The Naked Brothers Band (TV series)

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The Naked Brothers Band
Naked Brothers Band Logo.PNG
Genre Children/Teen sitcom
Mockumentary
Rockumentary
Musical comedy
Created by Polly Draper
Developed by Albie Hecht (Not credited)
Written by Polly Draper (21 episodes)
Magda Liolis (10 episodes)
Bob Mittenthal (10 episodes)
Michael Rubiner (8 episodes)
Will McRobb and Chris Viscardi (1 TV movie)
Directed by Polly Draper (season 1–3)
Melanie Mayron (season 1–2)
Jonathan Judge (season 2–3)
and others
Starring Nat Wolff
Alex Wolff
Thomas Batuello
Allie DiMeco
David Levi
Qaasim Middleton
Cooper Pillot
Jesse Draper
Michael Wolff
Theme music composer Nat Wolff
Opening theme "If That's Not Love"
Composer(s) Nat Wolff
Alex Wolff
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 3
No. of episodes 40 (+2 specials) (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) Albie Hecht
Polly Draper
Producer(s) Ken H. Keller
Caron Rudner-Keller
Kari Kim (1 episode)
Editor(s) Craig Cobb
Tim Streeto (1 TV movie)
Cinematography Ken H. Keller
Running time Approx. 30 min. (Episodes)
Approx. 1 hr. (TV movies)
Production company(s) Kidzhouse Entertainment
Worldwide Biggies
Broadcast
Original channel Nickelodeon
Picture format 4:3 SD/ProRes 422 codec
Original run February 3, 2007 (2007-02-03) – June 13, 2009 (2009-06-13)
Chronology
Preceded by The Naked Brothers Band: The Movie
External links
Website
Production website

The Naked Brothers Band is an American musical comedy series created by Polly Draper. The show depicts the daily lives of Draper's sons, who lead a fictional world-renowned rock band from New York City. As a mockumentary, the storyline is a hyperbole of their real lives, and the fictional presence of a camera is often acknowledged. Lead vocals and instrumentation are contributed by the siblings; they wrote the lyrics themselves. The show stars Nat Wolff and Alex Wolff, who encounter conflicts with each other that are later omitted. Nat's fictional female admirer and real life preschool friends—including the guitarist who had no prior acquaintance with the family—feature as the band members, with the siblings' genuine father and Draper's husband as their accordion-playing dad and Draper's niece as the group's babysitter.

The series is a spin-off of Draper's 2005 film of the same name that was picked up by Nickelodeon, premiering in January 2007. Draper, star of Thirtysomething and her writings The Tic Code and Getting Into Heaven,[1][2] is the executive producer of the series, and often writer and director. Albie Hecht, former Nickelodeon president and founder of Spike TV, is the executive producer, under his Worldwide Biggies tag. Draper's jazz musician husband Michael Wolff serves as the music supervisor and co-executive producer with Draper's brother Tim as the consulting producer.

The show first aired in the United States on the network on February 3, 2007 to an audience of exactly 4.7 million viewers. Viacom announced, it "delivered Nickelodeon's highest-rated premiere in seven years" and instantly became one of the most favorable for children aged 6–11.[3][4] According to an article by TV reporter Jacques Steinberg, of The New York Times, the series' popularity is equivalent to Hannah Montana and Cory in the House. Three seasons aired and concluded unexpectedly on June 13, 2009 due to the network placing high demands on the family that would disrupt the siblings' schooling.[5] The series earned 1 Broadcast Music, Inc. Cable Award; 2 Writers Guild Award nominations, winning one WGA; 3 Young Artist Award nominations; and was nominated for 1 Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Award (both in the United States and United Kingdom).

Development[edit]

—Marjorie Cohn, executive vice president of development and original programming for Nickelodeon[6]

The series' title derived from an incident when the brothers were very young: they arose from the bathtub shouting, "We're 'the naked brothers band!"[7] Although Nat revised the band's title to The Silver Boulders, Polly Draper revived it as she felt it would be more suitable for the show.[8] She also notes that her ambition for parents is to "enjoy the show as much as the children." Most of Nat's music, which he has been composing from the time he was 5, emboldens the scripts Draper writes for many of the episodes. She also acknowledges how the show is more "like an adult comedy [than]...a typical kids show" in terms of not using a laugh track.[9]

Draper explains the events that preceded the show: "Nat kept putting signs on his door: I want to be a child actor! I said, 'No, it's too brutal.'"[10] Draper says, in early 2007, "Nat decided he wanted to film his own sitcom, so we did a film called Don’t Eat Off My Plate...I pretended to interview his friends and do a documentary."[7] Nat recorded a compact disc single in the studio with Alex and their dad. Viewing the recording, Draper had the idea of making a mockumentary film about the band; she decided to introduce them as music icons like The Beatles.[8] By 2007, Draper remarks, "What originally happened was that Nat and Alex had a band, and the idea evolved based on that. Spinal Tap meets The Little Rascals was my concept...I wanted it to be very Beatle-ish, have that Help! or A Hard Day's Night kind of feeling."[11] Filmed in mid-2004, The Naked Brothers Band: The Movie was originally independent,[8] and Draper's venture capitalist brother Tim provided financial incentives for the film.[12]

—Polly Draper[6]

