll do four original and one reused song that I loved, plus one I couldn't stand.


1.  Beat This (Episode 28) - You know how I said that Jem songs in Season 1 were bland and sugary sweet?  Welcome to the new Jem.  This was the song that determined the winner of the Talent Search between Raya and Craig, and I think it's quite fantastic.  It's filled with energy, I love the drum solo parts, and Britta Phillips does a fantastic job with the vocals.  I love it.

2. Always There In My Heart (Episode 33) - Okay, this is one ballad that I don't mind admitting I enjoy because of the message behind it.  It was a song that Kimber wrote while she was grieving her father, and it serves as a great message in dealing with the loss of a loved one.  Very poignant and moving.

3.  Let Me Take You To The Mardi Gras (Episode 45) - This song is just plain catchy, and definitely one that I found myself tapping my toes to.  The imagery is so Mardi Gras, and I can easily have heard this song blaring out of a stereo of a car pulling one of the elaborate floats.  This one's definitely a winner.

4. In The Land of the Midnight Sun (Episode 46) - While the video looks choppy because of the Korean animation, the song itself is absolutely beautiful.  It definitely tingles my spine and I'm not even in Alaska.  It's really hard for me to say something negative about this song because there isn't anything.

BEST USE OF SEASON 1 SONG: Something is Missing in My Life (Episode 33):  When the song was first used in Episode 10, Jem was singing about her missing earrings.  Hardly moving.  But when the song was reused and put to footage of Kimber grieving her father...that's where the song became a hit.  Come to think of it, a lot of Season 1 Jem songs were made better when reused in Season 2.  See "I Got My Eye On You" and "She Makes An Impression" for more evidence of this.

Alas, not all Jem songs get my seal of approval.  Episode 44's "I'm Taking A Train" is not just the worst song in season two...but it could be the worst song for the whole series!  Telling people that you're taking a train thirty-six times in the chorus doesn't make a hit song!


1.  I Like Your Style (Episode 27) - Good lord, this song is the very definition of ear candy from start to finish.  As much as I hate Jetta as a character, the addition of the saxophone in this song makes it a near perfect Misfits tune, and a brilliant start to the second season.

2. I Love a Scandal (Episode 29) - The subject of the song is quite literally scandalous.  And some might say that it's not comfortable seeing Kimber used as the Misfits punching bag.  But, I can't help but think that this song is really good.  Ellen Bernfeld's singing voice is definitely the glue that holds this tune together.

3.  Abracadabra (Episode 36) - This definitely ain't the Steve Miller Band here.  This song with its incredible music video is one of the highlights of season two.  The production values for the music have definitely improved with this season, and I'm glad that in the early part of season two, the Misfits had some AWESOME hits.

4.  Free and Easy (Episode 38) - I'm not used to the Misfits doing a slow song, but after hearing this song in action, I wonder why they didn't attempt to do more.  I suppose they had to keep the Misfits hard style in the forefront.  Too bad too, because this jam is sooooo smooth.

BEST USE OF SEASON 1 SONG:  Who Is She, Anyway? (Episode 32): Okay, so as much as I loathe the episode "The Fan" (which you'll see why in a couple of paragraphs from now), you can't deny that the video for this single was done much better than the song's original use in Episode 16.  At least it makes more sense with Pizzazz trying to gaslight Jem to find out who she really is.

One of the complaints that I had about the Misfits this season was the fact that they had far less songs than Jem and the Holograms.  And unfortunately some of the songs just weren't that great.  My least favourite Misfits song from Season 2 is easily Episode 43's "Star-Spangled Fantasy".  The name of the song is great...but everything else was boring.  The Misfits deserved better.

And, before I go into the episode discussion, I want to commend the music department for featuring songs that were solo efforts or by different characters altogether.  Songs such as "I'm Okay" by Kimber and Stormer, Roxy's "I'm Gonna Change", Laura Holloway's "Alone Again", and Jacqui Benton's "Starlight".  All were decent songs that gave other vocalists a chance to shine.  I wonder if Season 3 will have more of this.  I sure hope so.

And now for the selection of what I think are the best and worst episodes of the second season.  Remember, this are merely my observations.  You can agree or disagree with them all you wish...and you can offer up your own comments if you want.


1. Episode 28 - The Talent Search, Part 2: I thought the two-part season opener was very well done, and it did a great job introducing us to Raya and Jetta.  But what I liked about the second part was the way it all wrapped up.  Raya became a Hologram, Shana stood up to Liz Stratton, Jetta got her hair pulled out by Raya, Eric Raymond had a lamp twisted around his neck by Craig...good times!

2.  Episode 33 - Father's Day:  The fact that two of my liked songs from season two appear in this episode should indicate that I like it very much, if for no other reason that it is a pivotal episode for character development.  We see Kimber mature, we see why there's a feud between Video and Clash, and we understand why Pizzazz turned out the way she did.  It's easily one of the best episodes, but also one of the most heartbreaking.

3.  Episode 34 - The Treasure Hunt: Being a fan of books and literature helped me come to the decision to add this episode to my like list.  And it also shows a good display of teamwork and winning without cheating.  I think Jem shows more integrity than she ever did in any episode by sticking to the rules and not helping Ba Nee, Ashley, and Krissie solve the riddles to the treasure.  Inevitably, the girls had more fun solving it on their own - and they made a new friend in the process!

4.  Episode 39 - Roxy Rumbles:  By the end of this episode, I know I was rooting for Roxy.  One of the reasons I loved Season 2 so much in the first part was because the show really delved into the personalities of the Misfits.  We saw Pizzazz's character unfold in "Father's Day", and we saw Roxy go through the gamut of emotions.  But even though Roxy was left humiliated, she still received a happy ending when Ba Nee believed enough in her to try and help her read.  That beautiful moment was the icing on the cake.

5.  Episode 51 - Out Of The Past:  How could I NOT include this episode in my best of list?  We saw how Synergy was created!  We saw how the girls formed their friendships.  We saw how Starlight Music and Starlight House was created.  And we saw Jerrica smack the crap out of Eric Raymond!  This episode is a winner all around.


1.  Episode 32 - The Fan:  This episode was just cruel to watch, even if you aren't a huge fan of Jem or Jerrica.  For the Misfits to manipulate a rich fan of Jem into building a replica of Starlight Mansion just to drive Jem crazy enough for her to reveal her true identity - that's way too evil even for the Misfits!  Very uncomfortable storyline all around.

2.  Episode 35 - Aztec Enchantment:  I was so bored with this episode that I gave up on it before I finished writing my review.  It was one of those episodes that I SHOULD have liked, given that it was very Raya centered...but its execution was disappointing.

3.  Episode 43 - The Presidential Dilemma:  The bad Korean animation was the first indication that this was going to be a disaster.  The plotline where Jerrica and the President were kidnapped by a man stealing Washington's treasures was even more so.  This episode was the result of what would happen if you took all the synopses for 1980s crime shows and stapled them together into one script.  Awful.

4.  Episode 48 - Journey to Shangri-La:  Yetis.  Poisonous snow briars.  Weird guys dressed in multicoloured clothes.  Music from Shangri-La.  These are things that should probably have NEVER appeared in a Jem episode...and yet here we are.  It's like the writers wrote a Mad Lib instead of a cohesive script.

5.  Episode 49 - Journey Through Time:  The only amusing part of this whole show was Eric getting chased by a dinosaur.  Other than that, it was a script that probably should have gone into a paper shredder.

And with that, Season 2 is now closed.  We've only got twelve episodes left of Jem Reviewed...and the action will resume on March 31st!  Thanks for reading!