Writer: Polly Draper, Molly Liolis, Will McRobb, Chris Viscardi
Director: Polly Draper, Melanie Mayron
Cast: Nat Wolff, Alex Wolff, Thomas Batuello, Allie DiMeco, David Levi, Qaasim Middleton, Michael Wolff, Jesse Draper
Rating: Not Rated
Studio: Paramount Home Video/Nickelodeon
Release Date: January 8, 2008
If I had to choose between the Naked Brothers Band and the Jonas Brothers, the Naked Brothers Band would win hands down. I have a 13 year old son, and I’m sure he’d agree that the Naked Brothers Band is not only more talented than the Jonas Brothers, they’re also more entertaining. Upon listening to numerous songs to compare the two bands, I’ve realized that the Jonas Brothers whine during every song they sing. Yeah Joe, that nasal sound you make when you sing means you’re doing it wrong man. Needless to say, the Naked Brothers Band, while not mind blowing when it comes to talent, obviously has major potential. As Nat Wolff has matured, his voice has developed and he is beginning to sound like someone who has the ability for a long and prosperous music career.
All comparisons to the Jonas’ aside, the members of the Naked Brothers Band have their own television show on Nickelodeon. I know that it seems like everything is Nick versus Disney, but my intention is not to compare the two networks. Needless to say, when comparing the two boy bands, Nick just happens to win. The Naked Brothers Band – Season One is juvenile. It’s also funny and inspiring. To kids who want to be musicians, Nat, Alex and their friends can be a true inspiration, as their semi-autobiographical story is told on screen through this documentary oriented show.
The Naked Brothers Band airs on Nickelodeon where it is currently in its second season. The show was originally developed, produced, written, and directed by Polly Draper. The entire show is a family collaborative effort with Draper’s husband playing the role of Dad and her two, young sons, Nat & Alex playing the roles of themselves on the series. Other family members that make an appearance on The Naked Brothers Band are Draper’s niece, Jesse, and another relative, Tim, who plays Principal Schmoke. The show started airing on Nick February 3, 2007. The first season ran for 14 episodes, which ended late last year.
The Naked Brothers Band – Season One is set to be released in a two disc box set on January 8, 2008. The set features all of the episodes of the first season. It will soon be available through all major retailers, including Amazon, where it is on sale for $23.99 and is available for Free Super Saver Shipping.
The Naked Brothers Band – Season One Plot
The Naked Brothers Band – Season One follows the lives of real life brothers Nat and Alex Wolff. The success of the boys and their band, the Naked Brothers Band, is highly exaggerated for the show. Other embellishments involve Nat and Alex’s mother, who is deceased on the show. In real life, their mother is the show’s creator, Polly Draper, who is probably best known for her starring role on the hit television series, thirysomething. This, however, allows their real life father, Michael, to star on the show as their single dad who dates this really crazy woman, Betty (Catherine Curtin). While Michael is a somewhat unsuccessful musician who plays the accordion (in real life, he’s a successful jazz musician), Betty couldn’t sing a note if her life depended on it.
Betty reminds me of an un-cool, older version of Miss Yvonne from Pee-wee’s Playhouse. In fact, most of the episodes, which run like a documentary, in what is actually known as mockumentary style filmmaking, remind me of Pee-wee’s Playhouse. The humor can get juvenile and adults will groan when they hear some of it. Of course, kids will love the talk of everything from dog poop to arguments over whether girls like boys with curly or straight hair best. However, the part I was most interested in watching involved the singing.
Nat and Alex have a successful band both on the show and in real life. The boys apparently started their band in preschool (this is true to real life). The band on the show is called, the Naked Brothers Band. It features their real life friend and band mate, Thomas (Thomas Batuello), and two of their friends, Qaasim (Qaasim Middleton) and David (David Levi). To add a little romance into the mix, the girl Nat has a crush on, Rosalina (Allie DiMeco), is the only girl in the band. The impressive part is that all of them sing their own songs and play their own instruments. Alex, who seems to be the youngest member of the group, is an accomplished drummer. Nat is the lead singer and he also plays the piano and keyboards. Nat is also an accomplished songwriter.
