The current state of the Jem Franchise
After such a terrible Jem Movie the Jem Franchise is in disarray, but we still love the show in our hearts. Here are a couple of thoughts about Jem and the Misfits.
I have not read the Jem Bible, but I felt that everything in the original cartoon counted as cannon to the series and not just what Christy Marx created. Christy Marx’s episodes were the best episodes, but I accepted everything.
I felt the Stingers were not a good idea. They looked too much like the Master Race. They reduced the screen time of the Misfits. I have always understood the parents did not like the Misfits, and that is why we got the Stingers. How would the parents feel about the Master Race Concept? Is this a better role model for the children? Did parents really go up in arms about the Misfits or was this an excuse they came up with to create the Stingers due to lacking sales? My take was the price of the dolls was more of an issue then the characters of the Misfits. I can envision a lot of not very nice or fun games with the Stingers being added to the mix. I won’t say it here, but you get my point.
The Stingers fourth season episodes were not as compelling or even interesting as the prior three seasons. I liked the idea of Pizzazz changing from wanted to steal Rio from Jem to wanting to be with Riot, but they never did very much with the idea, as the Misfits were basically out for most of the fourth season. They brought the Misfits back for a final Farewell, and I was really upset about the show ending. I was not happy at all, and I saw the Stingers as the coffin nails to the Jem program. I did not care about role models. I was the same age as Jem would have been at the time of the series. I never had children.
Were the dolls even needed at all? They could have just focused on creating a successful cartoon show without any dolls. Why should the fate of show be based on doll sales? The dolls were there, but I resisted buying them until the show was cancelled.
I have been thinking about why the Stingers we introduced in the first place. I would love to be a fly on the wall to hear how a group people all thought having the Stingers would boost sagging doll sales. The point is the series its had good ratings, but the doll sales were what caused the cancellation. I am reminded of who thought cancelling Star Trek after three season would be a good idea. If they had more seasons, the money made from just reruns alone would be millions and million more. Why would anyone want to buy another boy doll Riot and two boring blondes female dolls? Boy dolls always sell less well. There were too many characters with dolls already in the Hasbro line, parents would never want to buy all of them. Adult collectors are the only group, that will spend over a thousand dolls on new dolls and fashions. If one bought each doll at full price of around 20 dollars, and each fashion which were sold from the lowest being about 15 dollars to a high of 17.99, we are talking adult doll collectors only. In 1985 $20 dollars was worth more, than it is today. Why give something this expensive to children to destroy? Children normally do things to dolls such as cut off the hair and stick pins in them. The dolls are not saved in collections, but recycled like so much plastic junk after the children grow too old to be interesting in them. As a child I took my Malibu Barbie into the swimming pool causing the pool chemicals to destroy her. No one told me, this doll can’t go into the pool or to the beach. She looked like she could handle the water. She came in with a bathing suit, sunglasses and a towel. I thought she was great for going swimming, in 1974 when I was 9.
Now, that the line of Integrity Jem Dolls is finished we can consider them in their entirety. Integrity did a great job, and went above and beyond to fix all the issues that were wrong with the Hasbro line of Jem dolls. The Hasbro Dolls were based on a line of Dolls called Darci, that was not that great looking to begin with. They should have created a more unique doll. Darci is too fat, and her head was too big. But, one can get used to the heavier look, but Jem also appears flat chested compared to Barbie. The Hasbro Jems have a round moon face. It takes some getting used to in order to accept the way in which Jem looked so different from Barbie. Dolls are different from people. I noticed that it takes time to accept the way a new line of dolls look, so they don’t look strange anymore.
You may wonder why I did not post any photos of Jem Dolls. Using WordPress for Photos is very time consuming. If you notice my Sailor Moon post the photos will not line up with the text. The html is bad and goes all over the place. The photos on WordPress need to be reduced very small or else they look huge and blown up. The space is limited for photos on WordPress, so I have to reduce them to both small size physical size and small files size. I may get around to adding some photos to this post some day, but I have more important things I need to do online, and all the Jem dolls have already been posted by other people all over the net.
