VICTORiOUS – A retrospective of Nickelodeon’s last great sitcom

By Thomas Hester II (@thomasahester2)

2012

I’m about to graduate college

I accomplished my goal of graduating before 21

My plan was to become a producer and help make music for Nickelodeon and Disney shows

I’ve wanted to be in the music industry since Making The Band and Fade to Black but even musical episodes of Even Stevens, Wizards of Waverly Place, That’s So Raven, Jonas, and Hannah Montana drew me in

Then my go to plan was changed

After 4 seasons Victorious was announced it would end and there would be a spinoff of the characters from the popular sitcoms Victorious and iCarly (Sam and Cat)

The undisputed king of children’s television at the time was Dan Schneider

He was on an unforeseen run of success after success starting with All That, which became a breeding ground for talent (Kenan Thompson – SNL, Nick Cannon – Wild N Out) Kenan and Kel, The Amanda Show, Drake & Josh, iCarly and my favorite show at the time, Victorious

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Victorious was everything I’d ever dreamed over

This show had untapped comedic relent in Matt Bennett (Bridesmaids) and Danielle Monet (Nancy Drew, Baby Daddy)

A leading man in Avan Jogia (Twisted, Tut)

Broadway and industry veterans Leon Thomas III (Lion King, August Rush, iCarly, Naked Brothers Band) and Liz Gillies (13 the Musical, Sex Drugs and Rock & Roll)

A budding pop star in Victoria Justice (Zoey 101, Spectacular, Eye Candy)

And a future Platinum, Grammy nominated pop house in Ariana Grande (13 the Musical, Yours Truly, My Everything, Dangerous Woman)

The show was based on Hollywood Arts and school in Los Angeles where creatives where encouraged to be who they are

There were homages to classics before them (Wizard of Oz, The Breakfast Club, Jackson 5)

The main characters (Tori, Andre, Robbie, Cat, Jade, Beck) worked out their lives with the help of their friends

The friendships Andre and Tori, Jade and Cat and partnering of Beck and Jade, later Cat and Robbie is fully fleshed out.

There was great writing on the show which is no surprise because writers from his shows have gone on to do great things like Neal Brennan who was a teenager when writing for All That he ended co-creating the Chappelle Show and Nick Cannon who as a teen writer build up the skills to become the business mogul he is today

Unlike Disney who treated their audience with kid gloves Nickelodeon wasn’t afraid to push the boundaries.

Even showing characters kissing was a victory and showing this show respects it’s audience.

This was huge when during the finale of Hannah Montana obscured their main characters to avoid showing them making out

Jade and Beck, who is in a relationship, kissed multiple times even Tori kissed him during an acting exercise

There was an episode where the rivals of the show Tori and Jade had to go on a date.

This alone is a major step especially during the time where any respectable LGBTQ representation is welcome

Stereotypically this could’ve been played for jokes but it was played straight and though there was no romantic involvement when the scene where they try and say one nice thing about each other ends up revealing they think each other is attractive is admirable.

There are great lines that are just for the teen/adult audience and hidden greatness like a picture of the creator in one of the main characters lockers next to a Katy Perry cutout and in Sikowitz’s class on the whiteboard there is this phrase Theater is life. Film is art. Television is furniture

In the era of Big Time Rush going Gold and Nickelodeon partnering with Sony Music even stars like Miranda Cosgrove, Jennette McCurdy, Victoria Justice signing to Columbia Records music in these shows were extremely important and Victorious didn’t disappoint

Another major character of this show was its music

Platinum and ward winning producer Dr Luke wrote the opening credits and with Schneider’s Bakery alum Michael ‘Backhouse Mike’ Corcoran arranged a lot of the songs that were performed

Corcoran has been with Dan since Drake & Josh

This brought a legitimacy to the show and make consumers want to buy the soundtracks.

Songs like 365 Days, rock ballad You Don’t Know Me, Lady Marmalade-esque Give It Up, new Christmas With You classic are all memorable records

It also helps that ever cast member would either sing, play an instrument or create on their own and guidance from a truly great musician (Ke$ha, Katy Perry, Britney Spears) only enhance the talent more

Dan Schneider showed a great knowledge of how to engage with fans and make them feel they are apart of the making of the show with backstage videos on his DanWarp YouTube channel, answering questions on Twitter and blog that spoke on the behind the scenes of these episodes.

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Though the show didn’t end with an outright ending their multi year run was truly special

The creator has offered to come back and make a proper finale for the show garnering support for the fans but it’s unlikely with the explosion of success its stars have received, especially Ariana Grande

Victorious was in a word, spectacular

The show was the soundtrack to some kids’ lives and young adults’ childhood

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