Jem Jam: “Battle of the Bands” and “Starbright: Part 1”

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2015 marks the 30th anniversary of Jem, the beloved 80s cartoon series. Jem and the Holograms have never been bigger, as 2015 will also see the release of a live action film based on the show, a new comic book series published by IDW, and a continuing line of collectible fashion dolls from Integrity Toys. To celebrate the original series, WWAC is watching it from the very beginning. It’s showtime, Synergy!

“Battle of the Bands”jem08

Written by Christy Marx

Wendy: Alright call me gullible, but even I fell for Synergy’s hologram of her destruction. Synergy is my girl! You can’t be hurting Synergy–although I feel like the computer system suffered more when Jerica and company disassembled and reassembled shortly thereafter. Testing. Testing. Is this thing on? Is it plugged in?? Fortunately, they figured things out and I got to sing my favourite song, “She’s Got The Power,” about my girl Synergy. Her mastery is no illusion.

My daughter has abandoned me once again for this, but I’m sure she would have had really bad things about Eric and his inappropriate actions. Kidnapping a little orphan girl and holding her hostage? Come now. We’ve seen Annie. We know how this will work out for you.

Ginnis: I cannot NOT dance to the opening for Jem. Usually, I am in my house by myself when I watch Jem so no one can see me get my 80s moves on. More and more, I really love the Misfits as the money-grubbing, fame hungry rockstars that just want to do whatever they want and get away with all of it. You don’t get to see girls act out that way in music without being lambasted, and with the Misfits it feels more slapstick than disciplining them for being “bad girls.”

jem07Kayleigh: Malone, the human version of Gruff the Crime Dog, finds Synergy and figures out that Jem and Jerrica are the same person, but Eric doesn’t believe him. Good job, Eric!

In our last instalment I bemoaned the fact that Jem was constantly being saved from peril by Rio, and this episode is a big improvement. When Zipper and his cronies trap Jem and the Holograms at the Drive-In, Jem and Synergy outwit them with clever illusions. Jem and the Holograms win the Battle of the Bands and Ashley is saved from being crushed (!), but Eric somehow beats those “kidnapped a plucky cartoon orphan” charges. I didn’t realize it when I was a kid, but the rich white dude avoiding jail thanks to lawyers and money is the realist shit ever.

Favorite Outfit: Jem and the Holograms disguised as adorable little old ladies.

Favorite Music Video Moment: In “She’s Got The Power” Synergy not only shoots rainbows out of her eyes, but she can shoot arrows made of fire! All hail our new holographic overlord?

 

“Starbright: Part 1: Falling Star”jem10

Written by Christy Marx

Wendy: I kind of get Jerrica’s pain here as she’s summoned back and forth as Jem and Jerrica. It’s how I feel when my family is demanding my attention from every which way the second I get home. This whole Jem/Jerrica confusion with Rio takes an amusing turn with the addition of a new arrogant leading man. Does it count as a love quadrangle if Jem and Jerrica are the same person? Toss in some Kimber and Rio green-eyed monsters, and we have some serious drama going on.

Can I just say though, that Pizazz was just kicking it in the episode. All of her outfits were amazing. Especially the black socks with heels.pizazz

Ginnis: I do love Pizazz’s style though I am confused by the black sash tied around her leg in her regular outfit…it just distracts me. I’m always thinking “why is that there?” I can’t stop looking at it.

I am realizing now as I am contributing–I watched the episodes last night, but I have already mainly forgotten them. I still remember all the clothes because you wave something pink and sparkly in my face, and I’m gonna remember it, but really I cannot tell you what happened…but I can recall Jem as a tall column of pink in her fabulous dress.

Kayleigh: “Starbright” follows the making of the movie that Jem and the Holograms won at the end of “Battle of the Bands,” which is a nice bit of continuity for an 80s cartoon. Jerrica’s finding it difficult to keep her two identities apart, which starts affecting her relationships with Rio (who says Jem “makes the air sizzle” but describes Jerrica like a comfortable old shoe–oh Rio, you charmer), her new friends, and the Starlight Girls. “What happens to Jem’s hologram if she puts makeup on?” at first seems like a question someone would ask if message boards existed in 1986, but it pays off in an interesting way when Jem declines her makeup artist’s services and inadvertently plays into Pizzazz’s image of her as a snobby diva.

We also meet new supporting characters Video (it was the 80s, there was always a character named Video), and her obnoxious cousin Clash. Who’s more obnoxious than Pizzazz? How about Pizzazz’s wannabe stalker?jem09

Oh yeah, Pizzazz buys a movie studio just to screw Jem over. Do you think the live-action Jem movie had this much drama behind the scenes?

Favorite Outfit: It’s a close call, and I agree with Wendy that Pizzazz’s polka dot clown collar dress is amazing, I have to give this one to Clash. I’m in love with her neon green fuzzy coat and her cymbal bracelets.

Favorite Music Video Moment: In “Universal Appeal,” Pizzazz becomes Galactus, Destroyer of Worlds, and eclipses poor Jem, who is also the sun. It’s a weird video.

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Still waiting for her Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters acceptance letter. Kayleigh's writing can also be found on deadshirt.net.

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