iCarly rocks it…

• Nickelodeon UK’s new multi-platform comedy series iCarly has debuted as the number-one rating program on any children’s channel in cable and satellite homes in the region. The live actioner achieved a 13.4% share of viewers in its first two weeks on-air; attracting 2.2 million sets of eyeballs.


WOOT!!!  iCarly is a rockstar of a show for tweens, from the brilliant mind of Dan Schneider.  While still creating unique stories, they’re able to interweave UGC videos made by viewers into the show.  The videos don’t really impact the storyline (at least not yet), but they are fun and goofy (and exactly what I would have done if I were there age & had a computer & a camera & loved iCarly).

I will say, at times, the show can be a shady… snarky (as in meanish for the sake of humor).  And although I totally understand that tweens are really getting into the enjoyment of sarcasm and the power of humor & words, on occasion I do cringe.  “Whoa, did they just go there?” kinda cringe.  But alas, have you hung out with tweens?  Twinging is nigh on a medical case, it happens so often.  Ah, the freedoms and social learnings of youth?

Carly (Miranda Cosgroves) is a solid lead – she’s sweet, works hard for grades, has morals, and is the mickey mouse character of the group.  Her friends Sam & Freddy (Jeannette McCurdy & Nathan Kress, respectfully), are like Tom & Jerry… cat and mouse.  Sam, not necessary anyone’s example of an ideal role model, is slightly a bully and slackerish– but IS loyal to her friend through and through.  Freddy is a good kid under the thumb of his overbearing mother.  A bit of a tech geek and in love with Carly, he is always the butt of Sam’s jokes.

But to me… the golden child of this cast???  Carly’s older brother Spencer.  He’s goofy, endearing, and off-the-wall bonkers (a bit of Fozzie Bear & Gonzo & Jim Carrey meshed into one… hmm, sounds awfully familiar…).  Jerry Trainer (29 years old), also played “Crazy Steve” – another of my favorite Dan Schneider characters OF ALL TIME – on Drake & Josh.  As Spencer– he plays the cool, wacky brother every tween girl & boy would want as their guardian (while Dad’s away with the Navy).  Not to mention, he’s got some wicked socks and a rad apartment of clutter (treasure to me, junk says my mom).

On itunes they have the podcast for iCarly (just like all of Schneider’s Bakery productions), and they mostly feature the actors backstage, lounging about or talking about how the show is made.  They’re just a few moments long, but they’re jam packed with kids-being-kids.  They don’t act like snotty, too-old-for-their-years (I’m starting to feel that way about a certain Disney cash machine), poptart tweens.  They act just like kids– giggling, doing complex handshakes (and getting them wrong), trying to be goofy-cool while joking with calm, clever (awesome) Jerry Trainer (okay, yes, I’m turning into a fan girl… leave me along, lol), and just hanging out.  It’s refreshing to see.  I can’t help but wonder if the same could be said for Zoey101‘s cast… ever.  Yes, Z101 is not in production (someone has other biznas in Louisiana), but I’d be surprised if those kids were hanging out just being goofy.  Seems like Z101’s cast = a little more of the popular-kids-club, where they need to look Abercrombie and talk about their acting careers off set.  But that’s just a vibe. 

Anyway– the point is… those podcasts made by the staff are refreshing.  It’s nice to see (even if it’s somehow magically fabricated, but I don’t think their individual simplicity could ever be truly ‘acted’) a bunch of kids just acting like kids, and not pushing their uber-careers and hollywood star status.  Recess play – nothing can be how refreshing recess play is.

What I’d like to know is — what can they do with the UGC submissions from the iCarly website that is more than they’re doing now?   How can iCarly grow two-fold… one hand educating, guiding, and rewarding youth for SMART web/video use (aka education), and also finding new ways of empowering and entertaining?

Maybe it’s just a start, but overall it’s cool with a lot of possibility?  I’m curious as to why others haven’t tried such an approach.

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