iCarly: Season 1 vol. 1
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iCarly: Season 1 vol. 1

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When we of the baby boomer generation where young kids there was really nothing new on television. We sat through cartoons and films that were older than our parents. He was amused but that was largely because we had few alternatives. Sure there was some original programming like ‘Howdy Doody’ or ‘Kukla, Fran and Ollie’ but mostly children’s entertainment was all reruns on an endless loop. By the way, if you don’t recognize the names just mentioned just ask your parents or perhaps your grandparents. While Disney has the preeminent position in children’s programming including the lucrative tween market they are not the only game in town. There is another cable network that has dedicated themselves to providing quality programming for the youngsters; Nickelodeon. They have shows geared towards the needs and interests of the younger set. Many of their shows target things that are of concern to their audience. One prime example is their series ‘iCarly’. It taps into the life of a typical 13 year old girl who is fascinated with the internet. All shows used to require a television network of some sort to gain attention. Now we live in an age where anyone with a web camera and internet account, which includes a good size percentage of the population, can produce and distribute their own web show. Viral videos are the wave of the future and the leaders in this brave new world are the teens. At one time Avant guard artist Andy Warhol stated that someday everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes. Well, it looks like that day is here. Like many on the net the protagonist here, Cary, is a local web celebrity who is otherwise just like any girl her age. The series is innocent fun that ever gets to sneak a moral lesson into the story. Some parents may get upset thinking about a thirteen year old girl thinking about boys and boys having a crush on her but it is better to see such topics here and get used to them. My daughter is 24 and I still cringe when I here her talking about her boyfriend. So a word of advice to the parents; sit with your kids while watching this show. It is high in quality and worth while so just grin and bare it; your kids are growing up. Now you can have an easier time enjoying this series. Paramount has released the first volume of the first season on DVD through their Nickelodeon label. With all that is out there this is one of the better ones so take advantage of it.

The series focuses on Carly Shay (Miranda Cosgrove), a typical 13 year old girl living in Seattle with her 24 year old brother Spencer (Jerry Trainor). Their father is in the military stationed over seas so Spencer stepped up to the plate and accepted the responsibility of legal guardianship. Between the money sent by dad and some small jobs he is able to support them but his passion is sculpting. Just as a note here with you go to icarly.com you will get Carly’s blogs and videos as well as games and biographies. Carly is basically a good girl; attentive in school and personable with her friends. She is also rather strong willed especially when she is convinced that she is correct. Among her group of closest friends Carly is typically is the most reasonable. Like many her age she has a favorite musical group, the Cuddlefish, and is usually on her Pear (parody of Apple) computer. Carly’s best friend in the world is Sam Puckett (Jennette McCurdy). They have known each other for years and they compliment each other extremely well. Sam’s mother is never going to win any mother of the year awards. Her mom is content with leaving Sam with Carly most of the time. Sam is in some ways a strange friend for Carly; she is found of strange foods, is agile with her feet and is a bit of a tom boy. Sam also has a perchance for getting into trouble a lot. It appears that Sam is serving a life sentence in detention. While Sam is completely loyal to Carly she is at best lukewarm to Carly’s other close friend, Freddie (Nathan Kress). He lives across the hall from Carly in their apartment complex and is the producer for her web show. Unlike Sam’s lackadaisical mother Freddie’s is over protective to an extreme. Freddie has a crush on Carly but seems to not want to jeopardize their friendship by letting her know.

Of course there are other people in Carly’s life that tend to make things a little more interesting. There is one teacher in school that Carly just can’t seem to get along with; Mrs. Briggs (Mindy Sterling). She is generally mean spirited but does have a crush on the ‘American Idol’ judge Randy Jackson. She has a shrine to him in her closet that offers a chance to laugh at an adult in the series. Much to the pain of the students Mrs. Briggs enjoys playing the bagpipes. Another mean adult in Carly’s life is Lewbert (Jeremy Rowley). He is the doorman at the apartment house and dislikes almost everyone. He has a large mole on his face with is the focus of jokes among the kids. Then there is Nevel Papperman (Reed Alexander) who has a popular web site that reviews and critiques web shows like Carly’s. He has a crush on her that is not about to be reciprocated anytime soon. Lastly there is Principal Franklin (Tim Russ from Star Trek: Voyager) who likes Carly and Freddie and is all too accustomed to seeing Sam in his office for some infraction or another.

In the first episode Sam photshops the head of Mrs. Briggs on the body of a rhino and posts it all over the school. Carly takes the blame since she knows Principal Franklin will be more lenient on her but it backfires when Mrs. Briggs forces Carly to spend Saturday video taping the auditions for he up coming talent show. Carly had plans to see a Cuddlefish concert. This is a recurring theme in the series with Sam creating trouble that Carly is left to deal with. Each episode is fun and up beat and does demonstrate true friendship balanced with responsibility. They keep the computer motif going with little things like a mouse clicking a panel on the screen that opens a new scene in the episode. It is fast paced and imaginative which is one reason why the kids are so drawn to it. He best news is this is a series that the parents will be able to watch with the kids and enjoy. It is rare to find a show that maintains it’s appeal across the generation gap but this one does it.

Paramount has done its usual great job in bringing the first 13 episodes of the series to DVD. The full screen video is vibrant and is accompanied by a robust Dolby stereo sound track. There are also a great selection of extras that include a music video and an extended music video with some behind the scenes views. This is something that the whole family will enjoy may times.

Posted 09/19/08

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