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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

iCarly: When Fans Assume...

I just checked my DanWarp email and I got this charming message: why did u have to post that page where freddie said he dosnt love carly anymore?? why do u half to suckup to seddie!!?? that sux!!!!

I've actually gotten 10 or 11 similar emails, all about equally eloquent.  So maybe we should talk about this...

It's always perplexing to me how some fans can take a tiny piece of knowledge, make assumptions, draw conclusions, and then just decide that their conclusions are reality.

Now some people might say, "Well Dan, if the script page you posted wasn't supposed to lead us in a clear direction, then why post it at all? Why tease us?"

It's pretty much the same thing as an on-air promo or a trailer for a movie. They show you bits and pieces, the goal being to intrigue and excite the audience. Personally, I wouldn't like a promo or a trailer that revealed too much. It would spoil the show for me.

For example, remember the promos for Friends? Remember how they'd show you quick clips, and you'd hear the voice-over guy say stuff like, "A new romance for Rachel..." – but they wouldn't reveal specifics.

Were they being mean? I don't think so. They were letting you know there would be new relationship twists, but they didn't want to spoil the reveal – they wanted to keep the show fun and exciting to watch. What jerks, huh?

Back to iCarly. Although the script page was intriguing, it really didn't reveal anything.

I don't mean to get all "educational" on you guys (I hated school, myself), but it's time for a little crash course in creative writing. Who's not ready?  Good.   Here we go...

First, let's take a look at the script page that a few super-reactive fans freaked out about.  It went like this:

FREDDIE: Can we just not talk about it?
CARLY: No, we can't not just talk about it. 
FREDDIE: But my mom's waiting for me to-- 
CARLY: I don't care. Are you in love? 
FREDDIE: (AVOIDING THE QUESTION) Sooo... what was in that chicken pot pie?  I mean, I know "chicken" obviously, but what other-- 
CARLY: Are you in love or not? 
FREDDIE: (LONG BEAT, THEN)  Yes. 
CARLY: (SIGHS) But you promised.  You said you wouldn't fall in love with me as long as-- 
FREDDIE: I didn't say I was in love with you.
CARLY LOOKS AT FREDDIE -- SHE'S VERY CONFUSED.

Yep.  That's what caused me to get at least a dozen emails from fans, upset about the "direction" iCarly was taking (in terms of relationships/dating).

Really guys?  Does that one page of dialogue really give you any definitive information? (Hint: It doesn't.)

But in case you don't believe me, I'll prove it to you.  I'm going to start with the last two lines of dialogue on that page, and then I'll write a few more lines of dialogue for you, just to illustrate what a writer can do.

*** EXAMPLE #1 ***

CARLY: (SIGHS) But you promised. You said you wouldn't fall in love with me as long as-- 
FREDDIE: I didn't say I was in love with you. 
CARLY: (RELIEVED) Oh, good.  So you're not in love with me. 
FREDDIE: (SHEEPISH) No, I am.  I was just embarrassed to say it out loud. 
CARLY: (ROLLS HER EYES) Aw, Freddie.

*** EXAMPLE #2 ***

CARLY: (SIGHS) But you promised. You said you wouldn't fall in love with me as long as-- 
FREDDIE: I didn't say I was in love with you. 
CARLY: Thank God.
FREDDIE: I texted it. 
CARLY: You texted--
CARLY CHECKS HER PEAR PHONE AND SEES "I'M IN LOVE WITH YOU" FROM FREDDIE.
CARLY: Aw, Freddie, whyyyy?!

*** EXAMPLE #3 ***

CARLY: (SIGHS) But you promised. You said you wouldn't fall in love with me as long as-- 
FREDDIE: I didn't say I was in love with you. 
CARLY: (REALIZES) Oh my God! You're in love with Sam?!?! 
FREDDIE: (INCREDULOUS) What?!?!  No!!!  Are you insane?!  I'd rather have a colonoscopy than spend one night with Sam. 
CARLY: Well, then who are you in love with? 
FREDDIE: (BEAT) You really want me to tell you?

*** EXAMPLE #4 ***

CARLY: (SIGHS) But you promised.  You said you wouldn't fall in love with me as long as-- 
FREDDIE: I didn't say I was in love with you. 
CARLY: Then who are you in love with? 
FREDDIE: (LONG BEAT, THEN)  Sam.
CARLY STARES AT FREDDIE FOR A FEW SECONDS, THEN SHE CALMLY PICKS UP HER PHONE AND DIALS 3 DIGITS.
CARLY: (INTO PHONE)  Yes, I need an ambulance at Bushwell Plaza...

*** EXAMPLE #5 ***

CARLY: (SIGHS) But you promised. You said you wouldn't fall in love with me as long as-- 
FREDDIE: I didn't say I was in love with you. 
CARLY: Okay. So... who are you in love with? 
FREDDIE: (BEAT)  Gibby. 
CARLY: (LONG BEAT, THEN)  I'm gonna go make some rice.
--------------------------------------------------------------

See?

You saw a page.  One page.

As of now, there are only 5 other people on Earth who know what's on the next page.  Unless you're one of them, please keep an open imagination.

Thanks.
--Dan ;)