I finally get to talk about Big Time Rush again! After that self-imposed restriction of only talking about Halloween-y stuff last month I can finally post about other things I love which means getting back to BTR.
You were all waiting with bated breath, I just know it.
Last time I talked about the show I gave kind of a cursory glance to various aspects of it and today I’d like to dive a little more deeply into a few of the things I mentioned in that post.
One of the things I have loved about this show from the very beginning is the characterization. This is something I go absolutely crazy for in any media (be it television, literature, film, or theatre) and the writers of BTR put great effort into creating worthwhile, rounded characters in their show right off the bat. I’ve already talked about the four main guys’ basic character traits so today I’d like to talk more about their development along with the other characters in the show.
In the beginning and for most of the first season the guys were very much concerned with who they were in relation to each other. There was always a theme of friendship first and not letting anything change who they were or how they cared for one another. This theme was presented time and time again and was frequently addressed by Kendall, the unofficial/official leader.
As the show has progressed, however, this guiding moral has weakened and sometimes seems all but lost. While this makes me sad and I sometimes question whether the writers even remember what characters they made when they started the show, I can actually see how this is legitimate character development.
In the first season the boys all had their own individual dreams. Kendall dreamed of playing professional hockey with the Minnesota Wild, Logan dreamed of being a doctor, Carlos dreamed of being a superhero (he’s the goofball of the group, but considering his father is a police officer this dream seems like more than a joke), and only James dreamed of being a pop star. As such, they originally resisted the Hollywood hype and lifestyle and clung tightly to the fact that they were four friends from Minnesota, not a boyband from LA. As the years progressed, however, those identities became less distinct. Slowly but surely we see each of the members of this quartet become more infatuated with and devoted to the fact that they were indeed a boyband, and how could they not? They were making money, gaining fans, and having screaming girls proclaim their love for them. Though their dreams are still mentioned and worked toward from time to time, there is definitely a less defined trajectory toward them.
As their identities have shifted, naturally their interactions have as well. Initially their concerns were for each other and their families, but now they have responsibilities to their manager, their fans, and (in the cases of Kendall and Logan) their girlfriends. Their focus has become much wider than ever before and their relationships have suffered for it. The friendship between Kendall and Logan seems to have suffered the most damage. In the first season they were practically inseparable, looking to each other in any time of need and sharing all experiences with one another.
As they both started changing, and especially when Kendall’s relationship with his girlfriend Jo got more serious, they drifted apart, barely interacting throughout the second season. Kendall seemed to no longer be the clear leader of the group due to his frequent absences from and loss of connection with his friends; Logan lost the cautious, careful planning he was known for and became more impulsive, indulgent, and frankly idiotic at times.
I’m gonna interrupt myself here, I’m sorry, my Kogan feels are getting in the way of me doing justice to the whole scope of characters. I will say that things are thankfully starting to look up for them in the third and current season.
James and Carlos have seemed fairly unchanged by their time in Hollywood. Though we continue to learn more about James (whom I initially disliked greatly because of his shallowness but have really begun to love) these characteristics seem to have always been there, merely hidden behind his bravado. I don’t see any significant change in who James is or how he relates to the group, rather, I think we’re just learning more about the facets of his established character.
And Carlos really has remained mostly the same. He is still a crazy ball of positive energy; he still loves his family and friends; he still devotes himself to the group; and he still pulls off ridiculous stunts in a constant effort to entertain himself. The only indication that he may be considering performing his new passion is that he insisted he get a solo record produced if he did a favor for his manager. However, Carlos’ ambitions seem to shift easily so it may just be that he thought it would be fun and has no real drive to pursue a performing career when the time comes.
As Kendall and Logan have grown distant, Carlos and James have grown closer than ever, or at least more so than was often explored. The two were always very close but as the seasons have progressed their relationship has deepened and been explored more than any other on the show and their devotion has been made abundantly clear. They have grown, as have Kendall and Logan, but their relationship has been made stronger over time and it’s great to see. It’s what makes me think that the writers do in fact know what they’re doing and are progressing the characters as they see fit, some developing into better people and some developing..well…less positively. That’s life and I applaud BTR’s writers for going for realism in their character development rather than idealism.
Hoo boy, I really meant to talk about more characters but once again I’ve gone on longer than intended. Next time I’ll talk about the character arcs of some of the supporting characters who round out this show so well and I’ll do my best not to talk too much about the main four.
No promises though.