“Quiet on Set”: Exposing the Dark Side of Nickelodeon

“Quiet on Set”: Exposing the Dark Side of Nickelodeon

Growing up in the early 2000s, shows like Drake and Josh, Spongebob Squarepants & Kenan and Kel defined the humor of my generation. Nickelodeon was the channel you turned on when you were looking for something edgier than the family friendly Disney hits of old like Boy meets World and Hannah Montana. For a young boy, there comes a time when you decide to put the juice box down and start thinking girls might not have cuties, or you continue to watch Disney….. And we all know how those guys turn out…….

Dylan Mulvaney Partnership with Bud Light

Although Dylan Mulvaney acts like he was a disgruntled childhood T.V. star, his mental challenges don’t come from years of abuse behind the scenes…. he’s just f*cked up. 

Time and time again we see childhood stars spiral downhill once they hit puberty and their innocent looks get warped by the combination of hormones and questionably abusive drug usage. However, maybe there is more going on behind the curtain than just middle-aged media executives enabling young children to make damaging decisions.

Photo of Miley Cyrus from her music video "Wrecking Ball"

Recently, a new docuseries has taken social media by storm, highlighting the darker side of children's entertainment. Dan Schneider, the showrunner for Nickelodeon during its golden years, was responsible for Zoey 101, The Amanda Show and iCarly….. first off ...nobody thought a grown man successfully appealing to teen girls was a red flag? 

Well, the documentary exposes Dan Schenider for putting child actors in subtextually sexual sketches. For example, child actor Leon Frierson wore a skintight superhero costume with prosthetic noses on the shoulders. The punchline of the sketch resulted in the nose-y superhero shooting snot at someone else in a move described by journalist Scaachi Koul as “a cumshot joke for children”. This trend continued on The Amanda Show, Schneider’s next production, which included having lead actress Amanda Bynes portray a character called “Penelope Taint.” According to Amanda Show writers, they were told to lie about the anatomical meaning of the word “taint” to Nickelodeon executives. Quiet on Set also cites a sketch in which a fully clothed Schneider sits in a hot tub with a young, swimsuit clad Bynes as indicative of Schneider’s inappropriate humor and the close relationship between Schneider and the young star. 

Photo of then underage Amanda Bynes with Producer Dan Schneider

Obviously, Dan Schneider is a total creep and this behavior is unacceptable, but there is way more to this story than just perverse screenwriting. The docuseries takes an even darker turn when Drake Bell gets in front of the camera, and starts to share his sexual abuse from Brian Peck, the then dialogue coach for Drake Bell. Peck was convicted in 2004 of lewd acts with a child and oral copulation of a person under 16 years old. At the time, court documents sealed the name to protect the young Drake Bell, but now he is stepping out of his comfort zone, and sharing his story. I do not feel comfortable sharing his personal story here, so I advise anyone wanting to listen to the horrific details to watch the series.