Saturday, January 23, 2010

No Thirst For Mindless Violence

iCarly with some young man named David Archuletta

What is this iCarly thing that the kids keep telling me about? I have no idea. I can't stop watching the World War II channel. Did you know that there used to be oil in Romania? What a pity Romania isn't Saudi Arabia right now.

Anyway, Fox has a problem.

A problem with a venerable franchise that, right now, is probably worth a lot of money in syndication, not so much on nightly television:

Even the brute force of 24's Jack Bauer could not defeat the feisty teens of iCarly

The Monday, January 18 premiere of Nickelodeon's iCarly: iSaved Your Life topped the ratings for all broadcast programming in its time slot, including the season premiere of the popular Fox action/drama 24, which came in second place by 5% with 11.4 million total viewers.

iCarly follows the on-air antics and off-air adventures of three teens and one crazy older brother — Carly (Miranda Cosgrove), along with her best friends Sam (Jennette McCurdy) and Freddie (Nathan Kress) — who star in a hit webshow, and big bro Spencer (Jerry Trainor). iCarly features novel viewer interaction: fans of the show can upload their own wacky original videos to, with the chance that their creation will be worked into the television program.

In iCarly iSaved Your Life, Freddie saves Carly from an out-of-control taco truck. Because of his heroism, his three-season-long crush on Carly comes to fruition. The millions of fans who tuned in to witness Carly and Freddie’s hotly anticipated first kiss made iSaved Your Life the highest rated live-action series premiere for the Nickelodeon.

That's what they call a butt kicking.

I looked at this iCarly thing on YouTube, and I really don't get it. The kids are smarter than the adults? Check. The adults are goofy and foolish? Check. Everyone who appears on television is fresh faced and normal? Except for the occasional oddball? Check. Well, it's no where near as good as Phineas and Ferb, I'll tell you that. Perhaps that's not a fair comparison, though.

If you're Kiefer Sutherland, that has to be the thing that convinces you to stop taking the easy paychecks. Hopefully, someone with a movie offer will call. I hate to bring in the downer that is politics, but people cheered the fight against terrorism when it was okay to beat the crap out of people to get them to talk. Now that more Americans are informed about terrorism--and have stood in long lines waiting to get on planes that don't show up on time--they're a bit turned out.

Has family television made a comeback? Well, iCarly is family television for a young slice of the family that probably feels disaffected. They like shows about boys and girls who pretend to kiss after the boy saves the girl from a taco truck. If you're writing for 24 right now, ouch. Freshen that resume, sir.

Well, I don't know what to add, other than, no, 24 really was never that good. Innovative in seasons one and two perhaps, but how many people can you torture? How many times must we see that old tripe about how government bureaucrats aren't going to protect us?

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