Author:  Nsync  (esp. Justin Timberlake and J.C. Chasez)

Title:  Popodyssey show;

      Film “On the Line” 

Where seen: Concert at Minneapolis Metrodome, June 24, 2001

Distributors:  Jive Records, Nsync Productions., Miramax (“On the Line”): 

Performance time: 83 minutes for “On the Line”; 65 minutes for “I Hate Babysitting”

Cast: Lance Bass and Joey Fatone (for “On the Line”); Justin Timberlake, J.C. Chasez, Lance Bass, Joey Fatone, Chris Kirkpatrick (for concert)

Recording available: Jive Records  0-1241-41758-2 for “Celebrity” CD

Relevance to doaskdotell: “unit cohesion”

OKAY, IT’S TIME TO GET ‘NSYNC (the “Popodyssey” show).


Minneapolis, the Metrodome, June 24, 2001, Concert; Justin Timberlake, J.C. Chasez, Lance Bass, Joey Fatone, Chris Kirkpatrick



Sorry, guys, my word processor doesn’t point the apostrophe in the right direction. But I think you find this in the search engines. I’m no Barton Fink (1991) laboriously typing my tomes defining “pop” and odyssey,


Okay, I get around to reviewing a boy band (that is, male “pop stars” singing and dancing in quintets), maybe the “largest” one in terms of visibility. It stormed into the Metrodome while the Twins (very much on probation) were breaking a road losing streak, as the heavy hitting “visiting team.” 


I had seen a few of the ABC “Making the Band” episodes and the grueling process of O-town (Orlando) and I actually met one of the other bands (by accident) in Las Vegas in 2000.  However, Nsync “live” goes beyond the singing and dancing and snazzy videos to be something like a Big Top, Vegas show, and sports event—and even 4th of July Party (or maybe Y2K)—all on one performance.  The motion and athletics are awesome.  The manner of singing and delivery sometimes seems beckoning, as if the “boys” will be your friends for 90 minutes, and they seem to be approachable (like Matt and Ben, maybe). 


Sonically, the enclosed Metrodome blurred the lyrics, and although the music itself was not constantly excessively loud, the crowd (the teenage girls screaming in soprano) sometimes was unbearable, leaving me with tinnitus all next day.


A boy band like this is indeed more like an athletic team than anything else.  It must have the cohesion of an Army cohort, and it demands the physical fitness of a Green Beret or Navy Seal.  Boy band performers are professional athletes every bit as much as pro football players (but so are ballet dancers).  What happens of one of them gets hurt.  I wonder how well the cochlea of these performers survives the years, a sacrifice they make to entertain us.


While the content sounds superficial, it is laced with social and literary meanings—songs like “The Game is Over”, “Celebrity,” and even “Selfish.”  The earlier hit “Bye, Bye, Bye”, where they boys fly from puppet strings, seems inspired by a Robert Henlein sci-fi story.   The show had a long prequel, with Meredith Edwards, and a girl band, a quintet making a grand entrance in military dress and disrobing to show female bodybuilders, presumably to entertain the heterosexual men, or maybe to make a bit of a statement about my pet issue.  One of the Nsync video songs, “I want to be me,” takes off on the Disney “Toy Story” movies to show “the boys” as presents, coming to life at checkout in a store (Target??) and escaping toy soldiers, only to see stacks of dominoes marked “Nsync” topple over; perhaps there is some deep satire of the military and a domino theory built on deception. (OK, "don't ask don't tell" and gay in the military.)   Once Nsync makes its grand entrance in a live show, it seems as though “the men” are taking over the world and the earlier female entertainment is cast as fluff.  Rather chauvinistic.


The men of Nsync stand on pedestals, as in their first song (literally, a la Dreamworks) and love to fly through the air on trapeze wires. Draped in colorful costumes, they rather resembled colorful male birds singing to stake out their territories and scare away the predators! Young America (as in the town and company in Minnesota) looks up to them as role models. The show had the appropriate warning to the public against drug use.  Their act is colorful and energetic, but wholesome enough for the entire family (let’s say PG, since Chris likes to cross dress sometimes).  Unlike the rock groups of the past (even maybe the Beatles), Nsync has set itself up as a quintet of supermen, in a way as clean cut as the military.


Lance Bass and Joey Fatone will play soon in a romantic comedy from Miramax, On the Line, with the gag line, “Have you ever met the perfect girl (and let her get away)?” Well, all of the Nsync members talk about wanting to act, and I hope that more challenging dramatic opportunities would interest them.  But, how would a controversial role by one of the members affect the popularity of the group with its current teen audience?  Maybe Okay, because kids want somebody like them that they can look up to (even the imaginary Harry Potter).  Remember, Matt and Ben wrote their way to stardom with their own pens (or wordprocessors). 


