So, about a month ago, my favorite cartoon was released in its entirety on DVD. That cartoon would be Jem and the Holograms. Yes, I am a grown up, but who cares? I still love it, and, as I've been re-watching these episodes, I've realized how complex and interesting this show was. It seems as though they really planned on keeping their fan base well into adulthood. I can say they did a wonderful job. And you can certainly see that there is, in fact, an art to slipping in "adult" subject things that will go over the heads of children. Hopefully. Yeah, that happens a lot in this show.
This cartoon tells the adventures of the band the Holograms, led by Jem, who is in actuality also their manager, Jerrica Benton, and consisting of Kimber, Jerrica's little sister, Aja, Shana and eventually Raya. With the whole Jem/Jerrica thing, you may be thinking Hannah Montana style, but go further. The persona of Jem is created by a hologram projected onto Jerrica, with the help of Synergy, an anthropomorphic computer created by her dad, which could project all kinds of holograms, and that often came in handy to get them out of certain situations. See what I mean about things being too tricky for the kids to get? Even now, I am thinking to myself that this whole thing was very complicated. But, hey, it was the 80's, the time of excess, even in our own imaginations. Anyway, besides that aspect, we are also entertained by their rivals, the Misfits, whose members include Pizzazz, Roxy, Stormer, and eventually Jetta (not their real names) and their manager Eric Raymond, who, when you think of all the shenanigans/vicious crimes they committed, should probably have been in jail for the majority of the series. Then, we had several orphans, known as the Starlight Girls, of whom Jerrica took care. Okay, I don't like to say mean things about orphans, even hand-drawn ones, but sometimes they were written as these total brats. I cannot stand that, but I'd say the good outweighed the bad enough. And, of course, there is Jerrica's technically two-timing, yet still lovable (apparently) boyfriend, Rio. Remember, girls, just because your man is cheating on you with yourself, doesn't mean it's not cheating, especially if he doesn't know the other person is also you. Okay, you really had to have to seen the show to understand that. And we also got a myriad of other characters. to whom I will probably refer in this post.
Now that you know what's up, I'll share with you my favorite episodes of this great show, since that is the task at hand today. Again, this list is best for people who know the show and the characters, but read it, whoever you are. It may pique your curiosity.
#10. "The Rock Fashion Book" - Jem and the Holograms are asked to do, you guessed it, a rock fashion book. And, you guessed it again, the Misfits try to sabotage it. Or, you know, almost straight up murder them. Not that they'll go to jail for it. Anyway, I'm guessing that this episode is probably why I watch America's Next Top Model. Although, no one on that show ever got nearly forced off a cliff by a swarm of bats. I think. That would be wild to see, though.
#9. "The Jem Jam" - Here we have one of quite a few two-episodes. Here, Jem stages a huge concert with the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Madonna, Tina Turner, Mick Jagger and Stevie Wonder, albeit with different names again, of course. Because...copyright? And we also get to hear some of the Starlight girls sing. Why the heck not? Also, this is also the FIRST time little Ba Nee, one of said Starlight girls, pulls a "Who's my Daddy?" And in order to make the guy she thinks is her dad prove his love, what does she do? I'll just say it involves bears at the zoo. It's called The Maury Povich Show, kid. Look into it. Oh, and a little heads up to all the guys with red hair out there, if she hasn't already, Ba Nee will most assuredly, at some point, assume that you are her father. It's a character trait of hers. Just a warning.
#8. "The Stingers Hit Town" - Another two-parter where we are introduced to one of the most egotistical and hottest characters ever drawn, Riot. Yeah, I had a crush on a cartoon character. So what? I actually think this guy is why I ended having a thing for Sawyer on Lost. Anyway, Riot is the lead singer of a new band, the Stingers, which also includes Minx and Rapture (again, not their real names). Pizzazz falls for him, he falls for Jem and they both refuse to get back up. Mayhem ensues, and it lasts far beyond this episode. And yes, The Stingers do wear a crap load of black and yellow, because...get it? GET IT?! Okay, maybe some of this show didn't go over the kids' heads.
#7. "A Father Should Be. . ." - The final episode, which should have made me sad. It kind of did, but it also gave me permission to criticize a little orphan girl. Again. Good times. The story here features the aforementioned Ba Nee, who still desperately wants to find her father. Sympathetic enough. But she actually uttered the phrase, "Everybody has a father but me!" Hello?!?!? You live in an orphanage! I'm pretty sure that's not true! But, still, this was a fitting and heartfelt finale.
#6. "The Treasure Hunt" - I won't give away too much here, but, let me just say, this episode makes sure that people know how valuable books are . . . especially if they're first editions. I love when television tells us that.
#5. "Hollywood Jem" - And yet another two part episode in which Jem is nominated for an Academy Award. Oh, no, not for a song she wrote. That would be too easy. Plus, Kimber writes the songs, so... No, she got an actress nomination. Hey, I'll buy that. This is the same decade where Pia Zadora won a Golden Globe for the same role she also earned a Razzie. Anyway, the best parts of this episode have to be all the "celebrities" who showed up. Ya know, like the "celebrities" who showed up for "The Jem Jam". Examples: Meryl Saint, Michael J. Badger and, my personal favorite, Flint Westwood. Yeah, that's right. He looked pretty darn good in cartoon form. And, thank you, show, for not beating to death a joke involving the infamous "Go ahead, make my day" line. Oh, wait. There are also these other plots of Jem making a new movie, and Kimber having trouble deciding between two guys, but then agreeing to marry one of them. So, anyway, does Jem win the Academy Award? Does her new movie get made without incident? Does Kimber go through with her wedding? Guess you'll have to watch.
#4. "Out Of the Past" - Okay, we're gonna call this a big tear-jerker episode. It still hits me right in the feels, even to this day. It's all about the Holograms finding the diary of Emmett Benton, Jerrica's and Kimber's dad, which leads us to getting a ton of backstory on the characters and finding out about their mother as well and her own music. They start a quest of sorts to track down that music and that, in turn, provides us with some seriously emotional scenes. Good times. Also, I need a tissue.
#3. "The Day The Music Died" - No, not THAT day the music died. Calm down. Where do I begin with this episode? Well, first, there's a lot of fourth wall breaking. A LOT! Right from the opening theme song. No bull crap! Basically, all the bands implode and then reassemble as something of a super-group. And all of this because my beloved Riot has to get his way. But come on. Look at him. Look at that face. He clearly deserves to get everything he wants. But perhaps not in such an untoward manner. Just a little life advice there.
#2. "Britrock" - Explosions, foxhunts, poor folks pretending to be rich, and cutely drawn boys with British accents. This episode really has it all.
#1. "Riot's Hope" - And here we have an episode centered around my animated future husband, Riot, whose real name is Rory Llewelyn, by the way. I bring that up because here we find out his back story, including his major conflicts with his strict father, his loving relationship with his sympathetic mother, and his struggles to make it as a musician. It all makes his somewhat jerky behavior seem forgivable. I guess having daddy issues can cover a multitude of sins. So can having awesome hair. Good for you, Riot, you have both.
And there they are. My Jem Top Ten. This should make people nostalgic or eager to be a first time watcher. If you don't wanna get the DVDs, there are other ways to watch it. Either way, it's Truly Outrageous! Yeah, I said it.
Love and full moons,
Becky the Writer