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Saturday, October 17, 2009

FUN FACTS About "iHave My Principals" !!!

by Dan Schneider
iCarly Executive Producer/Creator


Here's all the cool behind-the-scenes scoop about iHave My Principals which premiered on Saturday night, October 17, 2009.

If you're an iCarly super-fan, you'll probably enjoy reading this stuff.  But if you're a casual fan, you might find it a little boring.  But even more important...

DON'T READ THIS BEFORE YOU WATCH THE EPISODE IF YOU DON'T LIKE SPOILERS!!!!  YOU'VE BEEN WARNED!!! :)  Remember: You can wait and read these Fun Facts after you watch the episode.  Okay, here we go....


When you're done reading all this, please tell any of your friends who like iCarly about these Fun Facts, and that they can come here to read them.  Thanks!

*** iHave My Principals ***

In many ways this episode is classic iCarly because it's the web show that "ignites" the problem that becomes the heart of the main plot.  In some iCarly episodes, the web show stuff is just there for fun – the sprinkles on your ice cream.  But in iHave My Principals, the web show plays a big role in causing the conflict.

It's also classic in that many of our favorite iCarly characters are back in action: Gibby, T-Bo, Principal Franklin, Mr. Howard... and one of the most classic iCarly characters of all: Miss Briggs – our mean teacher from the pilot episode who, by irritating Carly and Sam, was the unintentional spark that caused Carly Shay to come up with the whole idea for the iCarly web show.

And iHave My Principals is also classic in that it's about teenagers taking on the establishment.  Kid empowerment, which is what iCarly is all about.  The fans always embrace the episodes where Carly, Sam, and Freddie have a "We're not gonna take it. / Let's do something about it." attitude.

There's also an interesting "lesson" in this episode, although anyone who's familiar with my writing knows I'm a very non-preachy writer/producer (don't worry – that'll never change.).  But this story does subtly convey the message: "Be careful what you do and say online."

And now, the Fun Facts... 