In late 2005, Draper entered the film at the Hamptons International Film Festival, where it won the audience award for a family feature film.[7][13][14][15] Albie Hecht was visible in the audience;[7] he bought the film for the network. Nickelodeon urged the family to start a television series based on the film, and a reluctant Draper agreed. Tom Asheim, whose the executive vice president and general manager of Nickelodeon, says, "At first, we were intrigued by the idea, but we weren't sure kids would get the vague tongue-and-cheek of it. Then a bunch of us took it home to our own children and they loved it."[7]

Draper recalls, "When Nickelodeon first asked us about doing a series, we said, 'How about a cartoon, so the kids could stay normal?' They said, 'No, we love your kids.'"[16] She mentions in a 2008 Times Center Stage family interview that, prior to the series' broadcast, she advised the cast not to look themselves up online. Draper told them that they should not become preoccupied by the comments written by either the press or their viewers. In addition to prohibiting their boys from searching their names online, Draper and Wolff forbid them from auditioning. The boys are also enrolled in private school in New York City to keep them exposed to the real world.[7][8][17]

Production[edit]

"Having our life turned into a mockumentary wasn’t as big a deal as some would think. We took all the friendships, Alex’s one liners, and my music and put it into a storyline; it was a heightened reality...The show created a great audience for us..."
—Nat Wolff[18]

Principal photography takes place in the summer and early fall which means the boys attend private school throughout most of the year.[7][8][17] Kidzhouse Entertainment,[19] a production company that also produces the series, is located in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.[7][20] The enormous studio is large enough that cast members play basketball with friends in a separate room when they are finished filming episodes.[7] Moreover, during a family interview at the Times Center Stage in January 2008, Nat mentions that the family's authentic home is not as multi-colored as in the show.[8]

Draper manages to keep an eye on her two boys. For example, the cast was filming an episode that featured the band recording a video; Nat, who did not want to make out in the scene due to his crush Rosalina watching, mistakenly smooches her. He then confesses to his mother that he was puzzled as to what the instructions were.[7] The scene being filmed was that of the first season's ninth episode "First Kiss (On the Lips, That is)" which was directed by Melanie Mayron,[21] who acted alongside Draper in Thirtysomething.[22]

"We all joke about it. They ask, 'What's it like to direct?' I say, 'It's the same as in real life.' They don't listen to me as a mother. And they don't listen to me as a director. So I just feel right at home."
—Polly Draper[17]

Polly Draper is showrunner—the executive producer and production leader—which means her presence is evident. For example, during production for the fourth episode of the second season, as the boys play restlessly on a purple sofa, their mother (who was not directing the episode) admonishes them over the loudspeaker by saying, "Both of you, try to smile more."[17] Occasionally, family disputes occur on set; for example, in July 2008—after filming for a long period of time on the set—when Draper gives one of the boys' an instruction, one of the siblings' replies, "I know, Mom!"[9]

As head writer (another task of the executive producer), Draper led the writer's room, edited scripts, and conveyed storyline ideas for each episode. While the first season was predominately written by Draper, the other writers were Magda Liolis, Michael Rubiner and Bob Mittenthal, and Will McRobb and Chris Viscardi. Moreover, Draper and Melanie Mayron were the only directors for the season. While consisting of the same panel of writers for the series (to the exclusion of McRobb and Viscardi), Jonathan Judge joined Draper and Mayron as a director for the second season. The last episode Mayron directed for that season, and thus the series, featured her as a fan on the radio (by providing the voice over). By the third season, Mittenthal joined the writing team as co-executive producer, with Draper and Judge directing every other TV movie while Mark Salisbury directed the initial animated episode and Rosario Roveto, Jr. directed the concluding episode. It differed from other seasons as the third season consisted of one webisode, and four TV movies and episodes.

Casting[edit]

According to writer Felicia R. Lee, of The New York Times, the siblings act "chatty, guileless, fun-loving", much as they do in their genuine lives. She also notes that, of the show's characters, "no one over 18 has much sense."[7] Draper's role as creator—the developer of the original characters and storylines—allowed her to contemplate her boys' fictional birth mother as deceased; her name is never revealed.[17][23][24] However, in the show, the boys' father is infatuated with an estranged lady named Betty (Catherine Curtin).[24] Moreover, although portraying fictional characters, the ensemble cast—including real life friends David Levi, the keyboardist; Thomas Batuello, the cellist; Cooper Pillot, the manager; and the actor/musician Qaasim Middleton as the guitarist—keep their full names on-screen. Nonetheless, Allie DiMeco plays Nat's female admirer and the bassist Rosalina; the siblings' actress cousin Jesse Draper portrays the group's puzzled nanny Jesse Cook; and the boys' jazz pianist father Michael Wolff plays their inept accordion-playing dad, the latter of whom Draper notes she wrote similar to that of a child.

