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Thursday, September 9, 2010

FUN FACTS for "iSam's Mom" & Episode Discussion!

by Dan Schneider
Executive Producer/Creator – iCarly & Victorious

Yo Hobos!  I hope you all got to watch the iCarly episode iSam's Mom, where we finally got to meet SAM'S MOM.  If you didn't see it, you can download it by CLICKING HERE.

I promised Fun Facts for iSam's Mom, so here they are!  But before I go on, I want to explain something... 

I love writing the Fun Facts.  I know some of you are disappointed when I don't do them.  But the only reason I sometimes don't is the time it requires.  It takes me about 3 hours to write Fun Facts for one episode – because I have to watch the DVD – stop every few seconds – write something – then watch some more.  And the whole time I'm trying to remember all the details for you.

Right now I'm making iCarly and Victorious simultaneously.  That's a lot of writing, filming, and post production.  Often I have to work 7 days a week to keep pumping out the episodes.  I'm not complaining about that – I love doing all of it – but sometimes I just can't find those 3 hours to write the Fun Facts.  I'm sorry about that, but please know that I will always do it when I can.  If I don't do them, always know that it's because I was too busy writing, filming, or completing a new episode for you.



Here's all the cool behind-the-scenes scoop about iSam's Mom.

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 boring.  But even more important...


Remember: You can wait and read these Fun Facts after you watch the episode.  And please feel free to DISCUSS the episode here below, in the comments.  I definitely read them!  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!
*** iSam's Mom ***

As most of you already know, this is a very special episode of iCarly.  Sam's mom has been referred to in over a third of all iCarly episodes, but she's never been seen.  The closest we ever came to actually seeing her was when she backed her car into the school, smashing a wall and locker #239.  We know she was driving the car, but we never got a glimpse of her.  But on Saturday night, we finally meet the infamous mother of Sam Puckett.

There have been a few times in the past couple of years I thought about writing an episode that revealed Sam's mom.  There are two reasons I never did.

(1)  Sometimes it's more fun to imagine a character than to actually meet her.  There has been so much talk about Sam's mom, I didn't want it to be a disappointment to the fans when she appeared on screen.

(2)  I didn't have an actress in mind who would be perfect to play the role.

So why did I change my mind?  A few months ago, I was sent a New York Times article about Jane Lynch getting marrried.  And in that article, I read this:

"And among the promises that Ms. Lynch made while reciting her vows was “to be the very best parent I can be,” as well as “to do my best to get her ‘iCarly’ tickets"...

I've always been a fan of Jane.  She's been fantastic in movies, and everyone at iCarly and Victorious think she's amazing on Glee.  So, when I saw that she mentioned iCarly in her wedding vows, my first thought was to ask her to be on one of my shows.  And my next thought was, "A-ha!  Sam's mom!"

About 7 or 8 weeks later, Jane Lynch was standing on our iCarly sets, acting with the iCarly casts.  She is perfect casting for the role of "Pam Puckett" – the weird and brazen "creator" of Sam.

That's the episode iSam's Mom came to be.  I hope you have as much fun watching it as we all had making it.

Okay, here we go with the scene by scene Fun Facts...

*** Scene 1 ***
Scene begins in the iCarly studio with Freddie at his tech cart, rolling up a cable, as Carly walks in.

• There is no real website called TweenPants.com.  It's just a funny name we came up with that makes me laugh.  If you go to it, it will re-direct you to iCarly.com (as all the fake web sites mentioned on my shows do).  You will also hear "Sam" reference TweenPants.com in the iCarly-Victorious crossover special, coming in a few months.

• In this scene, Carly tells Gibby she had to cut his "Doctor Lobster" bit because the show was too long.  Coincidentally, there was a section at the end of this first scene where Gibby returns and does some Doctor Lobster comedy – but I had to cut THAT because this episode was too long.

• Why does Sam need anti-itch cream?!?

• Okay, I've never done this before, BUT… here is the part of the script that was shot, and in the first cut of this show, but deleted because the show was too long:

FREDDIE:  Show started fifteen seconds ago.
CARLY/SAM:  (TOGETHER)  And this is iCarly!
CARLY:  Okay!  Sam and I are gonna show you how to make a special cologne for hobos, using only bleach...
SAM ...kosher salt...
CARLY ...goat's milk...
GIBBY:  Did someone page Doctor Lobster?

That part of the show was funny – I liked it when I saw the first pass of this episode.  But we always end up long, and some material must be deleted in order to get the show to the proper time. 


