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Questionable Things We Ignored In Sam And Cat

What happens when you take two popular Nickelodeon side characters and toss them into their own show? A whole lot of shenanigans, that's what. Riding high on the popularity of "iCarly" and "Victorious," the network decided to take Jennette McCurdy's Sam and Ariana Grande's Cat and mash them together for a new series called "Sam & Cat." While the series only lasted for a year and some change, the show put out 35 episodes starring the unlikely duo — and a patchwork show like "Sam & Cat" was bound to feature a hefty number of questionable things throughout its run.

After all, Sam's relationship with morals is so grey it's almost a black hole, while Cat's aloofness and impulsivity constantly lead her to make reckless choices. Throw in a babysitting service and an apartment all to themselves, and you've got yourself a slew of pretty yikes" plotlines. Between handing out with a middle-aged man, blackmailing a child into going on a date, enabling a young con artist, and kidnapping a celebrity, Sam and Cat get into a whole lot of situations that aren't exactly model behavior for the kids watching the show.

Where is the Victorious crew?

You'd barely know it from the series, but Cat still attends Hollywood Arts during "Sam & Cat." So, where the heck are Cat's Hollywood Arts friends, and how does she have so much time to babysit between required practices and performances? It's obvious why we don't see her OG crew from "Victorious": Most of the cast moved on. Yet even without physically getting actors like Victoria Justice and Avan Jogia to appear, the fact that Cat only mentions her friends less than a handful of times is just bizarre.

Outside of the appearance of Jade and Robbie in "#TheKillerTunaJump" and Sikowitz in "#MommaGoomer," it's almost like the universe set up in "Victorious" has ceased to exist. Cleverly, when we get a glimpse at Sikowitz' classroom, the core crew just happens to have their backs turned, facing the chalkboard for some strange acting exercise Sikowitz has cooked up, but that's about it. Cat performs only one show throughout the series, and even then, Ariana Grande's vocal talent is underutilized — despite the fact that when the show premiered in mid-2013, she had already started to rise as a pop star.

The series might have lasted longer if it leaned into what made "Victorious" such a success: frequent musical performances and a high school setting. It's clear why those things had to be limited, but at the very least, the show could have used them as a topic of discussion instead of pretending that they don't exist.

Peezy B serious

How many teenagers would give up a $1,200-a-week paycheck to hang out with a famous rapper? None, that's how many. In case, like Cat, math isn't your strong suit, that's almost a $60,000 annual salary — for a 16-year-old still in high school. It's pretty much a dream gig that pays more than many starting salaries even for people with a degree or two. So, it's a little hard to believe that Sam quits her cushy gig with rapper Peezy B to make pennies babysitting with Cat. She doesn't even like kids. Sure, she has fun and tolerates them on occasion, but for someone as jaded, calculating, and money-minded as Sam, pushing around Peezy as his overpaid assistant in "#PeezyB" seems like the dream gig.

However, this is Nickelodeon we're talking about, so of course, the power of love and friendship must rule the day. Sam and Cat take out their metaphoric friendship rings and push them together with the power of a million suns as Sam gives up financial security and the chance to make it big in the technical side of the music industry. It makes total sense, right?

Parenting fails

If you've ever babysat children, you've probably been through the whole parental vetting process, which can take ages. Understandably, parents usually want to get to know the person looking after their darling children — especially if their babysitter is a teenager. There's usually a lengthy get-to-know-you conversation followed by a list of dos and don'ts, with a side of thinly-veiled threats relayed with a smile like, "We'll know if you have someone over."

However, the parents that drop their kids off with Sam and Cat barely even bother with an intro before chucking their kids into the apartment, immediately fleeing the scene. To make matters worse, Sam has a significant juvenile record, and while that definitely doesn't mean she's a bad person, it's odd that not a single parent brings it up throughout the show. We see a child bring it up once, meaning it's not sealed. How has no parent worried about dropping their kids off with two teenagers who live alone and have a history of unlawful behavior?

Granted, kids' shows do tend to play up the "negligent adult" trope for comedy value, but sometimes they take it too far. When it becomes completely impossible to suspend disbelief, writers should probably rethink some plotlines and throw in a single instance where a parent actually acts like a parent.

All dolled up

Halloween episodes of sitcoms, especially in kids' shows, often defy their own in-universe rules (and the rules of reality itself) without explanation or resolution. Do ghosts suddenly exist now? Is magic real? Will we ever broach these topics again? Yes, yes, and no. In "#Dollsitting," the one and only Halloween episode of "Sam & Cat," things get super weird when a dad tasks the girls with babysitting his doll, er, child. Of course, at first, Mr. Drange just seems like an eccentric weirdo who probably needs a couple of new friends and hobbies. Yet as the episode continues, we start to wonder what's really going on when it appears that his doll Clarice carves a pumpkin and turns on the TV on her own.

