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the agony booth

Jem
“One Jem Too Many”
Posted on: Apr 26, 2010.
Jem "One Jem Too Many" (1987)
Page: 1 2 3

Before I start, maybe I should familiarize the unenlightened with the entire premise of this show. As stated by the gospel of Wikipedia, Jem is a kick-ass ‘80s cartoon which was created for the sole purpose of selling toys, like all most other cartoons of that era and, let’s face it, of all time.

So there’s this girl Jerrica who runs an orphanage. She’s got these earrings that allow her to turn into a rockstar (and possibly superhero?) named Jem, who leads a band called Jem and the Holograms, which records for a label owned by Jerrica and her peeps, Starlight Records. With me so far?

Well, that’s it, really. The entire show is about Jem’s fabulous life as a rockstar, her BFFs and bratty kid sister, the orphans she looks after, and her ridiculously slow-witted boyfriend, who’s in love with both Jem and Jerrica without being able to figure out that they’re actually the same person. And Jerrica’s totally fine with this. It’s an ‘80s cartoon soap opera with tons of glamour, glitter, fashion and... well, you know the rest.

So, on to the episode!

OMG the ‘80s music. The ’80s music! It buuuuuuuuuuuurnz us! Actually, it’s all kinds of awesome.

The title card tells us this episode was written by Buzz Dixon, who also wrote the Mister T episode “Mystery of the Mind-Thieves”. So you know we’re about to see something completely insane.

The article continues after this advertisement...

So we’ve got Jerrica in hyper tight-ass mode, pissed off because the orphanage girls are dirty, dirty pigs who leave their shit (which is really just a plate of food) all over the damn house (well, the dinner table). Adding to her headache is a baseball that comes flying through the window. Jerrica looks out the window to see two demon spawn fighting over who’s responsible. And when I say fighting, I mean savagely beating each other. Seriously, this isn’t gonna end until one of them’s dead.

Off screen, Jerrica contemplates letting them kill each other, but the cartoon only shows us the part where she responsibly steps in to stop the fight.

The Little Orphan Annies reluctantly apologize, and while the problem’s been solved, Jerrica looks like she can use a drink. Oh wait, this is an ‘80s cartoon. Um... a drink... of soda! Non-carbonated, of course.

She walks back inside and the Holograms are there, waiting for her. Kimber states the obvious in noting Jerrica’s disposition, and then suggests that Jerrica go shopping with them. Token Asian Hologram agrees, preaching the near-miraculous therapeutic benefits that come from finding a super cute outfit. Elsewhere, Stacy and Clinton nod their heads eagerly in agreement.

Sadly, because the show can’t give us one Jerrica scene without reminding us of what an F-ing tight-ass she is, Jerrica completely changes the topic and talks about all the stuff on her To Do list, and she of course declines their offer.

Then again, is it so wrong that she passes up a day of splurging to do Starlight Records’ tax returns, which are due tomorrow and by the way, if she doesn’t do them the government’s gonna kind of notice and throw her in jail and the band won’t be able to make anymore music and the orphanage is probably gonna have to shut down leaving countless little girls on the street?

Nope.

Kimber’s right. She’s “never any fun.”

The scene changes. Jerrica’s doing paperwork. She then goes into a studio for some inexplicable reason, and records a song for the band called “Imagine Me”.

Like most Jem songs, it’s totally lame, but I listen anyway because I am a masochist. The gist of the song: Jerrica wishes she didn’t have a care in the world, and thus she concocts a fantasy that consists of herself as Jem in an Ancient Greece inspired toga, prancing around like a nymph in a forest with pretty flower petals flying all around her.

I know.

And does anyone else find it a bit troubling that Jerrica’s idealized image of herself is... Jem? I mean, this girl clearly has self-esteem issues, and I wonder whether that’ll ever be addressed in the show? Or maybe I’m thinking too much? Oh well, time and a few more downloaded episodes will tell, I guess.

So then Jerrica’s boyfriend Rio walks into the studio with yet another one of his unintentionally hilarious lines.

