iCarly is a classic Nickelodeon show centered on three teenagers who produce their own web show. Fans around the world connected with the show's focus on individuality, the trials and tribulations of adolescence, and the internet. The three protagonists-- Carly, Sam, and Freddie-- were all beloved by viewers, and the actors who played them-- Miranda Cosgrove, Jennette McCurdy, and Nathan Kress-- equally so.
Running for five production seasons (which were split into seven airing seasons) from 2007 to 2012, iCarly was created by famed Nickelodeon showrunner Dan Schneider. Writing the characters based on the actors he had in mind to play them, Schneider borrowed from the casts of previous shows he did-- Cosgrove had been a main cast member of Drake & Josh, which Kress had guest starred on, and McCurdy had played a similar character to Sam on Zoey 101. The series turned into a smash hit for Nickelodeon, and ingrained itself in the memories of millions of kids.
While the show had a reputation for maintaining a happy, healthy set, that doesn't mean there aren't a few dark secrets lurking behind the glam and glitter of internet fame. Here are a few unsettling things you may not have known about iCarly.
Here are 18 Secrets Behind iCarly You Had No Idea About.
18 The original version of the show was very different
iCarly could have different— very different. Dan Schneider created the show around Miranda Cosgrove; she was always meant to be the star, but originally she would have been a very different kind of star. After all, originally iCarly wasn’t even called iCarly! In its first form, the show was called “Starstruck” and it would have followed an average girl (Cosgrove) who gets suddenly cast in her favorite TV show ever.
That series would have followed Cosgrove as she navigated the crazy world of television and stardom, but Schneider changed his mind.
He wanted his main character to have more control over the story and her surroundings, so he changed the premise to Cosgrove playing the director and star of a web show. And the rest was history.
17 The absent parents
The final episode of iCarly famously showed Carly and Spencer reuniting with their father, who, over the course of the entire show, had been stationed in the Navy away from home. As it turns out, the absent parent is an extremely important motif to iCarly, as every main character comes from an unconventional parenting situation.
Specifically, every single main character only has one parent appear in the show. Carly and Spencer only have their father (and Spencer acts as Carly’s guardian for most of the show), Freddie only has his mother (his father was never even mentioned outside of a deleted scene), Sam’s father left when she was little, and Gibby’s father is also never seen. With all this evidence, it’s fair to say the absent parent was a theme the writers of iCarly had intended to explore from the very beginning.
16 The stars' underwhelming careers after iCarly
Child stardom is an odd thing. We always seem to expect that kids who have become stars will go on to ever greater heights, as though the only way they can go is up. While some Nickelodeon child stars have certainly gone on to become A-listers, not all of them can say the same.
If any show was going to produce a star, though, one would have thought it would be iCarly.
With all its likeable actors, surely one of them would go on to huge mainstream success, right? Unfortunately, that’s not the case.
Miranda Cosgrove has done some more television acting, but her biggest role to date is as a voice in the Despicable Me films. Nathan Kress’ biggest role was in the recent Into the Storm. Jennette McCurdy currently acts in a Netflix show, Between. Neither Jerry Trainor and Noah Munck can even boast that much.
15 The stars had to eat food they didn’t like
Food played a big role in iCarly, as the characters consumed all kinds of delicious treats throughout the show. While the actors say the show’s prop department tried their best to make sure the food they had to eat was as yummy as possible, that doesn’t mean the actors enjoyed it every time.
Sometimes the actors had to eat something their characters loved, but they didn’t care for. Jennette McCurdy recalls different episodes she hated filming, because she had to eat pie or some other food she didn’t like.
The grossest example reportedly came in the very first episode, as McCurdy had to eat ham.
In an interview, McCurdy said that she ate so much ham she actually vomited— and then had to keep eating more immediately afterward!
14 They weren’t allowed to improvise
Improvisation was extremely important to iCarly. The writers of the show would mostly keep humor out of their written scripts, so there were actually only a few written jokes. The comedic elements of the show would be improvised on set— by the writers, and no one but the writers.
That’s right, none of the actors were allowed to improvise on set, presumably meaning that they had to wait for the show’s writers to improvise the jokes for them.
Despite some of the actors (like Jerry Trainor, who played Spencer) being trained in improv comedy, they had to ask permission from the writers or the show creator Dan Schneider to get their jokes approved.
