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Hosted by: Unusual Suspect
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the agony booth

Jem
“Journey Through Time”
Posted on: Jun 8, 2010.
Jem "Journey Through Time" (1988)
Page: 1 2 3

So I stare at the episode file on my computer for a good while, because I’ve got two seasons of Fringe waiting patiently for me to ravage them, but I’ve gotta put it off to watch Jem and her RuPaul-looking glamazons travel through time.

Furious, my inner child bitch-slaps me and calls me an F’ing pansy, and when that doesn’t work, it lures me in like a pedo with chocolate by reminding me of how awesome and cracktastic the show’s theme song is. You know the one: Glamour and glitter, fashion and fame! Da da da, Jem is truly outrageous! Truly, truly, truly outrageous!

I defy you not to sing along.

Inner Child’s plan: Being too lazy to just youtube the damn theme, I will click the file, rock out to the theme song in my underwear, and then just keep watching because it’s playing anyway, and eventually something hilarious will happen to remind me why recapping this show is so damn fun. And for a while, this works.

But then, I click the file and—

What the hell? What the hell is this?



Theme Song: Me and my friends are Jem girls! Jem, Jem is my name!

Oh fuck, fuck, fuck!

I forgot that back in the ‘80s, some bastard got drunk off his ass and ordered whoever controls the music on this show to make a new theme song, one with such a vast lack of awesomeness that my ears spontaneously bleed just to keep the sound from coming in. Ugh, it’s like the Glee version of “Bad Romance”. How did such fail come to exist?

“Me and my friends are Jem girls”? Isn’t it so totally possessive and arrogant to completely reshape your friends’ identities to revolve solely around you, just because you’re the star/main character? They’re their own people, dammit! And they have names! Like Token Black Girl. And Token Asian Girl. Random Add On. And Kimber, the bratty little sister you secretly wish would just die and then die again because dying once isn’t enough!

In fact, what does it even mean to be a “Jem Girl”? Especially for Jem, who is Jem, except for when she’s not, so isn’t it entirely nonsensical and self-serving to refer to herself like that, every bit as if she’d referred to herself in the third person? (But it’s perfectly fine when the Rock does that, because...well, I just like looking at him. Come on, you could bounce a quarter off that.)

And I’m literally two seconds into this episode, and my mind is already being crushed under the weight of my undying She-Hulk raaaaaage.

Theme Song: Once you’re a Jem girl, you’re never the same!

Oh, for sure. Because once you start going to the meetings, the Leader and his “helpers” will start passing out little white paper cups of “love juice”, and pamphlets about how you’re actually an immortal spiritual being who’s forgotten your true nature, but as long as you stay in the family, you’ll be freed of all your pain and receive nothing but unconditional love at all times, until She-nu the Glittering One descends and smites the wicked and takes the outrageous back up to She-Glam Heaven. And if right now you’re thinking that doesn’t sound too bad? You’re already a Jem Girl.

So the producers were either trying to create an army of dead-eyed little girls to crush America (and really, if you’ve noticed Justin Bieber trending on Twitter, you’ll know this is very doable), or they realized that their first theme song didn’t really drive home the “you can be as cool as Jem if you buy the crap we sell you!” message and, in the spirit of consumerism, upped the ante in the creepiest, most tuneless way possible.

Or is this the first theme song? Hmm. Wiki tells me nothing. If so, feel free to ignore all of the above.

Regardless, this song is whack (yes, “whack”, like your momma) and I weep into the Jem dolls I secretly bought off eBay. Then I suck it up and watch the episode.

The article continues after this advertisement...

So we open up at Misfit HQ. And though I expect to see black cloaks, twisty daggers, and ritual circles painted with lamb’s blood, the camera peers inside the building and shows us Eric Raymond instead. Or rather, the back of Eric’s head, and his snazzy, snazzy loafers. You remember Eric, right? Starlight exec, creator of the Misfits, hater of all things Jem, occasional kicker of puppies?

He’s watching an extra from Flashdance report the news, and he’s pissed off because once again the Holograms have proven their superiority by snagging one of the biggest gigs of the year: headlining the World History of Music concert! Because what better way to honour music legends of yore than with lyrics like: “How can I be so unkind? / I’d have to be out of my mind!”

I can already hear Johnny Cash cocking his shotgun.

Eric: Ugh, why does that band get all the breaks?

Because they don’t actively encourage homicide in their music, maybe?

The phone rings. Oh shit, Pizzazz is mad. Eric’s got 24 hours to get the Misfits into the World History of Music concert, or he’ll wake up the next morning hugging a horse’s head under the sheets. Eric keeps his cool, even though he knows Pizzazz is just crazy enough to do it, because he’s got Techrat working on a “device” that might just do the trick.

