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22 December 2010 @ 07:06 pm
of dakdall and skateboarders from wisconsin: a big time rush fandom thought process.  
Of Dakdall and Skateboarders From Wisconsin: A Big Time Rush Fandom Thought Process

We know that the forty-odd of you who follow this blog and the random others who find their way here from various communities come here for meta insight and discussion by way of our posts, but much, much more frequently than we give official credit for, and we couldn't do it without you occasionally here at metamusketeers, something happens in fandom to get everyone thinking and our fellow musketeers and readers do all of the work for us before Kait, Gina, and I can even get to analyzing anything. And when that happens, so many times, all of you readers come up with something that's so brilliant it renders the three of us completely speechless.

So, in keeping with the holiday spirit, we thought we'd like to share some of that collaborative community goodness with all of you.

Because this blog isn't just a collaboration of three people – it's a discussion between dozens and dozens of members of a community who all have ideas to share about the fandoms and ships and characters and canons that they adore. It's a community, and we couldn't do it without each and every one of you that contributes your thoughts through comments, discussion, or mere support of the ideas that we spam you all with here.

We've got a handful of essays in the works to be posted here in the next week or two, so be on the lookout for this community to explode with new meta goodness over the coming weeks, but in the meantime?

Something so fascinating all started with this post.

If you follow this community, you know that Big Time Rush fandom loves to overanalyze things. BTR fans love to not just squee over the ridiculous sparklesexuality of their canon, but examine in minute detail what takes place when their favorite characters interact on screen with each episode. So when this happened? When videos of Curt Hansen (better known as everyone's favorite high school vampire megastar Dak Zevon) as the "leader" of Big Time Rush leaked onto the internet?

You know that, inevitably, discussion was about to ensue.

And here's that discussion, which starts off with this question:

folkoric_feel: Can we have a really epic discussion about all of this? About how everything is just so different here without "Kendall" and James' tension and head-butting or without Logan's total reliance on "Kendall" or with how the relationship between the four of them just feels so much more... equal? Low-key? Steady but lacking in dynamics? I don't know the right word for it, but it's so different I don't know what to do with myself.

And here's where you, fellow metamusketeers, guide the discussion:

nowadventuring: I'm not sure I can watch Kendall-less BTR. I feel irrationally affronted by the idea. But I think I'll give these a watch. I admit, Kendall is probably my favorite, both actor and character, so I'm curious to see if I'd have the same kind of soft spot for the show if he's absent. BTR is a remarkably well-written kids' show, but I think the chemistry/dynamic between the actors and the unique ways they have of playing the characters make it what it is for me.

But I stopped running my mouth and watched it, and you're right: there's a way different vibe. Curt comes off as less of a somewhat reluctant leader with lots of heart and more of that guy who's a dick to his friends and periodically makes a big gesture to show he cares. In fact, I feel like he's somehow on the outside of the dynamic instead of the dynamic being centered around him, like instead of the orbit of Kendall-BTR, I can see the dynamic drifting, drifting, drifting away from Curt, and then snapping back to focus, like follow-the-leader. I can imagine the guys still coming to him for advice/leadership (maybe, possibly, if they were even still the same guys; none of them had an particular energy or quirk like in the final), but he has this slightly mocking vibe about him, like it might be less about trust and more about putting up a cocky front.

I dunno. When Kendall gets the one-up in an exchange, I'm always like, "Aha! He seems so genuine, but he owned you. And he did it for a good reason, so there." With Curt, it was more like he finally got at the point he was driving at the whole time, and he won the argument, but you always knew he would. I didn't root for him the same way.

It's not that I wasn't expecting a huge change, but BTR without Kendall is just startlingly different. I really feel like these clips highlight just how important Kendall is to the group dynamic. The parking lot scene is almost word-for-word the same as in Audition, but there isn't the tense head-butting between Curt/"Kendall" and James, which changes the vibe of the scene drastically, and I really feel like the clips show how noticeable Kendall and Logan's friendship dynamic is, because without that Logan just doesn't feel like Logan as we know him at all here. The dynamic feels a little more equal, so to speak - it really makes you realize how much all of the others look up to Kendall as a leader - but at the same time, the one-on-one relationships just don't have the same definition, even from this brief clip. And that's another thing - Curt's character doesn't come across as the "leader," which sort of throws a wrench into BTR's heavy reliance on archetypes. If anything, he's the bad boy (he volunteers to be the bad boy when Gustavo mentions it in the studio) but I just don't feel like Curt's character is as well-defined as Kendall's is in just the smallest moments and ways throughout the series.

