Rewatching iCarly As An Adult

If you’re anything like me, you’ve been binge-watching iCarly since it came to Netflix. iCarly was one of my favorite TV shows growing up so I looked forward to rewatching the series again as a senior in college. But, watching a children’s show as an adult exposes many flaws that kids miss. To my surprise, the iCarly I remembered was different from the one I was watching. As a kid I never saw the loopholes in the show, nor how mean some of the characters can be. I still adore the show but my perspective of it has changed. Here is what I observed while watching iCarly again for the first time in years:

To start, I was astonished at how immature and rude Carly and Sam can be. 

The two friends lash out often at friends, teachers, and Spencer to get their way and there are rarely consequences to their words. Carly is written to be the perfect girly girl so her outburst is played off as a quirk. In an episode where Spencer forbids her to go to an MMA fight and sneaks out, she never faces consequences. She went against Spencer’s rules and didn’t apologize when he was thrown by an MMA fighter.

Additionally, Carly constantly uses Freddie’s crush on her for favors. He’s made it obvious from the first episode that he’ll do anything for Carly, and she wastes no time taking advantage of that. The two’s relationship is built on an unrequited love that results in poorly established boundaries. Watching the show this time I found Freddie’s affection for Carly depressing considering how much she uses him. 

Furthermore, Sam’s character is written to be vicious and hostile to juxtapose Carly’s girliness. In some instances, this trope is taken too far. She can be incredibly violent to Freddie and Gibby in school but is only given a slap on the wrist despite the physical injury cost. In my opinion, Sam shouldn’t have any friends. I’m amazed at what Freddie and Gibby are willing to put up with to be friends with Sam and Carly. 

Some of the bits Carly and Sam used for their web show should have resulted in legal action. Frequently on the web show, they enjoy tormenting Lewbert, the doorman of Carly’s apartment building. Lewbert is strange and nasty but that doesn’t give them permission to harm and humiliate him on the Internet. I felt sorry for him when the exploding muffin basket sent him to the hospital. 

The iCarly gang is also known to abuse Carly’s connection to the military to use to their advantage, For example, when Nevel keeps interfering with the web show, Carly calls her father’s friend for help. In the end, the military ambush Nevel, successfully scaring him enough into submission. Although Nevel shouldn’t have been meddling in their show, their reaction was a clear abuse of power. It’s ridiculous to call the military on a child and there were better ways Carly, Sam, and Freddy could have handled it.   

In another episode, Carly and Freddie film their teacher Ms. Briggs (without her knowing), and sneak into her house. They intended to do a “What Teachers Do Outside of School” act on iCarly but it went wrong. Still, they wanted to embarrass their strict teacher. I noticed Carly, Sam, and Freddy all use iCarly as an excuse when in trouble as if having a web show grants them immunity. There’s always a character that claims to “love their show,” to make special amenities for the trio. I realized how every situation in the show is tilted to Carly, Sam, and Freddie’s favor due to their celebrity status. 

Despite the negative aspects I noticed while rewatching iCarly, I was also to find more appreciation in other elements of the show. Even though he isn’t considered a main character, I believe Spencer is a huge factor in the show’s success. I may be biassed because he’s my favorite character, but his personality fits perfectly with the random-artistic aesthetic of the show. I believe Spencer gives the show a wider audience, and I was able to connect to him more as an adult. His big brother role extends beyond Carly to the audience as he teaches us to pursue what we love instead of what makes money. Spencer is certainly happier as a sculptor than he would’ve been as a lawyer. He’s extremely likable and serves as the voice of wisdom for the younger characters. 

Don’t get me wrong, I love iCarly. I enjoy the silly comedic routines and characters that the show is so well known for. But, I think it’s a different experience watching as an adult versus as a kid. There’s a ton of dialogue and action that a younger audience will miss. iCarly is a great television show, but it wasn’t perfect.