So, what's really going on? After getting kicked out of a concert because Clarice allegedly keeps appearing at the band's shows, we meet creepy Mr. Drange again. This time, Cat insults him and questions the legitimacy of Clarice as his daughter. In response, naturally, he turns Clarice into a living, breathing human child.

How this could possibly happen is never addressed, nor do we see blatant magic performed at any other points in the show. But we're just supposed to accept that, sure — this creepy parent just did some magic to turn his daughter-doll into a human.

Sam and Cat kidnap a rock star

No matter their level of fame, when you kidnap and assault someone, there tends to be some pretty severe consequences. However, Sam and Cat don't get that memo when they kidnap a famous rock star named Del DeVille after unintentionally knocking him out in "#WeStealARockstar." Like most things in the show, the bit plays out for laughs, but it's too absurd to be believable.

Back at the apartment, Del is tied up on Sam's bed. The guy's a millionaire, yet the two teens are brash enough to keep him hostage. What is their endgame here? He's not going to forget they kidnapped him, and they're only going to make him madder by tying him up. Of course, like most issues on the show, things magically work themselves out, this time when Del hears Cat play a riff he wants to use in a song. She doesn't realize that she accidentally stole it from another artist, leaving Del with a $26 million lawsuit after she releases him in exchange for the tune.

Despite Del's fame and fortune, neither Sam nor Cat face repercussions for the kidnapping or the plagiarism suit. It's fairly reasonable to say that a millionaire probably has better lawyers than two teenagers, and he'd certainly go after them following the lawsuit if not the kidnapping. Obviously, Sam and Cat wouldn't be able to pay the millions in damages, which would likely lead to more time spent in juvie.

Mocking homelessness isn't funny

As a general rule, people probably shouldn't get their morals from a children's sitcom. However, these shows still have a responsibility to show real-life issues realistically and tastefully. Yet that's rarely the case, and we often see kids' shows use some pretty cringe-y plotlines to get cheap laughs — usually at the expense of disenfranchised groups of people. Take Herb, for example, the man with tattered clothes and a dirty appearance who's always hanging around.

Without saying it in so many words, it's abundantly clear that Herb is experiencing homelessness, despite him frequently repeating, "My life is going great." Instead of the characters helping him or offering him food, "Sam & Cat" teaches kids that it's okay to laugh at someone's hardships.

We're meant to laugh because Herb insists that he's wealthy when the show clearly depicts the contrary: He often makes up lies about expensive purchases, and we're supposed to chuckle at how transparent these fictions are. But nothing about his scenes are amusing. Herb's character arc could have been a great opportunity to tackle this subject in a positive light while teaching a lesson or two, but instead, the show teaches kids that people going through a hard time are fodder for mockery.

The cat's (not) out of the bag

Sure, the patented kid response to a parent asking, "How was your day?" is a disinterested "Fine." However, you might expect a few kids to regale their epic babysitting tales when their babysitters are as ... let's just say "eccentric" as Sam and Cat. Between enlisting a kid to steal furniture from the set of their favorite TV show and creating a full-on black market soda ring in their panic room, Sam and Cat's Super Rockin' Fun-Time Babysitting Service should be called Sam and Cat's Super-Fun Lawsuit Waiting to Happen.

Given the fact that Sam and Cat have looked after their fair share of nerdy narcs, there's no way at least one kid hasn't spilled the beans on their wild (and often illegal) extracurricular activities. Somehow, through all of their shenanigans, they've never gotten in trouble or fired for all of the shady things they've actually done in the company of their charges. The only time they get reamed out or fired happens as a result of fake reviews left by a competing babysitting service.

Don't tell the landlord

As a general sitcom rule, landlords care about two things: money and not getting sued. It would be moderately believable if Sam and Cat kept the guardian-less occupancy of their apartment a secret from their landlord, perhaps with fake IDs or forged signatures. However, their landlord knows that underaged girls live in the apartment without an adult, and he allows it to happen. Not only that, but Sam is notoriously late with rent. So what exactly is the benefit of Sam and Cat's tenancy that would make the landlord look past their age, irresponsibility, and shady shenanigans?

After Cat's grandma moves into a nursing home, any typical landlord would immediately evict Cat. The kind of lawsuit that could arise from underaged, unaccompanied kids running a babysitting service out of their apartment could cost their landlord an enormous amount of time, money, and legal fees. And given Sam and Cat's reckless babysitting techniques, it's only a matter of time. The complex is a posh establishment in LA, and the operator would have no trouble renting it to legal adults who aren't constantly late on their rent or causing explosions in the backyard. There's no draw for him in continuing to allow this.

The LA scalper

Cat is known for her paranoia, but it can go a bit far. In "#GettinWiggy," Cat is convinced that Dice's fiercest competition in a hair contest is wearing a wig. It doesn't seem like a stretch given how manipulative and shady stage moms can be, but Cat decides that the only way to uncover the truth is to whip the kid's wig off. The only problem? He's not actually wearing a wig.