*** Scene 1 ***
Scene begins with Carly and Freddie in Principal Franklin's office, being glared at by Mr. Howard.
  • Principal Franklin's office is the first set we ever saw on iCarly.  The very first scene of the iCarly pilot took place here, with Carly being called in and blamed for a prank that Sam pulled.
  • Mr. Howard is back!  We love writing this character.  He's sort of the male counterpart for Miss Briggs.  Those two represent the kind of teachers I liked least when I was a kid.  You know, teachers who seemed to truly enjoy giving you a hard time, just because they could.  I always clashed with those kinds of teachers.  And now, I get to make fun of them on national television!  Weeeeee! :)
  • And here comes Miss Briggs!  She enters this scene doing what she does best: screaming at Sam.  And of course, Sam is screaming right back.
  • And yet another character from a past episode enters this scene: Principal Franklin's assistant (who has appeared in at least one episode before this one).  She hurries into this scene carrying a baseball bat.  SIDEBAR FUN FACT: She is played by Debi Derryberry, who also is the voice of Jimmy Neutron. 
  • Also in this first scene we have Principal Franklin, played awesomely by actor Tim Russ (who some fans also know as "Tuvok" from Star Trek).  Tim is a great guy and terrific actor.  We (the writers of iCarly) love writing episodes that feature Principal Franklin.  He just brings a great vibe to the show.  This is probably his biggest episode of iCarly ever.
    • Carly's line, "Oh.  Well then I bet she's pretty" was not scripted.  I added that line during one of the later takes while we were filming this scene.
    • Bananas just make everything a little funnier.
    • We'll never know exactly where Principal Franklin was bitten by a snapping turtle... but it's fun to wonder, isn't it?
    • More Spanish from Freddie?!?  What does it mean?!?  When will we learn the secret of Freddie's random Spanish?!? ;)
    *** Scene 2 ***
    Scene begins with Spencer, in his apartment, working on an old mechanical bull.
    • You'll see that the writing credit on this episode goes to Matt Fleckenstein, who we all call "Fleck".  Great, funny guy.  When I hired him, he was a writers' assistant on the TV show Family Guy.  EXTRA LITTLE FUN FACT:  Last week, Fleck became the daddy of two baby twin girls.  Go Fleck! :)
    • When Spencer describes how his mechanical bull (when fixed) will "whip you all around in a frenzy of mechanical jerks and spasms," it may remind some of you super-fans of how he sometimes describes the dance he invented, The Firecracker.
    • Ha!  I actually didn't notice (until just now, writing these Fun Facts) the disturbing nature of Spencer's orange tee-shirt.  Look at it!  It's so sad and alarming!  But it just makes me love our costumer designer Kris Dangl even more.  You can see the thought she puts into her wardrobe choices.  We all know how Spencer is always accidentally setting things on fire. ;)
    • "Yeah, have fun sittin' on that."  Love that Freddie line.
    *** Scene 3 ***
    Scene begins with Carly and Sam doing the web show in the iCarly studio.
    • The gigantic pants make a triumphant return!  Fresh from iThink They Kissed.  That sculpture was just too good to retire after one episode, don'tcha think?
    • In our fictional story, the reason Principal Franklin wants to be on iCarly (the web show) was so he could say a special Happy Birthday to his daughter, Emily – because she's a big fan of iCarly.  Well, in real life, the actor who plays Principal Franklin (Tim Russ) actually has a daughter named Emily who's a big fan of the show.  So, she's really going to like this episode. :)
    *** Scene 4 ***
    This short little scene begins with Spencer about to make his first attempt at riding his newly refurbished mechanical bull.
    • Just before riding the bull, Spencer yells "La Bamba!"  That's a famous 1950's song by singer Ritchie Valens.  As for why Spencer yells it out... no one knows.  In the writers room, we just thought it was funny and random.
    • While filming this iCarly episode, dozens of cast, crew, and staff members wanted to ride the mechanical bull, but we couldn't allow it – too much risk someone could get hurt.  We had a professional mechanical bull rider and stunt coordinator to work with Jerry, so that he could do it safely when cameras rolled.
    • Mechanical bull riding was popularized in the 1980's movie "Urban Cowboy" which starred John Travolta.  After that movie came out, mechanical bulls started popping in bars all over American (so I'm told – I was just a kid at the time). 
    • Spencer takes a pretty amazing, hard fall at the end of this scene.  Or was it his stunt double?  Can you tell?  Hmmmm?
    *** Scene 5 ***
    Scene begins back in the iCarly studio with Carly, Sam, and Principal Franklin doing the web show.
    • Carly and Sam have Principal Franklin play "Hey, What Am I Sitting On?"  This is unusual because that game started out as an "iCarly Extra" featured on the iCarly.com website – not the iCarly television show.  This is one of the few times that a comedy bit created for iCarly.com was later worked into an actual episode of iCarly.  We all absolutely love the jingle: Hey hey hey hey, what am I sitting on?
    • If you're a frequent reader of my Fun Facts you know how much I love the Schneider's Bakery post production team, lead by Joe Catania.  Watch how Carly "swats away" the on-screen words "Hey, What Am I Sitting On?" that was a fun little effect added by my post team.  It surprised me when I saw it, and I love it.  Those are the kind of little things that add up to make iCarly extra special.
    • Gibby in his toga = WIN.  It's just awesome.  And it's a little tribute to one of my comedy heroes, John Belushi, from his role in Animal House, my favorite comedy movie of all time. :) 
    • Fudge Balls are back!  This tasty (and slightly disturbing) treat was first mentioned in the iCarly episode where Spencer tried to date a pretty mom by helping her little daughter sell Fudge Balls.
    • One of my favorite things about this scene is how we chose not to use a normal on-screen counter (clock) to count down the 60-seconds... but instead had Gibby do it manually, with cards.  There's just something mildly hilarious about Gibby in his toga with his countdown cards.
    *** Scene 6 ***
