The reboot may be a dream come true for fans, but here’s why it’s not for Jennette.
In Elite Daily’s It’s Complicated series, we dissect the biggest celebrity drama to find out what happened in front of the camera, behind the scenes, and everywhere in between. In this piece, we look at Jennette McCurdy and her history with iCarly and Nickelodeon.
Jennette McCurdy played Carly Shay’s best friend, Sam Puckett, on iCarly from 2007 to 2012, but she was hardly a supporting character. Her spunky character became equally as beloved as the cast’s main star. In fact, she even starred in a spinoff, Sam & Cat, after iCarly ended. Based on the cast’s chemistry, it seemed like iCarly was just as fun to film as it was to watch, which made it all the more surprising when McCurdy opted out of the show’s 2021 reboot. If you take a look at Jennette McCurdy's iCarly history, it explains a lot, including why she thinks it’s time to put the iconic children’s show in her past for good.
McCurdy stirred up plenty of trouble as Sam on the show. Her no-nonsense and eternally sarcastic attitude had fans laughing non-stop. She and Carly were a BFF match made in heaven, with Sam’s rough-around-the-edges persona perfectly balancing out Carly’s affinity for following the rules. Unfortunately, art doesn’t always mirror real life. A lot was going on behind the scenes iCarly fans didn’t know about, and the full history of McCurdy’s time on the show is a lot to take in.
McCurdy's Behind-The-Scenes Experience Throughout iCarly
Life may have looked like sunshine and rainbows on iCarly, but as McCurdy has so often explained, there’s a darker side to being a child star. In a March 2019 Huffington Post essay, McCurdy recounted how fame caused her to develop an eating disorder.
“My disordered eating started when I was 11,” she wrote. “As a child actress working in Hollywood, I quickly learned that remaining physically small for my age meant I had a better chance of booking more roles.” McCurdy revealed her disorder spiraled even more after joining iCarly at 14. “By the time I was 15, the show was starting to get popular. The stress of having to be ‘on’ all the time got to me. I became even more fixated on food and my body. I monitored every bite I took. I exercised obsessively. I measured my thighs with a measuring tape every night before bed.”
Fame left an increasingly bitter taste in McCurdy’s life as the years went on. Even after iCarly ended in 2012, McCurdy couldn’t escape the intense pressures of the acting world. After skipping the Kids’ Choice Awards in March 2014, McCurdy explained her absence was due to an ongoing rift with Nickelodeon involving her reported mistreatment during her time on Sam & Cat (the iCarly spinoff co-starring Ariana Grande as her Victorious character, Kat Valentine).
She took to Twitter with a lengthy explanation. She said, in part, "A lot of you guys are asking why I didn't attend the KCAs... I wish I could explain everything as thoroughly as I would like to, but unfortunately a simpler explanation is all I can write. I was put in an uncomfortable, compromising, unfair situation (many of you have guessed what it is) and I had to look out for me. I chose to not go because sticking up for what is right and what is fair is what my mom taught me is ALWAYS the most important thing."
McCurdy's Quotes About The Reboot
When Nickelodeon announced the June 2021 iCarly reboot, fans presumed the entire original cast would return, but they quickly learned that would not be the case after McCurdy opted out. Her main reason? She simply wasn’t proud of the past work she did with Nickelodeon. As she explained on the April 2021 episode of her podcast, Empty Inside, she felt like her work was “shallow” and “pointless.”
"It's a difficult thing to say because the shows that I was on were so loved by so many people and so many kids," she said. "I hear constantly that, 'You made my childhood,' and I think it's great that they had that experience, but that just was not my experience.” McCurdy even went as far as to say the experience was “hellish.”
She elaborated on her negative experience as a child actor in a February episode of her podcast as well. “I'm so ashamed of the parts I've done in the past. I resent my career in a lot of ways," she said at the time. “I feel so unfulfilled by the roles that I played and felt like it was the most cheesy, embarrassing. I did the shows that I was on from like 13 to 21, and by 15, I was already embarrassed.” She told her listeners she quit acting completely because she wasn’t proud of her work.
McCurdy’s Relationship With Her iCarly Castmates
You’re probably wondering is Jennette McCurdy is still friends with her co-stars Miranda Cosgrove and Nathan Kress now. Well, McCurdy did have some good things to say about her experience on iCarly on her podcast — particularly the friendships she formed. “I had great friends in Miranda and Nathan, and even Jerry, who was a bit older than us but was wonderful in trying to cultivate that kind of… younger environment," she said in April. "It was better in that aspect — having some friends my age was helpful and healthy.”
Given their close bond, the original cast members understood when McCurdy passed on the reboot. Cosgrove told E! News how she felt about the scenario in a June 3 interview. “We all called her separately, and we really wanted her to be a part of it, but at the same time, I'm happy for her because I know that she's taken her life in a different direction and that she's really enjoying what she's doing right now,” Cosgrove said. “So, I think we all kind of did what we were probably meant to do.”
What Is McCurdy Up To Now?
Since quitting acting, McCurdy has made a point to take on passion projects that fulfill her. She launched her Empty Inside podcast in July 2020, which features a special guest each week. Notable guests on McCurdy’s show have included Anna Faris, Apolo Ohno, and Misha Osherovich.
McCurdy has also been busy directing films of her own. She made her directorial debut with Kenny in October 2018, a short film about a boy who sacrifices his dreams to take care of his ailing mother.
It goes without saying it would have been a dream come true for fans if McCurdy joined the iCarly reboot, but she’s busy following her own dreams, and those understandably come first.
If you or someone you know has an eating disorder and needs help, call the National Eating Disorders Association helpline at 1-800-931-2237, text 741741, or chat online with a Helpline volunteer here.