Sam & Cat

Common Sense Media says

Mediocre spin-off recycles characters, needs reality check.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Educational value

The show intends to entertain rather than to educate.

Positive messages

The show makes no attempt to portray any sense of reality in a story about two teen girls who share a house and live off the proceeds of an ill-conceived babysitting business. While there's plenty of fun in imagining such a scenario, it greatly oversimplifies the concepts of independence and responsibility. Sam and Cat's adventures usually lead to mayhem for themselves and those around them, including the kids in their care. There are some sweet moments related to the girls' unlikely friendship, although Sam is known to take advantage of her clueless pal's naivety.

Positive role models

Sam remains her feisty self, always looking out for her own needs and willing to manipulate situations to her advantage (albeit with comical results). Cat's flightiness makes her an easy target for trickery (sometimes at her friend's hands), but her ability to see the best in a situation or a person is inspiring. The lone adult in question walked away from her parenting duties toward Cat to move into a retirement center, leaving the teen to fend for herself.

Violence & scariness

Occasional slapstick (hitting, slapping, jumping on someone), but nothing that's shown to cause harm.

Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language

No cursing, but you'll hear words and phrases like "dang it," "shut up," and "moron."

Consumerism

Both Sam and Cat's characters hail from previous Nickelodeon shows, so if your kids don't know them already, they may want to check out their earlier work.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Sam & Cat is a double-duty spin-off series featuring popular characters from two previous Nickelodeon shows: iCarly and Victorious. Stars Ariana Grande and Jennette McCurdy reprise their respective roles of Cat Valentine and Sam Puckett, which will thrill existing fans and may entice newcomers to check out the girls' previous work. This comedy series accomplishes what it sets out to do -- generating laughs through the odd pairing of two opposite personality types -- but it does so at the expense of any realistic content. Expect off-the-wall adventures with little consequence (bouncing on a man's chest becomes life-saving CPR, and turning kids loose in the city on a motorized scooter is touted as responsible babysitting, for instance), and no hands-on adult in sight, which gives teens free rein on mayhem and sends skewed messages to kids. On the other hand, the show does feature an unlikely but well-meaning friendship that survives ups and downs.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Nickelodeon stars Jennette McCurdy and Ariana Grande team up in SAM & CAT, a spin-off of iCarly and Victorious that follows the continuing story of two of the shows' most beloved characters. The story opens with a chance encounter between Sam Puckett (McCurdy) and Cat Valentine (Grande) that evolves into an unexpected friendship. With Cat on the lookout for a new roommate since her grandmother, Nona (Maree Cheatham), took refuge at the local senior community, and Sam drifting after her best friend left their web show to move to Italy, the two wind up living together and running a babysitting service for neighborhood kids. They're often joined in their adventures by Dice (Cameron Ocasio), the apartment complex's well-connected go-to guy.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Sam & Cat's clever pairing of two previously unrelated characters makes for a unique enough spin-off, but save for the star power of its two poster girls, the show greatly underwhelms. There are few surprises in the pot that plays to familiar qualities like Sam's devil-may-care persona and Cat's gratingly airheaded mannerisms. Instead of creative new avenues for these characters, the show overworks the old, with results that are comical, but also mostly predictable.

That said, the fact that the show recycles popular characters gives it a built-in pool of fans who will want to check out Sam and Cat's new adventures. There's little harm in the light-hearted content, and it's guaranteed to tickle kids' funny bones, but since there's nary a shred of realism to much of what goes on at the hands of these two offbeat characters, it's a good idea to do a reality check with your kids to remind them how similar actions would play out for them.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about this unique spin-off. Do you like that it reuses the characters' personalities from their previous shows, or would it have better served reinventing them for a fresh start? Were you fans of theirs on iCarly and Victorious? How does this show compare to those?

  • Kids: What aspects of Sam's and Cat's lives are unlikely, given your knowledge of how grown-ups live and work? Do they seem like the kinds of babysitters your parents would hire for you? Why is it fun to watch wacky scenarios like the ones on this show?

  • What rules does your family have for your media consumption? Why are these rules important? Are some TV shows and movies more worthwhile than others? Which ones are both kid- and parent-approved in your house?

