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.