The Heatley Cliff

Why ‘Sam and Cat' Could Be One of the Most Dangerous Shows On TV

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.

Featured image via nick.com

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1249690674 Amanda Eliese Miller

    If you dont like the show, dont watch it and dont let your kids. Its that simple. Youre overanalyzing the hell out of a TV SHOW. Seriously, you think these little kids are really striving to be mean and stupid??? Then you must think they were dumb to begin with.please find a hobby.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=854330156 Katie Baker

      The article is about 7-11 year olds (the show’s target audience). They’re impressionable, and tv shows like this are a strong presence in their lives whether we’d like to admit it or not.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000727803800 Kezia Germ

      Of course they aren’t striving to be mean, most kids are so much better than that, but shows like this normalize and glamourize this type of behavior to the point where kids can’t tell it’s all that mean anymore, instead it’s just funny. And girls will unconsciously try to emulate that behavior because it feels cool and gets the admiration of their peers.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=841949908 Catie Marie Larimer

      I’m not so sure that as a parent she IS overanalyzing it. I’m not a big fan of people who make big deals out of little things either, but I don’t think that’s what she’s doing. TV has a HUGE affect on the minds of young people. I, at age 19, actually have negative habits that I struggle with that, looking back, I am sure are the direct effect that media had on my mind as a younger person. She’s trying to do right by her daughter and I think that’s really noble. And I’m saying this as a fan of both of those actresses, not a hater of all things nick and disney. My advice to you, Amy, would be to talk to her about it once, tell her you don’t like it and why, and tell her you trust her judgement and still leave it up to her. Eventually she’ll stop watching it. It was always SUPER annoying how my parents had to make snarky comments to everything they disapproved of in the TV shows I was watching. They never forbade me to watch them, just made comments every time I did. It always made me more frustrated toward my parents, and I wanted to watch the show more, just because they disapproved. So if you present, with love, your thoughts on the show ONE time, when she is really listening, I think that would be better for you both. This is just coming from someone who is still young.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=841949908 Catie Marie Larimer

      I’m not so sure that as a parent she IS overanalyzing it. The decisions you make for your kids while they’re still dependent are really important. I’m not a big fan of people who make big deals out of little things either, but I don’t think that’s what she’s doing. If she just told her to stop watching it, she could get really upset and resent her mom, and then be more prone to watch it in secret without parental guidance, which is dangerous and unhealthy. TV has a HUGE affect on the minds of young people. I, at age 19, actually have negative habits that I struggle with that, looking back, I am sure are the direct effect that media had on my mind as a younger person. She’s trying to do right by her daughter and I think that’s really noble. And I’m saying this as a fan of both of those actresses, not a hater of all things nick and disney. My advice to you, Amy, would be to talk to your daughter about it once, tell her you don’t like it and why, and tell her you trust her judgement and still leave it up to her. Eventually she’ll stop watching it. It was always SUPER annoying how my parents had to make snarky comments to everything they disapproved of in the TV shows I was watching. They never forbade me to watch them, just made comments every time I did. It always made me more frustrated toward my parents, and I wanted to watch the show more, just because they disapproved. So if you present, with love, your thoughts on the show ONE time, when she is really listening, I think that would be better for you both. This is just coming from someone who is still young.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1177650266 Alison Blakely

    No one’s ever too young or too old for Doctor Who!
    And it is all up on Netflix and Hulu!
    I generally always recommend starting with 2005 (just because Chris and David are Fantastic!!) however, Matt Smith, I feel, is definitely more “kid friendly” and has better qualities, technologically speaking, which kids generally gravitate towards. Yes, there are some scary/creepy episodes but they are always worth it in the end.
    Seriously, consider it. SO much better than what the Disney channel or Nickelodeon or MTV come up with because it doesn’t play down to its audience.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=31900643 Brandi Koonce

      My four year old LOVES Doctor Who!
      I have always liked Good Luck Charley, though. It seemed more wholesome and the kids were a lot kinder to one another and their parents.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000727803800 Kezia Germ

    I agree with this post ONE HUNDRED percent. I remember as a fifth grader watching a particularly bad Hannah Montana episode, and at one point Hannah says to Lily (who had just made some sort of bad suggestion), “Lily, do you even hear yourself when you talk, or is is just a loud Whop whop whop wa whop sound in your ears??” And all I could think was that if I had been Lily, I would have been seriously hurt by that comment. That is NOT what friends say to each other, especially in the crazy snarky tone that Hannah used. And the way that all the characters are so disrespectful to their parents!! That always gets me too. Gahhh I should stop here, or I’ll get too worked up.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=854330156 Katie Baker

