Sunday, November 21, 2010

iStart a Fan War, school stress, and other thoughts

So I just watched the newest iCarly episode, "iStart a Fan War," and I just feel compelled to talk/write about it so I'm going to. WARNING: NERDY FAN ALERT. Oh, and since it just aired yesterday and not all fans might've seen it, SPOILER ALERT!!!

Okay, so basically the A-story is that Carly, Sam, and Freddie are going to be guests at Webicon, the con they tried to go to the previous year but were unable to because they got kidnapped by their crazy fan Nora (in "iPsycho"). This commitment spoils Carly's chances of a date with a dreamy guy named Adam (who sort of looks like the guy Carly was into in "iDate a Bad Boy"), but Adam ends up showing up at Webicon as a surprise. Anyway, after some issues at the front entrance (during which Freddie gets pulled - twice - into a literal mosh pit of fans), they get into their panel. A chance question from a fan about whether Carly and Freddie are dating, and Sam's joking response, ignites a raucous fan war in the panel that goes on for most of the episode. Adam, who's there, gets disgusted and leaves. Carly tries to reason with him but can't, so Sam goes out to talk to him and ends up bringing him back in tied up with an extension cord. Anyway, Carly gets a motivational moment to try to change the fans' minds, but one of the fans accuses her of lying and the fighting starts again (this time with Adam as the victim, as the fans think he stole Carly from Freddie). Security personnel quietly escort Carly, Sam, and Freddie out of the room.

The main B-story is about Gibby, who's now a regular on the show, and his brother Guppy, who are getting a ride to Webicon with his grandfather. They're very late, but Gibby can't get his grandfather to understand this. Gibby's grandpa ends up having an argument with a drive-thru attendant at Inside-Out Burger (obviously a spoof of In-n-Out Burger, a burger joint they have all over California and also in Nevada, Arizona, and Utah) about why they don't have soup on the menu. In the end, Gibby has to lie and say they have soup at Webicon to get his grandfather to get him to drive Gibby and Guppy there.

The other sort-of-B story involves Spencer, Carly's brother. He's totally addicted to a MMORPG called "World of Warlords" (obviously a "World of Warcraft" spoof; resident geek Freddie's also into it, naturally) and attends Webicon with Carly and friends to go to a World of Warlords costume contest. (Or " 'stume" as he calls it). He comes dressed as Aruthor, the most powerful warlord of this one people group in the game, and is told he might win the costume contest with his outfit. But, someone says, he might get beaten by the guy dressed as Aspartamé, Aruthor's archnemesis. (I saw the name spelled "Aspartamay" in an article, but "Aspartamé" makes more sense for a fantasy MMORPG; I'll wait till the creator posts on this episode to confirm the spelling; same for "Aruthor"). The Aspartamé cosplayer, played by guest star Jack Black, comes out and they begin to duke it out (after a lot of trash talking), to the amazement of all the "World of Warlords" fans gathered there. Some people are even playing medieval music in the background! Anyway, once Carly and co. show up after being escorted out of their panel, she tries to stop the fight but can't until a quick-thinking Freddie tells Carly to yank off Aspartamé's medallion, which contains his lifeforce. After a parting song, Aspartamé "dies" and Carly, Sam, Freddie and Spencer leave. The "World of Warlord" fans look at the "dead" Aspartamé and then all depart, leaving him on the floor.

I admit I laughed a lot during this episode. I can't speak for MMORPG fans - I've only tried a couple (Free Realms and now this fantasy MMORPG called Fiesta that I found out about from a Facebook ad) - but the "World of Warlords" fans here still made me laugh; I guess because I know how nerds are. I also caught a lot of references to fantasy game tropes that are in non-online fantasy games too. Also when one of the fans said "Aruthor's getting pwned" I got what that meant. I also could relate to the fan war over Creddie vs. Seddie because I know some things about shipping thanks to other fandoms. Shipping even with made-up characters can get out of hand, let alone "real" people like the iCarly trio.

Other things I caught:

  • Comic-Con signs? In a shot early in the episode of the exhibit hall at Webicon, there are signs hanging from the ceiling that look just like the signs used to indicate rows in the exhibit hall at the San Diego Comic-Con, a con I've attended four times. How did those get there?
  • Yet Another Socko Relative: We still have never seen Spencer's best friend Socko, but here we see yet another of his relatives, this time a welder who appears during the scene where the webshow is being shot to demonstrate how to properly blowtorch a pickle. How many relatives does this guy have anyway?
  • Great Wit from Carly: In the scene where Spencer is making his Aruthor costume, Carly has some great witty lines. First she says "I'm drinking diet soda" when the guys are talking about World of Warlords and why Aruthor and Aspartamé can't meet. Then when Sam spits out the soda and complains that it's diet, she says, "I told you it was diet. Now will you please get a sponge." Awesome.
  • References to other episodes: This is what reminds us this is not an episodic series. There are a couple references to "iPsycho," the last time the group tried to go to Webicon, and a reference to "iSam's Mom" when Sam mentions the therapy incident with her and her mom in that episode. There are a few Fat Cake references too, which refer to a cake kinda like a Hostess Sno-Ball that's appeared in other iCarly episodes (like "iMust Have Locker 239"), including the appearance of a Fat Cake Shake, which Sam says is "like drinking heaven through a straw." (It doesn't sound good to me at all).
  • DanWarp Sign: A sign saying "DanWarp" (the online name for iCarly creator Dan Schneider) is shown prominently in several shots of the World of Warlords booth.
  • Jack Black as Théoden? Jack Black's Aspartamé getup, the beard particularly, somewhat resembles King Théoden from Lord of the Rings. (I just thought of this).
  • The PearPad Appears Again: The iCarly world's version of the iPad, which first appeared in "iGot a Hot Room," appears again during the iCarly panel, held by a fan. One thing that amuses me is how much bigger the PearPad is than its real-life counterpart.
  • Guppy Repeating Things: Gibby's little brother Guppy has a tendency to repeat what people say, to the frustration of his older brother. Also at the very end of the episode, Guppy says "Happy Birthday," a reference to "iPsycho" where the iCarly trio sent a urgent message to Gibby to get him to let them out of Nora's house, disguised as a birthday message.
  • Blow-dryer on Carly's Desk: When Carly's room was remodeled in "iGot a Hot Room," this button was added to her desk that is sort of like a blow-dryer. We see it again here.
  • Carly's Table Has Water: Apparently Carly's sea-theme coffee table has real water in it, as Freddie asks if he can drive a remote-control boat on it.
  • Aspartamé's Rivets: Spencer says Aspartamé is supposed to have 12 rivets on his breastplate, but this Aspartamé has 13. The 12 rivets are supposed to represent the Elf Lords. 12 is considered a number of completion in some traditions, so that number would make sense. 13, of course, is an unlucky number.
  • Aspartamé an Elf?: It's suggested that Aspartamé's people are elves, but Aspartamé doesn't look like an elf at all. He also doesn't use a bow and arrow, which elven warriors in RPGs usually use.
  • Vegetarian Elves: When Aspartamé says he had a corn dog (to explain his mustard stain), Spencer mentions that Aspartamé's people are vegetarians. This might be a reference to the elves in Christopher Paolini's Inheritance Cycle, who don't eat meat. Or not.
Oh dang it's really late. I better stop here.
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