Series Review: Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV

Official synopsis: 
A docu-series that uncovers the toxic culture behind some of the most iconic children's shows of the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Like many, I grew up watching Nickelodeon in the 90's. One of the shows heavily featured on this docu-series is All That, which I counted as one of my favorites. But the rumblings of showrunner Dan Schneider's abusive behavior can only be compared Weinstein's; an open secret on the internet. It's something I've followed for quite some time. There are numerous videos, Twitter-threads, reddit posts, and even a bizarre CDAN comment on how shitty Schneider is that people swear is from Robert Downey Jr of all people. Needless to say, when I heard this was coming out, I knew I'd be watching.

The series consists of four one-hour episodes, starting with All That's various seasons, before covering The Amanda Show, Drake and Josh, iCarly, Zoey 101, Victorious and Sam & Cat. Actors from All That and The Amanda Show take center stage in the first two episodes. This I found really interesting, because they're a group we do not hear from as often. A lot of the online discourse really tends to be around Victorious and Sam & Cat, where Schneider's antics were dialed up to 11. In the first two episodes, we hear a lot about the toxic work environment these kids were subjected too. The body shaming, the racism, how a PA sent inappropriate photos to minors before being arrested for child pornography and quietly being removed from the set. We also hear from the two female writers on the Amanda Show and the work place sexism they experienced was horrendous. 

The third episode is what really broke the internet, as it features an extensive interview with Drake Bell talking about the abuse he suffered at the hands of an acting coach. How this entire thing went to trial and his name was never leaked amazes me. Bell is clearly a very complicated guy, and watching him squirm through this interview, talking about the worst thing to ever happen to him was very uncomfortable to watch, but I commend his bravery. The second episode teases the other former cast members not knowing who the victim in this lawsuit was, before revealing Bell, and they thankfully never go back to them either to see their reactions to learning who it was. I think that would've been a bit too sensational, and I'm glad they skipped that. The petty in me also hopes Drake Bell's mother catches a ton of shit for her part in this.

The fourth episode is where we get into the latter of Dan's shows. We wrap up with Drake, and learn who sent letters of support to his rapist while on trial. (Forever side-eyeing James Marsden from now on) and start talking to Alexa Nikolas of Zoey 101 fame, who has been VERY vocal online about the shady acts of men in this industry. I'm almost surprised we didn't spend more time with her. She does have a youtube channel where she talks about this, which is likely why we didn't. This episode to me felt rushed, and it also felt like it relied on the audience to have a lot of backstory. I've read iCarly and Sam & Cat star Jeannette McCurdy's book. They don't interview her, but they discuss excerpts from it. The way they tell her story made me think someone who hasn't read it might feel a bit lost. They never comment on Jamie Lynn Spears' pregnancy during Zoey 101, which seems like a pretty big thing to skip over. And no one from Victorious is interviews, though they show quite a few inappropriate clips from the show.

This does bring up a bit of of a catch-22 with this story. We want to hear more from these actors, but we also shouldn't expect these people to relive their childhood abuse on camera. Would I love to hear Ariana Grande's (or her parents) opinion on all the things she had to do on Victorious? Definitely. Am I entitled to it? Hell no. It makes the series feel incomplete when it technically isn't, just because those with a natural curiosity will continue to have questions.

Ultimately, I'm glad this show exists. I'm glad more people who are not chronically online will learn about what an asshole Dan Schneider is, and I hope he never works in TV again. This is currently streaming on Max, and is definitely worth your time. 


  1. My wife and younger daughter watched this over the weekend. There's a part of me that is curious, but there's also a part of me that feels like I don't really need to see it after talking with my wife about it.

    The sad thing is that none of this is unexpected.

    1. I think it's worth the watch but it's very heavy.

  2. I hope that fat fuck croaks right now as I don't buy his apology and I think he's full of shit. I can't believe that is the same fat fuck who I thought was cool in Better Off Dead in that prom scene but it turned he's a real fucking creep. I feel bad for all of those kids. I can understand if someone has a foot fetish but.... that fat fuck gave me the creeps. I do want to see this and fuck all of those fucking assholes who support Brian Peck. I believe Drake Bell! I'd put a camel clutch on them motherfuckers and make them humble like my boy Sheiky-Baby!

    1. Schneider's career should've been over years ago. His apology was definitely BS, he wasn't even asked any hard hitting questions.


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