iCarly star Laci Mosley on Harper’s queerness in season 3 and making ‘big gay storylines’

Laci Mosley turned iCarly queer with her pansexual character, Harper. (Giselle Hernandez/Paramount+)

iCarly star Laci Mosley chats with PinkNews about queer representation in iCarly, Harper’s relationship in season 3, and the show’s potential for “big gay storylines”.

When it was revealed in early 2021 that iCarly, the kooky, late-noughties teen sitcom starring Miranda Cosgrove, would be getting a queer lead character as part of a Paramount+ reboot, fans went wild.

It wasn’t newer, Gen Z fans who were pleased to see inclusivity at the core of the iCarly revival, though. The millennial adults who watched the show through its original run on Nickelodeon between 2007 and 2012 were the ones losing their minds.

“Some people have messaged me where they’re basically saying that they enjoyed iCarly the original, and didn’t realise how much it meant to have a queer character on the reboot,” says Mosley, who plays pansexual character Harper.

“People have said that that was like a cherry on top, like they already loved iCarly, then we made it like a little gay, and they were like ‘Yes’.”

Harper is Carly Shay’s roommate and best friend – a lead character – meaning the show never skirts around her sexuality. It’s there, front and centre.

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While the majority of the series focuses on Shay and her iCarly web show, her relationship with her eccentric brother Spencer (Jerry Trainor) and the will-they-won’t-they chemistry she has with neighbour Freddie Benson (Nathan Kress), Harper still gets her fair share of screen time. 

During season one, social media erupted when fans watched as Harper, a budding fashion stylist, kissed famous pop singer Double Dutch (Poppy Liu) after being hired to work with her.

‘I like to see television shows that reflect what’s actually happening in the world and who actually exists’

Seeing two queer, non-white characters kiss on a show aimed at young adults felt radical, particularly for those who grew up during the era of the original series, when there was almost no queer visibility on TV.

“It was a huge moment,” reflects Mosley. Her social media notifications were filled with kiss cam videos of Harper and Double Dutch, and an abundance of memes. As a bisexual woman herself, the Texas-born actor knows why the scene got the reaction it did.

“Obviously, representation matters. I feel that phrase gets overused and saturated, and it feels like it’s lost a bit of its weight. When I say representation matters, I mean that I like to see television shows that reflect what’s actually happening in the world and who actually exists,” she says.

“If you don’t ever see people who look like you, if you don’t see sapphic relationships, then you start to think the way you are, and the way you feel, is abnormal, weird and not of this world.”

iCarly viewers are seeing sapphic relationships, that’s for certain.

Alongside her tender kiss with Double Dutch, the beginning of series three, which drops on Thursday (1 June), teases another queer relationship for Harper. This time, it’s with her former school bully and rich girl Tinsley, played by Patty Guggenheim.

Mosley can’t say a lot about it, other than it’s a “fun ride” for the character.

Up to now, viewers have also heard Harper discuss former relationships with men, women and “gorgeous non-binary lawyers”.  

‘There’s something to be said about just being who you are, and having a good time, and not having to come out’

When TV executives begrudgingly began to accept the demand for LGBTQ+ representation during the 2010s, their efforts were often clumsy and misguided.

Queer characters were forced to endure traumatic storylines that so often focused on the pain of coming out, or the violence they faced once they had.

But this is iCarly, a show that made its name with skits about spaghetti tacos, and a segment entitled “Random Dancing”. Harper was never going to be painted as the tragic queer.

Comedian, podcast host and actress Laci Mosley plays Harper in the iCarly reboot. Here she wears a a blue jean jacket as she sits in a green chair in an exposed brick wall room.
Laci Mosley turned iCarly queer with her pansexual character, Harper. (Giselle Hernandez/Paramount+)

“Those stories have so much weight and so much validity as well, and need to be told,” Mosley says. “But there’s something to be said about just being who you are, and having a good time, and not having to come out. Nobody’s crying.”

When crafting the character of Harper, specific effort was made to ensure she wasn’t consumed by her sexuality, either.

“One thing I love that the writers have done really well is make Harper’s character care about things that aren’t just romance,” Mosley says.

She has a job (as a barista, which she later quits), a dream (to become a stylist), and a meaty background to dig into (she’s from a rich family who eventually lost their fortune). 

Plus, there are other ways to give TV shows a fruity side, without resorting to stereotypes and hollow relationships. In season two of the reboot, fans were treated to an episode crammed full of RuPaul’s Drag Race queen cameos, including Kandy Muse, Monique Heart, Rosé and Scarlet Envy.

Mosley, who once said that RuPaul inspired her approach to acting, is keen for round two – featuring her favourite queens, Anetra, Trixie Mattel and Bob The Drag Queen.

“It was fun working with the girls. One of my dreams is to be able to guest host on RuPaul’s Drag Race,” she says.

Mosley’s star is rising. Her comedy podcast Scam Goddess is an award winner, while she’s currently enjoying main roles on sitcoms A Black Lady Sketch Show and Lopez vs Lopez. A Drag Race judging stint would be a breeze.

Looking beyond iCarly’s third season, Mosley is keen for the show to get even queerer. Perhaps Carly and Harper could rock up at a drag brunch, or take themselves to a Pride march in Seattle, where the show is based.

“Pride brings about a lot of fun ways to put Carly in interesting situations where she’s surrounded by thousands of people who are just having the time of their life,” Mosley muses.

“It would be fun to think that maybe, hopefully in the future if we have another season, we might see some big gay storylines.”

iCarly season three premieres on Paramount+ in the US on 1 June and in the UK the following day.

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