The Heatley CliffWhy ‘Sam and Cat' Could Be One of the Most Dangerous Shows On TVAmy Foster

I HATE the fact that my 10-year-old watches Sam and Cat.

I feel like if I forbid her, it will make the show taboo, amping up her desire to watch it. If I ignore it, my hope is that she will figure out on her own how ridiculous it is.  My 10-year-old is a middle child. Sweet tempered by nature, I am almost positive that her natural goodness and good sense will be able to offset the terrible-ness of this show. Fingers crossed.

I am not a fan of the live action Nick or Disney Shows, period. I think there is a lot wrong with them. Because I have a 15-year-old and a 10 year old, I’ve seen em all, and Sam and Cat is the worst. Personally, I say give me Spongebob any day.

HelloGiggles comes from a place of positivity and I appreciate that. I REALLY appreciate that. I think that these tweeny shows might have been part of the reason the founders started this website in the first place- to create a safe haven, if you will, from the other stuff that’s out there in the media. Kids are being exposed to hardcore ‘Mean girl’-ing in the guise of family friendly programming on TV. It becomes dangerous because the boys and girls that watch them think it’s okay to be rude to their friends, their family, their elders… But it’s not only okay, it’s funny.

Let’s start with Sam, brought back after her popular stint on iCarly. Never has there been a more loathsome, mean, narcissistic, selfish, offensive character on TV. Wait, I take that back. King Joffrey of Game Of Thrones, they’re about on par. Game of Thrones, however, is an adult show. Like I said, the danger of this character is not just that kids want to emulate her, but on a subconscious level, the baseline for what is acceptable behavior becomes skewed, especially when you combine this with every other wiseass on one of these Disney or Nick shows (they all seem to have a character like this). Suddenly, what is obviously something offensive and mean to say is not so obvious because the kids are watching these jerks get laughs on TV with no consequences at all for their cruelty. Nobody’s feelings are ever hurt.

I’m not sure what is worse, though: the spectacularly evil machinations of Sam or Cat’s seemingly total lack of intelligence. Cat is a walking talking barbie doll. There is a long tradition of the lovable dimwits on TV and film: Gilligan, Shaggy, Forrest Gump, The Nutty Professor, Prince Charming’s Dad in Cinderella, Homer Simpson, Phoebe from Friends, the guys from Dumb and Dumber, Adam Sandler in any movie he’s ever done…The dangerous aspect of Cat is that there is a sexiness which underlines everything- that somehow intelligence is not needed as long as you look and dress a certain way. Cat is meant to appeal to girls 7-11. This means that girls 7-11 are put in a position to admire, to emulate, a person so vacuous. Let’s not forget though that the premise of the show is that they are professional babysitters, with the kids often outwitting them (easy for Cat for obvious reasons, and perhaps less easy for Sam but she is rarely paying attention to them anyways). Yeah. Great Messaging.

Is this entertaining? I mean I get it, kids love jokes about poop. They are into smart alecs and goofiness. But, isn’t there a way of giving them this in a program that doesn’t assume that they are stupid or rude and can totally relate? What if we had a show on TV which showed people being kind and good and compassionate? What if the kids got out of these zany situations every week by being helpful, clever and empathic? Sam and Cat teaches on some level that if you’re in a bind, cheat, lie, manipulate, play dumb and bat your eyelids.

When I was a kid I watched The Waltons and Little House on the Prairie and Degrassi, which had its share of a-holes but felt realer. There was no laugh track. Middle school, really, is no laughing matter. I just worry what this generation of kids is going to think all of this is appropriate behavior. Clearly they are going to have learn the hard way. I also want to clarify that these actresses who play these roles, Jenette McCurdy and Ariana Grande, are talented young women. Certainly Ariana has quite a music career ahead of her. But it seems to me that they need to pull the emergency break on the train and get it to stop. Even better, they themselves would be great advocates for the creation of a show that operates on a more humanitarian level. Meanwhile, I will just pray that my 10-year-old outgrows Sam and Cat ASAP.

