Victorious‘s ending could not have been more different than iCarly‘s. Where the Miranda Cosgrove headliner was given a special-length episode that brought resolution and catharsis to the show’s long-evolving relationships and character dilemmas, Victorious comes to a close prematurely, albeit with an episode that parallels some of its best work and showcases its particular brand of manic expressionism.
Actually, there’s an element of “Victori-Yes” that works as a series finale. Sikowitz’s “life-is-a-stage” personality leads him to lament how the kids no longer seem to care about learning theater from him anymore. And there’s some truth to that statement: the show has evolved since its first-season finale to where Sikowitz only occasionally shows up for jokes, or as the minor element of a larger plot. The center of gravity shifted from his classroom to Tori’s group of friends, which understandably leaves the older, slightly more bizarre adult teacher in the dust. So after the group categorically denies his radical ideas for contemporary theater (including live bus theater, to which Rex replies, “In Los Angeles?” and a version of Annie performed underwater, which Tori rejects on the grounds that she doesn’t want to get all prune-y), he issues a challenge. For the rest of the day, the class has to say “yes” to any request asked of them. Nothing dangerous or illegal, of course, but those are the limitations. As with most Sikowitz challenges, this one goes pear-shaped quickly. Cat ropes Robbie into wearing a Pajelehoocho (it’s pajamas, jeans, and leggings, with a hoodie and a poncho, and it looks about as ridiculous as it sounds), then the two have to surrender them to two “youths” (to borrow a Schmidtism — that’s New Girl for you) who enthusiastically punch the air and yell “Pajelehoocho!” as they walk away, leaving Cat and Robbie in their underwear behind the trash cans. Jade manipulates Tori into inviting her over to the Vega house in order to get out of Beck’s attempt at asking Jade to go to a drag race. Beck ends up going with Sinjin, and they actually have a pretty good time. Tori and Jade, meanwhile, stumble upon Trina’s new television series that she won’t stop bragging about, Divertissimo. Turns out it’s a Spanish-language variety show of some sort, in which Trina plays a piece of cheese being chased by mice. It’s laughable enough until Tori and Jade sneak onto the set to laugh in Trina’s face and wind up pieces of cheese themselves. Lastly, Andre winds up forced to listen to the country stylings of fellow student Posey (played by Hayley Holmes, who’s been in a diverse range of shows from The Guild to Grey’s Anatomy to Workaholics); it’s mostly an excuse to let Leon Thomas III’s excellent reaction shots play for laughs.
And then it was over. Cat and Robbie wheel themselves back home in a trash can, Jade chases one of the mice on Divertissimo (which, point of interest, is actually Italian for “bent”), Andre finally gets an offer to go home to Posey that he literally and figuratively can’t resist saying “yes” to, and Beck acknowledges sharing a fist-bump with Sinjin in an inter-scene Slap.com update. But that kind of chaotic ending, where resolution is generally surrendered in favor of a good character joke, is pretty representative of what Victorious could do at its best. Some of its best was even on display in the last couple of weeks; “The Slap Fight” was fairly sufficient satire aimed at “web celebrities” who perform shameless acts in favor of getting more followers and viewers, while “Star-Spangled Tori” gave Victoria Justice her chance to shine at singing the national anthem while gently mocking America’s self-important view towards same. The latter also featured a nice B-plot featuring Cat, whose brother finally breaks the last straw and has to be carried out-of-state by her parents, leaving her temporarily without a home. It was touching without losing the sense of anything-goes that is the life-blood of the show.
Explosions, silly puns, great songs (Justice busts out “Bad Boys” for “Star-Spangled Tori”), a good heart, and an endless array of jokes — Victorious was an unusually outrageous show, but damned if it wasn’t consistently entertaining. I would definitely like a more definitive close to the series, but in the absence of kindness from Nickelodeon, “Victori-Yes” will do quite nicely.