What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that there are some good messages about self-confidence and responsibility in this glitzy '80s cartoon. The heroines have high standards for themselves and are role models for the younger girls in their charge, and their adherence to honesty and friendship help earn them the respect of fans. The Misfits' cruelty toward the Holograms raises the issue of bullying, so expect to chat with your tweens about the effects and real-life consequences of such actions. Expect some perilous cliffhangers (a car dangling over a cliff, a house fire, etc.) throughout the show and at the end of each episode, making it too scary for very young kids.
What's the story?
When Jerrica Benton (voiced by Samantha Newark) inherits part of her father's production company, Starlight Music, as well as a foster program called the Starlight House, she's thrust into a power struggle with the music company's co-owner, Eric Raymond (Charlie Adler), for total control. Desperate to save the foster home, Jerrica turns to a holographic computer named Synergy (Marlene Aragon) -– another of her father's creations -– for help in transforming herself and her friends into a hot new rock band. With a touch of her star-shaped earrings, Jerrica activates her Synergy-designed disguise and becomes her flashy alter ego, Jem (voiced by Newark and Britta Phillips). Jem and the Holograms must outshine their vindictive musical archenemies, the Misfits, if they're to save Starlight House and the music company.
Is it any good?
Splashy colors, big shoulder pads, and '80s hair return to the screen in JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS, a retro cartoon that's sure to stir nostalgia for some parents. This "truly, truly, truly outrageous" rock band is steeped in glitz, glamour, and fashion, and although modern girls might challenge the teens' dated style, they'll enjoy coming along for the ride on their many adventures. There's appeal in certain aspects of the heroines' lives, including their overnight rise to fame, the secrecy behind Jem's identity, and their youthful independence, but the show is so fantasized that young tweens are hardly likely to misconstrue what they're seeing as reality.
The Misfits' disreputable behavior is worrisome and in many cases dangerous, and although their actions usually wind up costing them their chance to best the Holograms onstage, they're never subjected to any realistic repercussions for their crimes. This is a great reason to start a discussion with your tweens about bullying and its consequences. While you're at it, be sure to point out how the Holograms use their talent and fame to be positive role models for others.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about bullying. What different forms can bullying take? How is physical bullying different from psychological bullying? How can modern technology be used as a tool by a bully? How would you respond to being bullied?
Tweens: How do Jerrica and her friends find strength together to face challenges? When have you been in a similar situation and needed support from your friends? What characteristics do you look for in a friend? In what ways do you prove yourself a good friend?
Would you like to be famous? What are the positive and negative aspects of fame? How do we as a society feel about famous people? Do we hold them to different standards because of their position? Which famous people are role models for you?