    Scene begins back downstairs with Spencer getting ready for his second attempt at riding his mechanical bull.
    • LOL!  More duct tape!  I just realized!  I believe this makes the fourth iCarly episode in a row to feature duct tape!  Perhaps the iCarly writers need some kind of counseling?
    • Since we had Spencer yell "La Bamba!" the first time he tried to ride the bull, I thought, "Hmm, so let's have him yell another random song title before this second attempt."  And I love The Beatles, so "Hey Jude" seemed like a fine choice.  (And yes, it makes no sense whatsoever that he yells it.)
    • Get ready for a pretty amazing stunt at the end of this scene.  And we did it ONE take only!  It worked so perfectly, there was no reason to do another take.  (We had two more breakaway coffee tables ready to go, but didn't need them.)
    *** Scene 7 ***
    Scene begins back in the iCarly studio with Carly and Sam cheering on Principal Franklin as he tries to guess what he's sitting on.
    • Do you think if you were blindfolded and then sat on random items, that you could identify what you were sitting on?  Try it!  It's not so easy.  (Have I invented a great potential game show here?  Ah, probably not.)
      • When we originally shot this episode we ran short on time.  So, the two scenes where Principal Franklin plays "Hey, What Am I Sitting On?" were actually shot two or three months after the rest of the episode was shot.  But if I didn't tell you that, you'd never know. :)
      *** Scene 8 ***
      Scene begins in the school hallway with Sam closing her locker.
      • A very nice Sam & Freddie scene here.  This should make a certain faction of iCarly fans happy. :)
        • A new Penny-Tee!  And this time, the words on the shirt are a reference to a line from a season one episode of iCarly.  To see what this Penny-Tee says, highlight the two blue X's below! 
          X CHURCH PANTS  X
        • This scene takes a pretty sad turn.  When I showed this episode to my wife Lisa, she was really upset when she saw what happened!  (She usually reads all the scripts, but she was out of town when we did this episode.)  Saying goodbye to Principal Franklin is just really sad.  It makes you realize how likable the character really is.
        • Sam's line, "Whoa, deep voice" wasn't written until after we cast the actor to play Superintendent Gorman, and we heard how deep is voice really is.
        • The whole bit about Superintendent Gorman's Adam's apple and Sam feeling it was not in the script.  I added that stuff while we were filming the scene.  I think it will make you laugh.  Hope so! :) 
        • One of the things I love about Jennette McCurdy as an actress... she's this little, meek teenage girl... nothing like Sam Puckett... yet when "Sam" punches Freddie's backpack at the end of this scene, I really believe Sam can punch with tremendous power.
        ---- COMMERCIAL BREAK ----
        *** Scene 9 ***
        Scene begins at Ridgeway High School, where the kids are now dressing quite differently. 
        • If everyone who works on iCarly voted for their favorite line in this episode, it might be Gibby saying, "But ya know, not everybody gets me."  There's just something funny and subtly adorable about it.  Noah Munck rocks.
        • It was not scripted for Gibby to yell "Volcano!" as he runs for the trash can.  I added that as we filmed the scene.  I felt it was funnier for him to be saying something as he ran.  And in my mind, I decided "Volcano!" is what the kids in the Gibson house yell when there's a... um... "regurgitation emergency" in progress.  :)ß
        • The final line of this scene, "Freddie's got ya" was not in the script.  I added that while we were filming the scene.  I figured that Freddie, being the good guy he is, wouldn't just leave Gibby in that situation.
        *** Scene 10 ***
        Scene begins with Spencer in the apartment, answering the door.
        • Let me just start by saying... this is a really fun scene.  I can't remember a time where the crew laughed harder during run-throughs.  This scene is bizarre and really funny.
          • Meet "Bucky" – the bull-riding trainer.  He's played brilliantly by actor Muse Watson.  Talk about perfect casting.
          • Bucky's scripted line was, "Boy -- I've ridden real bulls that make this thing look like a tuna can."  But as we filmed the scene, I changed the line to, "Boy -- I've ridden real bulls that make this thing look like a fat lady's purse."  I don't know what it means, but everyone laughed pretty hard when they heard Bucky say it. :)
          • I love Jerry's ("Spencer's") delivery on his line, "Wow, that is so disgusting."
          • All I'll say now is... I just hope you enjoy the final 45 seconds of this scene as much as we all did. ;)
          *** Scene 11 ***
          Scene begins at the Groovy Smoothie with a big meeting of kids from Ridgeway High School.
          • I just realized that this episode has yet another returning character from a previous iCarly episode.  It's "Shawn" – one of the nerds that kicked Freddie out of the Mathletes.  Very funny kid.
            • When Shawn asks Carly about being his girlfriend, the scripted line for Carly was simply "Nope."  But while we were filming this scene, I changed "Nope" to "If you come up with a plan that completely smooths out the Middle East, I'm not gonna be your girlfriend." Awesomely delivered by Miranda. :)
            • Okay, the way T-Bo puts his donuts on the stick just kills me.  I hop you find it as funny as we do.
            • Sometimes fans will say to me, "Dan, you've set iCarly in Seattle, but you almost never acknowledge how rainy Seattle is."  Well, please look at what Principal Franklin is holding when he enters the Groovy Smoothie.  See?!?  I care!
            • It was not scripted for Gibby to pull his shirt up as he yells, "He's here!"  I added that as we filmed the scene.  It's just one of those little random iCarly things  that, I feel, make the show a bit more special. 
            *** Scene 12 ***
            Scene begins in Ridgeway High School, in the principals' office.
            • Sam's line, "Push like a man!" was not scripted.  I added that line as we were filming the scene.
              • So just for fun, how would you like to the actual script pages from this scene?  You would?  Okay!  Here they are (click on them to make them bigger)...