It's definitely worth watching, though, if you can get past the Kendall-less-ness being an affront. It's a fascinating glimpse at what makes BTR what it is in the incarnation we know it as now.

moonspoken: Wow, James, Kendall/Curt and Logan pretty much look like the same person.

folkloric_feel: I know, right? It's sort of crazy how something as simple as hair color can make such a big difference, but I feel like even the completely similar look among all of the boys without Kendall there makes it just seem - all on one level, if that makes sense, as far as the tone goes? It's pretty astounding.

moonspoken: the fact that they all have the same haircut! It's a little too much uniformity, and then Carlos seems weird because he </i>doesn't</i> have the haircut, and I don't know. That much aesthetic similarity actually makes me a little uncomfortable, just in an OCD kind of way. Also, (I should mention I haven't even watched the clips, but...) relooking at the caps you made now, especially the caps where all four of them are together, there is a lot that is really off about their chemistry. You know? Like Curt just doesn't quite mesh. I notice it a LOT here:

It's just slightly... awkward. I'm trying to think of the right words that I'm thinking, and you and others have said it more eloquently than me, but-- it would have been a different show. The chemistry is so strange to me! And the tone also, but ESPECIALLY the chemistry. The boys really need Kendall.

I typed the second half of this comment and then thought about it some more, and I think what I am thinking is like: BTR really needs one boy who just cares about the rest of them in a very selfless way. Kendall does that, you know, even if (as we've discussed) it's pretty unhealthy, but he just loves his boys, and he always puts them first, and he hates the band at first, but loves it because of JamesLoganCarlos. Whereas (again, this is just from the screenshots) but Curt seems to care a lot more about BTR and about appearances, and about furthering his own career, and I don't know. This is an entirely shallow and chemistry-based analysis, and it might have more to do with the characters interactions, but-- it's the impression I get, and I kind of think it's the right impression.

spectgem: WHOA. It's like it's not even the same show--I mean it is the same show but the tone feels different. I'm not sure I would've loved this BTR as much if Kendall wasn't Kendall. Or if any of the boys weren't there for that matter.

folkloric_feel: It's pretty astounding just how different the show is without Kendall. The tone is completely different, and I just feel like all of the individual relationship dynamics are different without Kendall being there. It's not just that Logan feels like a completely different character without being so Kendall-focused, or that the Kendall/James tension is missing from the parking lot scene - it's that the Logan/James/Carlos dynamic feels completely, completely different without Kendall there. Everything feels more equal in a way, because Curt's not at all the leader that James has a hero worship thing going on with/the big brother figure that Carlos looks up to/the everything that Logan's world revolves around, he's just another guy, but at the same time it's just - everything feels evened out in a way that it's equal so much as it's almost - muddled? Lacking definition? If that makes sense? What makes the BTR boys so unique and so special in their foursome is the pencil-sharp definition of the individual relationships - Logan's relationship with Kendall, Kendall's relationship with James, James' relationship with Carlos, how all of those have such specific elements that you can point to and how none of them is at all like any other - and how those relationships are developed within how the boys fall into both their individual character archetypes and the overall group lineup. Curt's not!Kendall just - I feel like even from these short clips, it's pretty clear that he lacks that kind of character definition. He seems like this mix between The Leader, The Bad Boy, and The Everyman, without really particularly being any of the three. And you can argue that it's hard to tell from just these short clips, but then again - I feel like if you watch any random two minute scene with Kendall, you already have such a clear picture of who Kendall Knight is as a character (or any of the boys, for that matter), moreso than you get with most shows in exponentially more canon than that, and I just don't see that with any of the boys here. Maybe it's because we're just so used to it the real way, but I feel like there's something so markedly different about the dynamic here that isn't just seeing someone different in a role you've come to associate with a particular character.

