Jem and the Holograms was originally created by Sunbow Productions to promote a line of rock & roll-themed dolls produced by toy giant Hasbro, whose other properties included G.I. Joe and My Little Pony. The original Jem doll line is a New Wave fever dream encompassing neon-hued clothing, shoes, accessories and musical instruments. Some toys even came packaged with actual playable cassettes featuring original songs heard in the cartoon.
The show expanded on the dolls’ backstory. After the death of her parents, an ambitious young woman named Jerrica suddenly finds herself running an orphanage and owning half of her late father’s record company, Starlight Music. Simultaneously, Jerrica discovers that her dad created a smart computer named Synergy, who informs the budding music exec that her magical, star-shaped “Jemstar Earrings” can create holograms that allow her to assume the identity of a rock star. Cue the formation of the band Jem and the Holograms, whose lineup features Jerrica’s younger sister, keyboardist Kimber and two adopted sisters: guitarist Aja and drummer Shana.
The show’s 65 episodes boast plenty of over-the-top drama and narrative cliffhangers. Jerrica’s Starlight Music CEO competition is Eric Raymond, a slimy character who constantly tries to sabotage and undermine her. Jem and the Holograms do battle both onstage and off with the Misfits, a gang of felonious (if musically talented) mean girls managed by Raymond. Jerrica also takes care of the Starlight Girls, the foster children who live at Starlight House, and navigates her relations with boyfriend Rio. In true fantasy-land fashion, Rio also falls in love with Jem, but never discovers that the two women are one and the same
"ROLLING STONE MAGAZINE DECEMBER 18TH 2018"
BY: ANNIE ZALESKI
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