Sunday, December 18, 2011

You (Kinda) Rock!

Television Shows We Love: The Fresh Beat Band on Nick Jr.
The Fresh Beat Band follows the fortunes of four “teenagers” who are students at music school and members of a pop band known as (you guessed it) The Fresh Beat Band. Other friendly characters in their wholesome, candy-land neighborhood greet them as a group, as in, “Hi, Fresh Beats!” They even have a Prince-like alter ego. You can correctly refer to them as “the band formerly known as The JumpArounds.” This show is a live-action, welcome alternative in the cartoon-heavy world of pre-school television.

The Fresh Beats (two guys, two gals, natch) are the perfect toddler-friendly pre-schooler pop band. Imagine your favorite babysitter: energetic, fun, always positive, and “up.” The show follows the Fresh Beats in and out of school as they explore different musical forms. Shows center on their preparations to appear at a blue grass festival, or a jazz parade, or a music presentation at school. There are simple problems to be solved that are always fixed with kindness, wit, and a smile. Life never gets the Fresh Beats down. There’s never an outburst of temper, and they always work together to solve their crises. They use cute catch phrases like “hip hop and pop.” And the show is fun. The real appeal is in the formidable talents of the high-energy, adorable cast.

The guys, named “Twist” and “Shout” are, respectively, the d.j./rapper played by Jon Beavers and the keyboardist played by Thomas Hobson. Beavers/Twist is the slightly goofy comic relief of the group, and if this show has a “star,” he’s it. But if you ask me, Yvette Gonzalez-Nacer who plays Kiki on guitar/violin/vocals is the band’s powerhouse. That gal can sing and the shows where she plays the fiddle are awesome. And there’s even a bit of drama this season in the form of a personnel change. The Fresh Beat’s drummer Marina (played by Shayna Rose since the show’s 2009 premiere) is now played by Tara Perry. My daughter claims to prefer “Old Marina” but it doesn’t stop her from watching. Mind you, this if from the child who sleeps with two identical teddy bears, “Old Pinky” and “New Pinky,” the result of a failed attempt to replace a frayed, beat-up bear with its identical replacement.

The Fresh Beat Band is on tour now, and I jumped on the opportunity to show my daughter the Fresh Beats in person … that is, until I saw the ticket prices. So, that’s (in my area) $109 dollars each? Um … a bit rich for my blood. But if money is no (or little) object, grab it.

You can sample the show, download music, and play Fresh Beat games at the Nick Jr. site

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