Drake and Josh was one of Nickelodeon’s most popular live-action sitcoms when it aired between 2004-2007. Created by Dan Schneider, the show starred Drake Bell and Josh Peck as step-brothers who were polar opposites in many ways yet similar in many others. Drake was the cool, popular musician with an army of adoring fangirls, whereas Josh was the chubby, goofy nerd with the heart of gold. Although the brothers had their differences, they eventually became good friends and the awkward situations and bother they regularly found themselves in provided kids, teenagers and adults alike with hours of entertainment.
Part of the reason as to why Drake and Josh transcended kid fandom was its ability to create characters we actually cared about. Schneider understood his actors and wrote to their strengths. It also didn’t hurt that the show was genuinely funny and smart, and somehow managed to find that happy balance between silly and mature. While a lot of kid shows please younger viewers with fart jokes, Drake and Josh respected their intelligence and delivered scenarios which injected some outlandishness into real-life situations we can all relate to.
It’s been 10 years since Drake and Josh wrapped, but it’s still fondly remembered in contemporary pop culture. In honor of the show’s brilliance, we decided to remember it by digging up some fun facts.
Here are 15 Things You Never Knew About Drake And Josh.
15. IT WASN’T THE FIRST SHOW THEY APPEARED IN TOGETHER
Nickelodeon stars appearing in several of the network’s shows isn’t an uncommon occurrence, so by the time Drake and Josh aired in 2004, the star duo were already good pals. Between 1999 and 2002, the loveable pair were regulars on The Amanda Show, a sketch comedy series helmed by Drake and Josh creator, Dan Schneider.
One of the five spin-off shows of All That, The Amanda Show was essentially like Saturday Night Live for kids. The show was spearheaded by Amanda Bynes, but Peck and Bell were regulars and played an array of characters. The show didn’t fare as well as its predecessor critically or ratings-wise, but it did plant the seeds for Drake and Josh to be born.
14. DRAKE’S SONGS APPEAR ON STUDIO ALBUMS
In the show, Drake was an aspiring rock star. He sang, played guitar, and girls loved him all the more for it. But the character embodied by Bell in the sitcom isn’t too dissimilar to the actor in real life, as he’s been recording and releasing music simultaneously with his on-screen work since the mid-2000s. All those cute songs performed by the actor in the show? Those were all really his.
The most notable is “Found a Way’’, which viewers remember as the show’s now-iconic and totally rockin’ theme tune. Other highlights include “Highway to Nowhere’’, “Down We Fall’’, “Makes Me Happy’’, and “Girl Next Door.’’ Forget the Jonas Brothers; Drake Bell is ultimate rock icon of teen television.
In 2005 and 2006 respectively, Bell released the studio albums Telegraph and It’s Only Time, which included the aforementioned tracks from the show, in addition to new ones in a similar pop-rock style.
13. THERE IS A BOOK SERIES
Who remembers novelizations? Sure they still exist, but back in the day literary counterparts to our favorite (and least favorite) shows and movies accompanied basically everything. Drake and Josh was no different. Originally published in 2006 by Scholastic, a series of seven novels were released by author Laurie McElroy, based on content from several episodes and the TV movie, Drake and Josh Go Hollywood.
Some of the episodes which were adapted to the page include “Blues Brothers’’, “Alien Invasion’’, and “Kid Trouble.’’ However, each book contains elements from other episodes as well, which spices things up a little. On top of that, novelizations are mostly based on original scripts as opposed the final versions you see on screen, so you can always expect some surprises.
McElroy also penned novelizations for other shows on the network, including iCarly and Hannah Montana. Should you choose to embark on this journey, there’s a whole world of Nickelodeon-themed fiction out there waiting to be rediscovered.
12. CELEBRITY CAMEOS
Drake and Josh didn’t just help launch the careers of its main stars. If you revisit old episodes, you’ll spot some of today’s popular stars in some of their earliest roles. Take Lucy Hale for instance; before Pretty Little Liars she played Drake’s date, Hazel, in the episode “Theater Thug’’. Or how about Vanessa Hudgens? Before High School Musical, she smooched Drake in the episode “Little Sibling.” Gossip Girl’s Jessica Szohr appeared in one of the earliest episodes, “Two Idiots and a Baby’’, playing of Drake’s adoring fangirls. Are you starting to spot a pattern here?
The most memorable celeb appearance is Emma Roberts, who appeared in the episode “Honor Council’’ as her character from Unfabulous, Addie Singer. Since then, the actress has found fame having starred in the TV show Scream Queens, the hit comedy We’re the Millers, and this year’s critically acclaimed chiller, The Blackcoat’s Daughter.
