Jem (animated)

From Academic Kids

This article is about Jem, the animated series. For the musical artist, see Jem Griffiths. "Jem" may also be a nickname for James or Jeremiah.

Jem! was an animated series that ran from 1985 to 1988 on NBC. The show was about a singer, Jem, her band, Jem and the Holograms, and their adventures. Catch phrases from the show included, "Showtime Synergy!" and "She's truly, truly, truly outrageous!"

Despite the fact that the show was originally designed by Hasbro for the purpose of marketing a line of dolls, it was acclaimed for its interweaving storylines and complex backstory, which are almost unheard of in an animated television series. The show also features two-minute music "videos", tying it in with the then-novel concept of MTV.



The show was designed to appeal to both girls and boys, with a mix of action/adventure and fashion. The theme song expresses this precisely:

From the Jem theme song:

Jem! (Jem is excitement) oh
Jem! (Jem is adventure) oh
Glamour and glitter, fashion and fame!

The later theme song, however, aims the show squarely at a female audience, imploring them to become "Jem girls".


The central "secret" of the series is that Jem is in fact the alter ego of Jerrica Benton, owner/manager of Starlight Music, who adopts this persona with the help of Synergy, an extremely sophisticated holographic computer designed by her father and left to her after his death.

The other Holograms are Kimber Benton, Jerrica's younger sister, keyboardist and main songwriter for the band; Aja Leith, guitarist; and Shana Elmsford, who plays the synth drums. Later in the series, a new drummer, Raya, is added to the band.

Only the Holograms are aware of Jem's secret identity, and episodes of the series frequently revolve around Jerrica's efforts to keep the two identities separate. This often causes conflict with her boyfriend, Rio, who is attracted to both Jerrica and Jem while not realising that they are actually the same person.

Jerrica's other main concern is the foster home for orphan girls the Holograms run, Starlight House. The Holograms' main purpose is in fact to fund the Starlight Foundation and support the Starlight Girls.

The Holograms' rival band are the Misfits (not to be confused with the actual band of the same name led by Glenn Danzig): rich girl Pizzazz (Phyllis Gabor) and her cohorts Roxy (Roxanne Pelligrini) and Stormer (Mary Phillips), later joined by Jetta (Sheila Burns). They are not only rivals on the stage, but in many episodes are out to ruin Jem, and most episodes of the series involve a plot by the Misfits to sabotage and/or upstage Jem and the Holograms' latest glamourous escapade. This rivalry is encouraged and manipulated by their manager, Eric, who was Jerrica's father's business partner and ran Starlight Music after his death until he fell out with Jerrica, staking his claim on the record company against hers on the rivalry between the Holograms and the Misfits.

The final series of the show introduced a new set of antagonists, the Stingers - Riot, Rapture and Minx. Riot also added the romantic drama of the show, becoming obsessed with Jem while Pizzazz, in her turn, was obsessed by him, and Rio was pursued by Minx. Dolls of the Stingers were planned, but not made.

Other characters important enough to have related dolls were film maker Video (Vivian Montgomery), her cousin and obsession Misfits fan Clash (Constance Montgomery), choreographer and charity worker Danse (Giselle Dvorack) and three of the most prominent Starlight Girls: Ashley, Ba Nee and Kristy.


Almost 20 years after the Jem toyline was introduced to the U.S. market and 17 years after its demise, Hasbro shown interest in reviving the line, going so far as registering a new trademark for the purpose of selling dolls and doll clothes. A release date has yet to be announced.

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