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TV Review: Jack’s Big Music Show

Jack’s Big Music Show is an often forgotten and underestimated show currently in syndication on Nick Jr. most weekdays and weekends. From the research I’ve found on various sites, the show was produced between 2005 to 2007 and is not currently in active production, which is upsetting because this happens to be one of my daughter’s favorite shows.

The format of the show is relatively standard – each episode starts with the main character Jack, a puppet, walking to his outdoor clubhouse with a reminder from an off-screen mother yelling about an afternoon errand or activity they will need to depart for shortly – this has no real relevance to the show, but it’s often a funny and bizarre activity (ex. pole vaulting class). Once inside the clubhouse, Jack sings the show’s opening (and closing) song, introducing his best friend Mary and his dog Mel (both puppets).

As the title states, the theme of the show is music and most shows involve Mary, Jack, and Mel playing various instruments and singing songs that will play into the storyline of the day. While Mel is mainly a percussionist, he also joins Jack and Mary playing almost every instrument imaginable. The storylines will vary quite a bit – from Mel needing a bath to a visit from a musically-inclined alien to a grumpy neighborhood squirrel who needs a lullabye – but they all revolve around some type of minor conflict and a resolution grounded in music and the appreciation of music, with a little bit of fun and comedy along the way. There are usually 2 music video segments in the show, introduced by Mel walking over to his magical musical device, (a cartoon-looking television with xylophone controls on the front) and tapping the xylophone keys with a mallet. Almost every show includes a music video by Laurie Berkner (more on her in a minute).

One the key ingredients that makes this show impactful with my daughter is the musical believability of the puppets – it appears that the puppeteers and producers of this show go to great lengths to ensure that the puppet’s hands are exactly synchronized with the music, to make the puppets actually look like they are playing guitar, piano, drums, etc. This craftsmanship and the catchy songs keep my daughter locked in.

Other show highlights:

The Schwartsmen Quartet – About midway through every show the doorbell to the clubhouse rings, followed by the collective group in the clubhouse saying “Come in!” or “Who is it?” In pops a barbershop quarter of puppets singing a barbershop-styled song about the storyline of the day. The songs are catchy and provide an amusing interuption for the show.

Laurie Berkner - I will always have fond affection for Jack’s Big Music Show because it introduced us to Laurie Berkner. As I mentioned earlier, Laurie and her band make an appearance in every episode of Jack, showcasing one of their many catchy songs in a mid-show music video. In a few episodes she appears on the set with Jack and company to sing a song live in the clubhouse. Laurie’s songs are the perfect combination of upbeat music, and interactive, fun lyrics that make parents want to sing along and keeps the kids engaged. Every time Laurie lands on the screen my daughter yells out, “Laurie Berkis!”, which is the best she can do with “Berkner” (she’s only 2-years-old). We’ve since bought Laurie’s CDs, DVDs, and our DVR has a permanent entry for a special Laurie Berkner tribute show from 2009 on Noggin (previous version of Nick Jr.). If for no other reason, you should watch this show for Laurie.

Jack’s Next Activity – As I mentioned above, every show starts with Jack’s off-screen mother yelling a reminder that they have somewhere to go soon. These next activities are usually bizarre and a chuckle for adults watching the show. For example, Jack’s Mom: “Jack! Don’t forget we have to go to…Pole Vaulting Class…Boomerang Lessons”

Again, big thumbs up for Jack’s Big Music Show on Nick Jr. If you can’t find it on your TV Guide or you don’t have cable, you can always buy some DVDs of the show available from Nick (we’ve done this for the DVD player in the car).

Other references:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack’s_Big_Music_Show

http://www.nickjr.com/jacks-big-music-show/

http://www.spiffypictures.com/jack.htm

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One Response to “TV Review: Jack’s Big Music Show”

  1. Kelly Matthiesen says:

    My son is 9 months old today. He ABSOLUTELY loves Jack’s Big Music Show. He loves all the music and beats and sounds. We have recorded all of our favorite episodes on DVR. He watches them every time he eats (breakfast, lunch, and dinner). I was shocked when I went online and found out that it went off the air in 2007. I then decided to go online to see if I could purchase a DVD of the show. I found the Let’s Rock DVD….and was very dispointed b/c it only had 4 episodes…and they were not our favorites. I don’t mind spending the money on the DVD if I could just get my favorite episodes (silly show, grumpy, leonard the country squirrl, coo-coo bird, SPUNKY – my all time favorite). Seriously people…..PLEASE BRING THIS SHOW BACK………..OR AT LEAST MAKE A DVD OF EVERY EPISODE!!!!!!!!!!

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