Millennials and Gen Z are reacting to ‘disgusting’ Nickelodeon exposé doc ‘Quiet on Set’

Stills from TikTok about 'quiet on set'

Now that all four episodes of Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV are available in full on streaming, millennial and Gen Z viewers—many of whom now have kids of their own—are understandably disturbed by the way child stars on their favorite Nickelodeon shows were treated.

ICYMI, the documentary chronicles things that went on behind the scenes of the network’s most popular programming from the ‘90s and 2000s, including The Amanda Show, Drake & Josh, Zoey 101, iCarly, Victorious, and Sam & Cat. At the center is creator Dan Schneider, a producer was at the helm of these series and who is largely responsible for catapulting former child stars like Amanda Bynes, Ariana Grande, Kenan Thompson, Victoria Justice, Miranda Cosgrove, Jennette McCurdy, and others to stardom.

There have been allegations of misconduct against Schneider and other higher-ups at the network swirling around the internet for years, all of which Schneider has denied. He parted ways with Nickelodeon in 2018.

Among the more disturbing content featured in the doc: skits played for humor featuring young actors in suggestive or thinly veiled sexual scenarios, as well as the story of two men on set who were later on convicted of sexual abuse against minors. The two men—former production assistant Jason Michael Handy and former dialogue coach Brian Peck—were charged and sentenced, each with two counts of abuse against minors. One of Peck’s previously unnamed victims, Drake Bell, comes forward in the series to tell his story. Bell himself later pled guilty to inappropriate conduct with a child in 2021 for allegations that stemmed from 2017.

Of course, the doc is raising so many questions for viewers, most of whom grew up on Nickelodeon’s shows and never realized the nature of the content. Plenty are taking to TikTok to share their thoughts.

Quiet on Set has broken me,” wrote one person. “Why did the adults not do something?? These poor kids!!! Nickelodeon needs to answer for their complicity!!!”

“I really never liked those kind of shows way back then,” commented another, adding, “I never understood it and the vibe felt like I was watching something for adults….”

Others feel guilt for enjoying these shows without understanding what was going on behind the scenes, though of course it’s exclusively the fault of the adults who betrayed the trust and safety of kids and those who knew and didn’t put a stop to it. “It kills me that I was a child and I watched this with glee and now I’m 30… and I’m so sorry to all the victims,” wrote one commenter. “I’m so so so so sorry.”

Here’s hoping that any victim of child sexual abuse—whether featured on the show or whose stories haven’t been told—are able to find healing and safety and aren’t further harmed by having this documentary out there. It seems like adults fail so many child stars so spectacularly all in the name of making money, and it’s horrific, to say the least.