Sunday, April 17, 2022

'iCarly' Season 2 Mocks Itself For Being A Reboot

The iCarly revival isn't much different from other reboots and sequels to famous movies and TV properties, and the show is fully aware of that.

WARNING: Spoilers for iCarly season 2, episode 3.

The iCarly revival is a byproduct of the current reboot trend itself, but that didn’t stop the show from making fun of it. A direct sequel to the original Nickelodeon series, iCarly brings its core characters back to the Bushwell Plaza in a show that adds to an already long list of reboots, remakes, and sequels to beloved properties. The iCarly reboot can also be seen as a product of the current push for more content for streaming platforms – in this case, as one of the Paramount+ flagships along with the video game adaptation Halo and the Star Trek shows.

Despite being aimed at an older audience with more mature storylines, the iCarly revival was originally planned to target the same demographics as the original Nickelodeon show. The plans were eventually altered, and star and executive producer Miranda Cosgrove worked to ensure the iCarly reboot placed its characters in situations they have never been in before. That seems to have been the right decision, especially because of how self-aware the show is about it being a reboot.

During episode 3, "i'M Wild and Crazy", Spencer (Spencer Shay) and Freddie (Freddie Benson) discuss how to bring back the Groovy Smoothie restaurant that appeared in the original show. Beyond the callback to such an important part of iCarly’s original Nickelodeon run, the idea of bringing the Groovy Smoothie back was a big setup for a joke about how reboots and remakes, including iCarly itself, are taking over the industry. When talking about their plans for the restaurant, Freddie ironically stated that “New restaurants rarely fail”, and Spencer questioned if it could "still pander to the fans of the original”. They both agree that it’s the best way to go, because “how else is something supposed to succeed?”. That’s a clear reference to how the iCarly revival itself was developed and received by those who watched the original show. It highlights the idea that movies and shows based on fresh intellectual properties are not successful enough, and that the only way for a reboot or sequel to be well received is if it’s full of callbacks to the original story.

The restaurant metaphor was such a direct reference to the iCarly reboot that the Freddie and Spencer actors almost broke out of character after the punchline. Very much like other revivals and reboots such as Fuller House and Bel-Air, iCarly had the difficult mission of balancing new ideas with what audiences already expected from the show. The way the iCarly reboot chose to do it was by keeping the same style of playful humor followed by laugh tracks but with the characters placed in more mature scenarios. For example, in the iCarly revival, Freddie has already gone through two divorces and is now a father. This doesn’t mean the show doesn’t try to cater to the original iCarly audiences, quite the contrary. The iCarly season 2 premiere, for example, was focused on the “will-they-won’t-they” dynamic that Carly and Freddie have since the original iCarly.

Behind yet another absurd situation caused by Spencer and Freddie was iCarly’s way of acknowledging it is a reboot whose reason to exist has much to do with nostalgia and the streaming platform’s need for content. That said, iCarly is also a product of the heart and creativity of writers and producers, including Miranda Cosgrove and Jerry Trainor. That ensures that, despite being a product, the iCarly revival doesn't fall into the same Hollywood traps as others of its genre.

Paramount+ releases new episodes of iCarly every Friday. Try it FREE at

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