Jem and the Holograms – The Beginning 

By Joshie Jaxon 

Greetings, geek fans! I tried to prepare a post on M.A.S.K. for you, but I couldn’t. I was bored before the first five minutes had passed. It was terrible, just terrible. It was all about cars, and I just can’t. I reached white girl levels of literally can’t even. Please don’t make me. There’s nothing funny I could find in it, and that’s coming from me. Instead, I bring you a gem, pun intended, from the mid-80’s. This had a Joshie Gab review written all over it. It’s got everything. Category is, retro-80’s girl glam! Pink sparkles, girl power, bad fashion, and earrings! Showtime, Synergy. Er, let the geeks begin! 

Jem! Jem is excitement! Ooh Jem! Jem is adventure! Glamor and glitter! Fashion and fame! Jem is truly outrageous! Truly! Truly! Truly, outrageous! We’re not even through the opening song yet, and already I feel gayer. Do you? Just wait! 

We open on a red carpet. There’s a blimp overhead that has JEM on it. As the spotlights move around, the land yacht of a car pulls up and out comes Miss Vida! Ok, it’s actually Aja, serving up blue hair, pink eye shadow and a star on her cheek. Next, Shana, in purple dress and matching purple hair. Followed by Kimber in red hair, and a white dress coat with red ruffles. Finally, Jem! Pink heels, pink dress, hair, and makeup. These girls are coordinated! Werk! One of the paparazzi ask if they’re making a new album, and what it’s like to be famous. She remembers how it all began…

That’s right, the series is a flashback to how she got to that red carpet. As premises go, it’s not bad. Except her opening memory is the death of her father. Sleazy looking business guy, Mr. Raymond, offers Jerrica his condolences. Overprotective male, totally in the friend zone, Rio, says she has all the help she needs. Jerrica’s voiceover says she got two inheritances, daddy’s music company, Starlight Music, and a home for foster girls, Starlight House. 

Inside the RuPaul School for Girls, everyone is pitching in and cleaning up. Kimber is strumming her guitar. Aja is vacuuming. Rio is fixing the light, and Jerrica is flat on her back, getting wet. Er, trying to fix the leak under the sink. Aja turns the light on. The lamp shorts out. The vacuum hits the ladder Rio is on, causing him to fall and pop the bag, sending dust everywhere. Jerrica sneezes and breaks the pipe, getting water all over. Kimber gets off her duff to go tell Jerrica they have problems. In the living room, one of the troubled teens calls it a dump, sits on a chair, and falls on her ass. Instant karma. Jerrica dries her hair as Rio says the electrical is shot, and the girls chime in about the vacuum, plumbing, and furniture. Shana says they need money. Unnamed assistant says that Jerrica’s dad used to get money from Starlight Music to take care of things. Jerrica thinks she can too, and puts on her best “gimme money and I might touch it” outfit on. 

Starlight Music, Jerrica dusts off her knees and- kidding! Can you imagine? No? Well, you can now. Jerrica rides the external-facing elevator to the top and ask the secretary to see Mr. Raymond. Secretary has fingerless white lace gloves on, and is painting her nails. It’s worth noting her lime green eyeshadow. Even for the 80’s, wow. Anyhow, Jerrica storms in and asks if he’s making himself at home in her father’s office. Well, he is dead. It’s not like her can use it. She says she needs money for Starlight House, and daddy left her half the company. Why only half is beyond me. Raymond says that she’s just a kid. He’s trying to turn Starlight Music into the most powerful recording company in the country, but he needs new blood like, The Misfits! Pizzazz! Roxie! And Stormer! They come in on cue, riding guitar-shaped bikes. Yes, I’m serious. Pizzazz has an animal print dress and acid green hair. Roxie has white hair, a black top and yellow leggings. Stormer has blue hair, pink top, black mini skirt and fishnets. The music starts as they circle Jerrica. Time for a musical number! Yes, seriously! “Outta My Way” The Misfits appears in the corner like we’re watching a music video. Which we are. They stalk Jerrica out the glass wall of the office, surf after her on boards, and try to grab the brass ring she’s on at the carousel. All while singing for her to get out of their way. Subtle, ladies. Raymond announces a battle of the bands, that The Misfits say they’ll win cause he booked a bunch of terrible acts around them. Jerrica can’t believe he’s using her father’s company to promote this trash. He’s in charge and there’s nothing she can do about it. Don’t be too sure.

RuPaul School for Girls, Jerrica sits in front of her mirror by candlelight saying she won’t let him get away with this. Aja asks what they can do by tomorrow. Kimber points out the box on the vanity. It contains a pair of beautiful star earrings. Who sent them? Kimber guesses that it’s Rio. There’s a clap on thunder, a bolt of lightning, and the window blows open. Candles go out, and the girls go close the window. Suddenly, there’s a strange woman clad in purple standing there, telling Jerrica that she’s come for her! There are instructions in the earring box. Follow them. She’ll be waiting for her. Jerrica reaches out and states there’s nothing there. The woman then disappears. Jerrica looks at the others and says “let’s go”. Cause after all, mysterious present, strange woman, what could possibly go wrong. Poor, sheltered, trusting, white girl. 

They take their van, Starlight Express, to the Star drive-in. Star theme anyone? One of the girls says this is the craziest thing they’ve ever done. Yeah, going to the creepy drive-in in the middle of the night doesn’t exactly scream, sane. The woman stands in front of the screen and tells her to drive through it. Things aren’t always what they seem in this place. Labrynth worm. Had to. Jerrica tells Aja to to it, and she does. Oh my! The wall is an illusion. No, I’m gonna guess hologram. Jerrica asks who or what the woman is. She’s Synergy. She was designed to be the ultimate audio/visual synthesizer. She was designed by the late Mr. Benton. Now she belongs to Jerrica. She can generate completely realistic holograms, and creates a Jerrica clone right next to her. Then she says she can change they appearances, and makes Kimber look like Aja, then Aja to look like Shana, and Shama to Kimber. Jerrica asks if the projects are there, how Synergy got in her bedroom. Why, through her remote micro-projectors. Any guesses? The earrings! Daddy left other gifts as well. An alcove of clothes, another of instruments, and the land yacht. Jerrica can’t believe daddy kept it secret. Wait! She’s got it! She can use all of this to stop Mr. Raymond! 

