YMMV / Jem


Cartoon

  • Acceptable Target: According to Christy Marx, the Jetta character was originally African-American. Executive Meddling on the part of Sunbow is the reason why the Jetta character is now a white British woman. This trope will be averted in the IDW comic book adaptation, where Jetta is a Black British woman, combining Christy Marx's original intent for Jetta with her established character as a British punk.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • The relationship between Stormer and the Misfits. Is it simply a case of Stormer being a pushover and the Misfits being bullies who really do care about her, or is it a warped, abusively co-dependent relationship, where Pizzazz and Eric have successfully made Stormer think that, without the Misfits she is nothing, instead of the other way around, since they depend on her as the overall creative force behind the band.
    • Jerrica having deep identity issues comes up a lot in Deconstruction Fics. Jem and Jerrica are two different people and Jerrica treats them as such, which causes a mixed bag such as the "love triangle" between the women and Rio. Jerrica comes off as overworked and stressed while Jem has all the fun and travels around. Some see Jem as an escapist character for her.
    • Is Jerrica a heroic Nice Girl or is she secretly a Manipulative Bitch who toys around with others hearts, provokes her boyfriend to cheat, and has several double standards? Either interpretation is common.
    • Are The Misfits even friends? The others bully Stormer around and threaten to kick her out of the band a few times, Roxy and Jetta are constantly at each others throats, Pizzazz puts herself above the others and is perpetually angry, and Stormer has poor self esteem in regards to herself and the others. On the other hand, they have their moments where they seem quite close.
    • Are The Misfits holding back Stormer or not? They take her for granted but it's noted she's the one who writes all the music. Without her, their musical output becomes worse. When Stormer left the band she and Kimber became hits quickly. Stormer could probably make it as a solo artist.
    • Roxy has been shown to act a lot nicer without her friends in "Roxy Rumbles". Her rough personality probably started due to her rough living situations growing up. She's shown to be very insecure about her illiteracy and her standing in the band itself. She follows Pizzazz a lot and often wears similar colored clothes to her. It's possible she is faking some of her personality to fit in with Pizzazz and hide her insecurities.
    • Pizzazz is a grade A Rich Bitch however her backstory reveals that her mother ran off when she was very young and her father was very distant to her growing up. Her flirtatious behavior towards men could stem from a lack of attention from her father growing up and her rocky friendship with The Misfits could stem from similar reasons. Maybe Pizzazz has a hard time expressing affection and showing her softer side. She berates them constantly but is shown to treat them like family. Her dismissive and angry reactions when Roxy and Stormer left could be due to her being worried about her Only Friends abandoning her. Pizzzazz could also be interpreted as having an Inferiority Superiority Complex.
    • Is Rio really a sweet boyfriend or is he a more malicious individual? Jerrica fears telling him that she is Jem and he is possessive over her to the point where he punched a man for kissing her in a movie. Rio cheats with Jerrica herself without knowing they're the same person.
    • A lot of people view "The Bands Breakup" as a case of Hide Your Lesbians but it could also be seen as Stormer having a case of Incompatible Orientation towards Kimber. Stormer has the most Les Yay directed at Kimber and in "Bad Influence" Pizzazz sings about how naive Kimber is and how she'll break Stormer's heart. Alternatively, maybe Stormer and Kimber really just have a Romantic Two-Girl Friendship.
  • Anvilicious: Alone Again, sadly, since the first five minutes are soul crushingly depressing. Then Laura Holloway starts taking generic red-and-yellow pills, starts thinking she's a crazy bird, and then starts looking as if she's aged forty years. The public service announcements also crossed into this territory from time to time.
  • Badass Decay / Villain Decay: The Misfits, but in particular Pizzazz. Within the first several episodes and the first season, the girls were little more than wild, bitchy troublemakers who, in spite of their antics, were still worthy opponents to Jem and The Holograms. Pizzazz was also a strong frontwoman for the band and came off as a strong, independent woman. Come season three, Pizzazz was more love and power hungry as well as unstable and brattier, to the detriment of the band who became more of a joke. Things came to a head once The Stingers arrived, and she showed her own lack of loyalty to her band and was desperate for the affections of Riot, who clearly had no interest in her and allowed herself to be manipulated and embarrassed by his bandmates. Soon afterwards, they were rarely seen on the show unless it was to show some sort of effort by Pizzazz to seduce Riot.