    Agreed! I thought the same thing when Hannah Montana came out. My little sister loved that show, but Miley(Hannah) was always a self-absorbed brat who got her way because she was cute and a pop-star. It’s ridiculous! Not to mention how commercials also depict kids as being smarter than their parents. It’s gotta stop or we’re gonna be stuck with some awful brats running around.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=18700088 Staci Danielle Bernhard

    I honestly think that Degrassi was one of the best shows ever created for tweens and teens. It was realistic, showed consequences to actions, and was about more than sarcasm and the other garbage that is in teen/tween shows now. I feel like all the like action shows created after 2004 and marketed to middle and high schoolers are a bunch of bunk and not acceptable for kids. What happened to clean TV and shows that weren’t mind-numbing? That makes me sound really old, but I’m really only in my late 20’s (now THAT makes me feel old!).

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=510443063 Jaime Hammer

    Yikes. You’re totally right. I haven’t seen Sam and Cat, but I used to watch iCarly and Victorious, so I kind of know their characters. I didn’t notice or care at the time, because the shows present these characters in such goofy ways, but Sam really is mean and Cat really airheaded. They definitely aren’t good role models for young girls. One way to combat that (since it’s unlikely that the network will stop airing these kind of shows anytime soon) may just be to talk to your kids about what they’re watching. You can leave them with a positive and realistic message instead of the show leaving them with the idea that bullying is okay and intelligence is unnecessary.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1221231806 Meghan E. Stockton Gattignolo

    eh. The show entertains our family. We actually all (my husband, daughter, and I) watch it together, because we were excited that they were continuing something of the characters and storylines of ‘iCarly’ and ‘Victorious'; shows which we loved and also used to watch as a family. But I think it’s powerful for parents to watch shows with their kids. The parental example is far more effective in the upbringing of kids. My daughter is also super-sweet, and whenever we see a character do or say something mean or rude, we always talk about it. My daughter knows what is acceptable behavior with her friends; and we can still laugh together at Sam and Kat’s insane antics. I definitely won’t tell her she can’t watch; my mom did that with me and my brothers with most of the Nick shows when I was a pre-teen – “Ren and Stimpy,” “All That.” – and that made me want to watch those shows all the more. Of course, I chose NOT to watch ‘Ren and Stimpy’ after the initial novelty of sneak-watching it wore off and I realized how revolting a show it was. But this is an issue where you do what you think is best for your specific child and their personality/temperament, and parental authority reigns supreme.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1673770832 Jessica Wylie

    Seems like your over analyzing quite a bit. It’s really just a phase, eventually they will find something better and more entertaining. For example, my niece loved Hannah Montana then she discovered ICarly and after ICarly was over it was Victorious. I mean, it’s a television and not to undermine the intelligence of kids they don’t always mimic what the watch on television. Both of my nieces couldn’t be any sweeter. Sam’s character is funny, rude yes. But hilarious. Now Cat, I could live without but that’s because her voice and vacant expression frustrates me to no end.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1090122268 Dean Lake

    “There is a long tradition of the lovable dimwits on TV and film:”

    Your list forgets the archetype for Cat – Chrissy Snow from Three’s Company.

    Sam’s archetype is Jo Polniaczek from The Facts of Life.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002039165392 Kayelynn Kennedy

    I have mixed feelings about this article. I love Sam and Cat but I do agree that the main characters are not the kind of people you should aspire to be. This show is supposed to be ridiculous and outrageous and entertaining. If parents have an issue with the content of the show, they need to explain to their child why these actions are not ok, rather than keeping them from watching. But that’s from my perspective, I am an adult and not an impressionable child. 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.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1070613434 Eric Grumpy-Cat Sawyer

    My Little Pony? Seems to be for just aboutneveryone these days!

    It’s also quite equalitive and fun. Certainly coversnthe lower age range and all episodes are freely available.

    I think the Disney originals were actually far better for kids: Lizzie McGuire and That’s so Raven…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=854175480 Page Daniels

    Easiest of solutions is to block the channel and if she asks why she can no longer view it, tell her you just don’t get Disney anymore. Then sit with her and search for something you might both like (I suggest going through and finding a show she can watch instead, beforehand, and then pointing it out)
    You don’t have to forbid and you still don’t have her influenced by the show. I have done that with many shows for my little one, but she is still too young to even understand that shows reoccur, so she just assumes they never come on again.

