Saturday, March 12, 2016

Kids Choice Awards/School of Rock Almost Live 100% Real Music Festival Blog

What is it? Only the premiere kids'-oriented awards recognition show. Almost by default, but not quite, though it still does a lot to distinguish itself from the little competition it has. Also it's a live event, whee!
Where does it air? Well it's called the Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards so....
Who stars in it? Well, it's a live event with tons of people getting awards, but it's presented by Blake Shelton who as part of his hosting duties kills a guy or possibly a girl but most likely a guy (yeah I'm going to make a point of never letting that be lived down)
Why did we review it? Again, because it's the premiere kids' oriented entertainment awards show, airing on Nickelodeon. Also, again, it's the only place you're ever going to see Blake Shelton kill a guy.

I'm not saying this will happen for sure, but it's an idea. I have watched the Kids Choice Awards every year since.......well, since I was in elementary school. At least since 2006. But this is the first time I have absolutely no interest in watching it. I think the fact that kids television has just gotten so much more stale and repetitive in the past year and a half has done a number on my excitement. Especially since the expectations just seem to be lower with each passing year. The past two award shows have been especially dire, to the point where I honestly don't even care who wins the awards tonight or who gets slimed. It's going to be the same thing. We all know the host has to show false excitement at entertaining kids, SpongeBob will "win" Favorite Cartoon again, there will be an outrageous slime stunt involving one of this year's Olympians or something, I don't know. I would much rather review WWE Roadblock tonight as a substitute, but the name of this blog isn't Nick, Disney Channel, and WWE Reviewed.

Also, I have no idea why this School of Rock thing is happening, but all I know is it's going to be as unremarkable and incapable of becoming popular as pretty much everything Nickelodeon puts out now. Can't wait to share all of my thoughts with you people. 

D'oh! Yeah let's totally make this a thing. Uhh...I guess. Sorry? Live blog for the West Coast?

School of Rock is happening because Jack Black has a producer's itch (I heard he's attached to it in such capacity) and Nick likely owes Breanna Yde a job after screwing her over on Haunted Hathaways and I can't say I'd blame them. The pilot's already happened for those of us with the East Coast feed and I can They've got ideas they can work with. If they can play this right it could be their Girl Meets World, but the chances of that happening are about equal to referring to the Commander in Chief as Jeb!, exclamation point included. And on the note of producers, I noticed it's executive produced by the same of How to Rock. Perhaps some latent regrets, Nickelodeon?

Whether or not the KCAs can be called "big wins" is really debatable. The KCAs exist first and foremost to promote Nickelodeon. That said it's awful strange how much Nick loves Disney - Star Wars, Civil War, Debby and Dove presenting, and what have you. Yeah, they're pretty much obligated to nominate Disney Channel shows but I have to wonder if Debby has a second home at Nickelodeon as much as Ariana apparently at Disney Channel. Maybe Debby's bunking with Daniella Monet in the studio rafters, I don't know. 

...being the world's only Jessie super-fan I would have liked to see it win on its very last year of eligibility but we all know that ain't going to happen. That said, The Thundermans' win was extremely well-deserved as Nickelodeon's first four-series show since iCarly (not counting animation or the Cinemat "throwaways"). Other than that, well...I have it on my DVR and Nickelodeon will eventually put it the entire enchilada up on, so we can go over it frame-by-frame if we really want to (spoiler: no, no you don't).

I just find it odd that the Cake Boss award would be in a cake, almost as if they already knew ahead of time. And that Debby would be digging it out of said cake.

I don't get the Watch Me Ne-Ne song.

I'm lacking in enough self-respect to admit that I've liked DNCE before it was cool (which apparently according to Nick was five seconds after Joe formed the band).

I'm not going to lie, TMNT 2 actually looks...awesome.

Blake Shelton is the first KCA host in history to kill a person as part of his hosting duties.

I'm also not going to lie, I've got the cold and I haven't been sleeping well, and it took a lot of strength just to watch it and School of Rock. Mike, you're going to have to fill in details and my feeble brain might start to spark and join along.

(psst: also get a Twitter so you can actually alert me to stuff like this)

(psst: I have a personal one, but because I barely use it and I'm uninterested in giving that out, I'll just start a business one for the sake of this blog. This is a two-man job so I'm gonna need yours.)

