Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Jem is Truly F*ing Outrageous

So, ladies of a certain age, I'm sure you remember a certain cartoon known as "Jem." Jem was the paragon of the 80's archetypal woman, like Barbie but so much more: she had pink hair, was in a rock band, and oh yes had earrings that gave her powers. The powers of holograms. Ooooh.

However, the only real holograms that I remember from the 80's were just silvery stickers that would change rainbow colors depending on how you moved them in the light. Apparently, no one had thought of a sophisticated application of this rainbow power, no one that is, until the cartoon Jem. You see, Hologram powers were to the 80's cartoon world what nuclear radiation was to 1950's monster movies, that is, a product of science that made anything possible. For example, you have a normal lizard, it gets exposed to some radiation, and then next thing you know you've got a 100 foot lizard ravaging the city. Likewise, in the 80's you've got your average blonde ditz (who thinks math is hard), but expose her to some holograms and presto-chango she's (what else?) a crime fighting rock star. Yeah!

Also, she has a boyfriend who she has to hide her secret from, although I don't really remember why. He thinks Jem is awesome, he thinks his blond girl friend minus hologram powers is awesome, so why doesn't she tell him? Any real man would get all hot and bothered if his real life girlfriend could turn into his fantasy woman with some holograms, so what the hell? I guess it all made sense when you're little and watching cartoons*.

(*this is the same logic that my neighbor and I used when we were kids and shot each other with the pellet gun to see what would happen. P.S., it hurts and left a sort of blood blister. We told his dad that the pellet bounced of the tree and hit us both. His Dad obviously did not buy this for a minute, but the lie seemed perfectly plausible to us at the time, just like Jem not telling her boyfriend that she's Jem made perfect sense at the time).

I also had the Jem doll when I was little, which may I add was a major disappointment. Not only did the doll come sans hologram powers, but she was a big horse of a doll. Not elegant like Barbie, but with a body like your 3 year old cousin would make if he had some clay. The only cool part was that she did have earrings that blinked (they were just LED's), but their placement made them look like she had blinking Frankenstein bolts in her neck. The best part of the doll was that it came with a tape but I seem to remember you couldn't pick which tape you got, and horor of horros, I got the Misfits tape! Coming with the Jem doll, that's sacriledge! (For those of you not in the know, the Misfits were the mortal enemy of Jem and her band the Holograms). The tape did however have the Jem theme song, the words to which, if I'm not mistaken were awe-inspiring:

Je -em is truly outrageous
truly truly truly outrageous
whoah Jem (Je-em)
is truly outrageous
truly truly truly outrageous

The song begs the question, what made Jem so truly outrageous? Was it her pink hair? Her earrings? Or was it just the in the 80's and outrageous was a synonym for cool, but cooler than cool. If the song had been "Je-em is truly cool, truly truly truly cool" I don't think we'd be talking about her to this day.

At any rate, why is Jem on my mind? Well, my friend who is a year younger than me but with a much better memory sent me a little quiz on Jem. He took the quiz and got 13/20, which is impressive since this show was cancelled in 1987. I took the quiz and got 7/20 which means that basically all I remember is that there was a girl named Jem, she had the power of holograms, and she was truly f*ing outrageous.

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