On October 29, 2001 I saw this film.  Yes, it is silly and sentimental, and fun. It’s interesting that Kevin Gibbons (Lance Bass) makes a name for himself by plastering the city with ads to find his girlfriend, and eventually gets billboard owners to give him free space, in civic spirit for Chicago,  He picks low tech rather than the Internet. At work (am ad agency where he can be “creative”), a client complains about his own claim to “right of publicity” and then reverses itself.  I talk about this point elsewhere at this site. Lance Bass sometimes does interviews of other stars on MTV and he seems more convincing as a speaker or interviewer than as an actor, where he seems almost to be playing himself.  Same comment for Joey Fatone, and even Justin Timberlake, who makes a cameo appearance as himself in the end credits.  The boys of Nsync supposedly want to get into the movies (even with an Imax venture) but they may learn that they can contribute with more serious fare. Their CD “Celebrity” already hints at that, where Justin Timberlake’s controversial song dissects the importance of fame in relation to personhood. 


The July 2001 CD “Celebrity” is named after the second song, by Justin Timberlake, and the concept is hammered home effectively.  At one point the poem equates a person to a “name” (brand) —and questions the “love” of another for the “name,” or shall we say, fantasy (and looks).  We could turn this around and wonder how important celebrity is to self-concept, in an age where it is easier and also testier to become a celebrity. The “chorus” resonates as in a Greek tragedy.


Also—why does Justin have to disfigure his legs with those silly tattoos and body art? (in Alpha Dog (2007, Universal, Nick Cassavetes), it looks as though his arms are shaved and his formerly role model body riddled with tattoos; such is the life of an actor.) I thought that he was supposed to present himself as the paradigm of bodily perfection. Heavens, we could have a draft again. (Then, to compound things, he appears "softened" on the cover of a September 2002 issue of Entertainment with his forearms pre-shaved for rolled up sleeves--oh, well, what they can do with computer-generated art, they can fool anybody. Guiliani, after all, has appeared in drag. Oh! Oh!  (Fun with Dick and Jane) – look at Justin as revealed on the cover of Details (that silly hetero magazine), or is that Leonardo Di Caprio?  If it really is Justin, he’s melted away completely. I don’t believe it.  Write a C# class with delegates to model these events.  (Oh, no, now check the buff photo on Rolling Stone; Justin really “got it.”  On the other hand, the Christmas Eve issue of The Advocate with the cover story “Coolest Straight People of 2002” makes him still look “all man”—remember how The Advocate had torn up tennis pro Andre Agassi?) With all of these salons offering supposedly painless and quick “painless” epilation, I wonder if most male icons will decide that women find body hair uncouth, or at least making one look “too old.” David Skinner already weighed in on this in the Weekly Standard; see note 18A)


As for the press stories about Lance Bass in July 2006, here are a couple links:  

People Magazine, Aug. 7, 2006, has the tabloid-like cover “’Nsync’s Lance Bass Exclusive: I;m Gay” with a handsome cover headshot that even reveals some chest hair. The inside story mentions his 2002 training to ride on the space shuttle, but his promoters couldn’t come up with the money. (Is it “don’t ask don’t tell” in the cramped, military-like living in space?)

(Reuters July 26, 2006) – may be archived and require a subscription. 


Here’s a spot to comment about the Minnesota-produced comedy, I Hate Babysitting, produced and directed by Tara Spartz.  Indeed, it seems like a spoof of teenage heterosexuality—specifically of upper middle class teen-age girls (specifically, those living in Coon Rapids, Mn. in Anoka County along Highway 10), the kind that supposedly go to Nsync concerts and scream.  Well, these girls outsmart the grownups and throw wild parties while baby-sitting, even to the point of letting pooches put pooh on the carpet and of letting a little boy get his head stuck in the railing.  Landlords will hate them when they’re on their own. A local DVD (albeit wide-screen) comedy like this is funny in a way that a bigger studio film like American Pie can’t be. (I’m not sure that the part with the granny with Alzheimer’s was funny.)  Girls, your heroes are a lot more mature than this; Nsync is a big business.

Another note. Justin Timberlake stars in “Alpha Dog” (2006, New Line, dir. Nick Cassavettes) and in previews he is covered with tattoos and looks absolutely ruined. At one time he was one of the best looking…. But actors have to ruin themselves, sometimes.    


Related film: Alpha Dog (Justin Timberlake); Lance Bass at 2006 HRC dinner


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