As Nick began its Orwellian bombardment of the mid-day airwaves over the last 3 months or so, I noticed that Snappy was paying attention. This kid who just a few weeks ago was obsessed with all things Baby Jaguar and Max and Ruby, suddenly knew all the names of this mystery band. She continued to call them The Jump-Arounds even after Nick clunkily and, clearly under legal obligation, changed the name to the Fresh Beat Band. She excitedly announced that "Aw, Kiki looks just like me!" and then decided Marina looked just like her bff, an adorable 3 year-old who looks nothing like Marina. I was...hmm...I think "joyous" is the word. Here was my kid, steeped in youthful optimism, identifying with a singing/dancing/guitar-playing pop princess. The whole thing just screamed Fun with a capitol F.
I'll admit when I first saw the now ubiquitous commercial for The Jump-a-Rounds on Nickelodeon, I had many questions, "What fresh hell is this? Has our culture not advanced one millimeter since Kids Incorporated? And why the hell is the WHITE GUY rapping?"
That's when I began to soften on this whole Jump-Arounds/Fresh Beat Band. Yeah, yeah. I know, I should be railing at this whole Tweenization of America thing, and I do, every time I see Billy Ray smiling with parental pride while his 16 year-old grinds her under-aged goods on a stripper pole on national television. Maybe I've been brainwashed, but I think The Fresh Beats are really kind of funky and not bad and, come on, those songs are beyond ridiculously catchy. Right? And really, Twist isn't a horrible rapper, no worse than Vanilla Ice. Besides, Shout has a kind of Ben Vareen, Broadway style that doesn't lend itself to rapping. Additionally, although Snappy thinks I'm a genius guitar player, I'm not and I can't play the violin, making Kiki a much better musical role model for my little budding rock star.
Okay, so definitely I have been brainwashed, but if I can possibly use Snap's love of the dance breaks in this show to get her to agree to attend the Little Twirlers dance class at the Y (while I zone out to my Ipod on the eliptical in the next room), then I hope the brainwashing never ends. Or gets canceled. But come on...The Fresh Beats? Could we come up with something less lame? How about Tweenation? Or The Sugar Pops? You know...something that might be bad for you, but who cares because it tastes so damn good?