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  1. I agree with you completely , Sam Is one of the worst characters on TV for kids, teen or otherwise, she is rude, mean, obnoxious, greedy, selfish, and oh yes, has been arrested a few times and has been to juvenile detention, and seems to be proud of it. They never show these kids in school ,and the live on their own , you tell me what teenager can afford an apartment by being a babysitter, so as roles models for kids they stink. I agree if you don’t like the show change the channel, but those parents that think this type of show and characters do no harm , you are wrong, young girls are VERY impressionable , and look at older kids and wish to be like them, and they will mimic what they see and hear whether it is at school or on tv, and guess where some of the kids from school pick up their personality traits, peers, parents siblings friends and yes TV. Between honey freaking boo boo the stupid kardashians and every single reality show out there, you would hope a. Channel that is especially for kids would have a better selection of programs that our children can watch. So, all of you that replied to this article saying you don’t see what the problem is , by all means let your kids what this mindless crap, and by the way, have fun when your daughters get older, I am sure I will be able to spot them, they will be the obnoxious , hoochie mama dressed, bitter clerk, who hates her job and probably everyone, has no friends that are not like her , had sex way too early, is completely self absorbed who thinks the world owes her and will be rudely ringing up the things I am buying for my son , who is now in college. ENJOY

  2. I grew up watching cartoons like “Hey, Arnold!” , “The Wild Thornberries” and “Ginger”, but I also watched “The Fresh Prince”, “Kenan and Kel”, “Drake and Josh”, “SpongeBob”, “Zoey 101″ (even after the Jamie Lynn Spears incident), “Degrassi” “Clarissa Explains It All”, “Sabrina, the Teenage Witch”, “Renegade”, “Xena: Warrior Princess”, “Power Rangers”, “Skins” (I had just finished high school when I started watching this one, but bear with me) as well as every other movie made for adults, and I never picked up on any dirty jokes or felt like whatever was going on in the show was what actually happened in real life. I think kids will watch whatever they want if you don’t set some healthy boundaries (which my parents seldom did when it came to TV programming), but I don’t think a TV show will ruin your kid’s life. Everything else you teach them plays a role on how they behave, how they interact with people and, yes, how they take the things that happen in shows and in real life. The important thing here is to talk to your child about everything. You always have to be a step ahead of everyone else. Be wise and remember, respect is earned. If your kid respects your opinion and values the things you teach him or her, then you’re doing a good job. I don’t know if you believe in God, but look to Him for guidance if things get out of control. Blessings.

  3. If you look at the channel that iCarly and Sam and Cat are on, you’ll notice that it is named TEENNick. It is meant for teenagers. However, it’s not as if that’s all she is watching on tv. I’m sure she watches some other shows with merit, so allow her to watch a show that isn’t super-conservative and all about being a good person.

    Also, is there even a show for pre-teens/older children that does not have something bad about it? Think about it. Have you ever seen a show for older children that is pure, motivational, and upstanding ?

    Degrassi is horrid. Sure, it doesn’t teach that good things come from being bad, but there is so much on that show that is only meant for people mature enough to understand. I enjoy it, but I started watching the show when I was about sixteen–old enough to know what sex was, that there were drugs, and that I should not be doing what they were doing.

    If she was watching shows like Degrassi, I would understand. However, Sam and Cat isn’t all that bad. No, it’s not wholesome, but compared to some other shows, it’s pretty tame.

  4. Well lets get this out of the war right now:THe show is not in any way intended for 7-11 year olds. it is for tweens that’s 12-13. That aside you should not be selecting content for your kids based on their age. If they don’t have the maturity to recognise that sam and cat are ridiculous caricatures of people, then your kids should not be watching the show. Which brings us to the real issue. Until your kid is grown up enough that the word kid no longer applies, they should have never laid a finger on the remote. They should only be watching things that you have selected for them. You do not “let” them watch anything. You put something on, and they are welcome to watch it or go play with their toys. It is not a matter of forbidding them from watching unapproved shows, they should not be provided with the ability to do so.

    • Dude dont let kids watch tv? What u think this is the 80s. I had a PlayStation DualShock 2 controller in my hand playing Resident Evil: Directors Cut at five years old. Kids just need to have morals and know the difference between fake and reality.

  5. I totally have no problem forbidding a show, as I have with my kids and things like “fred”, etc. You have to make a boundary. I would never let my kids watch something I’m not comfortable with and just “hope” they don’t get the message the show is obviously sending. She’ll get over it.

    • Let’s put it this way, if your 10 year old happened upon “keeping up the kardash…” and liked it, would you let her keep watching for fear she would watch it without you knowing? I should hope not. At 10, you absolutely have control over what they watch.

  6. I think you should say no. I said no to Kenan and Kell and All That a LONG time ago because they were rude to the lunch lady and every kid was obnoxious. My children are grown now. They do not hold that against me. Turn it off. I did.

  7. Yes, YES, YES! That’s why it’s such a shame when shows like Bunheads get cancelled.

  8. Yes, YES, YES! That is why it’s such a shame when shows like Bunheads get cancelled.

  9. I really don’t understand how Ariana Grande got famous. Her voice makes my ears bleed. One of the dumbest shows and characters in TV history.

