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  • Acceptable Targets: According to Christy Marx, Jetta was originally African-American. Executive Meddling on the part of Sunbow is the reason why Jetta became a white, low-class British woman, as the execs didn't think a lying, low-class African-American pickpocket villain would go over well.
  • 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?
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    • 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. 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 other's 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.
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    • 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, especially after Jetta joined. 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 to 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. Pizzazz could also be interpreted as having an Inferiority Superiority Complex.
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    • Is Rio really a sweet boyfriend or is he a more malicious individual? Jerrica fears telling him that she is Jem because he hates liars and deceit, and he is possessive over her to the point where he punched a man for kissing her in a movie. Rio also cheats on Jerrica with 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, as Kimber has had several boyfriends before and since. 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.
  • Angst? What Angst?: "Father's Day" takes place in what seems to be the girl's first Father's Day without their dad. Kimber is emotionally distraught, but the others don't seem remotely phased. They also don't understand why Kimber is so upset.
  • Anvilicious: Alone Again. 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: 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 competent frontwoman for the band as well as a natural leader and came off as a strong, independent woman. Come season three, Pizzazz was more love and power hungry as well as more unstable and brattier, to the detriment of the band who became more of a joke than anything else. 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.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Fans are divided over whether Rio is a decent boyfriend to Jerrica or if he's a possessive jerk who shouldn't be with her.
    • The Stingers are either well-liked for giving Jem and the Holograms a set of rivals other than the Misfits or are seen as poor substitutes to the Misfits due to their introduction coming with the price of the Misfits being Demoted to Extra.
  • 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 since 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 that frequently breaks the fourth wall.
  • Broken Base: Fans can't agree on whether Jem and the Holograms or the Misfits are the better band.
  • Designated Hero: Rio is excessively possessive of both Jem and Jerrica to the point of being borderline abusive yet he is essentially shown as the "ideal boyfriend" of the show.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: While the Misfits and Stingers have done truly nasty things at times and are gneerally selfish, some of their fans gloss over their actions and paint them all as saints.
  • 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: Craig Phillips, Stormer'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.
  • Evil Is Cool: 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.
  • Fanon:
    • Fanon tends to combine Riot's Multiple-Choice Past. His father was stationed in Germany and he met Minx in high school. Later, the two met again once Riot was in the military himself.
    • Jem and the Holograms break up within a few years of forming, usually by the mid 1990s. Sometimes this is due to changing music tastes or the pressure getting to be too much, sometimes they just go their separate ways, and other times Jem accidentally transforms back into Jerrica on stage. The Misfits generally also break up but not until well into the '90s or 2000s.
    • 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.
    • Stormer, Clash, and Rapture are generally considered lesbians. Roxy, Pizzazz, Jetta, Minx, and Kimber are often depicted as bisexual.
    • Eric, Roxy, and Riot using drugs, or having a history of using drugs, pops up in a lot of fanfiction.
    • Riot, Minx, and Pizzazz sleep around a lot.
    • Stormer has Good Parents that 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 being in a sexual, but usually not romantic, relationship appears a lot.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple:
    • The amount of Kimber/Stormer works can make you forget Kimber's boyfriends.
    • In the 2010s, Pizzazz/Jerrica caught on as a somewhat popular alternative to Rio/Jerrica and Riot/Jerrica.
  • 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 developed backstory is Pizzazz. Naturally, fanfics go into depth about the others' pasts.
    • Pizzazz being reunited with her Missing Mom. This might also include her meeting a half-brother she didn't know about (or at least has never seen before).
    • The media learns that Jem and Jerrica are the same person and it creates a huge scandal. Common plots how this happens include Synergy having a technical glitch mid-concert or someone leaking the info to the press.
    • Spin-Offspring fanfics where the characters children also start a band.
  • Fanon Discontinuity:
    • "The Day The Music Died" tends to be ignored by fans, mostly due to its off-the-wall documentary-style premise, everyone else acting dumb to facilitate the plot, and conflicts with characterization.
    • 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, 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. 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 said reasons and Jerrica even admits that they have no money to spare from everything they have earned.
    • The episode "The Fan," where a fan 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, and the live-action film killed reruns of the show and contributed to the comics being canceled.
  • Heartwarming in Hindsight: In the "Music and Danse" song from the "Homeland, Heartland" episode that first aired in February of 1988, there is a line that says (while briefly accompanied by a picture of Europe) "With music and danse, we'll help to bridge the gap, with music and danse we'll wipe the lines right off the map". No points guessing what occurred less than two years later.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • The episode "Video Wars" has a shot of a circus packing up, with the lion tamer saying, "Simba, in the cage!".
