90's Nick, Where Kids Rule!

I like my butt. I especially like sitting on it. And that's exactly what Nickelodeon made me do to it in the 90s. Sit down and take a trip through the weirdest blacktop spin LSD roller coaster of a television lineup in history, and that was Nick in the 80s. Don't get me wrong, there were some turds in the punch bowl. If Nick Reboot is any guide, not every show was as great as those we remember, but still, it was damn good punch, even with the turds. And if it wasn't all great, that's what Cartoon Network was for.

I recently heard someone criticizing shows like iCarly for all the perversity, and it got me thinking, "when wasn't Nickelodeon perverse?" You're talking about a network that got its start with dumping green slime onto unsuspecting kids who said "I don't know.' This is the network that has brought us the surreal, sick depravity of Ren and Stimpy and Invader Zim, the gross-out splashes of Double Dare and You Can't Do That On Television, the trippy post-modernist double-entendres of Rocko's Modern Life and Adventures of Pete and Pete, the subversive goofyness of Salute Your Shorts and All That, all the bizarre claymation, the existence of puppets of any kind, and all those other assorted surreal clips, shorts, and bumpers where giant orange balls leveled cities and boys turned inside out.

Nick has gone to the teenage girls for sure, but at one time, it was known as the television network for kids that kids actually liked to watch--all the dirt, guts, and grass stains included. If the 80's showed us a Nick that was more about kids watching the world of adults through the travels of a pinball, in shows like Lights Camera Action and Mr. Wizard, mixed in with kiddy sock-puppet shows, the 90's showed us a Nick of slimy, grimy, kooky craziness where kids ruled and adults could take a hike. And you know what? Both still sound awesome. And it wasn't so cut out like that, because the 80's had the early beginnings of what would be the 90's in You Can't Do That on Television, and the 90's had lingering traits of the 80's in shows like Nick News.

The only period where Nick could have been classed as "moralistic" would be the late 80's and early 90's when all those foreign cartoons were filling up the morning slots, like the Lit'l Bits, Maya the Bee, and David the Gnome, and they were great too. At one time, Nick had something for everyone: the kiddies who liked the soft-lined musical sweetening of the foreign cartoons and puppetry weirdness, the older kids who liked the subversive guts-filled, surreal, anti-PC "kid's rule" middle-finger at the yawn-fest of "social graces," and the teens who were just into looking cool and getting their way past their clueless parents (Clarissa Explains it All). Girls were always tough and smart, boys were always goofy and slick, little brothers were dorks, big brothers were buttheads, and sisters were just evil and proud of it.

It was an age where the silly gelled pretty easy with the crazy, the absurd, the downright nasty, and even (at times) the educational, but it was always perverse--because a half hour before the archeology fun of Legends of the Hidden Temple it'd be Wild and Crazy Kids, where kids were sure to be competing to fill a bucket with slime after sitting in a pool of it with a sponge strapped to their butts. Perverseitude is their trademark.

5 comments:

  1. 90s Nick = <3.
    Still and always will love it! ^_^

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    1. 90s Nick was awesome, and nowadays it is nothing special, or perhaps only has two good shows. That sounds like an "old-timer" kind of thing to say, but comparing what they had then to what they have now (where they don't even animate or film their own shows at their own studios)... it's true. On the other hand, Cartoon Network still has a few fun kids shows.

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    2. Can you believe their studio got bought out as a studio for the Blue Man Group?! O_O

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    3. Yeah it was pretty sad. They even had to move the 1992 "time capsule" that wasn't supposed to be moved for like 50 years.

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  2. Not gonna lie, I'm a 90's kid who thinks iCarly was pretty damn funny. But anyone who criticized that show for being inappropriate clearly had never seen even a 1:00 long clip of Ren and Stimpy.

    And of course there's the infamous "carpet eating" episode of Cow and Chicken...

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