As you'll see, with this episode we begin a whole new opening credit sequence (although you saw a few of the new shots in the opening sequence of iGot A Hot Room). 

The only shots I kept from past sequences were Spencer and the ostrich… and the shot of Carly tossing her hat into the air.  I kept the ostrich shot because it's hilarious and people love it a lot, and I've always kept the Carly-hat-toss in, ever since iCarly first premiered.

What is YOUR favorite new shot in the opening sequence?  (I definitely have a new favorite.)  Let us know yours by commenting below.
*** Scene 2 ***
Scene begins with Carly asleep in her bed.

• As you can see, the writing credit on this episode goes to Jake Farrow.  Jake used to play "Gavin" (the weird "I got it" guy) on Drake & Josh.  Jake has written for many of my shows, including Drake & Josh, Zoey 101, iCarly, and Victorious.  He's a super funny guy, AND… just two weeks ago, Jake had his first child with his wife, Jen.  He's a cute little boy named Jackson – the same name as my cat. :)

• You'll hear Carly say, "It's almost four o'clock in the morning."  But that was NOT the take I had in this episode a week ago.  In that version of the show, Carly said, "It's almost four o'clock in the flippin' morning."  But the network called me and said they didn't want me to have Carly say the word "flippin" – so I changed it to another take where she didn't say it.  Frankly, I thought it was fine for Carly to say "flippin" – but when the bigwigs at Nickelodeon have an issue with something, I try to accommodate them.  And I didn't feel that strongly about keeping the "flippin" line.

•  I love that Spencer is so willing to make Sam some eggs at four o'clock in the morning.  I wish I'd had a big brother like that!  Don't you?

*** Scene 3 ***
Scene begins at the Groovy Smoothie with Freddie and Gibby at a table.

• You want to know where we (the writers) got the idea for Freddie to have spy glasses?  A few months ago we were writing the Victorious episode where "Cat" was addicted to Sky Store.  So, we got an actual Sky Mall magazine and flipped through it.  One of the items we saw was a pair of sunglasses that secretly records video.  I had one of our writers' assistants order a pair, and we played around with them.  They actually worked!  That's how we got the idea to give Freddie "Spy Glasses" in this episode.

• It was not scripted for Gibby to stick out his tongue and wag it like he does.  I added that, on set, while we were filming the scene.

• Gibby's original line in the script was: "Hey hey, a little cream n' sugar just walked in."  But as we filmed this scene, I changed the line to, "Hey hey, a couple of smokin' salmon just swam by."  I thought that was a notch funnier.

• If you're wondering why the Asian gentleman emerges from the restroom, looking at Gibby, with a terrified expression, then runs out screaming in horror… you'll have to ask Noah Munck who plays "Gibby".  He's one of the few people who knows why. ;)

• I love T-Bo.  For some reason, his delivery of the line, "And now I gotta buy new cables too?" – it kills me.  He's a really funny guy.

• Watch at the end of the scene, when Freddie goes to the counter to talk to T-Bo.  When he touches his sunglasses, the lenses light up blue.  That did not happen in real life.  That's a post production visual effect.  I've worked in TV and movies for a long time, but I still find effects like that really cool.

*** Scene 4 ***
Scene begins in Carly's apartment – Carly coming down the stairs with a plate in her hand.

• A new Penny-T on Sam!  This one says BACON FARM.  Perfect for Sam Puckett.

• Once again, Sam tells us that she HATES the word "panties".  Can you remember the episode where we first learned this about her?  By the way, I got this idea (to write it for Sam) from a friend of my wife who always talks about how she hates the word "panties" – and insists that "underwear" is the only acceptable term.  How do YOU feel about the word?  Are you on Sam's side?  Or is she overly-sensitive?

• In this scene, Spencer references the mythical TV show "Celebrities Under Water".  I'm not sure, but I think I FIRST used that show name on Drake & Josh.  You have no idea how many people tell me I should create Celebrities Under Water as an actual TV show!  Hahaha. 

• I like how Spencer gets it wrong and yells "Stairs!  Stairs!  Stairs!" at Sam.

*** Scene 5 ***
Scene begins back in the Groovy Smoothie, with Freddie complaining to T-Bo about his coupon.

• T-Bo is hysterically funny in this scene.  There are about 4 or 5 lines he says that make me laugh out loud.

• In the middle of this scene, you'll hear one of the newscaster's crew yell "We're live" – can you guess whose voice that is?  Uhhh… ME.