No one liked Hasbro Jem’s two toned pink and blonde hair. Hasbro stole this idea from a doll called Tuesday Taylor. Tuesday was a Barbie sized doll and Tiffany Taylor was a larger than Barbie sized doll with two toned hair, that one was supposed to pull to the front to create both brown and blonde hair. It is almost impossible to arrange the hair properly to get the desired effect. Hasbro needed to create a separate doll for the Jerrica Character with blonde hair, and the Jem Dolls needed all pink hair to be correct. Therefore, all of the Hasbro Jem dolls do not look like Jem at all. They have both pink and blonde hair at the same time. Integrity Dolls made Jem’s Hair the correct shade of all pink.
I was able to get almost all the Hasbro Jem dolls new and on sale, because I waited until they were on clearance for $7.99 each at Toys R Us. Then I tried to collect what I could find and the outfits as well, but some were sold out. I could not find Aja new, but I was able get her used. I really liked the Shana Doll best of all. I kept her in the box for a long time, but when I took her out her legs had been damaged by the plastic pants she had been wearing. The damage is slight, but her legs had become ripped like cellulite. I found the Kimber Doll in an obscure store up in the mountains, after searching for a long time. She was not reduced in price, but I was so happy to find her. I will never forgot how happy I was. I liked the Roses Kimber outfit. There was a certain amount of excitement with each Jem doll I found. All that feeling is gone now.
I never bought a Rio Doll. I don’t think I would bought the Stingers Dolls. They did not look that good. Minx and Rapture were the same girl with different hair and make up. I never bought the Synergy Doll, because I did not like her look or her character.
The Jem Star earrings were not the correct on the Hasbro Dolls, and often the look of the dolls did not match up with the cartoon. This was in part because they were developing the show, and the dolls at the same time. They could not correctly connect to have the dolls and the show match. I have most of the Hasbro line of Jem dolls. I never played with them as if they were the characters from the show. I only dressed them, as if they were Barbie or any other fashion doll.
Hasbro Pizzazz looked horrible and scary. The character Pizzazz was a spoiled brat, and she was in the end pathetic when she was in love with Riot. But scary was not her character. They could have made a Love Sick Pizzazz doll. I would have liked to have seen a Star Spangled Fantasy set of Misfits. I would have liked a Roxie doll for the episode Roxy Rumbles. However, Integrity gave the fans so much more than we could ever hope for. I can’t complain at all.
However, I never completed my Hasbro Jem dolls, as I did not like some of them. The Integrity line of Dolls has me thinking “Too Many Jems”. It is not so bad, now they are over, but at the time, it would have been very expensive to buy them all as they were released. If they had done them at a more reasonable pace of say, two a year for 1O years. But, dolls come and go as fads. After the movie was over there was less hype about Jem, and so they only wanted to do a short term release. I believe they lasted about 3 years. Some people started to buy each one, but then gave up after a certain point. Maybe they lost interest? I read every blog I could find on the Integrity Line of Jem dolls. Some people wanted to review each doll, but gave up somewhere in year two. The final wave of dolls is less reviewed.
