Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Jem: "Mardi Gras"

Premiered November 4, 1987.

Jem (Samantha Newark) and her rock band the Holograms have been booked to perform at New Orleans' annual Mardi Gras festivities.  

They learn that they have been chosen to wear jewelry owned by legendary NOLA pirate Jean Lafitte that haven't been seen since 1814.   He intended to give the jewels to legendary singer Lily LaRose, his unrequited love.    

The band meets their local contact Pierre L'Arquette.  He is quickly smitten with Holograms' bassist Shana (Cindy McGee), but she informs him that she already has a boyfriend.  

Shana is also accosted by a mysterious old woman known as Mama Lou who warns her to "Beware of zombies on Fat Tuesday!"  

When Jem and friends arrive at Maison Fleur, an old mansion where they will stay.  They meet their hostess Mademoiselle Yvette and her butler Maurice, and are told the story of Lafitte's forbidden love affair with Lily LaRose.  It turns out that  Lily happens to bear a striking resemblance to Shana!  Moreover,  Lafitte's ghost is said to haunt the area, protecting the jewels. 

The Holograms' rival band the Misfits are also in New Orleans and are scheming to take the glory and the jewels with the help of a group called the Zomboys!  

Will Lafitte's ghost show up?   Will Jem and the Holograms get to perform or will the Misfits steal their thunder?  

RigbyMel says :

I remember watching the Jem cartoon show intermittently during the 1980s, but definitely did not remember that there was a Mardi Gras themed episode!   

The plot of this episode is mainly an excuse to string together some tropes relating to the celebration of Mardi Gras in NOLA -- but in family friendly fashion (no women exposing themselves to get beads tossed from parade floats here -- although, I wouldn't put it past the Misfits.)    We get a riverboat cruise, music, masks, floats, costumes, parades, cod French-Cajun-ish accents, stories of pirates, ghosts and a creepy old house for good measure.  

They missed out on opportunities to include alligators and/or swamp boats, but as it's only a 22 minute episode,  I guess they didn't want to over-do it.  

As was typical of the series (and as it's appropriate for Mardi Gras),  we get several songs.   The Holograms sing 2 songs  "Let Me Take You To The Mardi Gras" and "Everybody Wears A Mask" while the Misfits sing "Surprise, Surprise" while wrecking havoc on a street car.    The songs are kind of laughably silly 1980s artifacts,  but are also ear worms, so beware if you watch this one.  

Overall, the episode is ... not great, but it probably did serve as an introduction to Mardi Gras for some children of the 1980s, which is worthwhile, I suppose. 

RigbyMel's rating:

2 king cakes

J.A. Morris says:
I don't have a lot to add here, this is a silly episode but I thought it was entertaining.

I wouldn't call this episode "educational," I appreciated the inclusion of Jean Lafitte, who was a real-life pirate who fought in the Battle Of New Orleans.  There's even a line that mentions that Lafitte was a slave trader, so it doesn't sugar-coat his history.

There aren't many Mardi Gras-themed episodes or specials out there, so I'll give this one some credit for originality.

"Mardi Gras" isn't a classic, but if you're in the mood for some clean entertainment on Fat Tuesday, it's an 80s-tastic way to entertain yourself for a little while.

J.A. Morris' rating:

2 and a half king cakes.

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