(I'm also very curious to know if Mama Knight, Katie, etc., were the same and if Kendall's family was written the same in this version of the pilot. Because I already am so curious to see how Curt's not!Kendall character would've fit into the Knight family.)

lyricsandhearts: I can hardly imagine how interesting that must be: A Kendall-less BTR. See, if Curt were written the same way as Kendall, it might still be different but in a less prominent way, but obviously from the way you've talked about it, he isn't written the same at all. He offers to be the Bad Boy, first of all, which takes away a lot of what makes that character him.

And if he isn't a leader-- if they're more equal than anything else-- how much else changes? Do they still each have their own cliche-filling/cliche-breaking personalities? See, if we've lost the leader, is Logan still the Smart One? How much of James's Face-ness is lost if there's a Bad Boy instead of a Leader? Since the Bad Boy is usually the sex-appeal one, would James keep going for the Pretty One, the Face, or would he... Not? And what about Carlos? If he doesn't have a Leader, how much of his personality is going to change? If they're that equal, he's bound to be more confident, and without that, is he still going to be the poor, sweet little lost-in-the-mix-of-things Carlos? If there's that equality, he wouldn't have any reason to feel that inferiority, that lost-in-the-crowd-ness…

nowadventuring: You bring up a good point. If Curt went for a more traditional Bad Boy, I could totally see that fracturing the dynamic entirely. I think without Kendall or some Kendall-like entity, James would go solo, Logan would lack the drive, and Carlos would lack the focus. Kendall's the glue, and by definition I can't see the glue also being the bad boy.

folkloric_feel: It's not so much that I think Curt necessarily plays not!Kendall as the Bad Boy - I don't think I would've ever thought of that if he hadn't offered that line - it's more the eagerness with which he jumps to offer himself up as the potential bad boy that's just so polar opposite from Kendall's entire plot in Big Time Bad Boy that's so indicative of the character change. Kendall spends an entire episode refusing to be the Bad Boy; Curt's character immediately offers up that it's "no problem!" if they want to make him that position. Right there is a huge character change. And I think it's also that I'm just not sure what slot Curt's character is supposed to fill - he's this sort of mix between the Bad Boy (who can't really be a bad boy if he's immediately volunteering to curtail to the label's wishes), the Leader (by default but without really being a leader at all), and the Everyman, and without that razor-sharp definition of Kendall's character at the top of the food chain, so to speak, the other boys' characters come across as not nearly as defined at all. And without that definition, there isn't the definition of the individual relationships within the group - which, I think, is one of those things that makes BTR what it is. Because no matter what you ship or no matter what friendships you prefer - every relationship among the BTR boys is different in a million ways you could list off the top of your head, and is so well-defined that you know exactly what it is about that relationship that works for you. And if that definition is gone, then a lot of what makes BTR the show we know is gone, honestly.

stttmsbwa: Because what is Kendall? He's the stubborn, do-gooder leader who wants to make sure his team is not changed or forced to be anything but what/who they are. And even though this is an archetype, Kendall's flaws humanize it and make up for its obviousness. Curt's immediate willingness to do whatever the higher ups want them to do is just – what is Big Time Rush if not the going-against-the-grain-to-become-something-new-and-different?

I'm just gonna say this: thank God for Kendall Schmidt.

There isn't one right word, because this set up is so terrible I don't even know what to do. Like, these characters have no real personality. Carlos has no helmet or extreme quirkyness. Logan's all chill and just. Normalish. James isn't over-the-top James and his hair would never in a million years look frizzy like that. And I just utterly dislike this version of "Kendall." He seems like a huge douche.

Also. Hockey teammates vs skateboarding friends? Having a friendship developed from interaction on a team is much more complex and deep than a bunch of kids who spend their free time boarding and doing tricks (and probably smoking a shitton of weed -- which Logan looks like he does in this verse). It also allows for a more set dynamic of characteristics. How they all work together and depend on each other.

Also also. This kid, whatever his name is (too much not-caring to look up and see what it is), is terrible. Just. Ack. And I can't decide if it's because I know KSchmidt does it right, or if he's just truly and utterly that terrible. But I'm thinking it's the latter. He seems so like, "Yeah, aren't I super cool! I've got friends! And look at me! Lalalala."