Battle of the bands. Terrible band called the Limp Lizards is getting booed off stage. Raymond is ready to announce The Misfits as the winners when the music starts up, and there’s another music video credit. This time it’s “Only the Begining” Jem and the Holograms. Point of order, why name your group after the very thing you’re using to hide yourselves? Seems odd to me. Anyhow, upbeat music. They’re already on the rise. The crowd starts cheering and taking their pictures. The Misfits do not look pleased. Raymond says they can’t play there, it’s invitation only. Jem says SHE invited them, and points. As the crowd looks, she grabs her earring and says those famous words, “showtime, Synergy”. There’s Jerrica waving. As Raymond storms over to her, Jem leaves the stage, touches the earring again and says “shows over, Synergy”. Jem becomes Jerrica again, and goes to the main stage. Raymond says he won’t tolerate interference. Jerrica snaps back that she won’t tolerate rigged contests. Raymond challenges her that in six months he’ll make The Misfits more famous than Jem. Then they’ll have another battle of the bands, which is what I’m guessing the opening scene is from. Raymond says whoever wins, they get to run Starlight Records. A producer sweetens the deal and says the winner gets a movie deal and a mansion, cause why not? 

The Misfits say they’re gonna win. They then proceed to take the Holograms instruments and drive off with them. The girls hop in the land yacht and chase after them. Um, there were witnesses to the theft. Not a smart move, Misfits. Neither is throwing the instruments back at them as they drive on the freeway, but they do that too. The land yacht heads towards a cliff. This show has everything! The front tires go over the edge, but the rest is secure. The girls suggest getting out, but that makes the car nearly fall. Synergy is they only hope! Showtime, Synergy! Van driving down the road. Rio is driving, cause of course he is. Jem is on the road trying to wave down a driver. Rio sees her and says, “that’s Jem”. She calls him by name, and says the rocking roadster, aka land yacht, is hanging on the edge of the cliff. Ok, let’s break all that down. Rio wasn’t at the park. He doesn’t know Jem by name or on sight. “Jem” shouldn’t know Rio’s name either, and neither of them question it. Rio drives off to go help, leaving Jem on the side of the road. Yes, leaves the star to go save the friends. Doesn’t even tell her to get in. Just. Drives. Off. Jem is better off not getting in the rape van anyways. Kidding, it has windows.

Cut to newspaper article about Rio saving the girls. Raymond is reading it aloud. He crumples it as he bitches out The Misfits for giving Jerrica’s group a million dollars of free press. They counter that it isn’t their fault Aja can’t drive. Raymond says he’ll make sure they win. Good, they say. Because it’s time for another song. “Winning is Everything” The Misfits, appears in the corner. Wow, they aren’t the title characters and they get two songs this episode? Go, girls! Sports themed montage of football, then a beauty pageant, then gambling. That’s great for a concept, I guess. Someone cue Visage to rate their performance. Maybe she was off in Seduction. Oh well. 

RuPaul School for Girls, in the Interior Illusions Lounge, the girls are gathering the money they’ve earned mowing lawns and walking dogs. The chick who called the place a dump asks why they’re handing over their money. It’s for the honor jar, so they can buy a new fridge for the house. They only need $30 more. The girls cheer, except for bad attitude. I’m gonna guess she becomes a Misfit at some point, or betrays the girls. 

Starlight Music, Raymond tells a thug on the phone t break into Jerrica’s, steal some things, and leave them scared. Shouldn’t he be spending his time developing his girl group rather than worrying about the competition? 

RuPaul School for Girls, blonde attitude is taking money from the jar, and Jerrica catches her in the act. I was just gonna borrow it. Jerrica tells her there’s no room for girls who steal, and to put the money back. She asks about her punishment. Jerrica says the money belonged to the girls, so they will decide her fate. The time has come, for her to lip sync for her life! Good luck, and don’t fuck it up! Sadly, that doesn’t happen. Instead, they tell her that she needs to earn the remaining $30 for the honor jar. She asks how. They say it’s her problem. There must be something she can do worth $30. If only there were high school boys who had jobs or an allowance… Yes, I’m horrible. This isn’t news. Cut to that night, Rio is leaving stating it’ll be another night without power. He offers to sleep on the sofa. Jerrica says they’ll be fine, and kisses him good night. There’s giggling from the stairs as the girls watch. 

Later, the punk breaks the glass on the back door. One of the girls wakes Jerrica. She tells her to make sure the other girls stay upstairs. She then gets Aja and the others and they go downstairs in their nightgowns, with a lantern. Um, house of ladies. Who knows how many invaders. Could be a killer, or a rapist. Let’s just go confront him. Where is the common sense of these girls. They should still have access to a landline. They spook the punk, he tears past them, knocking the lantern to the floor. Rather than taking the door, he opts to jump out the bay window next to it, as the house starts to burn… Rather than wrapping things up with the remaining time, instead we get a 3 minute, yes you read that right, three minute preview of the next episode. Including a bomb scare, betrayal by the blonde, and a possible boat crash. Let’s not give it all away girls. We want cow, not just free milk. 

There was so much fabulousness in that episode that I feel renewed as a homo. You should as well. Until next time, stay geeky, and shows over, Synergy! 

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