Last year he was cast in the Nick 'tweener show Big Time Rush. It's a comedy about foru hockey players from Minnesota who try out as singers in an American Idol-type competition. Only Maslow can sing, and when he wins the contest he insists that his buddies come along with him to Hollywood where they can all earn fame, fortune, and get some pussy. Maslow is cute-handsome, has nice biceps and pecs, a winning smile, and is (frankly) the only one on this show who can act or sing.
Each episode of this idiotic show is the same: The boys have run-ins with their fat, dictatorial Caucasian manager; they are adored by their African American assistant manager (who smiles sweetly at how ineffective she is); and they relentlessly seek to sleep with the ultra-buxom, mini-skirt wearing, fashion model girls in their "high school for the performing arts." Every show has a sub-plot in which Maslow's mother (the ultimate stage mom, who traveled with them to Hollywood) pushes her other child, a 10-year-old girl with brains and practical temperament, into one wacky acting job after another.
Just watching a few moments of the show makes your I.Q. permanently drop 15 points.
Nickelodeon has signed a deal with Sony Records to have these four teen males actually cut an album and go on the road a là Miley Cyrus aka Hannah Montana.
The show has not done terribly well. Its debut two-hour movie in November 2009 barely registered. After endless advertising by Nickelodeon over the next two months (desperate to save its investment in a 20-episode show), the series premiere debuted to record numbers in January. It didn't hurt that a "special" hour-long episode of iCarly (Nick's #1 show, which regularly draws 12 million viewers a day) in which the two leads kiss was the premiere's lead-in. Since then, however, Big Time Rush has fallen on hard times. Two weeks after the show's debut, it was shedding half of iCarly's lead. The badly aging, five-year-old Disney Channel show, The Suite Life on Deck (featuring those closet homosexuals, Cole and Dylan Sprouse), is regularly beating the show 13 percent (a quarter-million viewers!) among children aged 6-to-11 and by 17 percent (a quarter-million viewers!) among 'tweens aged 9-to-14 -- Big Time Rush's super-duper-ultra-key demographic. Not good.
The show airs each Friday, and Nickelodeon is relentlessly pushing it in ads.
Each morning, I turn on the television and watch the weather while brushing my teeth. As I get dressed I flip channels or watch something I've recorded (like shows that air at wee hours of the morning on Adult Swim).
This morning, while pulling on my socks, I let the channel stop on Nickelodeon (which was airing SpongeBob Squarepants). I looked up to see James Maslow have this exchange in a high school hallway filled with young kids. He's speaking with the 10-year-old girl playing his little sister on Big Time Rush:
- Girl: James, acting isn't just about being beautiful.
- James Maslow: I know that! It's also about having washboard abs!
What high school boy would expose his body to his little sister like that? Even as a joke?
What parent thinks it is appropriate for a 19-year-old actor to be exposing his body to their 9-to-14-year-old daughter?
Mass media has a habit of sexualizing children to a degree that is very troubling. It's not just the four-year-old girls appearing in "beauty contests" wearing make-up like a whore and posing like a pole-dancer. It's 14-year-old Alexa Vega being French-kissed by 20-year-old Sean Faris (playing a 15-year-old; his muscular, hairy, adult body always a standard teenage boys should judge their self-esteem by), who happens to be slipping his hand up her skirt as he does so. It's 20-year-old muscle-bots and fashion models like Kendall Schmidt pretending he's an "average teenager" who is just 16. How is this good for anybody???
Ratings for this show will skyrocket on Friday, I'm sure. But not for the reasons Nickelodeon prefers, I think.