This popular Nickelodeon staple diligently encourages young viewers to watch and click and "friend" and "follow" and, essentially, engage with all things iCarly, both on television and online. The story's pinned on the antics of two regular kids who moonlight as Internet celebrities, so that level of interaction ends up not feeling out of place. At least not while watching. The Internet can be a launching pad for celebrity, iCarly says. Come and join us, and maybe you could be one too!
At the center of this reality-bending series and accompanying interactive website is Carly Shay, who is both a regular girl and budding Internet superstar. Her admirers obsessively tune in to her wacky Web-based show, also called iCarly. This vivacious little do-gooder shares the Internet stage with best friend Samantha Puckett, a lemon-tongued detention magnet. Freddie, a tech-savvy classmate with a crush on Carly, mans the webcam and endures a steady drip of abuse from Sam.
If iCarly was a real online show, of course, Sam would demand a change in the title and Freddie would have grounds for a lucrative harassment lawsuit. As it is, iCarly is little more than a silly and snarky diversion: The girls film turtle races, showcase recurring segments such as "Another Pathetic Play," and run random features like "Who's That Weirdo in My Neighborhood?" and "Hey, What Am I Licking?" One webisode shows an elderly man, being filmed surreptitiously, yelling at a stop sign.
Off the webcam, Carly's life is just as random. Her brother and sole guardian, twentysomething Spencer, clearly cares for his little sis. But he can't keep a goldfish alive for more than a day, much less monitor a teenage girl, so she's pretty much on her own. Other onscreen adults exhibit varying degrees of humanity, but all are unfailingly clueless. And the kids watch them as if they were a pen full of clumsy puppies.
iCarly does contain some watered-down morals: Be a good friend, follow your dreams, don't bootleg DVDs. But, as befitting a Nick comedy, it leans toward crazy, not careful. And the kids sometimes play practical jokes on, or swipe things from, one another—albeit mostly with an air of silliness, not malevolence. A semi-recurring character scalps tickets and sells illicit burritos. Sam's bad attitude is legendary.
The kids misuse God's name in just about every episode, and they try out a handful of other creative crudities such as "doof butt," "pimple butt," "jerk face," "shiz" and "wiz pants." Adult women show cleavage. Teen girls often wear short shorts and short skirts along with shirts that reveal their midriffs.
"iOpen a Restaurant"
Gilly opens a secret restaurant in the school's basement. Sam serves as the eatery's muscle, and the two start talking like Mafioso wise guys. Sam winds up beating a troublemaking patron with a butter-filled sock; the beaten student gets revenge by bringing a teacher down to see the illicit operation. Oops! The principal is chowing down with a bevy of high school girls. The teacher pressures his boss to shut the place down, but as soon as he leaves, the principal rescinds his order and buys a round of sandwiches for everyone.
In the wake of a burglary, Spencer designs a gun that shoots popcorn kernels at would-be intruders. When it malfunctions, he and Carly get Freddie's mother (described as overprotective and "irritating") to open the door and take the fire. (Her body gets covered in red welts.)
Gibby skips classes. Sam talks about rat poop. A joke on the iCarly Web show suggests Spencer has exploded. "We gotta hose Spencer's guts off the wall," Sam says. Spencer lies about not having pants on (to keep someone out of the apartment) and nearly opens his bathrobe in front of Carly and her friends.
God's name is misused three or four times. We hear interjections of "heck," "jeez," "dang" and "holy cheese."
"iWon't Cancel the Show"
Sam is in juvie (again!), forcing Carly to scramble to replace her so the show can go on. She asks Spencer to do so and whines until Spencer agrees, even though he has a blind date coming for dinner—at the same time the show goes live.
When his date, Candace, arrives, Spencer rushes back and forth from dining room to studio. He lies repeatedly to Candace, leaves her alone for long stretches and gets impatient with her attempts at conversation. He even criticizes her behind her back, though she's done nothing wrong.
The show goes off without a hitch—until Candace discovers Spencer's "dual role." She's rightfully upset, but the Nick show punishes her for putting on airs, and we're encouraged to laugh at her when Spencer spits creamed fish in her face. As Carly says, the iCarly cast doesn't "do sophisticated."
God's name is misused once. People impatiently tell others to "shut up." Gross-out humor includes smelly feet and a guy brushing his teeth with mustard. In one of Carly's skits, a cowboy "bellies up to a bar" with a "beer" bottle in front of him. Gibby takes off his shirt (again!) for no reason.