Given the title of the episode, I think we all know where this is going. I’ll give you a moment to consider the sheer absurdity of Eric’s plan to keep Jem out of the concert. But just a minute. Okay? All laughed out? Okay, good.

Cut to Sparkle Studios. Jem and the Holograms are having a rehearsal and... Oh shit, music time.

The title of this musical interlude is “Rock and Roll is Forever”, which reminds me of that Grease song “Rock ‘n’ Roll is Here to Stay (It Will Never Die)”, and I really wish it didn’t, because this song is lame enough on its own.

So, have you heard? Rock and Roll is shaking up the human race! Jem decides to drive home this point by having Synergy dress the Holograms up in United Nations cosplay outfits, so they can shake their groove thangs on top of national flags while flying through space.

This really shouldn’t surprise anyone.

Side note: I’m not an expert on Scotland, but it looks like Kimber’s wearing Scottish garb but dancing on top of the United Kingdom flag. Wouldn’t the Scottish people take offense at this? I have no clue, really, so you’ll have to let me know.

Side note #2: Wait, isn’t this flag desecration? Aren’t there laws against this? Maybe Eric should just report this music video (I’m assuming this will eventually become a music video) to the proper authorities to have them subsequently arrested/fired/whatever, which would probably take a lot less effort then sending them through... Oh wait, we haven’t gotten to that part yet.

So after they screech “Rock and Roll Forever” five thousand times, Jem decides the song just doesn’t sound right, which I probably could have told her five thousand Rock and Roll Forevers ago.

But since this is a song that’s honouring all of history’s greatest musicians, they’ve gotta do them all justice somehow. Considering that history’s got thousands of great musicians spanning dozens of genres and cultures, Jem’s pretty much asking for the impossible here. Then again, Jem’s hair is pretty impossible too, but it just stays there, defying gravity, and spitting in Newton’s poreless face, so if anyone can make the impossible possible, it’s Jem and her hair products. I’m confused.

Inside the Misfit Van (because they have one, shut up), the music’s sudden seediness tells us that indeed seedy things are currently underway. Techrat, AKA the guy with the left hemisphere of his hair shaved off (or possibly he couldn’t afford the rest of the hairpiece), is typing on a “computer”, which looks a lot like some seventh grader’s science project, but Eric tries to convince the Misfits that this is “the most fantastic machine ever invented.”

Techrat explains the purpose of his fantabulous machine. It is... wait for it... nah, you already know it. He’s gonna send Jem and the Jem Girls back in time! Cue fireworks!

Pizzazz may be soulless, but she’s not brainless. She finds the idea so stupid that she has to refrain herself from spitting on Techrat right then and there. Though, maybe she’d have more respect for him if he didn’t sound like an old lady whose years of nicotine abuse has left her talking through a hole in her neck. That was seriously left field.

So wait, to send the girls back in time, all Techrat has to do is type in “Jem and the Holograms 1781 Vienna”? Even Urkel had to put more work into his gizmos, and that was just to make himself hotter!

Back at the studio, Jem and the Holograms suddenly disappear. And, um, Synergy disappears too. Package deal?

Eric rejoices, because he’s finally gotten rid of those meddling kids and their reality-shaping Glambot forever. And nothing says revenge quite like erasing your enemy’s existence from the timeline.

Okay, let’s take a breath and really think about what we’ve just witnessed. Because, honestly? It makes sense. No, really. Murder is messy, and abduction requires too many parties and factors. Time travel is quick, silent, presumably painless, and leaves no evidence. It’s like the ninja of the metaphysical world. And it’s got plenty of other uses, too! Why, you can go back in time to kill Hitler, or save the Doc from getting his throat cut by that bastard Biff’s great-great granddad! Of course, when you just want to get a rival band out of the way, it might be a bit extreme.

And why 1781 Vienna? If you really wanted to torture them, why wouldn’t you drop them somewhere circa 447, in the vicinity of Attila the Hun, and kind of just let nature run its course? I guess Techrat’s a romantic.

Unfortunately, he’s also a dumbass, because his “fantastic” perfect machine that couldn’t possibly have any adverse effects actually has adverse effects. Some random girl with a powdered wig and a curiously modern accent materializes inside the van.

She’s from the past, and Techrat explains that sending people through time requires a trade-off in mass. Yes, this woman’s body mass equals the body mass of the entire band and Synergy, which means she should be several tons, and dead. More importantly, Techrat basically called her fat. Oh no, you didn’t.

Girl from the Past faints. Even more surprising? The Misfits are sympathetic to her plight. A nice open exposed neck like that, I thought they’d go in for the kill.

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