Saturday, March 26, 2011

Big Time DVD

If you’re a regular reader of our extremely intermittent posts, you’ve probably deduced that we really love Big Time Rush. So we were delighted to receive copies of Big Time Rush Season One, Volume One, which drops this coming Tuesday. And then watch them. Again. And again. And again.

Becky: My ever so patient older sister has now seen the eleven included episodes often enough that she has them memorized. (Don’t believe any complaints. She loves them. It’s not Stockholm-y at all.) Anyway. The DVD itself looks nice enough. The front cover is surprisingly serious for such a funny show, but there are grins on display on the back. (Inside is this, which is a lovely photo, but confidential to James Maslow: you can generally either have a sexily unbuttoned shirt or a sexily loosened tie, but both at once just looks kind of silly.) Copy-wise, everything printed on the DVD has a somewhat tenuous relationship to punctuation, and skews towards overuse the Dropped G of Not At All Awkward Coolness. The boys are “hangin’,” and “learnin’,” and both the cover and the episode summaries inside are painfully obviously written by an adult trying to sound like a tween. (Though maybe that beats the reverse, earnestly but incoherently written by an actual tween.)

Jess: As for the episodes themselves, well...they’re great. This is a review of the DVD and not the show itself, so I won’t gush too much about the content, except to say that Big Time Rush is smarter and funnier than pretty much any kid-oriented sitcom I’ve ever seen. As you might imagine, the video and audio quality are high - it’s not like much remastering was required. My only complaint about the way the episodes are presented is that each one is an entire chapter on the DVD, meaning you can’t skip halfway through an episode or over the theme song.

Becky: Aside from episodes, the main reason to buy a DVD is the special features. Unfortunately, the Big Time Rush DVD is pretty lacking in that area. There are exactly two: pop-up trivia for a single episode (“Break”), and a photo gallery. Now, our brains are the information-gathering equivalent of hoarders, meaning the trivia episode is basically amazing, but the gallery is exactly one picture of each band member, so that’s... not a huge draw. I assume the target audience for the DVD is probably not as interested in features as adults tend to be, so this isn’t actually a huge loss or anything; but, given how charming and goofy the actors are (and how there’s clearly already lots of existing backstage footage, since there’s plenty available at, it seems like a lost opportunity. Alas.

Jess: One final thing that’s mildly annoying to your two too-old-for-this-show bloggers is that this is Season One, Volume One, and contains only the first 12 episodes of the first season. I’d rather have the whole season in one box. Also, this set retails for $19.99, which means that the whole first season will eventually set fans back about $40. If it came in one set, it would probably be priced closer to $30...but would be out of the target audience’s budget, where $20 is more likely to be either in their pockets or wheedled out of Mom and Dad. So while I find the two volume season strategy to be annoying, I recognize that breaking it up into two makes it more accessible to kids, and also admire the shrewdness of Nickelodeon’s pricing strategy. Well played, Big Orange Couch. Well played indeed.

Becky: At our other blog, Jess and I rate books on a scale of one to five cupcakes. Adopting that here, we give Big Time Rush Season One, Volume One a very solid and delicious four cupcakes. The few complaints we have are small quibbles, and probably wouldn’t bother the actual target audience at all. This is a DVD that’s 100% about the episodes it contains and, well, Jess and I and basically can’t say enough good things about this show. The inevitable Volume Two is already on my to-buy list.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

So, what do you think?

Is it for a role, or was Zef just feeling douchier than usual that day?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Didja hear me say that?

Okay, internet, here is a secret I have been keeping for awhile: I like Miranda Cosgrove much better as a singer than an actress. I mean, she's not… she's not a terrible actress or anything, but as Jess pointed out a few years ago, she's awkward as heck. It doesn't help that her main platform is iCarly, on which she plays the blandest character of the bunch. But her songs are enjoyable! They are very bubblegum, which is a thing I enjoy, and her voice is quite nice -- on the one hand, I don't think it's anything stand out or unusual (she lacks any of the qualities that make Miley distinct) but on the other hand, she avoids both the "yelling as singing" problem (Demi, Victoria Justice) and also the "replaced by robots because she can't actually sing at all" problem (Selena Gomez). She's pretty lovely to listen to, and while I wish her songs had a bit more to make them unique, I also keep her album on my iPod for when I'm in the mood for girly pop. Which is often.*

So basically, what I'm saying is, I enjoy Miranda as a singer much more than I ever expected to when I heard that the awkward girl from iCarly was getting a record deal. And thus I was eager to check out her latest offering, "Dancing Crazy," when it premiered.

That… that was a bit of a mistake, alas.

Well, okay, actually, first let me say this: I don't hate it as much upon re-listening as I did initially, because the first time I hit the shouty section of the chorus I wasn't prepared for it, and was so very embarrassed for her I was physically compelled to mute it and click away quickly. The thing is, though, that shouty bit is so very horrible it drags the otherwise-catchy song down with it.

It feels very much like whatever army of suit-wearing songwriters put this together realized that she's got the innocent tween thing happening, and because she's not yet breaking out of it by Being Sexy (which is the only way women break out of that, apparently) they tried to find another way to make her seem edgy. So they imported a chorus from, oh, I don't know, an unused Ke$ha song or something, only to realize that Miranda Cosgrove really, really can't pull that off. They kept the concept, watered it down, and ended up with a combination of some of the most inane lyrics I've ever heard ("I like you and you like me / we get together and we're happy") and some that's just outright terrible ("Didja hear me say that? / Didja didja hear me say that? / SMACK" Which doesn't even rhyme).

As for the video, I will say, it isn't dreadful. Miranda is very pretty, and her awkwardness works to her advantage in the few clips of her doing the robot and other such silliness. But aside from that, there's very little actual Dancing Crazy. There are, in fact, a few featured dancers, who are pretty great and do not seem even a little bit out of control or otherwise "crazy", and then a crowd of teens kind of bopping in place. Sometimes they do, in fact, put their hands up, if Miranda implores them to do so. But at least I find the dorky guy totally adorable, which helps.

That said, I worry about the example this video sets. Not because I think kids should never sneak out to go dancing, no! But because it seems to suggest the best way to sneak in and out is the tried and true method of… using your front door at a time in which it's totally reasonable for your parents to be awake and about (11 at night, 7 in the morning). Miranda, how will children learn about crawling out of windows and scrambling down convenient trees and/or trellises and all associated hijinks, if not from you? For shame, Miranda. You have let an entire generation down.

*Also, as it turns out, "Kissin U" is a great karaoke jam.

Monday, March 7, 2011

It's funny because it's true.

I'm so far over Miley Cyrus that I never bothered watching the finale of Hannah Montana. I can't be bothered with the feud she's having with her dad. I didn't even flip past when she hosted SNL. Buuuuuut I ran into reference to this sketch and thought I should share. Apparently someone on the SNL writing staff actually does watch some Disney Channel, 'cause yup. Nailed.

So how happy do we think Miley is that she's not Hannah anymore?