The Ambiguously Absent Parent trope is a quite prevalent one throughout most of “iCarly.” As we mentioned before, Sam’s mother, often absent in her life, doesn’t make an on-screen debut until Season 4. While Spencer and Carly are discussing the financial situation in the Shay household, we note the absence of Carly and Spencer’s father. It’s mentioned at various points throughout the original series that their father, Colonel Shay, is in the Air Force. This is corroborated by a colleague of his, Colonel Roger Morgan, who brings the Shay children gifts from their father in “iRue the Day.”
Colonel Shay, after much speculation, finally makes an onscreen appearance in the series finale “iGoodbye.” It’s important to note just how much the series teased and hyped up the eventual appearance for this character. This is because the presence, even if only through reference, of Papa Shay stands in stark contrast to how little information is given about Carly and Spencer’s mother.
In the original series, the character is never mentioned, not even getting a throwaway joke like Sam’s deadbeat dad does. It wouldn’t be until the year 2021, with the release of the “iCarly” reboot, that Mrs. Shay would receive any acknowledgment. Carly is asked what her parents do for a living, but when asked about her mother, she simply changes the subject. This definitely opens the door for rampant speculation: If there was a simple explanation, Carly probably wouldn’t have avoided the subject. The mystery of Mrs. Shay is a dangling thread that can no longer be ignored.