Considering the commitment television seems to have to reboots and remakes these days, it makes sense that at least a few of them are actually worth your time.
In its second season on Paramount+, the iCarly revival is able to hang on to the things that made its freshman season great. In a world of How I Met Your Fathers and Dexter: New Bloods, iCarly continues to be proof that it’s actually possible to do a good job bringing a show back.
The most important part of any revival is the tone, and iCarly’s second season proves the writers room has it locked down. In the two episodes provided for review, the series not only continues on with the lighthearted vibes of the original, but it makes specific callbacks to the prolific Nickelodeon series as well. The season premiere picks up a short time after the Season 1 finale, with Carly (Miranda Cosgrove) on the receiving end of the internet’s daggers for ultimately rejecting both Wes (Josh Plasse) and Beau (Conor Husting). Her former flames decide to make their own web show where they complain about her, which sends her spiraling as she tries to find a way to get the court of public opinion on her side. All the while, Harper (Laci Mosley) is tasked with taking care of Double Dutch’s (Poppy Liu) dog while she’s on tour, and Spencer (Jerry Trainor) and Millicent (Jaidyn Triplett) task themselves with planning the launch party for Freddie’s (Nathan Kress) new app.
Like any classic iCarly episode, these plot threads crash into each other to make more and more chaos until everything explodes. In an interesting callback to the original series, Carly and Freddie decide in the spur of the moment to fake-date, not only to get people off of her back, but to get some press for his startup. Though they eventually let go of the idea, there’s a moment between the two that could be foreshadowing something more. Freddie’s feelings for Carly were always a throughline in the original series, but it would be interesting to see what their being adults this time around could do for the situation.
Elsewhere in the realm of romance, it’s unfortunate that Harper and Poppy’s recent relationship comes to a mutual end in the season premiere. With Dutch’s tour extending, the two decide that long distance isn’t a good option for the both of them even though they would both prefer to be together. Of the romantic pairings in the first season, they were one of the best (despite their slower development). But though they’re currently on the outs, there’s no reason that they have to stay that way. With Harper lamenting that Dutch was her first taste of real love, it seems like there will always be a door open for her and her high maintenance antics to return.
Of course, the most important thing about iCarly Season 2 is that it’s just as funny (if not more so) than its predecessor. Being the reboot of a children’s sitcom, iCarly was never going to be the pinnacle of comedy, and it never tries to be, either. The show it grew out of was corny and campy with some solid one-liners, and keeping things that way in the more adult reboot has continued to work. Despite being the cast’s youngest member, Jaidyn Triplett certainly carries her weight in the comedy department next to Jerry Trainor, who still does the bulk of the show’s physical comedy bits. There are also a number of good moments in the second episode of the season, spearheaded by Jeremy Rowley’s return as Lewbert. The former doorman of Carly’s apartment building hits her with a lawsuit for all of the harassment her, Freddie, and Sam doled out to him when they were kids and that leads to a number of callbacks to the original series in a long courtroom sequence filled with cameos.
iCarly is, simply put, great fun. It’s not trying to be the next big moment in the era of Peak TV. Plus, with so many heavy shows weighing down the TVsphere, it’s nice to just sit back and watch something you don’t have to think too hard about. Sure, nostalgia is a driving force in this show, but it doesn’t feel like it’s shoved down your throat at any time. Instead, iCarly makes you feel like you’re watching what you used to when you were a kid in an effortless way, while modernizing and growing up with its audience. It’s not necessarily about whether the concerns of the characters are “real” to our lives or not, but that at the end of the day there aren’t Earth-shattering, life-ruining events. Carly will always have her webshow, Spencer will always be making weird art installations, and Freddie will always be bogged down by his overbearing mother. The goings on of iCarly are consequential to the characters in the show, but they don’t drive us to wrack our brains about what the series might be trying to say or teach us—and that is its greatest asset.
The first two episodes of iCarly premiere April 8th on Paramount+, with new episodes released weekly.
Kathryn Porter is the TV Intern for Paste Magazine. You can find her @kaechops on Twitter
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