From left, a trio of swelled heads...er, I mean Jem, Rio, and Roxy. I found them nude, dirty, disheveled, and reeking of cigarette smoke. A thorough bath removed the dirt and the Eau du Cigarette, but it took me awhile to get some clothes. Thanks to some generous proprietors on Etsy and eBay (again) I got the job done. So without further ado, here's the star of the show, Jem.Glitter 'n' Gold Jem, who wore an ensemble that bore passing resemblance to some of Golden Dream Barbie's fashions. My doll has only her original headband remaining from that fancy outfit, typical of a second-hand doll. Fortunately, even without the golden clothes Jem has bits and pieces of her gilded self intact, namely her hair.
a young Dolly Parton. However, this pretty face isn't flawless. Her eyebrows are very, VERY pale! I don't know if you can see them or not, but they're very pale yellow lines of paint above Jem's eye shadow.
Johnny Winter! Anyway, under those pale eyebrows Jem has pale violet eyes with thick painted eyelashes and pink-red eye shadow. Jem's cheeks and lips are colored with this pink-red stuff too. At first glance it looks like Jem's mouth is poorly painted, but in fact a lot of that extra red crap came off when I washed her face. It looks like some little kid may have used makeup on my Jem, and indeed there were other dolls during the eighties that came with makeup for that very purpose. Luckily for me, Jem doesn't have a face that stains easily. Overall her makeup is fairly tame for a doll that's supposed to be over the top, but she makes up for it by being very pretty in the face.
Oops, I almost forgot! Jem's earrings.
The one on Jem's right (our left) is a little star, while the one on her left (our right) is a plain stud. I think it was once a star too, but the star probably fell off long ago. Now y'all might be thinking "Big deal, a lot of dolls come with earrings," but in Jem's case this little addition is important. My doll has a battery compartment and an on-off switch in her back.
Normally this would be where I go into the body review and clothes, but I have a specific way that I want to do the body review. So I'm saving those parts for later and going straight into the next doll, Roxy.
THESE Misfits, thank goodness). In the TV show she is depicted as a barely-literate high school dropout who causes a fair amount of friction within her band. In true eighties style, she has a gravity-defying hairdo.
He wants his hair back. Believe it or not, Roxy's hair is fairly tame compared to that of her bandmates, all of whom had candy-colored tresses. The style is definitely in for the time, though. The bangs are cut short and some are sticking up, while the rest of it falls to Roxy's shoulders. It felt nasty before I gave her a bath, but now that I've done that it feels great. I didn't even have to use THE PLASTIC BAG OF DOOM. This hair feels like it may be nylon, so this just shows y'all (and me) that nylon hair can be nice if a superior nylon fiber is used (MGA Entertainment apparently uses the cheap crap).
Roxy's makeup is more typical of the style found on these dolls. The asymmetry reminds me a little of the paint job used on Sunflower Burst Cyanne. The right side of Roxy's face has orange eye shadow, three chartreuse cheek lines that look like claw marks, and your stereotypical villain eyebrow that is mercifully darker than Jem's eyebrows are.
Ziggy Stardust. Only instead of being a red and blue lightning bolt, the makeup looks more like a purple and chartreuse flame. In my eyes the oddest thing about Roxy's makeup is the rouge on her left cheek. It's yellow. A very interesting combo, but unfortunately it can make Roxy look a little sallow if the lighting isn't just so.
did that with his stage makeup when he was a member of Genesis, and he may have during his solo career as well. Peter Gabriel was fairly popular in the eighties, so maybe he was in the back of Hasbro's minds when they created Roxy? I'll never know, but it's fun to speculate!
Now let's take a look at the main male character of the show, Rio.
had in mind. LOL, for someone who supposedly hated eighties music I seem to be full of references! Not all of it was bad, I'll admit! Anywho, Rio is the road manager for Jem and the Holograms. He is also Jerrica's boyfriend, though I question his loyalty because he's got the hots for Jem without knowing she and Jerrica are one and the same. Further, Rio apparently has major trust issues, leading Jerrica/Jem to continue keeping her occupation a secret for fear that Rio will flip out over her deception. So yeah, Rio doesn't sound like the greatest guy in the world. He's a nice doll, though. He's got a killer tan with lovely blue eyes.
From the photographs I've taken it may look like Jem is Barbie's size and thus can wear Barbie's clothes. But noooooooooo, Jem and her flashy buddies are very statuesque. They're taller than both modern and vintage Barbie dolls by about half an inch and are larger all over than Barbie as well. Here's how Jem compares to Cassandra (Made to Move Barbie, left) and P.J. (right).
Ami had big feet!
