Jem and the Holograms

TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Jem and the Holograms TV Poster Image
Flashy '80s 'toon boasts positive heroines for tween girls.

Parents say

age 8+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 7+
Based on 6 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Educational Value

Intended to entertain, not educate, though there are some useful lessons about the value of friendship and loyalty.

Positive Messages

The series plays up the positive aspects of friendship, demonstrating how Jerrica and her friends band together to overcome adversity. Other common themes include honesty, reliability, and self-respect, all of which the heroines rely on to keep their cool in the midst of hot-tempered enemies and attempt to pass on to the girls they foster. Moral behavior is rewarded, and the Misfits' destructive temper tantrums make them less sympathetic to the audience, showing kids the correlation between behavior and earned respect. The characters are multicultural, too.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Jerrica and her friends are good models of responsibility and civic-mindedness, devoting their time to running a foster home for girls and trying to touch people with their music. The same can't be said for their rivals, who are shallow, self-absorbed, and resort to destroying property and sabotaging the Holograms in frustration over their talent. But fate nearly always rewards the do-gooders, so they reap the benefits of their admirable behavior. 

Violence & Scariness

For a cartoon about teen girls, there's a surprising amount of peril. A rival band sabotages the heroines in dangerous ways, like forcing their car nearly off a cliff, setting fire to their house, and trying to run over one teen with a bulldozer. These moments contribute to the action of the show, and no one's ever hurt thanks to predictable heroics.

Sexy Stuff

Jem and Rio share a few kisses and sometimes take some teasing from the younger girls for it. Teens often wear skimpy stage costumes that show plenty of leg and are cut low in the front.


No cursing, but insults like "twerp," "trash," "wimp," and "pigface" start flying when the teens and their rivals face off. 


During its original run, the series spawned a line of character dolls, toys, lunch accessories, clothing, and cassette tapes featuring some of the show's music.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byBrony September 22, 2011

skimpy outfits? gimmie a break

Leg is about all you see here, and not often. There is no hint of cleavage and believe me ive looked. The most violent seeming parts are in the first three ep... Continue reading
Adult Written byCamilla V. January 27, 2020

Great cartoon, barely anything skimpy at all.

Firstly, they are adults, not teenagers. There are some skimpy outfits, but they are adults and can wear whatever they want. The most skimpy outfits are that Je... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written bySage G. April 19, 2020

If you want a education about the 1980’s watch Jem.

Big hair, sequins everywhere, flashy colors, and eighties style songs is the whole Jem and the Holograms package. If you want to educate your children about thi... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byBirdieBirdieBoiGurl December 27, 2018

It’s not that inappropriate

The only somewhat inappropriate thing is kissing.

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.

Talk to your kids 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?

TV details

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