  10. I have deep respect for your concern in your daughter’s development as a young girl after watching shows such as Sam and Cat. However, there are a few things about this post that believe contradict your concern. I too was once very young and watched several children’s shows that I question today. You said you’d prefer your children to watch Spongebob Squarepants over Sam and Cat. I can think of more than one instance that there was adult humor in Spongebob. Let’s start with the fact that the “Krusty Krab” is located in “Bikini Bottom”. Secondly, there is another episode where Spongebob tells his pet snail, Gary not to drop the soap. You also mentioned that Cat’s Barbie-like behavior teaches young girls to be sexy and unintelligent. If I remember correctly, Spongebob’s best friend, Patrick Star emulates stupidity. For example, in the marching band episode, a classic I might add, Patrick asks Squidward if mayonnaise is an instrument. Certainly not the most problematic question, but still one that might be deemed as unintelligent. At that age, I never caught any of the jokes, nor did the shows ever “teach me to be stupid and sexy”. The best way I dealt with the unrealistic examples on television was through communicating with my peers and parents. If I ever had a thought that something on television was reality, my support system was always there to tell me how it really is. At your daughter’s age, I believe the appropriate thing to do is let her continue watching the shows she enjoys, but also for you to be there to listen and help when she feels pressured by a scenario presented in a show.

  11. I think Sam and Cat is hilarious, but then again, my humor is a bit dark and dry. My daughter (9) also likes it, and said as I summarized the points of this article to her, “Mom, it’s just a show. Nobody really acts that way in real life.” Surely, there are multiple someones out there that do, but I think that for the right age group, supervised watching of this show is fine, with a healthy dose of, “Don’t you dare act like that.” Believe me, there is plenty of programming on Nick and occasionally on Disney that gets the channel changer working in this household, but I don’t think this one qualifies.

  12. I absolutely LOVE Sam and Cat, because it is make belief and very entertaining. I have five children ages 4-12 who watch it alongside me. My children have been raised to know that what they see on TV, is NOT behavior we can emulate in “real” life. Plain and simple. Its like saying that video games causes violence or that gansta rap (I rather enjoy) causes more drug use.

  13. You said that you didn’t want to ban her from watching it and will instead pray that she grows out of it?? Why not speak to her about this show? Children need to be taught things and told things. I explain to my 3 year old when he watches shows with any fighting (he’s obsessed with all forms of Avengers) that they are not real, that people can talk things out etc. I don’t just let him roam around “hulk smashing” things and then say “I pray he grows out of this”. There is no room for passivity in this world.

    When I was a child I liked some pretty weird stuff. It didn’t effect me because it was explained to me that it was fictional. That the characters were caricatures, exaggerations for comedy, not to be emulated. I was taught to look up to people who I knew in real life who did good things and were good people and not fictional characters. Who knows what would’ve happened to me if I was just left to my own devices.

  14. I love Sam and Cat but I do agree that the main characters are not the kind of people you should aspire to be. they are not bad people, but they are flawed. This show is supposed to be ridiculous and outrageous and and entertaining. If parents have an issue with the content of a show, they need to explain to their child why these actions are not ok, rather than keeping them from watching. Since I was a child my mom explained to me that television was just television, it’s for entertainment. But that’s from my perspective. I am 20 years old, and I enjoy the wackyness of the show, as well as my mother, who probably loves the show more than I do. I respect your opinion, and hope you put mine into consideration.

  15. Ok, i have no kids nor do i am constantly interacting with my young nepews, furthermore my work schedule keeps me away from weekday-afternoon tv… so i have never watched such show and when iCarly was the current show i pretty much ignored it after the 1st season because it focused more on their personal lifes later on than the web show.

    However I am gonna tell you the suggestion i plan to follow when i finally become a parent. Current TV shows are in a certain point necesary since if everyone watches them and you don’t you can be a bit isolated in chitchats at school, so when it comes to such programs try your best so since early on you can sit with the kid(s) and comment along the program, or even asking the kid about it.

    One mayor role to fulfill is that even if you get to a conclusion of a ngative side on it, other people may find it funny, so if he ever discuss the program wwith his(her) friend, there’s no need to argue since it’s just TV.

    However, you know you also watched nice TV programs as a kid, you know the kind of content you want your children to know. So get some DVDs, or accesss some page or site that let’s you watch the programs you select and do give some possitive reinforcement yo the kids for watching them at first.

    In my case, i know i gotta get the whole Winnie the Pooh series, the first movie too, Animaniacs would be good too, also some nice retro anime like Remi, Candy Candy… also the prior to 2000 Looney Tunes episodes are mostly quite a good example of the kind of TV meant for kids.

