5 Life Lessons Learned from 'JEM'

The 80s was a weird and wonderful time for cartoons – they were fueled by great creativity, toy sales, and occasionally substances harder than caffeine. For all the craziness that the decade brought, none were more true to spirit of the time ‘JEM.’  It melded fashion and music with the deliciously looney storylines of nighttime soaps. And they were able to impart some surprisingly deep life lessons among all the glitter, glamor, fashion, and fame.
5. Sometimes Kids Are Just Jerks
For those who are unfamiliar, the Starlight Girls are the group of foster kids living in Jerrica Benton’s giant mansion and supported by Starlight Music. You’d think having a bunch of rock stars spend crap-tons of time making sure you’re happy would be enough to make you really appreciate how lucky you are…but, oddly, many of the featured Starlight Girls don’t quite seem to realize it. Take Ba Nee for example. A big part of why Jem & The Holograms even existed was because adorable little Ba Nee had some crazy, blinding eye disease that required a $250,000 surgery to correct. But Eric Raymond stole all of Starlight Music’s money so Jem (who’s really Jerrica) and the rest of the group had to endure nearly getting killed repeatedly to restore her sight. And how does Ba Nee repay this  kindness? By constantly saying their love is fine but not the same as her dad’s. Who she’s never met. Awesome.
4. Sometimes He’s Just Not That Into You (aka Give It Up, Turn It Loose)
You know that thing where Kimber liked that douchey actor and totally dissed the sweet stunt double or Pizzazz was straight up selling her dignity just to get a whiff of Riot’s cologne? Ugh, so painful. Not to mention all the times Pizzazz and Rapture threw themselves at Rio only to have him practically throw gasoline on them and light them on fire in disgust. Ladies, if there’s a guy you’re digging and he’s not digging you back, just let it go. Far better to suffer a temporary sting than repeatedly feel the back hand of rejection.
3. “He Doth Protest Too Much”
Oh, Rio – the purple-haired road manager who solves every problem by punching someone in the face. He hates lies and he hates deceit and makes sure everyone knows it by shouting it repeatedly and often. Like so many who loudly rail against that which they hate, perhaps he’s just hating on himself. Rio never really grasped that he’s dating both Jerrica and Jem and never tells the former about it. Sure, they’re the same person but he doesn’t know that.
2. Bullies Have Horrible Home Lives
The truth about bullies is that it’s never about you, it’s pretty much always about them and their issues. Let’s look at The Misfits. Pizzazz’s father is next level rich and is too busy with business to pay any real attention to his daughter. He literally gives her anything she asks for just so she’ll leave him alone to work. She equates getting everything she wants with love and is starved for attention. So enter Jem, who everyone just immediately adores and winds up getting everything Pizzazz sets her sights on. Constant jealous rage much? Roxy is (was) illiterate and used to run with a street gang before running away from home as a teen. This is her meal ticket and she’d rather try and blow Kimber up on a movie set than risk going back to having nothing. Stormer’s true problem is she suffers from such low self-confidence she’ll go along with (practically) anything Pizzazz and Roxy say to maintain her position in the group – the only way she feels like a “somebody.” But she’s the only one who has a nice family which is probably why she has the occasional wherewithal to covertly intervene on some of her bandmates’ more dastardly plots.
1. You Can Get Away With Anything If You Have Enough Money

Eric Raymond, The Misfits, and their cronies literally tried to kill Jem & The Holograms several times and got away with it. But they didn’t just stop at attempted murder, their long list of crimes included repeated counts of kidnapping, assault, reckless endangerment, industrial espionage, blackmail, and endangering minors. Yet somehow these nutbags remained free to wreak havoc. And by “somehow” I mean “because Pizzazz dad’s is ridicu-rich and surely has enough pull to keep these jackholes out of prison.”   Holding them in jail was so impossible, the writers stopped having them arrested by episode 10. And that’s the true power of cash, y’all.
‘JEM And The Holograms: The Truly Outrageous Complete Series’ is available on DVD (yay SHOUT! Factory!) and airs Saturdays on Hub (check your local listings)

About Tamara Brooks