Paramount+’s “iCarly” revival may be another oft-touted example of repackaged IP for these nostalgia-driven times. But stars Miranda Cosgrove and Nathan Kress see it as both an homage to the beloved Nickelodeon original and its fans, as well as an exercise in “realism” rather than plain fanfare.
“We’ve gone through our early to mid-20s, and we’re heading into our 30s and that’s freaky,” Kress, who plays Freddie, told TheWrap. “We’re able to use that as a basis for realism in this entire show, and I think, fortunately, that’s what made it relatable to our audience because they were growing up right there with us. We weren’t just trying to stay in this box of, ‘We’re a kids show so we’re gonna stay forever youthful and naive and just happy all the time.’”
The rebooted series is a far cry from its original premise, which initially would have featured a more child-friendly plot where Carly (Cosgrove) and her brother Spencer (Jerry Trainor) host a TikTok-inspired “Hype House,” teaching their skills to a new generation of influencers. For both the cast and viewers who grew up with them, the sequel — which features everything from passing references to threesomes, some mild cursing and even a thinly veiled dig at original series creator Dan Schneider’s infamous and alleged foot fetish — is a fun romp of a blessing that’ll continue as long as there’s a story to tell.
“Even now that we’ve done two seasons, I feel like there’s a lot of questions that we haven’t answered,” Cosgrove said. “And we don’t really know exactly the timeline of everything for all of our characters over the last eight years.” (For one, last season established Freddie as a two-time divorcee.)
Below, TheWrap chatted with Cosgrove and Kress about Season 2’s antics and what the season’s game-changing cliffhanger means for “Creddie,” plus what they hope to see next in the show. The conversation has been edited and condensed for clarity.
What’s it like revisiting these characters and this world after all this time? Is it surreal? I know so many viewers like myself grew up with these characters, as did you.
MC: Yeah, definitely. It was kind of crazy the first season. I feel like, by the second season, we kind of got into the swing of things again, and it didn’t feel so weird, but for me, when I came back the first season, I feel like it took me a couple episodes to kind of figure out who the character is now that eight years have passed, and it just took a minute to get used to being back on the set and everything, but it was really exciting, and it’s been really fun getting to work with Nathan and Jerry again.
NK: I think one of the most fun and like Miranda said intimidating things about coming back was figuring out how to give these characters a voice after so much life has happened to them. And especially, you know, Freddie went through a lot, so figuring out what that has done to his character and his personality was sort of a fun challenge, and what I think a lot of us kind of realized was that, in a lot of ways, at least for me, personally, I feel like we’re pretty similar to our characters and a lot of our own personalities came through.
A lot of life has just happened to us in the last decade, and we’ve become adults. We’ve gone through our early to mid-20s, and we’re heading into our 30s and that’s freaky. We’re able to use that as a basis for realism in this entire show, and I think, fortunately, that’s what made it relatable to our audience because they were growing up right there with us. We weren’t just trying to stay in this box of, “We’re a kids show so we’re gonna stay forever youthful and naive and just happy all the time.”
How was it reuniting with some fan-favorite guest stars like Lewbert (Jeremy Rowley) and Chuck (Ryan Ochoa) this season?
NK: It’s always a blast. A lot of the time you go to an event and you hope that you run into those people, and you can at least relive some memories but it’s even better when you get to have them as their characters back on the show. And I think that was a really effective anchor for the first and second season and something that we hope to do for every season that we get.
The only regret that I have is that we can’t give them enough screen time. They were so iconic and so classic in the show, I wish that we had more episodes. I wish that we had longer episodes so that we could really give all of them a full episode of a full story.
MC: It’s just so much fun getting to see everybody again, and I think one of my favorite episodes of the season was the Lewbert episode, getting to be in court the whole time and just getting to see Jeremy again. Mrs. Benson [Mary Scheer] is one of my favorite characters from the series, so anytime she comes back, it’s always awesome. Ethan Munck came back, Gibby’s little brother on the show — and they’re actually brothers in real life — so that was crazy getting to see him because he was, like, 6 when we did the original series, and he’s 18 now. It’s kind of like a little reunion every time someone comes on again.
“iCarly” has always been off-beat, especially when animals are concerned. Nathan, how did you prepare to play off of a monkey?
NK: By really just leaning on the professionalism of my co-star in that episode. Crystal, the monkey, has probably more credits than I will ever have in my entire life.
Is that the same monkey from “Night at the Museum” and—
NK: “The Hangover,” yeah. Do you understand the level of pressure that I felt when I found out that Crystal, the effing monkey, was going to be in this episode and that I had to live up to her? She’s a friggin rockstar, so I was freaking out when I found out that we were gonna get her. It’s so funny, we keep talking about all these big fun guest stars we had — she’s one of our biggest guest stars if you really think about it, in terms of pure credits, so she was just insanely talented and a really good sport. We threw a lot of gags at her and a lot of attempts to do different things — things that when I read the script, I was like, “There’s no way. There’s absolutely no way that this monkey is going to be able to do this.” But doggone-it if she did do it, and with relative ease, I might add.