Stupid Rio: Jerrica! I... thought I heard Jem singing.
Me: THAT’S BECAUSE YOUR GIRLFRIEND IS JEM! YOU’RE IN LOVE WITH ANOTHER WOMAN WHO IS ACTUALLY YOUR GIRLFRIEND! MY GOD WHY ARE YOU SO SLOW?
Jerrica: Um... you did, I had the playback on.

Which satisfies Rio.

Rio invites Jerrica to lunch, but she can’t because of all the completely understandable work she’s got to do all by herself because everyone else around her is utterly useless. Rio seems to understand, and says goodbye to his girlfriend, already planning to cheat on her with his second girlfriend, who by the way is his girlfriend. I’m sorry, I’ll never get over that.

Suddenly, Jem comes out of nowhere as Rio is getting into his car, telling him she “heard” him ask Jerrica out to lunch, and is wondering whether he’d want to go out with her instead. Rio being Rio, he eagerly agrees, thankful that he didn’t even have to waste time trying to find her first (well, not really, but you totally know that’s what he’s thinking). Jem climbs into the Riomobile, and it’s off to lunch they go, over at “The Fashon [sic] Mall”.

We first see signs of Jem’s odd behavior when she asks if Rio’s taking her to “some cheap place”, and she’s got this totally bitchy glare on her face which makes Rio shit his pants. They walk into the “Red Rock” restaurant, and Jem yells at the “baldy” host at the front to get them the best table in the room. Rio nervously tells Jem to “hang loose”, which I think is lame ‘80s slang for “relax”, and Jem’s all like, “You hang loose.” Damn. Then she waxes poetic about how she’s so awesome that she should be getting paid by the second just for breathing the restaurant’s cheap air.

The “baldy” host tells Jem in his obviously fake French accent to eat shit and die (more or less), and so Jem responds by throwing soup all over some poor guy eating at the nearest table with his boyfriend “business associate”.

But this is hilarious, because Jem actually utters the phrase, “Like fudge we will!” Which is yet another unintentionally funny line for the ‘80s Cartoon Hall of Shame. Meanwhile, there’s a random photographer conveniently standing right behind them (even though he wasn’t there a minute ago, so maybe in the ‘80s the paparazzi were so hardcore that they actually knew how to sense a disturbance in the Force World of the Rich and Famous and materialize to where it was all happening). Jem proceeds to She-Hulk the crap out of him, and even goes so far as to throw his camera through the window.

At this point, I don’t think anyone will blame me for referring to her as Bizarro Jem.

So it takes two guys to carry the little rage-a-holic out of the restaurant, and when they throw Bizarro Jem out on her ass, she promises to sue. Rio tries to calm down his second girlfriend, because what fun is it cheating on your girlfriend with some girl who’s gone coo-coo for Cocoa Puffs?

In return, he gets called a “flunky”. Well, Rio’s not having any of that. Nobody calls him a flunky and gets away with it! He’s a manwhore, dammit!

While Bizarro Jem is once again wetting herself under the sheer hydraulic pressure of her rage, some record store owner asks Jem to sign autographs at his store, and she slyly agrees. Apparently, he wasn’t around ten seconds ago when her sanity got into its tiny red Volvo and rode off into the sunset.

Meanwhile, the Holograms are at the same mall, aching after a hard day of shopping. And what do they happen to see but their very own records being hurled out of a record store? Of course, the culprit is Bizarro Jem, who’s pissed off that her records are being sold for so cheap.

The store owner whines that the prices were sanctioned by Starlight Records, but Bizarro Jem doesn’t give a crap. “Let the mindless little twerps pay double. Raise my prices now!” I know we’re supposed to gasp at her shocking words, but come on. Do you really think Beyonce hasn’t said the same thing in real life at least once, prefaced by the phrase, “But Daddy!”?

The Holograms rush in and try to calm the beast, to no avail. Token Black Hologram cries, “What’s gotten into her?” and Kimber once again states the obvious, by informing everyone that they had better get to Jem before she does something crazy. Like, say, drink the blood of a newborn child. Or something like that.

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