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18 October 2010 @ 01:25 pm
til i forget about you newscast video meta, or, how are you even a show, btr, how.  
Question, fellow musketeers: does music video meta count as some branch off of song meta? Well, whatever, whether it does or not, have some thoughts on the in-show "Til I Forget About You" video in Big Time Live.

Big Time Live is one of those episodes that's the lightest and fluffiest flavor of BTR: It's an episode with no relationship drama, no great imminent threat to the band's future in Hollywood, just wacky hijinks and our boys working together as a foursome to make lots of ridiculous and totally inconsequential things happen so that they can make their first major television appearance ever, on Los Angeles' top morning show. Likewise, the in-show music video for "Til I Forget About You" is as silly as possible, with each of the boys adopting a different newsroom persona in a mock morning show. Some adjectives you might use to describe this video could include "adorable," "precious," "darling," "cutest thing ever," and "totally random and of absolutely no value whatsoever in developing any characterization or thematic elements of the show," right?

Before we make such a statement, let's take a closer look at the video.

Each of the boys takes on a specific and unique role in the production of the "newscast" within this video: Logan is the financial advisor, James is the weatherman, Carlos is the television personality chef, and Kendall is the producer/head tech, giving headset commands and holding up cue cards. While these might seem like random assignments at first? We know BTR better than that. This newsroom casting is actually not only the most fitting assignment possible, but backs up nearly everything show and song canon have developed characterization-wise for the boys – and also subtly mirrors the main subplot of Big Time Crib. Of course it does, BTR, of course it does.

Let's take a look at each boy's role individually first.


So, what are some character traits that we know about Logan Mitchell?

Logan's the Smart One of the group. He's continually played as the responsible, mature conscience to the other three and as the reliable genius who everyone in canon turns to in a crisis. And even more so, Big Time Fever, along with the great majority of song canon, establishes Logan's subtextual issues with the overwhelming pressure, put on by himself and others, that goes along with being the Smart One. So what more fitting role to encompass all of that than the newscast's financial advisor? The financial advisor is the Smart One position in the newsroom: he's responsible, professional, suit-wearing, and extremely knowledgeable about math and economics, some of Logan's favorite things. In addition to all of that, though, Logan isn't just a financial consultant but a Wall Street financial advisor, directing "viewers" about what to do with stocks and bonds, a business that not only takes extreme intelligence but brings extreme pressure onto him. Financial advisor Logan isn't just handling bottom lines and figures; he's got the weight of the world on his shoulders, in that people's entire life savings depend on his reliable, sound stock market advice. The fluctuations of the stock market are risky and unpredictable and require incredible savvy and astuteness to predict for oneself, let alone to advise others what stocks to buy and sell. Who else among the BTR boys could be trusted with such an intellectually demanding and emotionally exhausting task?


James' role as weather girl weatherman is, on the surface, as equally ridiculous as he is. The weatherman of a newscast is a charming, handsome figurehead with a slick-but-likeable ready-for-the-screen personality, and what boy better to fill that bill? After all, isn't "perfect hair" an implied part of the job description? Furthermore, James' "job" in the mock newsroom, particularly a Los Angeles newsroom, would deal with expectations of abundant sunshine, weather reports for lounging on the beach, and forecasts for the best tanning schedule, all perfectly in character for James, the boy whose Hollywood Fever consists of so much tanning spray he turns bright orange.

But even though the weatherman is the most ridiculous and least substantial role on the surface, there's actually a lot more implied in his role on the news team. Most people never think about or expect how much they rely on the forecast, but so much depends upon an accurate and reliable prediction of the weather, and therefore a weatherman has to be surprisingly reliable and loyal. Sound like any particular lucky-comb-wielding, Cuda-product-loving pretty boy you know who does completely unexpected things like give up a role on a television series out of solidarity to a new friend or be actively upset with a best friend for not taking the opportunity to steal away the dream that he's had for as long has he can remember? James is nothing if not reliable and loyal even if you'd never necessarily think about the fact that he is – just like a weatherman's role for his viewers.