TV details

Cast:Ariana Grande, Cameron Ocasio, Jennette McCurdy
Network:Nickelodeon
Genre:Comedy
Topics:Friendship
TV rating:TV-G

This review of Sam & Cat was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Written byAnonymous June 23, 2013
AGE
9
QUALITY
 

Surprisingly Entertaining

I was... pleasantly surprised. I absolutely LOVE the normal setting. They're not fame hungry, hormone crazed teens. They don't make a new fricking song every episode. They're just two young ladies getting by in a house by themselves. Thank you, Nickelodeon! Thank you!
Teen, 17 years old Written byTeensOpinion17 June 10, 2013
AGE
8
QUALITY
 

I watched and got bored within the first 12-15 minutes.

I just watched some of Sam & Cat online just now and I got bored within the first fifteen minutes. I sat there with a straight face throughout..Nothing in the show made me laugh but if I were to watch Victorious or iCarly it would be different.
Parent Written byanthony90210 June 9, 2013
AGE
14
QUALITY
 

Parents Should Know to Watch a Dan Schneider Show Just to Be Safe.

Lets face it, most of the people who will comment are fans of the show, but in my view, I'm still on and off on this show, there are a lot of inappropriate events that happen, especially when Sam puts a Baby in Bushes (which could be allergic) and the part when the Grandmother puts Sam and Cat inside a sofa bed (which could suffocate someone) and also the part when they were helping revive a man by jumping and sitting on the man. I wouldn't say that the show is funny at least not as funny as icarly or victorious, but parents should know already, if it is a Dan Schneider show, YOU BETTER WATCH IT YOURSELF JUST IN CASE.
Parent Written byMrCrocodile June 9, 2013
AGE
2
QUALITY
 

Moving Past the Fame Concept

Sam & Cat starts off really well! It begins with Sam (I assume after high school since the series finale of iCarly actually takes place most likely in May or June and Carly was revealed to be too old for a father-daughter dance by the next year, which is usually 18) who is driving across the country on her motorcycle, with no where else to be now that Carly's gone. Once she meets Cat and they have to take over the responsibility of babysitting kids that was previously done by Cat's grandmother, she finds a reason to settle somewhere. Note that this is a show created by Dan Schneider, so quit looking for fictional role models! If you understand his humor or why he adds in things if you read the fun facts for some of his shows on his blogs, you'll be able to understand and hopefully enjoy this show. Take the show like this: we all know Sam isn't that good with kids as she never really got along with them, and although Cat is just about Sam's age, she's still like a little kid herself. I feel that can make their time with kids so crazy and part of why the show will be fun. To top it all off, as you see in the first episode, the kids give Cat's Nona a hard time and by the end of the episode, the kids and Sam and Cat are able to have a overall good day with each other that pleases their parents. Sam living with Cat and taking care of little kids can bring out a softer side of her which I think is evident in the first episode - but more on that in a bit. Cat could have more of a tougher skin living with Sam as she probably would if it were Jade from Victorious. It was nice to see that good side of Sam almost after the show starts. Saving Cat and giving Cat all the money they earned from babysitting at the end of the day. Cat, being already sweet, whether or not you've been irritated by her voice, sleeping with Sam on the couch for the night was also a good scene as we are told what made Sam not stay in Seattle anymore. With their connection already in check, I can tell we can see more of that as time goes on which is what makes the show good: Sam & Cat's connection. It's sweet in its own way the way Sam & Carly were in iCarly. What else makes the show good are the other main characters, Dice and Nona, played by Cameron Ocasio and Maree Cheatham. Especially Nona, who already fits in as the sweet grandmother of Cat's we heard about in Victorious. There's going to be a ton of crazy stories during this show's run and I'm prepared for it. For me, this show will either show in a funny way, why you should or shouldn't leave your kids with Sam & Cat. Still, it's best to look at the show in this perspective, of all the things that's been mentioned and enjoy the show. It had a good opening, one of the best pilots I've seen for a show from Schneider's Bakery and it was funny and sweet (the least I can say without already going deep into the show).

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