Stream It Or Skip It: ‘Olympic Dreams Featuring Jonas Brothers’ on NBC, Where The Pop Superstars Train With The World’s Greatest Athletes

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics kick off this week, only a year later than planned. In preparation for this momentous moment in sports, NBC has corralled one of the biggest families in pop music for a special event. Olympic Dreams Featuring Jonas Brothers finds the eponymous musical trio of brothers testing their athletic mettle against top athletes in three Olympic events, to see if they’ve got what it takes to go for the gold.

Opening Shot: A montage of the Brothers Jonas—Nick, Joe, and Kevin—suited up in their USA Olympics-branded training gear, talking about their supposed lifelong dream of becoming Olympic athletes, interspersed with clips of NBC/Universal talking heads expressing incredulity at the idea. It’s not clear if it’s all just a bit, but if it is, they’re committing to the bit.

The Gist: After a year-long pandemic-induced delay, the Summer Olympics are finally back, and NBC couldn’t be happier; the sporting home of the world’s greatest quadrennial athletic competition has been waiting anxiously for this moment. In celebration of the Games’ approach, they’ve enlisted the Jonas Brothers, a multimillion-selling trio of musical brothers who burst onto the scene 15 years ago and have recently reunited after a long hiatus. As they prepare for an upcoming concert tour, the brothers are getting back in shape by—allegedly—training for their other dream in life, becoming Olympic athletes. They’re going to train with top athletes in three events: track and field, gymnastics, and BMX biking—in the hope that maybe they can become stars in a second world.

, Stream It Or Skip It: ‘Olympic Dreams Featuring Jonas Brothers’ on NBC, Where The Pop Superstars Train With The World’s Greatest Athletes, The Nzuchi Times News
Photo: NBC

What Shows Will It Remind You Of? Reaching back a bit in the annals of reality television, the show’s got a real touch of Pros vs. Joes, even despite the Jonas Brothers’ obvious non-Joe status in life.

Our Take: The central conceit of Olympic Dreams Featuring Jonas Brothers is an obvious gag; whether or not the musical brothers ever truly did dream of becoming Olympians, no one is expected to believe that they harbor serious hopes of doing it now that they’ve become chart-topping pop idols. That said, if you can suspend disbelief for an hour, there’s a lot to enjoy in this sunny little warm-up special for the Olympics, and most of that is the chance for real-life athletes to shine while putting the brothers through their paces.

The show sees the brothers taking on three events, and for each, actual medal-stand-veteran Olympians have been enlisted to be the boys’ trainers. This roster includes track and field stars Sydney McLaughlin and Sanya Richards-Ross, gymnasts Laurie Hernandez and Nastia Liukin, and BMX bike rider Alise Willoughby. Short of crossover stars like Simone Biles or professional athletes like in basketball, we have a narrow window every four (or five) years when we truly get to appreciate these athletes in any substantive television screen time, and they make the most of their shot in this special.

Sports-media mainstays Rich Eisen and Terry Crews make appearances as the commentators in each “event day”, as the brothers apply the lessons they’ve learned in their brief training sessions in mock competition against each other. These are quick segments, and they’re silly by design—the brothers demonstrate just how hard it is to pick up these skills quickly, and Eisen and Crews provide tongue-in-cheek play-by-play of their efforts.

Despite the obvious manufactured sheen of the proceedings, the sibling rivalry comes off as realistic; as they compete, the boys playfully trash-talk and bust each others’ chops, with oldest brother Kevin reminding the younger two of his (relative) experience advantage, having been a high-school athlete. It’s the most authentic portion of the program; you can easily believe that, even if the brothers don’t plan on making the next Olympic team, they do want to beat each other in these little competitions. (So much so that one suffers a real-life injury in one of the events. I won’t spoil it if you don’t already know.)

, Stream It Or Skip It: ‘Olympic Dreams Featuring Jonas Brothers’ on NBC, Where The Pop Superstars Train With The World’s Greatest Athletes, The Nzuchi Times News

Sex and Skin: Nothing. This is a family program about a family band. C’mon, what did you expect?

Parting Shot: The brothers sign off from athletic competition with a faux press conference, recalling the vibe of the original (pre-Emmy-winning-series) NBC “Ted Lasso” soccer ads. The show leaves you primed to see actual Olympians taking on their sports for real, the Jonases having demonstrated how difficult it is for “normal” people (as much as they can be called that) to compete in them.

Sleeper Star: Each of the events’ trainers shines in their brief window, but none more so than the track and field pair of McLaughlin and Richard-Ross, who are utterly charming as they teach the boys how to clear hurdles without falling on their faces. (Nick does.)

Most Pilot-y Line: “For anyone watching the Olympics at home this year, and thinking to yourself ‘I could do that’, youngest brother (and biggest star) Nick notes, addressing the camera after a tough session learning to jump hurdles, “just let me tell you something: you can’t.”

Our Call: STREAM IT. Olympic Dreams Featuring Jonas Brothers is, at its core, an advertisement, meant to promote both NBC’s Olympics coverage and the trio’s upcoming concert tour. That said, it’s not a bad one—watching it did get me excited for the upcoming Games, which felt like an empty spot in the calendar last summer. This is by no means groundbreaking television, but it’s a good, family-friendly, funny program that’s a perfectly capable segue into Friday’s opening ceremonies.

 Scott Hines is an architect, blogger and internet user who lives in Louisville, Kentucky with his wife, two young children, and a small, loud dog.

Watch Olympic Dreams on NBC

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