Jerry Trainor has been television's favorite big brother for the last six seasons on Nickelodeon's iCarly. Now that the series has ended, the actor is ready to launch into a more adult role as the caretaker to his 12-year-old nephew in Nickelodeon's new series Wendell & Vinnie.
SheKnows spoke with the 36-year-old actor, and we have the inside scoop on the cast, his new show and his comedic mentors.
The series stars Trainor as Vinnie, an adult who refuses to grow up as he enjoys days filled with video games and junk food. His whole life is rocked, however, when becomes the guardian of his nephew, Wendell. The boy is the exact opposite of his uncle — conservative and mature. Former MADtv star Nicole Sullivan co-stars as Trainor's wacky sister, and Haley Strode plays the pretty neighbor whom Vinnie crushes over.
The premise of the show is a great throwback to the sitcoms of the 1980s, and that fact is certainly not lost on the former iCarly star, who told us, "This [show] is aimed at a more grown-up audience, but kids are welcome... like back in the '80s. We are bringing that back."
The show came about just as he was at the tail end of the last iCarly season. In fact, there was only a week's separation between the two projects.
When asked if he felt like going from Nickelodeon's iCarly to his own series was like graduation day, Trainor revealed, "It does feel like a graduation. We're in college now!"
After years in a supporting role, the comedian realizes his new show brings new responsibilities. He told SheKnows, "There's a lot more pressure. I don't know if I was prepared for it actually. There's a pressure being the main character."
However, Trainor seems to be taking it all in stride, and he enjoys continuing his streak of working with kids after stints on his previous show as well as Drake & Josh.
He joked, "It's my thing!"
Yet, Trainor gives a mighty big compliment to all of the child actors he's worked with over the years: "I've learned that they're smart, they get it. They get [the joke.] Buddy (Wendell) gets the humor on a nuanced level of an adult. That's a good lesson."
Working with the other adult actors has also been a great experience for the sitcom star. He says that when they all came together, "It was magic."
He raved about the comedic talents of Sullivan while revealing that Strode is "pure light" on set. Audiences can also expect a lot of Daisy Dukes and espadrilles from Strode's country-bumpkin character in the near future.
Trainor's longtime fans can anticipate seeing some of the incredible physical comedy he displayed in the past. Trainor shared, "I used to watch The Dick Van Dyke Show and Three's Company. John Ritter and Dick Van Dyke falling over is funny. I love doing that kind of physical humor, and we definitely try to exploit it here."
The show is premiering on Saturday, Feb. 16, and it will the second original series for the network. Nickelodeon's first original series is See Dad Run starring Scott Baio.
When asked if he has had a Chachi encounter yet, he replied, "No, but Charles in Charge was one of my favorite shows as a kid." He enthusiastically sang the Charles in Charge theme song to this reporter to end our interview.
With enthusiasm like that, Wendell & Vinnie is sure to be a hit.
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