Disney and Nickelodeon

I write this post with some hesitation because I don’t have kids, and I feel like I shouldn’t be preaching to others about what kids should and shouldn’t watch. But Sam & Cat annoys me just that much. (How I ended up watching it [and Shake It Up] in the first place is a long story.)

A couple of months ago, somebody wrote a Freshly Pressed post about the Disney Channel show A.N.T. Farm and how she believes her daughter picked up a sassy, disrespectful attitude from imitating the antics of the actors. Disney isn’t the only channel that’s putting out these types of shows, with teenagers and preteens who show their parents no respect and act as though they’re the kings and queens of the universe.

Nickelodeon’s Sam & Cat is a prime example. The two main characters run a babysitting business, live in an apartment together (although I don’t see how they could afford that nice apartment with babysitting money), and get into all sorts of unrealistic and ridiculous situations, showcasing Sam’s arrogance and sarcasm and Cat’s absolute stupidity.

Disney’s Shake It Up (which, thankfully, was cancelled) is similar. It’s about two preteens who star on a fictional dance TV show. I fear that young children might believe from watching it that stardom is easy to achieve and will grant true happiness and that being an entertainer is more important than getting good grades. In one episode, one of the main characters isn’t doing so hot in math, so she hires a tutor, who turns out to be a 10-year-old prodigy. Of course, because he’s the nerdy, intelligent type, he became the butt of all the jokes on that episode. The message to children: social status and the ability to dance will get you farther in life than math skills. Well, maybe if you live in Hollywood.

I understand that these shows are supposed to be comedy, and older kids will understand that and be mature enough to know that the characters’ behavior is not meant to be imitated. Any younger kids who watch it will likely imitate the characters’ rudeness to adults and authority figures and try too hard to be sassy and talk back. They’ll think that if they act “cute” and make the “right” verbal comebacks that they can get away with anything. That’s the danger.

Anyway… if you have kids, I strongly suggest that they don’t watch shows like Sam & Cat, Shake It Up, and iCarly. They’re garbage. There has to be a way to write teen/preteen comedy that doesn’t rely on attitude, sass, and disrespect.

5 thoughts on “Disney and Nickelodeon”

  1. We decided to cut the flow of sewage into our home altogether and cancelled our DirectTV subscription. The results: $110/month in my pocket, dozens of books read by my two youngest children since the cancellation in November and more time spent together as a whole. We had thought about simply blocking those channels but since the Disney/Nick block was the one watched much of the time spending that much money each month for a handful of channels that are themselves questionable seemed silly. So we went cold turkey and it has worked out for us just fine. It may not work for everyone, but it has for us.


    1. Awesome! I don’t think I’ll even own a TV at all when I live on my own. Anything I want from TV, I can find online.


  2. I don’t have kids either, but I found myself watching old episodes of Boy Meets World the other day, which occasionally plays on Disney and I was doing a mental comparison. The values on some of the older TV shows do not compare to what is showing now. It makes me worried about our future generations. Shows don’t seem to teach anything nowadays that is actually GOOD. I agree, most shows are garbage. It’s kind of troublesome.


  3. I am on both sides of the fence on this one. When I was being a pre-teen/teen and watching these shows, I remember feeling jealous of the troublemaker in Wizards Of Waverly Place for her confidence and iCarly’s Carly for being able to create a webshow on her own, but I don’t think I ever thought that was normal or that I could or should act the same way as them.

    Small children sometimes get stuck on the idea that everything on TV is fiction or fact, but pre-teens are often just looking for someone like them. For the record, Alex from Wizards and Sam from iCarly were both “bad girls” but they didn’t get away with everything. They were always in detention for their petty rule-breaking and there were frequent episodes where they were forced to take stock of their lives, so I don’t think that the actual message was “it’s cool to be bad and also it doesn’t matter because the bad ones get everything they want”, though I can see how that’s how it might seem to some people.

    I had a similar debate with a friend over Degrassi, which has been running for years and years and has always been a source of drama and tackles issues such as teenage pregnancy and first relationships and drugs and alcohol. It doesn’t always show the kids making the right choice. And I think that is why it is a great show. You see the consequences, and even when they aren’t severe or a kid “gets away with it” you see that it has an emotional impact.

    My friend thought that by talking about kids having sex, even if it was regretted later, other kids watching would emulate it. I believe that it allows kids to see the potential consequences of the actions without doing it themselves and also allows them to empathise a bit more. Every kid has their own unique story. They have their own home life and their own friends and their own heartbreak. And that is true in TV characters and in real life.

    PS watching some shows from previous generations, I don’t think it has escalated. The Simpsons has been going on for decades and has child abuse in almost every episode.


    1. I think the difference is that shows like Degrassi aren’t passed off as comedy — maybe that’s what allows them to get their message across clearer… and what allows kids to sympathize with the characters. True that the Simpsons, Family Guy, and the like are very inappropriate, but they are not meant to be children’s shows.

      Thank you for your input!


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