New Kids On the Block/ “The New Kid In Class”/ 1990
One year before Hammerman came on the scene, the New Kids on the Block (NKOTB) were the latest musical act to have the honor (read: exploited!) of getting their own animated series.
I do remember hearing back then that the New Kids on the Block were getting their own cartoon series. I don’t ever remember watching a single episode. The reason, I just wasn’t that interested. People may not believe me, but I was NOT a New Kids on the Block fan when they first came out. Over the years, the feeling has dulled and for a good nostalgia trip I now enjoy a classic NKOTB song every now and then, but back then, I only tolerated them because of my sister and some of my friends. Just to reiterate, NKOTB was just not for me.
So why after some 20 years, have I decided to go back and watch an episode of NKOTB?
Well besides NKOTB’s unexpected return to music last year, after one of my biggest posting blunders, I posted this lighthearted clip of the NKOTB intro. Based on that clip, the show seemed really bad. Even still, I figured I should at least watch an episode to see if, in reality, either:
a) it was a good/ decent show with a bad intro,
b) if it was as bad as I think it is.
The result: I really should trust my instincts… hit the jump for the rest of the review and video of the episode.
Fans of Transformers all agree that every iteration of the Transformers cartoon series (all 7000+ of them) was just an elaborate commercial to sell those snazzy Transformer toys. NKOTB is the same… almost. NKOTB the cartoon series was basically a 30 minute plug for newest boy band, and it was aimed for that tween and younger audience. Where they differ is while the creators of Transformers developed story and character depth (somewhat) for the Transformers series, NKOTB creators were happy with just showing the audience NKOTB as cartoons and hoping it sells. You can see why one is on its 8000th series, while the other ended after one season, 14 episodes (Of course, Transformers needed the stories and characters more since they were just toys, NKOTB were real life characters and music was always the main cash cow).
The basic synopsis of “New Kid is Class” is Joe desperately wants to try and be a normal high school student. He gets his dearest wish for just one day, when the other New Kids skip out on their bodyguard and take Joe to a regular high school. The NKOTB pretend to be new students, but the high school is in the middle of “crazy concert day,” because it just so happens there is NKOTB concert that night. Joe meets a girl who is new in school, the NKOTB go through some hi-jinx, the NKOTB also meet a jock who hates NKOTB, Eventually others in the school find out that they are actually the NKOTB. They go crazy and there is a big chase. The NKOTB manager and body guard are worried because this could cause them to be late for the concert. In the end, the NKOTB make it to their concert on time with the jock and the new girl’s help.
So, the story sucks. If you attempt to watch this episode you will see how horrible this story truly is. The premise was alright, but the execution in getting there is awful. From the NKOTB ditching the bodyguard, to the football game, all the way to finale chase nothing really flowed well, and there was way too much cheesiness, even compared to other early 90’s cartoon. It seemed more like the writers threw out situations instead making a coherent plot, thinking that people will watch because its NKOTB not because of story.
The animators, I can only assume, did not enjoy working on this at all. The blocking and posing of the characters were bad and inconsistent. The characters also had no emotion in their faces, in fact the faces stayed the same the whole time, much like this thing I posted a while back. The animation was jarring to look at. The fusion of animation with live video footage was cheap in my opinion. It was a way to cut corners on the animation, and the corny 80’s cut-a-aways, fades, and transitions didn’t help either (most likely another way to cut cost, which could be why the animators hated this show, once again I’m just assuming). Overall, it was a mess to look at.
The voice acting… bad. The only good thing was the soundtrack, since they used actual NKOTB songs and rhythms. Too bad the visuals didn’t match… or did they?
If you dare, watch the episode here in 2 parts:
One last note, was it really necessary for Joey McIntyre to kiss the girl at the end… that was so out there, but I guess that was every girls’ dream… I need to go watch the first 40 minutes of Wall-E again to wash this bad taste out my mouth.