Being from Minnesota totally gives them a better vibe. And I'm totally saying that because I was born and raised in Minnesota and loathe Wisconsin with every fiber of my being because it's Minnesotan law.

folkloric_feel: You bring up some really, really brilliant points here. I feel like – it's not that I don't like Curt, because I really do love him as Dak Zevon. But like I was saying above, I feel like Curt's character here is a sort of more grounded and less defined version of Dak, which is so polar opposite from the very foundation of everything Kendall Knight as we know him today that it just changes everything. Because Kendall as a character in showverse is The Leader, and he's a little over-the-top in an incredibly genuine and slightly cartoonish way, and he's all endearing earnesty and charisma and Stands Up For His Roots And What He Believes In, and Curt's character here undermines so much of that. Because a Kendall character can't be the same character if he willingly volunteers to play the bad boy, right? That's the whole point of Big Time Bad Boy - Kendall spends an entire half-hour episode refusing to be the bad boy, whereas Curt offers up in three seconds that it's "no problem!" if the label wants to make him that role.

And I think there's something that's just so noticeable about how seemingly low-key Curt plays this character, too. He just feels more "real" in the sense that he comes across as just a normal guy, just a sort of Everyman character who's somewhat douchey and somewhat more matter-of-fact and somewhat everything – where Kendall Knight is nothing "somewhat" at all. Really, none of the BTR boys are "somewhat" anything - even where they're ridiculously complex and have character traits that are contradictory or unexpected, they're all so clearly defined that it almost comes across as cartoonish if you look at it too closely, you know? James isn't just the ego-centric pretty boy, he honest to god talks to himself in the mirror, complete with mirror!James sex voice, and buys into every moment of it. Carlos isn't just the funny one or the one who wears his heart on his sleeve, he legitimately feels everything so deeply that he's got a childlike quality about him, and when he's excited, he's so overenthusiastic that he's wreckless and clumsy and hilarious, and when he's sad, he's so sad that he hides in his helmet and his sad protective body language. Logan isn't just the smart one, he's so smart that Gustavo and Kelly turn to him to complete weeks worth of science projects in hours or to rewire complete ventilation systems, and he's so much of a genius that he's looking at pre-prepatory high school med programs, and he's so responsible that he has complete stressed-out freakouts about it. No one on BTR is just a halfway character - they're all so well-defined in their archetypes and their character traits and things that they're almost over-the-top, except that definition makes them extremely real as characters, too, because of how specific they are.

And Curt's character just... I can't really pinpoint how I feel about him. I can't really tell you what archetypes he fits. I can't really describe his defining character traits. Because he's just sort of middle-of-the-road everything, and because of that, everything else around him just gets sort of muddled along the way too.

And can we talk about how Logan is just not at all Logan Mitchell without Kendall Knight to play off of and define himself against? Because it's not that James and Carlos aren't very different here too, but - I feel like this really shows how central the Kendall/Logan dynamic is, in ways we don't even think about at all.

stttmsbwa: I think what you've said about the boys is absolutely correct. The fact that Kendall, Logan, Carlos and James are archetype frames filled with other oddities, quirks and qualities makes them more than these ghosts of characters we see with the Carl version. They are rounded out and given more than one side, which revolves a lot around how they interact and relate to each other. The fact that Carlos turns to James who turns to Kendall who turns to Logan who also turns to Kendall who ends up leading them all – this is such an important quality to the show, and what makes it so endearing and lovable.

And what's real about a "normal" person? Nobody is normal. Nobody is so carefree and determined and nonplussed by things like Carl seems to be. What? Offered a chance to go to LA to cut a record deal? Nah, not for me, bro! What? My friends would go with me? Hey, bro, let's all go together! Hey, you guys want a bad boy? Sure, I can do that! No. There's no true personality to that. Kendall brings the fire, the stubborn attitude, the rolling of the eyes and the raised eyebrows, the constant reminders that they're just some hockey players from Minnesota who're taking a big time chance. This depth of character obviously inspires a depth from all the characters, and this brings us the boys we love. It's like a domino affect.

