REVIEW: ‘Hazbin Hotel’ pilot showcases creativity, hilarity



Staff Writer Matt Smith writes that the new web-based show ‘Hazbin Hotel’ is a breakthrough, funny show.

Matt Smith, Staff Writer

The denizens of Hell are beyond redemption, the epitome of evil and lack any shred of good, right?

Charlie, princess of Hell, thinks otherwise. Along with her girlfriend, Vaggie, she plans to open a hotel to rehabilitate sinners and send them to Heaven. The only problem is that everybody down there thinks the idea is laughably stupid and no one believes that they can pull it off.

Created and directed by Vivienne Medrano, the pilot for “Hazbin Hotel”,an adult animated show, was uploaded to the Vivziepop YouTube channel in late October along with a short set in the same universe called “Helluva Boss.”

In this hilariously dark look into life in the underworld, Charlie (Jill Harris/Singing: Elsie Lovelock) and Vaggie (Monica Franco) are joined at the hotel by a cast of colorful demons; there’s Angel Dust (Michael Kovach), a drug and violence loving androgynous male adult film star, Niffty (Michelle Marie), a small demon with a penchant for cleaning, Husk (Mick Lauer), the uncaring receptionist, and Alastor (Edward Bosco/Singing: Gabriel Brown), the most powerful demon in Hell who has decided to help the hotel.

The voice acting is stellar, proving that many of these actors can be stars even though this is the first big role for many of them. Jill Harris does an excellent job bringing energy to the role of Charlie, while the character’s singing voice, Elsie Lovelock, performs her songs wonderfully.

Despite the show’s bright and energetic animation, it is absolutely not for kids, instead being geared towards adults. Drug and sex references as well as swearing are everywhere in the show, from background sight gags to the actions and dialog of the characters.

Because the story is set in hell, where souls from many places and times would congregate, the character designs are based around professions and time periods in the way they look and act. Vaggie has the appearance of a late 00’s scene girl and anger management issues, Niffty is a 1950s maid, both in appearance and in her views of a woman’s duty to clean.  Alastor is based on a depression-era radio host, always speaking in an upbeat, chipper voice regardless of what is actually being said. Despite many visually distinct characters, the overall design is consistent and done well.

The animation itself is crisp, clean and feels lively although it is not perfect. There are a few shots where the perspective feels off, mostly when characters or objects are moving toward the camera. There are also some points where it cuts between shots fast enough to give you whiplash, which does pull you out of the world a little.

The show is paced well with each scene flowing into the next, and the writing is good with lots of jokes that land well mixed with slower emotional moments.

The biggest thing the show has going against it is the fact that only the pilot has been released with no timeline on when to expect the rest of the season. Even so, the pilot has done its job of getting attention with over 18 million views in just over a month.

“Hazbin Hotel” offers a hell of a good time with its vibrant animation and clever writing. Overall, I’d give it a 666/10.