‘Sam & Cat’ Wins Favorite TV Show – Why?

sam & cat

Sam & Cat won the Nickolodeon Kids’ Choice Award last night for Favorite TV Show, thanks to the appeal of stars Ariana Grande and Jennette McCurdy.  However, beyond the popularity of Grande and McCurdy, the appeal of this show remains a mystery.

McCurdy’s Sam, the character spun off from the popular Nickolodeon show iCarly, which finished its run last year, is a scrappy sort of girl with a seemingly unending appetite.  She would sooner start swinging than ask questions, but therein lies part of the problem.  Sam & Cat is designed for the 7-year-old to 11-year-old set, and teaching these girls that it is okay to hit instead of talking about what is bothering them is not a great message to send to this age group.  She is often insulting and though there is an attempt to pass this off as lighthearted teasing, the character is just meanly insulting those around her.

Grande’s Cat, previously of Victorious, is as airheaded as they come, and this is definitely not a message that should be relayed to young girls.  There are many preteen girls who believe that if they pretend to be airheaded and not all that bright they will ultimately become likeable by others.  While the message about finding an unlikely friend is clear and a valuable one for anyone, never mind preteen girls.  Grande also took home the top prize at the Kids’ Choice Awards for Favorite TV Actress, which proves that her airheaded, whispery portrayal of Cat continues to win fans for some inexplicable reason.

It is inexplicable why shows like Nickelodeon’s Sam & Cat continue to be popular with the preteen set.  Somewhere along the way, the preteen girls of society appears to have gotten the message that you can be appealing if you are incredibly naive to the point of seeming unintelligent or if you are rude and insulting.  The messaging is not much better for boys; the two male characters on the show fall under the dumb jock stereotype or the cocky preteen.

While somewhat sweeter in nature, Disney’s Austin & Ally also conveys much the same sort of message.  Austin, portrayed by Favorite TV Actor Ross Lynch, is a preternaturally likeable pop star on the rise who is just a little slow on the uptake.  His songwriting partner Ally, portrayed by Laura Marano, is sweet and a little naive, with the cast being rounded out by loveable lunkhead Dez, aka Calum Worthy, and acerbic and insulting best friend Trish, played by Raini Rodriguez.  The characters in this show all genuinely like each other, but again, girls are sent the message that if they are either incredibly sweet and understanding or snarky and insulting, people will like them.

There are an increasing number of young girls who have self-esteem and self-image issues without being taught that snarkiness and being an airhead is all right.  While there have been rumors Nickelodeon is looking to cancel Sam & Cat following the leak of McCurdy’s age-inappropriate selfies, nothing has been confirmed, and given the Favorite TV Show and Favorite TV Actress awards the show has just won, it could be that Sam & Cat could continue for a while yet.  This means that the messaging that is going out to the show’s preteen audiences are continuing to get the message that it is okay to be rude, insulting or just simply not that bright in order to be liked.  Websites such as Common Sense Media, which gives parents and educators some tips and advice as to the best television shows out there for children today,  have denigrated the show for its complete lack of connection to realistic scenarios and its portrayal of kids.  If shows such as Sam & Cat and Austin & Ally continue to hit the airwaves with their messages of it being okay to act the way the teens on these shows are acting, parents and educators alike are going to be fighting an uphill battle with the media-obsessed generation that is today’s youth.

By Christina St-Jean


Common Sense Media

Common Sense Media

XFinity Entertainment

Teen Vogue

Latin Post

Contact Music

4 Responses to "‘Sam & Cat’ Wins Favorite TV Show – Why?"

  1. Dan   April 1, 2014 at 4:52 am

    I can’t believe you’re directing your attention to two virtually harmless kids’ shows, when there are so many other inappropriate media that children are consuming these days – e.g. many of today’s PG movies and TV shows have some form of crude humour, sexual references or even displays of affection that a child shouldn’t necessarily see or hear.

    The criticisms outlined here are unfair since the genre – comedy – is clear, which means that children are going to understand that it’s not written to provide moral insight, but entertainment. Similar to how they know a tall tale isn’t real. For example, Cat’s “airheadedness” is so exaggerated, it’s a major aspect of the TV show’s humour – therefore, how are any children going to think that this is how one should act? It’s hyperbolic!

    Furthermore, you haven’t even provided an alternative that you think kids should be watching – which TV show *should* have won the award? Which TV shows *meet* your standards?

  2. kaykay   March 31, 2014 at 8:51 am

    basically you are trna say they are a bad influence on kids witch I think is not true this tv show is hilarious that’s why it won the kca and also is why ariana grande won it she is a good actress

  3. ZainR   March 31, 2014 at 7:50 am

    I’ll just leave it at this. This is a sitcom, not a stupid half hour PSA. Get this through your heads, sitcoms are not about looking the camera every episode and going “Don’t do this” “Don’t do that”. The people that enjoy the show enjoy it because they’ve known the characters for a long time and they actually pay attention to the GOOD qualities of these characters, something people like you miss out on because you expect every show to just have goody two shoed characters who are so FAKE.

    • ZainR   March 31, 2014 at 8:03 am

      And here’s an idea for you: be apart of your kid’s lives! Have a heavy influence on them so even if they watch shows you’re so terrified of, the shows won’t have some sort of negative effect on them. One of the episodes says this: that just because some people can’t control themselves or get too obsessed with something doesn’t mean you have to ban it from everyone, and that’s something that didn’t just apply to the soda they were trying to save from being banned, that message goes for everything.
      I grew up getting too obsessed with one anime that I’d live my life like the characters, having a love for fighting when I was 8, and I was violent. You know what MY parents do the many will fail to do as parents? They kept me from watching the show UNLESS I could develop a life outside the show and not be so violent anymore. For me, that took a bit longer but now I can watch my show without being so violent. THAT’S how parents should be. Not banning a show like you pricks would.

      Here’s another example. I watched Three’s Company when I was a kid. Did that teach me flirting with women and lying to them constantly is okay? No. Because as a kid, I just enjoyed it for the laughs because what was the genre? A SITCOM. That’s what Sam & Cat is. It’s not supposed to spend countless episodes NOT being a sitcom like some pathetic so called sitcoms do just to be a half hour PSA. It’s audience gets to laugh and that’s what it does and is meant to do because it’s a SITCOM. Characters will do wacky, crazy things and even do things that make them flawed characters. You’re not going to find a sitcom where the characters are perfect. Or even a sitcom that’s at least TRYING to live up to what it’s intended to do. Not that half an hour PSA 90’s kids call a sitcom where the characters are beyond fake.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.