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  • Writer's pictureRua Fay

The Hellish Nightmare of "Hazbin Hotel"

Updated: Apr 9

On October 28th, 2019, Vivienne Medrano released the pilot for her adult animated series, Hazbin Hotel on her youtube channel, Vivziepop. The pilot became an instant hit across the internet, gaining over 100 million views, thrusting Medrano and her show into the mainstream spotlight. In August of 2021, renowned indie studio, A24, picked it up to be a full length series, and after years of waiting, Hazbin Hotel was officially released on Amazon Prime in January 2024. But despite a warm reception from fans, Hazbin Hotel has been one of the most divisive productions to ever come out of A24? So if you're wondering: "is it actually any good?" You've come to the right place...

For those who aren't familiar, Hazbin Hotel is a show about the princess of Hell, Charlie Morningstar as she founds a hotel with the aim of helping rehabilitate demons and sinners of Hell, with the help of her friends. It is a satire of modern Christianity and also a musical featuring a voice cast of Broadway actors like, Christian Borle, Jeremy Jordan, Kimiko Glenn, Erika Henningsen, and Alex Brightman, as well as Keith David and Stephanie Beatriz.

The Hazbin Hotel pilot came out when I was a sophomore in high school, and it feels fitting to be reviewing the full show as a sophomore in college. I remember enjoying the pilot when it first came out, I didn't become a huge fan or anything, but I was impressed by the animation and voice acting to come from something as independent as a personal Youtube channel. I was actually kind of shocked at first to see just how much people online absolutely loathed it. It seemed like for every ten people who liked it, there were 50 more who hated it, and I hate to say it but after a while, my opinion on the pilot began to sour as I got older.

While there have been a few changes from the pilot to the main series, Hazbin Hotel is still basically the same it was in 2019, which means that all of the critiques from viewers remain the same. Hazbin Hotel is a comedy, but most of the problems people have with it seem to come from the humor. Most of the jokes can be summed up as "look how much I can swear!" and "GAY SEX....please laugh" or "watch these cute, colorful characters say the most uncomfortable things imaginable!' This was a clear issue in the pilot but it's still abundantly present in the full series. And as an avid South Park fan, believe me when I say it's shocking just how much swearing is in this show. It reads like a twelve year old who just learned his first naughty words. It's the kind of show that would have taken Tumblr by storm if it was released ten years ago. Viewers have also mocked the repetitive animation style and it has become somewhat of a running joke on the internet to draw other cartoon characters in the style of Hazbin Hotel. After watching the series in its entirety, I have a hard time picturing who could possibly enjoy this show besides edgy teenagers.

You cannot talk about Hazbin Hotel without mentioning its creator, Vivienne Medrano or Vivziepop, someone who has been involved with the show since its very conception and is responsible for everything you see on screen. The truth is, a great deal of the show's controversy comes from her behavior in her personal life. Her scandals range from racism and art theft to beastiality and pedophilia. Her entire online presence is plagued by a slew of allegations that seem kind of unbelievable for just one person to have. Many viewers have condemned Hazbin Hotel or simply refused to watch it because of Medrano's sketchy past.

It would take forever to explain every one of these controversies in detail, but this is a platform where we talk about media, so that is what we will focus on.

While the animation and overall premise of Hazbin Hotel are impressive and commendable, the entire show feels very juvenile, from the humor, to the dialogue, to the behavior of the characters. It's been accused of pandering to a Tumblr-centric audience and by the time the first episode ends, it's not hard to see why. The entire series only consists of eight episodes but it was also hard to get through with the constant, never-ending sex jokes that could only appeal to a middle schooler watching their first R-rated TV show. Even when the show tries to tackle serious subjects like sexual abuse and exploitation, its followed by more tasteless comedy. I hate to say it, but commercial breaks began to feel like a moment of merciful silence. Normally I would be able to excuse these missteps if the plot was good but the linear story is meandering and lacks direction. I actually have no idea what the general storyline was supposed to be. The meeting with Charlie and the angel, Adam during the first episode is genuinely one of the most painful to watch scenes I've ever witnessed. I am not exaggerating when I say that Adam is my least favorite character in ALL of animation, he really is that annoying. On top of that, the character, Lucifer Morningstar is someone that will make you want to turn off the TV every time is on screen. Which is especially disappointing because his voice actor, Jeremy Jordan and I both went to the same college. Go Bombers, I guess...

It's inspiring to watch a measly passion project turn into a successful television show, and it's amazing to see that all come from someone who accomplished this on their own, with no famous parents to interfere. However, Hazbin Hotel remains disappointing, grating, and at times downright hard to watch. It is not beyond saving, but some serious improvements will need to be made to convince me to return next season. Ironically, after viewing the whole series, only one phrase comes to mind..."Jesus Christ."

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