Face-Off: iCarly vs Victorious
I think this is a tougher one than the last Face-Off, mostly because the same person made both of the shows up for critique and as such, the presentation, humor and structure in both shows is pretty similar. iCarly debuted in 2007 as the driving force in a new era of children's comedy, primarily focusing on females as the leads of the shows, as opposed to the male-dominated children's programming of yesteryear. Sure, there had been female leads before, but not in the way that iCarly seemed to trigger the industry and viewers. True Jackson, VP and Victorious soon had numbers way beyond other Nickelodeon shows after their debuts, but iCarly's viewer-ratings continued to thrive in a way Nickelodeon really hadn't seen from their live-action programming before. Our second show, Victorious, debuted in 2010 and has definitely taken its world from the predecessor, iCarly. It uses the same technology and the same rip-offs in its episodes (Pear-phones, Computers etc), generally retains the Dan Schneider humor that was so prevalent in iCarly and older Schneider shows, however had a much larger main-cast than iCarly, where as iCarly was based around three characters (eventually becoming four with Gibby becoming a star in the fourth season), Victorious handles six characters at almost all times. iCarly has aired its last episode recently, however Victorious still has one season to be aired before its eventual slumber.
Now, (for the first pit-off) I really want to talk about the way these shows work in terms of their cultural significance and place in the history of child-programming, plus which one has had more of an impact. iCarly came off Drake and Josh and Zoey 101 ending. One being a critical gem, the other being Schneider's most criticized show. Although an odd time in Schneider's producing history, Drake and Josh was evidence enough that Schneider still had his chops and the fact that Miranda Cosgrove was starring in this show this new show, formerly of Drake and Josh fame, along with Jerry Trainor in a side role as her brother, this was going to be in line with Drake and Josh's humor, charm and commercial accessibility. Victorious on the other hand is a way more commercially shameless and obvious product. Certainly of the times we live in, Victorious takes its influences from Schneider's past work in terms of its comical ingenuity, however takes minor influence from shows such as Hannah Montana, Jonas and its sister-show currently running alongside Victorious on Nickelodeon, Big Time Rush in that it's a cash-grab as much as it is a piece of art. Although its main goal is to entertain through comedy, it's ulterior motive is to make money through the songs that are performed on the show.
So which one has had more of an impact, will have a longer shelf life and brought more originality than the other? Well, I think the answer is pretty obvious. Victorious is a (at most times) hilarious show, with great characters and great comedic timing, however iCarly's inception was by far more original, organic in premise and more transparent in motive. iCarly was about a group of kids who started making an internet web show, it was an idea that was relevant to the times without being too overtly obvious and sets up the show for hilarious antics. Whilst Victorious' premise does the same and I'm not just saying that, with so many leads and such a big area to play with, Victorious really does have a premise that could have made it last a very long time, it fails to gain the trust of the (older, might I add) audience because there's the constant thought in your mind that they are trying to squeeze even more money out of the consumer through their albums and musical ventures. Plus when you think about the idea that in this day and age, there would be ANOTHER musical children's television show about a girl/boy/group being discovered and making it big... well, it grates on the creative nerve. iCarly wins this round.
Premise, Relevance & Significance: iCarly Wins.
OK, so iCarly had a bigger and better inception and impact on children's television, sure, but which one had a better cast? Now, this question I feel is going to get some backlash from either side of the camp, as it's a tough question, but at the same time I think it is obvious in the mind of whomever the opinion belongs to. What I mean is, you instantly know which characters you prefer as a singular person, but I think it splits down the middle in terms of what all of us think. Looking at iCarly first, your main cast here is three: Carly (played by Miranda Cosgrove), Sam (played by Jennette McCurdy) and Freddie (played by Nathan Kress). There chemistry is pretty great almost all of the time, when having the luxury of Spencer or Gibby (two side-characters in the show) in the conversations on camera also, it's ridiculously smooth sailing. But to be fair, there are times where the humor can pretty much dissolve into nothing but Sam insulting Freddy, with the insults generally not being very funny. Not to mention, some of the characters also have their quirks that get stretched thin as the show goes on, or were just annoying to begin with. For example, Carly. Carly is the unfunniest character in the show. It's true. Why is Carly the unfunniest character? She's the Monica of the group. You guys know what I mean, the girl who gives the “OH YOU!” look after someone says something way funnier than she can, usually Sam. Now, to her credit, she does get a lot funnier as the show goes on and she grows as a person, it's actually pretty commendable comedically, but the first seasons don't lie.
Sam is a tom-boy who likes to eat meat. This is all you need to know about her character on the surface and to be honest, her being so “one-route” esque is actually pretty great. It leads to some funny jokes and it feels forced upon you in the right way. Now what I DON'T like about this situation is that every now and then, jokes will come from her few characteristics that just... aren't funny, at all. Most of them being when she insults Freddy. Most of the jokes that she makes are so “standard sitcom” of her that I can't bring myself to laugh at them and I know that's a problem because I'm not here to watch a standard sitcom, I'm here to watch a goofy, random Schneider joint. Freddy is a fine character and actually ends up being my favorite of the three because he isn't so one-track minded and he has a backup in case of comedic emergency: his mom. The back and fourth jokes between Freddy and his mom are generally pretty hilarious and because of the way Freddy is presented, in a rather more subtle manner than Sam and Carly, it allows for the creators to do more with him later on.
