By Melissa Farthing, Staff Writer/Artist
It’s the time of year for everything spooky and scary, including cartoons! One new addition to this deliciously ghastly genre is Victor and Valentino, a show that premiered on Cartoon Network back in March of this year.
Despite airing episodes year-round, October is an especially fitting time to enjoy the show’s supernatural setting. Or, at least, it should be. Unfortunately, Victor and Valentino has many problems that make each episode an unpleasant watching experience.
To illustrate, let’s start out with Victor and Valentino’s origins. The show first made its way into the world as a pilot on Cartoon Network’s YouTube channel in 2016. Not only was the pilot suspenseful and hilarious; it ended on a big cliffhanger that indicated an intriguing mystery and overarching storyline if the show got picked up for a full series.
Well, folks, we’re thirty nine episodes into Victor and Valentino and that cliffhanger has made absolutely no appearance in the official series whatsoever. It’s almost like a bait and switch situation; the show advertised something in its pilot that it never delivered in the actual series. Instead, Victor and Valentino is dead-set on solely being a slice-of-life buddy comedy. Which would be fine … if the show was actually funny.
Here lies issue number two with Victor and Valentino: it’s a comedy without any comedy. Which is a HUGE problem. Any humor from the pilot is completely gone, and every effort that attempts to write humor into the script ends up being painfully unfunny. Occasionally, there will be a joke that warrants a light chuckle, but I have gotten through entire episodes without even cracking a smile. Most jokes have extremely poor comedic timing, and nearly all episodes have at least one “gross-out” gag (i.e. fart, burp, and other bodily function jokes), which makes the show feel very juvenile.
These problems may seem significant, but they’re nothing compared to Victor and Valentino’s main fault: the characters. This show manages to create some incredibly unlikable roles. Every person featured in the series is either bland (like the cryptic Grandma Chata) or weird (like the creepy Charlene) or possesses some trait that makes them unbearable to watch every time they appear on screen (like Reynoldo and Reynalda’s ear-grating voice cracks).
Even the main characters, the vessels that carry the show, are difficult to endure for eleven minutes at a time. Both are extremely one-dimensional and resemble cookie-cutter stereotypes. Victor is whiney, bratty, selfish and naive all stuffed into one scrawny kid. It’s not as if these traits can’t be used to create a good character; after all, who doesn’t fondly remember Angelica Pickles or Helga G. Pataki? Victor, however, retains all of these bad traits but has no good qualities to balance them out. He never receives comeuppance for his actions and rarely cares about anyone but himself.
Valentino may have the opposite personality of Victor, but he’s just as annoying as his half brother. Think of Josh from Drake and Josh but without any of the charm. Valentino likes things such as LARPing, fifteenth century architecture and scented lotion, which all echo characteristics belonging to your typical “nerd” character. Nothing really separates Valentino or Victor from the cliches they were based upon.
The only thing this show has going for it is the fact that it has Latin American roots. At a time when American white males seem to dominate the media industry, it’s so great to have programs that celebrate other cultures and add more diversity to the television world. I just wish this positive attribute wasn’t wasted on an otherwise poor show. I will also say that there are certain supernatural creatures in the series that are pretty cool. Most of these creatures are based on monsters that originate from Mexican-folklore. However, the majority of them only make a single appearance and never return, which takes away any kind of threat they originally had on the characters.
In my opinion, if you’re looking to indulge in some candy and a creepy cartoon this Halloween, you’re better off chowing down Milk Duds and watching Scooby Doo or It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.