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Scott Baio to appear at the Kids' Choice Awards; plus three new presenters: EXCLUSIVE

Gregg DeGuire/WireImage

Scott Baio and the rest of the See Dad Run cast will make a special appearance at Nickelodeon’s 26th Annual Kids’ Choice Awards (March 23), EW has learned. Also on the stage that night and serving as presenters will be Ariana Grande, Jennette McCurdy (both from Nick’s upcoming series Sam & Cat) , and Miranda Cosgrove (iCarly), who is nominated for Favorite TV Actress.

“I’m excited to be a part of Nickelodeon’s Kids’ Choice Awards this year.  I’ve had a blast watching the show the last few years with my daughter, Bailey, but this will be the first time I’ll be up close and personal with the ever-elusive green slime,” says Baio.

Read more on Kids Choice Awards:
Kids’ Choice Awards 2013 TV nominees- EXCLUSIVE
Kids’ Choice Awards: 20 Slimed Stars
Josh Duhamel to host Kids’ Choice Awards

'iCarly' series finale draws strong ratings

In its 2009 heyday, Nickelodeon’s iCarly was drawing massive ratings that would have delighted any network — let alone a basic cable channel. (The two-part special “iQuit iCarly” drew nearly 10 million viewers when it first aired, making it one of 2009′s top 30 cable telecasts.)

And while the series’s finale last Friday didn’t exactly break any records, its numbers are very solid: Nick reports that the hour-long episode drew 6.4 million viewers and strong demo numbers, making it November’s top telecast among kids and tweens. All in all, Nickelodeon ended the month as basic cable’s top network with kids 2-11, as well as total viewers. Spaghetti tacos for all!

Read more:
Fans will finally meet Carly’s dad in ‘iCarly’ finale
‘iCarly’: The whole gang gets animated — EXCLUSIVE VIDEO
‘iCarly’ star Jerry Trainor’s EW Pop Culture Personality Test

Fans will finally meet Carly's dad in 'iCarly' finale

Break out the spaghetti tacos — Carly’s dad is coming home.

The end is near, which means it’s time to have some emotional reunions. For the last episode of Nickelodeon show iCarly, Carly’s dad, Colonel Shay, will finally make an appearance.

He’s been stationed overseas for the entire five-season run of the show, and Carly missing her dad is regularly a plot point. When Michelle Obama guest-starred earlier this year, the First Lady talked about military families, and how understandably difficult it can be to be separated.

Happily, a meet-up is in store for the dad/daughter duo. On the final, special hour-long episode of the program, “Spencer (Jerry Trainor) offers to take Carly (Miranda Cosgrove) to the Air Force father-daughter dance when their dad, Colonel Shay, isn’t able to accompany her because of his overseas deployment. When Spencer gets sick and can’t take her, Freddie (Nathan Kress) and Gibby (Noah Munck) try to cheer Carly up by offering to go with her. Colonel Shay surprises everyone when he arrives just in time to take Carly to the dance.”

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'The Wire' on 'iCarly': Catching the references your children miss

As my children have aged, their relationship with media has evolved.  When they were younger they used to enjoy television shows Little Bill, Dora and Backyardigans.  Now they watch shows like Victorious, Ultimate Spider-man and iCarly (SpongeBob, Looney Tunes and Tom and Jerry have remained constants throughout). I try to watch a few episodes of every show they watch so that I understand the narratives contained in their media and can respond accordingly.  Watching their programs taught me something unexpected: the people writing these shows don’t just want to entertain my kids, they also want to reach me.

iCarly provides a perfect example of this.  The episode titled “iSaved Your Life” revolves around a significant development in Carly’s relationship with Freddy.  Why do I know this? Because of The Wire of course.

The episode opens with Sam and Carly discussing an ongoing game of assassin, a variation on paintball.  While Carly has already been eliminated, Sam promises to win the game—which she describes as “serious chizz”—declaring “Spencer gonna get got!”  This language is…unusual…for both the character and the show, and it forced me to pay (slightly more) attention to what was unfolding on the screen.  Sam eliminates the rest of her rivals throughout the episode, and when she corners her last challenger, a character named Gibby, the two of them recreate an iconic scene from season five of the Wire (profanity at that link, plus major Wire spoilage!).

At this point I grabbed the remote from my daughter and rewound the scene so that I could be certain that I indeed saw what I thought I just saw because I love the Wire.  But later I was puzzled.  The Wire is a cult show with a tiny audience. The number of parents watching iCarly with their kids who also watched every episode of the Wire might number in the hundreds. But this, I realized upon reflection, was the point.  There might only be a few hundred people who would make the connection between the two shows, but that group would appreciate deeply the cleverness of the allusion.  This is the same appeal that Chuck Jones made when he devoted an entire episode of Looney Tunes to The Barber of Seville.  The people working on iCarly, like Chuck Jones, wanted credit for their cultural sophistication and made gestures that allowed them to get it.  In fact, attracting parents with cool cultural allusions seems to be the raison d’etre for some children’s shows, Yo Gabba Gabba for example.  Whatever the case, “iSaved Your Life” is my favorite episode of iCarly, and it’s got nothing to do with the fact that Carly and Freddy finally kiss.

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