Quiet on Set: Can We Still Nostalgia-Watch Old Nickelodeon Favorites Following Doc’s Shocking Revelations?

Spoilers

The curtain has been lifted, and the scene is grim.

Fans of Nickelodeon smash hits like All That, The Amanda Show, and Drake & Josh have been left reeling after learning that the shows that entertained us as children were shrouded in dark secrets.

At the center of it all is Drake Bell, the teen heartthrob turned troubled young adult whose devastating story was laid bare on Quiet on Set.

The chilling docuseries alleged years of abuse by Dan Schneider, the mastermind behind many of Nickelodeon’s most popular television shows aimed at children and teens.

It wasn’t just Dan — some of the most egregious allegations were aimed at the several (yes, several) convicted pedophiles who worked on those same shows.

Dan Schneider

There’s an overwhelming sense of guilt that comes along with the revelations from Quiet on Set.

As a millennial who grew up watching these Nickelodeon stars, it feels unfair that our childhood entertainment had to come at the expense of their well-being.

The heartbreaking abuse Drake Bell was subjected to at the hands of dialogue coach Brian Peck is bad enough. 

Add in the accounts from other cast and crew members from Schneider’s sets and the revelations from Jennette McCurdy’s memoir, and we’re left to ask ourselves:

Can we still watch and enjoy these old shows now that we know what these kids were going through while creating them?

Brian Peck

It’s not a new question. As any fan of Harry Potter, Johnny Depp, or Dr. Seuss can tell you, there is a long-standing ethical dilemma over whether separating the art from the artist is acceptable.

On one side of the argument is the idea that once it’s out in the world, art is a separate entity from its creator.

Others tend toward the belief that continuing to consume works put out by problematic people supports them while disrespecting the people or communities they’ve harmed.

Since it doesn’t seem that Drake or the other previous Nickelodeon stars receive residuals for the shows they were on, there’s little reason to think that rewatching those shows would benefit those who were victimized while working.

Victorious Cast Members

So where does that leave us? Millennials are the generation of nostalgia. We were the first adults to experience having fingertip access to any show, movie, or song from our childhood.

With countless streaming services like Netflix and Max, we can be transported back to 2002 in a heartbeat.

But now that we’ve seen Quiet on Set and we’ve read Jennette McCurdy’s I’m Glad My Mom Died, we’re starting to think it’s time to move on.

Maybe that’s a harsh line to draw. It feels necessary, though. How can we go back and see anything but the pain behind the scenes?

All That Cast Members

More importantly, continuing to nostalgia-watch shows like these would mean overlooking content that was never appropriate to begin with.

Quiet on Set opened our eyes to the absurdity of the sexual jokes Dan Schneider weaved into his scripts.

Let’s be real: there’s no good audience for Ariana Grande massaging a potato and asking it to “give up the juice” or hanging off a bed pouring water over herself.

Scenes like that clearly aren’t appropriate for kids — they certainly went over most of our heads when we were younger. And if they’re intended for adults, well, gross.

Ariana Grande Guest Judge - RuPaul's Drag Race Season 15 Episode 2

At this point, it’s hard to look back at any of it. Knowing what happened to Drake before Drake & Josh aired, how can we laugh at jokes he delivered through hidden pain?

Knowing the abuse that Schneider hurled at his cast and crew, how can we enjoy iCarly or The Amanda Show? The answer is: we can’t. Or at least, we shouldn’t.

Because of the nature of parasocial relationships, Drake Bell, Amanda Bynes, and Jennette McCurdy probably won’t know if we decide to excuse what they went through in the name of our entertainment.

But that doesn’t mean other people can’t see us if we give passes to their abusers as long as we’re getting something out of it.

Amanda Bynes Pic

At the end of the day, we can’t look past abuse just because something meant a lot to us in our childhoods.

Is it going to cause anyone harm if we curl up and binge-watch Drake & Josh on Netflix this weekend? Probably not.

But doing that means ignoring the fact that Drake Bell filmed every one of his scenes while processing trauma inflicted on him by a trusted adult.

Now that Drake has bravely shared his story with the world and other former Nickelodeon stars have spoken their truths as well, we know the lengths they’ve had to go to put their child star days behind them.

Kyle Sullivan from Nickelodeon Days

It’s time we do the same.

There’s one more thing we need to keep in mind in the wake of all we’ve learned.

Dan Schneider has seen Quiet on Set and says he’s sorry. Whether his victims choose to forgive him is up to them.

Under no circumstances should we accept his apology on their behalf, though. It’s not our place to decide that Schneider’s apologies are enough.

Giovonnnie Samuels

Investigation Discovery has announced that a fifth episode of Quiet on Set will be released on April 7th.

After what the first four installments revealed, we’re expecting more bombshells from stars like Drake Bell, who has been confirmed to be in the new episode.

We won’t be looking to old Nickelodeon shows to scratch the nostalgia itch, but you will find us tuning in to hear anything our favorite child stars want to tell us.

Haley Whitmire White is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. You can follow her on X.

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