  • Bizarro Episode: Several, but the strangest one of all has to be "The Day the Music Died". It starts with the opening credits being interrupted by Kimber, who tells the viewers that there won’t be a show today, and gets weirder - Starlight Records goes bankrupt (in the FIVE DAYS of Jem's disappearance) and gets bought out by Pizzazz’s father, the surviving Holograms and Stingers are pressganged into a Misfits super-group that includes three keyboardists, four guitarists and one saxophone, and the whole thing is presented as a documentary-type show (the cause of which is never explained) that frequently breaks the fourth wall.
  • Broken Base: Misfits versus the Holograms.
  • Ear Worm: The theme song is truly, truly, truly outrageous. Since the music-oriented nature of the show meant you got roughly three songs per episode and the diversity of the bands on the show meant they crossed into a few different genres, the show is practically an Ear Worm factory with pretty much any given song having fans who will sing it at given.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
    • Stormer. Her popularity is likely due to being the only member of the Misfits who actually has standards. Yeah, she joins in whenever they pull harmless pranks and usually gets roped into Pizzazz's schemes by association, but she's never shown acting malicious on her own. She was the only one who was nice to Ashley when she tried to get the Misfits to be her friends, and later helped her prove Jem's innocence when she was framed for robbery (granted she was in disguise). If it wasn't for the fact that she's such a pushover, you'd have to wonder how someone like her ever joined a band like the Misfits.
    • This is not to say the evil Misfits don't have their fanbases. Indeed, the whole band could qualify as an Ensemble Dark Horse, even though they're the villains.
    • Craig Phillips, Stormer/Mary's Cool Big Bro, Aja's boyfriend and almost drummer for The Holograms. He only made three appearances, yet has a huge following and is regarded by many fans to be the best male character on the show.
    • The entire show was one huge Ensemble Darkhorse; it originally aired as the token girl segment of "Super Sunday" (AKA: "Super Saturday" depending on what station it was airing on) an anthology series of male-centric shows (including Bigfoot and the Muscle Machines and Inhumanoids) but managed to outshine the rest of the shows and, along with Inhumanoids, was advanced to full series status (with the segments expanded to full-length episodes).
  • Evil Is Cool: Not truly "evil" but both The Stingers and The Misfits are villainous bands made up of remarkably cool and attractive people. The first time The Misfits even appear they're riding guitar shaped motorcycles.
  • Fandom-Specific Plot:
    • Putting one or more of the bands on VH-1's Behind the Music (a melodramatic "documentary" series depicting the backstage drama for various bands). these are played anywhere from totally straight to Deconstructive Parody.
    • Either Rio or Riot (depending on who the writer prefers Jerrica with) finding out that Jerrica is Jem.
    • The only Misfit with a backstory is Pizzazz. Naturally, fanfics go into depth about the others pasts.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: The amount of Kimber/Stormer works can make you forget Kimber's boyfriends.
  • Fanon:
    • Roxy had an abusive childhood and thus she Hates Being Touched.
    • For whatever reason it's not uncommon for Pizzazz to have a half-brother.
    • Jem and the Holograms breaks up within six years of forming. Sometimes they just go their separate ways and other times Jem accidentally transforms back into Jerrica on stage.
    • Stormer and Clash are generally considered lesbians. Roxy, Pizzazz, Jetta, and Minx are often depicted as bisexual.
    • Eric, Roxy, and Riot using drugs pops up in a lot of fanfiction.
    • Riot, Minx, and Pizzazz sleep around a lot.
    • Stormer has Good Parents who are almost always deceased.
    • "Kimber" being short for "Kimberly" has never been confirmed but is thrown around a lot.
    • In future fics Pizzazz is frequently depicted as a single mother, though Jetta and Roxy being the single parents aren't unheard of.
    • Riot, Minx, and Rapture sleep together.
    • Jem, and usually the others bar Kimber for being Ambiguously Bi, are Politically Incorrect Heroes when it comes to their views on gay people. This usually doesn't mean being outright anti-gay but instead they're awkward around the topic and subtly condescending about it. Part of the reason for this is due to Deliberate Values Dissonance concerning how views on lgbt people have changed since the 80s.
  • Fanon Discontinuity:
    • "The Day The Music Died" tends to be ignored by fans.
    • We're shown multiple times the characters' hair colors are all natural but fanworks ignore it.
  • Foe Yay:
    • Between Kimber and Stormer. The Bands Break Up episode was rife with Les Yay subtext, and the final shot of the episode has the two girls hugging in a way that looks like Stormer is kissing Kimber. The IDW comic acknowledges this by having them a couple.
