Thursday, August 4, 2011

Why aren't you watching?! Jem and the Holograms

A long time ago, in the 80's, there was a wonderful world of cartoons on television. There was always an interesting cast of characters on any given show. Plotlines to these shows were all over the place. Sometimes storylines would just be so ridiculous you had to wonder if the creators were high on anything.

An exciting thing about older cartoons was that everything was watchable. Cartoons that were aimed at boys could just as easily have been aimed at girls. I loved He-Man and the Real and Faux Ghostbusters. Those were fun cartoons and of course the Masters of the Universe cartoon gave way to She-Ra: Princess of Power, which is by far the best cartoon ever.

So the basic premise of "boy" cartoons was that there was a group of badguys that needed to be stopped by a group of good guys. That was pretty much it. Something cool would go down, but that basic format would occur. There might have been some character development or some moral to the story, but that was usually it.

Cartoons that were aimed at girls were slightly different. Now "girl" cartoons totally had good vs. evil storylines. I won't lie about that. My Little Pony for example had one of the creepiest episodes in cartoon history. I dare anyone to watch it and not be creeped out! The episode was entitled "Rescue at Midnight Castle." It was truly chilling. I love it and enjoy watching it to this day. Girly cartoons followed a formula that was similar to boy cartoons as well.

However there was one difference, romance. Girl cartoons had action, drama, and suspense, but the addition of romance really changed things. Look at an episode of She-Ra called "Sweet Bee's Home." The way Frosta responds to He-Man is just a mess. Miss Girl has it bad for him and it gets crazy when he only has eyes for Sweet Bee.

This idea of romance in cartoons is truly evident in Jem and the Holograms. I used to love watching Jem when I was little. There was fashion, glitter, and fame packed into every episode. There was a colorful cast of characters. Even the badgirls were just delicious. It was hard not to love them. Plus there were three songs in every episode! Not only did you get a show but you also got to see three mini music videos of Jem or the Misfits flying through space singing like they were on an acid trip. It was the best.

So imagine my happiness when Hasbro's cable station called the Hub started airing the old episodes of Jem and the Holograms! My life has never been the same since they started airing again. It is absolutely the best entertainment on tv right now. (Though it does give True Blood a run for its money!)

Watching this cartoon as an adult though has been interesting. Basically it is all one big 30 minute mess. There is so much drama and people are constantly involved in kidnappings or near death experiences. There is betrayal. I mean what were we watching as kids?! I can't get over it!

I thought it would be nice to do a run down of the characters so you could all refresh your memory, or for the youngins, something completely new to learn about! And keep in mind I have gotten my husband and friends hooked on watching this show. Well technically I have been forcing my husband to watch, but he laughs every now and then. It's fun for everyone!

                                                                     The Holograms
                                                                  Jerrica Benton/ Jem

Jerrica benton is the owner of Starlight Music and heads the Starlight Foundation for orphan girls. She is also Jem, lead singer of Jem and the Holograms. This gig is due to her deceased father giving Jerrica a holographic computer system that calls itself Synergy (see below.) Jerrica has the ability to contact Synergy, via her earrings, to create all kinds of holograms. So with a quick "It's showtime Synergy!" Jerrica turns into Jem and is just outrageous. Of course only the other Hologram members know this secret because if the technology were to fall into the wrong hands, there is no telling what kind of diabolical things could happen! My goodness we could all be tricked into wearing awesomely bad 80's hologram outfits! Jerrica/Jem also has a weird love triangle(!) with Rio. More on that later!

Kimber Benton

Oh Kimber. What will we do with her? Kimber is Jerrica's younger sister. As the head song writer for the Holograms Kimber is also their keyboardist. She is also a mess (I personally think due to the Benton sisters losing their dad.) She is either getting kidnapped and placed inside volcanoes or taking everyone down with her as she falls off the high dive. She is also a bit whiny. And the shady lady has no problem leading men on. In one episode she "accidentally" sets dates with two different men and they both show up at the same time! Seriously! She is a hot damn mess. But she is secretly one of my favorites!  

Shana Elmsford

Shana is the fabulous fashion designer of the band. She also plays the drums and guitar. From various episodes she is considered to be the most sensitive of the girls, but she does not put up with any shit. She has been known to have an attitude, especially when it comes to her fashions. In one episode someone working for the Misfits tries to steal her fashion sketches and she fights for those drawings! She also has a steady boyfriend in the series named Anthony. At least it seems like he is her boyfriend. Either way she is not a trolip like Kimber!

Aja Leith

Aja plays guitar. She also drives the 'Rockin Roadster. Usually she is driving the car off a cliff or something dangerous, but that is usually because the Misfits are constantly trying to harm the Holograms. It is like a turf war or something. Either way Aja also seems to have moments where she seems brutally honest. She also puts people on blast. For example in one episode one of her bandmates makes a pun, and she is like, "That was a terrible pun!" Ok Aja! And she has a slightly brief romance with Stormer's brother. But he leaves to Europe in disgrace for nearly betraying the Holograms. I also think he has anger problems.

