Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
Hazbin Hotel Logo
Hazbin Hotel Logo
Photo by HstrongART and sparklestroke from Canva and Amazon Prime / Design by Taylor Staples
Culture > Entertainment

You Need to Check Out (of the) Hazbin Hotel

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Ball State chapter.

X7bbGv78sWtainVKdAxOi5OSor7Hy6waMEdW35bGbEh2iM rL1xJ014vTsjXSjoKvwOytTI1FKaNeZxS6V60I

A24 Studios

Content Warning: The show discussed here contains depictions of violence, gore, body horror, abusive relationships, substance abuse, strong language, and sexual assault. Courtesy of Sapphyre Smith from HC at Queen’s U.

Those in my life who know me, know how obsessed with cartoons I am. Animation has always made me feel indescribably happy. I love the different unique styles and character designs between shows and the free-flowing movement and eccentric things that can happen in a cartoon versus a live-action show. Think about it, even in live-action superhero shows would be nothing without CGI animation and Special FX. With that, I’d love to rave about my most recent obsession, Hazbin Hotel.

A Little Bit of Backstory…

Hazbin Hotel is an animated passion project created by Vivienne Medrano. It’s an R-rated animated musical comedy show on Amazon Prime being produced by A24 Studios. The show just aired its first episode on January 18th and ended season one on February 1st. Hazbin Hotel is set in Hell and follows Lucifer Morningstar’s ray-of-sunshine daughter, Charlie, as she tries to rehabilitate sinners at her hotel. Our other main characters are Anthony “Angel Dust”, Husk, Vaggie (vag-ee), Sir Pentious, Nifty, Lucifer, and the Radio Demon, Alastor. You also have some recurring side characters and villains like Vox, Valentino, and Velvette a.k.a “The Vees,” Adam (yes, THE Adam), Lute, Carmilla Carmine, and Cherri Bomb. The main set of characters all stay at the hotel by the end of season one, but there’s a lot to unpack until then. 

Vivienne has a YouTube channel, which is how she posted about Hazbin in the first place. On her channel, you can see that she’s had a lot of her characters in mind since 2013! In 2017, she announced she was making a pilot, and throughout the next year and a half, she showed her progress on the pilot by putting out 30-second to one-minute clips of sequences. The self-funded show quickly gained traction and a cult following.

I found Hazbin Hotel on a whim one day in 2018 a.k.a. my sophomore year of high school. I was going through a phase where I was seeking out any animated pilot I could find on YouTube, and I just happened to come across a clip of Hazbin shortly after the first official trailer came out! The 30-minute pilot came out in 2019 and was eventually picked up by A24 Studios in August 2020. The pilot currently sits with 105 million views on YouTube.

Now that we’ve covered all the basics, let’s get on to the show.

om6wQ7MY81na VPP8MN5330o 8BBS3y6rsff8Oyr ZRVRIia0 Dv 1WcqjC9YoLdZ3bBR4 Gpqk1

Photo by Dia Dipasupil via Getty / @itsblakeroman on Instagram


Broadway Icons Take Over the Hotel

As I said earlier, Hazbin is a musical, so not only does it have bangin’ music, but it’s got a star-studded cast including Broadway legends such as Erika Henningsen (Charlie/Cady Heron on Broadway’s Mean Girls), Alex Brightman (Adam/Sir Pentious/Beetlejuice on Broadway), Stephanie Beatriz (Vaggie/Mirabel from Encanto/Rosa from Brooklyn 99), Keith David (Husk/Dr. Facilier in Princess and the Frog), Kimiko Glenn (Nifty/Dawn Pinkett in Broadway’s Waitress), Jeremy Jordan (Lucifer/Jack Kelly in Newsies), Christian Borle (Vox/Emmett in Broadway’s Legally Blonde), Joel Perez (Valentino/Lincoln in Tick Tick Boom/Ensemble in Jesus Christ Superstar), Jessika Vosk (Lute/Elphaba on Broadway’s Wicked), Krystina Alabado (Cherri Bomb/Gretchen Weiners on Broadway’s Mean Girls), and that’s not even the half of them. The cast is full of Tony Award Winners, singers, and actors just pouring out talent. If you’re a Broadway nerd like Vivienne Medrano, this show could just be right up your alley.