The Timmerman Brothers—a band no longer famous—consists of siblings Donnie Timmerman (Adam Draper), Johnny Timmerman (Coulter Mulligan), and Billy Timmerman (Billy Draper). In real life, they are Polly's nephews, Nat and Alex's cousins, and thus Jesse's brothers and cousin, who are recurring stars throughout all three seasons. Moreover, Jesse's real life father, Polly's brother, and thus Nat and Alex's uncle Tim reoccurs as Principle Schmoke throughout the entire series. Jesse's sister Eleanor "Elle" Draper and Coulter's sister Lisa Mulligan have been added as recurring stars during the second season. They play Jesse's sisters named Tessy and Bessy who appear as the dancing girls in Alex's new music video. In addition, Qaasim's real life mother actress and singer-songwriter Toni Seawright and brother actor and musician Kahlil Middleton appear as themselves during the second season while Seawright is also featured in the third season. Thomas' real life brother also reoccurs as himself during the second season. During a family interview in January 2008 by TV reporter Jacques Steinberg, of The New York Times, Nat noted that the French bulldog E.T., who plays David Levi's dog in the show, belongs to the Draper-Wolff family in real life.[8]

Post-production[edit]

"This is our version of The Monkees. Nat Wolff wrote all the music, which I think distinguishes the show. Sometimes I think you get a sense from bands that they are [faking it] like Milli Vanilli. This really is by kids and for kids."
—Tom Asheim, executive vice president and general manager of Nickelodeon[10]

Albie Hecht foreshadowed the success of the series after watching the film at the Hamptons International Film Festival.[7] In an article, Hecht told reporter Felicia R. Lee, of The New York Times: "They're just real: real brothers, real friends; it's all the stuff kids do when they're hanging out on the playground. The idea that you're watching a documentary is so much fun. Then you put them into that fantasy of being a world-famous rock band, and that's the sauce that makes it work."[7] In October 2006, online videos from their Nickelodeon website had been played over 11 million times. Moreover, before the show's debut, "a fan recognized Nat and Alex in a Florida hotel. She sent them a note: 'Are you the Naked Brothers?' 'They were so excited,' Draper recalled. 'The show hasn't even aired yet and now walking down the streets kids are calling out their names. They can't believe it.' "[10]

Nat explained, "It's all based on reality. It's not like work. It's things we might say or do or want to say or do. I like the feeling of creating something that wasn't there. If we have [a second] season, I'm totally getting ideas."[7] Nat also says that "We have actually become way better friends working together." Alex responds, "We have?"[7]

Editing[edit]

—Editor Craig Cobb[9]

Craig Cobb was the picture editor for the series; he was also the assistant editor for Sex and the City.[9][25] Cobb worked with Louis Bertini, the supervising sound editor of the series, who had been the editor for Sex and The City.[9][26] Of the editing process, Bertini explains that editing the show was not much different from editing Sex and the City; they brought a similar "approach and constriction to the audio elements", although unlike Sex in the City, the show had a "larger cartoon element".[9] However, Cobb considered the editing to be a challenge because he felt that a certain degree of unscripted "magic on set" existed that required more work. Because most of the children on the series are not actors—in addition to the music that was to be added—the editing process created a situation that was somewhat "messy". Nonetheless, Cobb believed the combination of factors created a "magic" of its own "and it's what makes this show really shine".[9]

When an episode completed filming, Cobb edited on the Final Cut Pro application, which normally took four days to complete.[9] Bertini—who spent the same amount of time editing—then converted unnecessary script and added sound effects.[9] Cobb says, "The 16:9 SD workflow was the plan for the 2008 season, but that has changed. We're working in 4:3 SD with the ProRes 422 codec, so we're cutting in a broadcast-quality format that we'll later output without having to recapture all the footage."[9]

According to Cobb, it is very difficult to coordinate the television's screen-framing:[9]

Music[edit]

The Associated Press[27]

When reporters from the Associated Press compared the show to the Disney Channel musical comedy series Hannah Montana, Michael Wolff remarked,[27] "The boys are natural musicians who just happen to be on TV." Nat and Alex compose and play all of the show's songs; their father also co-produces the music with Michael A. Levine.[8] The series' music editor, John Davis coordinates the songs' musical numbers.[9] Amy Cervini and Russ Spiegel are the music instructors.[28][29]

—Jonathan Bernstein, Entertainment Weekly[30]

On October 9, 2007, the debut of the first season's self-titled soundtrack album released into stores. It was produced by Wolff and Levine and distributed by Nick Music and Columbia Records. All of the music on the album includes tracks composed by Nat, apart from "Alien Clones" and "I Could Be", which were composed by Alex.[31] The day before, on October 8, the band had an autograph signing for 1,500 fans at Virgin Megastore in Times Square, New York City;[31] they also performed their original song "I'm Out" to a live audience on Good Morning America. Additionally, the group's first MTV music video released for their song "If That's Not Love".[31]

"They actually write great pop melodies, like a young Beatles kind of thing. Kids can tune in to a TV show and watch other kids write songs? There's never been anything like that."
Joel Madden, special guest star[32]

On March 18, 2008, the single "I Don't Want to Go to School" was sold to Walmarts across the country. A month later, on April 15, the second season soundtrack album, I Don't Want to Go to School debuted into stores.[33] Tracks from the album include songs all written by Nat, including "I Don't Want to Go to School", with the exception of "Why" and "Three is Enough" which Alex composed.[33] Other songs on the album include bonus tracks such as "Tall Girls, Short Girls...You", by Nat and "Changing" by Alex. The producers of the album were also Wolff and Levine and was distributed by Nick Music and Columbia Records.[33] To praise the release of their new album, they performed their song, "I Don't Want to Go to School" live on the NBC morning show Today.[33]

The soundtrack for season three, titled Throwbacks, was released as an online download in October 2013, under the name of Nat and Alex Wolff. It took four years to develop due to the unannounced cancellation of the series in June 2009.

