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'iCarly': the Best Sitcom Since 'Arrested Development'?

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Nov 19, 2012 | 10:39am EST

Arrested Development

Ever since Arrested Development was so wrongly canceled in 2006, I gave up on television comedy. The drought lasted for years, despite some half-hearted attempts. 
I tried (and failed) to connect with everything from 30 Rock to The New Girl to Parks & Recreation to Veep. I even tried re-runs of How I Met Your Mother and The Big Bang Theory
Predictably, I'd end up changing the channel after a few minutes. My heart just wasn't into it. That's not to say there's anything wrong with those shows. Over time, I began to realize: It wasn't them. It was me. 
If TV broke up with a show as great as Arrested Development, I simply wasn't ready to start a relationship with any other comedy. 
I never gave up on comedies on the big screen. But my DVR was strictly packed with dramas, reality shows, science and car shows (my husband's). 
And then came iCarly
iCarly
Yes, people of the interwebs, make fun of me all you want. I know it's terribly uncool to admit that you like a kids' show. After all, family programming has gotten a bad rap over the years. While there are some socially-acceptable animated shows (Star Wars: The Clone Wars, The Legend of Korra), live-action family shows are usually horribly, mind-numbingly cheesy. 
I wasn't exactly looking for iCarly—my kids watch it, therefore, I was forced to watch. I started out absorbing it through osmosis a few years ago. Then, slowly, it became more than background noise. 
And do you know what? As crazy as this may sound to anyone over the age of nine, it's a great show. Any parent can tell you that having to sit through most kids' shows can be torture—the bad child actors, cliché plots, the canned dialogue, all of the perpetual Taylor-Swift-surprised-faces. 
But this one was refreshingly different. iCarly owes a lot to its casting director: the main actors, Miranda CosgroveJerry Trainor and Jennette McCurdy, are all truly funny and totally commit to the silliness. Plus, the writing is smart (yes, smart) and original (there's a reason why Jack Black, Emma Stone and Michelle Obama have guest-starred). And ultimately, what I really appreciated was that the show makes no apologies for being exactly what it is: an old-school, family-friendly sitcom with zero edge. 
I know, I know, we all want to judge others based on their TV likes and dislikes. But, this simple little Nickelodeon show helped me understand that we need to stop being so afraid to just admit when a good show is a good show. 
On every level, it has nearly nothing in common with Arrested Development, but maybe that's exactly why I needed it. Like the Lost fan rejecting every Lost-like show that came after it, I resented all of the shaky single-camera docu-style comedies that came after Arrested's demise. Because, frankly, my favorite dead show did it better. I needed something completely different to break me out of my comedy funk and get me back on that horse. And it worked. 
So, now, as iCarly airs its final episode on Friday after five seasons, I can honestly say that a kids' show helped me learn that it was OK for me to love another comedy on TV after my Arrested Development heartbreak. Now, excuse me, I have a date with Louie.
[Photo Credit: Fox; Lisa Rose/Nickelodeon]

Follow Michelle on Twitter @HWMichelleLee

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