Child acting: where innocence goes to die

XAVIER BOATNER
campus editor
xavier.boatner@my.tccd.edu

The docuseries ‘Quiet On Set: The Dark Side Of Kids TV’ is a cautionary tale about the tragic and traumatic world of child acting. 

Going into this, I didn’t know what to expect. I had heard in the past through cultural osmosis that there were weird happenings on the sets of certain childhood favorites like “iCarly,” “Drake and Josh” and “Victorious” to name a few, but I had no clue it was this bad. 

My expectations were to be informed but not mind-blown. But I was wrong. My mind was indeed – blown. My mouth agape for most of the series’ runtime.  

Were all these shows I watched as a kid this horrific behind the scenes? How!? None of the higher-ups saw any problem with this? How did this many child molesters end up on these sets?  

I know I’m moving at a mile a minute, but I can’t help it. There’s no easy way to explain how this docuseries made me feel. In times like this, a more structured approach is helpful, but like the series itself, perhaps the raw emotion and brisk pace is appropriate. 

The production value of the series is spot on. Everything feels so tense. It’s so composed. There’s a feeling of uneasiness that creeps its way throughout this whole series. It’s subtle, but it’s so effective in setting the stage for the implications, investigations, realizations and revelations the series has to offer. 

The information is well presented, and the actors present were well spoken. The pieces all fall into place to make something that’s destined to be watched in one sitting if you have even an inkling of interest in nostalgic Nickelodeon children’s programming. 

The series highlights the vile misconduct that happened on the sets of the aforementioned shows, among many others. It’s an enlightening watch for sure, but I imagine it could be difficult for some to sit through. 

Talks of child endangerment, sexual harassment, gender discrimination, racial discrimination and child molestation are present. It’s a shocking and close examination of how child acting can leave said children scarred – both physically and emotionally. 

It won’t be for everyone, but again, if you have even an inkling of interest in the industry of child acting or Nickelodeon shows like “Sam and Cat,” “The Amanda Show” or “All That,” then you owe it to yourself to check this out. 

It’s an absolutely enlightening watch that made me, as someone who grew watching many of these shows, take a step back and gasp out loud, reel back in disgust and discomfort and made say “How did they get away with that?” or alternatively, “Why did they do that?” 

It was a rollercoaster from start to finish and it’s the raw, unfiltered look at the evil of the child acting industry that the world needs to hear.