On Twitter tonight my sister linked to an interview with the woman voice voiced the characters of Jerrica and Jem on Jem and the Holograms.
You remember, she was truly outrageous, truly, truly, truly outrageous.
Jem was a TV show and a doll and a rock star. We watched the TV show, we had the cassettes, and we played with the dolls. To this day I remember those dolls with incredible fondness. You know, Barbie has this thing where she skips from job to job. She’s supposed to show girls that they can do anything, I didn’t get that from her. She was very thin and her waist was tiny and she was hard to dress because of her pointy toes and fingers.
Jem seemed normal sized. Her hands and feet seemed realistic. Her body shape was fuller. She had better clothes, she had pink hair and she was a hologram rock star who was also Jerrica the band’s manager.
Also, Rio? Better than Ken.
Of course, while I liked Jem, Kimber was my favourite – keytar player with bright red hair? Oh yes.
In this interview, Samantha Newark – the voice of Jerrica and Jem, says that Hasbro has regained the rights to the characters which means they could start producing new episodes – which means they could start making the dolls again. Jem and her bandmates – and her rivals, The Misfits – are smart women, with passion for what they do. Jem even started a charity for kids. I would have no qualms about letting my daughter play with Jem dolls just like I did.
Unless they do to Jem what they seem to be doing to a lot of characters I loved when I was little: Growing them up. For instance, when I was a kid I had a Rainbow Brite lunch box. Recently, Rainbow Brite and her friends came back to TV, but they look slightly different:
And then there was Holly Hobby-esque Strawberry Shortcake, also looking “modern” now:
Even My Little Ponies are slightly more taut and Dora the Explorer became a tween. Why? I guess we needed little girls to grow up even faster than they already were, and have them realize sooner that they don’t fit into the image they’re supposed to. I guess we just wanted little girls to feel worse about themselves as young as we could make that happen so they would know what they’re in store for.
Let them not do that to Jem, Jem who was my hero partly because she looked like women I knew in real life.