Why, Dan, WHY?
I really wanted to like this show. The premise of a wacky performing arts school was appealing, I'm a fan of iCarly and I'd been waiting for Victoria Justice to finally get her own show. So what went wrong? Victorious has none of the charm of Dan Schneider's previous work. The writing is atrocious, the jokes almost always fall flat ("Thank you, Katherine Obvious." "It's Captain Obvious." "It's not Katherine? Katherine could be a captain!"), most of the characters are simply wild caricatures with little development (Trina in particular,) the blatant attempts at Fanservice and Getting Crap Past The Radar usually come off as just creepy and the plots are uninteresting and frequently have unsatisfying resolutions; "The Birthweek Song" and "Wi-Fi In The Sky," anyone? The only two saving graces of this show are the acting and the music. Victoria and the rest of the cast do what they can with the scripts, and the result is sometimes pretty good. The music, however, is where it shines. Most of the numbers are very catchy and will implant themselves in your head. Special mention goes to Victoria's infectious dance tune "Freak The Freak Out," Leon's relaxing "Song 2 You" and Robbie's "Broken Glass," which crosses the line so many times I wasn't sure whether to laugh or be horrified. My final words about Victorious? Not really worth watching. I'd recommend checking out the soundtrack and watching the actors' other works and/or Dan's earlier shows instead. From The Amanda Show to Drake And Josh to iCarly to this? How the mighty have fallen.
The Hambone King
AKA: I now see why people hate Main Characters for succeeding at everything. Yeah, if you've seen my entry on the Dethroning Moment Of Suck Page, then you know where this is going. The plot is that Robbie has become popular due to a particular talent (Hamboning), much to everyone's shock. Suddenly, he's challenged by a rival and loses, thus causing everyone to shun him. But there's hope! Tori, who just happens to have a history of Hamboning (as well as that with said rival), goes on to train him for the rematch. The rematch goes as well as one could expect: The rival's buddy cheats and ends up screwing Robbie over, thus rendering all the practice and build up meaningless. But we can't have it end like that, right? So Robbie loses and the day ends up being saved by- Oh guess who?! So basically, what was supposed to be Robbie overcoming his fears and redeeming himself from his earlier defeat is derailed in order Tori to get over her issues and bury the past, making this all about her. I know that people are going to say that she did it to defend Robbie's honor, but given that, when everyone cheered for her after she won, Tori didn't even make a mention about Robbie, who was cast off aside, I'm not buying it. If Tori would've made at least one mention of Robbie, while everyone else just ignored what she was saying (whether if they just didn't care or just too caught up with praising Tori), then maybe it wouldn't have been so bad as at least she did seem to care about him. But instead she more or less corrected them by saying she was the Hambone Queen. So once again, Robbie gets the short end of the stick while Tori comes out on top! Basically, this is Jade Gets Crushed, but in reverse! Now I know what you're saying, "Joe, you're taking this way too seriously!" Well it's kinda hard not to when everyone within the cast has at least gained a Crowning Moment Of Awesome (At least one that isn't derailed immediately afterwards). Even Trina and Sikowitz managed to gain one. I wish I could write more, but the 400-word limit is about to be reached soon. So yeah, after this episode: Tori comes out on top again, Robbie gets screwed over again, and I'm left with a bad taste in my mouth. So yeah, the ending ruined it for me.
Freak The Freak Out
Quick Recap: Trina is stuck at home for the weekend because she just had her wisdom teeth out. Tori is also stuck at home because her parents are in Santa Barabra and she has to take care of Trina. (Perhaps her dad was going to work a case with Shawn Spencer.) Anyway, while all that is happening, Jade and Cat enter this singing competition at a Karaoke club, but they lose because one of the other contestants is the daughter of the club's owner. Angry that the girl and her companion cheated (and that they insulted Hollywood Arts), Jade and Cat go to Tori's house and recruit her to help them get payback. They challenge the girls to a competition against Tori where the audience decides who wins. Tori beats them soundly and they end up having to take care of Trina, as per their end of the bet. I laughed my head off during this episode. Seriously, if anyone finds a disembodied head floating around, that's mine. I especially enjoyed the duet between Jade and Cat. I couldn't stop dancing as I listened to it. Tori in her ugliness suit was hilarious and I even had a good chuckle or two at Sikowitz's performance at the end. The one downside to this episode: Trina. Honest to God, the sound of her whining made me want to take the television and throw it the window. (Don't worry, I didn't.) That said, it was very funny watching Haley and Tara get their comeuppance while trying to take care of her. Overall score: 4.5/5
Season 1 so far.