The Thundermans won Best Kids TV Show? Well, I can't think of a Nick show more deserving so congratulations. This is actually a pleasant surprise. I just thought they were going to give it to Austin & Ally as a lifetime achievement award or something. How big is the Thundermans fanbase anyway? I really have no idea. The sad thing about Nickelodeon shows is that I have no idea who watches them. At least with Disney Channel, the shows tend to be under the microscope all the time and watched ironically. With Nickelodeon, no one ever goes to school anymore and says, "Yo, my man, did you see that Thundermans episode last night?" "Word, money, that shit was lit!" "Don't lie, I know you checked out 100 Things." "I know I be checking out CJ!" "Dude, they gonna lock you up for that, fuck is wrong with you?" "I'm not even 16 yet, it's cool."

I'm glad they did that Cake Boss thing for their award. I miss the days where they would do outrageous bits just to get to the award. It's one of the things that made the KCAs unique.

You know what? I'm interested in actually watching this thing. A few hours from now, once I get some sleep, I'm going to check it out. I'm a strong believer in the three-year rule. Whatever happened in the first two years will be flipped completely during the third year, and it will resemble everything that happened three years prior. It happened this winter (miraculously), and it could happen with this awards show, because the 2013 one was the last one I really enjoyed. 

The updated blog title is an Arthur reference. Yeah, Arthur is one of my favorite all-time shows, I grew up watching it. Young Mike was looking forward to season premieres like fat guys look forward to all-you-can-eat buffets. If you got the reference, you're a real one. 

First of all, in regards to my Twitter account - since I use my personal twitter to promote this very blog anyway, it's Yes, "Bob McLotsONumbr." I think you can take a wild guess that my name really isn't Bob, but everybody (including this blog's Nick who seems to have disappeared) refers to me as that. Eh.

Oh yeah, and to all the five of you who read this blog and follow me on Twitter anyway, don't forget to follow me on Twitter!

There are tons of problems with kids' programming today (again, one of the reasons that inspired me to make this blog) and the KCAs have been slowly (well, as of the last half decade especially less-than-slowly) becoming a microcosm of those same problems. That said the KCAs are probably both the easiest and most worthwhile to fix. And it all comes down to the host.

At least Nick Jonas resonates with the core demo, at least theoretically, though he's been trying to move away from what the Jonas Brothers had been associated with and trying to go more "upscale" in the same direction as Justin Timberlake (who granted has evergreen appeal to this very same demo). But you know who probably has even more appeal in this demo? His brother Joe and DNCE. You know, those guys who performed at the end and won an award (or nominated at least, I honestly forgot). I don't know if it would've been a bit too much on the nose to have Joe follow up the year right after Nick, but Joe would be a miles-away better and more relevant host for the KCAs than...Blake Shelton? Really?

Obviously for a good long while now KCA hosting duties are primarily determined by a combination of who has the biggest star power and who's simply willing and available. Obviously again, this is in order to get the most "bang for the buck" and bring as much attention and promotion to the KCAs as possible, but I think Nick's kind of missed the target here. The KCAs are pretty saturated with promotion as it is, a "victim" of Nick's buildup of success over what now spans decades. The people who are going to be hyped for it will be hyped for it, and the people who won't...won't. And no amount of promotion will change that. Ever notice how Taylor Swift is never present to accept her awards when she wins? That's because she very simply and succinctly considers the KCAs to be beneath her. Most of the super-high profile stars who bother to show up, like Jaime Foxx, Adam Sandler, Kevin Hart and I believe even Robert Downey Jr., either show up with their kids (and let's face it, because of their kids) or otherwise just out of respect for their young fandoms, because they recognize it's important to them. They don't show up because they think the KCAs are actually a high-profile awards show with prestige and relevancy because they very, very much don't. Remember, the sole reason why it exists is to promote Nick itself and its own star talent, and given how much they cater to a relatively focused demo that's prone to both aging out of interest and increasingly restricted purchasing power from the fact that they're entirely dependent on parental units in a shrinking middle class, all of that carries very little relevancy into "real Hollywood" and "corporate Burbank." 

Along those lines...I absolutely firmly believe that the KCAs are not rigged as many people claim - but that doesn't mean Nickelodeon can't openly game the system while still claiming it's completely fair with a straight and honest face. After all, it's specifically designed to be that way, and it's so transparent it doesn't even qualify as an open "secret." In fact, Nickelodeon should be using the very fact that it's gaming the system to its advantage (besides in raw awards results, of course) to return the KCAs to its former glory and make them interesting to the core demo again. The first step is in bringing in hosts that not only people care about, but are tied directly into Nick itself. Remember when Dan Schneider hosted the KCAs? Me neither, since it was before even my time, but looking up Wikipedia it supposedly happened. Do more stuff like that. Have Sydney Park host. Yeah, that's right, an actual teen hosting the KCAs, howabout that. This was pretty much Debby Ryan's last year of eligibility and she's pretty much done with Disney, so, hey, since you guys like her so much why not have her be the host of the KCAs next year? She's also got her own band and Nick likes bands right? 