The worst kind of character is one that is a little bit of everything, because how can you relate to someone who is everyone? It's just not humanly possible.

metonymia: In addition to what everyone else is saying, I really hate the lack of Kogan. Jarlos will be my baby for ever and ever, but without Kogan it just looks like the Jarlos show with Curt-dall being dazzling and Logan hanging on and not fitting with any of the other boys. It makes me realize how important Jarlos and Kogan are as foils to each other.

folkloric_feel: I think that's one of the things that stands out to me the most about these videos, actually. Whether you ship it romantically or favor the friendship or just appreciate the dynamic of the boys as it is, Kendall and Logan's relationship is surprisingly central in ways you don't even realize, and I feel like this highlights that so, so much. It's not that James and Carlos don't feel different here too, but Logan - Logan here is just not Logan Mitchell. Logan here just doesn't even feel like a defined character without having Kendall to play off of. It's something that's been standing out to me even more lately, I think, with all of the James/Logan in canon and the sort of slight distancing of Kendall from the group's plots with all of the Jo and Jett plotline in canon as of late - even with that, the dynamic between Kendall and Logan is still this hugely central and important element of the show. I was watching Crib the other night and it just struck me how important that episode is, even if you don't ship Kendall/Logan, even if they aren't your favorite friendship on the show. Because that's not just a wacky hijinks plot, and it's not even just a ridiculously homoerotic and perfect-for-fandom plot, either. James and Logan's plot in Sneakers is a ridiculously homoerotic and perfect-for-fandom plot that, essentially, boils down to "James and Logan keep having people walk in on them in supposedly compromising positions and bicker a lot over what to do with a pair of sneakers and make possibly questionable life decisions along the way." Whereas in Crib, there's all of this hugely significant character development stuff with Logan's character in particular and the not being afraid to take a risk stuff and how that relates to things that are going on currently in canon like his whole dilemma between staying in the band and becoming a doctor that was set up in Pranks. Whether or not you look at Crib in a Kogan sort of way, it's undeniable that it's hugely important for developing Logan's character - and it's his relationship with Kendall that is the vehicle for that.

I think that's what you've hit the nail on the head with here, and that's what makes Jarlos and Kogan appeal so much to me - it's not just chemistry, it's not just shippy plots, it's how the characters lend themselves to each other as foils on one level and compatible on another level that just makes so much of the show work, really. Kendall's reckless scheming and charismatic leadership is the foil to Logan's rational intelligence and endearingly awkward brains-of-the-operation check, but Kendall and Logan use that to play off each other and complement each other, and they're alike in the right ways that keep them from being an opposites-attract scenario and keep them on the same wavelength. Same with Carlos' innocence and heart and lack of leadership direction and James' egotism and drive and how they're both compatible when it comes to being ridiculous little boys or surprisingly sensitive and loyal and compassionate. It's not that the other dynamics don't add so much to the show too, because BTR wouldn't be BTR without the Kendall/James or Logan/Carlos or James/Logan or even Kendall/Carlos dynamics, either, but - it's how Kogan and Jarlos are foils to the other pair, too, in a way that doesn't happen as much with the other pairing divisions, that just makes the whole group gel together the way it does.

And without all of that, it just - doesn't work right. Logan isn't Logan, and without the Kendall/Logan dynamic, Jarlos don't have a foil to play off of as a pair, either, and everything just feels so different.

serious_chizz: Just wanted to point out that I get a totally different vibe from the whole thing - not just specific characters, but the show in general. Like – it wasn't zany. The whole "he got hit by a car for you" exchange was gone, and here, let me go on about that for a bit.

The reason they were messing with the carts in the first place is because Kendall works at that grocery store. The fact that he's the only four to have an on-screen job shows he feels great responsibility, and wants to help his family by bringing some extra money in.

The exchange can't happen in Dakdall's world, since he doesn't work there. He doesn't feel that pressure to help out, and that leads my thinking in two ways:

1.) his family is more than just his mom and sister and he doesn't need to help provide.

2.) His family IS just Mama Knight and Katie, but he's drastically changed on a deep level. I'll elaborate in a sec.

