Millennials space pretty jaded when it involves teen idols; probably this is since the people we prospered up with had actually a tendency to carry out things choose pee into mop buckets. Contrasted to this, the young bands of previously generations to be squeaky clean—just look in ~ The new Kids on the Block. Consisted of of Donnie Wahlberg, Danny Wood, Joey McIntyre, and brothers Jordan and Jonathan Knight, the group rose to fame in the late "80s together a tape of wholesome, fresh-faced teen heartthrobs. Despite the band"s early stage success gave means in the mid-"90s to a brand-new generation of masculine heartthrobs (aka spiky-haired Mickey Mousers in monochromatic fits), ultimately they had a 2nd life after taking advantage of the cherished nostalgia circuit, participating in staples favor the Delaware State Fair and fan cruises—the latter of which forms the communication of their truth show, Rock This Boat.

Though the present seems to have gone on indefinite hiatus after ~ two periods (the 2018 iteration that the cruise is tho a go, regardless of there being no clues of a 3rd season that the show), it"s still a perennial rewatch for me. Adhering to seven groups of die-hard fans as they board a cruise delivery to the Caribbean in order come party for 4 days with the new Kids (though, some fans have other, shady motivations, choose a trio of scummy Scotsmen eager to use the cruise to hit on women), Rock This Boat is just as bizarre as you’d imagine it to be. 

At that base, all reality television is exploitative, however Rock This Boat stretches this idea to an extreme level. From the shots the screeching women asking this group of middle-aged men to take it off their shirts to the hellish loop the stale brand-new Kids access time from the "80, most human being will acknowledge this together a present explicitly filmed and also edited to bolster the brand-new Kids’ egos. After all, there"s something to it is in said around being able come quantify your worth via pure network worth, yet does money really consist of for the hit her ego will inevitably take together you age? also if friend don"t necessarily require the cash, how does a payday also compare through the allure the reliving your glory days? 

Once you with this eye roll-inducing present though, the present becomes an equally fascinating and also entertaining study in the means reality television can be aided and abetted through a group of all-too-willing participants. And also while this is the formula most reality tv operates upon, it"s illuminated top top Rock This Boat in a method that pressures you to pause and consider if these people"s motivations are (at the very least partially) funded by a production company. 

Possibly the part of the show that"s most an overwhelming to think is the the people on the cruise space not merely actors hired to accomplish some archetype that the "crazed fan." even if it is it"s city hall a mrs ask her husband on national television for a “free pass” to fuck Wahlberg (yikes), or cringing together a duo (who spends months painstakingly researching the Carnival employee outfits) tries to hijack a room business cart come just accomplish these guys for a second, the is really hard to fathom that anyone would go to these lengths because that members of a boy band that peaked nearly 30 year ago. 

And yet, together a previous fangirl extraordinaire, I have actually a real appreciation for the pure joy plenty of of the Rock This Boat women suffer on this cruise, and also understand that fandom is not constantly rational. Yet, through Rock This Boat, we"re presented through a portrait of 5 washed-up pop stars who somehow still maintain upwards the 3,000 die-hard fans who room willing to invest $2,000 ~ above a cruise in the expect of obtaining a only glimpse the the brand-new Kids. And if the doesn"t seem contempt suspicious, then I"m not certain what does.

If anything, Rock This Boat feels like a low-key conspiracy supposed to bolster the vanity that aging men. Previously the Justin Biebers of your era, Rock This Boat is evidence of just how the breakable male ego have the right to so heavily shade a project. The mere reality that it"s serious asking us to think that a team of former teen heartthrobs deserve to turn a crowd of (ostensibly) sensible middle-aged women right into a lot of irrational teen girls, decades after their heyday, is a authorize of exactly how much we room all supplied to accepting the nostalgia is capable of overriding really sex appeal. 

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The show"s inquiry that we willingly think that this fans would certainly still it is in obsessed v NKOTB references pop culture’s general derision that fangirls as people who can quickly be manipulated right into a mindless gaggle the consumers. The idea that all the takes is a small nostalgia and a passably handsome guy to reduce a mrs to a heap of mush is inherently sexist, it"s one idea that stems indigenous the sort of ingrained misogyny that continues to i have dissolved the understand of females as hysterical and also overly dramatic—and it"s a device that document labels have used come peddle pop for decades.

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For this reason what better way to proceed milking the brand-new Kids" appeal far past their expiration date than producing something choose Rock This Boat

The only difficulty is, due to the fact that the present features a team that"s so much past the prime and is therefore over-the-top in that portrayal the fandom, any rational human watching this can’t help but inquiry the veracity of it all and, subsequently, wonder why the brand-new Kids feeling the must get an additional 15 minutes in the spotlight. Perhaps there"s no definite answer come that, but let"s just say the the display serves together a fascinating reminder the to feel ardently and passionately is not a sin—but vanity definitely is.