29 January 2014

DVD Set Review: "iCarly": Season One, Volume One

Rated: TV-G (US) / G (Canada)
Starring: Miranda Cosgrove, Jennette McCurdy, Nathan Kress, and Jerry Trainor
Released: 2007 (original Nickelodeon premieres) / September 23, 2008 (DVD)
Synopsis: When Carly Shay (Miranda Cosgrove, Drake & Josh) takes the blame for her best friend Sam Puckett's (Jennette McCurdy, FЯED: The Movie) prank, the two of them end up having to record the school's talent show via camcorder, with the help of techie Freddie Benson (Nathan Kress), who has an insatiable crush on Carly.  A technical mistake leads to Freddie uploading a clip of Carly and Sam being goofy online instead of the actual talent show, much to their chagrin...but, when Internet users worldwide start singing their praises, the three of them start their own webcast: iCarly.  With Carly's artist older brother/legal guardian Spencer (Jerry Trainor, Wendell and Vinnie) there for moral support, she, Sam, and Freddie end up in one debacle after another! Whether it's a lovely young lady who tempts Freddie into leaving the webcast and his friends, being hacked by eleven-year-old evil genius Nevel Papperman (Reed Alexander), or spying on a teacher (Mindy Sterling, A.N.T. Farm) only to find out she has a thing for American Idol judge Randy Jackson, laughter, goofiness, and insanity are sure to ensue!
Created and produced by Dan Schneider (All That, Kenan and Kel, VICTORiOUS).

Artistic Merit

Plots: 3.5/5
The whole tween sitcom thing has been around for quite a while, and this doesn't exactly break new ground on that front.  Though entertaining enough and funny at times, the episodes tend to rely too much on inanity, which began to grate on my nerves after a while.

Production Values: 5/5
You'd expect Nickelodeon's long-time veteran to do a show right, wouldn't you? Well, he does great; the sets, soundtrack, acting, etc., are all well-don.  Nothing to really complain about in this department.

Moral Content

Positive Elements: 4/5
Carly, Sam, and Freddie look out for one another, and Sam looks out for the three of them as well.  Breaking into someone's house, hacking into other people's computers, and changing grades are all vilified.

Sex: 3.5/5
The flirting and mild kissing are to be expected; what I was a bit surprised by were references to "boobs" in the first episode.

Nudity: 4/5
Carly is seen in a two-piece swimsuit, and Spencer's bare back is seen, although with writing on it.  A woman is seen in an off-the-shoulder top that shown a hint of cleavage.  One episode involves all of the characters rubbing--and baring--their midriffs.

Language: 3/5
Mild name-calling such as "skunk-bag," and/or other similar terms, i.e., "suckish," are present in almost every episode.  What might bother discerning viewers more are the misuses of God's name, which are just as prevalent.

Violence: 3/5
The violence is purely slapstick and played for laughs: a TV falls on a girl's head, but she is seen unhurt just after; a girl is pulled away from a computer by her hair; a guy inside a giant pumpkin is rolled out to the street; etc.  What might be considered more serious is in the "iScream on Halloween" episode, where Carly and Sam appear to get blood on their hands.  (Spoiler: It turns out to be red hair dye.)

Drugs: 5/5
None. (This is Nickelodeon, people!)

Frightening/Intense Scenes: 4/5
The aforementioned Halloween episode involves the three kids going into a supposedly haunted apartment, and they believe ghosts are present, which causes lots of horror-movie-style screaming.  (Spoiler: It is all logically explained by the episode's end, and there are no ghosts.)  Also, a large TV set falls on a girl's head, which causes Carly to worriedly exclaim, "Is she okay?!!" (Spoiler: She is.)

Other: 4/5
Sam is a bit unkind to Freddie, and it seems like there's no reason why she should be.

Final Score: 3.5/5
I can't say I was a fan from day one, but I did follow iCarly from its early days until the series finale "iGoodbye" in 2012.  Upon watching these episodes in order--most if not all for at least the second time--I was amused at first, but, after a while, things became a bit repetitive.  Maybe those who are largely unfamiliar with the show would feel differently, but, I found this one slightly hard to finish, even at only thirteen episodes.  Of course die-hard fans of the series would love this--that goes without saying--but casual fans who might just want to see the episodes they missed would do better to borrow it from their local library before purchasing it, whether on DVD or via iTunes.

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