Judge David Johnson thinks everything's cooler with an "i" in front of it.
Our reviews of The i<3 iCarly Collection (published July 17th, 2011), iCarly: Season 2, Volume 3 (published June 12th, 2011), iCarly: iSaved Your Life (published June 10th, 2010), iCarly: iSpace Out (published September 11th, 2010), and iCarly: Season 2, Volume 1 (published September 2nd, 2009) are also available.
The fourth season of Nickelodeon's hugely popular—and aggressively mediocre—teen sitcom about a pair of best friends/webcasting stars and their various misadventures has arrived on DVD. iCarly: The Complete Fourth Season offers up 10 episodes, though that's sort of a lie since the tenth is an extended blooper reel.
If you're unfamiliar with the show, Carly Shay (Miranda Cosgrove, Drake and Josh) and her best pal Sam (Jennette McCurdy, Fred: The Movie) continue their successful web series, which found its genesis when one of their routines was placed online and garnered immediate buzz. Behind the camera is their classmate—and Sam's beau—Freddie (Nathan Kress, Babe: Pig in the City). Carly lives with her dopey brother and guardian Spencer (Jerry Trainor, Crossing Jordan). Apparently dad lives in a submarine and no one's heard from mom, so that's all pretty disturbing and heart-breaking.
No matter. Nothing soothes the emotional ravages of parental abandonment better than the salve of acting like a moron in front of a bunch of anonymous web users. So that's what Carly does. Along the way, she and her friends get into all manner of wacky circumstances, including Sam and Freddie negotiating the rocky waters of their new relationship; San getting nabbed at the border for trying to smuggle Canadian pastries into America; Spencer hiring a personal assistant; Freddie struggling with feelings of inadequacy, when his creative flair is questioned; Carly acting smart for her new boyfriend and failing; and on and on and on. The laugh track just can't keep up.
iCarly comes from the mind of Nickelodeon show-cranking machine Dan Schneider (Dennis from Head of the Class). The guy is likely richer than God, but maybe he needs a writer's retreat to recharge the artistic batteries, because this show is lame. Of course, a caveat applies, since iCarly is not designed to appeal to my demographic sensibilities. But measured against similar Nick teen stuff like Big Time Rush or the latest Schneider creation, Victorious, iCarly is lacking.
The premise is so dumb. Are we really supposed to believe in this age of painfully ironic hipsterism that an unfunny, saccharine web series would be any kind of a hit? For five years no less?! No, but who cares. It's a teen sitcom. Forgive me for thinking that teens (and pre-teens) would have some kind of comedic taste that evolves beyond two girls jumping around in front of a camera and screaming.
Season Four brings more of the same, with the added twist of the Sam and Freddie relationship. Look, there are moments that are almost-funny (and reacted to like drunken hyenas by the over-enthused studio audience). So iCarly isn't a total wasteland, just a completely disposable collection of half-hours.
The specs: standard definition 1.33:1 full frame, Dolby 2.0 Stereo, and five bonus episodes for Nick's newest series How to Rock.
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