I don’t want to neglect the subjectively “lesser-known” cast members like Blake Roman (Angel Dust) and Amir Talai (Alastor) or Brandon Rogers (YouTuber/Vine Icon/Katie Killjoy). Everyone – and I mean everyone – on this cast has talent coming out of their pores. On top of that, they all just seem really proud to be a part of this project and seem to have a lot of fun together and with fans.

OukxGvsxwPvi9K oWpLCxapBJAHqJuVN

Little Pan-Cake/YouTube

e2RMckXabOlAbhOLFsUv jnfPzxG4X

Photo by @itsblakeroman

The Soundtrack

The music is made by The Living Tombstone, and if you grew up like me where you were obsessed with video games, video game music, and YouTube, you’ve probably heard of The Living Tombstone. They’re an electronic rock band that mainly makes music inspired by The Five Nights at Freddy’s franchise (nerdy, I know). Five years after the band was formed in 2011, Sam Haft joined and turned The Living Tombstone into a musical duo. Sam Haft is one of the two people who wrote and made all the songs for Hazbin Hotel, the other being American composer and songwriter Andrew Underberg. 

Every single episode of Hazbin Hotel has two songs each, so in total there are 16 songs on the soundtrack that span over eight different 30-minute episodes. Four songs from the soundtrack (“Respectless,” “Hell’s Greatest Dad,” “Hell Is Forever,” and “Loser Baby”) have over 20 million views and counting on YouTube, with “Hell’s Greatest Dad” having 37 million, being the highest-viewed video on Amazon Prime’s entire YouTube channel. The soundtrack has also spent eight weeks at #1 on Billboard’s Soundtrack Chart and many songs are still in the Billboard Top 200. The show is a smashing success for Amazon Prime.

Not only are the songs catchy as hell, but they all bleed into different genres, which I think is pretty cool. We got some polka/swing, some ballads, some rock, pop, Spanish, jazz, show tunes…you name it, it’s in the soundtrack. Also, the visuals and animation are awesome, especially in “Hell’s Greatest Dad” (in ep. five) and “Loser, Baby” (in ep. four). Another thing I appreciate is that most of these songs, like songs in a musical, push the story forward. They’re not just there because the creator liked music, she stayed true to the authenticity of musicals and I love it. (“Hell’s Greatest Dad” and “Hell Is Forever” pictured below).


Prime Video/YouTube

Vt3O8ZNov9nCIhr0HF7jure OFGh7rsOyxtV ZCxrYx4uyQlif0z4lZwI9RZnm4ytuKn7hffyYxMI1TqVnC9U0Wp1H9eSgdMsw DSWmHHBJ5bzjr9olAoLkAM8CY5gQymkUA1kmPN 5qVe3rjkCK394

Prime Video/YouTube

The Plot (Spoilers…Duh)

The show immediately starts with Charlie giving the viewers the backstory on how Lucifer and Lilith, the first woman, got banished to Hell by Heaven (not really biblically accurate, but we’ll get into that later). In this backstory, Charlie also establishes the overarching threat in the show, which is Adam and his angel army coming down for an annual Extermination to keep sinners in line, which kills hundreds of hell-born citizens a year. Charlie already has her hotel, dubbed the ‘Hazbin Hotel’ by Alastor, which she wants to use as a place to rehabilitate sinners and ideally get them into heaven, saving them from future exterminations. In the episode, Charlie calls her dad so she can set up a meeting with Adam to pitch the idea of her hotel to him, and let’s just say it doesn’t go well…at all. Adam essentially craps on her plan and moves the exterminations up to twice a year.