*** Scene 6 ***

Scene begins with Carly walking into her apartment.

• After Sam says "Welcome home!" I love the look on Carly's face as she sees her messy kitchen and starts speed-walking toward it.  Great expression by Miranda!

• And… introducing… SAM'S MOM!  After more than 70 episodes, over 3 years of iCarly, here she is – wonderfully portrayed by the talented Jane Lynch.  How PERFECT is she for the role?!?

• As we were filming this scene, just at the last minute, I asked our prop department to give Sam's mom a bag of chips to be eating.  I figured that OF COURSE Sam's mom would have food with her, right?

• Do you think Carly was right to invite Sam's mom over without Sam's permission?  Was that okay or not okay?  Comment below!

• You know what I notice when I watch this scene?  We all know what an amazing actor Jane Lynch is.  Well, watch Jennette McCurdy act with her.  Lots of young actors would be outclassed by someone as great as Jane Lynch.  But Jennette is right there with her, which shows what a brilliant  actor Jennette really is.


*** Scene 7 ***
Scene begins with Spencer, carrying a huge sack of beans, walking into his apartment.

• Why does Spencer walk in carrying a huge sack of generic "beans"?  No reason.  I just try to avoid the common and the boring.  Spencer was originally just supposed to walk in.  That felt boring to me.  So, I said to our prop master, "Hey, can you please arrange for him to be carrying a gigantic sack of generic beans?"  And so he is.

• It's… Mrs. Benson, played by the awesome Mary Scheer!  She's very popular with iCarly fans, so I'm really glad she's in this special episode.  You can see Mary in this video I shot during a rehearsal for this episode by CLICKING HERE http://www.youtube.com/danwarp#p/u/33/YHU78RiYuD8

• Question: Did you notice that Freddie was wearing something under his shirt before Carly exposed him?

• Once again, Mrs. Benson directly insults Carly.  We (the writers) are enjoying the fact that Mrs. Benson is now outwardly rude to Carly.  Why?  Probably because she's angry that she draws much of Freddie's attention away from her.  What do you think?

*** Scene 8 ***
Scene begins at a psychiatrist's office with Carly, Sam, Sam's mom, and a psychiatrist, talking.

• As you might know, I think my post production department is the best in the business.  They are a HUGE reason why Schneider's Bakery shows look and sound so great.  They also like to put little "Easter eggs" in the show, and see if I'll catch them.  Well, here's one I caught.  If you look at the exterior the psychiatry building, you'll see a sign that says PSCHNEIDER PSYCHOTIC GROUP.  The "P" before "Schneider" really made me laugh.  Nice, Joe. ;)

• When I cast the actor to play the psychiatrist (who did a GREAT JOB, by the way), he had no idea that he was auditioning for a role that would have scenes with Jane Lynch.  When he got to set, he was quite pleasantly surprised.

• Anyone who watches iCarly, even semi-regularly, knows that there are many jokes about all the men Sam's mom dates.  Well, here in this scene, we get to see her in action.  Notice how her main interest in the psychiatry office is in trying to hook up with the psychiatrist.  Vintage behavior for Sam's mom.

*** Scene 9 ***
This scene begins with Carly walking into her apartment.

• After the scary man says "State your name and business" to Carly, I love her response, "Carly Shay – web show host".  One of my writers suggested that response, and it makes me laugh every time (that Carly identifies herself that way).  So funny and cute.

• How great is the actor who plays Gunsmoke?!?  We all loved his dry performance.

•  If you don't laugh out loud when Gunsmoke attacks Spencer, then you may have recently passed away.  Great stunt – and Jerry did it himself!

• There is really no such thing as Furon gas.  I made that up. 

• I love Jerry's delivery of the last line in this scene: "Nooo, ya broke it!"  He's a grown man, but he delivers that line EXACTLY as a 9-year-old boy would.

*** Scene 10 ***
Scene begins in the psychiatrist's office – Sam and her mom are on the floor, fighting.

• We learn here where Sam gets her toughness from.  Notice that she and her mom are in a "stalemate" grasp, indicating that they're an even match.  But between you and me, Sam could take her in a street fight.  Even Sam doesn't want to hurt her mom TOO badly. :)

• On the first few takes, when Jane said her line, "Hey, those pants fit you real good," she was looking at the front of his pants.  I had the director step in quietly and tell her that, because this is for Nickelodeon, we'd prefer she look at the BACK of his pants on that line. ;)

• As far as I know, there's really no such thing as a "therapy box".  That's just something the writers and I made up.