Integrity Stormers hair looked too flat. The Hasbro Stormers hair was too curly. Stormers hair has a wave, and is not super curly, but the flat look of her hair, made me not want the doll. All the Integrity Stormers had the same flat hair. They could have made some of them with more curly hair. The makeup on Integrity Stormers is a not as neon bright as on the Hasbro Jems. This can be pro or a con depending on what one is expecting in the makeup. Shana has great looking curly hair, and she is one of most correct looking of the dolls. Integrity Danse has colored hair, but about 50 percent of her hair is blonde. Hasbro Danse is a hard doll to dress, because any color one put on her could clash with one of the other colors in her hair. The Jetta Doll looks very good and quite actuate. The Hasbro Glitter and Gold Jem was a terrible looking. Her blush was too red, and her mouth had too many teeth. They wanted to make her look more like the smiling Barbie, and it was creepy. I like the closed month Jem better. The Integrity Jems started with a closed mouth, but the changed to showing some teeth. The Integrity Misfits and Holograms in the first wave have earrings that are not correct to the characters. The earrings look like they are are made of metal, but I hope they are plastic to avoid damage. They look like earrings for humans, that someone bought and stuck on the sides of the dolls head. Why would Integrity be so correct in all details only to fail with the earrings? The character Pizzazz had triangle style hoop earrings on the cartoon show. If they are removable, one can remove them, however it may be hard to find correct hoop earrings in the shape of triangles.
Updated: The earrings are not original to the doll. Some random person merely collected all the dolls and pierced the ears with ugly earrings and then placed them all on Ebay, so it looks like ugly earrings was a option on some of the dolls. She sold her dolls at a reduced price of $99 dollars and people did not seem to notice the earrings. She sold all her dolls. Now this is just cautionary tale, about buying aftermarket dolls. Note: I am on the waiting list to go an Integrity Convention. I was so impressed by the Jem Doll once I received her, that I wanted to learn more about Integrity Dolls.
The Integrity bodies are too thin. The entire line of Integrity Jems looks too thin to even be alive, but I am not sure how they could have fixed this issue. After I got my first Integrity Doll, I realized the thin legs make the dolls very easy to dress. Lycra pants and tights just slip off and on very easily due to the thinness of the legs.
The IDC Jem Comic book made some of the characters fat, I mean really fat. Fat does happen to people, but this is a comic book. The idea is to escape the real world. It is easy to make the characters look not fat. It is much harder to lose weight in real life. I would like to see a character, that was maybe slightly overweight, but very upset about it, rather than characters who are actually obese. It is not common for girls in their 20s to be obese. Rock Stars all do cocaine and speed to stay thin, so they could have used that in a storyline. I did not read the comics, and maybe used it as a storyline. I don’t know. It would make more sense if they had the characters aged to middle age and then some of them would be naturally fat. I would have read the comics if I thought they were sold at a reasonable price. But, they are not on the Kindle system. I did not want to have physical comic books adding to my already too many book and things. I did not want to start with a new digital line of comic books that I would need a new user name password and most likely a new app. I did not like the way they had drawn Pizzazz. It was not just the half shaved head and the piercings, but she seemed to be wearing a white diaper. Pizzazz was not a hard-core punk rocker. She was New Wave just like Jem herself. If I had bought the first comic book I would have had to buy them all. I am obsessive compulsive to finish any collection. IDC could do a comic book series about the characters 20 years later. I think that would be interesting. My idea was that Jem has married Rio, but then Riot is still trying to win her over. The best dolls in the Integrity line were Star Stuck Guitar Jem, and Bad Kimber with the orange haired head. Hollywood Jem looked pretty good, and so did the Roxie Dolls.
Updated: I bought the prototype head Integrity for the 88 Pizzazz doll, then I bought a body to mount her on. The skin tone is grey, which made it hard to find a body in the correct skin tone. The body I got was a little less grey then the head tone. But, it is not really noticeable. One only notices the grey skin if they mount the grey head on a body that is pink toned or peach toned. Compared to Hasbro Jem, is much better. The first thing you will notice is Integrity Jem is very easy to dress. Hasbro Jem is hard to dress because the limbs are made of soft vinyl with metal joints inside them. The metal inside creates spots similar to the issues found on Topper Dawn Dolls. The vinyl limbs makes Hasbro Jem very hard to dress especially in lycra pants or tights. The Hasbro Jem outfit line was filled with many tights and jumpsuits. I have no idea how they expected children to be able to dress Hasbro Jem. This is a doll that will have kids asking Mom to dress the doll for them. The pushing and pulling process of dressing a Hasbro Jem is not only difficult and time consuming but can cause damage to the outfit. Rips will occur and clothes will be stretched out of shape. I have Hasbro Shana which I did not remove the outfits until 2010, because it was difficult to redress the doll. The plastic in the outfit began to decay and created pock marks all over the doll. The Shana Doll was ruined. Plastic and metal cause staining and decay in plastic dolls. If glue is used it creates hip melt, as seen in Tuesday Taylor and in other Kenner dolls such as Action Dusty. Hasbro bought Kenner. The Integrity outfits and shoes avoid plastic so they are safe to leave on the dolls for display. Integrity Jem Dolls are so much better than Hasbro Dolls.
