“This Phony, Bizarre Sphere”: Jennette McCurdy’s Shocking Final Days at Nickelodeon
One of Nickelodeon’s brightest stars in the 2010s was Jennette McCurdy, who played the petulant prankster Sam Puckett for six seasons on iCarly before coleading Sam & Cat, a spin-off costarring Ariana Grande that lasted just a single season. In her debut memoir, I’m Glad My Mom Died—out August 9—McCurdy strips away the candy-coated facade of her sitcom experiences, which were often dictated by an allegedly abusive boss she refers to only as “The Creator,” getting candid about her eating disorder, and her difficult relationship with her mother.
In this excerpt from her memoir, McCurdy details the inappropriate behavior she claims “The Creator” exhibited, including pressuring her to drink while underage; massaging her at work; and being offered $300,000 by Nickelodeon to keep it all quiet. (Vanity Fair has reached out to the network for comment.)
“Come on, take a sip.”
“I’ve never had alcohol before. And I’m only eighteen. Couldn’t I get in trouble?”
“No one’s looking, Jennetter. You’re fine.”
“The Victorious kids get drunk together all the time. The iCarly kids are so wholesome. We need to give you guys a little edge.”
The Creator always compares us iCarly kids to the kids on his other hit show, Victorious. I think he thinks it’ll make us try harder.
“I don’t know if drinking is what gives a person edge.”
I look at The Creator’s drink. He picks it up and sloshes it around.
It’s some sort of whiskey mixed with coffee and cream. I do like coffee. “One sip.”
The Creator hands me his glass and I take a sip. I hate it.
“Don’t lie to me. I don’t like when you lie to me.”
“I hate it.”
“That’s better, Jennetter.”
The Creator laughs. I’ve done well. I’ve pleased him. Mission accomplished. It’s the same mission I have every time I get dinner with him, which has gotten more and more frequent lately as my new contract for the spin-off he promised me is being worked out. The Creator is doing the thing that I’ve heard from my co-stars he does with every new star of a show that he’s making—he takes you under his wing. You’re his favorite. For now. I like being his favorite for now. I feel like I’m doing something right.
“So are you excited to have your own show?” The Creator asks.
“Sure? That’s it?”
“No, of course I’m excited. I’m so excited.”
“Good. ’Cuz I could give a new show to anyone, you know. But I didn’t choose anyone. I chose you.”
“Don’t thank me, I chose you because you’re talented.”
I’m confused. He just said he could choose anyone, which made me feel not special and now he’s saying he chose me because I’m talented, which makes me feel special again. This kind of confusion is normal around him. I take a sip of water while I try and figure out what to say next. Luckily, I don’t have to.
“How’d you like the steak?”
“It was good.”
It was terrible, actually. Well, great and terrible. Great in terms of flavor, terrible in terms of how much I’m gonna be fixating on it for the rest of the night. I ate too much of it, and too many roasted potatoes, and too many brussels sprouts, and a roll, and glazed carrots. I couldn’t stop myself. I ate everything. I feel so full. I’m disgusted with myself.