The Naked Brothers Band

Credits

Cast

Network

Reviewer

Bob Smithouser

TV Series Review

Eleven going on 21. That’s the easiest way to describe the ensemble cast of Nickelodeon’s The Naked Brothers Band, a sitcom/mockumentary about two real-life sibs and a handful of musical peers who take their popular show on the road. Imagine a post-MTV Partridge Family-meets-Little Rascals dynamic that (like most Nick series) keeps every clueless adult hopping around like an organ-grinder’s monkey. The good news: No one gets completely naked.

These children do, however, obsess over the opposite sex, which may encourage young viewers to do the same. Sensitive older brother Nat—the lyricist and lead singer—is a girl magnet, a preteen Davy Jones (the Monkee , not the pirate) pursued by hordes of giggling fans. The only cutie he can’t woo is the one he pines over, the band’s lone female member, Rosalina. Meanwhile, Nat’s 8-year-old brother Alex (the group’s rebellious, do-ragged drummer) has eyes for their traveling babysitter, a tattooed 21-year-old partial to immodest fashions.

The show is produced, directed and often written by the boys’ mother, Polly Draper. Their dad, Michael Wolff, plays the pair’s only onscreen parent, a clownish accordian player more childlike than the band’s bespectacled 11-year-old manager. Talk about role reversal. Top to bottom, this is a kid-empowerment fantasy that Draper considers a novel approach to home movies.

The Naked Brothers Band was born purely from the imagination of my kids. As a mom, first and foremost, I knew I had to document this time in their lives,” she said. “I knew immediately I wanted Nickelodeon to be the home for The Naked Brothers Band because they’re bold enough to try something as authentic, real-kid as this is, and this experience has been a dream come true for my whole family!”

One parent’s dream may be another’s nightmare, especially if you’re not a big fan of crass put-downs and bodily function jokes. A recent episode found Nat desperate to top his little brother’s flatulence humor (“My farts are so much funnier”), only to learn from comedian George Lopez the power of an off-color insult (“You can always count on ‘butt-face’ getting a laugh”). Where’s the don’t-try-this-at-home disclaimer when you need one?

Despite airing during the TEENick programming block, Naked Brothers Band clearly targets a preadolescent fan base, as do its advertisers and shrill, hooky pop songs, such as “Crazy Car” and “Fishing for Love.” Pure bubblegum. In fact, among 6- to 11-year-olds, Naked Brothers Band was the cable network’s highest-rated series premiere in the past seven years. The problem areas won’t be a big deal for older teens. But frankly, it’s hard to imagine anyone watching this show who’s mature enough to wade through it’s questionable preoccupations.

Episodes Reviewed: Feb. 25, Mar. 4, 12, May 20, 2007

Episode Reviews

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Bob Smithouser

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