Even though Carly, Freddie and Sam are all more intelligent than both Spencer and the show's traditional idiot Gibby (with the former two even being straight A-students in their high schools), the iCarly trio often start huge messes or disasters for themselves that could have been very easily preventable - often leading to Failure Is the Only Option. Spencer's stupidity greatly puts himself and Carly in danger not just because he's the "adult" of their residence but because he also sets a lot of stuff on fire.
- Carly and Sam are best friends. Sam is semi-civil to her and awful to Carly's neighbor and classmate Freddie Benson. In fact, Sam is so awful that in an alternative timeline where Spencer became a lawyer instead of an artist, she ended up in juvie without Carly's relatively calming influence.
You'd Expect: Carly to have told Sam to cool it, seriously; it's not like Freddie actually does anything to instigate her many thoughtless pranks and physical attacks.
Instead: Carly halfheartedly tries to tell Sam to cool it once in a while, but pretty much accepts that this is the status quo. After Sam dates Freddie briefly, she takes out her aggression on Gibby instead, who makes it clear that he is not a pushover and will fight dirty to avoid getting assaulted.
The Result: Sam gets away with a lot of terrible misdemeanors, including sabotaging Freddie's entry to a science summer camp because he annoyed her once and sabotaging the one time he had a relationship with Carly. Freddie also when they date argues a lot with her because Sam is an abrasive, terrible person if a loyal friend, and breaks up with her when they realize they are mutually incompatible.
- Freddie in the meantime has his crush on Carly, of which he's very open. Carly has made it clear she's not interested, and only dated him once when he got injured saving her life and in the series finale when the trio separate their ways. She will use his crush as leverage to get what she wants and won't defend him from Sam.
You'd Expect: Freddie to have moved on at some point, permanently. Later on in the series, he gains more popularity at school and iCarly fans will mob him. Also, once again, Carly is not interested and is upfront about using him.
Instead: Every time Freddie goes on a date with another girl, or attempts to move on, the girl is terrible or incompatible and he goes back to crushing on Carly. He also ends up miserable every time Carly dates someone else or considers a serious relationship with another guy. Ms. Benson despite her My Beloved Smother tendencies accurately points out at one point that Carly is a terrible crush if a good friend and accurately judges Sam the same way.
- In iWanna Stay with Spencer, Spencer and Grandpa wage a custody battle over who gets to look after Carly due to the hammer wheel incident. Carly, siding with Spencer, decides to get a rebellious teen look by completely changing her appearance.
You'd Expect: For Carly to give notice to Spencer of this and tell him to fake disapproval of it.
Instead: Carly just assumes Spencer won't like it regardless, and Spencer turns out to love it, praising it as an improvement in front of Grandpa, making the custody battle worse.
Then: Spencer's stir-fry chicken catches on fire.
You'd Expect: For Spencer to hurry in pouring in a bucket of water OR the pull-up sprayer in his kitchen sink and douse it out.
Instead: He grabs a broom and starts beating the fire with it thinking it'll take out the fire. He only makes the fire get worse and burns a perfectly good broom.
- In iScream on Halloween, Spencer after angering a bunch of kids by giving them random things that aren't candy gets forced to hide. He chooses the giant pumpkin that he's been carving. Lewbert shortly lets the kids into his room since he hates loud children and they promise they'll be quiet once Lewbert lets them beat Spencer up. While the kids are looking and have no clue where he is, Spencer's phone rings because his friend Socko is calling him.
You'd Expect: For Spencer to drop the call and turn off his phone. Or better yet, why didn't he empty the phone out of his pockets before entering the pumpkin?
Instead: Spencer answers his phone and tells Socko he can't talk right now. The kids eventually pick him up in the giant pumpkin then roll him down onto the street where he collides with a moving car.
Bonus Idiot Points: Even if Spencer forgot to buy candy, he could have avoided getting a beating from those mean kids if he didn't keep opening the door and give them useless items like an empty carton of eggs, a pouch of tuna fish, a package of macaroni and jumper cables because that's just insulting/aggravating them.
- In iSpy a Mean Teacher, Freddie so excited over a surveillance camera that is shaped like a pie but the problem is.... the giant camera lens is huge and makes it obvious to see on the side.
You'd Expect: That Freddie who is usually very smart when it comes to tech to notice the giant lens.