Or here's a crazy idea - it's given that Spongebob's going to win best cartoon (to the point where Kira rattled it off with a bunch of others during a commercial break) - so why not have Spongebob himself be host? Yeah, it's crazy, right? They've done crazier (remember when CatDog was a participant in Figure It Out? Me neither, but TVTropes says it happened) and this is exactly the type of thing that's both stunt-y to Nick's liking and yet crazy enough to bring some old school KCA feel back. 

I have to disagree with Mike's assessment of how more (or less) stunt-y the KCAs have been - to a point, and I think this is what he's getting at. The number of outrageous stunts have actually increased, but they all involve the same thing - people getting slimed. I know the green stuff is practically the network's mascot next to the Sponge, but it's getting tedious. Riding in a slim car wash is getting tedious. Slime rodeos are getting tedious. They may be great in person but they don't really make for great TV. And when we thought we were getting something good with Blake and, uhhh...Justin Sudekis? Adam Sandler? Yeah I really wasn't paying attention - about to be launched from a slingshot, they just got slimed instead. Last year the slime stunts were more impressive and even cheeky, but I think they need more non-slime-focused stunts. The Mario Bros. thing was extremely poorly executed, but it's a step in the right direction.

Having Debby dig the blimp out of the cake wasn't really all that "stunt-y" or outrageous. But here's an idea - why not have Sarah and Debby roll out a giant cake and have the Cake Boss guy (yeah I don't watch that show nor do I ever intend to) literally dive in and fish for it himself? They could practically make it into the awards show stage version of a mini-game. Chewie could've tried to rescue the award for best movie from Stormtroopers. You know, stuff that's actually thematic instead of just dumping slime on everyone and having people dressed as anonymous sci-fi characters walk across the stage. Or instead of having the Game Shakers cast do the Mario thing, you can hook up the...I don't even remember what the award was for, but those people - come get the award in the Mario setup. You know who's winning ahead of time, so you can do it. Of course this isn't accounting for the winners actually showing up (as proven this very year when they momentarily lost Debby when she was announced for favorite female TV star, probably because she was backstage doing, you know, stuff for the awards. Talk about poor planning and coordination - yeah that's another thing you need to fix, geniuses). 

I think a big part of it is that the KCAs are just resting on their laurels and betting on the fans generating their own excitement through the fandoms themselves and "stanning" (which in this day and age might as well mean "start bitch-fights with people on twitter who dare think Laura should win best actress and not Sabrina") instead of actually putting in any real effort (and therefore money) into generating the excitement themselves. People no longer tune in to be entertained by an awards show, they want to tune in so they can go in your face bitches! Your favorite actress/singer/waifu SUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCKS lel! to all the Laura Marano fans on social media. Seeing who wins is entertaining enough all on its own (or rather, provides all the drama fuel they're really looking for). 

I suppose in that way the KCAs has truly become the Super Bowl of kidcoms. No, that is not a compliment in this case.

I have to admit Thundermans was a surprise as I was with Mike fully expecting A&A to get it again, especially in their last year of eligibility and last year proving that their fanbase is practically unstoppable (in that they're really good at outright shaming fandoms of other shows - yeah this is what I'm getting at with the "this is not a compliment" remark above). The Thundermans fanbase is growing but there's no way it's as big as the A&A fandom - the show struggled in its first two seasons and basically edged out Haunted Hathaways in racing the cancellation bear when Nick decided it was time to make room to try something new. The fact that it's getting a fourth season is a minor miracle in light of it even getting a third season to begin with. I mean, yeah, Thundermans pulls in ratings now but I still can't explain how it edged out Austin & Freakin' Ally, one of only two shows left during this round of eligibility capable of pulling in anything remotely resembling the old 2012-2013 numbers for either network (the other being KC Undercover, so Zendaya's win wasn't exactly a surprise). 

As for who watches Nickelodoen....eeeehhhhh. It's got it's own share of "watching it ironically" fans (and even people who watch it un-ironically).And there's the core demo. But it's not much. Nicks' hurting real bad since the highs that ended in 2012. Disney Channel weathered 2013 virtually without notice, not getting hit by truly drastic and sudden ratings crashes until just after the middle of 2014, but Nick was hurting almost immediately after iCarly was done (which is what allowed Disney Channel to so utterly and thoroughly dominate 2013 and make it their year), so the fandoms have certainly been shrinking. Your question's actually a very good one, Mike.

Also, why do I have a very odd feeling that your theoretical early/mid high school dialogue is surprisingly accurate? 

