Jem and the Holograms
The series revolves around Jerrica Benton, the owner and manager of Starlight Music, and her alter-ego Jem, lead singer of the rock group the Holograms. Jerrica adopts the persona of Jem with the help of a holographic computer, known as Synergy, which was built by Jerrica’s father to be “the ultimate audio-visual entertainment synthesizer” and is bequeathed to her after his death. Jerrica is able to command Synergy to project the hologram of Jem over herself by means of the remote micro-projectors in her earrings, thus disguising her features and clothing, enabling her to assume the Jem persona. Jem, through the use of her earrings, is also able to project holograms around her and uses this ability throughout the series to avoid danger and provide special effects for the performances of her group.
The Holograms consists of Kimber Benton, Jerrica’s younger sister, keyboardist, and main songwriter for the band; Aja Leith, Asian-American guitarist; Shana Elmsford, African-American, who plays the synth drums. Aja and Shana are also childhood friends, and adopted foster sisters of Jerrica and Kimber, having lived with the Benton family since they were young. Shana briefly leaves the group to pursue a career in fashion, at which point a new Latina character, Carmen “Raya” Alonso, is introduced as her replacement. The Holograms are aware of Jem’s secret identity and the existence of Synergy when the series begins, while Raya is made aware unintentionally shortly before joining the group. Upon her return to the Holograms, Shana becomes the band’s bassist.
The Holograms have two rival bands: the Misfits and the Stingers:
The Misfits (no relation to the real-world band Misfits) consist of petulant rich girl Pizzazz (real name Phyllis Gabor) and her group: no-nonsense guitarist Roxy (Roxanne Pelligrini) and kind-hearted, sensitive keytar player Stormer (Mary Phillips). They are joined later by the manipulative British saxophonist Jetta (Sheila Burns).
The Stingers debut in the third season when they cause disruptions for both groups by becoming co-owners of Stinger Sound with Eric Raymond. Originally from Germany, the Stingers are composed of egotistical lead singer Riot (Rory Llewelyn), guitarist/con artist Rapture (Phoebe Ashe), and keyboardist Minx (Ingrid Kruger). The real names of Minx and Rapture are not disclosed in any of the installments.
Episodes of the series frequently revolve around Jerrica’s efforts to keep her two identities separate, protect Synergy from those who might exploit the holographic technology, and support the twelve foster children known as the Starlight Girls who live with her and the Holograms. The Misfits frequently attempt to upstage Jem and the Holograms’ endeavors, often nearly resulting in physical harm to members of the group. This rivalry is encouraged and manipulated by their manager and central villain in the series, Eric Raymond, the former half-owner of Starlight Music who runs Misfits Music (later Stinger Sound) while working under Pizzazz’s father, Harvey Gabor.
During the series, Eric Raymond constantly plots to become owner of Starlight Music and get revenge on Jem and the Holograms for having cost him control of the company. Jerrica also deals with a complex and emotionally draining faux-love triangle involving her alter identity, Jem, and Rio Pacheco, Jerrica’s longtime boyfriend. Rio romantically pursues both women, not knowing they are one and the same. Later in the series, Jem is also romantically sought after by Riot, who becomes infatuated with her – adding further complications to her relationships.
In the final episode of the series, the Misfits and Jem declare a truce when Ba Nee, one of the most troubled foster girls in Starlight House, is claimed by her long-lost father. Her father is found by Jem and the Holograms with the help of Riot’s father. Riot’s relationship with his father is mended with the help of Jem.
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