Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Victorious

Victorious; comedy series, USA, 2010-2013; D: Steve Hoefer, Adam Weissman, S: Victoria Justice, Leon Thomas III, Elizabeth Gillies, Matt Bennett, Avan Joggia, Ariana Grande, Daniella Monet

When her sister, Trina, gets sick, teenager Victoria is persuaded to save a show and sing her song, "Make it Shine", on the stage. The audience is so overwhelmed that Victoria is ofered to join the performing arts high school Hollywood Arts, which she accepts. She finds new friends there - Andre, Robbie, Cat as well as Beck and his cynical girlfriend Jade - and goes with a lot of misadventures with them, ranging from a new principal in school, audition for a film up to a director taking all the credit from the crew for a short film.

"Victorious" is one of those teen comedy shows that did not achieve huge popularity for nothing, since the authors managed to make the series fresh and engaging: creator Dan Schneider conjures up characters that are so easily likable that you enjoy watching them even in episodes and situations that are not funny. Not every joke works, since there is too much corny humor, and in the long term some of the original energy starts to waiver in the later seasons, yet they managed to create such a positive youthful energy that it carries the storyline throughout. The most hilarious episode is "Sleepover at Sikowitz's", the one where the teacher challenges his students to play various eccentric parts and never "break character" during the stay at his home, which results in numerous delicious moments, especially since Robbie plays a hyperactive motivational speaker and Tori a daft police girl who constantly eats cereals. A close 2nd is "Blooptorious", where Robbie's puppet leads an interview with the "Victorious" cast and ostensibly pretends to be a neutral moderator while insulting them in reality.

It is a pity "Victorious" never went to some deeper themes, except once, in the only romantic episode in the show, but a one that was almost perfect: in "Jade Gets Crushed" Andre involuntarily gets a crush on her while listening her singing, while Tori tries to dissuade him from those feelings by dressing up as Jade and acting as cynical and mean as her. This one is a triumph on two fronts: not only in narration, for being so wonderfully melancholic in a relaxed way, but also in music, since Andre's love song that he wrote for Jade, "365 Days", is so magical it brings down the house. A few tasteless jokes do show up here and there, but luckily, they are far less common than numerous other comedy shows. As great as Victoria Justice is in the leading role, demonstrating not only that she can act but also sing, the main highlight are two excellent supporting characters that outshine her: "Goth girl" Jade, played wonderfully cynical by Elizabeth Gillies, and Tori's clumsy sister Trina, who is simply so genuinely hilarious that it is impossible not to notice her - the fact that she seems so untalented and awful of an actress, just shows how the real actress playing her, Daniella Monet, is actually so talented and brilliant of an actress in reality.

Grade;++

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