Judge Dan Mancini sold his personality rights to Apple and will henceforth be known as iDan.
Our reviews of The i<3 iCarly Collection (published July 17th, 2011), iCarly: Season 2, Volume 3 (published June 12th, 2011), iCarly: The Complete Fourth Season (published August 5th, 2012), iCarly: iSaved Your Life (published June 10th, 2010), and iCarly: iSpace Out (published September 11th, 2010) are also available.
In 5, 4, 3, 2…
Created by Dan Schneider (who is best remembered for playing overweight dork Ricky Smith in Better Off Dead), iCarly premiered on Nickelodeon in the Fall of 2007. The sitcom follows the adventures of Carly Shay (Miranda Cosgrove, School of Rock), a teenage girl who lives in a hip (and unrealistically tidy) loft with her 26-year-old brother Spencer (Jerry Trainor, Drake & Josh). She and her best friends, smart-mouthed Samantha (Jennette McCurdy, The Last Day of Summer) and A/V geek Freddie (Nathan Kress, Gym Teacher: The Movie) produce their own web show, iCarly. The comedy and drama in Carly's life merge with the webisode shenanigans to create a silly, diaristic concoction guaranteed to entertain tween and early teen girls.
iCarly: Season 2 (Volume 1) is a two-disc set that offers up the first 11 episodes of the series' whopping 45-episode second season, including the TV movie iGo to Japan.
Like nearly all of Nickelodeon's kid-centric sitcoms, iCarly is peopled with deeply cynical children who spend most their time making sardonic jokes at one another's expense. To the show's credit (I guess) it has none of that parents-are-complete-idiots-deserving-of-only-ridicule-and-scorn dynamic that makes these sorts of shows insufferable to anyone over the age of 14. But that's only because the world of the show is almost entirely devoid of adults. The few that do show up (like teachers and Freddie's mom) are usually background fixtures, paid little mind by the series' adolescent heroes. Sure, Spencer's supposed to be 26, but he acts like a developmentally disabled 12-year-old so it's difficult to count him as an adult. Cosgrove, McCurdy, and the rest of the cast acquit themselves well enough, but the show suffers from the rickety set-up/punch line/set-up/punch line rhythm endemic to the low-grade sitcom. If you've ever seen an episode of Saved by the Bell, you'll know exactly the sort of comedy you can expect from iCarly.
The collection of episodes in this Season Two, Volume One set is full of cookie-cutter plotting from Carly and Sam fighting over a cute A/V guy ("iSaw Him First"), to Sam having to work a crappy minimum wage job in order to pay off a debt to Freddie ("iOwe You"), to Sam humiliating Freddie in front of the entire school by airing the fact that he's never kissed a girl ("iKiss"). There's even an It's a Wonderful Life style Christmas episode in which Carly experiences the horror of an alternate reality in which her brother doesn't act like a complete doofus. As a pandering sop to current popular culture, "iRock the Vote" features Carly using her web show to help American Idol runner-up David Archuleta win a singing contest. The stand-out offering of this set, though, is iGo to Japan, a 72-minute TV movie that finds Carly, Sam, Freddie, and Spencer traveling to the Land of the Rising Sun in order to compete for an iWeb Award against a Japanese duo who will do anything to win. None of the episodes (or the movie) is terrible, but none is particularly memorable, either. iCarly is a typical Nickelodeon comedy, tailor-made for young teens, tweens, and 9-year-olds who wish they were tweens.
The episodes are presented in full frame, while iGo to Japan gets a 1.78:1 widescreen treatment that is, unfortunately, not anamorphically enhanced. Colors are accurate, detail is solid, and digital artifacts are minimal. It's an attractive image that bests the quality of standard definition broadcasts on Nickelodeon. Audio is a clean and acceptable Dolby stereo mix.
The discs contain a few extras in addition to the episodes. Disc One contains "Behind-the-Scenes," "Fight Scene," and "Stunts," a trio of electronic press kits for iGo to Japan. Each runs approximately two minutes. There are five brief behind-the-scene featurettes on Disc Two, each of which was used to promote the show on Nickelodeon. Again, each is about two minutes in length.
iCarly is par for the Nickelodeon course—neither better nor worse than Josh & Drake or The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, which is to say that it's thoroughly painful viewing for anyone who's reached or surpassed the decrepit age of 17.
Not guilty…provided you're a little girl.
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