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June 17, 2021

Do We Need More iCarly?

On June 17, new streaming service Paramount+ is debuting the reboot of television show iCarly (see the new trailer here). In the trailer, the cast of iCarly fast forwards almost a decade and decides to reboot the web show they started in the original series (which aired on Nickelodeon from 2007-2012). It looks like there will be a fair amount of slapstick hijinks just like the original show, which had over 10 million viewers. The reboot was announced several months ago, so it’s safe to say the hype is real and building.

What is iCarly about?

While lots of the details about the reboot’s plot are still unrevealed, here’s a little synopsis of the original iCarly to catch you up to speed:

Carly Shay and her best friend Sam Puckett do improv at a school talent show, and their friend Freddie films it and puts it online without them knowing. Surprising to them all, the video becomes a massive hit, and the three of them decide to start a webcast called iCarly in which Carly and Sam do challenges, experiments, and contests. The webcast is filmed in Carly and her adult brother Spencer’s apartment in Seattle, while their dad is stationed on a submarine as an Air Force officer. As the show grows in popularity, Carly, Sam, and Freddie have to navigate their normal adolescent lives while also being online sensations, and craziness regularly ensues.

What will the reboot be like?

Original cast members Miranda Cosgrove (Carly), Nathan Kress (Freddie), and Jerry Trainor (Spencer) are back as the main characters. But, others like Jennette McCurdy (Sam) and Noah Munck (Gibby, a friend of the iCarly gang who is mainly used for comedic effect) will not be returning to the show. There are also new characters played by Laci Mosley (Harper, Carly’s roommate) and Jaidyn Triplett (Millicent, Freddie’s stepdaughter). Other new and original characters will probably pop up throughout the show, but it seems to be a pretty simple copy of familiar faces to lead the show.

Based on the trailer, the reboot will be just like the original iCarly, but now they’re older. According to interviews, the producers created the show for fans of the original, who are now probably somewhere in their twenties. So characters in the reboot will be going through things young adults face like college, dating, finding a job, and even financial trouble, marriage, and divorce. The original show was pretty silly and innocent considering the age of its stars, so it will be interesting to see if the way the show handles the more serious hardships of this stage of life “grows up” with its cast members. 

Is it still a big deal?

When iCarly first came out in the late 2000s/early 2010s, the idea of two middle/high school girls having their own internet show was a pretty foreign concept. At the time, you had to have a point-and-shoot camera and editing skills and an online account to be able to post somewhat professional-looking content to the internet, and not many young teens had that kind of access. When the smartphone came out, everyone was able to make videos and put them online, but the quality was still lacking. Around 2015 phone cameras became good enough and cameras became cheap enough that vloggers like Casey Neistat could produce high-quality vlogs on a daily basis. YouTuber and teenage girl Emma Chamberlain started posting vlogs about her day to day life in 2017, and was one of the pioneers of this laid back lifestyle-type content. Now, any teenage girl can post at any time and be an “influencer,” so we wonder if Carly reentering the scene as an online personality will be that exciting since the concept is far from revolutionary at this point.

Philippians 4:8 says “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” God calls us to pursue excellence in all that we do, and to engage with things that are excellent. Whether you think the content of silly sitcoms like iCarly is excellent or not is up to you. But, in an age of rebooting old shows just as often, if not more often than creating new ones, are the things we watch pursuing excellence? Or are they just adding to the void of media and entertainment that distracts us from more worthwhile ways for us to live out Pauls’s words in this verse? Paramount+ has even been reviewed as “one big library” that doesn’t feel necessary, putting out nostalgic shows and movies rather than pioneering new content like Netflix, Hulu, or Prime. iCarly ran for 5 years with 6 seasons, and it is a little off putting to see these actors a decade older and still acting the way they did in the original series. Yes the reboot exists and has a lot of hype, but does it need to? And once it comes out, will its fans still actually care?

Discussion Questions

Even though there’s still much to discover about what the show will be about and its content, there’s a good chance your teen may want to watch it. Here are some discussion questions to start a conversation:

  • Do you think you’ll want to watch the new iCarly? Why or why not?
  • Do you like it when an old show or movie gets rebooted? Is it usually better or worse?
  • What makes you want to watch a show? What do you look for in a show?
  • Do you think there are too many options for things to watch nowadays? How do you navigate all of the shows that you could potentially watch?

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