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TELEVISION REVIEW

Kids say, 'Let's put on our own show'

Girl creates a website devoted to everyday kids. Nick's 'iCarly' is kind of reminiscent of 'Hannah Montana.'

September 08, 2007|Mary McNamara | Times Staff Writer

Nickelodeon's "iCarly" is not so much a show as a concept. You can almost hear the pitch: Let's wrangle those future YouTubers and make them Nick kids. How? By creating a show about a girl who starts her own website devoted to the "talents" of everyday kids. With, of course, a website through which they can interact with the show, even apparently providing content for the broadcast.

All this synergy is couched in a fairly standard "kids rule" sitcom, freshened up with modern accessories. Carly (Miranda Cosgrove) has more freedom than the average kid, not because she is being raised by a frazzled single parent (i.e. "The Suite Life of Zack & Cody" or "Hannah Montana"), but because her single parent (father) is in the military and she is temporarily being raised by her older brother, a genial artist type whose idea of a good time is a "crazy hat" party. Her best friend, Sam (Jennette McCurdy), is a tough-talking tomboy, first seen slamming a boy against the lockers for calling her "aggressive." Rounding out the requisite trinity is Freddie (Nathan Kress), Carly's neighbor, the techno-whiz with a humongous crush on Carly.

The three get into business when Carly, taking the fall for Sam, has to record all the school talent show wannabes as punishment for Photoshopping a picture of their prune-faced teacher on a rhinoceros. When even nastier comments they make about her during the auditions make their way onto "splashface," said teacher retaliates by excising their talent show picks. So Carly and Sam take to the Internet with an assortment of kids displaying odd talents. Next thing you know, they are website stars -- "Hannah Montana" in cyberspace.

It is a breakout role for Cosgrove, for years the truly obnoxious sister on Nick's "Drake & Josh," but it's McCurdy who has all the good lines and the natural exuberance of a talk show host (Barbara, here's your next "View" candidate). It's a pity that the writers had to dredge up the mothballed pruny teacher to get things rolling, and even more troubling that the girls had to be so venomous about her -- a Photoshopped rhino, OK; making fun of her breasts? That's "mean girl" territory.

mary.mcnamara@latimes.com

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'iCarly'

Where: Nickelodeon

When: 8 tonight

Rating: TV-Y7 (for older children)

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