    • The episode "Music is Magic" featured Jem and the Holograms dressed in rather fetching stage magician apparel and also happened to be written by Paul Dini, who would later contribute to the DC Animated Universe and was known to be very fond of Zatanna, a character featured in the DC Animated Universe who also happened to be an attractive stage magician in revealing clothes.
  • Iconic Character, Forgotten Title: A number of people call the show Jem and the Holograms because it's the name of her band...but it's not actually the name of the show. 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. The French dub averted this with the official name of "Jem et Les Hologrammes".
  • Idiot Plot:
    • Many a Jem episode had our heroes' ignorance and inexperience of what's going on around them come off as downright stupidity. In the final episode, they're 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 it turns out he isn't. Even after the bad vibes and the fact that he kept mispronouncing "his" daughter's name, they still let him hang around until Ba Nee is put in mortal danger and he bails on her.
    • 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 tried to leave.
  • 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.
    • Riot of the Stingers also counts because of his father being an abusive jerk to him for pursuing an interest in music and blaming him for causing his mother to fall ill. Even after all the manipulative dickishness Riot's caused before this was revealed, it's hard not to feel sorry for how his dad treats him.
  • Launcher of a Thousand Ships:
    • Stormer gets shipped with pretty much everyone. She's most popular with Kimber and Roxy though.
    • To a lesser degree, Pizzazz. She gets shipped with all her band-mates, Clash, Jerrica/Jem, Riot, and Eric.
  • 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.
      • Not just Pizzazz and Jetta, but Stormer and Roxy and Stormer and Jetta as both involve Stormer giving a Held Gaze to each of them.
    • 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:
  • 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.
    • Eric crossed it when he burned Jerrica's dead mother's master tapes of her music after holding them for ransom.
  • Narm: A lot of the content in the series can be considered this, including the 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 Very Special Episode.
  • Narm Charm: But a lot of it makes the show enjoyable.
  • Periphery Demographic: The show 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 gradually 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.
  • Ron the Death Eater:
    • Jem, the Holograms, and Rio tend to get this treatment from fans, particularly by fans of the Misfits or Stingers, with their negative traits or actions being over-exaggerated.
    • In canon Rio is a nice, if very jealous and protective, guy. However many fans see him as a whiny creep who cheats on his two girlfriends and displays abusive behavior.
  • Rooting for the Empire: Some fans root for the Misfits over the Holograms, given how they have more distinct personalities, come from different walks of life and their songs are better.
  • The Scrappy:
    • A lot of people don't like Ba Nee due to being the resident Damsel Scrappy, having much more screen time over other, more interesting Starlight Girls such as Krissie and Deidre and her yearning for her father eventually coming off as Wangst.
    • Rapture doesn't really have much of a role outside of being the Stingers' bassist and being a manipulative bitch to virtually everyone she encounters just for the sake of it.
    • A lot of people hate Jetta for being a complete witch to fan-favorite Stormer, who was the one to get her in the band to begin with, and to a lesser extent, how she treats Roxy.
  • Ship-to-Ship Combat: Rio/Jem vs Riot/Jem can get pretty nasty at times. Then you have those who would prefer her with neither of them.
  • Signature Song:
    • Jem And The Holograms: Like A Dream.
    • The Misfits: Makin' Mischief.
    • The Stingers: Take It Or Leave It.
  • 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; the staff obviously put a lot of effort into the characters and gave them distinct personalities, as well as working hard on the animation, writing, music and fashion.
    • 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 "Jem Girls" theme is disliked by a lot of 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".
    • It would have been an interesting plotline for Clash to have been featured in "The Talent Search" just to see her reaction to the Misfits allowing Jetta in the band over her. The two women would eventually interact, but only as a whole with the band and never in regards to this topic.
  • Unintentionally Sympathetic: Clash, particularly in "Father's Day" and especially in "Video Wars". Even though she was an obnoxious brat who willingly and enthusiastically tried to sabotage the careers of both Jem and her cousin Video, seeing The Misfits reject her a final time as she desperately pleads with them to give her another chance puts all of her past appearances in a different, bitter light.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic:
    • Rio's Crazy Jealous Guy traits were meant to be a vice, however it was overdone to the point where he looks more like a Bastard Boyfriend. His Two-Person Love Triangle with Jem also comes off as just straight up infidelity, with none of the reasons behind it helping—when Jerrica created a third personality to see if he'd love her as neither girl, he fell in love with her, too.
    • Pizzazz's dad is meant to be seen as a hard-working father who lost touch with his daughter after a messy divorce and can't figure out how to deal with or relate to her anymore. However, he comes off as a neglectful parent who only cares enough about Pizzazz to give her presents and buy her love.
  • Values Dissonance:
    • It's hard to imagine that as late as 1985, writers had trouble portraying foreigners as much more than cultural stereotypes.
    • Rio's overprotective personality likely wouldn't fly easily in modern day American cartoons.

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