Now Victorious, this one is a list and a half. Your main characters are: Tori, Andre, Cat, Robbie, Beck and Jade. Tori, when compared with Carly, is a much funnier and generally more comfortable lead. She has a great clumsiness to her, she is perceived as attractive, but doesn't flaunt it and probably doesn't know it herself... and in this day and age, I actually think that is a great way to represent yourself. Consider her almost Belle from Beauty and the Beast-like, except maybe she cares a bit more than Belle of what people think of her. She is teenage, after all. Now Andre, Tori's closest friend, is the musical dude. We all know that guy, the one who picks up any instrument and becomes the flyest cat on the scene. Aside from that, there isn't too much to say about him, that's not to say his character isn't enjoyable though and he generally doesn't have the corny, annoying outbursts of some of the iCarly characters. Cat is the ditz of the group, the floaty, Zoey Deschanel angel-dust character, which considering I usually hate these kind of characters, surprises me in that it works so well. Her lines are unpredictable and hilarious and reminds me of The Amanda Show in aspects, which in my opinion, can never be a bad thing.
Robbie is simply the geek. He is the Screech of Victorious, he is the Brian from The Breakfast Club (which by the way, is a relevant comparison considering they did a tribute to that movie in the third season)... he is that guy. It's a very thin stereotype and they play him like that. It's very fortunate then, that his way of acting usually deserves a response so pessimistic from his friends and that is what makes it funny. He is actually one of my favorite characters from any of the Schneider shows and his constant slip ups, whether accidental or on purpose, make me laugh out loud frequently. Beck and Jade are the couple. They argue constantly, they make up, they break up, it's all there. Jade is gothic in nature and tends to well... hate a lot of the world. Beck is attractive boy that every girl wants to get with at Hollywood Arts, regardless of him wanting the attention or not. He's the all around “cool guy” who fits into any situation with a certain grace. It's convenient then, that the actor actually plays him with the same grace that the character is said to possess. He's very much a pleasure to watch act.
So who do I think has the better cast? Honestly, it goes to Victorious. Victorious has the plus of there usually being multiple story-lines with various characters going on throughout an episodes run, sometimes even splitting the cast between the two stories. It doesn't hurt that the actors are generally funnier and have better comedic timing also. Whilst iCarly is generally a blast to watch, its comedy when compared comes off a little corny, instead of goofy, which is generally what they're aiming for. Victorious VERY rarely has this problem. Point goes to Victorious.
Show Cast: Victorious Wins.
OK, so sound. How are the songs and general sonical aspects of both shows? Well, this one is fairly simple. iCarly uses the same music throughout and Victorious concentrates on music far more solely on the grounds that a lot of the songs from the show is used in soundtrack albums, etc, Victorious also concentrates on individual songs, rather than background songs for the show. This may make it significantly harder to compare than say, Kenan & Kel to Drake and Josh because the way music is used in these shows is so unique to their respective show. However, I would say I prefer Victorious' music more on the grounds that when music was used in iCarly, it had a amateurish sound to it that doesn't compare to Victorious' glam. Regardless of what the song was, whether it was Trina doing her Chicago routine or I Want You Back, Victorious' music made my day a little more happy and when your show is focused on music heavily, that must be a good thing.
Music & Sound: Victorious Wins.
How about the styles of the shows? Now, this one is certainly difficult, interesting and bleeds into other aspects of the show, such as the times that these shows were made and the way it uses stereotypes or the way that the shows BECOME stereotypes of the times. Well, I can safely say Victorious, outside of its humor, is the stereotype no-one wants anymore. Hannah Montana, Jonas and Big Time Rush rolled into one, it's a late-comer to the terrible mid-2000's normal girl/boy goes superstar fad that no-one wanted to see or hear. iCarly's style keeps to the goofy, primitively-childish style of Drake and Josh, with more of an updated, middle-class feel. It almost feels like Drake and Josh with a push on the internet and technology, everything looks so glitsy and glam. Despite the fact that Victorious manages to keep us entertained with its hilarious cast and great jokes, iCarly is the obvious winner for style.
Style: iCarly Wins.
So here we are, end of the line, who wins? Well, I'm going to go all out on this and give a definitive answer, despite it perhaps not being in check with the array of opinions I have given. iCarly is a great show. It has good actors, funny humor I'm familiar with, yet interested in and it has the charm that previous Schneider shows have given me. However, Victorious with its catchy as anything songs, its bettering humor and comedic timing, its array of main characters and what feels like more comfortable atmosphere has won me over as the definitive Schneider show of the last five years. It's just a blast to see what these characters are up to now, whilst Carly and the gang's mishaps are certainly fun to watch, it's Victorious' silly adventures that win out in the end for me.
Overall: Victorious Wins.