Episode 6 – Starbright Part 1: Falling Star

jerricaparty

Last episode, Jem and the Holograms won the Battle of the Bands to keep the mansion as their foster home, and a movie contract. Now Mr Sands the movie producer is holding a huge, fancy party for them to celebrate. At least that’s what the recap at the beginning says, but I’m confused because actually it seems like Mr Sands is doing screw all, and Jerrica is throwing the party and because she doesn’t have the money to hire proper staff, the girls from Starlight Mansion are helping out with food and serving. On top of that, she has to keep changing from Jerrica into Jem all the time.

jerrica&rioRio takes Jerrica away from the party, telling her she needs to chillax. Again Jerrica tries to get Rio’s opinion on Jem and Rio says “She makes the air sizzle, like some bright and dazzling dream”. Dude, that’s your girlfriend you’re talking to! Then he says he likes Jerrica because she’s so dependable and comfortable to be with. In other words ‘you’re boring as fuck’. I can’t really sympathize that much with Jerrica though, she’s brought it on herself.

pizzazztantrumRoxy and Stormer find out that Pizzazz and her family are actually Richie Rich style loaded. Pizzazz is still SO sour about not winning, and Roxy says that if she were so flush with cash, she’d make her own movie. Pizzazz sucks up to her dad and tells him to buy the movie studio (and have Eric run it). Jem and the girls show up to find the movie studio has been sold, the script changed, Eric running the show and The Misfits now in the movie. Eric announces that this movie will make the Misfits the hottest stars in Hollywood, but he announces it with such over the top menace, it’s like a Bond villain times a million. In general Eric rages around the set as though he’s Azealia Banks on Twitter.

ClashA character called Vivian (or Video as she’s known most of the time, because people having normal names is just weird in Jem universe) is filming a documentary about Jem. But there’s also her troublemaking cousin called Clash who has these monkey cymbals attached to each wrist. She fawns all over The Misfits and is basically a dumb, irritating nuisance. The director tries to order Clash off set, but ends up walking off himself after an argument with Eric. At which point Eric says he’ll direct the movie himself. Having recently read the amazing ‘The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside The Room’ by Greg Sestero, I can see shades of Tommy Wiseau in Eric-as-director here.

nickmannJeff Wright, the stunt guy on the movie tries hitting on Kimber, but she’s more interested in Nick Mann, a massive walking penis who looks like a big, dumb, boring Ken doll. He absolutely loves himself and is all about Jem, pissing off both Kimber and Rio. Rio tries punching him after Jem and Nick film a kissing scene. Jesus, Jem sure know how to pick ’em!

Reporters cogaborsandsme to the set and are all up in Jem’s business, straight out asking her if she’s banging her leading man. Eric goes to talk to Kimber. Whenever he has a one-on-one conversation with her, he’s so slimy! He sees how much she likes Nick, and offers her her own scene with him.

Mr Sands approaches Pizzazz’s father to complain but Mr Gabor is more interested in keeping his daughter out of his hair no matter how much money it costs him. It always seems to be that bad behaviour from women can be explained by having a lack of a father figure

jempizzazzcatfight

Catfight!

Jem reaches the end of her tether when the Holograms song is cut for a song by the Misfits. There’s a hilariously campy squabble between Pizzazz and Jem, in which Jem says “You’re a falling star!” Is that really supposed to be insulting? Playground comments are typically more vicious than that. Jem finally quits after this, which is probably a good decision seeing as though one of the reporters pointed out to Eric that he’s never directed a film.

Unfortunately for Jerrica though, one of the Starlight Mansion orphans has a degenerative eye condition that needs to be treated. Where oh where is she possibly going to get the cash from…?

Read the next episode summary Starbright Part 2: Colliding Stars!

Episode 5 – Battle of the Bands

detectivejem

An early example of computer rage

In the last episode, a private detective that Eric had hired to stalk Jerrica and the girls discovered Synergy, and was so freaked out, he started smashing her up with a nearby chair. I thought private detectives were supposed to be hardened tough guys. How about pulling it together, moustache! Synergy sends a distress signal to Jerrica and the girls return to find that clever Synergy was just projecting a hologram to make it seem as it the detective had smashed her up.

