Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Nick’s ‘iCarly’: Web wonders, kooky ideas

(Published May 25, PDI-Entertainment)

By Oliver M. Pulumbarit


Internet-savvy teens develop and run a successful web show in the Nickelodeon sitcom “iCarly,” created by Dan Schneider (“Drake and Josh”). The 30-minute program follows the online and offline adventures of bubbly high schooler Carly Shay (Miranda Cosgrove), who co-hosts the weekly show with her assertive best friend Sam (Jennette McCurdy). Carly’s schoolmate and neighbor Freddie (Nathan Kress) regularly contributes as their able cameraman and tech guy.

The hip “iCarly” presents a toned-down reflection of the times, with its focus on kids aware of the power of the Net, and are discovering the real responsibilities and temptations that come with uploading material for public consumption. Carly and company’s “” webcasts started out as a venue for schoolmates with odd but camera-worthy talents, and continue to show chosen videos of fans with less “mainstream” abilities and kooky ideas.

Carly and Sam rehearse and stick to a snappy script and, aided by Freddie’s technical expertise, create content that win over tweens, teens, and the occasional grownup. Shot at Carly’s apartment, the episodes poke fun at whatever the gang encounters, like horrendous teachers and other mean adults. There are young characters that disrupt Carly and company’s output from time to time, however.

The show’s main teen characters aren’t fame-obsessed people, and consider their web show a fun hobby. They’ve learned how to adapt to unusual situations; they’ve outsmarted a sneaky sponsor selling defective shoes on their show, and stood up to a TV executive who wants to adapt – but change everything about – “iCarly.”

The teen sitcom underscores the importance of responsible communication for the web-traversing generation and emphasizes the value of creativity, even occasional gimmickry.

“iCarly” airs 4:30 p.m. on weekdays and 3 p.m. on weekends on Nickelodeon.

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