DVD Review
by Kevin Carr

    MOVIE: **** (out of 5 stars)
    DVD EXPERIENCE: *** (out of 5 stars)

    Miranda Cosgrove as CARLY SHAY
    Jennette McCurdy as SAM PUCKETT
    Nathan Kress as FREDDIE BENSON
    Jerry Trainor as SPENCER SHAY

    Not Rated
    Studio: Nickelodeon

    Created by: Dan Schneider

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The second half of season one of the hit Nickelodeon kids sit com “iCarly” comes to DVD. Carly Shay (Miranda Cosgrove) and her best friend Sam Puckett (Jenette McCurdy) are the hosts of an extremely popular web show called iCarly.com. Together with Carly’s brother Spencer (Jerry Trainor), who also happens to be her legal guardian despite his own childish behavior, and lovesick Freddie (Nathan Kress), the group keeps their web show interesting while dealing with wacky situations that life throws at them.

My two oldest sons, ages five and seven, are huge fans of “iCarly.” Not only do they DVR every episode of the television show, but they often surf around the iCarly.com web site for bonus videos, games and other silly things. I really hadn’t watched the show before seeing this DVD, although I had seen some rather funny things on the web site (like the bizarre game “Hey, hey, hey! What am I sitting on?”).

Having seen quite a few children-oriented sit coms, often courtesy of the Disney Channel, I have become very familiar with the formula. And while I like shows like “Hannah Montana” and “The Suite Life,” I really found myself enjoying “iCarly”... possibly more than I care to admit.

In general, the shows on Nickelodeon have a bit more edge than those on the Disney Channel. Oh, they’re not something you’d get from Kevin Smith or Ron White, but they’re definitely a little zanier. And this shows in the “iCarly” set-up. Not only is the character of Sam a bit more bullish (and thereby funnier) than what I’ve seen elsewhere, Spencer’s spastic demeanor and strange ability to set things on fire and kill goldfish is downright hilarious.

The catch to this show is the chemistry among its co-stars. The key isn’t just Miranda Cosgrove, but the way she works with Jenette McCurdy and Jerry Trainor. Their comic timing is excellent and quite impressive for their ages. They have a heightened energy throughout the show, and it makes the laughs hit home that much harder.

Being the first season of a show, “iCarly” did threaten to go down some formulaic paths already. It seems that every other show had the kids face the end of their show, either by detention or legal precedence when they bow out of a sponsorship deal. This is to be expected for a series that was still getting its footing when these episodes aired.

Still, as far as situation comedies go – either those aimed for kids or those aimed at the general public – “iCarly” is a very, very fun experience.

The two-disc set includes a slate of behind-the-scenes extras featuring the kids talking about everything from tongue twisters to farts. Another behind-the-scenes featurette includes the cast getting slimed for a Nickelodeon promo, in slo-mo and full speed.

Finally, fans of the Nickelodeon programming schedule will enjoy the bonus pilot episode of “True Jackson, VP,” which doesn’t quite have the same flair as “iCarly” but is still decent.

Anyone under twelve years old... and their parents.

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