Carmen "Raya" Alonso 
Oh poor sweet Raya. She joins the Holograms later on in the series to replace Shana on drums (Shana sticks around on guitar.) Put simply Raya has awfully low self esteem. Really bad. She eventually gets over it and realizes she is an integral part of the Holograms. She also has big hair, but don't they all? 

The Misfits
Oh Pizzazz is just the best. Her real name is Phyllis Gabor, but don't say that to her face. She will cut you. Leader of the Misfits, Pizzazz is just trashy. I don't even know how else to describe her. Flat out trashy. She comes from money and is highly jealous of Jem and the Holograms. Her mother walked out on the Gabor family when Pizzazz was little. Pizzazz's father is super rich but they aren't really close. He just gives her money whenever she wants to buy her own music company or make her own movie. Throughout the series you get the feeling that they would both like to be closer but don't know how. It is fireworks though when Pizzazz witnesses her father walking off a Concord plane all father-and-daughter-like with Kimber! Rage, a lot of rage. She is just selfish and mean. Of course this makes her all the more entertaining. She is truly a villain you love to hate.  

Roxy is rough, plain and simple. Her real name is Roxanne Pelligrini. She is the loud mouth of the Misfits. She is also very cautious about letting anyone new join the band. She is just full of attitude. Roxy is the type of chick you want with you in a bar fight at 4 in the morning. Granted she'll probably be the reason the bar fight is started in the first place, but what are you gonna do? She is a Misfit!

Stormer (Mary Phillips) is the nicest out of the Misfits. There was even one episode where Stormer and Kimber join forces and form a close friendship while starting their own band, much to everyones surprise. Whenever the Misfits have really gone and done something dangerous and highly illegal, Stormer is the one that will be worried that their rivals might actually die. However for some reason she gets her kicks by belonging to the venemous Misfits. 

I think someone missed the memo when naming this manipulative wreck. All I can think of is the  Volkswagon car. Her real name is Sheila Burns. Jetta plays the sax and is encouraged to join the Misfits later in the series because as Stormer puts it, "With her playing the sax we can have a more complex sound." Umm whatever Misfits. Roxy doesn't trust her at all. Maybe that is because Jetta has no problem paying thugs to trash other people's property or blatantly stealing money from the Misfit's manager Eric Raymond. Out of anyone I would say she poses the biggest threat to Jem and the Holograms. Plus her hair is out of control.  

Other characters
Synergy is an image from the holographic computer that helps Jem and the Holograms, usually out of dangerous situations. This is to say that Synergy works over time because the Misfits are always doing something awful to the Holograms. I just want to know how the Misfits never get arrested. They break dozens of crimes in every episode! Either way Synergy firmly believes that the rest of the world can't find out about the technology that Jerrica/Jem uses. World powers and the Misfits could basically destroy the world. With hologram images. I know it sounds crazy, but just go with it. There is also a fun episode where Synergy helps out the whiny Kimber. Really fun stuff!

Oh dreamy Rio! Ken has nothing on Rio at all. Jerrica is a lucky gal to be dating Rio. In fact Jerrica is so lucky she plays games with Rio. I mean straight up games, like Jerrica will be Jem and totally lead him on. There are quite a few episodes where Rio is on the verge of cheating on Jerrica with Jem, and Rio will be like, "Oh I can't, Jerrica would be hurt." And Jem is like, "I'm sure Jerrica won't mind." Jem is such a hussy! An international holographic hussy! Rio thinks he is playing around with two different women but they are both one in the same! That is messed up. Why were we watching this as kids? Oh I know, it was the 80's and it just made sense for kids to watch a very bizarre love triangle unfold in cartoon form. Hell, it taught me some great life lessons. What is even sillier about it all is that Jerrica and Jem are clearly the same person, Jem just wears more make up.

Eric Raymond 
Eric Raymond is slimey. He is also the Misfit's manager and was once a half-owner of Starlight Music before Jerrica found out the shady business dealings he was doing. Eric is also behind a good number of the schemes and dramas that happen to Jem and the Holograms. He'll just devise a new plan and let the Misfits run off to try and accomplish it. (They always fail.) However the Misfits don't put up with much from him. They will snip him where it hurts if they have to. Or they will just steal his money. I mean they are called the Misfits for a reason. 

So that is mostly it for the characters on Jem and the Holograms. There are a few others but I am not about to do a run down of everyone on the show. You just need to go out and dvr the show on your tv! It is such a fun cartoon and just out of control. The show is a total mess. I just love it. It makes me wonder if current pop acts like Lady Gaga and Katy Perry were influenced by Jem and the Holograms in any way. 

Also most of the songs from the Holograms and the Misfits have gotten stuck in my head and I will sing them whenever. They seriously drill into your head! Go and look up "I've Got My Eye on You" it is just a fantastic song! I realize I am slightly losing my mind, but it is ok. This show is a national treasure. A hidden relic from a time when cartoons involved scandal and drama with women that had a lot of strange shapes painted on their faces, and romance between a clueless guy with two women that were one in the same. 

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