Nickelodeon invites fans to a party with Carly and Tori


In its first crossover special, Nickelodeon pairs its two top human stars -- this is SpongeBob's channel, after all -- in "iParty With Victorious" Saturday, June 11.

The cable channel describes this as an event, which in many ways it is.

"The way the movie starts off, it looks like an 'iCarly' episode," says Dan Schneider, creator, executive producer and writer.

In the film, the two teen stars, Miranda Cosgrove as Carly and Victoria Justice as Tori, are double-crossed by a high-school lothario. Fans of these shows know that Carly lives in Seattle and Tori in Los Angeles, but that geographical problem is logically solved.

Steven (Cameron Stewart) surprises Carly at school and gives her a "one-of-a-kind" charm bracelet, then has to catch a plane. His parents are divorced, so Steven divides his time between Seattle and Los Angeles. Steven is handsome and affable; even Carly's friends Sam and Freddie (Jennette McCurdy, Nathan Kress) like him.

Soon we see Steven with Tori, arm draped around her. Tori's buddy, Robbie (Matthew Bennett), snaps their photo, which automatically uploads to Slap, Hollywood Arts School's Web page.

Naturally Carly will find out but refuses to jump to conclusions. Her pals and wacky brother, Spencer (Jerry Trainor), will support her. As usual, Carly's sweet demeanor guides the unpleasant matter to a sane conclusion.

"When a situation like that happens, it is important for girls to stick together," Justice says.

Without spoiling it, the girls do stick together, and without being tediously moralistic, the film reinforces that doing the right thing is the way to go.

"I have found some of the most successful stories I do (are) when characters work together to achieve a certain goal. When Drake and Josh come together, people love to see them vanquish a common enemy," Schneider says, referring to another of his hits, "Drake & Josh." "I have noticed the same thing on 'Victorious.' They love it when the group comes together.

"Here you have stars of 'iCarly' and 'Victorious' and find out they both have the same boyfriend," he continues. "They are deep enough and smart enough in this movie to know neither of them did anything wrong. And it is really nice to see them team up and bring about his downfall."

By all accounts, this was fun for the stars to make.

"I have known Victoria for a long time," Cosgrove says. "I was on 'Zoey 101' before the pilot of 'iCarly.' I met her when I was 13. And I love everybody on her show and worked with everybody. I had a really good time."

"It was really cool to have both casts," Justice says. "We're all working on Dan Schneider shows. We all love comedies. There was a really fun energy of having everyone get together to sing a mash-up of my theme song and Miranda's theme song."

The plot manages to touch on many issues pertinent to teens -- children of divorce, dating, cheating and the importance of true friendships.

"I don't write down to kids," Schneider says. "I like to keep it smart. Sometimes I will pitch a joke in the room. If I were doing 'Friends' or 'Big Bang Theory,' I would put that joke in, in a second. I can't put it in. It will go over 98 percent of our kids' heads. And I put in some stuff for the little kids, too. The main target is 6 to 14. That's the sweet spot for me."

There are a couple of insider jokes, such as when Carly says that Tori looks like that girl, Shelby Marx, whom Justice had played on "iCarly."

Parts of the plot may sound incredulous -- teenagers getting the run of a mansion for a party and a special effects makeup person giving the "iCarly" gang new faces -- but both are logical within the story. Andre (Leon Thomas III) has an uncle who is a real estate agent who sells a house to Kenan Thompson (who plays himself in a fun role). The part that makes this a comedy, with the hint of fantasy needed to attract teenagers, is that a real estate agent would give teenagers run of a mansion for a party.

Their temporary new faces are courtesy of Spencer's ex-girlfriend, a special effects makeup artist. A man running around in a panda costume with a tennis racket to whack people on their behinds is one of those jokes Schneider throws in for little kids, but anyone who appreciates the ridiculous will get a kick out of it.

Combine the casts of the channel's two top live-action shows, an adventure and a song, and it's pretty much the perfect entertainment for the Nick audience.

Cosgrove, who has been touring, sings with the cast and with Justice.

"I love getting to perform," she says. "I'm normally on tour (during) hiatus. It's fun seeing Jerry getting to sing. He actually has a good voice."

"I just hope people have fun while they were watching," Cosgrove says. "We had a lot of fun on the set; we did a lot of fun improv they left in. You can kind of tell."

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