If Big Time Girlfriends drove home one point about Carlos' character, it's his eagerness, his absolute need, to please people and make people happy, as evidenced by his continual catering to Sasha's over-the-top whims and insistence that he'll do "anything you want" to make people happy. It's something that we've seen over and over in Carlos' character – from all the way back in Audition when tries to stop the other boys' fighting by asking everyone to just "think about kittens" all the way up through Concert, where he risks serious injury to save his friends and help the four of them make it to their first concert – Carlos wants people to be happy, wants to make people happy, wants to please. Carlos' role as a television personality chef in the mock newscast, then, is perfectly fitting: a chef shares recipes with others that they will enjoy, cooks for people, aims to serve and to please. Even more so, a television personality chef might not be taken as seriously as other roles in the newsroom or necessarily be considered to be "included" in the lineup of serious newscast positions, something that Carlos has clearly struggled with subtextually throughout the series, as evidenced by the fear he keeps expressing of being lost in the shuffle or left out (jumping into the well in Sparks because he was "lonely," etc.). And as Chef Carlitos Carlos, Carlos is the only one out of the newsroom crew who creates an explicit persona for himself that is notably affected and different from his normal personality – and can anyone say Jennifarlos?


Kendall's newsroom role, on the surface, seems to be the most surprising and out of character: wouldn't Kendall, the endearing, charming leader of the group, be the head anchorman? Wouldn't he take on a visible leadership role within the newscast? Why would he sit on the sidelines as the producer and cue card tech?

But let's look a little closer. If there's one role that Kendall Knight fits into even more strongly than the Perfect Endearing Leader, it's the Everything to Everyone, the one who's so focused on being perfect and jumping to the rescue and doing everything for everyone else that he doesn't have time left to deal with what's going on under the surface with Kendall. And in that sense, what better role for Kendall to play than the behind-the-scenes one who makes the show happen for everyone else? Kendall can be the foundation of the newscast, can be everything to everyone else who's a part of the broadcast and make everyone else's segments happen and put every other person at the newsroom ahead of himself, throwing the attention to everyone else and not giving him a spare moment to consider his own role. And really, what more Kendall Knight-esque role could there be in a morning show broadcast?

Overall Themes

In terms of the boys' distribution of newsroom roles, it's perfectly acceptable to say that the production/tech team and the financial advisor would be taken as more "serious" roles than the television personality chef and the weatherman, something that perfectly mirrors the perception of Kendall and Logan being the more "serious" ones in the foursome and James and Carlos being the sillier and more ridiculous pair. But despite the perception, both the "serious" and "silly" roles are integral to a successful newscast, right? What would a morning show be without a weatherman or a human interest/lifestyle segment with a cheerful and engaging persona? Each boy's role is important to the success of the newscast, reinforcing the "one is good but four is better"/"we're better together" overall theme of the BTR boys as a foursome.

Additionally, the camerawork throughout the video shows that even camera angles ship Kendall and Logan Logan most of all most heavily relying on Kendall's cue cards to help him through his financial advising segments, echoing the subtle implications about their relationship. Whether you ship them or see them as the Best Friends or view them as just two of the group, time and time again, the series promotes the idea that Kendall relies on Logan's genius to help him and the group through the structure of their wacky hijinks and Logan relies on Kendall's leadership to help him through the things in life that don't involve numbers and facts and statistics. Their plotline in Big Time Crib is a clear example of the latter, with Kendall helping Logan to not be "afraid to take a risk" – and, in addition to everything else that's so uniquely Logan Mitchell that goes along with the position of morning show financial advisor, what else does dealing in stocks and bonds, and advising others what to do in the stock market, require?

Not being afraid to take a risk.

And financial advisor Logan's not afraid to take a risk and tell you what to do with your stocks and bonds and life savings, so long as he has producer Kendall to hold up the cue cards and help him along with what he needs to do in his segment.

