15 October 2013

DVD Set Review: "Big Time Rush": Season One, Volume One

Rated: TV-G (US) / PG (Canada)
Starring: Kendall Schmidt, James Maslow, Carlos Pena, and Logan Henderson
Released: November 28, 2009 - April 16, 2010 (Nickelodeon premiere) / March 29, 2011 (DVD)
Synopsis: Four regular guys from Minnesota (Kendall Schmidt, James Maslow, Carlos Pena, and Logan Henderson) audition for a talent competition held by washed-up music producer Gustavo Rocque (Stephen Kramer Glickman) and his assistant Kelly (Tanya Chisholm).  They end up moving to L.A. and becoming Big Time Rush...but, before they can bask in their stardom, they find out that it's not all that easy being a celebrity.  Between dealing with weirdos at the hotel, breaking things and having to get jobs to pay for the repairs, and dealing with the uptight head of the record company...they're in for some big time craziness!  With the support of band member Kendall's mother (Challen Cates) and little sister (Ciara Bravo), they'll have to figure things out...'cause you gotta live it big time!

Artistic Merit

Plots: 2/5
This is the series' weakest aspect, but it's one of the most important parts of any story or set of stories.  Though Nickelodeon's plots aren't usually anything Shakespearean or grandiose, the storylines in same-network shows such as iCarly and Kenan & Kel are fun while being believable.  However, Big Time Rush relies way too much on silliness and bizarreness, and that just doesn't work all that well.  I mean, seriously: A cat spray-painting on a mansion wall? A girl who is willing to dance with a guy who dated her and another girl at the same time? A talking coffee machine that wants to take over the earth with foam? Sorry, Nickelodeon, but that's just inane and not very funny.  It's pretty bad when the secondary characters of Kendall's mom and friend/significant other are the bright spots of the entire set.

Production Values: 4/5
Though such a show requires everyone onscreen to act insane, the actors play their characters well.  The soundtrack, however, relied too much on the theme song, which was a bit...well, annoying.  Maybe that was just because this set chronicled the beginnings of the group, but they could have used some other songs.

Moral Content

Positive Elements: 3/5
The guys look out for each other as friends, and their mom and sister are there for moral support.

Sexual Content: 3.5/5
Some minor kissing and flirting.  One of the guys dresses up as a girl--with Kendall's mom's help--in order to get into a girl's school so he can hear and see a lecturer whom he admires.

Nudity: 4/5
Guys' bare chests are seen--sometimes partially--from time to time, and the ladies tend to wear short skirts/dresses, and you occasionally see girls in off-the-shoulder tops.  Of particular note: Even though the hotel where the guys stay has a pool, you never see any ladies in bikinis or even one-piece swimsuits; they wear shirts while actually in the pool.  Such modesty is the kind rarely seen these days in any kind of media.

Language: 4/5
Mostly name-calling, though you do hear an occasional misuse of God's name.

Violence: 3.25/5
Though the violence is purely of the slapstick/comedic kind, it is prevalent in every episode.  The guys and others crash into and through things; various objects get broken; the guys get slapped by ladies a few times.

Drugs: 5/5
None.  (This is Nickelodeon, people!)

Frightening/Intense Scenes: 4.5/5
Though the series is mostly silly, it could be a bit frightening in the final episode when Gustavo goes on a brief rampage and breaks things.

Other: 3.5/5
In a few episodes, the guys do things they shouldn't, but don't face any punishment or consequences.

Conclusion: When I was younger, I had a friend who laughed at almost everything.  I told him my printer was saying the paper was jammed, when there wasn't any paper in it; he laughed.  Even one time, while watching the "Doctor Looney's Remedy" music video during the trailers on the VHS version of A Goofy Movie, for some reason, he found the lyric, "Pick up your knees high as you please," hilarious.  I mention him because it's only people like him who are likely to find this set all that funny.  Though some moments did have me laughing out loud, most of it was just weird and goofy.  I hate to give a Nickelodeon or Disney Channel production--there's so little difference between the two, many people get them mixed up--a negative review, but that's how it ended up being.  If you're looking for a great music-themed sitcom, check out Disney Channel's JONAS or Austin & Ally.  Now, I just hope MovieStop will give me some decent credit for this set, considering that I bought it from eBay and had to purchase two of the episodes from iTunes because they wouldn't fully copy to my computer for some reason.

Score: 2.25/5

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