This show is awful on so many levels it's hard to begin. I almost never see a show, particularly children's show, that I think is so painfully bad and damaging that I think it should be ripped off the air.
iCarly is about a teenaged girl named Carly (Miranda Cosgrove) who lives with her dopey big brother Spencer (Jerry Trainor) in a lavishly furnished loft. Carly and her friends Sam (Jennette McCurdy) and Freddie (Nathan Kress) have an online show that has made them into celebrities. The three of them have a comedy webcast and often create trends, feature real world celebrities, and even invent holidays.
I hate this show. I honestly don't think I have ever thought a show for children had messages as bad as this. After saying that, I must add I am not one to complain about children being exposed sex and violence or about how "morally bankrupt" shows are. (Family Guy and South Park are two of my favorites!). But this show is mean, judgmental, shallow, marginalizing, stupid, and plain NOT funny. The lead Carly is a stereotypical popular girl obsessed with herself, fame, and boys. These qualities are supposed to be endearing or likable, but they come across as obnoxious and shallow. Spencer is so inept at everything. I find his character confusing, because he seems to replace the role of an inept, stupid parent often included in other popular "tween" shows on Disney or Nick. But I have never seen Spencer act as a parent or do anything guardian-like, even though he is technically Carly's guardian. Either way, his stupidity is hyperbolized to an eye-rolling degree and he often shouts his lines. Sam is by far the worst character. She is a bully, engages in cruel pranks, and says horrible things to others. What's worse is that her very noticeable meanness is depicted as hilarious. Her lack of caring or remorse is also depicted as funny and cool. Basically, this show is condoning and almost encouraging bullying and mean behavior. Almost every single episode I have seen involves at least one instance of the stars making fun of, excluding or hurting someone because of their looks, weight, intelligence, popularity or more. This show definitely makes it clear that anyone "different" can and should be verbally (and sometimes physically) torn apart and kept as far away from the "cool" kids as possible. Freddie is actually the only character I find somewhat likable, as he is rather harmless. This probably has to do with the fact he is usually the butt of Sam and Carly's jokes and ends up humiliated or hurt.
Then of course, there are some sexual innuendos, jokes, or the fact sometimes Sam and Carly are in scantily clad clothes. Now I hate the sexualization of children as much as the next person, but I believe many sexual innuendos fly over kids' heads. What I find more damaging to kids is not necessarily the exposure to sex, but the damage to their self-image that shows like this imply. There is one episode where a 14 year old Freddie is humiliated and teased because he's never been kissed. Now what message does that send to kids? That you need to make sure you get kissed around age 11-13 because EVERYONE ELSE is! That does a hell of a lot more damage than a young girl in a bikini—something kids normally see at the beach anyway. The kids on iCarly really live more like college kids rather than kids in middle/high school. It's common for kids on TV to act older than they are, but they usually still go to school and go home to parents. There is little to no mention of parents in this show, and Carly has absolutely no adult guidance in her life. Even when Freddie's mom has appeared she is depicted as overbearing, embarrassing, and treats him like a toddler. I have never seen a show that was so devoid of adults, and this further enforces the young viewer's idea (that most kids have) that they could live perfectly fine without parents because they know everything! Social implications aside, this show sucks. It's not funny, the jokes are stupid even by kid standards, and they overuse the laugh track so much it sometimes cuts into the actors' lines. ICarly has no redeeming qualities, and you're much better off having your kids watch some of the dozens of other dumb (but less damaging) shows out there.
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