The entire group seems less like a band of brothers and friends, and more like four guys who happen to hang out because they have similar situations. Less "we'll all do choir because James really wants to" and more "oh, that kid's skating. I'm also on a skateboard."

Sorry, that sounds really convoluted... They're like kids you meet at camp. You have this one thing in common with them, and that's cool, but it's not much to build a lasting friendship on. It's not that they don't get along in any other aspects - there's no along to get.

Also - they feel...less upstanding? Which is weird to say, since the first time we see the real BTAudition they're spraying girls with sprinklers, but I mean - they seem harder. Tougher. Like they're the kind of boys your dad keeps his shotgun ready for. Bad people. In Kendallverse, they always mean well - Dakdall, I'm so not sure.

Which leads me to not-Kendall's family. It feels like he does bad things because of them, like a troubled teen. Okay, I'm stretching, but it makes sense in my brain, I swear.

In closing, the whole thing feels heavier and more serious.

folkloric_feel: The different vibe about the clips is something I was telling lyricsandhearts and jesterdala, sort of, at least – what bothers me/stands out to me the most about BTR as led by Curt's character is that Curt's character seems to be, or seems to be trying to be, at least, much more of a "real" character than the BTR boys are in their current incarnations. It's something that would come up a lot in my creative writing classes in college, actually - it's the problem of the Everyman character. Kendall Knight and the rest of the BTR boys the way they are today are slightly larger-than-life caricature-esque characters based on familiar archetypes. Kendall as a character is the picture perfect embodiment of The Leader, and he's a little over the top in a completely genuine and silly sort of way with all of his indignance about being true to the group's roots and not being corrupted by Hollywood, whereas Curt's character just feels like a little more of a normal guy. He's not necessarily The Leader or The Bad Boy or any distinguishing characteristic in particular - he's just the sort of guy you might meet and say hi to on the street, in any supermarket parking lot or any high school or college across America. He's somewhat cocky and somewhat eager to please and somewhat motivating to the group and somewhat everything – and BTR doesn't do "somewhat." James isn't just somewhat of a stereotypical silly egotistical pretty boy, he legitimately talks to himself in the mirror and makes ridiculous hand gestures and calls himself The Face. Logan isn't just somewhat the responsible and intelligent one, he's so much of a genius that he's considered high school pre-med programs. Carlos isn't just somewhat overemotional, he's so overenthusiastic that he's a complete ball of reckless energy when he's excited and he utterly hides within his helmet when he's sad or insecure. And that's the thing - on one level, BTR is a live-action cartoon for a slightly older audience, with the wacky sound effects and over-the-top hijinks, but BTR's characters are so strong and relatable and real because they're so razor-sharp specific. And Curt isn't any of that - Curt's just somewhat. And an Everyman character isn't relatable because he's "somewhat" a little bit of everything, he's relatable because he's so specific and his author's been so committed to developing him all the way that he becomes real - which is what the BTR boys in their current versions do.

I also wondered so much about the Knight family in this version of the pilot, actually. Were Mama Knight and Katie still there? Were they the only ones in not!Kendall's family, or was there a father figure around? Because so much of Kendall's character stems back to where his dad is and isn't in relation to Kendall's life, and without that, not just the character but why/how he rose to leadership within the group and what sort of "leader" role he takes on within the group is so drastically altered that it affects everything.

Also, stttmsbwa made some really, really great comments about that up earlier in the comments too, actually. The boys being hockey players is one of those things you don't really think about as much in terms of how it affects the show, but these are boys who are on a team and whose life has centered on working together and having a place within a group and about striving toward a common unshakeable goal - something that's not only going to bond them together stronger than the average group of high school friends, but that's going to give them a sort of focus and drive and commitment and depth of character that a group of guys hanging out skateboarding in a parking lot just isn't going to have.