The detective reports back to Eric along with pictures of Synergy and comes to the conclusion that Jem and Jerrica are the same person. See, it’s so easy to figure out! Although he doesn’t seem to know what Synergy is or does, and in any case, Eric dismisses his suggestion.

ashleyandmisfitsAfter she found out that the Misfits were complete A*holes to her, Ashley goes to throw the money they gave her back in their faces. Eric then finds out who she is and decides to kidnap her. Actually, it doesn’t seem like she’s really being kidnapped, she’s never really tied up or threatened or anything, but I guess showing a child in restraints would kind of alienate your target 8-12 year old audience (and their parents). Eric calls Jerrica and tells her that they have Ashley and that if they want to see her again, Jem and the others must go to the Starlight Drive In.

jerricaashleyIt’s also the day of the Battle of the Bands, where The Misfits and Jem are set to compete and the Misfits are already at the venue with Eric, and Ashley. Ooh around about here we see a lingering shot of some sort of box crusher… I’ll give you three guesses as to how that features later on in the plot.

ashleyboxEric tells the Misfits to ‘take care of’ Ashley. I’m pretty sure he means just watch her, and not take care of her in a Mafia style way, but then he did kidnap her and also have a bomb planted at Starlight House so I guess anything goes. Pizzazz and Roxy then chase Ashley around the room and place her in an open box that is lying around to hold her while they are performing. After she kind of bonded with Ashley last episode, Stormer feels bad about this, but she doesn’t have the balls to stand up to Roxy and Pizzazz and I guess she figures Ashley will be ok for half an hour or so.

Jem and the other girls go to the drive in, where Eric and his henchmen are waiting to capture them.

At the Battle of the Bands, Eric totally rubs it in Rio’s face that Jem might not be there in time. That’s when the box carrying Ashley goes past them on its way to the crusher. Rio grabs the box just in time to rescue Ashley, and she tells him where to find Jem and the Holograms.

Jem uses Synergy to project various holograms to confuse the captors and escape.

jerricaanderic

Zap! Pow!

They make it back to the Battle of the Bands and perform ‘Music is Magic’. There’s a really high note at the end which Britta Phillips (the singing voice of Jem) just about pulls off. Of course Jem and the Holograms win, and now they have back Starlight Music and also the mansion and the movie contract. Jerrica and Rio go to Starlight Music and find Eric still creeping around, claiming he’s picking up personal possessions. Then as he leaves he slaps Jerrica. What’s with this show and casual assault? I mean, I know cartoons often have violence in them but they’re usually so overdone and often of the back of characters chasing or fighting each other (i.e. X-Men or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles).

Despite casual violence, kidnapping, and possibly death-by-crusher, this was actually one of the most boring episodes to review and summarize. It’s also the first not to feature some sort of cliffhanger than means you have to watch the next one, so my guess is the writers were getting a little bit tired of doing those at this point. Don’t worry though – the next episode returns to full on craziness and guaranteed cliffhangers for at least 3 more episodes!

Read the next episode summary Starbright Part 1: Falling Star!

Episode 4 – Frame Up

 

Rio & jem and the holograms episode 4

Last episode, Lin-Z’s studio was on fire and Jem was about to be crushed by flaming studio lights. Even though the show they’re on looks like a low-budget music chat show, they have cranes that can carry cameras and studio staff around so Rio uses this to rescue Jem. Jem is so overwhelmed by this drama she needs to be taken to Lin-Z’s dressing room by Rio, where they end up kissing and are interrupted by Aja. Even Jerrica herself knows how ridiculous this is getting, saying “Rio is very proud. How can I tell him the truth without making him feel I’ve made a fool of him?” Hey girl, fyi – a healthy relationship doesn’t include lying to your boyfriend and then putting off telling him the truth for months.

the misfits jem and the holograms episode 4A concert promoter from Las Vegas books JATH to play a show. When they find out that the Misfits are the openers, they’re slightly worried, but then laugh their asses off about it! The Misfits are predictably enraged and plan to use Ashley to prevent JATH from playing, so that they can play the whole show instead. They fly Ashley to Las Vegas with them and get Ashley to catch Aja’s attention. Aja chases Ashley into the hold of a bus and the Misfits help Ashley escape, while locking Aja in.

Aja escapes the bus though and makes it back in time for the performance.

Pizzazz is pissed OFF at Ashley for no reason whatsoever. She and Roxy openly bitch about her as Ashley eavesdrops, and Stormer weakly tries to defend Ashley. I love Stormer. Not only because she has kick-ass hair and fashion sense, but also because she’s the one member of the Misfits troupe who seems capable of being a decent person. stomer and ashley jem and the holograms episode 4

Eric has another idea to prevent Jem playing. He phones Pizzazz to let her know the police will be searching the casino, and tells her to be sure they search Jem’s room.