Instead of de-wigging Jett Zander, Cat rips his hair from his scalp in chunks. But she doesn't take just one piece — she tears at Jett frantically until she essentially makes the kid bald. When he has to go in for immediate scalp surgery, things look pretty bad. This is assault and battery, folks. Cat may be a minor, but as a 16-year-old who just scalped an 11-year-old, her punishment would be more than a slap on the wrist.

Yet despite messing with this kid's career and potentially irreparably damaging his scalp, all she gets is a two-week stint in jail. She even has the chance to make bail, but Sam decides not to pick her up. Given that hair is this kid's livelihood, there's no way this wouldn't end up in court. She would be responsible for paying his missed salary and medical bills, and failing to do so would likely lead to more jail time.

Fresno Girl fraud

Forcibly offering up a child for a date is what all good babysitters do, right? In "#FresnoGirl," when a young babysitting charge named Kim lies about a good grade, Sam and Cat make good on their promise to get her a Fresno Girl doll — the in-universe equivalent of a pricey American Girl Doll – for earning a grade higher than a B+. They pull out all the stops for the doll in the price-gouging establishment, blowing more than they make babysitting the kid. Of course, their ire is understandable when they find Kim's real un-doctored test (with a much lower grade), but still ... not a reason to force a 10-year-old on a date against her wishes.

To get their derpy adult friend Goomer out of his own sticky situation, Sam and Cat force Kim to go out with a boy her age (who is holding Goomer hostage) in return for letting her keep her overpriced doll. How is this deeply uncomfortable scheme a plotline on a kids' show? It might not seem like a big deal for kids Kim's age watching the episode, but anyone old enough to ride the tall rollercoasters at Mystic Mountain will be mildly horrified at this development.

No Dice

Hey, kids! Want to learn how to be a con artist? If so, tune into "Sam & Cat" to learn from a wayward 12-year-old. Dice may be a pretty empathetic young kid, but he's also shaping himself up to be a full-on con artist with the help of babysitters extraordinaire Sam and Cat. The first time we meet Dice, he's attempting to sell the girls hats with misspelled states on them. He also has a disturbing number of connections with dealers of black market goods and always seems to have a slightly illegal trick up his sleeve when the group gets themselves on the wrong side of the law. This level of know-how is a bit disturbing to witness in a pre-teen.

With all of his shady back-door dealings and scams, Dice isn't exactly a stellar role model for kids watching the show, who may now be inspired to rip people off for a living. His name is Dice, for the love of all that's Nickelodeon. It's fairly safe to say that's not his given name, and for a nickname, it makes him sound like a regular at the local casino. Now there's a reboot idea.

Okay, Goomer

In what universe would a man in his 30s be allowed to hang around a pair of unrelated 16-year-old girls and a 12-year-old boy? Goomer's not their creepy uncle (though he does act like it), and he's not anyone's dad. He's simply an older man who spends most of his time with a couple of teenagers alone in their apartment. Granted, Goomer has the maturity and intelligence of a young child, and Dice serves as his wrestling manager, so he fits right in with their friend group — but his presence is just weird.

In a kids' show, it's probably not a good idea to position a random mid-30s man in the lives of young children as if it's normal or even desirable. Given that in the real world, there are unfortunately older men who try to take advantage of adolescents, we need to err on the side of stranger danger. At the very least, some of the adults in Sam, Cat, and Dice's lives should bother asking a few questions about why this man is always around. Even just depicting a bit of vetting from someone like Cat's grandma would go a long way in not normalizing the existence of this kind of shady friendship without adult approval. While Goomer might be harmless, it's uncomfortable nonetheless.

Baby rock climbing

Sam and Cat participate in their fair share of negligent activities with the kids they watch, but "#ToddlerClimbing" takes the cake. While Sam and Cat aren't technically the ones to start the underground betting ring of toddlers racing up a DIY rock climbing wall, they don't condemn it, either.

When Sam and Cat's babysitting service gets slammed with a slew of fake bad reviews, they discover that the smear campaign is the work of a competing babysitting company. They go on a sleuthing investigation with Dice and Cat's grandma in tow, only to discover that the other babysitters are racing toddlers on rock climbing walls for bets.

Instead of calling the police, Sam and Cat use the knowledge as leverage to make their competitors quit the babysitting game. Yet even after Sam and Cat take them down, they don't grab the babies from the wall — they continue cheering them on. How are they any better than the guys who set this shady situation up in the first place? The whole ordeal is reckless endangerment at best. Neither Sam nor Cat truly advocate against this risky behavior enough for the impressionable kids watching the show. If Sam and Cat are cool with it, why shouldn't they try something similar with their baby siblings?