Overall, the tone feels more serious, more low-key and "realistic," and more just - flat, really.

serious_chizz: I was thinking about what was said earlier, about how the boys are more archetypes than stereotypes. And I think that's one of the reasons I love BTR so much - because the way the characters are structured, it's very literary. Sure, they're way over the top, but it all ties in with their core personality. Everything they do makes sense if you dig deep enough.

folkloric_feel: That's an excellent way of putting it, really, and I think that sums up so much of what I love about BTR. It is extremely literary - I honestly feel like there's more to be learned from the craft and character development in BTR than in the greater majority of things I studied while I was getting my English degree. And everything about BTR is based on archetypes as the starting point - what happens with the show, really, then, is how it takes those archetypes and twists them around and makes them into a hundred new & interesting things & makes them real by how consistently & uniquely they're developed. I mean, I'm not just saying it as a fan or a shipper or whatnot - looking at it completely objectively, I'm just blown away by what BTR does. I feel like Scott Fellows could teach master classes in character development or something. Because each of the boys, and every element of the show, seems so stereotypical on first glance - but there's so much more going on when you look under the surface in the least. It's kind of astounding.

serious_chizz: Yeah, putting all fannish thoughts away. There's so much more to it than the topmost level. And paying attention to the first appearences of each character - they're established in that first second. Like Camille's entrance. She's a crazy actress. But as the show goes - she's so much more than that. Hell, some of the things she does are directly contradictory to how she's been propped up. And yet it all still fits in with how she actually is. Same for pretty much every character.

folkloric_feel: That's the thing that really jumped out at me with the not!Kendall pilot clips with Curt - I couldn't establish a character for him clearly at all from what we were shown. And with all of the other characters - I think I've seen this mentioned at TVTropes, actually, that the show is just a master at the establishing character moment. Because if you look back to the pilot, there's so much there within the first minute, even. Kendall is all inspirational-speech-ish about seizing opportunities. Logan is calculating risks and deciding that he needs new friends (and yet he follows them with their plan after all). Carlos is all kinetic energy, and the first thing he does is throw his helmet on. And James' first line about his pop star dreams. Within 45 seconds you've established what this group is and who everyone is within that group. I mean, what show does that? Ever? It's crazy.

(And I guess my point is made for me in the sense that - I went back and referenced that opening scene as I was writing my comment. And I knew exactly what I'd find, even if I didn't remember the dialogue. And it proved the point perfectly. Because BTR is just that consistently written that every single thing relates back to every single other thing ever.)

And here's where you jump in, metamusketeers. Jump into the discussion as you so choose.

Merry Christmas, fellow metamusketeers. Here's to an awesome 2011 full of thought-provoking tweendom and non-tweendom goodness.
nowadventuring: Big Time Rush | Kendall [smirk]nowadventuring on December 23rd, 2010 12:32 am (UTC)
Whoa, hi, me. I think serious_chizz brought up some really good points, though. The show wasn't zany, and I think it was more than just that they hadn't had the chance to put in the cartoonesque sound effects yet. There was nothing particularly stylistic or purposefully OTT about the acting like I'd expect from BTR. It was a lot more straight-forward, and I think as a result, it lost a sense of innocence and fun that's really important to the show and, like serious_chizz said, made them all seem harder. I didn't like them as much, not one of them, and that was a startingly, striking change from such a short clip.
Kait: my boysmadwomanpoems on December 23rd, 2010 01:54 am (UTC)
Oh my goodness. I haven't even read it yet, but the beginning made me all teary
Why do you always do this to me, Katybeth?
But really. ♥
I promise to read it after I get done cleaning.
Austinfiyero3305 on December 23rd, 2010 03:21 am (UTC)
Even and lacking in dynamic is the perfect way to describe it. It's like hearing a chorus sing in unison rather than in harmony; it's fine, but it's not going to be satisfying or memorable over any extended period of time.

