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Western Animation / Victor & Hugo

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'Will they succeed next time? The baddies!'

"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.

Victor & Hugo: Bunglers in Crime was an animated series produced by Cosgrove Hall and ran for two seasons in 1991 and 1992. It aired on CITV 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 tricolore jumper, neckerchief and beret. Like Victor, he also wears a bandit-mask. Hugo is definitely 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 Hammerspace in the rear.
  • Aliens Speaking English - In 'Spacial Event' and 'Pie In The Sky.'
  • Annoying Younger Sibling - Hugo.
  • Berserk Button - Do not touch Victor's beautiful tie. Or steal his underwear for that matter.
  • 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.
    • Also predates Mr. Big from Zootopia. by an even wider margin.
  • Brought to You by the Letter "S" - It's subtle and possibly unintentional, but Victor's 'beautiful tie' has a V motif in its design.
  • 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 ALL your fault! It is always your fault!"
    • Interpoll's frequent cry of "Where's me tablets?"
  • Cool Mask - No matter what the disguise, the bros. never remove their bandit masks.
  • Crossover - Many times, either in reference or in guest stars. Count Duckula, Igor, Nanny, Hawkeye Soames and Dr. Potson (from 'Count Duckula') Danger Mouse, Penfold, Stiletto (and their Aunties), Colonel K, Baron Greenback and Nero (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.'
  • Demonic Dummy - Played with in 'Dummy Run'. At one point, crooked ventriloquist Gary Gaingridge begins to imagine that his dummy Gaston (who looks just like Hugo) is talking to him. It really IS Hugo.
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune - Sort of. The brothers sing their own names in the intro and outro and Victor sings one line himself.
  • Drop the Cow - The appearances of the underwear-hungry Baskerville act as this.
  • Dumbass Has a Point - Hugo is often the first to spot a flaw or oversight in any plan, sometimes at the last moment. A good example comes near the end of "Cowboys and Indiscipline" when he reminds Victor that instead of bickering childishly, perhaps they should be hiding a safe distance from the lit dynamite as Victor had originally planned.
  • Expressive Mask - the brothers' perpetual bandit-masks.
  • Expy - All detective based, unsurprisingly: Hawkeye Soames and Dr. Potson for Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson; Achille Marron (also a pun of Achille Talon) for Hercule Poirot, Lord Piers Flimsy and Bowler for Lord Peter Wimsey and Bunter.
  • Farce - French farce at that.
  • Finger Gun - Victor tries this in 'Cowboys and Indiscipline'. Unfortunately he exposes his gunless hand in doing so.
  • French Jerk - Victor.
  • Funny Foreigner - The titular characters themselves.
  • Grappling-Hook Pistol - The brothers' van has one built into its front bonnet in 'Blunder on the Orient Express' and they use it to board the moving train. One of their rare temporary successes.
  • Hammerspace - The back of the van was very capacious somewhat like a clown car which is entirely appropriate.
  • Harmless Electrocution - Happens quite a few times to Victor. In one episode, it happens twice!
  • 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 sneezed at the moment he attempted to set the code-word to trigger the hypnosis, so whenever he or anyone else sneezes thereafter, 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.
  • In-Joke - In 'The Hole Truth' in the fancy dress shop, Victor chides Hugo for wanting to dress as Count Duckula, to which Hugo replies 'Oh why not? I can do his voice you know!' This is because both Hugo and Duckula are voiced by David Jason.
  • Institutional Apparel - In 'The Hole Truth...' the duo disguise themselves as convicts and accidentally break into the jail instead of the bank. They use the old-school arrow patterned prison uniforms, which just happen to look like their regular clothes otherwise.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: As much as Victor gets highly annoyed with Hugo (Though highly annoyed is more of an understatement) and for his traits, he's not to the point of heartless as he does show genuine concern and care for his brother, even if some of those instances are subtle.
  • Look Both Ways - If Victor gets run over once, he'll get run over again.
  • Mad Libs Catchphrase - Victor's insults directed at Hugo often take the form of 'Brain of a (X)!' with the 'X' often tied in to whatever is relevant to the situation.
  • Mugged for Disguise - Victor does this to the driver sent by Colonel K in "French Exchange" and again to Agent Blancmange. Also, it marks the only time he thumps someone other than Hugo. Though he does occasionally abuse Interpoll too, it's never quite done in the same manner.
  • Mythology Gag - The ventriloquist's dummy in 'Dummy Run' looks like Hugo, but is called Gaston, the same name as Victor's predecessor in Count Duckula.
  • 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 only two exceptions) 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.
  • Sanity Slippage - Happens to bad guy cowboy Black Jake in 'Cowboys and Indiscipline' after prolonged exposure to Hugo in jail.
  • Shorter Means Smarter - Emphatically averted. Victor might not be very bright, but, unlike little Hugo, he's not completely brainless.
  • Smart Jerkand Nice Moron - Similar to the above trope, Victor is a lot cleverer and nastier than Hugo, despite not being nearly as clever as he thinks he is. Hugo's a total dope, but he's mostly cheerful and rarely gets annoyed.
  • 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.
  • X-Ray Sparks - Happens to Victor in "Scout's Dishonour" and "Do-In-Yourself." Sort of happens to Hugo in "Dummy Run" but he's not being zapped, merely going through an X-ray machine at the airport.
  • Wire Dilemma - Type 8 happens to Victor when he tries deactivating an alarm in 'Do-In-Yourself.'
  • Zany Scheme - Or 'meticulous plan' as Victor prefers to call it.