Season synopses[edit]

Pilot episode[edit]

The pilot episode was originally an independent film depicting Nat and Alex Wolff when they were nine and six years old respectively and premiered as a TV movie special on January 27, 2007. They film a documentary about their world-renowned band, The Silver Boulders, as they fracture due to Nat's song about a girl named Rosalina. At the end, the band reunites as The Naked Brothers Band.

Famous celebrities either acknowledge that they are huge fans of the band or have appeared with other supporting roles; in real life, they have either worked with or are friends of the Draper-Wolff clan. These special guests were the ensemble cast on the ABC prime-time television drama Thirtysomething (including the boys' mother who wrote and directed the movie in real life), Cyndi Lauper, Arsenio Hall, Tony Shalhoub, Ricki Lake, Ann Curry, Uma Thurman, Julianne Moore, jazz singer Nancy Wilson, Cindy Blackman, David Thornton, Gretchen Egolf, James Badge Dale, Barbara eda-Young, and Brent Popolizio.

Season 1: 2007[edit]

Season one debuted in February 2007 and concluded in June; however, one additional episode and television movie aired in October 2007.[17] The first season featured guest appearances by rapper Snoop Dogg, actor/comedian George Lopez, and actor/musician Keli Price. The first season aired 13 episodes, and the TV movie Battle of the Bands aired on October 6, 2007. During this season Daniel Raymont plays of the role of the music video director, a Borat-like character, and Tuffy Questall portrays Tuffy, the driver of the band's psychedelic bus.

The first season's plot introduces 11-year-old Nat Wolff and younger brother, 8-year-old Alex Wolff, members of the world-renowned rock band, The Naked Brothers Band. The band features the lead singer-songwriter and keyboardist Nat Wolff, drummer Alex Wolff, 11-year-old guitarist Qaasim Middleton, 11-year-old keyboardist David Levi, 11-year-old cellist Thomas Batuello, 13-year-old Rosalina (Allie DiMeco) who is Nat's crush and the bassist, and 11-year-old band manager Cooper Pillot.

The first season's premise is that the group is recording their first studio album as well as starring in several music videos to promote it. In the first episode "VMAs", the band's music video for the song "Banana Smoothie" wins an MTV Video Music Award. In addition, Nat dislikes when David and Thomas ridicule his affection for Rosalina. Although not admitting to it, it becomes clear that they both have a crush on each other. As time goes on, Rosalina kisses Nat on the lips in his dressing room. Alex is mad when Jesse dates The Timmerman Brothers, but after she calls him "smart," he forgives her apology. Along the way, Alex meets a friend at the skate park named Juanita who he mistakes for a boy at first. She turns out to be an orphan who is astonished when Alex reveals to her that he is the drummer from The Naked Brothers Band.

After the band has a sleepover, the house is a mess so Cooper hires a maid. The maid, who turns out to be an estranged lady named Betty, insists she is not technically a maid but a "cleaning specialist," and therefore, does not "actually clean." Rather she "advise[s] others on how they should clean." Meanwhile, Betty believes that they are the children of a "famous rock star." When Mr. Wolff, also called Sonny, comes back home from his trip, he develops a crush on Betty and they begin dating. This is much to the disapproval of Nat, Alex, Jesse and the rest of the band mates. The two form a band called The Honey Bunnies, featuring Sonny on the accordion and Betty on the ukulele. Their music and singing is strongly disliked by the other characters on the show. Later on, a saddened Sonny confesses to Betty that he is not actually the rock star but his sons are, and Betty forgives him.

During a "Battle of The Bands", The Naked Brothers Band are scheduled to perform at a charity concert against The L.A. Surfers. The lead singer is Bobby Love (Keli Price), who claims to write his own songs but he actually does not. Bobby also pretends to be a nice guy from England who speaks in a British accent, but is in fact, a surfer from San Diego, California. Nat and Alex discover the truth while "hiding" from him in the bathroom, and Jesse reveals to the bandmates other things she found out about him. Rosalina does not believe Nat when he tells her this and they encounter a conflicting relationship. During rehearsal, Nat and the bandmates change the lyrics of his song "L.A." by ridiculing Bobby and calling him a "big fat phony lier." Rosalina was "not surprised" that the other bandmates acted this way but "expected a lot more from...Nat." She subsequently quits the band. Rosalina finds Bobby and explains to him what happened. She suddenly becomes suspicious of Bobby and he said to "move on" and threw out her rehearsal script for the song "L.A.". A puzzled Rosalina leaves. Then, when no one is present, he pilfers Rosalina's script. In the end, Bobby's true identity is revealed and The Naked Brothers Band wins the Battle of The Bands after performing Nat's new song "Girl of My Dreams".

Season 2: 2008[edit]

In the second season, Nat is 12 and Alex is 9. Rosalina is 14, whereas Qaasim, Thomas, David, and Cooper are 12. The second season started off with the TV movie Sidekicks. During the second half of the season, the band went on tour. The second season ended on June 6, 2008 with the TV movie Polar Bears. Guest stars for the season include syndicated cartoonist Jules Feiffer, singer/musician Joel Madden, skateboarder Tony Hawk, actor/comedian George Lopez, and drummer/composer Phil Collins. The second season aired 15 episodes. In the first half of this season, Daniel Raymont features as Wing and Teala Dunn returns as Juanita. During the second half, when the band goes on tour, the tour driver Tuffy (Tuffy Questall) takes on more of a lead recurring role.

