Being a little kid in the 80s meant that I was exposed to a lot of cartoons that shaped my childhood.
My siblings and I watched everything – Robotech, Voltron, Transformers, Thundercats, GI Joe, the Hanna Barbara slate of cartoons like The Jetsons and everything in between.
One other show we watched? Jem.
Jem is the alter ego of Jerrica Benton, a music producer who also runs a foster home. Through a computerized thingamajig that was created by her father called Synergy, a program that manifests itself like a lady wearing purple leotards, Jerrica is able to project a hologram over herself and become Jem, a flashy musician and lead singer of Jem and the Holograms. All Jerrica has to do to transform is to hold her earring and say the magic words “It’s Showtime Synergy” and voila, instant pop star. Beyond her bandmates, no one knew that Jem and Jerrica were one and the same.
The cartoon also featured The Misfits, a nemesis band of Jem and the Holograms, who were always trying to get their way over Jem and her band. Upon watching Jem when I was older via DVDs through Netflix, it struck me how often the Misfits should have gone to jail for attempted murder. They were that messed up.
Okay so maybe Jem and the Holograms wasn’t the most perfect show. It was another in a long line of cartoons that were produced by a toy maker to sell toys (my parents didn’t get us any Jem toys so the joke is on you Hasbro!) but still, it’s just one of those things that’s part of my childhood.
Which is what makes the upcoming film adaptation so upsetting.
Yes, they have made a film version of Jem and the Holograms. I watched the trailer after a friend posted in on Facebook and I didn’t even remotely understand what was going on.
The conflict seems to play out like any other teen movie – fame and fortune getting in between of what really matters, friendship. There are no Misfits, there is no magical computer called Synergy, there are no actual holograms.
Movie adaptation trailer:
Original Jem opening:
I’m sure the people who made the film and are in it are perfectly nice people and I wish them no ill will. Truth be told, I’m probably not in the target market of this movie anyways. But still, I can’t help but be disappointed. I have been waiting dutifully for a film adaptation of Robotech and would’ve happily taken in a film of Jem to pass the time. But to me? This doesn’t really feel like Jem.
Now excuse me, gotta go watch Mad Max: Fury Road.