Judge P.S. Colbert wants to know: Do BFFs clear up with Stridex?
Our review of Victorious: Season One, Volume One, published July 17th, 2011, is also available.
"In my victory, just remember me when I make it shine!"
Those are some of the lyrics from "Make It Shine," the oft-repeated Victorious theme song, which I'm afraid I've never been able to make sense of. But I digress…
Forget all about that Volume One/Volume Two jazz! Here's Victorious: The Complete Second Season on two discs:
• "Helen Back Again"—Yvette Nicole Brown (Community) brings her patented mix of charm and sass to the role of Helen, former child star and new Hollywood Arts principal, who requires all students to re-audition to keep (or lose) their places in school.
• "Locked Up"(TV Movie)—The gang books a vacation gig, performing at a club in the tiny country of Yerba. Before the first encore, they're jailed! Naturally, song and dance ensues.
• "Tori Gets Stuck"—Understudy Jade (Elizabeth Gillies, Harold) will go to any lengths to take over Tori's lead role in the school play, which may or may not include putting Robbie (Matt Bennett, The Virginity Hit) in the hospital.
• "Tori Tortures Teacher"—The gang takes Sikowitz (Eric Lange, Blue Like Jazz) out to celebrate his ten year teaching anniversary, resulting in an extreme emotional tailspin for the honoree.
• "Jade Gets Crushed"—After collaborating with her on a songwriting project, Andre (Leon Thomas III, Rising Stars) finds his feelings for Jade turning from fear to desire.
• "Beggin' On Your Knees"—Is the hottest guy in school just using Tori. And if so, how?
• "Ice Cream For Ke$ha"—The gang goes through gallons of effort in order to win a private concert by you-know-who.
• "Prom Wrecker"—It's on: Tori successfully lobbies the school to schedule a prom…on the same night Jade premieres her one-woman show.
• "Terror On Cupcake Street"—The kids get stranded in their parade float on the wrong side of town. Need I say more?
• "Blooptorious"—Christopher Kane, the actor playing Robbie's sassy ventriloquist dummy, comperes this interviews and outtakes special. This episode—which aired after Season Three's opener, go figure—was amazingly entertaining, especially considering it features two things I hate most: outtakes and sassy ventriloquist dummies!
Kids these days, right? They've got so many advantages we never had, growing up in the 20th century: they have the Internet to do their homework for them, their school lunch programs consist almost entirely of snack foods, those in last place get the same awards recognition as those in first, there are now national campaigns dedicated to eradicating bullies, and most importantly they've got musical television shows worth watching!
Have you ever tried to get through an album by The Brady Bunch? How much do you reckon any Leif Garrett record that came without a free poster was really worth? Oh sure, there was Donny And Marie Osmond; nice kids, very photogenic, and they sang like birds, but what about all those musical numbers with the dancing relatives of H.R. Pufnstuf? And lest we forget, their list of truly "happening" guests stars included Paul Lynde, Ruth Buzzi, Charo, and their poor chubby little brother Jimmy!
In her review of Victorious: Season One, Volume One DVD Verdict's own Judge Dawn Hunt reasoned that "the first season of a show must out of necessity show characters and develop their personalities," but despaired that "these kids are pretty stereotypical as they are, so there's not a whole lot of personal growth I anticipate occurring over the next few seasons."
Well, I'm happy to report that a minor miracle has occurred!
Though Victorious: The Complete Second Season has nearly half the number of episodes as the first, they're nearly twice as good. As a parent of two grade-school kids, I've endured an enormous amount of "children's programming," and for the last couple of years, Nickelodeon has been the channel of (their) choice around our house. For those unaware, N-N-N-Nick runs Victorious seven days a week, several times a day, and often in marathon form on weekends. So when I compare the quality of Season Two with Season One, it's with the authority of someone who's probably more familiar with each episode than the cast members' own parents!
The reasons for the stark uptick in quality are simple: An extremely game young cast who've wasted no time "breaking in" their roles (much like one makes a pair of dress shoes comfortable to wear), an increase in musical production numbers that allow them to—ahem—shine, and the steady guiding hand of genius kid show creator Dan Schneider (iCarly), a man currently at the peak of his powers. Finally, there's Sikowitz (pronounced PSYCHO-witz), the aptly-named coconut-headed drama teacher played with gleeful abandon by Eric Lange.
Just as Judge Hunt was before me, I'm completely confused about the transfer of this series. Again, Nickelodeon has chosen to transform what was broadcast as 1.78:1 widescreen into standard definition 1.33:1 full frame for this release. What's left of the visuals look fine, but the Dolby 2.0 Stereo mix undercuts the musical possibilities. What gives? Extras include a brief behind-the-scenes look at the "Locked Up" episode, and "Seven Secrets With Victoria Justice" which I didn't find the least bit scintillating; though to be fair, I am not now, nor have I ever been a pre-teen girl.
Granted, I've been doing a lot of gushing for a grown man reviewing a pre-Prime Time series aimed at pre-adolescent females. It's not Shakespeare, Scorcese, or Spongebob Squarepants, but if you don't get off my back, I swear I'll report you to McGruff the Crime Dog so fast it'll make your wigs spin! Treated.
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