The season premiere aired with the TV movie Sidekicks, which finds the bandmates preparing for their school prom. Patrice—Rosalina's demanding classmate—pressures Rosalina not to bring Nat to the high school prom as "Nat is only in middle school and Rosalina is in high school." Patrice really says this so that she can take Nat to the prom instead which he unwillingly allows. Nat also allows Rosalina to take "the most popular boy to prom" as he was told "it's every girls dream." It turns out that, in the end, Rosalina dances with Nat at the prom while Patrice dances with Wade, the most popular boy in school. In the episode "Uncle Miles", Sonny's twin brother Miles (played by Wolff) comes to stay at the Wolffs' home. He is not the nicest man but happens to be a successful jazz pianist and performs as various night clubs. When Betty meets him, she leaves Sonny for Miles. It is discovered at the end of the episode that both Miles and Betty wear a wig.

Polar Bears is a TV movie special about Alex's mission to save the polar bears because they are dying as a result of global warming. The band meets their father in New Orleans where they reunite with their old childhood friends—Big Ella (Saorise Scott) and Little Grace (Grace Cartwright) as well as the girls' mother Onita (Donna Lynn Leavy). Nonetheless, because of Hurricane Katrina, their house was destroyed and the family currently resides in a trailer park. Several miscommunications between the bandmates and Little Grace causes much friction to their friendships, including Nat and Rosalina's. Afterwards, Alex and Big Ella resolve the issue between Nat and Rosalina by showing Nat the documentary cameras. In the end, Nat and Rosalina become a couple and Big Ella resolves gossip "made by nasty news-reporters who just wanted a story." The issue was that, during an interview with the band, Alex said that the band's picture on a calendar is "bigger than Santa Clause['s]," and reporters falsely claimed that he said "Santa is a big, fat blubber belly." This saved their state dinner—which they perform at—and the band's reputation. They end up donating money from their state dinner to a local charity that helps global warming.

Season 3: 2008–09[edit]

In this season, Nat, Qaasim, Thomas, David, and Cooper are 13 while Alex is 10 and Rosalina is 15. The third season began with the TV movie Mystery Girl, which premiered on October 18, 2008. The series featured cameos by an array of celebrities, including actress Miranda Cosgrove, actress Whoopi Goldberg, singer Natasha Bedingfield, Simple Plan band member David Desrosiers, and Bad Company bandmate Simon Kirke. Other celebrity appearances include musician Tobin Esperance from Papa Roach, actor/musician Leon Thomas, actress Victoria Justice, talk show host Dave Attell, and musician Questlove. Daniel Raymont, Tuffy Questall, Teala Dunn, and Catherine Curtin appear again this season. Andrew Keenan-Bolger portrays Christophe, the director of the new Magical Mystery Girl Movie.

The new season depicts the band shooting their initial theatrical film called the Magical Mystery Girl Movie. Nat features as Daniel, Rosalina as herself, Miranda Cosgrove as Daniel's girl friend, Alex as Oliver, Juanita as the girl in Oliver's new music video, with Mr. Wolff and Jesse playing themselves and Principle Schmoke and Tuffy playing sumo wrestlers in diapers. Christophe is the stubborn director; he is later overthrown and replaced by Cooper, the producer of the movie. Christophe appears again in The Premiere, who pilfers the movie's metal film cassette. On the other hand, Rosalina temporarily leaves the band to travel on a worldwide cruise. During her trip, the band members read the newspaper and the front cover depicts Rosalina kissing a French man. When Rosalina returns to visit, she and Nat have an internal dispute and Rosalina subsequently quits. Because of this, the group must find a new bass player. Cooper calls for a "Naked Idol" contest and the outfit selects Kristina Reyes as their new bassist. However, Nat later makes up with Rosalina and she rejoins the band while retaining Kristina as well. The Premiere TV movie ends with them watching the Magical Mystery Girl Movie in the theaters as well as the band performing Nat's new song "Just A Girl I Know".

Cast[edit]

Main cast[edit]