I don't mind Curt. Partly I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt because he's a musical theatre actor and that always bumps someone up in my heart, but also I don't think I can blame him for not bringing to the part what only Kendall Schmidt could have. The same could be said for any of the four. The other actors who were considered for the roles weren't bad, but they weren't right. Curt may have done well had the show gone on and his character been more fleshed out with what he brought to the role and I would be interested to see how that could have panned out.
Austinfiyero3305 on December 23rd, 2010 04:02 am (UTC)
Oh yeah, I'd also like to say that I like Mr. X MUCH more in this version. While I'm not a fan of EVERYTHING being toned down, I love that he seems much more real. His character has always annoyed me with his over-the-top stereotype role and he looks to be much more human here, and I love his interactions with Kelly. It seems to make him an actual character, not just a caricature.
eviljellybean88eviljellybean88 on December 23rd, 2010 12:34 pm (UTC)
now that i think of it, logan reminds me of zombie logan lol his clothes are already in disaray, he just needs the makeup ;P
"Am-Bastard" of Brooklyn: BTR - Logan - Girl!Loganxiexiegirl on December 23rd, 2010 04:17 pm (UTC)
I don't actually have a Kendall icon yet, which is such a shame. Have crossdressing Logan instead.

I'm also warning that I'm going to be abusing the strike feature a lot. Like, there may be more inside the strike tags than outside of them. (Also, long comment is long.)

Setting aside my shipper thoughts for the moment, I have to say that I definitely wouldn't have watched the show if it had been like that. I like BTR because it's a usually ridiculous and over-the-top crazy show, but it's still about the four of them at the end of the day and the fact that these boys have even less of an idea of what personal space means than the kids in Newsies their relationship. Which, okay, is less of a relationship and more of an extremely tight-knit family. And if we're continuing with the family metaphor, an extremely incestuous one, but again, setting aside my shipper tendencies.

With Curt there instead of Kendall, it's not the same show. Even if they were hockey players instead of skateboarders, I can say I probably wouldn't have watched it. Curt isn't the same as Kendall, and his character isn't nearly as fascinating as Kendall's, who screams "child of nasty divorce", whereas Curt's seems more "whatever, long as I get to what I want". He seems like a dick, really, and part of what made me like this show in the first place is that the boys do have the tendency to be dicks, but they do it for the right reasons.

And I completely and totally agree that the relationships and characters are vastly different in the show than they are here. James doesn't come off as the ego-centric but surprisingly loyal pretty boy that we all know and love, he comes off as just... Not James. At all. Same for Logan. A lot of his character development is based around his relationship with Kendall and learning to take risks and stop calculating every possible outcome and preparing for it before it happens.

(Also, is it just me, or does Carlos in the Curt!BTR seem more like he's stuck in permanent BTFever mode? Because A: there's a distinct lack of a helmet, B: his scarf matches his jacket, and C: I haven't seen Carlos look that put together anywhere BUT Big Time Fever.)

And last, coming from the shipper inside me, it's just not as epically slashy, sparkly, gay, what-have-you, as it is with Kendall and his truly fabulous eyebrows. Kendall and James (and their tension) are partially what got me into the show, and then Logan and his inability to take a risk and how much he depends on Kendall under pressure. And the fact that, in some way or another, they all depend on Kendall on some level.

Kait: kendall will kill youmadwomanpoems on December 23rd, 2010 11:59 pm (UTC)
You know what is incredibly interesting about those videos? The difference in the Logan/Kendall dynamic. It's the difference between Logan being the strength and Carlos being the heart. Logan doesn't have to be the strength here. Kendall clearly is over bearing. Logan also lacks a lot of his Kendall dependency, which is where his strength to keep them together comes from.
It would throw off the entire dynamic.
Also, there is something about their look that is bothersome. Other than Logan's remarkable similarity to Milo Ventimiglia They are all the same. It's not the hair cut and color and wardrobe. It's Kendall's actual appearance. He is not what anyone would possibly call "classically handsome" and that definitely changes up a lot of things in the group in a weird way. They don't all look the same. There is something that keeps Kendall apart because he is so different looking which is important to the actual aesthetic of the group.
Also, the dynamic between The Dakall and Gustavo is completely and totally different. The Dakall is a little more mocking and a lot less openly rebellious. It turns the Kendall character in a lot of ways. Like, what we've discussed of Kendall and Gustavo as a father figure and Kendall's issues with men in general. It changes Kendall's family and his relationship with Gustavo. I can't really believe that The Dakal was left by his father and Kendall was forever angry and untrusting. I can totally believe that with Kendall. It also gives the Kendall character a lot less of a reason to be the intensely possessive guy that he is. He isn't petrified of being left and desperate to keep his boys there.
It changes everything.