11. THERE ARE TWO VIDEO GAMES
In 2007, THQ released two video games based on the show. The first, simply titled Drake and Josh, was a Game Boy Advance exclusive and involves the player controlling both titular characters through a series of action, problem solving, and stealth missions. Upon release, the game was heralded for its impressive graphics and fun puzzles, but it was also criticized for its extreme difficulty.
The second game, Drake and Josh: Talent Showdown, was released for the Nintendo DS and takes place in the cut-throat world of teen talent contents. The objective of the game is to avoid sabotage and complete tasks in order to win the show, “Teen American Talent.’’ The game retains the humor and spirit of the show and features interaction between familiar characters. Unlike its predecessor, however, the game was panned for not being very challenging at all.
10. BOTH STARS DIRECTED AN EPISODE EACH
Directing hasn’t been a regular thing in the careers of Josh Peck or Drake Bell, but they’ve both dabbled in the craft from time to time. And what better place to have started than their flagship show?
Peck’s first time behind the director’s chair was on the 2007 episode, “Battle of Panthatar’’, which sees the brothers get uninvited to the biggest birthday bash of the year after Drake gets caught playing tonsil tennis with the host’s girlfriend. In a bid to get their invites reinstated, Drake offers his Beatles album to the upset birthday boy. He then accepts the album and closes the door on them. The rest of the episode involves much hijinks as the lovable oafs try to break into the party and steal the album back.
Bell’s first directorial credit was on the first part of the finale episode, “The Big Shrimp’’, which sees Josh try to make amends with Drake after costing him a huge opportunity to achieve rock super stardom. It also just so happens to one of the most acclaimed and popular episodes in the show’s entire canon, as well as one of the greatest closing chapters in the history of television.
9. THE MAIN STARS WERE OPEN TO A REUNION
Drake and Josh made headlines recently after the former revealed how he wasn’t invited to his co-stars wedding. The most heartbreaking part about the entire fiasco, however, is the fact that both actors have expressed interest in a reunion in recent years.
Back in January, Bell told insinuated that the cast were still close and refused to rule out the possibility of the band getting back together. “I mean, what I can say is we all have remained very, very tight and very, very close,’’ he told Hollywood Life. “I will just say use the hashtag #WheresWalter and help Drake and Josh find their pops! And we’ll see, we’ll see.’’
In 2015, Peck seemed to be open to the idea as well. In an interview with MTV, he said: “[I]f they figured out a really cool fun way to bring back the entire cast and do, I don’t know a three episode mini-series or something, that would be dope. I’ll go work at the movie theater again.”
8. WE NEVER FOUND OUT WHO THEIR BIOLOGICAL PARENTS WERE
If Drake and Josh taught us anything, it’s that true family isn’t always blood related. Just because your original parents are separated, it doesn’t mean others won’t come along who are just as worthy. The brothers are both children of divorce who come together when Drake’s mother marries Josh’s father. Even though their respective step-parents don’t feel like stand-ins by any means, the whereabouts of the absent “real” ones is one of the show’s greatest mysteries.
We might never find out the reality of Drake’s real dad or Josh’s real mom and that’s okay. Drake and Josh instilled heart-warming family values rather brilliantly and reflected a reality many people understand. While it would be nice to find out more about their histories prior to their new family coming together, perhaps it’s more satisfying coming up with the answers in our own imaginations.
7. THE DUO HAD A BRIEF REUNION ON GRANDFATHERED
Grandfathered won’t go down in history as the most memorable sitcoms to ever grace our screens, but it was fun while it lasted. The short-lived show, which aired for 22 episodes between 2015-2016, follows a bachelor whose life changes when his twenty-something year old son he never knew he had tracks him down and reveals he has a granddaughter. The son in question is played by none other than Josh Peck.
For Drake and Josh fans, the highlight of the series was when Bell appeared in the episode “The Biter’’ for a brief interaction with Peck’s character, Gerald. To cap it all off, their scenes together contain a couple of nods to the duo’s old show, including a reference to Josh’s obsession with Oprah. In the episode, Drake’s character compares Gerald to his stepbrother, who just so happens to be in jail for stalking the celebrity. It all ends with a big hug before they part ways.
6. IT’S PART OF THE SAME UNIVERSE AS ICARLY, ZOEY 101 & VICTORIOUS
What do Drake and Josh, Victorious, iCarly, and Zoey 101 all have in common? Well, they are all part of a theoretical universe inhabited by characters from Dan Schneider shows. To fully appreciate the Dan Schneider universe, we need to put logic and common sense to one side, given how the same actors and actresses often appear in each show as different characters, but Bell has appeared as his Drake and Josh character in Victorious and Zoey 101 .