  • Nat Wolff stars as himself, and is the lead singer-songwriter and keyboardist for the band. Nicknamed "The Girl Magnet", he switches to guitar for songs such as "Taxi Cab" and "Curious". His crush on the band's bassist Rosalina emboldens his love songs. In the second season, Nat and Rosalina go to the prom together, then on a double date, and in the final television movie called Polar Bears, Nat and Rosalina finally became a couple. However, in season three, their relationship becomes strained when Rosalina goes on a six-month boat cruise around the world.
  • Alex Wolff stars as himself, and is the hyperactive drummer for the band. He switches to keyboards for songs "Changing" and "Why", and "Jesse" which he sang and composed. He also wrote and sang other songs, such as "I Could Be", "Alien Clones", and "Three is Enough". In the show, he loves Jesse and considers her to be his girlfriend. Jesse calls him "my little boyfriend" and Alex always disapproves of her dating other men, including The Timmerman Brothers. During the first season, he wears socks tied around his ankles and a red, white and blue do-rag on his head.
  • Thomas Batuello stars as himself, and is the cellist for the band. In the show, Thomas pulls pranks along with David. In the first season, he and David claimed not to like girls, but in the second season's episode of Cleveland, he became jealous of how Nat attracts all the girls. In the first season, he often ridicules Nat and Rosalina because they have a crush on each other. After Rosalina left for her six-month cruise around the world in the third season, Thomas becomes the band's temporary bassist.
  • Allie DiMeco stars as Rosalina. She is Nat's love interest and the inspiration for many of Nat's songs, such as "Girl of My Dreams" and "Beautiful Eyes". When she returns from her cruise, she breaks up with Nat and quits the band after having an argument. The band then establishes a nation wide competition to replace Rosalina, and they choose a new bass player, Kristina. Just as the reconstructed band begins to get along, Rosalina asks to rejoin the band, so she is kept as the second guitarist.
  • David Levi stars as himself, and is the keyboardist for the band. He often joins in on Thomas's pranks. He also has a dog named E.T.
  • Qaasim Middleton stars as himself, and is the guitarist for the band. In the show, he is known for being highly intelligent and good at flirting with girls.
  • Cooper Pillot stars as himself, and is the band's manager. In the show, Cooper has a crush on a girl named Patty Scoggins. He is known for wearing a suit and glasses.
  • Jesse Draper stars as Jesse Cook, and is the band's tutor and babysitter. In the show, Jesse is not very intelligent, so Rosalina and Qaasim help her grade the band members' school assignments. She calls Alex her "little boyfriend" and wears several kinds of tattoos. Much to Alex's disapproval, Jesse dates the Timmerman Brothers—Donnie, Johnny, and Billy.
  • Michael Wolff stars as Dad (also known as "Mr. Wolff" or "Sonny"), who is Nat and Alex's inept accordion playing dad. He always embarrasses his sons; for example, he sometimes tries to appear in the band's music videos by the playing the accordion. Sonny has performed at the Hoboken Rathskeller restaurant, and dates an estranged woman named Betty, but she later dumps him for his twin brother Miles (played by Wolff).

Recurring stars[edit]

  • Tim Draper plays Joe Schmoke, the principal of Amigos Elementary, Middle, and High School.
  • Daniel Raymont plays the role of the music video director in the first season, Wing in the second season, and Abdul in the third season episode titled "Valentine Dream Date".
  • Catherine Curtain portray Betty. Although being hired by Cooper as a maid, she made excuses by saying that she is a "cleaning specialist," and therefore, does not clean, but guides "others on how they should clean." She dates Sonny and plays the ukulele in his two-member band, The Honey Bunnies; however, the other characters have a strong distaste for their music. In the second season episode Uncle Miles, Betty left Sonny for his jazz musician twin brother Miles (played by Michael Wolff). She reappeared in the third season episode "Valentine Dream Date".
  • Emily Richardson stars as Patty Scoggins, Cooper's crush.
  • Teala Dunn acts as Juanita, Alex's skateboard buddy and crush.
  • Billy Draper, Adam Draper, and Coulter Mulligan play the roles of Billy, Donnie, and Johnny Timmerman. They are members of the unsuccessful band The Timmerman Brothers, who are Jesse's clueless boyfriends.
  • Eleanor Draper and Lisa Mulligan portray Tessy and Bessy, Jesse's sisters who appear as the dancing girls in the band's music videos during season two.
  • Kristina Reyes stars as herself, who first appeared in the third season TV movie special "Naked Idol". She was chosen to be the new bassist after Rosalina quit the band. At first, Nat acted disrespectful to Kristina because he was upset about the departure and break up of Rosalina. However, Nat and Kristina talk and a friendship is formed between them. During that chat, Kristina told Nat she had always dreamed of playing in the band, and has looked up to him as a role model after hearing his song "Rosalina" broadcast on the radio when she was ten years old. In the TV movie "The Premiere", Rosalina asks to return in the band and they decide to keep Kristina as the group's bassist with Rosalina as the group's second guitarist.

Special appearances[edit]

The series featured numerous celebrity cameo appearances,[4][7][34][35][36] most of whom played themselves.

