Homestead High School's student newspaper

The Epitaph

Homestead High School's student newspaper

The Epitaph

Homestead High School's student newspaper

The Epitaph

The pilot that made it

‘Hazbin Hotel,’ while flawed, is a hellishly fun musical

While there are many independent animated pilots on YouTube today, few would exist without “Hazbin Hotel” as a trailblazer. Created by animator Vivienne “VivziePop” Medrano and her studio SpindleHorse, the pilot released on Oct. 28, 2019, and currently holds 100 million views on YouTube. Now, it has blossomed into a successful adult animated show on Amazon Prime.

Although its characters and animation make the show “Hazbin Hotel” fun to watch, its pacing and lack of world-building hold it back. (Illustration by Faith Watters)

The show premiered its first episode on Jan. 18 of this year, streaming the season finale on Feb. 1. Since its release, “Hazbin Hotel” has broken records, holding the highest global viewership for an animated show on Prime Video, according to Television Stats.

“Hazbin Hotel” starting as an indie animation project paves the way for other independent shows and its success proves how big the adult animation niche truly is. Even for viewers who did not enjoy the show, the team’s genuine passion and love for the medium was undeniable.

The show opens with a musical number featuring Charlie Morningstar, daughter of Lucifer and princess of Hell. She opens the Hazbin Hotel in an attempt to redeem sinners to save them from Heaven’s cruel exterminations, meant to keep Hell’s population under control. Consequently, this angers Adam — the leader of exterminator angels — and he halves the time until the next extermination, setting high stakes and consequences that immediately hook viewers.

Due to shows like “Family Guy,” adult animation has garnered a reputation for being callous and insensitive. While “Hazbin Hotel” has crude humor, it knows when to be serious and how to handle deeper topics. For example, the character Angel Dust, a victim of sexual abuse, was praised on social media by survivors, with many calling the character’s arc accurate and tasteful.

One of the show’s strongest aspects is its cast: the sinners are all likable and surprisingly nuanced. Joke characters do not overstay their welcomes and several — namely Angel Dust and another sinner, Sir Pentious — get solid development. The show’s excellent and expressive animation coupled with its fun character designs make it visually appealing. This aspect especially shines in the final episode, with a fantastic fight scene between Adam and hotelier Alastor.

Much of the cast is composed of Broadway actors, leading to a strong array of songs. With two numbers per episode, “Hazbin Hotel” utilizes music to its fullest. All the songs are phenomenal, with standouts such as “Stayed Gone” and “Loser Baby” showcasing solid compositions and vocals. The songs also advance the plot and serve to show stakes, motivations and relationships that would not be possible with dialogue alone.

However, the show is not without flaws. Its lightning-fast pacing can be especially hard to keep up with through the last two episodes, with many scenes requiring rewatching to understand, and some arcs feeling rushed. This turns the large cast into a disadvantage, as the story only has time to properly flesh out a few characters, leaving the rest sorely underdeveloped. While it does an excellent job of creating emotional moments, it struggles with connecting scenes and storylines into a cohesive final product. 

That said, if you do not mind its suggestive humor and darker themes, I would highly recommend giving “Hazbin Hotel” a try. While it is not perfect, it is an embodiment of a dream that came to fruition. What started as an independently animated pilot grew into a full show with a giant fandom, setting an example for shows to come. “Hazbin Hotel” proves that all it takes to make an influential show is genuine passion from a dedicated team of writers and animators.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Faith Watters, Art Editor
Faith is a senior and is pumped to return to The Epitaph for her second year, now as the art editor. She enjoys drawing and playing with her dog Sophie, and she has been on the girls varsity tennis team for four years. She has a major sweet tooth and is looking forward to a great senior year.

Comments (0)

The Epitaph reserves the right to moderate comments on articles. Spam or obscene comments may be deleted without prior notice.
All The Epitaph Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *