For fans of the popular Nickelodeon TV show "Drake & Josh" who packed the streets outside L.A.'s Landmark Theater to catch a glimpse of their favorite stars, the prospect of a new holiday special from the young comedy duo must have felt like finding one last gift under the Christmas tree.
Actually, forget the fans. That's how the stars themselves felt.
"It was a great gift to come back," Josh Peck told MTV News at the premiere of "Merry Christmas, Drake & Josh," a TV special he and co-star Drake Bell filmed nearly two years after the last episode of the Nickelodeon show was taped. "We missed each other."
That they came back together at all is "kinda crazy," Peck admitted, and a testament to their devoted fans who religiously watched reruns. "I feel like a fink, like the big elephant in the room. It's kind of a silly thing, but it's great that we're able to make kids happy and laugh."
And then some, apparently, judging from the feverish clamor that greeted the pair's triumphant return. The movie, which premieres on Nickelodeon on Friday at 8 p.m., begins when Drake and Josh promise a little girl the best Christmas ever.
The third Drake and Josh movie (and the second to be shot in widescreen), "Merry Christmas" is the first to have its premiere on the big screen, a fact that didn't escape co-star Miranda Cosgrove, who called it "really exciting."
"It seems like everyone is having a lot of fun," she said. "I'm having a lot of fun."
But will the fun continue? Now that they're in their 20s and movie stars in their own right (Peck recently starred in the Sundance hit "The Wackness," Bell in "Superhero Movie" and "College"), could the two leads be convinced to return to their old stomping grounds once more? Could "Merry Christmas" be the end of "Drake and Josh" forever?
Not if Drake and Josh have anything to do with it.
"Hey, I thought 'Drake & Josh' ended two-and-a-half years ago," Bell laughed, refusing to rule out a return to his most famous character.
"Who knows?" Peck joked. "It could be 'Drake & Josh Refinance Their Home,' 'Drake & Josh Get in a Failed Relationship,' 'Drake & Josh Look for Assisted Living.' "
"Merry Christmas, Drake & Josh" will be available on DVD soon after its television premiere.