Not too long ago, a group of record and television execs got together around the epiphany of doing a show about an up and coming pop band.  Take four relatively good looking guys with a measure of talent and likeability, let them contribute vocals and have some production opportunities, add in a producer, throw them on television, put some marketing muscle behind them and manufacture a pop culture icon.  Well, that’s how the Monkees were essentially born, a concept which is the forerunner in spirit to Big Time Rush.

There seems to be a lot of shows on the air either about the pursuit of celebrity or crossing the streams between television and pop star sensation.  Disney has long made it a practice to turn their child stars into cultural phenoms.  So we have iCarly (girl with a popular webshow), Hannah Montana (girl struggling with the life of being a celebrity vs. a normal teenager), Sonny with a Chance (girl who stars on a television series), I’m in the Band (boy who joins a heavy metal band).  And this doesn’t include the list of stars of popular kids shows who go on to release singles.

It’s the dream life.

Big Time Rush is about that dream and what it’s like to pursue that dream.  Logan (Logan Henderson), Kendall (Kendall Schmidt), Carlos (Carlos Pena), and James (James Maslow)—with shades of The Beatles-style branding as the Smart One, the Cute One, the Clever One and the Wacky One—trade their old life in Minnesota for a taste of the fast lane in Los Angeles after 16 year old Kendall answers a nationwide casting call.  Gustavo Rocque (Stephen Kramer Glickman), a record producer, gives them the chance to be a boy band, but they have to prove to their record label that they are ready.

“I’m the star!” –Gustavo

Our media is fascinated with fame, promulgating celebrity gossip as news with channel after channel of entertainment news, an out of control paparazzi, and an endless parade of magazines and web sites dedicated to capturing any movement of the famous.  It’s no wonder that given the cultural fascination with fame, perhaps it is not surprising that one-quarter of teenagers (26%) said they expect to be “famous or well known” by the time they reach age 25. Pop star dreams, pop star lifestyle, pop star girl fans, pop star fame, that’s their singular pursuit.  We’re creating a generation of entitled narcissists, who think of little more than themselves rather than the world around them.  Though to their credit, teenagers are a group who naturally get the importance of relationship and connection.  As Kendall says when it comes to pursuing the vanity of vanities that is fame, “None of that matters if it’s minus my best friends.”

Qoholet, the Teacher (the author of the book of Ecclesiastes) would call this lifestyle “vanity of vanities.” Put another way, if we pursue the things in this life “for merely human reasons, what have [we] gained? If the dead are not raised, ‘Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.’” (I Corinthians 15:32) We all need to see the need to walk away from our old lives and embrace a new one. We have to opt out of a worldview of selfishness and empty pursuits.

Manufactured boy bands (or pop singers/groups) are nothing new.  It was the modus operandi for Motown Records and has a tradition through The Osmonds, New Edition, Menudo, New Kids on the Block, Backstreet Boys, and N Sync (and, sadly, we’re about due for the latest one).  In Big Time Rush, the show is less about the work and more about the friendships.  The songs appear fully formed and ready to be downloaded.  It’s a broad comedy, full of cartoon noises and over-the-top adult caricatures, hyperactive and yet charming in its own way.  In short, harmless and about as memorable.