iCarly exposes Spencer and Harper’s compatibility with its latest app, Word Bang. How does the dating app compare to Ted Lasso’s Bantr?
The following contains spoilers from iCarly Season 2, Episode 10, “iThrow a Flawless Murder Mystery Party,” now streaming on Paramount+.
iCarly introduces new tech advancements and progress with small businesses, like Carly hiring a new manager to help the web show’s progress. In the Season 2 finale, “iThrow a Flawless Murder Mystery Party,” the characters use a dating app called Word Bang and an instant messaging app called Dolphone. While Millicent uses the latter, Spencer and Harper use Word Bang to find new romantic matches. The app doesn’t have photos, encouraging users to communicate only via words. This concept is similar to Bantr, the dating app Keeley Jones fronts in Season 2 of Ted Lasso. However, iCarly already avoids a few of Ted Lasso’s problems with Bantr.
Debuting in 2021, iCarly is the Paramount+ revival of the Nickelodeon series of the same title that aired from 2007 to 2012. The original series followed a younger Carly as she balanced life with her hit web show. She lived with her older brother Spencer, who is also her guardian and a struggling artist. The revival picks up in the present when Carly revives her web show after a break-up. Spencer is now an extremely wealthy artist, and Carly lives with her best friend Harper, an up-and-coming stylist. Harper’s lifestyle juxtaposes Spencer’s since she comes from a wealthy family. When they lost all their money, Harper became a barista at Skybucks.
Harper and Spencer don’t have the best luck with romantic relationships in the revival series. Since the original series, Spencer Shay has been a chronic dater with little to no desire for any long-term commitment. On the other hand, Harper Bettencourt starts Season 2 in a stable relationship with her client and singer, Dutch. Their relationship begins in the Season 1 finale, “iReturn to Webicon,” after a near-death experience with a tree house. But, their relationship doesn’t last because Dutch believes it is for the best for the pair to go their separate ways while Dutch is on tour, rather than maintain a long-distance relationship.
Interestingly, Dutch’s dog Kevin is the inspiration for Freddie’s Kevin app. Coincidentally, Kevin makes his first appearance in the Season 1 episode, “iThrow a Flawless Dinner Party,” which closely resembles the title of the Season 2 finale. Kevin’s therapeutic presence to Dutch inspired Freddie to create an app that matches people with therapy animals. After Spencer fumbles the app’s launch party, Spencer approaches Freddie with the idea of reinventing the Groovy Smoothie into an office space/restaurant combo. This idea falls apart, but Spencer creates a new hangout spot and restaurant, Shay What?!, where he and Harper share a dance.
In the Season 2 episode “iHire a New Assistant,” Carly and Spencer reunite with their grandfather and quickly learn they must pull off a scheme to protect Grandpa Shay because of some stolen coins. Meanwhile, Harper is convinced that she and Freddie are soulmates because of their astrological compatibility, although Freddie is happily dating Pearl, whose birth chart is also a perfect match with Freddie. For some reason, Pearl and Harper agree the only other way to tell if two people are compatible is if they can salsa dance together. Much to her and Freddie’s disappointment, Harper learns she and Freddie are a match that way, too.
However, Spencer also salsa dances with Harper (who also flawlessly salsa dances with another girl) to show off his custom-made slacks. So, according to iCarly‘s strange canon, their dance should mean Harper and Spencer are compatible. But, “iThrow a Flawless Murder Mystery Party” exposes that assumption as a falsehood — for now. By the end of the episode, Harper and Spencer learn they matched with each other on Word Bang, and everything they told each other is a lie. They fake their interests and work-life to find the person they believe to be an ideal match. This interaction either confirms they’re perfect for each other or proves they both have work to do before finding the perfect match — even if it is each other one day.
iCarly doesn’t play it coy that Spencer and Harper are likely messaging each other throughout the episode. Furthermore, their romantic incompatibility perfectly juxtaposes Carly and Freddie’s slow burn that heats up throughout the episode. Unlike Ted Lasso, iCarly doesn’t use Word Bang to create a relationship with an inappropriate power dynamic, as Rebecca Welton finds with Sam Obisanya. Instead, iCarly shows its hand and comments on the miscommunication that can happen on dating apps like Word Bang — or Bantr. iCarly stops the questionable match before it ever gets started. If Spencer and Harper use Word Bang in a possible third season, here’s to hoping they have better luck than Ted Lasso‘s Rebecca did with Bantr.
Seasons 1 and 2 of iCarly on now streaming on Paramount+.
Shelby Elpers spends most of her time writing in-depth pieces about vampires, superheroes, and rom-coms. She is a TV Features Writer at CBR. She is also a Senior Writer at Fangirlish and Weekday News Editor at Tell-Tale TV.
Follow her on Twitter at @shelbbs247