Actor Role Seasons Episode Notes
Pinfield, MattMatt Pinfield Himself 1
2
3
Episode 1, VMA's
Episode 9, First Kiss (On The Lips, That Is)
Episode 11-12, Battle of the Bands
Episode 13-15, Polar Bears
Episode 5, Supertastic 6
Dogg, SnoopSnoop Dogg Himself 1 Episode 1, VMA's Minor appearance
Lopez, GeorgeGeorge Lopez Himself 1
2
Episode 3, Nat Is A Stand-Up Guy
Episode 9, Everyone's Cried At Least Once
Episode 13–15, Polar Bears
Recurring role
Price, KeliKeli Price Bobby Love 1 Episode 11–12, Battle of the Bands Played chief antagonist in TV movie special
Hecht, AlbieAlbie Hecht Interviewer #1 1 TV special, Been There, Rocked That In real life, Hecht is the executive producer of the series under his Worldwide Biggies label.
Liolis, MagdaMagda Liolis Interviewer #3 1 TV special, Been There, Rocked That In real life, Liolis is a writer for the series.
Russ Spiegel Interviewer #6 1 TV special, Been There, Rocked That In real life, Spiegel is a music instructor for the series.
Feiffer, JulesJules Feiffer Himself 2 Episode 4, Three is Enough In real life, Fieffer alongside Ann Curry attended Nat and his band, The Silver Boulders' benefit concert after the 9/11 attacks; it was staged outside the family's apartment.[37]
Madden, JoelJoel Madden Himself 2 Episode 5, The Talk Show Played leading role in episode
Hawk, TonyTony Hawk Himself 2 Episode 6, The Bar Mitzvah Minor role
Mayron, MelanieMelanie Mayron Interviewer 2 Episode 10, Cleveland Mayron played the voice over as an estranged fan who claimed to be from Mars. This was the last episode Mayron directed for the series; she starred alongside The Naked Brothers Band creator and showrunner, Draper, who is also the stars real life mother, on the ABC television drama Thirtysomething.
Collins, PhilPhil Collins Himself 2 Episode 13–15, Polar Bears He was televised on the news, discussing his dislike for Alex when the reporters gossiped that he said "[The Naked Brothers Band] is bigger than Santa Clause."
Cosgrove, MirandaMiranda Cosgrove Herself 3 Episode 1–2, Mystery Girl She portrayed the girl who was to kiss Nat in the new Magical Mystery Girl Movie.
Bedingfield, NatashaNatasha Bedingfield Herself 3 Episode 6, Christmas Special Bedingfield sang alongside Nat and Leon Thomas III for Nat's new composition "Yes We Can". Prior to the episode's broadcast, Bedingfield appeared in a music video of the same name with Nat.
Goldberg, WhoopiWhoopi Goldberg Herself 3 Episode 6, Christmas Special Goldberg is the presenter for the homeless boy (Thomas) at a Christmas celebration and announces Nat, Bedingfield, and Thomas to the piano as they perform "Yes We Can".
Leon Thomas III Leon Williams 3 Episode 6, Christmas Special He portrays the homeless boy who performs "Yes We Can" alongside Nat and Bedingfield.
Justice, VictoriaVictoria Justice Herself 3 Episode 8, Valentine's Dream Date
Episode 11–12, The Premiere
Minor appearance. In The Premiere, she portrays one of many girls who desires to walk with Nat across the red carpet during the Magical Mystery Girl Movie premiere in the theaters.
Desrosiers, DavidDavid Desrosiers Himself 3 Episode 9–10, Naked Idol He auditions for a chance to replace Rosalina as the bassist during the "Naked Idol" try-outs.
Esperance, TobinTobin Esperance Himself 3 Episode 9–10, Naked Idol He auditions for a chance to replace Rosalina as the bassist during the "Naked Idol" try-outs.
Attell, DaveDave Attell Himself 3 Episode 9–10, Naked Idol He announces Nat Wolff, Alex Wolff, and the "Naked Idol" contestants to the stage.
Thompson, Ahmir "Questlove"Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson Himself 3 Episode 13, No School's Fools Day

Media[edit]

Soundtrack[edit]

Video games[edit]

Television airings[edit]

Region Network(s) Series premiere
United States Nickelodeon, The N February 3, 2007
United Kingdom Nickelodeon UK May 29, 2007
New Zealand Nickelodeon New Zealand February 23, 2008
Germany Nickelodeon Germany October 20, 2007
Spanish America Nickelodeon Latin America July 21, 2007
The Netherlands Nickelodeon (Netherlands) April 2007
Brazil Nickelodeon Brazil July 21, 2007
Israel Nickelodeon Israel 2009
Pakistan Nickelodeon (Pakistan) August 20, 2007
Croatia Nickelodeon (Croatia) 2007
Bulgaria Nickelodeon (Bulgaria) November 16, 2007
Greece Nickelodeon (Greece) April 20, 2012

TV movie premieres and releases[edit]

Season Title Episode # First Air Date DVD Release
1 The Naked Brothers Band: The Movie Pilot January 27, 2007 April 3, 2007
1 Battle of the Bands 11–12 October 6, 2007 September 4, 2007
2 Sidekicks 14–15 January 21, 2008 N/A
2 Polar Bears 26–28 June 6, 2008 June 17, 2008
3 Mystery Girl 29–30 October 18, 2008 N/A
3 Operation Mojo 31–32 November 22, 2008 N/A
3 Naked Idol 36–37 March 14, 2009 N/A
3 The Premiere 38–39 April 11, 2009 N/A

Debuts and releases[edit]

Season Episodes First Air Date Last Air Date Release date
Season 1 13 February 3, 2007 October 20, 2007 January 8, 2008
Season 2 15 January 21, 2008 June 6, 2008 October 21, 2008
Season 3 12 October 18, 2008 June 13, 2009 N/A

Awards[edit]

In 2005, The Naked Brothers Band: The Movie won the audience award for a family feature film at the Hamptons International Film Festival.[7][13][14][15] Of Hecht's attendance, he said, "I could see there was an audience for this. They're real kids, real brothers, making real music."[32]

Draper received a Writers Guild Award nomination for the episode "Nat is a Stand-Up Guy" in the section of Children's Episodic and Specials in 2008.[38] The following year, in 2009, the TV movie Polar Bears won Draper a WGA for Children's Script — Long Form or Special; it was the only one nominated in the category.[39] In 2007, Nat was nominated for Best TV Actor at the Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards in the United Kingdom.[40] Moreover, the adult Wolff and his sons received a Broadcast Music, Inc. Cable Award for their work on the show's music. In 2008, the series' cast performed at the KCAs in United States; the following year, Nat was nominated for Favorite TV Actor.[41]

Reception[edit]

