’iCarly’ Is Back But Where’s Sam? Why Jennette McCurdy Has Quit Acting

by 24USATVJune 3, 2021, 7 a.m. 23
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We’re a couple weeks out from Nickelodeon show iCarly‘s big revival over Paramount+. We’ve got a trailer, and the majority of the cast is back and ready to provide some laughs to Millennials in dire need of them. However, one key component of the show is noticeably missing, leaving fans asking, “where’s Sam?” Turns out, Jennette McCurdy’s absence from the show is not entirely personal — she’s just given up acting completely.

Back in February, Jennette McCurdy explained on an episode of her podcast Empty Inside that she no longer has any desire to be in front of the camera — and never really did. Around the thirty-minute mark of the episode “fish out of water,” which also features guest Anna Faris, McCurdy confirmed she has quit acting to pursue a career in writing and directing, and “it’s going great.” She also explained that she actually was never very interested in being acting, but pressure to financially support her family locked her into it.

“I initially didn’t want to do it,” she explained. “My mom put me in it when I was six and by age 10 or 11, I was the main financial support for my family. It was very much the pressure of my family didn’t have a lot of money and this was kind of the way out. Which I actually think was helpful in driving me to some degree of success because I don’t think I would have been as ambitious if I didn’t know that it was further for my family. I had to f**king do good and hit my mark and nail my thing. But always always always acting was difficult for me in the sense of the anxiety aspect.”

Once McCurdy’s mother passed away, McCurdy said she formally began to back away from acting, as “with [my mother’s] death kind of died a lot of her ideas for my life, and that was its own journey and a difficult one for sure.” Later on in the podcast, McCurdy told Faris she also believes acting was “detrimental” to her childhood. While she never mentioned iCarly in particular, the former actress said she is “ashamed of the parts she’s done in the past,” “resents her career in a lot of ways,” and felt ostracized by her peers. In addition, she said taking on the role of another person prohibited her from feeling like one herself.

“I kind of had my own emotions on the back burner as a kid. I think it was really detrimental to my own emotional well-being because this character’s emotions were the priority and also I was always playing the sad, crying kid kind of thing,” she said. “It’d be like, I want to know what I’m actually feeling but I guess I’m a child prostitute this week so I guess I’m sad.”

In addition to internal struggles, it’s no secret McCurdy was also involved in a handful of “scandals” while acting, the most notable one being with Ariana Grande back in 2014 which ultimately led to their show, Sam & Cat, being canceled. While she has still appeared in a handful of short films, since 2014 she has been writing and directing short films and television episodes.

However, while McCurdy might not be making an appearance in the reboot of the 2007 teen sitcom iCarly, the rest of the main cast has returned for what is essentially the show’s seventh season. The thirteen-episode series debuts June 17, and stars Miranda Cosgrove (Carly), Nathan Kress (Freddie), Jerry Trainor (Spencer), and newcomer Laci Mosley (Harper), who has already received a whole lot of hate for “replacing” Sam on the show, despite the cast reassuring fans that was not the case. Here’s hoping the reboot is considerably less traumatic than the situations surrounding it and its cast.

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