Stormer goes for a walk, discovers a terrified Ashley, and promises she won’t hurt her. While they are hiding together from Roxy and Pizzazz, they see Zipper and a few more of Eric’s hired goons rob the casino and plant the cash in Jem’s room.

Ok, so I know this was the 80’s, before high-tech security but still, it is remarkable easy to rob this casino. There’s one door and Zipper puts on some kind of knuckle duster and punches through the chain like he’s friggin’ Chuck Norris.

casinosecurity

Very high tech 80’s casino security

The police arrive immediately, the money is found in Jem’s room (in a JEM branded bag, which might as well have also had red herrings plastered all over it) and Jem is arrested! She protests that she was performing and the detective replies “The thieves were men, but you might be their accomplice”. Sorry, what? How does he know they were even men? Would women not be capable of getting through a flimsy chained padlocked door?

Ashley runs up and explains what really happened. When Roxy scoffs that she can’t be more than 12, Ashley bites back “I’m THIRTEEN!” In your FACE, Roxy!

stormer discuise costume jem and the holograms

Stormer in disguise

As if it couldn’t get more ridiculous, Stormer wanders in, dressed as some sort of purple phantom of the opera and using a low, gravelly ‘Batman’ voice, backs up Ashley’s story, but says she has to speak to the detective in private. But instead of telling her that that is not going to happen, he goes along with it! Apparently, she can ‘prove’ it’s not Jem. How exactly? Not a clue. It’s just conveniently wrapped up and Jem is free to go.

Eric suggests a new approach in taking down JATH and suggests that Jem is a stage name. There’s a hilarious bit where he reveals Pizzazz’s real name (Phyllis) and she looks like she’s about to start trashing the room, screeching “Don’t EVER call me that!” Eric hires a private detective to follow JATH to the fashion show they’re about to perform in (because yeah, they’re also models now, despite not really having released any albums or anything so far). The Misfits can’t help themselves from screwing things up, so they go too and set off the sprinklers. How is this helping them exactly? Maybe if they spent a bit more time on their music, and less time acting like Scooby Doo villains, they wouldn’t be such bitter hags.

The private detective follows the band to Synergy’s hideout and – oh NO! – sees them drive the roadster through the hologram wall. The detective goes through the wall and Synergy starts going nuts. In a panic, the detective starts acting just as mental and begins smashing up Synergy with a chair. Cliffhanger time!!

Read the next episode summary Battle of the Bands!

Episode 3 – Kimber’s Rebellion

 

The misfits jem and the holograms episode 3

The Misfits making a getaway: “Adios, bitches!”

So in the cliffhanger from episode 2, an oil tanker is about to hit the yacht that Jem and the Holograms are aboard. Of course, they’re fine! Jem almost falls off and Rio has to drag her back aboard, at which point she tries to kiss him. Why is she messing with his head like this? I don’t get it.

Hanging out with fancy rich people gives the group access to all the resources they need to make a music video to beat the Misfits in the contest, and they get sent to Paris. Eric Raymond also sends his goon ‘Zipper’ to sabotage the video any way he can.

rio and kimber jem and the holograms episode 3In Paris, Kimber starts getting jealous about all the attention Jem receives and walks off in a strop. We see Zipper about to jump Kimber and… I don’t know, kidnap her? We’ll never know because Rio chases after her and really sticks it to her and tells her to stop acting like a spoilt brat. She’s about to reveal Jem’s secret when Aja and Shana stop her. Honestly, I’m totally on her side when she says “Rio has a right to know”.

Zipper instead goes to up to a building and crowbars a gargoyle off the roof to fall onto the group. Everyone knows there are stone gargoyle statues on every Parisian rooftop that are just waiting to be pushed off! Rio saves Jem, and yet again she’s freaking all over him!

Meanwhile, Ashley, the kid from Starlight Mansion who tried to steal from the house decides she’s had enough and goes to see the Misfits instead. There’s a bouncer on the door of the club who really dates this series by saying “Huh, you’re a friend of the Misfits? Yeah and I’m Duran Duran!”. The Misfits decide to take her in and school Ashley in the art of being a badass, which apparently consists of never asking, only taking.

