Monster High Volume One

April 29, 2012 by Mitchell Lord  
Published in Friendship

A dang good show, that makes me think of MLP: FiM. It’s a definite HIT. And each video is only a couple of minutes.

Monster High: Season One.
   
All right, I confess, when I reviewed Friendship is Magic, it was not just for its own sake. It was also because Friendship is magic is a ridiculously

popular franchise, and I hoped it would increase Google hits. But there was a third reason. When I saw Monster High, I immediately compared it to Friendship

is Magic, in the same sense you compare Azumanga Daioh, and Seinfeld. Both are ’shows about nothing’, with quirky chracters, even if the actual quality is

not completely comparable. However they are both the same goal. Make a show for girls, that doesn’t suck. Though Monster High is admitedly less fun for a guy

to watch, there’s still an element of quality to it. It’s not NEARLY as good as Friendship is Magic, but it’s still a show worth looking at.
The first thing to bring up is the animation. It is not nearly as good as MLP, but is still quite fun. There’s less of a focus on background characters,

though there are a few, and the characters are relatively less expressive. Still, the characters do a good job of showing emotion, laughing etc. Characters

shrug, mug for the camera, wink, and generally show themselves. There’s a good bit more standing around in a set pose. The lack of background characters

means the cast is more focused on the main stars, and often the theoretical antagonist is seen just hanging around, as if she is a friend to the stars. In

fact, she sorta is. Just, that friend you think is a bit mean. All in all, the graphics are decent, but it’s clear this doesn’t have the sheer time put into

it that MLP has. Then again, pony episodes take about a year to complete, though they compensate by working on them around-the-clock. This seems to be made

faster. In practice, there are basically eight characters, and maybe a guest star. Each girl, and a male counterpart. Either a boyfriend, or family member.
Now, the first thing to point out, is that this is a MUUUCH shorter show then My Little Ponies. Each episode is a mere 2 minutes. Because of this, as was

pointed out by C. S. Lewis on radio talks, pretty much everything must be sacrificed to brevity. And, in this series, it is. The voice acting is quality, and

the script is surprisingly good, but each episode is just so darn short. Each episode is well-nigh completely focused on one character, with the others just

bouncing off them. IT consists mostly of ‘introduce the conflict’, followed shortly by a resolution. It’s quick, dirty, and you can go through the entire

season in an hour.
But, I’ll say this. The writing is genuinely clever, and in a matter of minutes, there’s usually at LEAST one laugh-out loud gag, and at least a couple of

sight gags. Each episode is bound to entertain, and if a single episode falls flat, well, there’s usually at least three more you can look at. Besides, these

are available free on youtube. You’re not losing anything by checking it out.
The humor in this episode comes from two things. First, is the fact that all these characters are monsters. While they act like high school students, they’re

still stuff like vampires, werewolves, and all. This creates an interesting contrast, as ‘normal’ high school stuff is balanced  by plain out weirdness. For

instance, instead of the JOnas Brothers, they have the Jaundice brothers. And they have the Invisible Man as a teacher. This humor tends to fall into the

realm of goofiness, and admitedly isn’t the best stuff. But, the second thing that really makes the show is the writing. These characters, like in MLP, act

like real people. THey don’t have problems that just come out of nowhere like in a bad sitcom, with people passing the idiot ball back and forth. They aren’t

JUST worried about fashion and meeting boys. Admitedly, meeting boys is a significant motivation, but it’s more of a side thing, and it’s not treated as the

be all, end all. It’s clearly considered a crush, and there’s a good bit of humor that comes from other things. Fashion is not a motive at all, except that

all the characters wear pretty clothes. No girl is without impractical high heels. It reminds me of the old Transformers cartoons, in which the toys were

advertised simply by being awesome on the show.
Each character has a distinct personality, each character has traits that come from both being a monster, and from being themselves. Each ‘monster flaw’

actually makes sense, though that is only revealed on the toys. When a character speaks, their personality comes through, and the conflicts that originate

come organically out of who they are. Usually. A few are sorta stretched, but it’s still better then the majority of shows.
One thing that I noticed it has in common with Friendship is Magic, is it’s not afraid to use and twist cliches. In a good few episodes of Friendship is

Magic, The plot is a tired old plot you’ve seen before. Anyone who watched a show with their kids knows what’s coming. Yet, Friendship is Magic gives clever

writing, good characterization, and all in all has fun with them. I’d compare this to Baby Looney Tunes, which did NOT have fun with the cliches, and just

used them far too straight. The ‘Birthday Surprise’ episode was physically painful to watch. You know the one. It’s the main star’s birthday, everyone is

being secretive, the character worries that no one loves them…SURPRISE PARTY! In Friendship is Magic, they just had Pinkie Pie, instead of playing it as

serious worries, just go freaking CRAZY. It’s hilarious to watch, and it’s clear that the writers know this is not something that can be played straight, we

all know what’s gonna happen, let’s have fun with it. Similarly, Monster HIgh doesn’t even bother trying to play this same plot for drama. It just goes

through it, has a bit of fun with it, and has the surprise party be fun! It also gives it a nice twist, in that it’s about two birthdays being on the same

day. That actually does a good job of disguising the cliche. Monster High is also just so darn HAPPY, it’s a pleasure to watch.
All in all, this is a show that I genuinely enjoyed, I was surprised at myself for enjoying, and it does a good job of advertising the toys. This show was made to sorta push the toys as the next big thing, and from what I’ve heard it succeeded. I strongly recommend checking these out, goofing around on youtube, and seeing ‘em all.  This show is a HIT, and I hope you like it as much as I did. http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLB83F12C71A8E94B9&feature=plcp

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