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Genre: Kids, Comedy, TV series
Country: United States
Starring: Victoria Justice, Leon Thomas III, Matt Bennett, Elizabeth Gillies, Ariana Grande, Avan Jogia, Daniella Monet, Eric Lange
Creator: Dan Schneider
DVD distributor: Paramount Home Entertainment
There is nothing remarkable about the characters, the writing, singing, or camera work in Victorious. It’s just another one of those Nickelodeon shows that fits neatly into a little box, like Zoey 101 or Big Time Rush or iCarly or any number of other teen shows. See, they go to school and have crazy classmates and off-the-wall teachers and boy trouble/girl trouble and sometimes there’s a food fight. And there are constant references to the internet, texting and Twitter-type social media. That’s it.
It’s a sanitized world, this Nickelodeon creation. The biggest high school problems characters in Victorious have to face is when they get a monster mask super-glued to their face, or people think they have a ketchup addiction. The whole thing gives me a (sort of unpleasant) craving for more Degrassi. Which, as it turns out, actually runs on Nickelodeon in the States also.
At any rate, back to Victorious. Or, as the show spells it’s own name, VICTORiOUS. I guess that’s cooler. Those of you who are perceptive will notice that although I am lambasting the sanitized, cookie-cutter, one-size fits all version of high school espoused by so many Nickelodeon original shows, I am still giving this one a marginal recommendation. Nicely noticed, perceptive folk!
The main reason for this marginal approval is Victoria Justice. Yes, she’s just another of those Nickelodeon triple-threat kids who act, and sing, and look pretty in clothes. You know, the same thing Disney does. The Big Time Rush boys, Nick Cannon, Miranda Cosgrove, Jamie-Lynn Spears, Amanda Bynes, and all that. Now, I love Amanda Bynes. I think she is a terrific young actress and belongs in more movies. And the only Nickelodeon actor or actress I have seen who even comes close is Victoria Justice.
It won’t be long, I think, before Justice sheds the bonds of squeaky-clean kid-show mediocrity and goes on to become a fairly major movie star. Not only is she ridiculously hot (and she’s 18 now so I think I’m finally allowed to say that), she is also an amazing screen presence. She has charm, and wonderful charisma, and facial expressions beyond her years (although the lines and scenarios written for her are far beneath her years, of course).
The other kids on the show are pretty good too, although this whole thing was clearly conceived as a (deserving) starring vehicle for Justice. They can all sing, they can all act, even if they’re poorly conceived cartoon characters. The musical genius Andre who writes songs and plays piano and is just so good-hearted and kind. The heart-throb Beck, who is just the most decent guy in the world despite his magnificent good looks. His insane mean-girl girlfriend Jade, who exists just to be the only antagonist on the show. Cat, who’s dumber than a stump, Trina who has out-of-whack delusions of grandeur, the bonkers acid-flashback drama teacher, and Robbie, who is never without his ventriloquist dummy Rex.
Yes, it’s formulaic, and it was likely conceived, created, written and produced by a series of focus groups. But sometimes real talent can emerge from the lamest, most bland pre-fab fare. (Justin Timberlake came out of N’Sync, remember?) I predict (and hope) that this is the case for Victoria Justice. Victorious Season One Volume One comes out July 5th from Paramount Home Entertainment.