In making the jump from YouTube to cable on Nickelodeon, AwesomenessTV predictably has left the edgier bits behind — so as not to ruffle the feathers of parents of the target tween aud — with the resulting product relying on hackneyed kid-comedy tropes.
Still, if the premiere episode of “AwesomenessTV” on Nick on Monday night (8 p.m. ET/PT) is any indication, the 13-episode skein will provide suitably harmless juiceboxes of entertainment to fill the school-free dog days of summer. That is, unless kids get bored seeing what are essentially reruns of material that they’ve already seen on YouTube.
Clips that comprise the show are repurposed from AwesomenessTV’s YouTube channel, which has garnered more than 1 billion views since launching about a year ago. (In May, DreamWorks Animation acquired AwesomenessTV.) The show’s comedic sensibility revolves around gentle jokes poking fun at clueless adults and preteen angst.
In AwesomenessTV’s repackaging for Nickelodeon, the main innovations are the addition of a laugh track — to make the sketches seem more like “TV” — and a host, Daniella Monet (of Nick’s “Victorious”), who provides connective tissue between sketches.
The Nick show is largely designed to play to an audience unfamiliar with AwesomenessTV, but could seem stale to its YouTube followers. Lead-off segment of Terry the Tomboy’s summer fashion tips (to wit, smearing dirt on your face) went online nearly a year ago. The show included two clips of a “Candid Camera”-style gag of dudes appearing to drop iMac boxes (cue sound of shattering glass) in front of startled onlookers, which posted last August.
Meanwhile, some (arguably funnier) AwesomenessTV sketches are unlikely to make an appearance on TV. For example, it’s doubtful this popular YouTube clip — “Harry Pottymouth,” with an F-bomb-dropping boy wizard — will find its way onto Nick, even with the profanities bleeped out. Other bits that probably won’t pass Nick’s smell test are iFarty, a parody of the Viacom net’s “iCarly” series, and “Selena Gomez Flashes Her Underwear!”
Highlight of the premiere episode, according to the 7- and 9-year-old girls I watched the show with, were the precocious little-kid tag team of Zay Zay and JoJo. In “G.I. JoJo,” the duo track down their dad, who has stolen their juice pouches, and pelt him with water balloons. (Both members of my mini focus group pronounced the clip “awesome.”) Again, it has already played on YouTube — but it was new to them.