"The songs, actually written by Nat, may not top the charts, but they're far more tolerable than Kidz Bop and are hard to shake once the show is over. Amazingly, all of the kids here [are] real musicians. If Draper really wants to create a show business legacy, she should sell her secrets on how to get kids to practice their musical instruments."
—Laura Fries from Variety[15]

When the film premiered on the network, it was seen by an average of 2.7 million viewers; it placed the top 10 spot on the Nielsen VideoScan children's non-theatrical DVD charts.[31][42] The movie was also broadcast four times, producing a total viewership of 14 million.[43] The band's hit song "Crazy Car" sold more than 100,000 downloads online; it was placed on the top 100 Billboard Charts for seven weeks and the track was featured on the Nickelodeon's Kids' Choice, Vol 3.[31][44]

According to a 2007 PRNewswire article, the show "quickly became one of the top programs for tweens on television".[31] The series is in a popular category, along with Disney Channel's Hannah Montana and Cory in the House.[17] By October 2007, Nick.com's message boards had 5.3 million pages viewed, causing online madness.[31] The show has three video games online that have been played about 24 million times.[31] Moreover, fans have downloaded over 800 thousand podcasts.[31]

"They could really do well. In the past, Nickelodeon properties had done OK, but they have not really had huge successes like Disney's Hannah Montana or High School Musical, but the viewership numbers for the Naked Brothers are promising and they could be the ones to break through."
—Geoff Mayfield, director of charts and senior analyst of Billboard Magazine[27]

The premiere of the series acquired the channel as favorable for children aged 6–11; Nielsen Media Research calculates—of in that age range—approximately 1.3 million people have watched the first 10 episodes of the series.[17] For all ages, most of the first season attracted approximately 2.8 million viewers per week.[27] It was one of the quickest starts in about three decades for the network.[17][45] The evening the show debuted on the channel aired two episodes, averaging out to a total viewership of 4.7 million. The first one, "VMA's", drew exactly 3.5 million viewers. The next airing was "Wolff Brother's Cry Wolff" which garnered a sum of 3.8 million viewers; the episode gave the channel its' most favorable ratings in seven years.[3] From February 12 to 18 in 2007, the series garnered 4 million viewers; it was the sixth most watched program for the week.[46] For all ages, the premiere of the season one television movie "Battle of the Bands" was equally as successful with a viewership of exactly 3.8 million.[47]

The premiere of the second season TV movie "Sidekicks" garnered a total of 3.6 million viewers.[48] The TV movie "Polar Bears" aired as the second season's finale which drew 1.7 million viewers for children aged 6–11; it was the second most watched show for the week in that age group.[49] The series flourished the most with the airing of the season three TV movie "Mystery Girl", producing a viewership of 4 million.[50] A month later, the TV movie "Operation Mojo" was broadcast to an audience of 2.8 million viewers.[51] When the season three TV special "Valentine Dream Date" aired, it was also successful; exactly 3.2 million viewers watched it.[52]

Ronnie Sheib from Variety praised the film, stating that it is: "Convincingly faithful to kids' rhythms and speech patterns, and featuring several catchy if one-chorus numbers, this bouncy, feel-good kid pic, with targeted release strategy, could rock peers and parents alike."[53] Tami Horiuchi from Amazon.com said that the film is a "funny spoof of the Hollywood rockumentary genre [which] is so over-done that some viewers might find it distasteful, offensive, and/or inappropriate for children" and recommends an age group between the ages of 9–13.[54] Commonsense Media suggests that the film is age appropriate for children aged 10 and over; they gave the film a two out of a five star rating.[55] Felicia R. Lee from The New York Times called, both the film and the television series, "an ebullient mock documentary."[7]

"Nat Wolff's soulful and catchy original songs will be a hit with kids and adults alike. The simple, yet kid-poignant music and videos might even inspire other real kids to go after their own dreams, making up their own songs or shooting their own homemade-style music videos."
—Albie Hecht[6]

The executive vice president of development and original programming for Nickelodeon, Marjorie Cohn explains: "The Naked Brothers Band series has exploded and continues to grow in popularity as a multiplatform and international property for Nickelodeon."[31] She also notes, prior to broadcasting the second season, that "Nat and Alex are bonafide rock stars who have captured the hearts of kids everywhere with their original music and we're excited to kick off a brand-new season of their hit series. This season finds the band prepping for their tour while still having the same ups and downs of kid-dom that their fans at home are experiencing. It's this authenticity that's the appeal of the show - plus the music is irresistible."[56]

The family had encountered an incident in the past; the family had to delist their changed phone number in Lower Manhattan because fans were calling their apartment relentlessly.[16][17] Draper recalls,[16] "Little girls would call and say, 'Helloooo, is [Nat] there? We just love him.' The only thing that's comforting is, they're pretty harmless at that age." According to Nat,[17] "After the show came on, people began to really treat us like huge rock stars. They'd scream on the street, and we'd look behind us to see what they were screaming about, because we didn't realize it was us."

Despite the show's prosperity—in terms of its viewership ratings, as it came close to wrap up filming for the third season, network bosses urged the family to lengthen the season from 13 episodes to 60. Nevertheless, prior agreements had already been made between Draper, her husband and Hecht's agents that shooting would not interfere with the boys' school schedule. Network executives chose no longer to conform to the family's demands, prompting Draper and Wolff to cancel the series in mid-2009. Of the cancellation, no formal announcement had been made by either the family or network.[5]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]