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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  • Thomas

    Well this is a dumb article because shows like Sam and cat has absolutely nothing to do with kids acting out or anything like that they act out usually because their parents don’t teach them things like respect for elders and stuff like that so if you really think that this is the message it sends then look at yourself as a parent and ask yourself are you “a good parent” or not

  • Caitlin

    I grew up watching Boy Meets World, which was a great show about quirky kids and troubled kids learning that compassion and kindness are what will get you far in life. And their Reboot/spinoff of the show Girl Meets World is probably one of the best live-action kids shows still on TV. Its exactly like Boy Meets World in the way that rudeness and other mistakes are punished but used as learning opportunities, and there is a huge theme of family and true friends and, kindness and compassion will get you anywhere you want to go in life, which I think is a wonderful message for children. I think its suitable for young kids and is still entertaining for older audiences as well.

  • Rachel

    You can’t rely on a television show to teach your child morals, that’s not what it’s there for, it’s there for entertainment.

  • Christopher Ferreira

    Laura I couldn’t have said it better myself.

  • gafromca

    Simple: Cancel your cable service! We never got cable because I knew it would cause all of us watch too much TV. The best way to help kids do well in school is for the parents to cut back on their own television watching and let the kids see you reading books and magazines instead. Let TV be a weekend only treat, or give each child a “TV budget” for the week. Then help them fill their time with books, sports, music lessons, books, crafts, board games, friends and more books.

  • Tam

    A great show that teaches excellent moral values for young girls of any age is My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. This show teaches young girls to be kind, loyal, generous, true to their friends, to laugh and have fun (in positive ways), and honesty. This show allows young girls to understand the magic of friendship and being kind to others. This is a great show if you want to teach your kids moral values. This show is way better than anything on Nick or Disney. This show comes on the Discovery Family channel. I’m a 19 year old female (I don’t have any kids) but I love this show. It has taught me very valuable lessons in life, more so than any other television show I had growing up. The characters are ponies but they also teach diversity with the variety of ponies there are. There are Pegasus (flying) ponies, Earth (ground ponies with no powers or flight) Ponies, and Unicorn (magical) ponies. There are also the Alicorn (princess) ponies who are a mix of all three types. There are also a variety of other characters, Gryfons, Dragons, and other mystical creatures. These ponies have humanistic characteristics, are nonviolent, and deal with a wide variety of issues girls of any age can relate too. Young male children can even relate to the show. My nephew (5 years old) loves the show and it teaches him core values. This show teaches kids, and maybe even teenagers, excellent lessons in friendship. They address issues such as fitting in, bullying, and much much more. It is a truly fantastic show. They also have two movies where the ponies are humans in a human high school and they befriend the villain. Each episode has it’s very own lesson in friendship.

  • Keli Lindsey

    Watching a smart alec does not make a kid want to be one. You cannot blame the television; you must teach your child right and trust that they will know the difference between right and wrong. Sam and Cat is a stupid show but otherwise, harmless.

    I think watching other people, even fictional people, displaying different personalities will make children more confident to be themselves. Do you want your young children to be themselves, or do you want them to be polite little robots who agree with anything they’re told as long as it’s an elder telling them to do so? What happens when they don’t stand up for what’s right because they wouldn’t want to be “rude?” That’s when the line between right and wrong will become blurred, not when they’re watching a television show.

  • ingrid

    There was a TV show that showed kind kids. It was called Freaks and Geeks, and got canceled after one season.

  • willowspritew

    Here’s an idea. How about having a day where you and your daughter pick a few of your favorite TV shows (ones that you watched when you were her age) and just sit together and watch them. Then have an open discussion, what you liked and what you didn’t like, without bashing each other’s choices. Talk about whether it relates to real life or if it relates to today’s society (in cases of historical series), how the shows made you feel, how you see people being portrayed. You’ll get a better feel of whether it’s really affecting her negatively. She might like your choices and decide to watch them too.

  • Laura

    This article seems a little ridiculous. I thought we were past the point of attacking and blaming the media for negatively influencing our children. Obviously not. Maybe instead of switching the tv on and ranting about how its corrupting young minds, play and talk to your children. Thats all any kid wants, and they’ll emulate you instead of exagerated stereotypes. Also, you’ll do more damage than good underestimating the intelligence of of your own children.

  • Kathy Miceli-DiBona

    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

  • Enilda Elizabeth Pérez

    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.

  • Charis Taylor

    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.

  • Chris Gibbons

    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.

    • Dylan Gipson

      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.

      • jules

        if you’ve been playing Resident Evil at the Age of 5, your parents definitely didn’t take their role of guiding and protecting seriously ’cause that’s just wrong. and i’m not talking about being mature enough to “know the difference between fake and reality” (which i actually doubt you had at that Age) but about serious repercussions to mental health and stability in the life of children.
        i also oppose to not letting them watch any tv, but really when i’m looking at kid’s Shows today i find myself thinking more often than not: what a crap, i’m so lucky i grew up in the 90s! although there probably was also a lot of crap going around; but at least we had Shows like “the gummibears”.
        all that aside, have you considered introducing them to Anime? yes, that weird Cartoon stuff from Japan. first i want to mention that Anime is not only for children as there are some great Shows and movies which are definitely for adults (some darker themes, scary or just plain crazy characters and the fact that the japanese definitely don’t hold back on the Color red when protraying bloodloss), but there are a lot of kid-friendly Anime that promote friendship and standing in for each other. granted, it might take some time getting used to them, but once you accept the huge eyes and the sometimes quite weird personas (i’m looking at Might Guy from Naruto here ^^) and stories, you’ll probably find them quite endearing. apart from the message that you should believe in yourself and your dreams and fight for those like you can see in Pokemon, Naruto, YuGi-Oh, Sailor Moon and a lot more, just to mention a few of the more popular ones. (in case you’re wondering: i’m now going on 27 and got first introduced to Sailor Moon in elementary School)

  • Heather Bell Recchio

    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.

    • Heather Bell Recchio

      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.

  • Rebecca Regnier

    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.

  • Yolanda Cano

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

  • Yolanda Cano

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

  • Rachelle Crouse

    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.

  • Rebekah Olson

    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.

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