In the early 2010s, iCarly was the Nickelodeon hit ahead of the live streaming and webcasting trend. It was able to predict how content on the web would change forever. However, good things can't last for eternity, and the show went out on a high in 2012. And the reboot ended recently.
However, did the finale iReturn to Webicon end on a high? Did it leave me wanting more for season two? Or will I no longer be singing Leave it all to me at the top of my lungs?
The plot for the finale is simple. Carly and the gang are invited to Webicon, which is located in the forest. In true iCarly style, it goes wrong, and they are the only ones there. And only Carly's ex Beau is there to give Carly an award. Sparking tension between Beau, Carly, and current boyfriend, Wes. Freddie tries to pitch his new app with Spencer and Stepdaughter Millicent's help, and Harper tries to get along with her new boss.
Characters and development
Carly: Throughout the series, Carly has become confident in her abilities to host a webstream without Sam. She has become a bit more able to handle being single. However, she still wants a romantic partner. Whilst it’s a nice development, it’s not as significant as others on the list. But then that was a problem in the original run.
Harper: Throughout the series, Harper was stuck working at Skybucks and wanted to be a world-class stylist. She has finally gotten that with DoubleDutch. She doesn’t want to risk the job despite the romantic feelings felt for the boss. Harper is confident, witty, bold, and knows what she wants.
Spencer: Spencer hasn’t changed that much; he’s become a bit sophisticated due to becoming wealthy. He still has fun and brings the funniest parts to this show. Seeing his friendship with Freddie develop further has been the highlight of this revival.
Freddie: He has a failed start-up and has been divorced twice, so Freddie, throughout the series, has had some bad luck. However, he gets confidence in his entrepreneurship again and becomes more confident as a Dad. And finally begins to win at life. In fact, his bond with Milicent adds a lovely dynamic to the show.
Millicent: Freddies stepdaughter, who is driven, confident, social media savvy and has a considerable work ethic. At the start, she was a dislikeable brat but has grown into a more caring, funny, and enjoyable character. Seeing her grow that bond with her father has fleshed her out more and made her much more likable and funny.
Characters that aren’t the main cast
Wes: He is a mechanic and Carly’s new boyfriend. We don’t get much development as he’s only been in three episodes. However, we learn he is organized, prepared, and detail orientated.
DoubleDutch: DoubleDutch is an internet pop sensation and Harper’s boss. She is relatively high maintenance, a diva, and very dramatic. It is a nice balance to Harper, and there’s not as much development, but I respect her character.
Beau: Beau is Carly’s ex-boyfriend, who is another internet star. He is somewhat chilled and a bit slow. Compared to the first episode, he seems much less bold and assertive, but it’s nice to flesh out the character more.
Considering this episode is based on Carly and her romantic conundrum. I don't care for either love interest in the episode, whilst Beau is more spontaneous, and Carly does vibe a bit better. It won't last, and I can't buy the romantic tension that's been set up. I have a similar problem with Wes. The main problem is that they started as slight enemies to lovers trope, and in terms of romantic dynamics, I don't care for that either. I don't see what they bring out of each other or why they like each other other than physical attraction.
Even after two episodes of them being together, I haven't seen them interact enough to buy the relationship, even with the horrible grandma of the last episode. Don't get me wrong, Carly having to pick between the two men is interesting, and I enjoy seeing it in the episode, but I'm sitting there hoping she doesn't end up with either.
We then have Double dutch and Harper revealing their feelings. Now throughout their professional relationship, I never felt any sexual tension there or romantic suspense. However, by doing a parallel of Harper jumping to double dutch like Carly goes for Beau when the treehouse collapse creates a good parallel for the feelings between the two couples. Plus, Harper’s use of metaphor makes it more believable for me. I applaud iCarly for finally saying gay rights.
The finale is an excellent callback to an episode in the original iCarly series called iStart A Fanwar and marks itself as the more grown-up episode. Without the audience fighting each other and making Carly choose between the men instead of the fans forcing it on the web stars.
I also think using Beau’s return to create a love triangle gives it a connection and acts as a good resolution towards a dilemma of the series, which has been Carly finding a new love interest. It brings the characters from the first series together and makes a fitting conclusion for the first series of the revival. It doesn’t feel contrived and fits in well.
How funny was it?
I laughed a lot with the finale—more than I have with most episodes of the series. The laughs were created mainly by Jerry Trainor, who plays Carly’s brother Spencer. From the terrible Irish accent and pretending to be a terrier to the moment the treehouse starts to collapse, and whilst everyone is panicking, he is sitting on the floor with headphones vibing.
I also enjoyed how Spencer and Millicent plotted to get Freddie a new investor and give him some more confidence. It provides the episode with some good emotional and character moments that draw you into the narrative.
The s’more bit with DoubleDutch and Harper and DoubleDutch’s dramatic walk away adds another tidbit of hilarity.
Another good bit is when Freddie puts a helmet on Millicent’s head and shouts, ‘I am my mother’s son.’ It’s funny seeing Freddies come full circle and act like his helicopter Mum.
I appreciate references to past iCarly skits like George the bra. I enjoy the moment in the woods where Carly and Harper talk about their dilemma. It shows their bond and provides us with some funny lines to chew on regarding what people want in romantic partners.
I also enjoyed the survivor/office style ending. I find it to be very meta; the lines were funny and creative. It sets us up with a nice cliffhanger to excite for the iCarly revival season two.
What could be better
Although for all the good this iCarly finale did (in fact, the revival), I still have a couple of criticisms. The first is that for iCarly, the plot didn’t seem wild enough. I understand that whilst this is a more grown-up version and the characters are grown-up. So the number of weird places they can go to is different. However, icarly in the original run still had a lot of mad capped wacky stuff happening.
Grown up’s can be weird.
Yes, the characters are grown up, but that doesn’t mean that crazy things can’t happen when you’re grown up too. Don’t get me wrong. We had the treehouse collapse and the weird parasite thing that infected Freddie. It’s not as visual or as odd as it should be. As without it, something feels a bit off about the show.
Maybe it’s a budget thing, but hopefully, next year’s finale will push it out of the boat a bit more. And I don’t mean with explosions or anything; I mean for this year, all that would have made it a bit less static would be Spencer starting an instantaneous fire, and they have to climb a treehouse to safety. I don’t need it to be super dramatic, just a bit weird like iCarly always has been! Without it, the show feels static, waiting for something to happen instead of being dynamic and flowing better.
Will I be watching season two?
Overall the finale was enjoyable, funny, and set up the second season of the iCarly revival well. The drama and character interactions were perfect. It just needed to push the weird factor a bit more, especially in this episode, as it made the episode’s pacing feel a bit off, and with the setting, they’re in, it was a wasted opportunity.
I give the iCarly finale iReturn to Webicon three stars out of five. I look forward to season two.
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