iCarly evaluate: The Paramount Plus reboot finds acquainted characters as adults
iCarly star Carly Shay is again, and this time, she says “bitch.”
iCarly is a Nickelodeon sitcom that ran from 2007 to 2012. It centered on the then-novel premise of three middle-schoolers making a viral internet present. As one of many first exhibits to encroach into web influencer house, it touched on quite a lot of points of on-line tradition that also really feel related, from obsessive stans to viral boxing matches.
The present was beloved by late millennials and early Gen-Z-ers in its day, so in an period the place each streaming service is courting nostalgic audiences and mining acquainted IPs, it’s no shock that it now has a sequel collection on Paramount Plus. But what’s a shock is how iCarly 2021 retains the tone of the unique collection, whereas elevating the content material for the viewers that grew up with it.
The new present picks up 9 years or so after the unique left off, with a lot of the authentic forged again to take up their outdated roles. Carly (Miranda Cosgrove) is again in Seattle, now sharing an residence together with her roommate Harper (Laci Mosley, who’s new to the present). They reside in the identical residence constructing as Carly’s older brother Spencer (Jerry Trainor) and her former tech producer Freddie (Nathan Kress). Carly believes her boyfriend goes to pop the query: “Will you create a web channel with me?” He finally ends up dumping her as an alternative. After waffling about whether or not she will be able to create one thing on her personal, Carly decides to go forward and revive her outdated present.
Paramount Plus launched the present with three episodes, with new installments releasing on Fridays. The focus within the preliminary episodes is much less on the web-show content material (in all probability for the higher, contemplating how of-its-time the unique present was) and extra on how Carly’s group matches into the brand new internet ecosystem. Carly shouldn’t be fully clueless to the methods of the net, however as she tells Freddie within the second episode, it was simpler to do iCarly (the in-universe internet present) again when it was “the only web show.” The fervent competitors for clicks within the new on-line world presents a complete new set of challenges, ones up to date for contemporary viewers, and ones Carly would naturally face. But it’s refreshing that she isn’t utterly fumbling by way of a brand new on-line panorama. Sure, she hasn’t been actively creating content material, however she wasn’t sitting out on the sidelines of the web for her complete grownup life.
In the primary three episodes alone, Carly offers with making an attempt to make a viral comeback, dealing with haters, and her brother getting canceled. (In probably the most low-stakes manner doable — he creates an artwork exhibition making enjoyable of influencers, who resolve to come back for him.) It might really feel heavy-handed, however iCarly was by no means constructed for subtlety. Moments like Carly recreating a Miranda Cosgrove meme (in-show, she does this whereas a meme of herself — meta!) and Freddie joking about how a worldwide pandemic would by no means ever occur are extremely gratuitous, however the showrunners and actors alike appear very conscious of precisely what they’re doing, which turns these pandering moments from a wink-wink-nudge-nudge to a joke we’re all in on. This fashion of humor doesn’t all the time work, however the truth that it solely hardly ever feels cringey within the new iCarly is a feat.
The fantastic thing about the iCarly revival is that in contrast to different rebooted outdated exhibits, like Girl Meets World, Raven’s Home, and Fuller House, which hold the tone squeaky-clean by specializing in the following era of youngsters, iCarly remains to be very a lot about Carly, Freddie, and Spencer. Except now, they’re of their 20s (effectively, Spencer might be nearing 40 at this level), and so they swear, they drink, and so they curl up in blankets and binge-watch Law and Order after unhealthy breakups.
It’s positively unusual at first, for the reason that final time viewers noticed Freddie and Carly, they have been youngsters, however as adults, they nonetheless carry out with the identical overexaggerated performing fashion widespread in Disney Channel and Nickelodeon sitcoms. Evolving away from that almost-stiff fashion would imply the brand new present wouldn’t really feel like iCarly, although. So as soon as the jarring shock of seeing Carly Shay discuss hookups settles in, the present appears like a pleasant evolution of the over-the-top theatricalities of Nickelodeon sitcoms. Objects nonetheless randomly catch fireplace, however the characters grapple with issues that the demographic who watched the unique present will acknowledge.
As for what’s new, Laci Mosley’s Harper matches in amazingly effectively with the established Freddie-Carly-Spencer dynamic. Harper isn’t a substitute for Carly’s greatest good friend, robust lady Sam; she’s her personal character, a once-wealthy socialite who likes flirting and style, and who began working as a barista after her household misplaced all their cash. Freddie’s stepdaughter Millicent (Jaidyn Triplett), nonetheless, feels a little bit clunky, extra like an compulsory nod to the truth that most reboots of those types of exhibits have a next-generation focus. Tripplet does a very good job of taking part in a tech-savvy preteen who doesn’t have an enormous following (a fantastic distinction with Carly’s instantaneous fame on the identical age), however she additionally hates Carly for no actual motive apart from compelled stress. Hopefully with subsequent episodes, her character will increase past the “tagalong kid” trope.
The new iCarly is weirdly good and goodly bizarre. It tackles extra grown-up points than the unique present, however in the identical lighthearted, exaggerated method. The characters are correct adults now, however on the identical time, they’re nonetheless the identical ones viewers watched rising up, making the identical type of errors. That’s not a critique; actually, it’d resonate with followers of the unique collection, who’ve additionally grown up and seen their very own grownup failings within the interim. Unlike quite a lot of these revisited sitcom characters, the iCarly gang aren’t parental figures handing the mantle over to the following era. They’re nonetheless the principle characters, making dumb errors and studying from them. For individuals who watched the unique iCarly, which will virtually be comforting.
The first three episodes of the iCarly revival are out on Paramount Plus now. New episodes drop weekly on Fridays.