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Year: 2009, 2010
Genre: Kids, TV series
Country: United States
Starring: Kendall Schmidt, James Maslow, Carlos Pena Jr, Logan Henderson, Ciara Bravo, Stephen Kramer Glickman
Run time: 288 minutes
DVD distributor: Paramount Home Entertainment
I think Big Time Rush could work if it were a straight satire of pre-fab boy bands and the culture of vapid pop music. But it isn’t. Not really. Oh sure, there are elements of satire in the TV series. But really it’s just another kids show involving a “band” that fits right into the rebellious-kids-in-a-crazy-situation template.
The show centres around four hockey playing buddies from Minnesota who are improbably tapped by a talent scout as the Next Big Thing. They are taken from their homes and flown out to Hollywood, where they live on some kind of young-talent compound filled with up-and-coming actresses, musicians and dancers. They hang out by the pool, ogle the hot young women, and generally engage in the antics TV producers think appeal to children.
The cartoonish nature of their manager-songwriter-producer-mentor Gustavo (Stephen Kramer Glickman doing an angry Seth Rogen impersonation) could lead to some quality send-ups. The wooden cartoon character of the record label boss Arthur Griffin (Matt Riedy) could provide a few laughs. But they don’t. Instead, they just drift around the show as caricatures, never rising above their poorly-drawn Outrageousness.
In the meantime, we have to put up with the jokes and antics of the four “band” members – Kendall (Kendall Schmidt), Logan (Logan Henderson), Carlos (Carlos Pena Jr.), and James (James Maslow), who do hilarious things, like have water-gun fights and install a slide in their room…and they’re always trying to put one over on Gustavo! Should be very funny…but it’s not.
One other thing to notice – the four actors who play the four singers have the same names as their characters. Not a lot of effort went into that part of the show…or did it? I think the REAL idea behind this show was to create some kind of Jonas Brothers thing – the theory, I imagine, being that Big Time Rush, the show, is really a vehicle to make superstars out of Big Time Rush, the band – the money is flowing in from concerts and tour stops as we speak.
And that’s fine. It’s marketing and it’s the music world of today, more power to ‘em. But considering the show itself is merely a vehicle for other avenues of income, is it any wonder little effort is put into making it good? This is a case where just having a show is enough. The only standout on the show itself is young Ciara Bravo, who plays Kendall’s abrasive, calculating, devious younger sister. She is a treat whenever she’s on screen, which is far too seldom.
So what I get out of this program is this – it’s another TV show selling instant stardom to kids in an instant-stardom culture. And by selling that pre-fab boy band instant stardom narrative, it creates its own side businesses that are essentially creations of pre-fab boy band instant stardom. It’s a pretty clever business model, but based on a pretty lame premise and a pretty lame Nickelodeon kids show. Big Time Rush Season One Volume One comes to DVD March 29th from Paramount Home Entertainment.