Monday, 4 February 2013

Eulogy to Victorious

Sometime in the summer of 2010, I came across a show about a performance school, a slew of teens who attended it and their screwball adventures. I am talking about the Nickelodeon show Victorious.
Lemme make something clear: I'm a twenty-something year old, with a very active imagination, a remote sense of humour and very high standards when it comes to my entertainment. Victorious is aimed at tweens, teens and anyone below legal age. And yet, something about it just made me want to continue clicking on the next episode, until I realized that I was eight episodes in and dawn peeked from my window.

The reason I am writing this is because of the series finale of the show, which was last Saturday on the 2nd of February. There have been many people, especially on Twitter, who have been vocal about the cancellation of the show. It came suddenly - not even a proper ending was written for it and I, personally felt that the last episode was no different from the rest: it made me want to watch the next. Yet this is the true nature of show business and the entertainment scene. Cuts are made, ideas are put in drawers and, as long as the big names are racking up the big bucks, other, perhaps lesser known shows, are bound to get the boot first. It is indeed sad.
I did not protest or follow one of the many many plans of action circulating twitter. I did sign the petition which proposed Nick to give the show a proper ending, but I doubt they give two shits. And I highly doubt that mobbing in front of their office will achieve anything other than a enactment of brutality and nihilism with which the Occupy Movement was treated with. Also, I live in Europe, and plane tickets cost money.

What I'm about to say next is gonna make me seem like the devil's advocate. I can understand why the show was cancelled. And I can probably justify it. I do understand that most of the show's viewers have a one way POV of the situation and just go "That's not fair." It's not. But a mature person can look at this perspectively and so here is a sorry ass attempt on my part to do just that.

First off I believe that the first and second seasons of the show are worthy of every nomination and award they have won and much much more. I love them and will watch them for years to come. The feel of the show changed halfway through the third season (I suspect once Victorious got the boot) and lasted through the fourth. The episodes became blander, the jokes less 'smart' and the show devolved into something silly. Now, remember that I am judging as an adult, certainly not the mainstream audience for the show. I'm just saying that the early episodes have enough lull to them which managed to pull even some mature audience - a testament of Dan Schneider's superb writing skills.

I loved the inclusion of the songs, because this is a music show, after-all, yet I think that every music critic would agree that the talents of the cast can never be truly explored in the environment of Nick show. Most fans would disagree; but guys, research the main cast in other roles and then judge. Avan Jogia is an actor and director of a certain subliminal aptitude, the likes which is only seen in certain directors like Moffat. Ariana Grande has a singing voice which could make Simon Cowell burst into tears and suck his thumb under the table. Liz Gillies has a sultriness to her person and a subtle method of acting and portraying a character as if she were born to it, not to mention a vocal range which is extremely rare. In my opinion it was her voice and that of Ms. Grande's which, when voiced on the show (which was not often unfortunately) brought a certain class to the entire episode. I am not degrading Victoria Justice at all with my comment; we've seen Ms. Justice in nearly every Nick series and any comment on her acting will not do her any justice (see what I did there?). The same applied for Daniella Monet. It takes real talent to make a character that annoying, but at the same time I really enjoyed her role as Toothy in that Fairly Odd Parents live action movie. She portrayed characters of opposite polarity with skill and that is testament to her talent. Leon Thomas III is to be complimented on  his musical talent: while the musical portion of the show featured a heavy female contribution, the balancing of the scales relied mostly on Mr. Thomas's hands and he succeeded with merit. Matt Bennet brought a lovely comedic twist to the show especially when coupled with Ariana's character (for some bitter-sweet and cutesy moments) or Michael Reid for some really interesting scenes, ranging from funny to creepy. Eric Lange and Lane Napper had supporting roles in the majority of the episodes and they are to be congratulated. As is my understanding, it is very hard to shift from a silly adult to a smart one in a kid's show. Indeed it is very hard just being an adult on such a situation.

My point is this: for them to be able to cultivate their talent into higher levels, they need to move beyond what Nickelodeon and Disney can offer. To prove this I shall point you the Keke Palmer: formerly the star of a Nick show called True Jackson PV. I'll admit that I only watched the show because Greg Proops, my favourite comedian, had a supporting role in it. But Ms. Palmer is now making Hollywood movies, which critics are receiving positively.

Essentially I am OK with the show ending because that means we get to see these marvellous performers in different roles. I hope I get to see some of them on TV shows and some big movies. (I myself wouldn't mind having one or two acting out characters from my novel.) I hope to by able to buy an album or two. But they can't do either unless they are out of their Nick contracts. And yes, they have albums out but they are Nick owned, so I have doubts on their dilution. I'm not saying they are bad; I'm saying I want their evolution of talent to be apparent.

So I am here writing a eulogy for Victorious. I have accepted the end for this show - if a proper ending comes and gives us closure, then all the better. But honestly I doubt that will happen. So I am going to write off Victorious as a must-see-again show, thank the actors, cast, crew, and writers for their hard work and remember Victorious for what it truly was: good laughs, good music and great memories.

Long live Victorious.

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