Jem is even bigger than the tall Fashionistas. I was hoping that she would be able to share clothes with Gertrude and her tall cronies, but after looking at the two of them together I find that doubtful.
It's the same story with Rio. He towers over Toby, one of my nineties Ken dolls.
He's also taller than Masaharu (DOTW Japan Ken, left) and Apollo (2011 Fashionistas Ken, right). Masaharu's thick boots make him look taller, but he's still not as tall as Rio.
Obviously Barbie and Ken clothing are out of the question with Jem and her splashy friends. Luckily some things on Etsy and eBay fit my dolls. Most of it's for the girls, but I was able to find most of Rio's original suit.
I darn near never found shoes for him. The ones he's wearing are the only, repeat, ONLY pair that I saw on eBay. They're big, just like Jem's are.
Jem shoes are the same size as the recently reviewed P. Bo's shoes are, but their shoes don't have the details that Bo's do.
I was hoping Bo could wear Rio's shoes, but they are ridiculously big on her.
Normally Rio would be wearing a yellow t-shirt underneath this outer shirt, but mine doesn't have that so he goes bare-chested. Hey, if Roger Daltrey can wear an open shirt at his age, so can Rio. The shirt has one button on the right side, but no cooresponding buttonhole that enables it to function.
The rest of the shirt is made out of this soft woven fabric. The dominant color is purple, but there are plenty of other colors mixed in.
It's a little wrinkled, but it's also a well-made garment, very fitted. In fact, it fits Rio a little TOO close! It wants to stick to his vinyl arms instead of sliding over them. The seams are cut well, but the bottom hem is a little raggy-looking.
I shouldn't have been surprised to find that the shoulders were padded, but I was. More cringe-worthy eighties fashion.
Rio's slacks are purple as well, and they're very soft.
They stretch a little, but again these are a chore to put on because Rio's vinyl legs create a lot of friction. These do close in the back, which is more than I can say for the shirt. The pants also have this non-functioning belt.
I'm glad Rio's britches have a belt as it breaks up all that purple, but I wish I could tighten it or something of that sort. I also don't like the fact that these pants are so fitted at the ankles!
That was apparently another hideous eighties trend, as All-American Ken wore jeans like that too. I do appreciate the accuracy of these pants, but the style still gets a big fat YUCK!!! I prefer bell-bottoms...which a lot of people happen to hate. How tastes differ! These gathers are nicely done, though.
Rio may not have all of his original outfit, but at least he's got most of it. Roxy and Jem aren't quite as lucky, though I do love what I've got for them. Jem is wearing Flash 'n' Sizzle Jem's dress. It's just the dress; the tights and jewelry probably got lost or wore out years ago.
It's a little worse for wear, as secondhand fashions often are, but when I say a little I mean a little. The shoulder strap is broken.
Easily remedied by tucking the broken strap into Jem's bodice and rearranging the tulle trim. Problem solved. The rest of the dress is in great shape. The bodice is made of stretchy ruched pink fabric that hugs Jem's body.
The skirt has a sky blue base layer and an outer layer of sparkly tulle. Both layers have an asymmetric hem.
This is a cute dress. Yeah, I do sort of wish that the straps were intact, but the bodice fits so well that straps really aren't needed. In fact, the bodice is a lot like Rio's clothes in that it fits a little TOO well. It didn't slide over Jem's legs without a fight. That may be how the shoulder straps got broken, in fact; maybe someone tried to use those to pull the dress up? I'll never know for sure, but I do know that I've done the same with doll dresses in the past. Definitely time to break that habit. As an aside, these shoes are not original. But they match nicely!
Roxy's dress once belonged to a Rock 'n' Curl Jem. It too is missing its accessories, and I can't say that I like this dress as much as I like the other one. It does its job, though; it suits Roxy's style and covers her nakedness, so no biggie.
The bodice is a lovely royal purple and has one shoulder. The shoulder is decorated with a pink shabby-chic bow.
The waist is cut in a diagonal manner, and the lowest point is decorated with another pink bow.
The bodice itself was once decorated with sparkly little polka dots, but those have worn off with time.
The skirt is short, almost obscenely so. It's made out of silver lame that has started to lose its shine.
Neither the skirt nor the bodice are things I can't fix without a little fabric paint or silver beads. Unlike Jem's dress, Roxy's has a Velcro opening in the back, along with some loose threads.
I even have some shoes that match...sort of.
So these dresses may not be the original things that my particular dolls once wore, but they'll definitely do. Aside from showing typical wear of age and use these clothes are nice. They feel like they were built to last, and for the most part they have. No holes or rips or anything like that, just faded spots and a torn strap that doesn't harm the rest of the dress much. I'm a little sorry that Jem's dress doesn't have its Day-Glo yellow accessories, but at least she's not naked anymore, right?
