Western Animation: Victor And Hugo
'Will they succeed next time? The baddies!'
Victor & Hugo: Bunglers in Crime
Hello? Victor and Hugo of Naughtiness International, no crime too big, no crime too small. How can I help you?'
—Victor, when answering the parrot. I mean telephone.
was an animated series produced by Cosgrove Hall
and ran for two seasons in 1991 and 1992. It aired on Children's ITV
on Fridays and was a spin-off of two guest villains, Gaston and Pierre, from Count Duckula
The series followed the exploits of two French criminal brothers who tried every week to pull off the perfect crime while succeeding only in messing things up, crashing their van and bickering with each other like schoolchildren. Usually they would be following the orders of various heads of nobility or crime lords who would telephone them up on their pet parrot, Interpoll (yes, you read that right), to hire them for the job of the week. Almost every time they would fail in their objective, succeed temporarily by accident or stumble up over something minor but important. The best they could hope for is not to be arrested or imprisoned by the show's end.
Victor is the elder of the two brothers and self-proclaimed leader of 'Naughtiness International'. He is tall, thin and 'handsome', and dressed like a spiv with a large fedora, thin moustache and a kipper tie of which he is inordinately fond. Victor is very conceited and short-tempered and always blames Hugo for anything that goes wrong, even on the odd occasion where it isn't his fault. Victor's spoonerisms were said in the haughty tones of Jimmy Hibbert (Von Goosewing in Count Duckula
and Harry Slime in Avenger Penguins
Hugo is the younger, shorter brother and dresses like a classic Frenchman with triclore jumper, neckerchief and beret. Like Victor, he also wears a bandit-mask. Hugo is definately the less intelligent half of the duo; however, he was prone to pointing out little oversights in Victor's latest 'meticulous plan' as well as teasing him. Because of the teasing, Victor rarely pays attention to these admonishments, which almost always are the cause of the plan's failing. Hugo keeps a pet earwig called Penelope in a matchbox and confides his worries to her. David (Danger Mouse, Count Duckula, Del-Boy Trotter, Inspector Frost, Granville, etc.) Jason spoke in a silly Frenchified version of Bluebottle out of The Goon Show
voice for Hugo. David also spoke in a Cockney accent for Interpoll, the long-suffering pet parrot (and arguably the most intelligent member of the team) who doubled up as a telephone.
Victor and Hugo provides examples of:
- Affably Evil - Despite technically being the villains of the series, they are the central characters and thus more sympathetic.
- The Alleged Car - Victor and Hugo's van was prone to back-firing, rumbling and crashing, though that was mainly due to the brothers' inability to drive correctly, or even remember who was behind the wheel. Given this treatment, it was surprisingly resiliant and had a lot of Hammer Space in the rear.
- Annoying Younger Sibling - Hugo.
- Big Little Man - Mr. Big - who is a tiny mouse in a huge human suit a la Brain's disguise as 'Brian', although this example predates Pinky and the Brain. Coincidentally, Mr. Big is voiced by a Brian - Brian Trueman.
- Catchphrase - The first sign that Hugo had screwed up was usually when Victor asked if he had performed a vital task and got the reply "Yes. And no. Mainly no."
- "It is all your fault! It is always your fault!"
- Cross Over - Many times, either in reference or in guest stars. Count Duckula, Igor, Nanny, Hawkeye Soames and Dr. Potson (from 'Count Duckula') Danger Mouse, Colonel K, Baron Greenback, Nero and Stiletto (from Danger Mouse) and even a nod to Badger from 'Wind in the Willows'. It seems fitting since 'Victor & Hugo' were a spin-off from 'Count Duckula' who in turn span off from 'Danger Mouse.'
- Cool Mask - No matter what the disguise the bros. never remove their bandit masks.
- Farce - French farce at that.
- Expressive Mask - the brothers' perpetual bandit-masks.
- French Jerk - Victor.
- Funny Foreigner - The titular characters themselves.
- Hammer Space - The back of the van was very capacious somewhat like a clown car which is entirely appropriate.
- Hilarity Ensues - The brothers are incapable of doing anything right, let alone crime.
- Hypno Fool - In Hyp-Not-Isn't, Victor tries to hypnotise himself into becoming a master criminal by aid of looking at himself in a hand-mirror. Unfortunately for him, Hugo is sitting right behind him looking at his own reflection in the mirror, so he is the one who gets hypnotised. To cap it all off, Victor has a cold, so whenever he sneezes, Hugo turns into a tough-talking, hyper-competent gangster but changes back to his usual useless crook self whenever Victor sneezes again - always at the worst possible moment.
- Illogical Safe - In the opening titles.
- Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain - the main duo themselves. 'Will they succeed next time?' - no, never!
- Lions and Tigers and Humans... Oh, My!
- Look Both Ways - If Victor gets run over once, he'll get run over again.
- Nice Hat - Victor's wide fedora
- Nice Shoes - Victor's highly polished size 12s (sensing a pattern?)
- Orient Express - 'Blunder on the Orient Express' where the brothers try to rob a train but accidentally end up on the Orient Express instead. A Hercule Poirot expy also appears.
- Poirot Speak - V&H speak with French grammar rules applied to the English language. They even seem to have trouble understanding their native language, which is subverted when non-French characters fail to understand them. They then speak in French to get a reaction.
- Examples include 'What is it that it is?' and 'Bon -What? - Good. Oh.'
- Running Gag - In every episode (with one exception) a small, growling dog would appear out of nowhere, run up Victor's trouser leg and remove his underwear. No explanation is given other than that it is funny - particularly for Hugo.
- The daft radio/TV announcements used to open (almost) every episode.
- Spin-Off - The duo are adaptations of Gaston and Pierre from "Count Duckula".
- Spoonerism - Victor was very prone to this, to the point where he, and others, would spoonerise the spoonerisms into a garbled mess of the original intended message. On the odd occassion where Hugo took charge, HE would become spoonerific himself.
- Squashed Flat - Happens usually to Victor due to his unfortunate habit of walking into traffic.
- The Unintelligible - Recurring character, Monsieur Meccaneux the mechanic, has a great line in rambling Yorkshire-ese which is often met with mute imcomprehension by the brothers.
- Villain Decay - Almost immediately, though throughout the series, the radio reports which introduced each adventure became more and more cynical about the threat the brothers posed to the public, to the point where the announcer would laugh and warn the public not to bother being on the look-out for the 'crinimals'.
- White Gloves - Victor wears these, though he was still concerned about leaving fingerprints. Not necessarily cartoony gloves as they fit with his outfit.
- Zany Scheme - Or 'meticulous plan' as Victor prefers to call it.