Like the rest of the internet, I have now seen the trailer for the new Jem and the Holograms movie. It looks like a painfully cliched made-for-TV band flick written to reassure its young audience that they’d hate being rich and famous. As to how it compares to the original cartoon, I can’t say.
I’ve never watched it.
I KNOW, RIGHT??? I love 80’s pop culture, 80’s pop music, cartoons, and over-the-top pink girly glitter, and my name is a gem, so Jem and the Holograms seems like it should be an obvious win for me. I don’t remember ever being aware of it when it was on originally. I saw commercials for the dolls, but I thought they were knockoffs of Barbie and the Rockers. I’ve known for awhile that Jem is on Netflix and that there’s a new movie in the works, but haven’t taken the time to check it out.
Well, luckily for you, dear readers, I am sick and insomniac, so I am embarking on an all-night binge watch. I’ll be writing random impressions below the cut as I watch each episode. Here goes!
1.1 The Beginning
The theme song. Is her name Jem? I’m still not sure. I am sure this is the 80’s.
So the original Jem was a music mogul and a director of a foster home? Wow. That’s kind of awesome. But I can see why a whiny emo teenager would be a better role model.
THE MISFITS OMG THE MISFITS
I want their monstrosity motorcycles. Seriously, these are supposed to be the bad guys? That’s kind of a fail, since I can’t imagine any kid not getting their songs stuck in their heads forever. They sound like Blondie and ride motorcycles shaped like electric guitars.
Is it bad that I’d wear Jerrica’s clothes now?
I can see why the movie would leave out Synergy, though. Getting girls excited about advanced computer technology and portraying said technology in a way that’s compatible with feminine gender expression instead of in opposition to it isn’t really a big deal.
The Misfits’ faces while the Holograms audition for the Battle of the Bands. Is Pizzazz falling in love with Jem? Not sure if I ship it. It’s the 80s. They don’t hate each other enough.
Well, Rio and Jerrica can’t be OTP. This is the 80s. They actually like each other and act nice, friendly, and interested when they’re together.
The foster girls giggling when Rio offers to spend the night. They know what’s what.
I’m now seriously invested in the fate of Jerrica’s foster home. WHAT HAPPENS NEXT???
Burning down a foster home. 80s bad boys pull no punches. I’ll bet he’s in league with Cobra Kai.
“Are you ready to roll?”
OMG Roxy is trying to run Jerrica over with a bulldozer! Hardcore.
I think ownership of a mansion is the most outrageous Deus Ex Talent Show prize I’ve ever seen.
Uh, girls, I think running into a burning building to save the Honor Jar DOES make up for trying to steal it.
See, girls? Your unforgiving attitude sent MulletGirl running to The Misfits’ tatted arms. You should’ve accepted her sincerity.
Click/Clash. Yeah, Jem and Pizzazz are clicking and clashing.
Wha… a BOMB? Cobra Kai hopes to someday be worthy of opening for The Misfits.
Yes, I’m sure all duchesses wanted private performances by teen pop bands in the 80s.
I’m getting far more fashion inspiration than is healthy for a grown woman in 2015.
“Makin’ Mischief” by The Misfits deserves to be at the top of the charts. Wait, did Roxy have a GUN in her garter?
1.3 Kimber’s Rebellion
OMG, now The Misfits are about to cause an oil spill by ramming a yacht into a tanker! But no one wants to see that in a movie. Let’s stick to generic band movie Fame Is Terrible And Will Make You Terrible drama.
Yeah, I do think Rio should know Jem is Jerrica. But, yeah, it is Jerrica’s secret to share or keep.
What ethnicity is Aja supposed to be? The name sounds Middle Eastern, but she’s drawn with East Asian eyes.
I entirely blame Jerrica for Ashley defecting to The Misfits. You don’t put a group of tween girls in charge of deciding and enforcing another tween girl’s punishment.
Sorry, Jem. “Gettin’ Down To Business” is no “Makin’ Mischief”.
Wait, Kimber is performing under her real name, but no one has considered that “Jem” might possibly be the other famous Benton heiress sister?
Does every episode end with Jem and/or the Holograms in mortal peril? Find out next time on Jem and the Holograms!
1.4 Frame Up
Rio is one of the prettiest cartoon boys outside of anime. Just sayin’.
“How can I tell him the truth without making him feel like I’ve made a fool out of him?”
Well, Jerrica, you kinda have. Pizzazz would just own it. She’d do a whole song called “I Made A Fool Out Of You (And You Let Me)”. It would be that line, repeated approximately 23 times.
“Because I love to see sparks fly.” So this venue owner sees the Jem/Pizzazz thing, too?
The Misfits had Aja kidnapped so she can’t perform. But can’t Synergy just project a fake Aja?
Pizzazz: “I could do great things for you, Rio. Dump Jem, and I’ll -“
Rio: “Sorry, I can’t let you finish that sentence because this show is for little girls. The sultriness of your voice alone is pushing the limits, as is the fact that you’re feeling me up in a dressing room.”
Stormer is the adorablest. I want to marry her when I grow up.
Ashley is testifying to the police to save Jem from being framed for a robbery? This’d better absolve her of her past misdeeds.
Oh, Pizzazz. Setting off the sprinkler system so the Holograms get their clothes all wet? I expected so much more from you.
Holy Muses, the private detective found Synergy. Is this the end of Jem’s secret?
1.5 Battle of the Bands
OMG HE SMASHED SYNERGY!!!!
This was a triumph
She’s making a note here
It’s hard to overstate her satisfaction
They do what they must
Because they can
For the good
Of all of us
Except the ones who are dead
And believe her, she is still alive
She feels fantastic and she’s still alive
She’s making music and she’s still alive
And when you’re dying she’ll be still alive
And when you’re dead she will be still alive
That is not what Jem and the Holograms are singing, but it should be.
Pizzazz is locking a child in a trunk. She’s still got it. Aw, and my girl Stormer tried to break her out. You need better friends, Stormer.
I keep forgetting the blond hitman’s name, so I’m calling him Biff Drago.
Damn, Rio picked up that child-filled trunk like it was a lunch box.
Oh. My. Goodnessgraciousgodsandgoddesses. Jerrica and the girls just escaped their kidnappers with HOLOGRAPHIC LIONS. But, hey, I’m sure the movie producers know what they’re doing. Of course whiny teen drama is better movie material than HOLOGRAPHIC FREAKIN’ LIONS.
And Jem and the Holograms win the Battle of the Bands, the Benton sisters now have full ownership of their own inheritance, the band has a film contract, and Jerrica is sharing a sweet moment with Rio.
What fresh horror awaits in the next 60 seconds?
Huh, nothing, actually. Except obvious foreshadowing that The Misfits and their evil producer are waiting in the wings plotting their <villiainvoice>RRRRRRRRRREVENNNNNNNNNGE</villainvoice>.
Okay, going to call it a night.
This show is every bit as much of a win for me as I hoped it would be. The characters are interesting, the story keeps you engaged despite (or because of?) its complete abandonment of believability, and the whole thing has a certain hokey, over-the-top, truly outrageous quality that was unique to the 80s and has rarely been recaptured in modern film or television. I’m sad that it doesn’t look like the new movie has even tried. But I still have three seasons of the original show to watch, and no crappy remake can take that away.