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YMMV: Jem

  • 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.
    • It seems, though, this trope will be played straight in the upcoming IDW comic book adaptation, where promotional art has shown that Jetta will be African-American just like it was originally intended for the cartoon.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Several characters (Clash, Stormer, and Kimber) are considered lesbians by fans in fanfiction.
    • 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.
  • 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 Dark Horse: 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).
  • 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.
    • 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.
  • 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 averts this with the official name of "Jem et Les Hologrammes".
  • Idiot Plot / What an Idiot: Many a Jem episode had our heroes' ignorance/inexperience of what's going on around them come off as downright stupidity (although this may be Fridge Brilliance due to the fact that 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 and wasn't able to teach them about how to handle more adult situations like finances and the like). Sadly enough, this continued down 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.
    • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • Memetic Mutation: The scene of Rio kicking over a potted plant in frustration.
    • "I HATE DECEPTION AND I DESPISE LIARS!"
    • 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 note 
  • Narm: A lot of the content in the series can be considered this, including the terrible animation, 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.
    • 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 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, and a lot of people on YouTube don't like Ba Nee.
    • 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.
  • Screwed by Hasbro: Hasbro pulled the plug on the series in 1988, despite the fact that Jem was one of the most popular cartoons airing in syndication. The reason? Because of poor sales on the dolls.
  • So Bad, It's Good
  • 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.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Writer Revolt: Christy Marx originally envisioned the Misfits as a trio of self-absorbed sociopaths that Eric found and forged into a band, which could fall apart at any moment due to Pizzazz, Roxy, and Stormer being willing to betray each other at a moment's notice if it would advance their respective careers. Similarly, to appease moral guardians, their songs would be "anti-moral" as far as promoting the worst aspects of human nature. The other writers rejected this outright and we got the kinder, gentler, vitriolic True Companions Misfits everyone loved.