Nat is, by far, the best actor on the show. Throughout the episodes and while he’s singing, for someone so young, he is able to display sensitivity and vulnerability that is most often seen in older musicians. You can see he really puts his heart and soul into the music. While his voice may not be the best I’ve ever heard, he obviously has improved just in the span of one season of this show. Since his voice is starting to deepen, recent performances have shown that Nat’s voice is maturing with him and the music is even more pleasing.
The Naked Brothers Band is a fun show to watch. Kids, primarily those who go to school (6+) will really enjoy watching Nat, Alex, and the rest of their friends have fun as they make music videos, battle other bands, and squabble with one another over who wrote a specific song. The two disc set for The Naked Brothers Band – Season One offers plenty of episodes with a new song (or two) for every show, written by Nat and performed by the group.
The following episodes are included in this set:
“Wolff Brothers Cry Wolf”
“Nat is a Stand Up Guy”
“Fishin’ for Love”
“Alex’s Clothing Line”
“A Rebel and a Skateboarder”
“A Man Needs a Maid”
“Battle of the Bands, Part 1”
“Battle of the Bands, Part 2”
There were some really fun episodes included in The Naked Brothers Band – Season One. One of my favorites is “Puberty”. In it, Nat thinks he’s going through puberty because his voice is all scratchy and sounds different when he sings. While Nat worries about how puberty will affect his singing and career, Alex can’t wait for puberty to happen to him. “Alien Clones” is also pretty funny in a stupid sort of way. The premise is so dumb it’s hilarious. I just had to like this episode because, after the director of their music video the band is making convinces Alex alien clones exist, he starts to believe Jesse (the babysitter/his crush) is an alien clone. Jesse is by far, the dumbest person on the show (though their dad really does give her a run for her money sometimes), so for Alex to think she is an alien clone is pure entertainment.
For sentimental reasons, I liked “The Song”. In it, Alex and Nat write the same song for a benefit concert they’re performing in. Cameras show they wrote it at the exact same time. When they find out neither of them wrote it originally, the author gives new meaning to why they’re having the concert in the first place. Finally, I really enjoyed, “A Man Needs a Maid”. The boys make a mess of their apartment while their dad is out of town, so they hire Betty, from a maid’s service, to help them clean up the place. However, Betty doesn’t clean, she teaches people to clean and once Dad gets home he befriends Betty, who believes he’s a rock star.
The standard full frames are similar to what you will see for visual quality on a Nickelodeon television show. You won’t be surprised to know that the transfer was done at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1. Nevertheless, the picture is clear. There is little to no grain, no compression errors and the colors are brilliantly displayed without any bleeding. Overall, it’s decent quality for a television show.
The audio is equally as good as the video quality. Presented in Dolby Digital English Stereo sound, all of the performances sounded stellar. The mixes kept the sound balanced relatively evenly with deeper sounds swelling during the performance scenes and the back complementing the front.
There are a few bonus features included on The Naked Brothers Band – Season One DVD. Obviously, there are music videos for some of the songs that are performed on the show. There is also a featurette “Alex’s Skate Tips” where Alex offers tips on skateboarding. Other featurettes in this set include “Nat and Alex Rock out and Speak Out”, “Book of Love”, “How to Rock” and “Curly vs. Straight”. Kids who love the show will love all the extra goodies Nickelodeon has included.
The Naked Brothers Band – Season One is ideal for kids between 6-12 though parents and older teens might also enjoy the show if they can get past the sometimes juvenile humor. As I said, I have a son who is 13. I’m used to poop jokes and kid humor, so I had no problem watching this. The real reason to watch the show though is to keep an eye on Nat and Alex Wolff. Both are talented musicians and The Naked Brothers Band is the perfect outlet for them to show off what they have to offer. Besides, this show definitely is better than other Nick shows, like Zoey 101.
Overall Rating: [rating:]
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