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Exposing the “Dark Side of Kids TV”

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Exposing Dan Schneider & Brian Peck

“Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV” is a documentary taking the internet by storm. In it, the documentary’s directors uncovered the toxic and uncomfortable working conditions encountered by many child stars on the set of Dan Schneider’s Nickelodeon shows. 

Red flags are being raised with the “Quiet on Set” documentary having Drake Bell, a former child star, and many other people who walked on set with Schneider in it.

The Disturbing Behavior

Some of the more disturbing examples from the documentary were the inappropriate jokes intentionally made by Schneider. In the Nickelodeon show “All That,” actor Brian Hearne was one of the few Black cast members.

In “Quiet on Set,” Hearne expresses that he felt he was treated differently by Schneider and the adults on set in comparison to his white costars. He was typecast in roles such as a rapper and as someone selling cookies as a reference to drug dealing. “I was referred to as a piece of charcoal,” Hearne told People magazine.

Another case is with the actress Alexa Nikolas, who played Nicole on “Zoey 101”. “One of the most disturbing memories that I have would probably be the backpack episode.” she stated in “Quiet on Set”. In the backpack episode, Nikolas, alongside Jamie Lynn Spears, were trying out a new jelly candy that would squirt out of a plastic tube.

In the episode, Nikolas’s character causes the jelly to squirt in Spears’s face. She recalls that Dan Schneider was laughing hysterically, but she didn’t know why. Her co-stars were laughing as well, and they said that it implied a sexual joke.

“It wasn’t funny. It still isn’t funny to me. To be honest, it’s just like… that’s a kid.” Nikolas stated.

Some of the most noteworthy examples are the suggestive taglines at the end of every “Victorious” episode. The strange quotes include several references to sexual innuendos. These phrases were funny and made sense in the context of the episode they were used in, but said alone could be taken in an inappropriate way.

Who is Dan Schneider?

Dan Schneider, 58, is known for producing some of Nickelodeon’s most popular shows of the 2000’s. Those shows include “All That”, “The Amanda Show”, “Drake & Josh”, “Zoey 101”, “iCarly”, “Victorious”, “Sam & Cat”, “Henry Danger” and “Game Shakers.” He has since retired from television but has come out and shared his thoughts on “Quiet on Set” in an interview with BooG!e, who played T-Bo on iCarly. 

“Watching over the past two nights was very difficult, me facing my past behaviors, some of which are embarrassing and that I regret, and I definitely owe some people a pretty strong apology.” Schneider stated.

Cast members claim that he would use a shotgun to threaten his writers, make his female coworkers give him massages, burst out into fits of rage on set and sexually harass cast members.

Brian Peck and Drake Bell

Brian Peck, who played Pickle Boy on “The Amanda Show” was a dialogue coach for many kids on Nickelodeon and worked with Drake Bell of “The Amanda Show” and “Drake and Josh.” Peck demonstrated a lot of odd behaviors around Bell, as he tried “driving a wedge between him and his dad” by telling him that his dad was stealing his money and that nobody liked that his dad was on set, according to Bell.

“And coming from someone like Brian, I was believing it because he’s been in this business for so long, and he must know more than us,” Bell stated in “Quiet on Set.”

Later in the documentary, Peck emotionally recalls a time where he was taking a nap and woke to Peck sexually assaulting him. A while later, while at his then girlfriend’s house, Peck was continuously calling his cellphone, trying to get him to come to Disneyland with him. After multiple phone calls to both his phone and his girlfriend’s house phone, his girlfriend’s mom asked to speak with him. “A 40-something year old man does not call my daughter’s boyfriend like that,” the mother said.

Shortly after, he told his mom about the assault and the police got involved. He had to make a phone call to Brian, trying to get him to confess while being recorded. Peck was arrested in 2003 and was sentenced to 16 months in prison.

Today

Updates and new clips having to do with “Quiet of Set” and the inappropriate treatment of the kids reach the internet almost everyday, proving this news is strongly affecting the Gen-Z community, as most of them have grown up with these shows. “Since I watched all those shows in my childhood, learning about all the hidden secrets behind it really shocked me and I was really taken aback.” Nora Savage, a student at Montclair High said. 

Other stars who worked on Nickelodeon have shared their thoughts on the documentary. “It’s supposed to be a safe space, you know. It’s supposed to be a safe space for kids and, like, to hear all about that it’s just, like, how dare you.” said former Nickelodeon actor Kenan Thompson. Early 2000’s Nickelodeon was known as the “Golden Age” of youth television and comedy, but discovering what was really happening behind the scenes changed how people see children’s television today.

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About the Contributor
Isadora Suelto
Isadora Suelto, Staff Writer
Isadora (Izzy) Suelto is a freshman at Montclair High School, and she is also a staff writer for The Mountaineer. When she isn’t writing, she often spends her time swimming in LBI, playing volleyball on the MHS team or listening to music by her favorite artists, Lana Del Rey, Nicki Minaj and Tame Impala.

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