There’s something sweetly reassuring about television characters who are strong enough to outlast the shows for which they were created, especially if they are teenagers.
It doesn’t happen often, but it works well on Nickelodeon’s latest comedy, “Sam & Cat,” airing Saturdays. Stars Jennette McCurdy (Sam from “iCarly”) and Ariana Grande (Cat from “Victorious”) have the same personalities as they did on the other shows.
Sam is brazen, tough, independent and with a bottomless cast-iron stomach. She’s abrasive yet likable.
“Cat is a little like a little gumdrop, a little jellybean,” Kris Dangl, the show’s costume designer who also worked on the earlier shows, tells Zap2it. “She is not like the little fairy she was on ‘Victorious.’ She is real grounded on the earth but still a gumdrop.”
Though the show is careful to not give their ages, Sam rides a motorcycle and has a sanitized yet funky biker mojo about her.
Both characters always wear camis. “I use camis like a second bra,” Dangl says. “It is a modesty thing, a great thing. We are so blessed that we live in the age of the cotton/Lycra blend.”
Here, Sam wears Frankie B. jeans. “They are wonderful, and they have the cotton/Lycra blend,” Dangl says. “They’re great because they’re shredded without being holey and worn, without being sloppy and terrible looking.”
“It is all about romantic and girlie girl, in a very Audrey Hepburn, very 1950s way,” Dangl says. “A little cotton dress, with heels it’s a party dress; wear sneakers and it’s an everyday dress. And I love letting girls know you can wear dresses and be feminine and be everyday.” She tops it with a J. Crew cashmere cardigan, which Dangl says “fits like a little dream.”
Dangl loves dyeing materials, so this T-shirt started life black. “I don’t think brown is very funny,” she says. “I think brown is an adult color. She is wearing a lot of T-shirts with fierce animals.”
“I love an arm full of bracelets,” Dangl says. “And I like them to be soft so they don’t clank. I rarely use a bangle.” Sam wears Freebird or Steve Madden boots, which give her a little more swagger.
This sweet embroidered dress from Abercrombie was originally white, but Dangl dyed it. Sharp-eyed viewers of “Victorious” will recall the backpack. “We kept certain things consistent with the characters from other shows.” She keeps Cat’s shoes simple — flats or sneakers.
Dangl, who has designed for Nickelodeon shows for years, says her goal is for characters to look as if they are “able to wake up in the morning and get dressed for school and whatever they were doing after school, and whatever it is they will get through the day and be cute. We are also blessed that we live in the age of ballet flats.”