  16. I think the true problem here is that it shouldn’t be a show for small children. It’s on Disney, during the day. Little kids will look at this show and emulate. The older they are, they just look at it as entertainment. My 7 year old watched this show a few times and I thought perhaps she shouldn’t be. At 10, your kid is old enough to know better and realize that perhaps Sam and Cat shouldn’t be someone to look up to. Little kids shouldn’t watch the show at all. My little kids watch Sesame Street and learning shows. There’s nothing to learn from Sam and Cat. It’s a little too grown up, that’s why all of the adults are disagreeing with you because they find it funny.

    My daughters only found it mildly funny. My 7 year old said that Sam is rude, which is absolutely true!

  17. I have to say that I completely disagree with you about many of the points you base your argument on. While I don’t have children myself, I did play a major role in the raising of my younger siblings and as a 21 year old, I still watch a lot of children’s television. I don’t know if you’ve ever actually sat down and watched a full episode of the show (or Victorious or iCarly either) or if you’ve just seen the majority of the show whilst doing other things, but it seems as if the latter is the case.
    If you have seen a full episode of these shows, you would know that the majority of the time Sam does something rude, someone says so. She also often apologizes for her ridiculous behavior. You’d also see that Cat is not just a walking, talking Barbie Doll. In her role in Victorious, Cat was constantly cast in school productions because she is a good singer and actress and oftentimes proves to be one of the best friends the characters have. She also has moments of genius. Her ditziness is characterized by her obsessive personality, her forgetfulness and her weird brother.
    I also watched Degrassi when I was younger, though I’m sure you’re not talking about “The Next Generation” which included the adult versions of some of the original Degrassi cast. I don’t think Degrassi is the best example of a wholesome moral compass as there were several story lines that featured outrageous activities with hardly any consequences (a herpes outbreak at school, no parental intervention; a kid gets shot by a victim of bullying who kills himself, no one gets suspended; a kid gets stabbed and killed, no one finds out who stabbed him)

    While I agree that all of these shows do have some smart aleck character, I disagree with the fact that “everyone is okay with it”, they’re not. Most of these characters tend to get their fair share of payback for the things that they say and do, but yeah, kids laugh at it, just like we do. That doesn’t mean we think we should emulate or tolerate that kind of behavior and I think the show’s writing gives great examples of what happens when people are mean and hateful. Maybe not in every episode, but I’d say they do in the majority of them.

  18. Hello.
    I am not a woman, nor do I have children and sadly there will be people who dismiss opinions such as mine based on those facts.
    I do feel this is an overreaction. I am 25. Growing up there were all sorts of media I would consume, and for everyone one of those, there was a very vocal group advocating that these were harmful to children or youngsters, basically they blamed every evil of society on them. Pokémon, Harry Potter, video games, tv shows and movies, they’ve all been targeted.

    I don’t mean to talk about the author of this post since she seems to be a very level human being, but I believe parents use these outlets as an excuse for their children’s unacceptable behavior that they are unwilling or incapable of controlling. As far as I am concerned, and as far as I have observed, if you take time and care to raise your children right, and you instill into them good values, they will respect them and become good persons overall and balanced human beings.

    I have taken part in many of those “dangerous” media hypes, and I have had many friends who were indulging in alcohol, cigarettes or were promiscuous from an early age, and yet I rarely consume alcohol, I’ve never and will never smoke, I am not violent and could not be considered to be promiscuous, because my family instilled important values into me since my childhood. I say, have faith in your parenting skills. A child, or person, will never truly know the wisdom behind their family-instilled values if those are never challenged by the outside world growing up.

    • Rowl Hadrian, I am a woman and I have children and your points are all spot on. My daughter is 13 and she grew up watching all of these shows. iCarly was one of her favorites! My daughter is a good kid who makes honor roll every quarter. She’s nice and has, on more than one occasion, stood up to bullies that were harassing other kids. She even volunteered with the autistic kids when she was in 5th grade. None of the things she has done are because she saw them on a TV show. She is a good kid because that is the way I am raising her.

      Seriously, parents need to take more responsibility when PARENTING.

  19. totally agree! disney and Nick promote misbehaviour and anything and everything that we don’t want our kids to imitate – spitting, fighting, farting, revenge, bullying, lying, making fun of adults amongst many others it doesn’t make sense!

  20. Not an overreaction at all. kids are sponges soaking up data on what it is to be human. This show is absolute crap for all of the reasons you say. If nobody brings these issues up, our entertainment industry will continue to go down this road of producing vapid and inhumane programming, creating an increasingly more vapid and inhumane generation of people. We need to think about the long term effects anything has on the children, they will be running the world one day.