May 29, 2018
Jem “Journey Through Time” (part 2 of 3)
Back in 1781, Jem and the Jem Girls appear in a fancy mansion, and Jem, who’s now Jerrica, very astutely remarks, “Something very strange is going on here.” Keep in mind, these girls use holograms to glam themselves up and spend their afternoons flying through space on national flags. Strange is relative.
Syngery has ended up in the basement of the mansion, and for some reason, she decides to use her techno power to restore Jerrica to Jem instead of first figuring out what the hell is going on.
The girls look out the window to hear the town crier inform the barren streets of a Mozart performance totally happening at his place tonight BYOB.
Jem’s all like “WTF?” and Synergy’s like “you’re in the past, bitches” and gives them all period costumes to wear. And because this is a safe ‘80s cartoon, they probably won’t go into much detail about the difficulties that the black, Hispanic, and Asian girls are about to face trying to fit in with an 18th century Viennese crowd, time-appropriate attire or no. Speaking of which:
Kimber: Period costumes? Oh, outrageous!
Shut. Up. Kimber.
So some guy with a powdered wig comes in asking for “Costanzia”, but not before unleashing the craziest, girliest, chipmunkiest, most groan-inducing giggle I’ve ever heard in a cartoon that’s actually trying to be relatively serious, and honest to god I just want to punch this jackass in the face. No really, I want to kick him until he bleeds.
And why am I suddenly reminded of Rio? Where is Rio?
Turns out our manic little pixie is Mozart, which would explain the annoying laugh, I guess. After learning that the girls are musicians, Mozart insists they hear his music. He prances off before they can answer, but it’s not like they’re complaining, because they’re all too busy admiring his fine, historical ass.
He begins to play a sonata you’re heard before, but probably do not know the name of, and then he decides it’s shit and promptly dissolves into a mass of man-tears.
It turns out he’s afraid that his rival Salieri will have him killed the moment he walks out his front door. And because the Holograms can totally relate, one (Aja, the Asian one) begins talking him down and rubbing his head in a really gross and inappropriate way. And he’s enjoying it.
Mozart: You may call me… Wolfy. [manic laughter]
God, I never realized how dirty these cartoons are.
The girls promise to distract Salieri’s men while Wolfy gets to the concert, and because this is a children’s show, I’m guessing no flashing will be involved, though you know these girls would totally do it. Dude, Aja’s kissing him on the head? Inappropriate adult themes!
So Synergy uses a hologram to turn Shana, the black girl, into Mozart, and you know she hates it, but if she’s anything like me, she’d just roll with it, because if I were stuck in 18th century Vienna, I’d want a giant hologram-making machine to turn me into the two things that I am not: white and a guy. It’s just safer that way.
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Outside, the 18th century thugs look very threatening in their petticoats as they attempt to snag Mozart.
Wait, why is Jem pretending to be Mozart’s sister? Is she deliberately trying to unravel the fabric of space-time? Regardless, the thugs force the group into their carriage, “if [they] know what’s good for [them]”.
Handsomely Dressed Thug #1: Mozart will never play that concert now!
It’s just too bad long, twirly black moustaches weren’t in style back then. And if they were, these thugs should have really done their research and adjusted accordingly. They ride off, and the real Mozart sneaks out. But the clock is ticking!
At the concert hall, Salieri, who looks like the kind of guy who’d strangle your pet bird and put it back in the cage just to make sure you’ll eventually find its mangled little body, stands in front of the archbishop and lies to his face about Mozart not showing up because he’s an irresponsible dick.
Luckily, it just so happens he’s ready to fill Mozart’s spot, and he’s even got his own sonata prepared. The bastard! Though I’d like to think of him as more of a go-getter.
And while I’m sure music students out there will decry Salieri’s representation as a one-dimensional and overly simplistic villain, I unfortunately do not possess the knowledge to judge the accuracy of any musical historical figure’s characterization within an ‘80s cartoon. So I’ll just move on. Feel free to discuss amongst yourselves.
Salieri’s plans are dashed when manic laughter signals Wolfy’s arrival. He literally slides onto the stage, cliché cartoon skidding noise and all, much to the delight of the crowd.
As the guards come (with axes [!]) to take Salieri away, Mozart plays his new joint. Meanwhile, out on the road, Jem gets Synergy to create a band of thugs on horses to scare their kidnappers, so she and the girls can get the hell out there. The real thugs see the fake thugs, and instantly flee. They just don’t make ‘em like they used to.
Cut to Mozart, who finishes his sonata, looks into the crowd, and… oh hey, there are the girls! Front row center, five seats all together, because audiences in 18th century Vienna often liked to leave huge gaps between them just in case girl groups from the future showed up and needed a good view of their newly whipped musical genius boytoys.
But the jig is up! Synergy’s mojo wanes, and the girls transform back into their ‘80s selves. The crowd immediately pegs them for witches (seriously), and as they grab their pitchforks and torches, Mozart begs them to stop, because how in the hell is he going to get his post-show booty if they burn his courtesan groupies at the stake?
Angry Crowd: Stone them! Stone the witches to death!
It’s gotta be the hair.
Back in the present, it turns out Girl from the Past is Wolfy’s fiancée, who they send back in exchange for… I’m assuming these are American soldiers. And guess where they just came from? World War II London! Enjoy the blitzkrieg, ladies.
The girls shimmer out of 1871 Vienna and land in a 1944 London alleyway. There, they check out a poster on the wall. The “Ben Tiller Orchestra”, who according to Jem is the greatest band of the Swing Era, is playing tonight! Costume change! Moooon Cosmiiiiic Power! Make! Up!
Coincidentally, some strapping young horn players walk by who just happen to be members of the Ben Tiller Orchestra. They invite the girls to come watch their rehearsal. One of them says, “I can’t wait to spring you on Ben,” and I swear to god I heard that as, “I can’t wait to spring you on bed,” which you must admit makes more sense. Judging by the sheer amount of Hologram flirting, it’s obvious Jem’s plan for appreciating world history music is to sleep with every hot musician in every major time period. See? Being a Jem Girl is fun.