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TV Series Review

The promise of fame can make people do crazy and, dare I say, self-destructive things. Some people record themselves jumping off rooftops into trash cans and then post the ensuing mess on YouTube. Others shamelessly strip off their shirts and mug for the camera at wintry sporting events. And still others willingly and without evidence of duress sign up to appear in Nickelodeon's Victorious—perhaps even after reading a script.

The show revolves around the exploits of aspiring singer Tori Vega and her wacky collection of Hollywood Arts High School friends. They represent a collection of stereotypes befitting a tween-oriented sitcom: daffy Cat, hunky Beck, cool dude Andre, goth-serious Jade, geeky Robbie. You get the idea. It's high school as adults well past graduation would like to idealize it—a place where everyone hangs out and no one gets punched in the nose during passing period.

Perhaps Tori and her buds all get along because they share a common goal: They all want to be famous. And not just 15-minutes famous, either. No, they want careers that begin in Hollywood, end in Branson, and accumulate all sorts of awards, beach houses and unflattering tabloid covers in between.

"If there is anything I've learned about kids today—and I'm not saying this is good or bad—it's that they all want to be stars," Dan Schneider, creator of Victorious and iCarly, told the Los Angeles Times. "I'm not saying it wouldn't be nice if more of them wanted to be teachers and social workers; it would be. But at least in Victorious, you see a world where they're all working on the talent part."

These kids are nice. They're just not exactly on a quest to make themselves—or their audience—better. They baby-sit their neighbors' dogs. They humor their ditzy relatives. They steer well clear of drugs, premarital sex and harsh profanity. But they proffer few lessons for fans to chew on and give few examples of how to really behave. They holler and jokingly threaten violence against one another. They sass. They pout. They look pretty doing it.

This is a show in which bombast triumphs over all things intelligent, where groaners replace real laughs. But it's  High School Musical territory, not Jersey Shore, and for that, parents can be grateful.

But we can't end there.

"Whatever happened to getting famous by having some talent?" Tori asks Trina.

"Talent has nothing to do with being famous," Trina shoots right back.

And neither does a lack of badness equal goodness.

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Episode Reviews

Victorious: 4222011
Victorious: 8272010



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Comedy, Kids



Victoria Justice as Tori Vega; Leon Thomas III as Andre Harris; Matt Bennett as Robbie Shapiro; Elizabeth Gillies as Jade West; Ariana Grande as Cat Valentine; Avan Jogia as Beck Oliver; Daniella Monet as Trina Vega






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