Fluffy teen pop could no longer be dismissed in early 2000, for 'N Sync wholly characterized such pandemonium when they beat out Backstreet Boys in selling nearly two-and-a-half million copies of their second album, No Strings Attached, during its first week of release. This was a heavy, pinch-hitting double take in the face of angst-ridden rock as well, and the world of teenybopper frills and thrills would not be beckoned. Playing into the wide world of teen pop sensations, MTV went straight to helm and created a shiny-happy boy band spoof straight from the Spinal Tap mold. What could have been called Match Box 20 and 30, 5GETHER, and Driving 30, was appropriately tagged 2ge+her. To capture the fictitious boy band, video director Nigel Dick was privy to the idea. Dick, known for his fashionable storyline videos for Britney Spears, Guns 'N Roses, and Radiohead, chiefed the made-for-TV movie about the cute five-piece boy band parody. The film and soundtrack premiered in February and young teen fans were introduced to the boys of 2ge+her: "the heart-throb" Jerry O'Keefe (Evan Farmer), "the rebel" Mickey Parke (Alex Solowitz), "the cutie" Jason "QT" McKnight (Michael Cuccione), "the shy one" Chad Linus (Noah Bastian), and "the older brother" Doug Linus (Kevin Farley).
The actors actually sang on the soundtrack's formulated hits, like "U + Me = Us (Calculus)" and "Say It (Don't Spray It)," songs penned under chart-topping songwriters/producers Viet Renn (Backstreet Boys, 'N Sync), Dennis Lambert (Natalie Cole), Tony Battaglia and Henry Gross (Mandy Moore), and KNS Productions. Six months later, the members of 2gether were MTV darlings and favorites with the TRL scene. The group released their full-length 2ge+her: Again and the humorous single "The Hardest Thing About Breaking Up (Is Getting Your Stuff Back." Aside from playing dates on Britney Spears' summer tour, MTV also propelled a weekly series about the novelty act in fall 2000.
Unfortunately the new millennium brought tragic news to the 2ge+her camp. Michael Cuccione, who played Jason "Q.T." Knight, passed away from natural causes January 13, 2001, just days after turning 16. A month prior, Cuccione had been battling constant respiratory problems that excelled after a December car accident that left him in the hospital with pneumonia. At age nine, Cuccione was also treated for Hodgkin's disease and it was successfully treated with a bone marrow transplant, however the process left him unable to breathe properly through his lungs. Taping episodes for the MTV spoof show allocated Cuccione to have a portable oxygen machine present. ~ MacKenzie Wilson