Let me start by saying that the show is never really bad. Even "The Bird Scene", my least favourite episode, was still enjoyable and had some funny moments. That being said, the show is definitely a slow starter. While not bad, the first few episodes aren't good either. The acting and dialogue feel forced and unnatural,
some most of the characters are heavily underdeveloped and there's not a lot of humour to be had. The turning point, I would say, is "Tori the Zombie". The two episodes before it ("The Birthweek Song" and "Jade Dumps Beck") were good, but "Tori the Zombie" is when the show started to get great. A large part of it is probably the focus on other characters over Tori, something that wasn't really present in the earlier episodes (even "Jade Dumps Beck" was largely about Tori). Don't get me wrong, I like Tori, but I'd rather see her as part of the group than standing above it.
The high streak continued with "Robarazzi" and "Survival of the Hottest". Beck in particular becomes a lot more fleshed out in these episodes; the cast seems to move further and further away from the stereotypes they were in the pilot (Jade and Robbie in particular); there's more and better jokes... Each new episode since "Tori the Zombie" has quickly become my new favourite. We'll see if "WiFi in the Sky" can continue that trend, but I have faith that it will.
In conclusion, I definitely recommend watching this show. Don't be discouraged by the first few episodes. It gets better, really.
Survival of the Hottest/Trapped in the RV
100-word-or-less recap: It's freakin' hot in LA. Just like it is everywhere. Our main characters decide to take Beck's RV down to the beach because... I forget why. Anyway, when they get there Cat has to pee and gets out of the RV first thing. Everyone else takes a few more minutes. Some other car parks next to them trapping them. Hilarity Ensues as they try to [[strikethrough get out]] stay cool/drink fish water while Cat hangs out with boys she found out of nowhere. Then Cat frees them, because it turned out the car next to them had moved 5 minutes after it parked. This episode just seems kind of like an Ass Pull. Everyone has Plot Induced Stupidity. I mean, no one checked out the window to see if they could get out. And why isn't Cat concerned that her friends will wonder where she went while she hung out with a bunch of boys she doesn't know? And the whole thing about Fat Biscuit at the end seemed like a Big Lipped Alligator Moment. The best part of the episode was Sinjin in the kiddie pool. Totes. Over all, this was definitely one of the worst episodes yet. Hopefully the next one will be better.
The-100-word-or-less-recap: Robbie's blog on The Slap is about to be canceled unless he can prove to the seniors that he can get some views. Tori tells him to make it about the students. At first he does a piece on the students' hobbies, but Rex decides to tell Robbie to make it about the students in a different sense. Everyone gets mad at Robbie and stops being his friend. Even going so far as to take pictures of him wearing only a towel. But he decides to make his blog about no-fat recipies instead. Oh, and Cat gets a shopping addiction. It seems Beck can't eat lunch in this episode thanks to Cat. now don't get me wrong, I love Cat and all, but Beck needs food! It doesn't stop him from joking with a very freaked out Jade about breaking up. I don't get why Jade was blaming the incident on Tori. Seems they're back to square one. again. I loved how Robbie's blog was set up a la TMZ. And how Cat was shopping from a Bland Name SkyStore, although I was kind of concerned that she was basically whoring herself out for her addiction. Yes, let's teach little girls if there's something you want, your boyfriend can buy it for you. Ultimately, one of the better episodes, Very funny, if slightly creepy.
Tori the Zombie
So, basically what happens: Cat needs a model for her makeup class project, she uses Tori. Turns out the glue cat used was superglue. Trina and Cat go off to get the glue remover while Tori freaks because the playwright for the play she's in is coming and she looks like a zombie! Oh Noez! But Cat and Trina get there and remove the glue during the final number and she's back to pretty Tori. The playwright loves it and they all disco dance. Yay! The episode was cute. Cat and Trina were hilarious. I was very happy at the return of Cat. We missed her last episode. Is it just me or does Sophia Michele sound like someone else's name? What bugged me: They repeatedly called the musical a "play". IF THE CHARACTERS SING, IT'S A MUSICAL. Also, There are a few timeline issues. Most plays are more than 90 minutes, so even if Cat and Trina were more than an hour away, they would still be there before the final number and Tori threw away perfectly good ice cream! But other than that, it was funny. Trina and Cat's road rap was hilarious. And singing Beck! All and all, not one of the best episodes, but very good.
Jade and Beck Break Up
This episode was the worst so far. Not gonna lie. The series' characterization has been brilliant so far, the characters are well rounded and the plotlines were creative. And then this happened. The episode was still good, but didn't live up to the quality of the show. Liz Gillies put on a brilliant performance in her first episode in the spotlight. My main beef is with the writing, the characters were flat. Tori was turned into the Butt Monkey and Trina went from a nice (if egotistical) girl to a Complete Monster with a Lack Of Empathy. And I didn't like the shameless pushing of the slap. That's for during the credits. I get the feeling that this episode would be a lot better with the Ensemble Darkhorse Cat. I did like how the episode presented Jade as more of a sympathetic character than a Clingy Jealous Girl. And you gotta admit: the thing about the fish pee was funny.