    • Jerrica and Eric have some too; Jerrica had something of a crush on Eric as shown in the episode "Out of the Past", and used him to try and make Rio jealous.
  • Growing the Beard: The second season is considered better than the first. It introduced Raya and Jetta, gave way to more character development and backstory, plus it contains most of the fan-favorite episodes.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • In the beginning of the show (in particular to the first eight episodes of the show), Jerrica and the other women are struggling to get out of debt and to pay for the upkeep of both the Starlight Girls and the Starlight House/Foundation/Records. Come the final episode, in spite of them selling millions of records, receiving many accolades and awards from the music industry, virtually being given a large and fully-furnished mansion to live in and two new cars and being world famous, they still struggle with paying their bills due to the said reasons and Jerrica even admits that they have no money to spare from everything they have earned.
    • The episode, "The Fan" where a Stannote  who is obsessed with both Jem and learning her identity looks worse nowadays, since there is more of a culture of fear (as well as much stiffer penalties) towards stalking.
    • In the episode "The Presidential Dilemma", the video for the song, "Freedom", features a shot of The World Trade Center.
    • The Starbright trilogy has both Jem and the Holograms and The Misfits each making a movie. While the latter's movie had a Troubled Production, went over budget and ended up bombing, the former's movie, despite its shoestring budget, was well-loved by critics and fans and was a financial success. Unfortunately, history didn't repeat itself three decades later...
  • Iconic Character, Forgotten Title: A number of people call the show Jem and the Holograms because its the name of her band...but its not actually the name of the show. The Nostalgia Chick makes this mistake in her series review. More recent broadcasts on The Hub by Hasbro and Shout Factory's North American DVD release have released the show under this title, suggesting they have genuinely recently renamed the IP as of 2011. Fortunately, the show's title cards have not been altered to reflect this. The French dub averted this with the official name of "Jem et Les Hologrammes".
  • Idiot Plot / What an Idiot:
    • Many a Jem episode had our heroes' ignorance and inexperience of what's going on around them come off as downright stupidity They are all teenagers at the beginning of the show, and Jerrica and Kimber's father (and the other girls' guardian, Emmet Benton) died around this time or earlier, explaining why they might not know the essentials. But this led to the final episode where they were looking for Ba Nee's biological father and came across this sleazy guy in Las Vegas who was a little too eager to be her Dad and he isn't; he just went along because he thought they were rich and he could exploit them and Ba Nee to his benefit and to pay off his debts. Even after the bad vibes the women got from him and the fact that he kept mispronouncing "his" daughter's name, they still had no insight or common sense that would have allowed them to stop him from taking her away. Even worse, it could look like the women were a little too anxious in believing him to be her father, not out of concern for her well-being, but to just get her out of their hair.
    • Possibly the best example was the episode "The Fan", where a rich, spoiled brat of a fan had a newspaper ad where he was willing to pay anyone to help him discover Jem's real identity which The Misfits took advantage of and together, they ended up bringing Jem to an exact replica of the Starlight Mansion, holding an elaborate birthday party in her honor (although she knew it was not her birthday) and hiring fake actors to pose as the Holograms, Rio and even the Starlight Girls. Despite the fact that "Kimber" and the other Holograms kept asking her about her real identity, they could not play their instruments, "Rio" knew the secret of her identity AND she saw "Jerrica" come into the house, she never had the common sense to just walk out of the door and get out of a potentially dangerous situation.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Pizzazz. She's a Spoiled Brat but her background is pretty subpar, what with her mother abandoning her at a young age and her father being distant.
  • Launcher of a Thousand Ships: Stormer gets shipped with pretty much everyone. She's most popular with Kimber and Roxy though.
  • Les Yay:
    • The song "I Like Her Style" could be construed as a lesbian love song, especially since Pizzazz and Jetta seem to have a bit of chemistry in the video.
    • In the "The Bands Break Up", during the Jem and the Holograms/Misfits duet, "Bad Influence", one of Pizzazz's warnings to Stormer about Kimber was that "She'll break your heart in two". That and given the overwhelming Les Yay between the two of them throughout the episode, you have to wonder if even she could see it in her bandmate.
  • LGBT Fanbase: In addition to the Periphery Demographic described below, the series has had a very strong following among gay men and other LGBT individuals.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • The scene of Rio kicking over a potted plant in frustration. Even the comics had Rio kick over a plant. Note 
    • Rio's "I HATE DECEPTION AND I DESPISE LIARS!" line.
