Thursday, July 15, 2021

Jennette McCurdy Reveals She Felt Jealous of Ariana Grande During ‘Sam & Cat’ Days

iCarly fans miss Sam Puckett in the reboot but understand why Jennette McCurdy wanted to leave her Nickelodeon TV show past behind her. After iCarly, the former child star reprised her role as Sam in Sam & Cat alongside Ariana Grande, who reprised her role of Cat Valentine from Victorious. Now a podcast host and mental health advocate, McCurdy has been speaking about her experiences growing up in Hollywood. She recently explained why she felt jealous of Grande during her time on Sam & Cat.

Jennette McCurdy says Ariana Grande added to Sam & Cat last minute,  explains jealousy toward Ariana Grande

Jennette McCurdy and Ariana Grande only did one, albeit extended season of Sam & Cat, and many fans speculated about what led to the show’s end. While the most intricate details will remain shielded from the public’s ear, McCurdy opened up about what it was like working on the short-lived series.

She welcomed guest Mike Birbiglia to her podcast Empty Inside, and the topic of jealousy came up. McCurdy shared that initially, Sam & Cat was supposed to be a one-person show centered on Sam. But a couple weeks before production, they switched things up and added Ariana Grande to the cast.

“I was on a Nickelodeon show and initially I had been told, ‘Oh, it’s going to be your show.’ And then a couple week before hand they were like, ‘We’re going to make it a two-hander and your co-star is going to be Ariana Grande.’ I kind of knew her, she had been on another Nickelodeon show and I had seen her at events and things but I didn’t know her well. Then we started the show and her explosion to Ariana Grande fame happened during our first 20 episodes. She would have to miss work because she was pulled in all directions. She’s gotta do the radio shows, she’s gotta do Billboard Awards, the Grammys. She’s performing at the Grammys and I’m, like, acting on this show with a box because they decided for that week her character had to be trapped in a box so she can go perform at the Grammys."

McCurdy warmly recalled how Grande became busy with radio interviews, Billboard Awards, and the Grammys. Laughing, she remembered doing a Sam & Cat episode where she had to have dialogue with a box. Cat was trapped in a box to conceal the fact that Grande had to perform at the Grammys.

Despite McCurdy’s jealousy at the time, she was finally able to overcome her negative feelings with the help of Birbiglia’s 2013 movie My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend. “I was like, ‘I deserve more.’ I didn’t even want to do music, like pop star things, so I don’t know why I was comparing myself to that person,” she said. “But seeing your movie was really helpful to process the bitterness and jealousy and wondering why is it there. It motivated me to work on myself more and work on getting to the bottom of why I’m comparing myself to this person, why being me not enough.”

“Seeing your movie was really helpful with processing the bitterness and jealousy,” she said. “It motivated me to work on myself more, and work on getting to the bottom of why I’m comparing myself to this person and why is just being me not enough. I love those themes.”

Later in the conversation, McCurdy said she wished she could do other work that would wipe her slate clean of the children’s shows she’s done.

McCurdy left Sam & Cat and Nickelodeon in 2014

Sam & Cat was canceled in 2014, much to the surprise of fans. Grande and McCurdy left their Nickelodeon characters behind in the spinoff, and they each issued statements about the announcement.

McCurdy took to Reddit to express she didn’t want to live up to anyone’s expectations of her being a role model but sent love to her fans. “For those of you who do consider me a role model, I hope you don’t read this and cringe. I appreciate you. I appreciate you so much! I appreciate that you believe in me, support me, and in some way, hope to live your life like me. But please, I encourage you to find role models in the people around you, the people in your everyday life, the people that are your friends and family.”

Following Sam & Cat ending, Jennette infamously boycotted the Kids' Choice Awards despite being nominated (Ari won btw). She later tweeted a telling explanation, saying that the reason she didn't attend was that she was "put in an uncomfortable, compromising, unfair situation".

Fans can check out McCurdy’s podcast, Empty Inside, on Spotify.

iCarly made its debut on Paramount+ on June 17, with new episodes being released every Thursday on the streaming service. The series has become one of the streamer's most popular shows to date. Newcomers can try Paramount+ for free at

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