"…take a wazz".  That's the second time you've heard the word "wazz" on a Schneider's Bakery show.  The first time was in the Victorious episode "Wi-Fi In The Sky".  As you've probably figured out, it means "to pee".

*** Scene 11 ***
Scene begins in Carly and Spencer's apartment – they're watching TV with Gunsmoke.

• The pizza that Spencer is eating in this scene came from Vincenzo's Pizza in Santa Clarita, California.  Why not a place in Hollywood, since that's where we film iCarly?  Because our prop master, Chris, lives in Santa Clarita.  This scene was filmed first thing in the morning.  So Chris bought the pizza the night before, took it home, fridged it, brought to work the next morning, and now there it is on TV!  Thanks, Vincenzo's Pizza – Jerry said it was good stuff!

•  There is no real movie called The Killing War.  But it sounds awfully violent, doesn't it?

• A nice little nod to Full House here.  We liked that joke, because we (the writers) said to ourselves, "What's the OPPOSITE of a horribly violent movie?"  Answer: Full House. 

• For the record, I like lemonade.  There, I admit it!
*** Scene 12 ***
Scene begins with Sam and her mom arguing in the therapy box.

• Ah, a reference to Sam's twin sister, Melanie.  So, now there's no doubt she exists.  Freddie is the only one who doesn't buy it.  Freddie is wrong.

• I love that the psychiatrist is chugging Pepto Bismol from the bottle.  Only the Pucketts could drive a licensed psychiatrist to madness.

• As you can see, there is a door at the back of the therapy box.  There IS a small bathroom back there, which our production designer built into the set, because in our original outline, there was a point in a scene where Sam (or her mom) went in there to use it.  But it was cut from the final shooting script, so that little bathroom set was never used.

*** Scene 13 ***
Scene begins in Carly's kitchen where a sad Freddie is eating his mushrooms.

 • Once again, Jerry did his own stunt – that was actually him that Gunsmoke grabbed and threw to the floor.

• When Gunsmoke says, "I'm being paid to protect that boy, and nobody's gonna lay a hand on him while I'm here" – watch Freddie in the background.  I'm not sure why he's playing with his hair like that – I just noticed it while I'm writing these Fun Facts.  But I'll be sure to tease Nathan about it as soon as he's done shooting the scene we're filming right now.

*** Scene 14 ***
Scene begins back in the therapy box, with Sam's mom putting on lipstick.

• It's subtle, but look closely and you'll see where Sam's mom puts her lipstick when she's done with it.  Only Sam's mom!  Did you catch it?

• When we (the writers) first wrote this scene, I thought the dialogue was very good – a well-written scene where Carly was helping Sam and her mom find some way to get along.  The problem: it wasn't very funny – just a couple of laughs here and there.  I felt it needed a big dose of comedy, which is why I added Carly freaking out and going "Nyehhh!  Nyehhh!  Nyehhh!"  It made sense because, in iSpace Out, we established that Carly freaks out in small, confined spaces.  Since there's no window for her to jump through in this therapy box, it makes sense that Carly would freak out.  I thought Miranda did a terrific job of playing the "Nyehhh!  Nyehhh!  Nyehhh!" part of the scene.   And not to sound too sappy, but I also like the fact that, in the end, Sam decides to "make nice" with her mom, because she feels bad that her best friend Carly is freaking out.  She really does it for Carly.

• One of my favorite lines in this scene is Sam saying to her mom: "I don't think you're scummy… all the time."  Clearly, Sam thinks her mom is  scummy some of the time. :)

*** Scene 15 ***
This short scene begins with the Shadow Hammer coming around the hallway with a hammer in his hand.

• The look on Freddie's face at the end (when he peeks out the door) is priceless.  Hilarious.

• Spencer's trick worked… but it makes you wonder what happened to the poor people in the REAL 8-H, doesn't it? :)


And that wraps up the Fun Facts and behind-the-scenes info for iSam's Mom.   I hope you love the episode.  Please let me know what you think.  And I always like to hear what part of the show made you laugh the most.  Please comment below.  :)

–Dan :)

P.S. Remember: If you know of any fans you think might enjoy reading these fun behind-the-scenes facts, please send them this URL: www.DanWarp.com

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

P.P.P.S.  Here's a video that I think you'll find pretty darn funny: CLICK HERE