              *** Scene 13 ***
              Scene begins in Ridgeway High School hallway, with Sam's voice booming out over the loudspeaker, "The meatballs are in the sauce."
              • And you thought the whole mechanical bull thing was just a separate sub-plot, didn't you?  Well, nope!  In this final scene, it nicely becomes a device used in the main plot of this episode.
              •  How 'bout a hand for the actor who played "Superintendent Gorman" for his bull-riding skills in this scene, huh?  (Well, okay, some of it might have been a stunt double.  But just some.)
              • It's not often you see the usually well-behaved Carly Shay grab a bald man's necktie, bite it, and growl.  Enjoy this rare moment.
              • Principal Ted Franklin FTW!
              • I think this scene (and this episode) will make you wish that Ted Franklin was your high school principal.  He's the best.
              • When we were filming this final scene, it had a nice, happy, warm feeling – which I loved.  But I thought it could use a little... fun spice.  I looked over and saw Noah Munck standing off to the side, watching, because his part of the scene was already done.  And then I thought... maybe having shirtless Gibby run around, happily cheering, would be a nice, final touch.  So, there it is. :)
              *** End Credits Scene  ***
              This is the little scene you see when the credits roll, after the show.  This time it's a girl beat-boxing.
              • This is a video sent in by a real iCarly fan.  She can actually beat-box like that.  It's no trick.  Pretty insane!  How does she do it?

              And that wraps up the Fun Facts and behind-the-scenes info for iHave My Principals.  As always, thanks for watching iCarly.

              –Dan :)

              P.S. Remember: If you know of any iCarly fans you think might enjoy reading these fun behind-the-scenes faces, please send them this URL: http://tinyurl.com/ylkzbzv

              P.P.S. Please tell your friends who like iCarly (or don't know about it yet) to follow me on Twitter: @DanWarp