Willoughby Thom | Friday, March 12, 2021
I refuse to believe it’s been 14 years since the first episode of “iCarly” aired on Nickelodeon. It feels like just yesterday that I was six-years-old, plopped in front of the television with my shiny pink Nintendo DS in hand — probably trying to give my Nintendog a bath — and I was going to watch the brand new sitcom called “iCarly.” There was something incredibly unique about the show, and in 2007 I would have never guessed that I would be re-watching the series as an adult.
When it appeared on Nextflix last month, I decided to rewatch the series from a new perspective: 14 years more mature. As a young kid, we all looked up to Carly (Miranda Cosgrove), Sam (Jennette McCurdy), Freddy (Nathan Kress) and Spencer (Jerry Trainor). We admired their unique friendships and the close bond Carly and Spencer had with one another. We all dreamt about living in the Shays’ three-story Seattle apartment with an elevator, eating spaghetti tacos and getting a bedroom like Carly’s in the fourth season. I think it’s safe to say that we all wanted to hang out at the Groovy Smoothie with T-Bo, own a Pear Phone and get your hands on one of those Penny Tees.
As I sit down watching it a decade later, I realize how beautifully weird the show is. “iCarly” is not only an embodiment of the 2000s (the nostalgia hits hard), but also a show which advocates for the beauty of individuality. Every character is weird in their own way, which makes it not only a dynamic series but constantly unpredictable. Carly is the only relatively “normal”character — compared to Sam constantly being threatened with “juvey,” Freddy being a tech-nerd who gets weekly tick baths from his mother, Spencer being an artist with crazy socks from his friends Socko and Gibby, who always runs around shirtless. As a kid, we never questioned these details, and we still don’t.
As an adult, I now wonder how the Shays afford their downtown apartment, but that’s purely insignificant. The show is still undeniably witty. The skits they do on their show are still hilarious no matter how dumb they may seem. The jokes with inappropriate undertones, which flew over my head as a child, have now become apparent, adding further depth and detail to the overall production.
Furthermore, the “iCarly” crew singlehandedly created their own vocabulary with words like “chiz,” “nub” and “jank.” Dan Schneider, the creator, developed his own universe, which included shows like “Drake & Josh,” “Zoey 101” and “Victorious,” implying they all exist at the same time in different locations. This is evident in the technology they use, the cross-overs and their slang — the term “skunk bag,” which is used a lot in “iCarly,” was also used in “Drake & Josh” and “Zoey 101.”
Between Carly and Sam’s statement necklaces, Freddy’s love for long-sleeve waffle shirts under polos and Spencer’s flannel and t-shirt combos, we know we are in a different era. Yet, even though the show’s fashion statements are outdated — despite our society having been hit with a revival of “Y2k” fashion, which is a question in itself — the show stands the test of time.
Rewatching an old series like “iCarly” not only provides you comfort in such an unpredictable time, but it proves that Nickelodeon was so much cooler back in the early 2000s.
You can watch the first two seasons of iCarly on Netflix, and a selection of episodes from later seasons on Paramount+.