Falling in love with another woman is obviously taking its toll on Rio because at the airport when Jem has to rush off (to change back into Jerrica), he gets all depressed and takes off. Jerrica is really surprised. She’s not really the sharpest tool in the shed, is she? But I guess Rio matches her in the brains department there.

kimber and eric jem and the holograms episode 3

“I have VERY serious personal space issues, Eric”

The Misfits have been busy promoting themselves while the Holograms have been away and Kimber confronts Eric Raymond about them and their manipulative tactics. He’s super sleazy and creepy, caressing her face and telling her that she’s the real star, not Jem and offers her a solo contract.

When Kimber finds out that only Jem will be interviewed on a music show, she loses her shit and surprise, surprise… storms off! Jerrica manages to get the whole band on the show, but needs Kimber to be there in one hour. This was before mobile phones so she has to go to the studios of Kimber’s favourite station to send her a message.

I just love it when US shows have awful British accents and they obviously took the inspiration of Dick Van Dyke from Mary Poppins for the radio DJ.

the Lin-Z Show jem and the hologramsKimber comes back, and they all go to the Lin-Z Pierce show together. With Ashley’s help, the Misfits crash the show and are so obnoxious they get kicked out. And Pizzazz actually SLAPS Lin-Z across the face whilst saying “Your show doesn’t have enough class for us anyway”. Watching this as a 7 year old I didn’t realize just how much of a psycho-bitch Pizzazz really was.

Oh and Pizzazz also manages to shove Rio so hard that he falls into some electrical equipment that is clearly faulty and suddenly the whole studio is on fire, and Jem needs to be saved again. Hmmm, I wonder if she’ll try kissing Rio again once it’s all over…

Read the next episode summary Frame Up.

Episode 2 – Disaster

Quick recap – At the end of Episode 1, Eric Raymond sent a henchman to go and put the frighteners on Jerrica, which startles Kimber into dropping an oil lamp, and Starlight House is burnt to the ground.

But wait! Also last episode, there was the convenient mention of a contest to see which band could win a studio contract and a mansion, and Jerrica announces that there’s a house “just waiting for us”. Uhh, isn’t she a little over confident, I mean, how have the group managed to find time to come up with songs, and to practice playing together? Do you really just launch into it like that?

So anyway, they decide to go to the movie producers house an just put on a concert on his front lawn, at what seems to be about 8am in the morning. Yes, solid plan.

the misfits jem and the holograms episode 2Pizzazz and the Misfits come over to ogle the damage to the house – wow, real nice – and also to have some fun tailgating the Holograms in their van. It’s often fun to watch Pizzazz being an unrepentant bitch. When Stormer announces “they’ve seen us!” Pizzaz is all like, “Good, I could use some action”. Haha!

Luckily though, Jerrica has her new secret weapon – Synergy – who can throw the Misfits off their trail. Synergy disguises them as a big trash bin, but the Misfits spot Rio and start following him instead. They follow him to Mr Sands house where Jem and the Holograms launch into “Like a Dream”. Not one of my favourite songs, but it’s ok.

Afterwards they ask Mr Sands if they can use the mansion until the contest has been decided, and he takes pity on them. But the Misfits are just itching for a punch up. Pizzazz pushes Mr Sands into the pool, Roxy hops onto a bulldozer that just happens to be lying around, and then loses control of it, sending it heading straight for Jerrica. Rio swoops in and saves Jerrica.

Instead of cancelling the contest because the Misfits are clearly deranged, Mr Sands tells Jerrica that she and the girls can live there, but IF the Misfits win the competition, they’re out! At least Eric Raymond has the good sense to tell Pizzazz and the gang that they need to stop acting like complete dicks. But hold on, Eric then hires his goon to try and blow up the mansion. Talk about pots and kettles.

Mr Sands has some French or European countess or whatever also wander over to the house and invite the band to her yacht party. The Misfits try to get themselves invited but of course get snubbed.

Romance time! The girls meet Lin-Z Pierce, host of a popular music show who introduces the group to Anthony Julian, a video director. He’s black, and it really seems like he gets paired up with Shana, because of course, if there’s a single, hetero man and woman of the same race on a TV show, obviously they’ll get together.

jem and rio episode 2

Jerrica, what the hell are you doing?

