A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
The show intends to entertain rather than to educate.
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.
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No cursing, but you'll hear words and phrases like "dang it," "shut up," and "moron."
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Products & Purchases
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.
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.
Is It Any Good?
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.