As the title implies, you may want to find an orange couch to sit on for this one; though any couch or chair will do. Either way, tonight I’m talking about SNICK! Saturday Night Nickelodeon of the 90s.
In my opinion, this was the era when kids’ TV was at it’s best; and no place was better for quality programming than Nickelodeon.
I KNOW a lot of you will remember this, but I’m going to go over the original line-up (1992), show by show, to really highlight the greatness.
1.) CLARISSA EXPLAINS IT ALL
Clarissa Explains it All starred Melissa Joan Hart as a young teenager. She was a funky-outfit-wearing, witty, take-no-shit-from-anybody, free spirit – and she was totally awesome. I’m not gonna lie – I wanted to BE Clarissa at the time. And don’t you other 90s girls try to deny your admiration for her as well. She was one of the first independent girls to be the star in a show of this kind, and her best friend was a BOY ::gasp:: named Sam, who lived next door to her. The show was almost like a video journal (for lack of a better comparison) where Clarissa would tell us about her day-to-day activities, bitch about things that most teens bitch about, and show us the many ways that she’d harass her brother, Ferguson. My favorite episode was one where Clarissa’s Aunt came to visit, and in an attempt to scare her away, Clarissa convinces her that their house is haunted. She even goes so far as to perform a seance to contact her deceased Uncle. That was good shit :-)
Roundhouse was a music variety show, and quite honestly, it was one of those shows that I merely sat through and passively watched while waiting for the next show to come on; so I don’t remember all that much of it. What I do remember, though, is this one character who dressed up like an older man and rode around on a motorized la-z-boy recliner. I thought that was pretty sweet. I wish I had one of those. It would make retrieving my Rockstar Energy Drinks much less tedious while I’m busy writing. All in all, the music and dancing were entertaining, but I was far too excited for the next two shows to start, so we’re moving on…
3.) THE REN AND STIMPY SHOW
Hands down, one of my favorite shows as a child… Which probably explains a lot about who I am today… You take an ill-tempered chihuahua and force him to live with an absolutely moronic cat, and BOOM! Quality cartoon material achieved. Who could forget Ren’s famous catchphrase “You EEEDIOT!” shouted angrily whenever Stimpy would perform his usual stupid antics. Plus, you had recurring minor characters like Powdered Toast Man and Mr. Horse (“No, Sir! I don’t like it!”) The show was raunchy, oftentimes disturbing, and actually pretty inappropriate for children’s programming. Shit, what more could you ask for? Plus, it came complete with catchy jingles. Everyone who watched this show can still sing “Happy-Happy, Joy-Joy” and “LOG” from memory. Revisiting all of this has gotten me pretty hell-bent on watching some Ren and Stimpy on Netflix tonight. “JOOOOYYY!!!”
4.) ARE YOU AFRAID OF THE DARK?
Another favorite of mine. I actually own the series on DVD and still watch it from time to time. “Are You Afraid of the Dark?” was a horror series for kids. Each episode began with the main characters (dubbed “the midnight society”) meeting up around a campfire; and each episode, a different character would tell a story that would serve as the premise for that episode. It was alarmingly frightening for a kids’ show. I went to bed most nights after watching it with the lights on and my eyes forced open until I eventually passed out. One episode in particular scared me the most: “The Tale of the Frozen Ghost.” It was about a child-ghost who would haunt the small, rural neighborhood in which he died; wearing a light blue night-shirt, looking all dead, and creepily uttering “I’m cold…” to any live person he encountered. Turns out the kid froze to death after running outside on a winter’s night to hide from some burglars that broke into his house. This episode had a happy ending… They found the ghost-kid’s coat so he could cross over into the afterlife or whatever. Not all episodes of the show ended so nicely though… And those were the nights where I would not only go to bed with lights on and eyes wide open, but I’d have minor panic attacks about the possibility of being taken by aliens or having a witch doctor come after me in the night.
To sum it all up, these were great shows, and you don’t find many like them today. It seems at some point, children’s media decided to focus more on education than entertainment, and things have gotten all “politically correct” and just overall full of SHIT…(I am Embry Indelicato, and I have approved this message)…. So if you’re a 90s kid like me, please feel free to share your memories / opinions / rage / love concerning this topic. I would love to hear from my readers, and I’m always ready to frolic down memory lane.