I don't even remember the 2013 KCAs. I don't even remember if I watched it though I think I did. I've always wanted to watch the KCAs ever since they've become the big "it" kids' awards show, but it was only much, much more recently since I've been able to (and even then there was a period where I even forgot the KCAs existed - it was something I rediscovered during that "irony" watching mentioned earlier).

I'm old enough to remember The Magic School Bus. Now that's pre-tween entertainment for you! 

And hey if we can cover Minority Report and The Mysteries of Laura (though the former was just a one-time case and the latter because it does have a connection to Nick/Disney) I don't see why we can't cover WWE at least once, though it's been a very long time since I've last bothered to watch. Beyond that I think I touched up on all the both broad/general and more salient points of the KCAs this year, but I'd love to respond to more of your input.

I'm going to be the guy to say that Blake Shelton was a very random choice to host the KCAs. I mean, usually, they get people who have an upcoming project (sometimes related to kids entertainment) but other than Shelton being involved with Gwen Stefani, I can't think of anything else he's been doing over the past six months that warrants him getting the nod to host.

I believe you're spot on with high-profile celebrities not giving two shits about the KCAs because it has never been established as a high-quality presentation. Plus, it just represents everything that is wrong about Nickelodeon in the first place. If the network itself has been so unremarkable for this long, what does that make the awards show then, which has only recently gotten worse?

At least the Super Bowl is something that I will always be invested in seeing, because I didn't come there to watch people pitch a fit over the halftime show, I came for the football. Although, to be honest, this year's game was underwhelming. I'm glad Peyton Manning won in his last game, but the Panthers did not show up to play and that was really disappointing considering their performance last season. No matter what, when it comes to the Super Bowl, I will always be most interested in the game itself. I don't know what the KCAs have to offer at this point beyond just representing what Nick has turned into.

I wouldn't exactly say that Thundermans getting a fourth season is a minor miracle. In this current era of kids television and seeing how Nickelodeon pulls the trigger on a lot of shows when it comes to greenlighting them and cancelling them left and right, I'm happy that The Thundermans has been able to survive for this long. I'm not even a big fan of the series and I don't even know how much of it will age well, but it's one of the better kids sitcoms on right now. Plus, for me, it represents the beginning of a new era in Nickelodeon. 2013 was when Victorious abruptly ended, Big Time Rush closed its doors with season four, Sam & Cat hit the streets and Haunted Hathaways was getting started. The Thundermans was a part of that change for better or worse, and it at least has been on long enough for people to recognize it and give it some love. I mean, the win has to mean they have some kind of audience, right?

I do agree with a lot of your other points, though. If they can get Sydney Park to guest star on every single Nickelodeon show out there, then why can't they get her to host the KCAs? This thing is for kids by kids and the presentation should reflect that. I know that Candace Cameron hosted the show back when Full House was on the air and I have to assume it was popular with kids at the time so I don't see the problem with getting people that kids care about. I mean, what Nick is doing now is getting people like Amy Schumer to host instead of people like Rowan Blanchard. If I was ten years old, I wouldn't care at all about Blake Shelton being there because Blake Shelton is Blake Shelton. People like Jack Black should be hosting for obvious reasons because they connect with children. 

Now I realize that we are even questioning the merits of the KCAs. This is why blogging was made.

I have always wondered why Disney Channel never tried their own version of the KCAs. I mean, I guess it was out of fear of being a copy, and they do have the Radio Disney Music Awards but it doesn't have the same prestige or "legacy" of the KCAs if you know what I mean. Plus, Disney is an enormous property so I know for sure that a lot of high-profile stars would be interested or swayed into showing up. Maybe DC's version ends up forcing Nickelodeon to stop? Just a thought.

I might want to do a brief write-up of WrestleMania next Sunday. Chances are, it's going to do something to piss off the fans and I watch it every year so it will be pretty simple to review. I might just touch on some of the major points but chances are, I will end up writing more than I planned so we'll see. 

Question for you, Unknown: If the KCAs are the Super Bowl of kidcoms, and people usually refer to WrestleMania as the Super Bowl of wrestling, does that make WrestleMania just as bad? 2013 at MetLife Stadium was pretty bad outside of the stage design (beautiful by the way) but the last two WrestleManias have been home runs. The three-year rule might kick in though.

P.S. I haven't seen the KCAs yet because at this point, I have no interest in doing that. I saw a snippet on Nicktoons Network the other night of the Thundermans crew accepting their award in a moment I actually liked, and then Shelton trying to connect with the social media crowd with some crappy Throwback Thursday jokes. It's almost cosmic in that those two scenes were the ones I caught. 

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