13 The mystery of Freddie’s Spanish was never solved
Throughout the series, Nathan Kress’ Freddie Benson occasionally spoke his lines in Spanish. These moments appeared to be random, as not only would Freddie substitute arbitrary English words for Spanish ones, he would do so incorrectly.
Much of the time, Freddie’s Spanish was garbled and nonsensical, or would simply be Spanish-sounding gibberish.
On his blog, show creator Dan Schneider repeatedly promised that this mystery would eventually be solved. He kept saying that in a future episode, all would be revealed about Freddie’s Spanish. Then, in the final episode, Freddie started to explain it… only to be interrupted. It seems Schneider’s promises were all just an elaborate prank, and we’ll never know the reason for Freddie’s outbursts.
Back when Dan Schneider was still thinking of calling his new show “Starstruck,” he also couldn’t decide on his main character’s name. He and the writers played with a bunch of potential monikers for his two main characters, but none of them stuck.
Schneider even went so far as to buy the domain name “iJosie.com” in case they named the main character Josie.
He didn’t stop there. After Josie didn’t end up being the final name, Schneider thought he might give his protagonist the name Sam. That’s right, for a while Miranda Cosgrove was going to play a character named Sam, and Jennette McCurdy’s character would have been named Kira. None of these names has the same ring as iCarly, so fans are grateful Schneider changed his mind.
11 Disney made a knockoff show
Disney and Nickelodeon each deal in very similar kinds of entertainment on their respective TV channels, as they both produce kids shows with similar tone, content, and messaging. It should come as no surprise that both channels watch each other like hawks, and quickly try to create their own version of whatever is popular on the other side.
iCarly is no different, as Disney made its own web show-based television show following two female leads soon after it became a hit. Disney’s Bizaardvark premiered in 2016, and has run for two seasons thus far. However, it ran into controversy in 2017, as one of its main cast members was Jake Paul.
Paul was fired from the show after a news report showed a multitude of complaints against him for his wild parties and obnoxious behavior. The show will continue on, though, as it has proven to be a popular formula.
10 Jennette’s male stunt double
Sam Puckett is a unique character, and iCarly’s audience would get frequent examples of this. From her notorious butter sock to other means of physical intimidation, it was a very physical role for Jennette McCurdy. Some of the more physical aspects had to be handled by trained professionals, i.e. stunt people.
Specifically, in one episode where Sam had to pick up Freddie in a scene, the stunt man was, in fact, a man. Sam’s face obviously isn’t shown in this part, so it’s hard to know for sure, but McCurdy confirmed this, saying the fact that she got a male stunt double dealt a huge blow to her self-confidence. Hopefully she got over it, as it was a pretty minor scene.
9 Drake & Josh crossover weirdness
Miranda Cosgrove got her start playing Megan on Dan Schneider’s other show, Drake & Josh. Jerry Trainor also played Steve on Drake & Josh, and since those two actors play totally different characters on iCarly, that should mean that the two shows inhabit totally different worlds, right?
Wrong, apparently. Not only did Drake Bell make a guest appearance on iCarly— as himself— but Carly is shown to be watching Drake & Josh in multiple episodes. These continuity issues were largely brushed aside with a chuckle, however, as they were just the tip of the iceberg when it came to Drake & Josh references.
Everything from pictures of Drake Bell in Sam’s locker to Peruvian Puff Peppers to a multitude of other nods link the shows, even if the connection doesn’t make a lot of sense within the universe of the show.
8 The main cast member who delayed the show
Fans have long wondered why iCarly’s later seasons produced so few episodes, when the show was so popular. Well, the answer is simple: Miranda Cosgrove. Nickelodeon teen stars have a history of launching music careers in the midst of their television stardom, and Miranda Cosgrove was no different.
Cosgrove had made a hit song, and went on tour to support it.
This put serious time constraints on iCarly’s filming schedule in 2011, and it’s part of the reason why the later seasons have fewer episodes than the first ones. The first two seasons each have over 20 episodes, but seasons 4-7 of the show all have 10 or fewer. While fans likely enjoyed Cosgrove’s concert tour, they probably would have preferred a few more new episodes to watch.
7 Freddie Benson’s namesake
When writers come up with characters for their shows, they frequently sneak in references to their formative influences. This is true for iCarly, too, as the name Freddie Benson is almost exactly the same as a famous film character.
