While my colleague Alyssa was decidedly unimpressed with the latest American foray from JYP’s popular girl group, I see things a little bit differently.
This show was used to introduce the Wonder Girls to their targeted audience, the teen and tween demographic, and given that caveat, I tried to take myself on a mental time machine before I watched the movie.
The girls stepped off the plane and almost immediately into rivalry and romance. Even though the story was definitely predictable, and frequently cheesy, I think I’d be hard-pressed to find programs in this demographic that aren’t. How many thirteen-year-old American girls do you know that favor deep, intelligent plots over cute clothes and boys? It moved at a fast pace to fit everything in to the allotted 45 minutes, which resulted in some elements feeling rushed, namely Yenny’s instant love interest, DJ Skillz. For me, that part could have been left out, but then it cuts out the important “cute boys” factor. Yenny, Lim, and JYP stole the show in terms of acting, with the latter two providing much of the comic relief that made the movie enjoyable in the first place. How can you not laugh at JYP in one-piece pajamas? Yubin’s delivery was uncomfortable at times, while Sunye and Sohee’s lines were practically non-existent. Overall, the movie was a cute and fun introduction to the Wonder Girls brand.
The question does still remain as to whether this was the right career move for the Wonder Girls, and since breaking into the American market is obviously the group’s goal, I have to say that is it. The teen and tween market is bound to be the most receptive to the pop group style and Nickelodeon or the Disney Channel are the logical avenues to pursue this audience. Both have had proven success with launching musical acts and selling albums based off of their original programming. Will it accomplish their goals? Maybe. If this movie was just a one-off, it is less likely to have an impact. However, if it is used as a stepping stone for future network collaborations (a Wonder Girls & School Gyrls Tour themed show perhaps?) then it is following a proven formula that has worked in the past (Big Time Rush) and could work for the Wonder Girls, too. Since the original airing, Wonder Girls videos have consistently been featured in the top five “Now Being Watched” videos on TeenNick’s website, and even if some of these views are coming from current fans, it can still help to pique the interest of others. For now, we’ll just have to wait and see if this venture “spreads the Wonder” to a new set of fans.