ran 1985

Welcome to JEM

Today we have surprise JEM for THE GIFTENING, and I realize this didn’t leave anyone with much time to prepare. And if you’re new to the world of JEM, some preparation might not go amiss. DON’T WORRY, I’M HERE TO HELP. I’ll give you a quick crash course on the basic plot elements, backstory, and major characters you’ll meet.

I’ll give you some warnings, too, so you know what we’re about to get into.

JEM is a cartoon that ran from 1985-1988. It is, as are most of the cartoons from this time period, poorly animated and made to sell toys. But JEM sets itself apart from that by having real heart and so much love for its characters. Spearheaded by show creator Christy Marx, it took what could’ve so easily been a brainless grab at Barbie’s market share and turned it into something that’s still cherished thirty years later. There was nothing quite like JEM at the time, a show that was targeted toward girls, featuring girls, but which understood they wanted all the excitement and action of “boys” cartoons. Jem and the Hologarms faced danger and excitement (and, yes, romance) all the fucking time, and it was glorious.

Cheesy and ridiculous, but glorious.

THIS SHOW IS SUPER 80S THOUGH HOLY SHIT. As you might expect from something crafted in the heart of the 80s and intending to specifically capture the feel of then-baby music channel MTV, it wears its huge hair and ridiculous clothes with pride. Again, note that one of the primary reasons this show exists was to sell toys, so the fashions were designed toward that.

Trust me, it’s part of its charm. Now, to the story!

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