As a last little touch, I've got this!
This little number came from Cazjar on Etsy. The proprietor makes clothes for Hasbro Jem and for Integrity Jem, with this one being intended for Hasbro Jem. It's a full outfit; the only thing that didn't come with the outfit are those pink shoes. Everything closes with snaps, including the tights. The tights do not slide over Jem's rubbery legs easily, but the final look is worth the effort. Cazjar warns that these dresses are NOT toys, and it shows. This outfit is extremely nice, but it's got parts that would not hold up in the hands of a child. For you adult collectors though...go for it! Cazjar's clothes are fabulous!
Unfortunately these three are going to have to get naked again! As I said above, these dolls are quite statuesque, and yet they're also very shapely and graceful. Rio, being a boy, has a heavily muscled body with flat feet and molded skivvies.
His feet have big holes in the heels for reasons I've not yet figured out.
He has joints at the shoulders, hips, neck, waist, wrists (wrist?), and knees. His arms have lateral movement...
...as do his hips. Rio can do a full sideways split, but not a full front-to-back split.
His waist twists halfway around, which looks a little odd.
Rio's elbows feel like they can bend, but they don't. His head makes up for that by tilting a teensy bit.
Very few of my boy dolls have heads that do tilt, so it's nice to see one that can.
Roxy, being female, has a female body with boobies and a trim waist and all that jazz.
Her feet have an elevated heel.
She has major cankles, and I wondered if that meant she had joints there.
Unfortunately these ankles are not jointed. Roxy has the same number of joints that Rio does, and they all move in the same way. She can't do a full front-back split either.
Roxy has rubbery arms like Rio does, but hers don't hold a pose either. Too bad too, because one of her hands is designed to hold a microphone. Notice that Roxy has pink nail paint, by the way.
Such a shame that Roxy can't bring that mic closer to her face! If only these dolls had elbows that bent! Oh wait...Jem does! Jem has all the joints that Roxy does, but she's got some extra bits that put her ahead of Roxy in the posing department. For starters, notice that the two girls have bodies that differ slightly.
Jem's torso is shorter and curvier, though not enough so to make clothes sharing a pain in the butt. The subtle differences in shape do offer a clue though, that Jem's body is different from Roxy's. Not only are Jem's arms rubbery like those of her companions, but they actually do bend and hold a pose! That's not all, either. These elbows have three clicks of rotational movement. This means that I can move her lower arms towards the center of her body or away.
The knees have the same feature. I can make Jem sit slightly knock-kneed...
...or with her ankles crossed...
...or I can tuck her legs off to the side, like Miss Emily likes to do with her dolls.
Up until this point in the eighties the most flexible dolls manufactured had been Sindy, Living Barbie and Uneeda Dollikin, and as far as I know none of them had rotating joints like this. That would mean that this particular Jem doll may have been a bit groundbreaking. Granted my Jem doll couldn't bend her waist or ankles like Dollikin and Living Barbie could, and she has nowhere near the posing abilities that Made to Move Barbie dolls do, but she's still got an impressive set of joints!
Sooooo...was adding these dolls to my collection worth it? Let's weigh the pluses and minuses.
*Fairly difficult to dress. It's especially hard to find clothes for Rio.
*Can't share clothes with Barbie, or with any of my other dolls.
*Fragile wrists, maybe? I'm not sure how much strength it took to pull Rio's hand off, but apparently it can be done. I'm marking this wrist joints as slightly fragile for that reason.
*When new these dolls had lots of easily lost bits and bobs.
*Concept is original, or it was at the time.
*The clothes that I do have are of reasonably decent quality.
*Hair is nice
*Faces are well-painted
*Joints are articulated. Jem is the best in this category, but all three dolls have decent joints.
I'm pretty hard-pressed to find anything majorly wrong with these dolls, or at least anything that was the fault of Hasbro or the dolls themselves. Rio's cut hair and missing hand are a bummer, but neither of those are Rio's fault so I'm not going to gripe too loudly about it. I'll gripe about kids who mistreat their toys instead!!! Ahem...where was I? I have to confess that I like these dolls, but I'm not going to become a hardcore Jem collector. The three I've got are enough, and I look forward to digging up some more pieces of clothing that fit. I also look forward to grubbing up some more pieces of original clothing, because what I have is well made and cute. My dolls' clothes have some minor cosmetic issues, but nothing terribly detracting. I can either fix them or accept them as normal wear and tear. The dolls themselves have stood up relatively well to the test of time, proof that as recently as the eighties toy companies were taking pride in their products. Nowadays there are times when it seems like all the company cares about is making a buck and saving a buck. There's nothing cheap about Jem and her friends though, and that's given me a new appreciation for this doll line.