Tuesday, March 2, 2010

TV Tuesday: iCarly

iCarly is a popular Nickelodeon sitcom about a high school student and two of her friends who start an Internet show. In the series, the characters explore a lot of social difficulties that teens encounter among their peers and with the adults in their lives.

One of the things I like about iCarly is that actions have consequences. When someone does something inappropriate or stupid, bad things happen. And what's more important for our Aspies to see is that there are negative consequences when Carly's actions are misunderstood. She has to solve the confusion and communicate it in order for her relationship with the other person involved to be healed.

Another thing I like about iCarly is the presence of adults in the series. There are adults who are authority figures (both good and bad) and adults who are friends. Not all of them are stupid. While Carly's parents are absent (her father is stationed overseas and her mother doesn't seem to be in the picture), she has a close relationship with her older brother who acts as her guardian. In many respects, Carly's brother is just as immature as his sister and her friends, but his behavior generally reflects that of young American men (unfortunately, in my opinion). It's also acknowledged in the show that he is quirky. He is, after all, an artist. However, Carly does respect that she has to ask his permission to do things. And he voices concerns about money and makes sure he and his sister eat dinner together as a family.

Because Carly's show airs on the Internet, Carly also has to navigate the consequences of putting content where the entire world can see it. In the pilot episode, Carly makes fun of one of her teachers online and the teacher sees the footage. Carly then has to bear the consequences to that relationship. In another episode, a tech-savvy peer uses audio editing software to pick a fight between Carly and another girl. The point is frequently visited that when you publish something, you can't take it back, and people can manipulate what you published.

While there are some aspects of the characters' behavior with which I disagree, I think iCarly is a good show overall for kids middle school aged and up. As always, I recommend that parents view for themselves before showing it to their kids, watch the show with their kids, and discuss the behaviors and plot devices portrayed. Whenever possible, I also recommend that the show be watched online or after being DVR'd so that advertising may be avoided and parents can pause the show to discuss it in real time.

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