    • rnl138

      Why would you LIE top your child rather than being honest? I doubt that lying to avoid “blame” and any potential disappointment toward not being able to watch the tv show is good parenting. As parents we must make decisions that our children may not like but we don’t lie and put that on not having a particular cable package; we directly tell them WHY we as parents decided they can’t watch the show. If lying and scamming and Devious behaviors are what you don’t like about the show then why would you LIE and be devious to your child? Shit parenting.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000323428565 Sean Optional Kenneth

    This is the only show on T.V. I actually love.
    In my twentys but this is my favorate show on television.
    I would argue you have made my argument for me. Whenever they make kind hearted T.V. Shows insted of watching who you call jerks we are esentualy all called jerks for some inperfection or another and by the end everyone is reformed besides us and anyone semi relatable who are all scandalized or morily demeaned and karmicly justified.
    Loving this show is so reaffirming and not loving the show is the only way to feel underminded by the moronic nature.
    The girls of this show are geniuses of character acting in the way they know exactly the roles they were born to play to please an array of audiences unprecedented by any other show, maybe ever.
    That being said i understand a mother needing to blow of some steam.
    Though besides intallerance I would like to see an example or two in your article. Im sure you might be able to drum up with something actually questionable.
    I feel like the point of the show is that the most unlikely pair can host a nurturing environment for children to live and learn and love. Even if you grew up misunderstood social misfits. Maybe they dont have time to cram enough if that in alongside jokes and a plot for everyone to see in just over 20 minutes but it certainty caught my eye.
    P.s. nick hasnt made a good T.V. Show in over 15 years… Spongebob squarepants included.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000323428565 Sean Optional Kenneth

    Not only do i think it is the best children program out there but i would be proud to trust my own children if i had any with these young ladys.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1478730502 Shana Jessie
  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=508510521 Misty Blue

    Jenna MCurdy just had “sexy” pictures leaked online and an embarrassingly public fight with an ex about it in which she said some very stupid and immature things. She may be talented, but not a good role model on or off the screen!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=717779438 Chaniqua Crook

      What public fight? All I ever saw was that the images were leaked, she wrote one tweet about it and that she planned to move on. I never saw any argument.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=794639967 Natalie Metzger

    I almost didn’t comment on this because I am going to sound just like my mother, but I just have to say it.

    Garbage in, garbage out.

    You are a reflection of everything you surround yourself with, whether that be TV shows, music, friends, family, hobbies, etc. If the TV shows you watch depict that it is in some way okay to be rude because it’s funny and you’re pretty, eventually that seeps into your everyday life. TV is great because you can pretty much turn off your brain and stare into the screen, but that’s also the problem: a lot of kids watch the screen and aren’t concerned with thinking about anything while they are watching a TV show…. Not even thinking about things like “if I were to say that comment to a friend, would that hurt their feelings?” Instead, the kids hear the snarky comment and then laughter, encouraging the viewer to also act that way.

    I truly believe our entertainment is important to our thought processes. I also believe we should protect our minds. Thoughts become words, words become actions, actions become habits, habits become life.

    • George Asher

      Well that’s rubbish just because people watch horror movies on a regular basis doesn’t mean they turn in to psychopaths lol.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002408674149 Ana Lugo

    Thank you for writing this. I’m in my 20s, and still love kids shows… it’s true, and I’m not ashamed… but these live action shows on nick and disney have to stop!!

    They dress 12 year olds like they’re 25, and as you said… show a world where being rude and tricking people into doing what you want is good… I honestly can’t sit through more than 2 minutes… Sam & Cat were both secondary characters, they were the comic relief in their original shows, which kind of explains why they’re so 2 dimensional… the problem is, they are now primary characters… so the writers need to give these girls a little heart! Not to mention a lot of brains!!! Seriously writers, stop phoning it in!

    But a 10 year old watching the show won’t realize that… he’ll just see that punching people is funny… HATE IT!!!

    You should send this article to Nick and Disney, along with all the comments… we gotta pressure them to change their programming… kids don’t know enough to do so, they’ll just watch whatever’s shiny and on TV.

    • Bruh

      both Ariana & Janette were well in their late teens super early 20s while on their shows. no 12 year old here.

    • Bruh

      get your facts straight

    • Brazinger

      If a 10-year-old won’t realize these shows as fiction, then something is wrong with that 10-year-old not the show.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=784256843 Heber Davi Guerra

    I think this might be an overreaction. I’m not saying that what kids watch and listen to doesn’t affect then, but I believe that if a child is taught morals and values by a set of dedicated parents, very rarely will they abandon what they have been taught about compassion and manners and the importance of being smart in order to emulate a T.V. show they like to watch. More commonly, children recognize that though the actions depicted by the fake characters on the sitcoms are funny, the premise that being mean and conniving and mentally slow is acceptable is ridiculous, and also fake. T.V. shows such as “Sam & Cat” only strongly influence children whose parents have not given an effort to influence them, who have not taken the time to love their child, to teach their child the ways of life. So, in other words, if the parents didn’t teach them and raise them their own way, T.V. will.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004183688884 Krystal Valentine

    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.

Need more Giggles?
Like us on Facebook!

Want more Giggles?
Sign up for our newsletter!