Instead: He wastes good money on it, and the main cast for the rest of the episode laugh at him for being the only person gullible enough to believe the spy pie would work.
- "iDon't Want to Fight":
- Carly makes a special iCarly T-shirt for Sam to wear, and claims she spent 2 weeks making it.
You'd Expect: Carly to realize that Sam won't hesitate to sell out anything for personal gain, or have back-up copies of the shirt made just in case.
Instead: She just believes Sam will "use" the shirt wisely - but on the first day Sam gets the shirt she trades it away for concert tickets to Ripoff Rodney. After this, Sam can see that Carly is upset. Sam tries to explain later that she got the concert tickets for both of them. Carly's still upset over the loss of the shirt and so they have a big fight over it.
- Later in the episode, as Sam and Carly are at odds with one another, Freddie devises a scheme on their web show to try and fix the issue — have them tell why they're upset at one another, each getting a turn, and asking the audience who they side with. His rules are quite straightforward — have Sam tell her side of the story, then have Carly tell hers, and yank their ponytails if they interrupt one another. Carly tells her side and he follows these rules just fine. Then Sam tells her side.
You'd Expect: That Freddie would continue to follow these rules. He already made them go through the trouble of putting their hair into ponytails, and made his rules quite clear at the beginning, and has been following them up to this point. Plus, Sam is very aggressive and he risks escalating the situation if he does anything wrong.
Instead: When Carly interrupts Sam during her story, Freddie decides not to yank Carly's ponytail, under the flimsy justification that he likes her. That may be true, but he should know better than to kick a hornet's nest like that.
The Result: Sam understandably is enraged over this, especially considering she just had to put up with getting her ponytail yanked several times, and shoves Freddie to the side to take matters into her own hands. The two end up at each other's throats yanking each other's ponytails, destroying the entire intention that Freddie had.
Furthermore: You'd expect Freddie to have kept the ropes out of the girls' reach in case they tried to take matters into their own hands. But no, they're right in front of them.
- Carly makes a special iCarly T-shirt for Sam to wear, and claims she spent 2 weeks making it.
- "iPie": The gang finds out that a beloved piemaker, Mr. Gallinni, is in the hospital. It ends up being so serious that the pie shop is in danger of closing down, due to only Gallinni knowing his recipe for coconut cream pie.
You'd Expect: Gallini to have told his second-in-command at least.
Instead: Gallini only tells Trudy, his closest relative, that the recipes are in his computer. It turns out it's Not Hyperbole; they were literally stored within his computer monitor.
The Result: When Gallini dies, the pie shop nearly closes down due to Trudy failing to find the recipes. It's only by the gang's sheer selfishness of attending Gallini's wake so as to search the computer that the recipes are found, and the shop is saved.
- In the episode, iGive Away A Car, the trio is contacted by a boy who tells them their father, who owns a car dealership, wants to give away a car on their show, and sets the competition to be the first person who solves a certain riddle.
You'd expect: Carly, Sam and Freddie to go see the father, call him, and find evidence that proves that this father exists, that he has a car, is willing to give it away and to come up with a better competition than a riddle.
Instead: They don't bother verifying the prize, and proceed to give away the car on the show. Nevel, their Sitcom Arch-Nemesis has set the whole thing up and due to a certain law, they risk losing their webshow. They eventually check with the owner of the car dealership, who doesn't even have a son.
- In iReunite with Missy, Missy keeps deliberately messing with Sam to keep her out of the picture so that she can have Carly all to herself. Her deliberate work to keep Sam separated from Carly are blatantly obvious and very poorly disguised as "innocent mistakes".
You'd Expect: Carly to catch on and find out that Missy is hurting Sam on purpose.
Instead: She keeps believing that Missy really is just clumsy and only hurting Sam by mistake.
Bonus Idiot Points: After Missy gave Sam "fancy" Persian chocolate that expired back in 1992 that gives Sam food poisoning, she still tries to eat it anyways cause it still tastes wonderful.
- In iTwins, Sam is annoyed when her feminine lookalike sister Melanie visits for a while. Freddie however, assumes Melanie is just Sam in disguise and spends the whole episode believing such.
You'd expect: Sam to come show herself and Melanie together in-person in front of Freddie.
