Monday, May 4, 2009
Snap Judgment: "JONAS"
When I was around 7 years old, I fell in love with re-runs of "The Monkees," which, in my opinion, never got the respect it deserved. Everyone gets hung up on the prefab band thing (they did eventually play their own instruments) and overlooked the show's pioneering wackiness. Certain friends of mine know that my affection for this show and the band members lasted well into my teen years. (Peter Tork, if you're reading this, you were always my favorite.)
So when reviewers compared the Jonas Brothers' newest vehicle for world domination, "JONAS," to "The Monkees," I was skeptical. Successfully combining comedy with music is harder than it looks, and I was prepared for this show to be about as entertaining as a marathon of "Wizards of Waverly Place." But just as I once underestimated their musical chops, I didn't give the Jonas Brothers enough credit in the humor department. The show is effortlessly likable, and there's a self-deprecating undertone to it.
The singers play slightly altered versions themselves, only they're rock stars who attend high school. The first episode would have us believe that Nick, the "serious" one, is always getting his heart broken. Right. Anyway, there is a genuinely funny song sequence involving a very awkward set of angel wings. Just when you think the show is going down Teen Cliche Avenue, it veers in the other direction. Apparently, one of the "JONAS" directors worked on the short-lived but innovative '90s show "Parker Lewis Can't Lose," and a similar zany spirit pervades this show. I could do without the hyperventilating fan character, but my children thought her scenery gnawing was hilarious.
Let's face it; the people watching this show are the trio's rabid kid-to-tween fans and any parent who happens to be in the room. Those convinced that the band epitomizes The Problem With Youth Today won't be converted, but I was surprised by how much I enjoyed "JONAS." I wouldn't put down a good book to tune in, but if I'm just folding laundry while the kids are watching it, sure. Unlike "Hannah Montana," it didn't make me want to flee.