[personal profile] plug_in_baby57

That just about sums it up.

That performance style theme song/title sequence was something I'd never get behind. It just falls into the same pit as naming the main character after her actress, and further naming the show after her. What it does is put Justice on a pedestal and that's not a great idea. First of all, she's not a great actress and can't carry a show. I'd say Selena Gomez may be able to carry a bad cast/script and Jennette McCurdy definitely could but Victoria Justice just doesn't have their personality or presence.

More importantly, Victorious feels like an ensemble show. There a 7 main cast members and none of them are bit parts, like Gibby on iCarly. This focus on Tori hurts the ensemble. Justice isn't a strong enough actor to lead this ensemble and so I feel like the plots really ought to be about her interactions with the rest of the cast, rather than her own personal journey. Also, the other characters need more plot importance than they got in this episode. The role they played in Tori's A plot could have been filled by any single one of them and it would have been much better as we'd get to find out more about the characters. We could have seen her budding friendship with Andre, sisterly interaction with Trina (who had something like two lines, surely a travesty?), rivalry with Jade or romantic subtext with Jade's doucehbag boyfriend (has his name actually even been mentioned on the show?). Any one of them options would have been better than what we got at any point in the show's run, but this episode could have comfortably served as filler later in the run when we actually knew the characters, because at the moment they are just a mass of Tori's schoolmates.

Basically, with a cast of this size Tori cannot be the focus of every A plot like Carly can on iCarly, with only three other main characters (even then I say Spencer could be used less).

As for the actual content of the plots, I have so many issues. Starting with the B plot:

There was no plot for the B plot. Andre joins ballet class for chicks, puppet dude (who is going to get boring real fast, they seem to be going for a Cartman type who can get away with saying anything but it'd be more effective if the guy just said that shit and that shit was far less creepy). They find out ballet class is full of guys doing it for the chicks, do some pretty fucking disturbing shit to the one girl that does show up in ballet class ([livejournal.com profile] beyondheroism__ detailed it pretty well)and then hurt themselves doing a routine, which is so OMG HILARIOUS because they limp around for the rest of the episode.

What would have been more interesting is if, as [livejournal.com profile] beyondheroism__ suggested, Andre had taken ballet class because he wanted to dance and just said "I like ballet, so what?" when his mates started taking the piss. That way we'd see something of his character. Or for an actual plot, they could have had Andre take ballet for the chicks but actually grow to like it and learn a lesson about sexism and gender stereotyping in the process.

For the A plot:

We actually have a lesson learnt here. Tori learns that art is all about be true to one self, whilst simultaneously giving in to peer pressure. First she wants to audition for a play but the school has some fucking idiotic rule about people performing a scene called the bird scene before they can take part in a performance. Each time she does the scene the batshit insane teacher fails her when she asks if she did it well. Eventually she learns to be true to herself.

My problem is that this might work for painting, drawing or even writing. At a stretch music also. What it does not work for is acting. If Tori learns that the most important thing about acting is that it's all about her decisions, she is going to really piss off the director and possibly also the writer, designer and lfx and sfx people. Acting is an art but it is a group art. A lot more goes into a performance than just the actor. I'd have thought this would be apparent to the Victorious writers but maybe that's why they have saddled the cast with such awful scripts so far.

Also, what's this about not craving approval with your performances? No. If your chosen art is a performance art, you want approval. Your audience is everything. Whether your approval comes in the form of being entertaining or just creating any reaction is moot, you feed off the audience. Acting is an art that must be seen and heard, it is nothing without the audience.

The way the lesson is taught was actually something I didn't hate completely. I had a business teacher that taught us the differences between job, batch and flow production in a similar way. And motivational styles. But I don't think that would really work for a subject that is very much confidence based like drama. How many students were meeker than Tori and didn't end up bitching at their teacher? How many students missed out on taking part in performances because constantly being failed for the bird scene ruined their confidence?

As far as I can tell, this also went against the other part of Tori's A plot, which was all about decorating her locker. Apparently everyone at the school has previously spent an inordinate amount of time decorating their locker and know Tori has to do it. Her first idea, which is putting a whiteboard and felt pens on it to let people do whatever on it is roundly rejected by her friends (also Jade is apparently ready to hang out with her, what?). Then she learns the bird scene lesson and writes "make it shine" on her locker and puts some LEDs on it. They dislike the idea but she goes "blah, whatever, bird scene lesson, fuck you" and they're all like "YAY! SHE LEARN"

Correct me if I'm wrong, but if it was supposed to be about individuality, surely she shouldn't have succumbed to peer pressure? She only decorated it because they all wanted her to, and then she only changed it from the whiteboard because she wanted their approval. It seems to be a running theme that Tori doesn't make her own choices. Hell, the only reason she's at the school is because Andre decided she ought to be then basically forced her into it.