Instead: She never does so, and it isn't until the final scene that Freddie leaves and we actually see the two sisters onscreen together. Every time Melanie comes on-screen, Sam walks off just to get away from her and only confuses Freddie and aggravates him even further.
- In the Tv Movie, iFight Shelby Marx, Carly reluctantly agrees to an exhibition fight against a world famous female boxer named Shelby Marx for charity and publicity for both girls (also, Shelby will just pretend to hurt her with realistic looking moves). During a press conference for the fight, Sam advices Carly to "trash talk", something that is usually done in press conferences to get people rallied up.
You'd Expect: Carly to give Shelby a heads up about this before the conference so that she does not take it the wrong way in case she does not realize their intent.
Instead: She never does, and Shelby quickly gets offended by Carly's remarks. And then when Sam gets involved, Shelby snaps and starts a big ruckus resulting in Carly being pushed into Shelby's sickly grandmother who is attending in way that looks very much like she is tackling her, resulting Shelby vowing not to hold back on Carly at the conference. The only reason that Carly survives the bout without a scratch is because she clings to Shelby's knees and screaming for dear life.
- In iThink They Kissed, Spencer gets a job at a prison teaching prisoners on sculpting and a few of them try to take advantage of this to break out of prison. In the end they carve a giant pair of pants, which they hide in as Spencer brings the giant pants back to the apartment. When Carly, Sam & Freddie discover them, Freddie says they will have to call the police and one of the prisoners asks for some duct tape.
You'd expect: That the kids would refuse to tell them about the duct tape and go through with their threat of calling the police.
Instead: Carly actually tells them where the duct tape is and the prisoners tape the group together on the couch and make their escape! Even Freddie and Sam are left dumbfounded by why Carly would choose to do that. When Freddie calls Carly for being so stupid, Carly rationalizes her mistake that she was just trying to be helpful and instead blames Freddie that it's his fault for telling the prisoners now they have to call the police.
Bonus idiot points: Spencer doesn't even bother to notice the iCarly trio needs his help getting out of being duct taped to the chairs as he's too occupied with getting his banjo to play for a pretty girl he spotted at a bakery.
MORE idiot points: The iCarly trio just stay quiet and don't even mention the escaped prisoners to Spencer!
- In iCook, the iCarly trio enter a cook-off against Ricky Flame to see who can make the better spaghetti tacos. Sam turns out to have gotten her finger cut/burnt/bruised in some way and has to put a bandage on it.
You'd Expect: That Sam take off her bandage while preparing the tacos which she needs to touch. Or better yet, refrain from even cooking the tacos since used bandages aren't clean.
Instead: She carelessly forgets about it and it ends up on the iCarly's spaghetti tacos plate right when the plate has already been given to the judges. Carly finds it, picks it up and asks what it is. Sam admits it's her band-aid, leaving the judges disgusted.
Bonus idiot points: In an earlier episode, "iSaw Him First", Carly and Freddie claim that Sam never sanitizes her hands, not even when she cooks. So why did they even let her help make the tacos?
- In the two part special, "iPsycho", the trio has been held hostage in a small sound booth with nothing to do, except eat Chinese food at the time. While Nora goes upstairs to get some props to show them, Sam has been gnawing on a duck bone, and she manages to use the sharpened end to unlock the door. So they run out, and...
You'd expect: That Carly, Sam and Freddie would hide in the small room that their bags are in. Or grab their phones, or do SOMETHING.
Instead: Upon seeing Nora with her evil mask and real axe, they scream in horror and run back into the sound booth, only to have her immediately lock it again. Despite that, she claims to be unable to stay mad at them.
- iBeat the Heat: The power goes out during a heat wave in Seattle, and the iCarly room is the only one to have power as well as air conditioning because Spencer had a back-up portable battery.
You'd Expect: For the iCarly gang plus Spencer to not open the doors for anyone no matter who it is, except for Lewbert who is legally allowed to enter any residents' room and check up on them. Lewbert of course blackmails them to let him stay in the cool air so that he won't confiscate their back-up power source.
Instead: Carly and Spencer keep opening the doors for everyone just to tell them to go away! If they wanted the annoying air conditioning freeloaders not to enter the room, why not just keep the door closed and leave it alone?!
