iCarly All Grown Up: Jerry Trainor and Nathan Kress Talk Reboot and Dream Guest Stars from ‘The Office’

iCarly stars Jerry Trainor and Nathan Kress shared how they’re reprising their roles of Spencer Shay and Freddie Benson in the show’s reboot on Paramount+ and what to expect in the new season in an exclusive interview with AfterBuzz TV!

Meagan Lynn

AfterBuzz TV Host & Writer
Posted On: June 5th, 2021 12:00 pm PST

Maria Menounos
Keven Undergaro
AfterBuzz TV Founders

Founded by Emmy winning journalist Maria Menounos and Producer Keven Undergaro, AfterBuzz TV is the artist-friendly entertainment news platform that celebrates, discusses, interviews, promotes and reports on the widest range of stars, creators and content through video, audio and article publications.

Credit: Paramount+

Wake up the members of our nation because iCarly is back! After a nine year hiatus, Carly, Spencer and Freddie are back in action–along with a few new iCarlies, as Nevel would call them–as they bring back their beloved webshow in the reboot of the series premiering June 17 on Paramount+.

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A lot of life has happened since iCarly aired its series finale in 2012, and not just for the characters. Nathan Kress (Freddie Benson) started directing, got married and had two daughters, and Jerry Trainor (Spencer Shay) started a band and took on edgier roles such as Travis in the film Cover Versions with Drake Bell and Debby Ryan. 

Now the duo are bringing their new life experiences to the iCarly set, giving the popular children’s show an adult twist, as Kress and Trainor shared with AfterBuzz TV.

All grown up

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“A lot of life has happened from your late teens to your late twenties, and a lot of that has happened to us in our real lives. And I think we don’t want to shy away from that in this show,” Kress shared. “I think that’s what makes it so interesting. And that was kind of the goal from the beginning was we wanted to do something different where we take a beloved kid’s show and the characters in the universe…we want to take that and we want to put it in this world where we get to not only bring these characters forward in their arcs and in their life experiences and the places they find themselves, but also hopefully meet our audience where they’re at and find them in their late twenties as well.”

Though a decade can change a lot, Trainor says not all things have changed.

“Just so it’s not so jarring for the kids who are grown up now, Spencer hasn’t changed at all,” he said. “So crazy Uncle Spencer will be there when it gets weird. I’ll be your comfort blanket.”

In the trailer for the new and grownup version of iCarly, we get to see Spencer and Freddie getting into some crazy antics together. With Spencer not being the only adult anymore, Trainor says it’s been fun to explore the character dynamics in an all-grown-up cast. 

“It’s great because it mirrors reality. I watched them grow up. I remember when they were little kids and there was that point where they were adults,” Trainor recalled. “When we weren’t shooting the show we were still making an effort to go to dinner once a year or something like that. I’d go on hikes with Miranda. And being able to start talking freely as grown ups and not just coworkers where I’m a grownup and you’re a kid and that dynamic, it’s like, ‘Oh, now I can be kind of open and honest with you’ and vice versa. And that’s a real joy and it makes working with Nathan and Miranda on set that much better. And it’s great to have that dynamic mirrored in the characters, too.”

A blast from the past

Spencer, the token adult on iCarly, is a fan favorite, earning Trainor several Kids’ Choice Awards and nominations for his performance, and recently garnering buzz on TikTok for being the “the most underrated actor” as fans re-binge the show in preparation for its revival. 

As fans come back to the show as adults, they might recognize a reference to another sitcom in one of the episodes: Seinfeld. When filming in New York City for the season six episode where the iCarly gang appear on The Late Show with Jimmy Fallon, they paid homage to the nineties hit in a scene at Dan’s Diner, a representation of Monk’s Cafe, the famed Seinfeld coffee shop. In the scene, Spencer clumsily enters the diner in a parody of Seinfeld’s Kramer, a character with whom Spencer shares the same chaotic energy.

Despite his brilliant take on Kramer, Trainor told AfterBuzz TV his portrayal of Spencer wasn’t influenced by Michael Richards, the actor behind Kramer, but that he has been inspired by other great physical comedians. 

“When I was growing up, it was Chris Farley, Steve Martin, Robin Williams, Chevy Chase, Tom Hanks–those were my sort of main physical [comedy] inspirations. And Dick Van Dyke,” Trainor said. “I used to watch The Dick Van Dyke Show and I Love Lucy because we just had this little CRT TV and I would just watch those. And watching Dick Van Dyke falling over the ottoman, that’s when I started doing pratfalls when I was a kid, just because of that stuff.”

iCarly and The Office…?

Something else to anticipate in the series’ second run is the possibility of new guest stars. Nickelodeon’s original iCarly series featured greats like Jim Parsons, Jane Lynch, Jack Black, Emma Stone and even Michelle Obama. This time around, Trainor says he’d love to see a celebrity guest star take on the infamous iCarly character who’s yet to be seen, Spencer’s best friend Socko. 

“I think the number one candidate for me is Charlie Day from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. I think if he came on and did Socko he’d kill it,” he said. “He would be the wild card that he is on It’s Always Sunny and he would bring whatever we decide Socko is to that character. And it’d be a dream because I love that show.”

For Kress, he has a few picks from The Office he’d like to play alongside Mary Scheer, best known as Freddie’s mom Marissa Benson.

“For me, I think maybe Steve Carell as my dad would be pretty amazing; getting to see Steve Carell and Mary Scheer with whatever that dynamic would be.”

“What about Ed Helms?” Trainor added. “Ed and Mary would be hilarious!”

“Or Ed Helms,” Kress said. “Freddie could be sort of a ‘roo-doo-doot-da-doo’ kind of guy.”

In a world just coming out of the Covid-19 pandemic, Kress hopes rebooting the lighthearted and laughter-inducing show will bring some joy to fans. 

“Hopefully we’re all going through kind of similar experiences, which I think brings its own kind of catharsis,” he said. “And in a way, seeing nostalgic characters who are dealing with these things alongside them, hopefully is kind of a release and kind of escapist to be able to see these people who you wouldn’t necessarily expect dealing with dating and internet subculture and drinking.”

To catch Kress and Trainor along with the whole cast back in action, you can watch the first three episodes of iCarly on Paramount+ on June 17th .

About The Author:

Meagan Lynn is a host and writer at AfterBuzz TV, actress, and social media manager. Outside of AfterBuzz, you can find her hosting and producing Ten Minute Talks. She loves singing, listening to inspirational podcasts and consuming copious amounts of movies and television shows.

Founded by Emmy winning journalist Maria Menounos and Producer Keven Undergaro, artist-friendly AfterBuzz TV is the world’s largest digital broadcast network and pop culture news platform, producing post-game ‘after-shows’ for nearly all favorite TV shows, interviewing cast and showrunners and providing the widest video, audio and article coverage of shows, content and influencers than any entertainment news platforms in existence

“We don’t just celebrate and cover the top shows, content and stars, we celebrate and cover ALL the shows, content and stars.”

Maria Menounos

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