Saturday, December 9, 2017

The Genius of Jem

Here's some truth: I watched a lot of "Jem" as a kid. Yes, I was and in some ways still am a girly girl (after all, I am a model in NYC). For those of you unfamiliar with it, here's a link to help you. While many parts of "Jem" were very unrealistic, there is something to be said about some of the writing & why it would actually be a good program to let a little girl watch.

First off, Jerrica and her friends were your classic underdogs. Jerrica & Kimber's father has died, they're left with little money and they have the evil Eric Raymond (who's an attorney and music company executive; was this foreshadowing you may ask yourself) to contend with. They epitomize good and kindness in the world even though you have Aja and Shanna to balance out some of that since they were more critical and cynical in their outlook on life than our own Jerrica/Jem. Poor Jerrica and her friends and their Starlight girls go through all kinds of bad stuff at the hands of The Misfits (the "evil" rock group) & Eric Raymond or people they've hired to do their dirty work.

Second, the Starlight girls were older tween/teen girls who'd been orphaned. You didn't see the lead characters taking care of babies or trying to become mothers everywhere you turned. They were enjoying rock star life and caring for the Starlight girls, who weren't really helpless waifs. There was one episode in particular where Kimber was supposed to get married and her friends are telling her not to rush into that choice & really think about if she wanted to do it. They weren't saying "Oh, go off & have babies. That's what you're SUPPOSED to be doing!" Powerful message for a childfree person or a kid who wasn't for the marriage/babies club.

Third, Jerrica and her friends weren't helpless waifs. I feel like Jerrica/Jem managed the perfect balance of self-sufficiency and Southern belle tendencies (though I think they were supposed to be living in CA). Rio got to be her hero but he wasn't ALWAYS helping her out of every stupid little nonsense like you'd see in some damsels in distress. They were fixing cars and doing all kinds of "not ladylike" type things.

I really liked Aja (the Hologram with the blue hair) though I could pull off Kimber easiest (the Hologram with the red hair). Aja was far more cynical, didn't trust that easily and was kind of bad ass in her own way since she knew how to do mechanical tasks. Yes, I wanted blue hair as a kid since I wasn't really happy being a redhead who got bullied and tormented in childhood. I would have loved an Aja doll but never got one.

But I suppose watching it as an adult, the thing I really notice is The Stingers. I was watching the episode where they first show up a few days ago and heard "Take It or Leave It." I feel like that is MY anthem in dealing with all these dudes who apparently resent me for having a personality & independent thoughts that don't align lockstep with theirs. The Stingers are also interesting since you have Jem & the Holograms as the epitome of good & kindness and The Misfits as the epitome of evil & nastiness (though you see some character archs with individual members and even Pizazz later on when confronted with situations that could KILL their rivals or cause further harm to them). The Stingers are more nuanced, Riot in particular.

You find out that Riot had to deal with parental disapproval from his father and strife over his music career. Basically, he and his band had to fight to get where they ended up in the series. I like that this layer of nuance was thrown in & how many of us can relate to having friends and family members who don't understand or respect our passion for entertainment pursuits, be they acting, music, modeling, whatever?

I actually had this guy tell me he was no longer interested in meeting me after speaking with me on politics and felt like I ought to post a link to "Take It or Leave It" on my profile. Heck, I would save myself so much time if I just did stuff like that or announce "Hey, I'm not dealing with your BS considering all the stuff I've gone through to get where I am! You can go pound sand if you think I am."

Shouldn't you hang out with the people who find you awesome as is instead of trying to conform to jerks who don't actually like you for you? I think you should. Embrace the 80s cheese as you watch that clip.