iHeart iCarly

I’m not their target audience (a single, childless woman of a certain age), but I confess. I love iCarly.

This Nickelodeon show is random, funny, smart, silly, clever and it makes a ton of interesting points. I’ve learned stuff watching iCarly. Well, maybe it’s more accurate to say this kaleidoscopic series has provoked in me some interesting and curious thoughts. What’s the nature of friendship? Can you be anything but a victim to your first true love? And why do we always listen to the grownups?

iCarly puts me in mind of a 30’s screwball comedy, Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-in and a snarky ABC Afterschool Special, all at once. You can tell adults are writing this, and not just because few showrunners are still in high school. (I don’t know for sure, but I’m hedging my bet here.)

iCarly is found on Nickelodeon. A lot. Which is how I even know about it. A few years ago I stumbled across it channel surfing. (I couldn’t help but.) It held my attention for a few minutes. The next time, even longer. Eventually I’d just put down the remote.

I’ve come to love the characters because I see myself in each and every one – which is exactly why I believe this show works. Were he still alive, I’d bet five bucks Joseph Campbell would be a fan — if only for the archetypes.

Mrs. Benson is the definitive Threshold Guardian for everyone, not just her son. Poor Fredward (I know! Perfect, right?), despite his continuous challenges is really quite the Mentor. His technological dazzle supports the tent post of this premise, the titular webseries. Freddie’s maturity, in spite or because of his mother’s continual babying (who knows), never fails to shine through.

Carly’s big brother Spencer is an absurdly perfect Shapeshifter, available to inhabit any story requirement to full-size. And BFF Sam (whom I adore) does awesome double duty as both Trickster and Shadow, pushing Hero Carly’s very cool and flexible envelope while contributing mightily to her edge.

The stories are simple but complex, their progress telegraphed for miles. But still I delight in seeing them through. It’s a chance to relive my formative years with quick-witted friends making more creative choices than I did.

So thanks, iCarly, for finally showing me just who the cool kids really are. They’re me. (The tall one, on the right.)