The comedy mostly doesn't work. Stuff like the teacher randomly shouting out "Everyone be angry englishmen" is not a gag, nor is it surrealism. They are trying the be "random" and trying does not work. Some people just get surrealism, the Victorious writers do not. In iCarly fandom, the iCarly show-within-a-show is universally derided as the poorest part of the show (even then it has successful parts that aren't trying to be "random" and actually work as surrealism like the bra that tells ghost stories, random debates and what am I sitting on). Victorious feels for the most part like the worst parts of iCarly. I could believe that the writers honestly thought that was the funny stuff. But there were moments that need to be built on. Mostly it needs more Trina and Jade but stuff like the trained bird that Tori used actually had potential.

Quite frankly, it's an oxymoron to place this show alongside the title Victorious. That disappoints me because I do reckon some of the cast have talent. Daniella Monet and the girl that plays Jade seem to be good as is Leon Thomas. Victoria Justice, as I've said is pretty average but doesn't really do much harm. The other two guys don't seem to be up to much at all, but the script doesn't help them and I just do not know what Ariana Grande can do. She could be an acting powerhouse but so far what Cat has really limits what she can show.

tl;dr It was shit.

Date: 2010-04-14 03:07 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] leskuh.livejournal.com
I am okay with ensemble shows - I really am. But I also need my ensemble shows to involve characters who actually love each other! At this point I feel like the Victorious characters barely know one another. There's nothing establishing any of them as friends (aside from Andre and Tori). The other thing is that while it is okay for ensemble casts to have a "main" character of sorts I still want to get a good idea of what everyone else is like. Thus far everyone's kind of feeling like a cardboard cutout.

I hate the B plot. So damn much. Not only because of the very obvious sexual harassment, but because it pretty much hurts men as well by turning all the boys into mindless idiots the seconds a young vagina walks into the room. It's just something I'm really sick of seeing.

And the plot would have been 1000x more interesting if it had actually been about Andre taking ballet because he liked it. It's not something that really gets to happen in TV so it would have been such an original and interesting thing to explore. Joining ballet to be with a group of girls? Old joke - bad joke.

The A plot was pretty much just boring to me. I kind of like Tori learning to believe in her own performances, but I also agree that it's not as simple as that when it comes to acting. I definitely hate that Tori seems to still be doing things just to please those around her. If she didn't want to decorate the locker then why couldn't she believe in her choice to not decorate it or even to just decorate it simply?

And, while I looooove Leon Thomas a whole damn lot, I am beginning to dislike Andre as a character. I've been uncomfortable with the way he spends the entire first episode pretty much deciding things for Tori regardless of what SHE wants. I understand that he sees her potential and thinks she should stick with it blah blah blah, but I still really want to see Tori own her own decisions.

Hee, I actually found her scene with the trained bird funny. Points for Victoria. Other than that? The humor was pretty much contained in the way Trina and Jade's actresses handled their lines.

At this point I'm pretty much convinced that Victorious is all the worst parts of Dan's shows rolled into one package. Large, somewhat unlikable cast (Zoey 101), "Random" humor that isn't actually as funny as he thinks it is (iCarly), treating women as objects and/or prizes (Drake&Josh).

Date: 2010-04-14 09:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] plug-in-baby57.livejournal.com
I wouldn't say they need to love each other, but they definitely need some sort of relationship and they certainly need relationships that aren't about Tori. We should get to see Jade giving puppetman the abuse he deserves or douchebag interacting with anyone in a way that gives him any sort of character at all.

And I was just thinking about my idea for the B plot. It wouldn't even just be about Andre, they could have had Cat be a girl in the class and then she ends up convincing him to keep taking it. Which would come close to actually giving her a character that isn't "Look at how wacky I am!". Even then, what they did with the weird crowding round shit was just revolting. It would have improved it a ton (although it'd still be pretty fucking terrible) if they had just crowded round her rather than that freaky harrassment shit.

I really haven't seen all that much Drake & Josh but when I do see it, I tend to keep expecting Drake to learn a lesson. Of course, that might mean he goes on an emotional journey and learns a lesson that women are people too. But we can't have a character overcoming a flaw in a Dan Schneider show.
(deleted comment)

Date: 2010-04-14 09:32 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] plug-in-baby57.livejournal.com
As great as that would be, he really can't take criticism. He's more of a "It's not for you" kinda guy. Which is a shame because he's obviously reached that level of success where he can hand Nickelodeon his used toilet paper and get a show out of it (see: Victorious) so the people paying him aren't going to force him to do it. Pretty much the only hope of Victorious improving is if Victoria Justice grows a big enough ego to tell her boss that his script is shite.

His incessant shilling of Victorious irritates me as well. He can get away with it for iCarly because it's pretty much the reason he's got all those followers but Victorious just isn't going to pick up a similar sized fanbase.

As for ratings, it's obvious they're going down. It was probably the huge marketing push that Nick gave it that's responsible for them in the first place and if it stays as bad as this they'll be low by episode six. Apparently it got 20% more viewers than SWAC, but that might not be all that good. Especially considering the push behind Victorious.

And considering Nick lets him get away with such a bad show, I don't see why he can't force them into showing iCarly in the order he wants them to because they are obviously willing to do anything to please him. All he has to do is say "I've got an offer from Disney Channel" and they will give him whatever he wants.



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