izD4J5vc4xhY14xdxAgqoLnpd b6e629c

Screenshot from Prime Video’s “Hazbin Hotel” – Season 1 Episode 1 / A24 Studios

Episode two introduces you to the “Vees” – Vox, Valentino, and Velvette – three evil Overlords who just kind of spend most of season 1 being assholes or basically non-existent until episode eight. Despite the very little screen time these three get, Vox has a killer duet with the Radio Demon and Overlord Alastor in this episode. Alastor is such an interesting character because you never know his motives, but you feel inclined to like him because he’s on our main protagonist’s side. This episode also introduces you to Sir Pentious. I love him, he’s absolutely adorable and terrible at being evil, it’s great. He’s technically the second guest to enter the hotel (the first being Angel Dust, an adult film star who was really only at the hotel at first to have a place to crash rent-free), but both him and Angel end up staying because they genuinely enjoy the camaraderie and start to believe in Charlie’s cause.

Screenshot from Prime Video’s “Hazbin Hotel” – Season 1 Episode 2 / A24 Studios

Episode four though is my personal favorite because it gives you the backstory on Angel Dust and why he puts on such a sexual front/persona. You learn that Valentino, Angel’s boss, abuses him on set most days and Angel acts tough in front of others to cope, it’s honestly a super sad episode. He reaches his breaking point when Husk, the hotel’s bartender, confronts him and calls him fake. However, this confrontation leads to a heartfelt moment (and song) between the two of them and kicks off Angel’s character development throughout the rest of the season.

I’ll kind of skim through the rest of the episodes, but essentially, Charlie eventually gets her dad (Lucifer) on board so that he can get her a meeting with Heaven (not just Adam) to pitch her hotel. Then they spend the last two episodes preparing for the extermination/battle after Adam vowed to head to their hotel first. In the end, they may have stopped Adam, but Charlie still has a long way to go to prove to Heaven that souls in Hell can and deserve to be redeemed.

Ub L6g5WJ2gKTJpAnAhEFKO781iirjZww i8xZtKrtDrRvptVY0oDlKqV2ajwizjiPEBIq0HBIaR1giqrT9aM5y

Photo by Amazon Prime Video

Other Thoughts + Controversies

Do I think the writing is the best? No, it can definitely be improved, but season one was really just laying down the groundwork and letting the viewers get to know the characters and their goals without overcomplicating things from the jump. 

A lot of people also take issue with the amount of swearing in the show and I admit, it’s extreme considering in the span of eight episodes there are 388 swear words said, but I also kind of love it. Funny enough, Adam is definitely the character that’s the most guilty of swearing in the show, which is probably something they did for irony.

I feel like I also have to talk about the elephant in the room: the obvious religious references in the show. I just want to stress that the show doesn’t exist to crap on angels or heaven. It uses real figures and concepts from the bible while putting its own spin on salvation and redemption, which is kind of what Christianity is all about. Adam being the main villain in season one is definitely on the nose, but who better to have as the main villain than the first man to sin? It also plays on the idea that you could live a life of virtue and then become a bad person just as much as you could lead a sinner’s life and become a better person. It acknowledges the hypocrisies that some Christians can hold while still being respectful.

Although season one ended just as fast as it began, fans of the show didn’t have to worry for long because season two was announced before the first one even came out! If you like Hazbin Hotel, make sure to check out Vivienne Medrano’s other show on YouTube called Helluva Boss! It’s set in the same universe as Hazbin and stars Brandon Rogers, who helped write most of HB with the creator.

S7vOdUkOrjgd7zVy20tcHdE1i jvu

Photo by Dia Dipasupil via Getty Images

🔥 Related: Checking in on the Hazbin Hotel
Taylor Staples is currently studying Journalism and Media News with a minor in Screenwriting and Film. Taylor was involved in the WCRD 91.3 radio as an anchor/writer, the Digital Corps, and the Cardinal Catholic media team. In her free time, Taylor loves to chill out with a good cartoon and some cocoa.