This essay was original published at Roxy Reviews and is reprinted here with permission.
The Jem Jam, I & II
SUMMARY: Jem and the Holograms assemble a huge group of rock stars to perform in a special concert, the Jem Jam. The Misfits attempt to sabotage the proceedings. Meanwhile, Starlight girl Ba Nee decides that one of the musicians in the Jam is her lost-lost father.
I think these are some of the weaker episodes of the second season, with some exceptions. The other two-parter of the season, "The Music Awards," is much stronger. However, this is an entertaining romp with Pink Hair and the Misfits.
The writers pay a cheeky tribute to 80's stars here, with animated versions of Tina Turner, Mick Jagger, Madonna, Stevie Wonder and Bruce Springsteen. It's one of the few times that the "real world" is brought into the series. There's a fight sequence with the Holograms taking on a band of skinheads. Krissy gets caught on a water tower again. Techrat plots in his lab. The Starlight girls are used as servants again. Can anyone explain the logic of taking the smallest, most impressionable orphan and making her a bouncer?
These episodes showcase Ba Nee, Ashley and Krissy, three of the Starlight girls. They each have their own songs, and major roles in the story. Not surprising, since they were being turned into dolls by Hasbro.
This story arc starts one of the most important plot points of the series: Ba Nee's search for her father. Up until this point, nothing is said of Ba Nee's background: in fact, in "Starbright," Jerrica says, "Ba Nee is an orphan. We don't know who her parents are." In this episode, we discover that Ba Nee not only remembers her mother, but she has some information on her father, her birthplace and her Vietnamese heritage. In addition, she holds out such hope of finding her father that she grasps any straw that someone holds out to her. In this light, Clash's trick (telling Ba Nee her father is in the lobby, to get rid of her) is unintentionally cruel. Ba Nee's struggle is the only thing of real signifigance in these episodes.
The Misfits are at their unified best in "The Jem Jam," working together. Roxy and Stormer are especially strong in this episode: they team up against Pizzazz, grabbing her by the shoulders and shaking her. Later, they upbraid Eric enough to send him falling into his chair. Eric's scheme to undermine the Jam is a bit lame: he sends the Misfits flying on a laser platform. It's not up to Eric's usual devious behavior.
I Can See Me a Star, Ashley: Spunky Starlight girl Ashley dreams of fronting her own band, Ashley and the Starlights. The video is peppy enough, and it's fun to see the Starlight Girls posing as rock stars.
A Father Should Be, Ba Nee: A sweet, poignant song and video, performed by Starlight orphan Ba Nee. Along with "Something is Missing" from "Father's Day," I think this is one of the most touching pieces about parents in the series. I am told that Ari Gold, the singing voice of Ba Nee, was actually a boy. Who would have guessed?
You May Be a Star, Krissy: Krissy the Starlight girl chews out the nasty Dominic in song. It's not the best of the Starlight girls' songs, but it has a nice beat.
Gimmie a Gimmick, The Misfits: The song is one of the Misfits' less memorable pieces, but the video is adorably playful. Pizzazz plays with puppets, Techrat draws graffitti; Roxy gives Stormer a piggyback ride; Stormer and Roxy have a hair-raising experience; Pizzazz does her Max Headroom imitation. Fun stuff.
Jam All Night Long, JatH: The Jam song, with contributions from all of the animated celebrity. Interesting, with a bassline quite different from normal Holograms music.
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