Reboot of ‘iCarly’ gets Valley flavor
Youngstown native gets regular role on Paramount series
“I was so excited. You work for this your entire life.”
In Jaidyn Triplett’s case, her “entire life” is 10 years, but the Youngstown native has a good reason to be excited. She’s a series regular on the new reboot of “iCarly” on the Paramount+ streaming service.
Neither Jaidyn, nor the rest of her family, are strangers to the camera. She’s had guest spots on such series as “Blackish,” “The Affair,” “Station 19” and “Family Reunion.” Her father, Joshua Triplett, has a recurring role on the CBS series “The Neighborhood” and has appeared in more than 150 commercials. Jaidyn’s mother, Nory, and younger sister, Jordyn, also have appeared in several commercials.
Some of those national spots included all four Tripletts. Combined, the family has more than 200 commercial credits, and the family shares its exploits in YouTube videos posted by the Triplett Family Network (triplettfamilynetwork.com).
But being a series regular gets an actor’s name in the opening credits and their face in cast photos on Hollywood Boulevard and Times Square billboards.
“It’s everything I dreamed of,” she said.
The original “iCarly” series aired on Nickelodeon from 2007 to 2012 and followed the adventures of Carly Shay, a girl who hosted her own web show. The new version revisits Carly (Miranda Cosgrove), her older brother Spencer (Jerry Trainor) and her friend Freddie (Nathan Kress) a decade later and adds new characters. Jaidyn plays Freddie’s adopted daughter, Millicent.
By coincidence, Jaidyn just had started watching the original show on Netflix when she was notified about auditions.
Getting cast was a multi-step process.
“I did the audition and felt really good about it,” she said. “I got some good vibes from the director session and producer sessions I did.”
Her father said he’s drawn upon his own experiences to help steer Jaidyn’s career. After graduating in 2005 from Rayen High School in Youngstown, he studied at The American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York, where he did theater and national tours. Jaidyn was born in Youngstown, but the family moved to southern California when she was about 2 so her father could pursue acting opportunities.
“I’ve been doing this pretty much my whole life,” he said. “I already did the ground work. I knew the dos and don’ts, what’s the right representation, what are the right roles. Sometimes things come across for kids that are inappropriate. Do I want my kid saying a bad word? No, I didn’t.”
Being a series regular is a full-time job. The cast spends about a week on each episode, and Jaidyn also has to do schoolwork around the rehearsal and shooting schedule. While Triplett is proud of his daughter’s acting success, he also boasted that she tests three grade levels above her age academically.
Jaidyn’s character on “iCarly” is precocious and social media savvy, but some of the more recent episodes (a new one debuts each Thursday) peel back that tough exterior, such as episode 8, “I Love Gwen,” where Millicent stars in a school production of “Romeo & Juliet.”
“It’s pretty much revolving around why I have this hard shell around me,” Jaidyn said. “My parents are divorced, my biological dad died when I was younger. You see what I am going through and see a sweeter side of me.”
That may sound heavy, but anyone familiar with the original “iCarly” or the new incarnation knows the emphasis is on comedy, and that light tone carries over on the set.
“Everyone is so creative and fun,” she said. “Jerry Trainor is hilarious.”
Jaidyn will get to keep enjoying that fun. The current 13-episode season concludes Aug. 26, but the cast already has been informed that the show is being picked up for a second season
“I’m definitely planning to continue acting,” Jaidyn said. “Because of this show, I’ve grown more, I know what TV shows are like and what sitcoms are like, and I love it.”