Should You Watch “Quiet on Set: The Dark Side Of Kids TV”? (It Made Me Mad) Ep 1 Review

by Mimi Robinson

I was so unprepared for what I heard and saw when I turned on my TV to sit down and watch episode 1 of “Quiet on Set: The Dark Side Of Kids TV” … and I do not want that for you.

Now streaming on MAX, this docuseries is for the 90s and 2000s babies, now adults, who were fans of the Nickelodeon shows that aired during that time. This is not for your kids.

And I’m not going to lie … this might ruin your childhood.

Things are often not what they seem and “Quiet On Set” busts that theory wide open. So if you have children who work in television or dream of your children working in the industry, this is a must-watch for you. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200! Watch this!

Here’s a quick review, and everything you need to know before starting the series.

Quiet On Set Episode 1 Review

quiet on set episode 1 review

Spoiler Alert – If you haven’t seen “Quiet On Set” episode 1 yet, this review will spoil things a bit. But it’s needed to explain why you may (or may not) need to watch this.

So you can totally read this. Unless you loathe all kinds of spoilers. In that case, bookmark this joint and wait until you’ve seen the episode.

“Quiet on Set: The Dark Side Of Kids TV” will make you mad! You’ll hear from cast members, their parents, those who worked behind the scenes, and other Nickoloden staff. But first …

Here’s what you’ll need before you start “Quiet On Set” episode 1 …

  • An empty room to watch this in (kick the kids out)
  • A snack that brings you joy
  • Ginger ale to settle your stomach
  • Peppermint to calm the anxiety
  • Someone to unpack the episode with (and)
  • A therapy appointment, because girl what!

And if you’re watching “Quiet On Set” with kids …

Don’t. My daughter is 12 years old and I would not want her to watch this.

BUT … if you must … you’ll need to talk to them first!

Don’t just let them watch this first and then discuss it later. No, no.

  • Have a conversation with them about sexual assault
  • Talk about good touch and bad touch
  • Discuss how some people in your life can be toxic and unsafe for them to be around
  • Explain the importance of not keeping secrets (especially if someone touches you inappropriately or makes you feel uncomfortable)

Now that we’ve set some ground rules for watching episode 1, here’s my quick review.

“Quiet On Set” will make you mad …

quiet on set the dark side of kids TV will make you mad Giovonnie Samuels
Photo Credit: Amy Graves/WireImage; Giovonnie Samuels/ Instagram
Cast member of All That and Nia Moseby in The Suite Life of Zack & Cody

This docuseries investigates the abuse Nickelodeon child actors and actresses experienced from the adults they were expected to trust. And I was exhausted just from watching episode 1. So I will not be watching the rest of this series.

If you have any unresolved childhood trauma, especially around sexual assault this might be triggering for you. And if you watched these shows (as a kid) you most likely fell in love with some of the characters. You had your favorites, and you revered them in such a way.

However, “Quiet On Set” isn’t focused on the Nickelodeon characters we grew to love …

It’s focused on the American television producer, and screenwriter Dan Schneider. He created and produced a lot of the shows discussed.

Looking back on the scenes, the shows were so cringe. They pointed out a lot of sexual references embedded in the shows — including a scene where Ariana Grande who played Cat Valentine on “Victorious” and its spinoff “Sam & Cat” simulates a handjob on a potato. They talk about Penelope Taint, a character they created for the Amanda show, and … yeah.

But here’s what really pissed me off …

How did this fat white man get a pass for being a monster to his staff, being sexually inappropriate with the ladies, creating sexually suggestive content for children, and being inappropriate with the kids?

Let’s be clear if he wasn’t white or fat my feelings for him wouldn’t change.

However, what he looks like is what some folk deem “safe”.  But, safe doesn’t have a look, color, or size. So NOBODY should get a pass. Lock his tail up!

Of course, not everything is about sexual assault.

The show also discusses the toxic work environment they all experienced. Dan had a funny/silly way about him, but he also had a volatile side that could turn on at any moment. And if he didn’t like you, he would come for you.

Comedian writers Christy Stratton, and Jenny Kilgen were also the only two women writers on the show. And their stories will blow your mind! We are still fighting for equal pay, and most of us have experienced gender disparities in the workplace, but you’ll see it play out in the show.

And since the show’s release, a few actors/actresses have spoken out on Instagram …

Raquel Lee Bolleau quiet on set the dark side of kids TV
Photo Credit: Raquel Lee Bolleau. Nickelodeon/Everett; Tommaso Boddi/Getty

Raquel Lee Bolleau (pictured above) was a cast member of season 1 of “The Amanda Show” and appeared in 14 episodes.

She has since posted on social media to say “To know that I am not alone in some of the things I experienced as a child actor, but to also hear the types of environments I was in as a kid without even knowing, just sickens my stomach. I know that everything happens for a reason and we all deserve to heal from our trauma, but this is so hard to take in.

Actor Leon Frierson quiet on set the dark side of kids TV
Photo Credit: Nickelodeon/Paramount+; Leon Frierson/ Instagram

Leon Frierson was a cast member of “All That” and appeared in 34 episodes.

In the docuseries, you see him in a costume that resembles male genitalia. He talks about how he had to wear a lot of leotards and felt exposed and uncomfortable in his growing body. He shared a bit more of that experience here on social media.

Throughout the episode, the cast and parents spoke about not feeling comfortable voicing their concerns for fear of retaliation. A lot of them were up-and-coming and didn’t want to be blacklisted in the industry. It is a slippery slope, but as parents, we try to do what we think is best at any given moment with the tools we have and hope that it’s the right decision.

But if you need a bright spot …

If you are someone who needs a bright spot in everything I would say this show is a cautionary tale. While it is about the television industry these things happen in all industries.

So learn from them, educate yourself and those around you.

While the topic is heavy it is nice to see some of our old favorites all grown up and finally being in a space to share their truth. I hope this brings them some level of peace.

“Quiet on Set: The Dark Side Of Kids TV” dropped on Investigation Discovery (ID) on Sunday, March 17th, and is now streaming on Max.

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