Freddy Benson is a character in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, which itself is a remake of the 1964 film Bedtime Story. In both films, Benson is a low-rent con artist (played first by Marlon Brando, then Steve Martin) with no sense of refinement.
It’s hard to see exactly what Freddie draws from his namesake, as the characters aren’t exactly alike. It’s unclear exactly why the writers thought this would be a good influence to bring to Freddie in iCarly. It’s possible that it was just a gesture towards a beloved story, or even unintentional.
6 Gibby’s YouTube channel
After iCarly ended, the stars of the show went their separate ways. Some went on to be actors or writers, and others went in different directions. Noah Munck, the actor who played Gibby, was one of the latter. Gibby was an oddball character on the show; a recurring role until the fourth season, when he was promoted main cast member status.
Since the show’s end, Munck has tried his hand at a few different pursuits, including EDM, but his current project is Sadworld.
Sadworld is a YouTube channel he started in 2016. It appears to be an absurd comedy channel, as Munck posts videos with uncomfortable characters and off-putting visual effects in an attempt at dark comedy. Kids be warned: fans looking for more iCarly humor won’t find it here, as Sadworld is an odd departure into discomfiting, adult comedy.
5 The fate of Cat & Sam
Building on the success of both iCarly and Victorious (both Dan Schneider shows), Sam & Cat was a spinoff that seemed destined for success. The show followed Sam (Jennette McCurdy) from iCarly and Cat (Ariana Grande) from Victorious as they met through sheer coincidence and decided to start a babysitting business together.
While the show was a hit with audiences, behind-the-scenes conflicts kept it from a sustained run.
A reported salary dispute between McCurdy and Nickelodeon combined with rumored tension between her and co-star Grande to stop the show from even reaching its planned 40 episodes. Fans were clamoring for more, but these issues let to Nickelodeon canceling the show.
4 Jennette mom’s illness
In her time as a writer for The Wall Street Journal, Jennette McCurdy’s most famous column was almost certainly the one she wrote about dealing with her mother’s cancer. Debra McCurdy was diagnosed with cancer in 1995, but went into remission after surgery, chemotherapy, and other treatments.
Sadly, however, Debra’s cancer returned in 2010— in other words, during the production of iCarly. It can’t have been easy for Jennette to film a television show while also trying to support her mother. Debra fought the cancer for the next two years, but she passed away in late 2013, soon after iCarly finally ended. Jennette made sure to thank her friends, family, and fellow cast members for their support.
3 Nathan Kress' romantic advice for Freddie
One of the biggest points of debate in the iCarly fandom is over the romantic interests of the three leads. Carly, Sam, and Freddie had quite the love triangle brewing through several seasons of the show, with devoted fans cheering on both sides.
Nathan Kress, the actor who played Freddie, waited until the show had concluded before weighing in with his own opinions of the romance.
When asked which of the two girls he thinks was best for Freddie, his answer was: neither.
That’s right, Kress said that not only should Freddie avoid Carly and Sam, he should move to Italy and start his romantic life over from scratch. Kress seems to think that Carly isn’t really into Freddie, and Sam is physically and verbally abusive.
2 Jennette’s photo leak
This may shock you, but given time, children grow up. Even more shocking, this applies to child stars just as much as normal children. Child stars don’t stay young and innocent forever— they become adults and start relationships and maybe even take private selfies.
That appears to have been just what Jennette McCurdy did during production of Sam & Cat, and she appears to have trusted the wrong person with these selfies. Racy photos of McCurdy leaked onto the internet in March 2014, causing a significant scandal for her career and Nickelodeon, since they were both built on a child-friendly image.
1 Nickelodeon parts ways with Dan Schneider
Dan Schneider was one of the most successful creators Nickelodeon has ever had, running a long string of hit shows including iCarly, Drake & Josh, Kenan & Kel, Victorious, Sam & Cat, Game Shakers, and Henry Danger. However, Nickelodeon has announced that its creative partnership with Schneider has come to an end.
Nickelodeon described this parting of ways as "mutual" in a statement, but writing for Deadline, Nellie Andreeva reported hearing about "multiple complaints of abusive behavior against Schneider filed by members of his staff."
Amidst the recent uprising against such behavior in Hollywood with the #MeToo movement, Andreeva describes Schneider as being "under a cloud of suspicion over the treatment of some younger stars of his shows" and reports "issues with bloated budgets and long production days on Schneider’s shows."
Do you have other secrets to share about iCarly? Let us know in the comments!