Jem Jam: “Last Resorts” and “In Stitches”

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!

“Last Resorts”Jem and the Holograms

Written by Roger Slifer

Kayleigh: “Last Resorts” is the kind of well-worn sitcom/teen movie plot that was skewered in the South Park episode “Aspen.” You know, the “plucky underdogs have to win a race to save the resort” plot. Luckily, Jem and the Holograms and the Misfits are all apparently Olympic-level skiers, lest we wonder what a bunch of rock stars are doing in a ski competition to begin with.

I’m about ready to kick Rio’s ass. When handsome, Nordic ski instructor Swenson innocently flirts with Jem, Rio turns into a petulant creep. Not for the last time, the rival for Jem’s affection is actually way more appealing than Rio (who is still technically two-timing Jerrica with herself). Later, Swenson saves Jem from a broken ski lift, and Rio sulks in jealous impotence rather than being glad that Jem was, you know, saved from a deadly fall. Rio is the worst, ya’ll.

Jem and the HologramsBut what automatically makes any episode of television better? Bear attacks. Jem is cornered by a bear inside a cave, and the audience learns that bears can block holograms. (Leading to “Rio almost discovers Jerrica is Jem” moment #672.) Jem transforms herself into a fuzzy tentacle monster to frighten away the bear and discovers the silver mine that saves the resort, in case you needed reminding that Jem and the Holograms is the best show of all time.

Favorite Outfit: Okay, look at the first screenshot above and tell me you don’t love the Holograms’ pastel aerobics gear. The girls are serving Olivia Newton-John realness and they’re ready to get physical, ya’ll.

Favorite Music Video Moment: The Misfits promptly get their asses handed to them by the resort’s workout equipment, which incidentally is exactly what happens to me at the gym every week.

“In Stitches”Jem and the Holograms

Written by Mary Skrenes

Wendy: I find myself more and more disappointed and annoyed with the two-dimensionality of the Misfits. I guess that was a product of the times, but I feel like they could have toned it down a wee bit? Thank goodness for the Stormer balance, as well as all those positive messages on the Hologram side of the episodes. I’m glad to see the stories have moved on from the stupid love triangle with Rio. Wait … where is Rio?

Kayleigh: “In Stitches” is a great episode for Shana and one I watched a lot on my old VHS tapes of the show. Shana is the fashion designer for the band, and her designs are entered in an Italian rock fashion show (do such things even exist?), but she fears she’s an amateur. Because the Misfits never saw a corner they didn’t want to cut or something of Jem’s they didn’t want to steal, they swipe Shana’s costumes and dye them black. This episode makes the most of the Venice setting—there’s a shopping spree, a dramatic gondola race, and a sassy gondolier named Tito—and Shana wins the day thanks to some last minute redesigns. Who needs a sewing machine when you have a giant holographic super computer named Synergy on your side? But is it just me or … are Shana’s winning costumes really, really ugly? They’re mostly boxy, unappealing sweaters and pantsuits, but hey, at least Shana gets her confidence back.

Jem DollsIntegrity Toys released a special set of Jem and Pizzazz wearing outfits from this episode—Jem in Shana’s original soft purple design and Pizzazz in the same costume after she dyed it black. They’re a pretty cute pair (they even come with Shana’s sketches!), and it’s cool to see Integrity Toys pulling their doll designs directly from the show.

Favorite Outfit: Jem’s ready for a masquerade in a gorgeous pink ballgown and mask—there’s another idea for a new Jem doll, Integrity Toys!

Favorite Music Video Moment: “Designing Woman” has maybe the best introduction of any Misfits song:

Ashley: Shoes are really cool, you know? You can have any kind of feet you want in shoes. Shoes to run in …

Salesman: Shoes to dance in!

[The Misfits appear in the doorway]

Pizzazz: Shoes to walk all over you in!

How fantastic is that dialogue? “Designing Woman” is another Misfits song intended to show how selfish and ruthless they are, but actually sounds more like a feminist anthem to me. Pizzazz doesn’t play helpless or wait for a boy to notice her—she goes after what she wants and usually gets it. Even if that means, er, stealing it.

Kayleigh Hearn

Kayleigh Hearn

Still waiting for her Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters acceptance letter. Bylines also at Deadshirt, Ms-En-Scene, The MNT, PanelxPanel, and Talk Film Society.