[NYT] Review: ‘Make It Pop’ on Nickelodeon veers toward K-pop

April 14, 2015

 

"Make It Pop" cast from left, Megan Lee, Louriza Tronco and Erika Tham as freshmen at a boarding school who form a band, on Nickelodeon. (Courtesy of Nickelodeon)

“Make It Pop” cast from left, Megan Lee, Louriza Tronco and Erika Tham as freshmen at a boarding school who form a band, on Nickelodeon. (Courtesy of Nickelodeon)

[NEW YORK TIMES]

Two musically inclined freshmen meet on their first day at Mackendrick Preparatory High School, an East Coast boarding school. Sun Hi (Megan Lee) is highly caffeinated and forever filming herself on her phone, providing updates to the fans she doesn’t yet have. Jodi (Louriza Tronco), who comes “by way of Red Hook, Brooklyn,” dresses stylishly and is a cold realist.

Naturally, they’re roommates, and naturally, a huge adventure awaits them. On “Make It Pop,” which beginning Monday will air each weekday on Nickelodeon for a 20-episode run, they begin making music, in spite of the fact that the school doesn’t support them, provide them rehearsal space or think they dress appropriately. And initially, in spite of a third roommate, Corki (Erika Tham), a violin-playing striver with an overbearing father — “I’m here to study hard and get into an American university,” she says.

Of course, Corki is a natural performer underneath her lab coat. Once she’s swayed by the others, they form a group called XO-IQ that’s loosely K-pop in style.

Loosely, because like much of K-pop — shorthand for the often Day-Glo Korean pop music world — it’s got meaningful flecks of club music, R&B and hip-hop. Loosely, because while the music on the show has a heap of the saccharine energy that often permeates the genre, it could just as easily be billed as American pop. Loosely, because it’s easy to advertise a show as K-pop-influenced when its three leads have Asian heritage (not a thing to be overlooked, even on strategically diverse Nickelodeon).

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