If you grew up in the 1980’s and had two X chromosomes then chances are you loved Jem and the Holograms. Lord knows I did, and now we can all relive the neon glory days of our youthful years with Jem and the Holograms: The Truly Outrageous Complete Series.
I feel as though I should explain what one of the greatest girls’ cartoons of all time is but just in case, Jem and the Holograms is about a group of young women, Jerrica Benton, her sister Kimber, and pals Aja and Shana, who transform into an outrageous girl rock band called Jem and the Holograms. They musically duel their arch nemesis band, The Misfits (not the Glenn Danzig band), and sing short, lyrically impaired tunes about being moral paragons. I don’t know about you but I loved the Misfits, they were beyond spoiled and quite dastardly, plus they had guitar motorcycles and you weren’t a hardcore bitch unless you had a guitar motorcycle.
Like most ladies my age I loved and still love Jem, it’s like if Ziggy Stardust, Pat Benatar, and The Bangles had a cocaine and polyester induced orgy while watching MTV and produced a brood of love children.
While in high school, when most of my esteemed classmates where trying not to get caught having sex in the mall again, (true facts) my group of friends and I were still quoting and singing the Jem and the Holograms theme song, and we still do today. I have very fond memories of going to our local, tiny video shop and renting the Jem VHS tapes over and over when I was a kid and singing to the little music videos that make up about half of a regular episode. Those music videos are part of what made Jem and the Holograms such a fundamental, memorable and unique cartoon. It’s a cartoon that sticks with you forever and not because it’s one of those horrible cult favorites but because it’s so symbolic of the Eighties – which, to some might actually be horrible since everything is neon pink and animal print.
It’s an absolute treat to get these shows on DVD. In an age where Hollywood is hell bent on raping all of our childhood memories with big money blockbuster failures, it’s nice to just sit down and enjoy what made us happy when we were kids. All those afterschool hours and Saturday mornings we spent drunk on KoolAid and basking in the warmth of our tube televisions are brought back to us by Shout! Factory.
Now Shout! Factory has done an amazing job at reviving all these vintage cartoons, and they give them the respect they deserve. It used to be you could buy only a few VHS or DVDs that only had 2-3 episodes on them, and no cool extras like cut scenes or story boards, it was wasn’t worth it. Now that Shout! has taken it upon themselves to release all these great cartoons we can enjoy not only the whole series in one collected set but a bunch of cool bonus features too. The extra for Jem and the Holograms are, well, they’re okay.
I’m happy to have some extras because I actually do like watching all that stuff, especially interviews- which there are some included with Jem. Although I think the most fun of the extras is the video jukebox that plays all the Jem songs. No longer will you have an excuse to not sing along. There are also some toy commercials included which are always a fun trip down memory lane – then again, it’s a sure fire way to make you feel pretty old and anyone under the age of fifteen will probably ask what’s wrong with the picture quality.
Speaking of picture quality, I was really surprised at how good this DVD set looked and sounded too. Sometimes, especially with cartoons from the Eighties, the quality is less than great. They might sound okay, but the picture looks dull and flat; you know the way it used to look on TV. Jem looks pretty dang good. It’s not crystal clear digital rendering or anything like that, but the colors are pretty vibrant and the sound is nice and clear. Shout! did a good job at polishing this up and getting it ready for a spotlight DVD release.
I, of course, absolutely have to recommend this to anyone who was a fan of the show growing up. It’s too much fun to pass up and since it’s a cartoon with positive morals and little violence, it’s appropriate for all ages. Get it for yourself and your kids. Your daughter is probably going to love it since Jem is a girl all girls want to be. She’s pretty, fun, has cool clothes, a cute, purple haired boyfriend named Rio and she can belt out bodacious 80’s pop songs like no one’s business. Nothing but love for Jem and the Hologram: The Truly Outragious Complete Series. It’s pure Eighties magic.