Updated: I bought the Bad Kimber Doll, and she is a great doll, but her jeans left a mark on her torso. The mark came out with nail polish remover. I don’t like the quick switch head. The head keeps falling off, and the extra head does not really fit very well. I am thinking of selling the extra head. Removable heads are a great idea, but until the bugs are worked out, I would have one body and one head placed permanently on that dolls.
I came up with an idea of pairing each Jem character or Doll with a Rose that represents her.
Hologram Dolls and Roses
Doll Jem / Rose First Love (or any baby pink colored rose would work)
Doll Jerrica / Rose Love and Peace (pink on the outside with yellow on the inside reminiscent of the two toned color changing hair on the Hasbro Jem Dolls)
Doll Kimber / Rose Double Delight (red and white, but the red is more like the hair color of Kimber then a standard red rose)
Doll Bad or Evil Kimber (as seen in the episode entitled Scandal ) / Rose Vavoom (neon orange rose)
Doll Aja / Rose Blue Girl (Blue Girl is not really blue, its lavender, but for lack of a better choice)
Doll Shana / Rose Sterling Silver (The Hasbro Doll had a more lavender hair color then Shana’s cartoon color hair which was more purple)
Doll Raya / Rose Aromatherapy (Dark Pink)
Doll Video / Rose Henry Fonda (Yellow Rose)
Misfits Dolls and Roses
Doll Pizzazz / Rose St. Patrick’s Day (There is no green rose, but St. Patrick’s Day has some green in the early stages. JFK is white with some green in the early stages.)
Doll Roxy / Rose (a white rose, but with an orange streak in it) I can’t find one. Oranges and Yellows is nice, but it’s yellow and white, instead of orange and white.
Doll Stormer / Rose Mr. Lincoln (there is no blue Rose, but she wears a red rose in her hair)
Doll Jetta / Rose Black Baccara (the rose is not really black, its more red. A black rose with a white stripe would be great.)
Doll Clash / Rose ? (Clash started out with two-tone hair, that was pink and aqua green/blue. Her hair was changed to purple in later episodes. This unknown purple rose fits Clash’s later hair color.)
Many of these roses could be dyed or altered in Photoshop to match the characters or dolls.
Thoughts on the unnatural hair colors of the Jem and Misfits characters
I was doing volunteer at a school, for my degree, with second grade girls during the Jem series original run in the 80s. The girls liked Jem more than Barbie, but they said, their parents thought it was too expensive. One little girl, I remember was crushed when her parents bought her Barbie and the Rockers instead of Jem on her birthday. The girls asked me how the Jem Girls got such unnatural hair colors. I told them the hair would have to be dyed. No one can grow naturally pink, green or blue hair. This concept was hard for them to understand.
Small bonus piece of fiction
What Piazza is thinking about:
I am so upset. I was awaken in the middle of night when the fire alarm went off. I was having a wonderful dream about seducing a sexy movie star at the after party for the premier of the opening of his latest movie. I threw on my green velvet robe, and had to meet with the staff on the front lawn. It was a full half an hour before I could get back in the house, and by then I could not get back to sleep, for the rest of the night.