Updated: Apr 7
Have you ever noticed how much Nickelodeon's iCarly starring Miranda Cosgrove and Jenette McCurdy resembles Wayne's World ? While watching the iconic 90s film it hit me: iCarly is a prepubescent reimagining of Wayne’s World.
Both texts engage a lead brunette and blonde co-lead who are local celebrities with a popular show (Carly=Wayne, Sam=Garth). In both texts, the cooky and chaotic best friend duo are inseparable and undeniably charming to the masses, although there are always some jealous minor characters that simply don’t understand the fascination. For example, we have Benjamin Kane (Rob Lowe) in Wayne’s World and Nevel Papperman (Alexander Reed) in iCarly, both antagonist who try to take the central characters down.
In both texts, the duo has a zany show broadcast through the most popular medium of the time, for Wayne’s World that’s television, for iCarly it’s the World Wide Web. Both shows boast over-the-top comedy, sarcasm, and ridiculous bits like Random Close-Up in Wayne’s World and Random Dancing in iCarly (include videos).
Also, both shows are absurdly loud centering on making fun of basically everything and everyone that composes normative society. The duos create their own countercultural world that resembles a more grounded Neverland where they can simultaneously embrace their inner child, assert and express their individuality, protest societal expectations, and create a space for society’s rejects.
Syndication and selling-out are prevalent themes in both texts with Wayne’s World and iCarly getting syndicated and ultimately watered down by corporate sponsors which the protagonists then fight and beat. There are hilarious bits in both Wayne’s World and iCarly involving sponsors where the Wayne/Garth and Carly/Sam find a way to oblige their sponsors while disobeying them. In Wayne's World, the duo agree to have their new sponsor on, but use the interview cards to make fun of him.
In iCarly S1 E18, "iPromote Techfoots," the duo gets hired to promote Techfoot shoes, but the product ends up being useless and downright dangerous. This infuriates iCarly fans who blame the duo for encouraging them to purchase the shoes. The duo find a way to show their audience how terrible the shoe is without violating their contract: they demonstrate all of the shoes' flaws while only saying positive things about them. Ultimately, the sponsor finally agrees to release Carly and Sam from the contract.
(Please forgive the poor quality of the video)
Underneath all the boisterous humor, slapstick, and silliness there is some valid commentary in Wayne’s World and iCarly making the film and show worth the watch. The great thing about both duos is that they resist becoming a cog in the system; they insist on being nothing except themselves and dedicating themselves to their performative passion.
They are perfect examples of not giving AF about people’s opinion and society’s expectation of them; that’s what makes them so popular and appealing. Deep down inside, we all wish we had the courage to be unapologetically ourselves 100% of the time. If we all followed their example, I can guarantee we would be as happy and successful as Wayne/Garth and Carly/Sam; in the words of Salt-N-Pepa "opinions are like assholes and everybody's got one."
So, next time you're feeling down, let Wayne/Garth or Sam/Carly remind you how to DO YOU. Lucky for us, in 2020, it was announced that iCarly is getting a reboot exclusively for Paramount's streaming service. Even Wayne and Garth made a recent appearance in this year's Super Bowl commercials.
Until next time . . .