Miranda Cosgrove's iCarly revival has finally debuted on Paramount+, and fans have undoubtedly already noticed some changes between the original Nickelodeon series and the revival. For example, Carly can swear now, bitch, and she does so with some regularity. Perhaps the biggest change, though, is that the new series was forced to move ahead without one of the main characters from its original run, Jennette McCurdy's Sam.
It was known long before iCarly returned that Jennette McCurdy wouldn't be along for the ride, given the actress' early retirement from acting, but it wasn't clear how the show would address that major departure. Answers for Sam's absence were indeed tackled in the premiere, with an early reference later followed by a discussion between Carly and Freddie about getting back online and creating content.
CARLY: I just want to make things again.
FREDDIE: You don’t need a partner to do that.
CARLY: I don’t need a partner; I need Sam. But she’s off following her bliss with that biker gang.
FREDDIE: The Obliterators. I hope she’s OK.
CARLY: It’s Sam. I hope they’re OK. I just wish she was here so we could do iCarly again.
In classic iCarly fashion, the show went the over-the-top ridiculous route explaining why Sam isn't hanging out with her best friends. Sam was always billed to be a tough character on the original series, so the idea that she'd be traveling the nation with a biker gang is totally on-brand for the character. Plus, Sam got a motorcycle in the original iCarly finale on Nickelodeon, so the series did a great job at keeping with continuity, while also showing a little sympathy for any bikers standing in Sam's way.
Jennette McCurdy made it clear she wouldn't return to the iCarly revival, mainly because she was ashamed of her past roles as a child actor. Miranda Cosgrove noted the show's producer tried to sway McCurdy to take part of the revival, but that she was ultimately happy that McCurdy was fulfilled in a life outside of acting.
Jennette McCurdy is not set to appear in iCarly anytime soon, but the series will continue to acknowledge her as it goes on. The revival has introduced the new character of Harper (Laci Mosley), who is Carly's roommate and new best friend. It certainly would be cool to see Sam make a return to the series in the future and have some exchanges with Harper - maybe uncomfortable ones, maybe not - and other members of the cast, but for now, it doesn't seem like that's going to happen.
While iCarly's handling of Sam's absence is reminiscent of the rest of the series, there's been a promise that this show will also tackle some more mature themes outside of four-letter words. At the same time, it appears the outlandishness the show sprinkled in will stay a part of the series, which could make for an odd combination as episodes drop weekly. Only time will tell, and we'll have to wait and see how audiences respond in the long haul.