Ah yes, like a bad penny, my series dedicated to Nickelodeon’s Big Time Rush turns up once again! Continuing from my last entry in the series (all the way back in November, can you believe it??) I will be talking about character development in the show, this time focusing on the secondary characters who richly populate this show.
The first secondary characters to whom the show introduces us are arguably the most important: record producer Gustavo Rocque and his personal assistant Kelly Wainwright. The pair have been across the United States looking for their new pop star and the journey has worn on them so what we first see is a stressed exaggeration of their personalities, but we get a feel for them. Kelly is a capable young woman who is good at her job and getting work done. Gustavo is a pompous producer with a short fuse who’s desperate to get back to his glory days. Both are focused on their business and doing all they can to make their trip a success, though Kelly is pretty clearly the more competent of the two in that regard, so there’s a cautious “woop woop” in order for the empowered woman; hopefully she won’t be a cold stereotype of the Strong Female Character variety.
When the pair meet Kendall and his friends they don’t really know how to react to them. Gustavo tries yelling and intimidation, even though it continues to fail in getting results. I believe it was Einstein who said “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results” and by that definition Gustavo is definitely insane. His temper and futile attempts at control are often a source of comedy on the show, while Kelly tends to exhibit Only Sane Man qualities, especially in the early days of the show. I say “in the early days of the show” because this post is about character arcs and both Gustavo and Kelly have grown quite a bit from their introduction.
Kelly, being smart and capable, realizes fairly early on in the game that she won’t get anywhere by treating Big Time Rush like the pop acts she’s worked with in the past. Initially she tries to force them to do what Gustavo says, but quickly sees this doesn’t work with this group. She tries to convince Gustavo to compromise with the boys but he is unwilling to budge which puts Kelly in a pretty tough spot until she finally joins in the boys’ fun and tells Gustavo “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em”
This may seem like an admission of defeat on Kelly’s part, but it really isn’t. What was Kelly’s goal, after all? To get work done as efficiently as possible and if that means bending occasionally to accommodate the boys on certain issues while remaining firm on others she’ll do just that. The fact that she realizes this and does her best to keep things running smoothly show just how good she is at her job. As the show has gone on Kelly has become even more uninhibited and is often a part of the chaos around her rather than always remaining the level-headed outsider she was in the beginning and I love it. She is really having fun with her job and she has developed a lovely affection for the band she attends to and an interesting dynamic with the man who employs her.
Speaking of the man who employs her, let’s not forget about Gustavo. As I mentioned he started out on the show as a largely comical exaggeration. He was rigid and unyielding and failed to see how his angry tirades didn’t get him the results he wanted. Like Kelly, he realizes that the band is willing to work but doesn’t respond to bullying. Unlike Kelly, however, he takes nearly the entire first season to realize this and finally admit that he trusts the boys. It happens after a lot of instances of the boys coming through for him when he needed and it is Kelly who gets him to say it out loud.
It’s been great to see these two characters grow as individuals and as a team. They have developed into a great duo who bond over their job and that bond has been shaped by their many shared experiences. I really think their relationship is one of the most interesting on the show.