In short, what seems like a silly and inconsequential music video both serves as a perfectly-to-the-point character sheet for everything we've ever thought about these boys and a minute-and-forty-second synopsis of Kendall and Logan's plotline in Big Time Crib.

Good job, BTR. Good job.
eviljellybean88eviljellybean88 on October 18th, 2010 08:18 pm (UTC)
META!!!! YAY!!! *flails* :DD
folkloric_feel: btr: gay!bff lucky finger touchfolkloric_feel on October 19th, 2010 06:05 am (UTC)
Thanks so much! I'm so glad you enjoyed reading ♥
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folkloric_feel: btr: boyfriend formation in dumpstersfolkloric_feel on October 19th, 2010 06:06 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! I'm continually blown away by how perfectly characterized this show is. I don't even know. It's amazing.

Thanks for reading!

shadowlev: Fail!Angelshadowlev on October 18th, 2010 10:10 pm (UTC)
I swear, every time I read your metas I get smarter and appreciate the cartoon more and more as a work of art :)
folkloric_feel: btr: on the couchfolkloric_feel on October 19th, 2010 06:07 am (UTC)
*blushes* Thank you so much! It's amazing to me how BTR seems like this simple caricature on the surface but is actually this incredibly complex and well-developed work of art when you scratch the surface even the tiniest bit. I'm so glad that this helped you appreciate the show even more in some small way.

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folkloric_feel: btr: carlos arms crossedfolkloric_feel on October 19th, 2010 06:08 am (UTC)
This fandom is absolutely amazing. Which is so fitting, because this show is incredibly amazing as well. Thanks so much for reading!

phantompearlphantompearl on October 18th, 2010 11:01 pm (UTC)
What a great read, all four of them really did fit those roles. *nod* Kendall's is really interesting, he would definitely run most things. He also knows what his friends are good at and lets them use their skills to an advantage. I loved the showverse music video so much, it was a great surprise. I would have said it was my favorite but then I quickly remembered Halfway There and the others on the show and I just can't pick, XD;; I saw the literal Breaking [the] News part and lol'd and then BTR surprised me with more awesome literal stuff like "spendin' money like it don't mean a thing" and "jump up fall down" and more that left me in stitches. Oh, BTR. <3<3<3
folkloric_feel: btr: the city is ours sparklesfolkloric_feel on October 19th, 2010 06:11 am (UTC)
Thanks so much! I'm so glad you enjoyed reading. ♥ jannika and I were watching Big Time Live together and it just hit me that the in-show music video was this astounding example of characterization for the boys, so I had to write it up and share with you all.

I saw the literal Breaking [the] News part and lol'd and then BTR surprised me with more awesome literal stuff like "spendin' money like it don't mean a thing" and "jump up fall down" and more that left me in stitches. Oh, BTR. <3<3<3

Seriously, I'm not sure how BTR manages to be the silliest and most ridiculous thing and also the most perfectly characterized and well-thought-out thing ever, but somehow it does, and I love it all the more for it.

Thanks again for reading!

gingerberrycat: Auburn Wondersgingerberrycat on October 19th, 2010 12:38 am (UTC)
Just so you know, i rely on your meta's for the truth of the series.
Also to make me happy, which they never fail to do.
folkloric_feel: btr: the boys and pretty kellyfolkloric_feel on October 19th, 2010 06:12 am (UTC)
*blushes* Thanks so much! I'm so glad that you enjoy reading these, and I'm so glad that it gives you perspective on the series as a whole. And trust me, the three of us have so much more coming up soon to post!

drama_tolle on October 19th, 2010 08:39 pm (UTC)
You are absolutely crazy and I love you for this 8D
fortoutofsheetsfortoutofsheets on October 21st, 2010 05:11 am (UTC)
w00t! Another meta post! *bounces*

I totally loved this episode for the reasons you stated: no drama, no threat to their future as a band, just whacky hijinks and the boys being, well, themselves!

The music video was pretty amazing, too. I don't really think I can add anything that hasn't already been eloquently stated by you.

So, yay BTR! ♥