waynepygram.com: iCarly Reviewed: iFind Spencer Friends

waynepygram.com: iCarly Reviewed: iFind Spencer Friends

Where we get Emma Stone, nasty chili fries, and Jamaican laser tag in one episode.

I don't know if I've discussed this at length, but season five of iCarly feels really.....different. It's not as clever or as well-paced as the first two or three seasons of the series. At some point, the characters stopped being interesting and consistently entertaining. Plots became more pointless, the jokes became broader and cheaper, and episodes started feeling more like chores. I could watch something like "iBust a Thief" and feel like nothing happened, because nothing actually happened. The whole plot is about the characters wasting hours of their time waiting for something to happen, and then it ends up being all for nothing because the ending is basically, "We know there was no point to any of this." I'm not saying that every episode was bad. The series finale was a great way to wrap everything up, and there were some other ones that shined like "iGet Banned" and "iLost My Head in Vegas." But for the most part, you just got something like "iPear Store" or what I'm reviewing tonight.

So "iFind Spencer Friends" is about Carly, Sam, Freddie, and Gibby trying to find Spencer some adults to hang out with in time for his birthday, but the problem is, Spencer hates hanging out with the adults they found for him. Then they just abandon the new friends and Spencer spends his birthday playing Jamaican laser tag (???) with the gang.

We all know that one of the major reasons television shows tend to decline is because of what they reduce the characters to. They become shallower and less human, because one of their traits becomes amplified to the point where it ends up being their main trait, or their only trait. I still have nightmares about what the Boy Meets World crew did to Eric. iCarly suffered from this too, but it's not as noticeable as it was on a show that lost its way almost as soon as it hit its stride (Victorious)or a show that was just a desperate attempt to recapture the magic of two previous shows that no longer had any life left in them (Sam & Cat). Spencer is probably the biggest casualty of this. Apparently, he has barely any adult friends and would rather spend time playing tennis with kids younger than Carly herself. And when he complains about how boring his new "friends" are, he literally sounds like a child upset that they have to share their toys with someone else. Does this sound like a normally functioning grown man to you?

Other than the story, there is nothing else here to write home about. The scene at the diner is just so bizarre because of how long it goes on. It almost feels like they didn't bother writing a script and just sent the characters out there to improvise all their lines and interactions. There are many times I've watched this episode and thought this was the ending, but that's reserved for the Jamaican laser tag (which I'll get to). It almost feels like we're getting a glimpse into the future of what Dan Schneider shows would be like all the time, in every scene, in every episode. The pace is just so slow, it didn't even  feel like I was watching TV. Just a bunch of people hanging out but not actually talking about anything important. That's what it felt like for an entire scene.

It also doesn't help that Spencer's new friends are very uninteresting. They're adults so they talk about things like campaign finance reform and seeing shows at the Chumlee Theater. Because that's what adults always talk about and they have no other personality traits besides talking about boring things. The sad part is that this story had potential. Carly and her friends could have found adult friends that really connect with Spencer, like fellow artists or other content creators. Then they end up being really clingy and constantly want to hang out with Spencer despite the fact that he doesn't care for them much. It could be Spencer having his own group of Spencers and not being able to handle it. Instead, Carly and her friends just find a bunch of random people to hang out with Spencer, don't bother to see what they have in common with him, and expect him to like hanging out with these random people because they're all adults.

It's a shame that a show that was once interesting, funny, and charming was just another way to waste time once it ended. I want to say iCarly fell off once Sam and Freddie started dating because the show definitely felt different after that. This is just another episode in a long line of episodes that aren't worth going back to more than once. When iCarly failed, it wasn't nearly as infuriating as Victorious, but it was more of a case of, "What are you doing? You're better than this." At least the series finale was worth putting up with all the mediocre stories beforehand.

Episode Grade: C-
Episode MVP: Emma Stone, mostly because she actually brought life to the episode for a brief moment and it made me think something was happening. 

EXTRA THOUGHTS
-Because Spencer already has adult friends, the episode has to explain why none of them can come to his birthday party for the story to work. I liked how Spencer started a fire at his book club while they were reading Fahrenheit 451. Honestly, I'm surprised the show went to all this trouble just to make sure their story made sense. If Henry Danger had this plotline, we would just have to lay back and accept it.

-Seriously, the way Carly and her friends (and by extension, the writers) treat Spencer like he's a small child that needs to learn how to play with others is sad. I mean, it would be one thing if they thought Spencer was lonely and needed to be around new people, but then they realize that he's fine hanging out with them and doesn't need other adult friends to enjoy himself. That's usually how this story works. Instead, Spencer acts like he has never been around an adult in his life, and has no idea how to read the room or talk to someone his own age. It's a little depressing that this is what the writers thought of him.

-I can't talk about this enough, but it's like an eternity goes by in that diner. It's like they had no ideas for that scene and they were pressed for time so they just had the cast do and say whatever while they film it. Plus, it's not like there are any good jokes either, other than Spencer mentioning the new Eddie Murphy movie where he buys a kangaroo and wears a fat suit.

-I went back to see if Spencer mentioned anything about his art and he never did. Carly and Sam mention it to Darnell, but nothing comes of it. I feel like that's something his new friends would have been interested in talking about, and it would give Spencer some common ground with them. You know, actual human conversation. But then again, they would probably see his sculptures and find them childish and way below the work of Picasso and Donatello.

-Emma Stone has a nothing role in this episode. She just really likes iCarly and takes pictures with the cast like a crazed lunatic. I feel like this was the show's way of letting us know how popular it is among older audiences and a lot of people want to be involved in it. They definitely have that right after all these episodes, but now I'm thinking of what it would be like if they built an entire story around Stone. Then again, it might have ended up being a rehash of "iAm Your Biggest Fan" or something.

-I actually recognize two of Spencer's friends. Darnell is played by John Ducey. You might recognize him from a show like Sabrina, the Teenage Witch but I recognized him from JONAS because he played the Jonas Brothers' father. And I recognized the other guy from a recent Boost Mobile commercial. At least I think that was him. By the way, Darnell is the only one of Spencer's friends that they bothered to give a name.

-So, in the diner's bathroom, where Gibby is working as an attendant (it is never explained if the managers of the diner know anything about this), Spencer 's new friends burst into the room and throw up in the stalls because they ate chili fries that one of the employees did something to. The fries were meant for Freddie because he made fun of the employee's voice, but they ended up going to the guys by mistake (they had also ordered fries). Gibby is so brain dead, he doesn't realize that three men are throwing up in the bathroom stall so he tries to make conversation with them, offers them meatballs when they're done, and starts singing. What the hell is going on in this episode?

-The Jamaican laser tag scene is just......I don't know what to say. When you break it down, the conclusion to this episode is five white people wearing Rasta hats and speaking in faux Jamaican patois while they shoot each other with lasers. There's really nothing else to the game other than playing laser tag with accents. It makes me wonder what would have happened if T-Bo was in this scene. Honestly, I think this scene would have been a hundred times better if he was in it, because they could make a joke about how uncomfortable he is and then stop playing. Or he could walk in, try making peace with Spencer, but when he sees the guys playing, he becomes disturbed and leaves without saying anything else. Missed opportunity, if you ask me.

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