Bonus idiot points: Carly, thinking that people will do anything you tell them to do, opens the door and tells them to leave only to let 6 more people in.
- iSell Penny Tees: Carly and Freddie take in some 4th graders to make Penny-Tees (T-shirts that have comedic sayings on them) to raise money.
You'd Expect: Even if Carly and Freddie were to treat their child employees to some mochi ice cream and blue tea, that they wait until the kids finish their jobs to pay them.
Instead: Carly and Freddie pre-pay them for the whole month on the same day they hire them, and the kids happily quit without doing any work having spent the whole day just playing.
Results: It gets worse from there, the kids then start their own business of selling funny one-liner T-shirts to people without even crediting Carly for the idea. Though the iCarly trio realize that suing the kids would be a stupid idea because the idea of one-liner T-shirts doesn't sound very original and deserving of a copyright (literally thousands of people sell T-shirts with funny words on them).
- At the end of iStart a Fan War, the iCarly trio is able to calm their warring fans down and end their civil war by telling them Freddie is dating neither Carly or Sam, and that their web show has nothing to do with romantic relationships. Carly then notices she is starting to warm up to Adam again, who lost interest in her when he suspected because of the Creddie shippers that he and Freddie are in love.
You'd Expect: For Carly not to mention anything about love or romance in her speech and just end the web panel from there so as to carefully end the fan war.
Instead: She unnecessarily tells the whole audience on the microphone that she rather wants to date Adam than Freddie, therefore re-igniting the fan war with the Creddie shippers brutally pulverizing Adam as payback for "stealing" Carly away from Freddie. Carly can only watch in guilt.
- iCan't Take It: Due to a number of events, Sam and Freddie start dating. Sam stops abusing Freddie but transfers the abuse to Gibby, who angrily tells Freddie's mother. Mrs. Benson is naturally angry and concerned because Sam is a terrible person and she's worried that Sam will ruin Freddie's life. From the viewer's perspective, she has a point especially when an equally angry Carly confesses to Gibby and Mrs. Benson that Sam sabotaged Freddie's application to a high profile science camp for a petty reason.
You'd Expect: She would sit down with Freddie and give him The Talk as well as ask him, And Then What? Because is he really going to move on from the number of times that Sam has punched, bullied, and humiliated him to treat her seriously? Even if Freddie is forgiving, Sam has done terrible things to him. A relationship requires love and respect; neither Sam nor Freddie respect each other because of their history. Has Sam proven that she can be a mature partner in a relationship? So far the answer is no; Sam and Freddie spend most of their time fighting when they're together and tried to force Carly to be their relationship councilor until she gives them both a "The Reason You Suck" Speech. In addition Freddie is letting his relationship with Sam affect his iCarly work. By the end of the arc, they break up anyway because of all their problems. Mrs. Benson could have made more headway with Freddie if she had pointed out all these problems.
Instead: She tries to bribe Freddie into breaking up with Sam. And she gets angry and starts shouting at Freddie about Sam is a bad influence.
The Result: Her Tough Love backfires; Freddie tells his mother that he's not going to break up with Sam to make Mrs. Benson happy or for a bribe. And keeps seeing Sam behind Mrs. Benson's back, which is the exact opposite of what she wanted.
- iToe Fat Cakes: Carly, who has her toe stuck in the faucet, has managed to make a rope to pull a chair that holds her phone, and some more clothes, on it. She pulls the chair over to her and grabs the phone.
You'd expect: That Carly would hold her phone above the clothes while texting, to keep it from falling into the water and breaking.
Instead: She holds it above the water, and with her fingers slippery from the soap, she drops it into the water, leaving her unable to use it.
- iPear Store: When Spencer gets forced to do payless work for the fire department as penalty for forcing them to come clean up his fires 18 times, on Day 1 he is tasked with making them chili, but when he tries to take the pot with a cloth, he sets it on fire by carelessly letting the cloth slip into the stove fire.
You'd expect: That Spencer would use the sink right next to him and put out the fire on the cloth with water.
Instead: He keeps flailing it and puts it next to some kitchen accessories, causing the alarm to go off. Thanks to him having sabotaged the door locks by accidentally doing something that made them immovable and by having put all the fire extinguishers outside, he and the firefighters end up locked in. The place ends up on fire, and the fire department indefinitely suspend services to Carly and Spencer.