Ok, now it starts getting weird. When Rio says he wishes Jerrica were there, Jerrica (as Jem) starts coming on to Rio, and asking if he likes her. In fact, as far as I know, it is never really explained why Jerrica has to keep it a secret that she’s Jem at all. Is Jerrica using her Jem identity to test if Rio is faithful or not? What’s going to happen if the public find out she’s Jem? Who gives a shit?

yacht party jem and the holograms episode 2

 

The Misfits just can’t deal with rejection, and so crash the party anyway, which gives them the perfect pretense to launch into the song ‘Makin’ Mischief’. They wander into the bridge of the yacht where Roxy goads Pizzazz into driving the boat. Naturally, Pizzazz can’t drive for shit, which means another cliffhanger ending as the yacht goes on a collision course for an oil tanker….

Read the next episode summary Kimber’s Rebellion.

 

Episode 1 – The Beginning

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Ha, I only just noticed the scrunchy on her wrist!

To launch the series, we meet Jerrica Benton, aka Jem, and her popstar group the Holograms – Aja (blue hair -guitar player), Shana (purple hair – drummer) and Kimber (red hair – keyboards, also Jerrica’s younger sister). Surrounded by adoring press, she drifts off into dreamy land to tell us how it all began.

 

Jerrica and Kimber’s father has suddenly passed away, leaving Jerrica looking after a home for foster girls and his music company Starlight Music. But wait, uh oh, Eric Raymond, who judging by his fashion sense has watched Scarface too many times (check out that wide shirt collar!), tells her to suck it when she asks for money to help with supporting the foster home.

Eric Raymond, channelling Scarface aka Tony Montana

Eric Raymond, channelling Scarface aka Tony Montana

No, he has bigger plans – like making Starlight Music the most powerful music company in the country, with help of the bitch parade, uhhh The Misfits, who literally roll up on the weirdest guitar shaped bikes. Frontwoman Pizzazz is the yellow/green haired one, Stormer with the blue hair and Roxy with the white hair.

Pizzazz takes an instant dislike to Jerrica and to show her she means business, launches into song (that probably would scare the bejesus out of someone). Seriously though, ‘Outta My Way’ is the best song of this episode, instantly catchy, and far better than what Jem comes up with in this one.

Nothing screams "badass", more than pink guitar-shaped motorcycles

Nothing screams “badass”, more than pink guitar-shaped motorcycles

Back at Starlight House, Jerrica has a present of pink earrings, and when she puts them on, a ghostly figure called Synergy appears. No one seems even a little freaked out by this, just mildly surprised.

Anyway, it turns out that Jerrica’s dad had been hiding his invention of a hologram machine, along with a car, instruments and other cool stuff – also side note, Synergy shows them a room which is supposed to be full of amazing outfits, but to me they looked like the fugliest things ever!

A wardrobe full of Flash Gordon costume rejects? Thanks Synergy!

A wardrobe full of Flash Gordon costume rejects? Thanks Synergy!

At this point it’s somehow decided that the girls should form a pop group of their own. But there is absolutely NO mention of why Jerrica should be ‘Jem’ and no one but the girls should know she’s really Jerrica. None whatsoever. But this non-existent reasoning then holds up the entire show! You’d think they could have come up with something, seeing as it’s such a crucial detail.

Anyway, so Jem and the Holograms go up against the misfits in a Battle of the Bands (which has been rigged for the Misfits to win) and of course they win, and that prompts Eric to throw down a challenge to see who is the better band, with the winner getting control of Starlight Music, a huge mansion and a studio contract. Jerrica doesn’t stop to think for a minute that this may be a really dumb idea to lose the only asset she really has.

Eric hires someone to ‘scare’ Jerrica to stop Jem competing. Meanwhile, Jerrica’s boyf Rio offers to stay the night – but they need to make it kid friendly, so he says “I could sleep on the sofa”. But Jerrica shuts that down pronto. You know, I’m beginning to realise why Rio is so cranky all the time.

Because the girls of Starlight House are so poor, they need candles and actual old-fashioned oil lanterns to light the place. So the henchman startles Kimber into dropping the lantern, leaving a cliffhanger ending!

Other things:

  • The moral ‘teachable moment’ of the episode when one of the foster girls, Ashley, tries to steal money from the other foster girls who are saving for a new fridge. Actually to be honest, the solution Jerrica comes up with is pretty good, instead of kicking the girl out, she gets everyone else to decide a fair punishment.
  • The name ‘Jem’ is already on the car given by Synergy. So did Jerrica’s dad plan all along for his daughter to be a pop star named Jem? It’s never really mentioned. Considering this episode is supposed to explain how it all began, this bit is pretty lame.

Read about the next episode – Disaster!