Truly Outrageous: Jem Review, Part I

One of my favorite shows as a kid was Jem. If you are of my generation, you should be familiar: Jerrica and her sister, Kimber, and childhood friends Aja and Shana, become a famous rock group with the help of a super computer called Synergy that creates holograms. Synergy transforms Jerrica into the lead singer, pink-haired Jem; this technological feat is managed with the red Jem Star earrings which serves as her communication line to Synergy.

Other main characters include rival rock group, The Misfits (Pizzazz, Stormer and Roxy) Eric Raymond, a scheming music exec, Rio, Jerrica’s boyfriend, and the Starlight Girls, Jerrica’s foster girls that she raises using the money she makes from being a rock star. Eventually a fourth Misfit (Jetta) and a fifth Hologram (Raya) are added to the mix. Also, a new group, The Stingers (Riot, Rapture and Minx), arrive in the third and final season.

When I saw that Jem was on Netflix, I immediately put it into my queue. It took a while, but I watched every episode.

Overall, the series was pretty good and stands the passage of time well. Much effort was put into writing/producing the music/story lines and designing the clothes for the characters. There was also quite a bit of diversity in the show. Aja is Chinese-American, Shana is African-American, Raya is Mexican-American, Jetta is from the UK, and the Starlight girls are from various backgrounds.

Now, time to mention some oddities I hadn’t noticed as a child. Do I have to say this is tongue-in-cheek? It is. I love Jem. But I have some questions…

Rio, you really couldn’t figure out that Jem and Jerrica were the same person? Really? Really??

One of the benchmarks of the series was this love “triangle” between Rio, Jem and Jerrica. But, remember now, Jerrica and Jem are the same person. And it seems Rio never suspected a thing. He has kissed both of them, rarely saw them in the same room at the same time (on just a few occasions, Jerrica would project a hologram of herself or Jem, but for obvious reasons, she couldn’t do this often) and they both wore the exact same pair of earrings, all the time. And yes, Jerrica’s hair was blond and shorter, and Jem’s hair was maybe three times as long and pink. But come on, they looked exactly alike.

But it gets even more bizarre. Whenever a man showed romantic interest in Jem, Rio would get insanely jealous. To the point of violence and rage. No one ever pointed out that Jerrica was his girlfriend and questioned why he was getting so upset. Also, on a handful of episodes, Jerrica seems to have a emotional breakdown and starts being jealous of herself.

I think Rio should have been told Jem and Jerrica were the same person by the end of the first season. It was all cute in the beginning. “Oh look, he’s really into Jem, but he doesn’t know it’s actually Jerrica, his girlfriend, hee hee!” But towards the end, it got a little embarrassing to watch. Even as a kid, I knew a secret of this magnitude wasn’t a good foundation for a relationship.

Part II coming up next week.

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