However, just because the shows aren’t blatantly connected by story or characters for the most part, hasn’t stopped fans from coming up with their own interesting theories to suggest otherwise. Furthermore, if you observe the shows with a fine tooth comb, you’ll spot Easter eggs throughout. For example, the same “fake” television shows crop up often, and all of the apple products are replaced with pears. It might not be the MCU, but there are still hours of fun to be had connecting the dots between the show.
5. THE SHOW WASN’T CANCELED
Drake and Josh ended on a satisfying note, but fans have spent years wanting closure as the show had the potential to continue for a few more seasons, at least. Questions were left unanswered and we just weren’t ready to say goodbye to the rogues. The reality is, however, that it was time to bid farewell. The stars had grown up and it was time to head out into the big world of Hollywood and try something new.
According to Dan Schneider, “Drake and Josh ended because we all felt it was time to say goodbye. Both Drake Bell and Josh Peck had been with Nickelodeon for nearly 8 years (I first hired them for The Amanda Show). They were ready to move on and try new things. Also, the network already had plenty of episodes of Drake and Josh for reruns, and they were excited about the idea of me creating a new TV series for Miranda Cosgrove.”
4. THE PERUVIAN PUFF PEPPER IS REAL
In the episode “Peruvian Puff Pepper’’, Drake and Josh become budding chefs so they can win a cooking contest where a brand new plasma screen TV is the grand prize. Their plan is to make a sexy salsa, and the ingredient to success is the mysterious Peruvian puff pepper. In the episode, the vegetable is treated as almost otherworldly, basking in a mystical aura. At face value, you might think it was made up for the show, but that’s not the case at all.
The Urban Dictionary describes the hot vegetable as “a rare pepper found in the jungles of Peru that causes kidney failure and/or chapped lips.’’ Of course, this doesn’t do anything to confirm their existence but as it turns out, it’s merely a nickname for the aji chili pepper, which is very real.
There are different types of aji pepper and they are not all that hard to come by in South America or the Caribbean. Furthermore, they don’t pose any significant health risks; in fact, they’re actually very nutritional.
3. THE BABY ACTUALLY PEED ON THEM
In the classic episode “Two Idiots and a Baby”, Drake and Josh must babysit their father’s boss’s infant while their parents take him out to dinner. A promotion for the old man could be on the cards if the night goes well, so whatever Drake and Josh do, they can’t screw up. But when does anything ever go right for Drake and Josh?
As the night gets underway, it’s only a matter of time before the baby goes missing and makes their lives an unendurable nightmare. Moral of the story: don’t ever have kids, because they’re evil.
The episode sees the face a host of predicaments with the little brat, but the cherry on the cake is when it decides to use the stressed brothers as a toilet. It makes for funny television, but according to Peck in a Reddit AMA, the baby really was prone to taking a leak on them. “We used a real baby, and it would really pee on us,” he told a fan.
2. DRAKE AND JOSH HAVE BOTH VOICED COMIC CHARACTERS
Since Drake and Josh ended, Peck and Bell have enjoyed successful careers in film and television. Peck, for example, starred in The Wackness, which is one of the greatest coming-of-age dramas of the century. Meanwhile, Drake has become the voice of Marvel’s most beloved arachnid – Spider-Man.
As the voice of Peter Parker, you can hear Bell in Ultimate Spider-Man, Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H., Avengers Assemble, The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and Lego Marvel Super Heroes: Maximum Overload, and the video games, Marvel Heroes and Disney Infinity 3.0. For those who aren’t familiar with the actor from his Nickelodeon days, they might think of him as the web-slinging, spandex-clad crusader.
Peck has also lent his voice talents to animated series’ based on comic properties. He plays Casey Jones in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon and the video game, Danger of the Ooze.
1. IT’S NICKELODEON’S HIGHEST-RATED SITCOM
When Drake and Josh was in its final season, the show experienced its highest ever ratings. The last ever episode, “Really Big Shrimp’’, was Nickelodeon’s most viewed live action show at the time, having pulled in nearly 6 million viewers. However, it was later broken by their own holiday special television film, Merry Christmas, Drake and Josh, when it premiered in 2008. That record remains unbroken.
Ratings are one thing, but the legacy of Drake and Josh is its long-lasting effect on pop culture. It was a show that kids, teens, and adults enjoyed at the time – and still do today, whenever reruns air. If the recent upset surrounding their well-publicized fall out tells us anything, it’s that fans remain attached to the actors and the characters they brought to life nearly 15 years ago.
What are some of your favorite Drake and Josh moments? Do you think we’ll ever get that reunion someday? Let us know in the comments.
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