Welcome to another Halloween cartoon recap! What a week we’ve had so far, right?! The hits just keep coming and I’m sure they’ll continue today as we check out a chapter from one of my favorite shows ever: Jem and the Holograms!
I’m completely biased here, I love this show. Going back as far as I can remember, I’ve always loved rock bands with female singers and – if anything – this show probably helped form that opinion. I just always thought it was great and “re-discovered” it a few years back when it was up on Netflix.
I mean, it’s competing rock bands battling not only for musical supremacy, but doing shit like sabotaging each other’s vehicles and lives. It’s absolutely bonkers. The Misfits could be trying to run The Holograms off a fucking winding road and cause permanent injury or even death! The stakes of the music industry are more than I ever thought before seeing this show!
This episode from Season 2 is called “Trick or Techrat” and I have absolutely no clue what that’s referencing or what the plot will be which is even better. I love being surprised. So, without further ado, let’s watch some cartoons!
Season 2, Episode 16: Trick or Techrat
Original Air Date: October 30, 1987
First thing’s first: this episode opens with the “new” Jem theme song which is happier than the original. I don’t know where I stand on which I like better. It’s a real Sophie’s Choice for me. I’ll post them both and you can be the judge, but really I like them both for different reasons.
And the “new” Jem-Girl theme:
Gun to my head, I choose the first. There, I said it. Are you happy? For making me choose? Making me choose between things I love and now having them judge me? You suck.
Also, I’m watching this on the 2015 complete series DVD release by Shout Factory and the quality is…not great. I’m glad this got enough burn to have a complete series DVD release, but still kind of disappointing.
We open at Starlight Mansion where all the girls are watching scary movies. Two girls pop in wearing masks during a particularly tense scene and scare the bejesus out of the whole crew. But, hey! It’s Halloween season and we all need to be ready to be scared! Muhuhahahahaha! They all have a scare and a laugh before in walks Kimber who tells Jerrica that Rio is downstairs and would like to speak to Jem.
For those who are new or uninitiated to this series, Jem is the rockstar alter-ego of Jerrica. Not everyone knows her secret identity and she’s able to “transform” by pressing thumb and forefinger to her earring and saying, “Showtime, Synergy.” This is a command that informs a high powered, highly intelligent computer – Synergy – to drape Jerrica in crazy realistic holograms turning her into Jem and making her unrecognizable as Jerrica. Got it? Basic, right? You all catch on quick.
Rio tells all of The Holograms that he wants to take them on an adventure so the group piles into his Dodge Caravan and is off. It’s not exactly luxury accomodations for one of the world’s biggest rock bands and I’m suddenly wondering why they haven’t fired Rio for this insanely putz move.
Either way, Rio tells the group of a local opera house which is going to be taken over and demolished because the owner can’t pay back taxes. Jem and the girls immediately agree to play a benefit concert to save the opera house, but let’s a take a second here. Back taxes are not the same as having your rent jacked through the roof. The owner of said opera house should not only be getting no help, but should also go to jail. If world-renown stars like Jem and I have to pay taxes, so should the buffoon who owns the opera house.
Rio ends up driving the girls to the opera house right now. At midnight. Because he said the owner insist that they meet at midnight to hammer out the details of the benefit. Which is pretty fucking ridiculous that this guy who’s about to lose his opera house and then have to serve jail time for not paying taxes is at all in the driver’s seat to dictate terms and conditions to Jem and the motherfucking Holograms: one of the biggest musical acts in the damn world right now in 1987! Rio is dogshit as a manager and even worse as a negotiator.
Regardless, they walk in and the opera house looks as if it hasn’t had a live human inside it in about 40 years. Filth and cobwebs decorate the place despite it being located on a busy corner in what appears to be a poppin’ downtown area. The owner comes out and he’s dressed like a sexy Dracula and now Jem is asking his permission to play a benefit for the opera house. This is absurd.
The Holograms are going to make this happen and they get all the Starlight Girls to help pitch in with setting things up. One girl in particular – Terri – hates Halloween and is incredibly timid and shy which leads us to our first music video break of the show where Jem and Co. try to teach Terri a little bit about Halloween.
That YouTube video is 1000% better quality than the official DVD that I’m watching.
So not only are the Holograms putting on this show, but now they’re also supervising a complete cleaning and restoration of the opera house too. I hate this. Luckily for me, The Misfits get wind of this show and decide to put on their own competing Halloween concert. This is the kind of drama I’m here for. To further up the ante, they team up with an evil real estate agent (yes, I did just type out “evil real estate agent”) who will finance The Misfits’ concert that way the opera house won’t be saved and he can have his skyline back despite the opera house not being even remotely tall enough to ruin his skyline, but ya know…
Oh, by the way, the opera house is haunted and filled with evil spirits. So yeah, maybe destroying it to better a skyline isn’t the worst idea.
The Misfits are banking on the building inspector finding some kind of violation so Jem can’t perform, but instead they get freaked out by a mummy’s hand reaching from a file cabinet to grab at them and they respond by giving us our second music video of the day:
The night of the show comes and all sorts of spooky shit is happening at the opera house. Voices, rumblings, all the stereotypical hauntings are going down and Terri, the scared girl, goes running off in a panic. The rest of the girls go looking for her, but Terri has fallen down a secret passage which leads her to a hidden room where the Sexy Dracula is discussing plans and spooking the place using a special effects machine with a Mummy and the Evil Real Estate Agent. They’re all in cahoots! CAHOOTS!
Terri is discovered and the three go chasing after her. She comes upon the REAL Sexy Dracula locked in a room and frees him so he can protect her from the treacherous trio. After a chase that looks as if it took place in a massive factory as opposed to an opera house, everyone involved comes out through hidden panels in the wall. It’s discovered that the fake Sexy Dracula was really Eric Raymond in disguise and this was just another scheme to fuck with the Holograms and become partners with Evil Real Estate Agent on some condos.
Finally with all the spookiness settled and done with, Jem and the Holograms can perform their Halloween benefit concert for their fans.
The opera house is saved and all thanks to Jem and the Holograms. It is outrageous. Truly, truly, truly outrageous.
I said from the jump that I was biased so you know I still loved this despite all the inherent ridiculousness that made up this episode. All of the circumstances that went into this was absurd. Truly, truly, truly absurd.
That being said, I still had fun with this. It’s sooooo 80s and I absolutely loved the nonsensical absurdity of 80s anything. What a time to be alive. A rebooted Jem series would actually probably do gangbusters today with the music and songs and the quality of writing that you see in other reboots from shows of the same era, but that live-action movie from a few years back probably killed any hope of that. It was bad. Truly, truly, truly bad.
But, if you’re in the market for some fun and nostalgia, Jem and the Holograms is a great place to get a dose of both. You can find pretty much every music video along with some full episodes on YouTube and, as mentioned, DVD releases do exist. If you’re the type to be reading this kind of blog, you’ll be able to find the fun in all of it.
Until next time.