For some reason, I've been obsessed with 80s cartoon "Jem" lately. I know, I know, I'm old. And gay. I spent a weekend recently googling Jem, and discovered many unexpected things. Did you know that the woman who provided Jem's singing voice is now the bassist for the band Luna? Or that Christy Marx, the show's creator, may be thinking of reviving the show and doll line? I didn't, but I do now.
Jem's signature line, "Showtime, Synergy!", of course, was the signal for her computer, Synergy, to project a hologram of the Jem character, usually with pink hair and a sassy pink outfit (often with a sash) over Jerrica Benton's body. And then she would sing and dance with her band, and engage in a surprisingly lethal feud with a rival band, the Misfits. Sometimes I wonder if that's what drew me to Jem - the fact that she was just an illusion. Or was it because it was the first time I saw anyone wear a sash? Who knows?
Whatever the appeal, Jem really did it for me. I was thirteen when the show debuted, and I would rush home from high school and set up my little tape recorder next to the t.v. so I could tape Jem's songs. I still remember some of them by heart. The theme song. "Music is Magic." "Let the Music Play." Now that I think about it, I was perhaps a little too old even then to get that into a cartoon. And certainly, I had to keep my obsession a secret from my parents, who enjoyed punishing me by withholding access to my favorite things. (Plus, my mother had already chastised me for wanting to see "Dreamgirls," saying, "I don't know what kind of young man wants to see three woman on stage, singing." My mother was truly outrageous!)
Recently, in a meeting in our department at work, the topic of Jem came up. I grasped my imaginary star earring and said: "Showtime, Synergy!" I expected everyone's eyes to light up, remembering that immortal battle cry. Instead, I was greeted with embarrassed silence from the other members of the publicity department. Clearly, no one remembered Jem's lines, and, in fact, everyone wondered why I did. I was going to say Jem's other immortal line, "Show's over, Synergy!" but I figured the message behind that line could be inferred already, from the silence.