In the final episode of Netflix’s YA Christmas romance Dash & Lily, the Jonas Brothers have what (at first) seems to be a straightforward cameo. The ever-earnest Boomer is at their outdoor New Year’s Eve concert at Hudson Yards, so too-cool-for-school Dash has to show up in order to apologize to his best friend. The JoBros play “Like it’s Christmas,” their upbeat holiday song from last year (this year’s tune is a slow jam) while Dash apologizes for being a jerk. Boomer forgives him and forgoes the rest of the concert to help Dash plan his grand gesture.
And that’s where things go a little off the rails.
Dash, Boomer, and all of their friends, including Priya, Sofia, and the Challah Back Boys, need to get away from the loud music of the concert to plan how Dash will apologize to Lily and woo her back. They go to a quiet spot courtesy of the Challah Back Boys, which just so happens to be Nick Jonas’s trailer. If that weren’t odd enough, after a few minutes of Sofia breaking down what’s wrong with men treating women like damsels in distress (she really is the gender and relationships MVP of this show), none other Nick Jonas himself comes in. I guess the concert is just done now? Or they’re doing a song without him? Or it’s a very long break?
Nick’s entrance is marked with a softened record scratch, so the show is at least somewhat aware that it’s deeply weird for this to be happening. Boomer and Sofia look a bit surprised, but only Priya brings a normal human level of holy shit to the proceedings, bouncing in her chair and saying, “This is his trailer?!”
And yet, music superstar Nick Jonas is not shocked and upset to find several teens have broken into his trailer. Instead, he’s actually sympathetic to their cause. Nick agrees with the wise Sofia that Dash should go to Lily as himself rather than trying to rescue her. “When I proposed, I had to dig deep and get vulnerable—”
It looks like a lightbulb practically goes off in Dash’s brain because he cuts Nick Jonas off and the group leaves, as Nick tells them he wasn’t done with his story yet. Dash hugs him, tells him he was perfect, and says “thank you Nick Jonas,” as one would have to do in that situation, and Priya valiantly tries to stay. After they’re gone, poor Nick Jonas looks about as baffled as I feel, shaking his head like wtf did I just experience?
And then no one ever mentions it again. Not to Lily or each other, like it was a collective hallucination or some kind of fever dream.
So what the heck was that and why did it happen? Eagle-eyed viewers may have noticed a familiar name in the credits of sweet new Christmas favorite Dash & Lily: Nick Jonas is an executive producer. The show is the first from the youngest Jonas’s new production company, Image 32.
Loyal Jonas fans will of course remember Nick from his Disney days, which Dash & Lily references with one of the Challah Back Boys mentioning “we went to Band Camp together.” Winking, of course, toward Camp Rock and Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam, the wildly successful Disney Channel original movies starring the Jonas Brothers and Demi Lovato. Since then, Nick has had stints in Ryan Murphy’s Scream Queens and the new Jumanji franchise.
As an EP, Nick could of course arrange for his band to appear and for his own spotlight moment. But it’s not like his acting career necessarily needs the boost, and the show doesn’t even promote the band’s current Christmas song. The Jonas Brothers cameo and Nick’s more bananas scene would definitely appeal to YA audiences, both actual young adults and grown folks who love YA, but with their cameo a secret until the show’s release, it’s not like they were using the Jonas Brothers as a significant marketing strategy.
Nick told ET that he and the band filmed their part while they were on their Chasing Happiness tour back in 2019. “We had to jam it in on a show day just before our concert in New Jersey,” Jonas said. “So I owe my brothers a little bit for spending their day off on set with me and Dash & Lily, but they had a great time and it was a fun thing to get done.”
And it turns out the Jonas Brothers weren’t always necessarily going to be included.
“Shawn Levy, who’s the other executive producer of the show with 21 Laps — we go a long way back with him to the Night at the Museum days, we were the cherubs in that movie. We’ve always tried to think of something we could work on together and he sent this to me and I loved it. He was backstage at one of our shows, while we were already in production on [Dash & Lily]. He came back and we started talking about the show and if there was any way possibly for us to pop up and do something.”
So why did this happen? Reading Nick’s interview, it seems like he wanted to find a way to be more involved, and he actually got pretty emotional reflecting on his proposal to Priyanka Chopra, which sort of adds to the overall romcom effect, even if it’s a weird scene.
“For any person that proposes to their person and, even as confident as self-assured as you can be walking into that situation, it’s still a little nerve-wrecking [sic]. And it should be because it’s a pretty big question,” Jonas said. “It was fun to be able to say that and it was really funny because I’m sitting there going, ‘OK here I am, not much older than these young actors, but here I’m giving this advice.’ Made me feel kind of like, ‘Oh shit I’m getting older and it’s happening.'”
For the record, Dash doesn’t propose to Lily, but we get what you mean, Nick Jonas. Putting yourself out there is hard! Especially for walled-off cynics like Dash.
There you have it. Our baby Nick Jonas is all grown up and giving advice to fictional teens.