'Jonas': Monkee business for millennials
The Jonas Brothers play the Lucas brothers in Jonas, their new Disney Channel sitcom-with-music. Brothers Nick, Kevin, and Joe Lucas are high schoolers who are also rock stars: the name of their band is Jonas. That’s the most complicated thing about the series. The rest is silly fun — Jonas is The Monkees for millennials.
In the first episode, Nick fell for a girl and wrote a song for her; a nice one, in fact, called “Give Love A Try.” (There’s a reason the real-life Jonas Brothers are a success: they’re good pop songwriters and performers.) Except that the girl thinks he wrote it for her — that is, for her to perform and record as her own. The confusion has intrinsically nice implications: yes, she may be a bit of a thief, but she’s no passive fan or docile girlfriend; she’s trying, a tad ruthlessly, to build her own career.
As actors, the Jonas brothers are at least as good as anyone else on the Disney Channel including the High School Musical cast. Like most pop musicians who act, they tend toward expressionless faces, but that just ups their cool-quotient to their fans. Jonas serves its audience well, with time-honored slapstick and foolish puns that hark back to Beatles movies, which in turn had harked back to Marx Brothers movies. I’m a little surprised the Jonas Brothers, whose audience now extends well beyond its tween base, wants to spend its time with this lightweight sitcom. But from the sound of “Give Love A Try,” it hasn’t hurt their music.