I Heart Jonas
Whatever their motivation may be (the recession?) Disney has decided to forego a complete season collection for their hit show Jonas and instead give their rabid fans this pared down, one disc collection that includes only seven of the twenty episodes so far produced. It is the second release thus far following Jonas Rockin’ the House but it would have been much easier on everybody had they had the options to pick up the whole season in one fell swoop.
The show features the Jonas Brothers (Joe, Nick and Kevin Jonas) playing the Lucas Brothers, variations on themselves, as they try to balance being a rock star with maintaining a normal high school life. It scores no points for concept originality but powers through that problem with sharp writing and jokes that connect more often than not. The people who put this disc together have managed to isolate a fairly conventional story arch involving a repressed romance between Joe and their personal stylist Stella (Chelsea Staub). Stella spends far more time pining after Joe’s heart than she does schooling them on the importance of avoiding faux pas. Joe also has an ache for her (who can blame him) but larger forces are always seeming to pop up and thus prevent the romance from blossoming.
The show looks and feels extremely polished and the assumption is that Disney has thrown their strongest creative muscles behind it. But considering how much money the brothers have made for them who could possibly blame them. They do rely on age old sitcom techniques such as massive miscommunications and elaborate deceptions, but they also present them in a fresh light by keeping everything modern and by perfecting an absurdist type of humor that has been seen before on shows like Scrubs and Ally McBeal.
In the best episode found here Sara Paxton stops by for a guest role as the delightfully bitchy Fiona Skye, a hungry tabloid reporter hoping to launch her career off of the back of the band and so manufactures a story about her love affair with Joe. The team will eventually band together and topple the threat, we know this, but somehow the writers found a way to put a human face on all of the players in the funny/tragic morality play. The Jonas Brothers, it must be noted, do come completely come over as devoid of any masculinity. They care about love, talk about what they’re wearing, sing in falsetto and only have hair on the top of their heads. . .but apparently that is what young girls want these days.
While the show is good, quite good in fact, there are a few noticeable flaws.
The most glaring may be the performance of Melissa Anderson as Macy, the needy, lovesick stalker who is a takeoff of Mel from Flight of the Conchords. In a show that lives and breathes overacting Anderson doesn’t know when to say when and takes the whole process a step and half too far and comes off looking downright plastic. On the opposite side of the coin is Chuck Hittinger as Van Dyke, a possible love interest for Stella and is what would happen if Bill and Ted had an especially jock-y love child, who has excellent comic timing and a real feel for the material.
He only appeared in three of this seasons episodes and all of them are found here so the producers must think highly of him as well. His finest moment comes in the final episode on the disc, another must see, in which Joe convinces Macy to accompany him as he crashes Van Dyke’s date with Stella. Stella is understandably pissed at this stunt but Van Dyke, too slow to notice that Joe is only there to insult him and steal his date, seems overjoyed at this “chance” meeting. Macy, meanwhile, blogs away from her phone onto her Jonas Brothers fan site being sure to capture every ounce of drama she can. A second season of the show has been greenlit which is great news, but in the interim we are hoping that we can convince Disney to release the rest of the first one.
DVD Special Features:
A less than engaging Punk’d knockoff called You’ve Just Been JoBro’d and, more importantly, three refrigerator magnets, one with each Jonas Brother on it!!
Starring: Joe Jonas, Kevin Jonas, Nick Jonas, Chelsea Staub, Nicole Anderson, John Ducey
Created By: Michael Curtis, Roger S. H. Schulman