    • Riot and Minx were in Nirvana before "that Cobain kid" came along.
  • Moe: Raya comes pretty close. Innocent. Super shy. Adorable. They even drew her with Tareme Eyes.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Eric Raymond and the Misfits should've crossed this multiple times with the way their schemes endanger lives, but the Misfits cross this in The Fan, when their latest plan to have Jem reveal her identity almost causes her to suffer a complete mental breakdown. It actually makes the easy acceptance by Jem of the Misfit's Heel–Face Turn in the finale a little inexplicable. It is implied that Jem forgave the Misfits for Stormer's sake.
    • Eric crossed it when he burned Jerrica's dead mother's master tapes of her music after holding them for ransom spoiler 
  • Narm: A lot of the content in the series can be considered this, including the terrible animation that occurs sometimes, some of Jem's music videos which cross into Tastes Like Diabetes territory, Rio's tendency to throw temper tantrums concerning Jerrica and Jem, and the Alone Again episode (especially when the girl instantly tries to "fly" out a window after taking drugs).
  • Narm Charm: But a lot of it makes the show enjoyable.
  • Painful Rhyme: The first bridge in "Time Is Running Out".
    "We'll never stop, there's too much at stake, come on, baby, let's go for it!"
  • Periphery Demographic: It was aimed at girls, but there's no question that Jem had a large male fanbase, mostly due to boys who had a crush on Jem or one of the other girls in the show.
  • Replacement Scrappy: The Stingers were introduced to phase out the Misfits in Season 3. Reportedly, this was due to parents finding the Misfits dolls too scary for their children. This didn't go over well with the fanbase, who generally far preferred the Misfits.
  • Rooting for the Empire: Some fans root for the Misfits
  • The Scrappy:
    • Kimber, on account of being the little sister and her annoying habit of yelling "outrageous!" whenever anything happens.
    • There's also Rio for being an angry Crazy Jealous Guy who cheats on Jerrica with Jem.
    • Alot of people on YouTube don't like Ba Nee due to being the resident Damsel Scrappy and her yearning for her father eventually coming off as Wangst.
    • Rapture doesn't really have much of a role. At least Minx had an episode dedicated to her and fulfills her role of "Rio chaser".
    • A lot of people hate Jetta for being a complete witch to fan-favorite Stormer, who was the one to got her in the band, and to a lesser extent, how she treats Roxy. The Hub's website even calls her out on the former.
  • Ship-to-Ship Combat: Rio/Jerrica vs Riot/Jerrica
  • Signature Song: Jem And The Holograms: Like A Dream
  • So Bad, It's Good: Arguably the cartoon but almost certainly many of the songs.
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped:
    • In Video Wars, Video explains that her career as a filmmaker is quite difficult, since she has to constantly work hard at maintaining her success. Despite everything, she doesn't give up on it and loves her work. This wasn't presented in an over-the-top, ridiculous sort of aesop, nor was it even the main message of the episode, but it acts as a nice way to tell kids that having careers and jobs are never easy, but if you love what you do and keep at it, it's all worth it. The show itself seems to be an example of that message; disregarding the animation, the staff obviously put a lot of effort into the characters and gave them distinct personalities, as well as working hard on the writing, music and fashion (seriously, though; how often do you see cartoon characters in different outfits? And if so, how many are so intricately designed?)
    • With the exception of Eric Raymond, Techrat, and Zipper, the writers made it a point that neither the Misfits or the Stingers were pure evil and had their soft sides (especially Stormer), and that there was a reason why they were like that. The Holograms weren't pure and had their flaws. This seems to say that people have multiple aspects to their personalities, and that even so-called perfect people have their hang-ups, and the worst offender might not be so bad given the chance.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks: The second theme song is loathed by fans, mainly due to the fact that the Misfits are not included in it.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Having Kimber and Stormer secretly staying friends could have been nice however that was completely ignored after "The Bands Break Up".
  • Values Dissonance:
    • It's hard to imagine that as late as 1985, writers had trouble portraying foreigners as much more than cultural stereotypes.
    • Subverted in Raya's introductory episode. Raya's father actually encourages her to play the drums and join the Holograms. Her mother plays it straight when she states that playing the drums is not feminine.
    • Rio's overprotective personality likely wouldn't fly easily in modern day American cartoons.
  • Word of God: Christy Marx, the head writer, interfaces frequently with the fans. This leads to a lot of information getting out on the storyline that never made the show.

Comic Book (Has its own page)

Film (Has its own page)


http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/YMMV/Jem