There’s no way to prepare because you kind of just have to go with it because she doesn’t exactly do the same thing every time. You sort of just have to wing it. I think one of my favorite outtakes of the entire thing is when I get slapped in the apartment, because the monkey does not like to be called cute. What’s funny is when we rehearsed, that little monkey — she hurts, she does not hold back. There is some heft and girth in that hand. The first time was just sort of a little [makes sound effect] bop, and I was just, [exaggeratedly holding cheek] “Oh!” It was shocking how strong that monkey is. What ended up happening is over the course of the week, we kind of bonded a little bit and she’d come sit and hang out with me and we’d get to know each other. And in one take, instead of hitting me, she came over and kissed me right on the face. It was so cute.
So one of my claims to fame now is, I made Crystal the monkey fall in love with me. That’s gonna go on my gravestone. That’s one of my favorite things that’s ever happened to me in my life. And I hope that I get a copy of that outtake somewhere because I need that for my own personal records.
Miranda, you’re working as an executive producer behind the scenes. What’s your favorite part about being off-camera?
MC: One of my favorite things is getting to be in the writers room and just hearing all the ideas that are thrown around about the possible episodes and places that the characters can go. And then also editing has been really fun because I knew nothing about it and I’ve never done anything like that in my life. Just getting to learn a new skill and be a part of that has been really exciting.
We know your favorite curse word, Miranda, but what about you Nathan?
NK: I’m trying to think because I’ve got children at home.
MC: I don’t think I’ve ever heard you cuss in, like, 15 years.
NK: It’s pretty darn rare. I would say “fart nugget” is probably one of the big ones.
MC: I’m not sure that counts.
NK: In my house, it’s a swear word. So what I’m saying is in the Kress vernacular at home.
Now, the other thing that I love that my wife says is “blast” because it sounds like Luke Skywalker and she didn’t know that, but she started saying that when we were dating and that was one of the reasons why I fell in love with her.
Where would you like to take these characters next, if given the chance? We end on a cliffhanger of sorts that’s great for Creddie fans, potentially, with Freddie’s girlfriend Pearl saying that Carly and Freddie are in love with each other.
MC: Yeah, we definitely leave the season off on a cliffhanger. We were even confused about how our character should be reacting because we don’t know where it’s gonna go next season. So we kept asking, you know, “How are we supposed to be feeling? How are we supposed to react? It made it a little difficult, not knowing where it’s headed.
NK: I think we had to shoot a bunch of different versions. There was the shocked version and the “No!” version and the “Well, maybe?” version. Because I don’t think they [the executive producers] even know what exactly they want this to be.
For fans’ sake, we’re gonna need to get some closure here at some point. So I think that question has been bubbling under the surface for a while and now that it’s just out in the open, we have no choice but to answer it — one way or another. That’s, I think, what the third season would be about, deciding, “Is this a thing or not?” And I know that’s going to be kind of weird because, at least for Freddie, he’s done a pretty good job of trying to let that part of the relationship die a little bit and really put a lot of effort into moving on and finding a relationship that works for him — and he really tried in this season.
So the fact that that’s been blown open, and this whole thing is getting resurfaced, we have to decide how Freddie even feels about that, and how Carly feels about that. That hasn’t really been discussed in a decade, it’s just been sort of there in the background. So now that the question has been asked, the rubber has met the road. It’s just a question of, at least on Freddie’s part, whether he’s even willing to open that can of worms again, because it didn’t go great the first time.
How long would you ideally like to continue with the show, or is it just as long as there are stories to tell?
NK: For me, personally, I think that’s it. As long as there is a story and there’s a flow and there’s an arc that’s discernible and concrete and doesn’t feel like we’re just dragging it along for the sake of making content.
From the very beginning of even doing the show, I think me and Miranda and Jerry, the whole point of this was to make sure that we’re doing the characters justice. They’re so beloved by so many people from our generation and we don’t want to mess that up. We don’t want to insult their memory. We would make sure that we go for as long as we can without wearing out our welcome. I think the cool part about becoming adults is there’s a lot of runway — adulting never stops.
NK: Yeah, unfortunately. We’ve got like 60 years left! There’s a lot of things that can happen. It’s just a question of whether or not it continues to resonate, whether we — every single season — step up our game, find new things, increase our quality, and distill down the stuff that people love the most and give them what they want. So, as long as we’re doing that, then I’m down to keep going.
MC: I feel the same way. I mean, it was really exciting the first season coming back because it just felt like there were endless possibilities for the characters. Even now, I feel like there’s a lot of questions that we haven’t answered. We don’t really know exactly the timeline of everything for all of our characters over the last eight years, like Freddie’s two divorces. Even with Spencer and Carly’s mom, I know that’s the question that’s been left unanswered the entire series from the first series until now, so I think there’s still a decent amount of stuff to touch on and we’re just having a really good time doing it. So, selfishly, I’d like to keep doing it because I enjoy it.