Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Who Loves Orange Soda?

As a college student, I'm often caught between adulthood and my childhood. While my life at the moment revolves around my work, I'm also ridiculously proud of our couch, not only because it was found out in the alleyway (we took four bottles of disinfectant to it, no worries), but also because our couch cover is, well, see for yourself.

Power Rangers, bitchezzz.

But, I mean, who wouldn't?*

*P.S. - We also have a full-sized chalkboard and a sandwich de-cruster in the shape of a dinosaur. And an oscilloscope, but that's awesome for completely different reasons.

And one of my favorite avenues in the business of nostalgia is reminiscing about old children's television shows. For all you 20-somethings out there, don't try to tell me you haven't. Our generation was practically raised on the stuff. I couldn't even begin to count the number of conversations I've had with other people about our favorite Nicktoons or Cartoon Network or Disney Channel fare from back in the day. But A couple days ago, during such a conversation, I realized how vastly underrepresented many of these shows, equal in glory to their more mentioned counterparts, are in the collective memory of my fellows.

So, being the guy that I am, decided to compile a list of just a few of the many childhood shows who just don't get the love they deserve. You won't find any Rugrats, Spongebob, Powderpuff Girls, Fresh Prince, GUTS, Hey Arnold!, The Fairly Oddparents, Rocko's Modern Life, Doug, Arthur, Power Rangers, Legends of the Hidden Temple, As Told By Ginger, Full House, etc. on this list. Now, some of these may seem obvious to you (they sure do to me), but this is simply the list that I have compiled through thorough data compilation.

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Recess

One of the ultimate cartoon kid cartoon dream teams, they had all kid stereotypes covered in the best possible way. What really made this show shine was the secondary characters like the Diggers and Ashleys. And admittedly, I'd want to be taught by Ms. Groetke, hairy hippy legs and all.

T.J.: This whomps...




The Weekenders

Another solid crew of cartoon teens (with a sweet intro song - you know you danced to it), the Weekenders made you appreciate the friends you had. Or, if you didn't have any friends, then they were a pretty cool bunch to fake fill the void. Plus, lots of fourth wall-breaking moments, which is one of my faves.

Tish: Maybe you're confusing us with your imaginary friends.
[Tino turns to the camera and addresses the audience]
Tino: She thinks I have imaginary friends. Ha!




Dave the Barbarian

A show cancelled before it really got a chance to get off the ground, this show about a wussy barbarian and his family was chock-full of glorious puns, visual gags, and the occasional funny commentary. Heck, it even had a prety solid voice cast. But then Disney started overplaying the few episodes they had and it tanked after only a season.

Dave: But I don't wanna be a barbarian!
Fang: You did when you were ten!
Dave: Yes, but I thought it meant a librarian that also cuts hair.





Pepper Ann

Admittedly, there is a pretty tried and true method to having a decently popular children's cartoon show that's goes a little something like "Our audience is a bunch of awkward middle schoolers with nothing and no one to relate to aside from the giant zit forming on their collective greasy foreheads, so let's make a middle schooler who is even more awkward than they are." And Pepper Ann, Nicky, and Milo were quite the weird trio.

Nicky Little: For the last time, Pepper Ann, Paul from the Wonder Years is not Marilyn Manson.




The Adventures of Pete and Pete

One of my friends here at college actually owns the first two seasons of this show which, admittedly, is partially why he is my friend. But that's not important right now. Despite it's surreal plot lines and characters, Pete, his younger brother Pete, Ellen, Petunia, and the rest all found a way to capture the feelings of growing up. I think this show deserves a couple quotes:

Monica: I am so sick and tired of hearing lucky this and lucky that. Why don't you take your lucky necklace stuff it down your lucky mouth before I push you down this lucky hill and make you poop in your lucky underpants.

Older Pete Wrigley: Why is it that when you miss somebody so much that your heart is ready to disintegrate, you always hear the saddest song ever on the radio?

Bus Driver Stu Benedict: Carrot-top Judas... THOU HAST FORSAKEN ME!




Figure It Out

A fairly funny game show where Nick stars tried to guess some random and amazing fact about some random kid, like they collect all their boogers in a jar or are world-champion staring contesters. But, really, it is significant because it was the adolescent generation's introduction to the lovely former Olympian Summer Sanders. Mmmm...

Summer: Here’s what you guys have figured out after two rounds: still nothing. [reading the Answer Board] “BLANK BLANK On BLANK In BLANK.” And over here on the Clue Recap Board: “Has A Tail,” “Not A Cow.” Does that help you guys much?




Dexter's Lab

One of the original awesome Cartoon Network shows that just doesn't get the recognition that it should. Just had some great moments, like the episode where Dexter tries to learn French overnight by falling asleep to a tape recording and wakes up the next morning only being able to say the phrase "omelette du fromage." Also had a few pretty awesome shorts and was staffed by some crazy writers including Genndy Tartakovsky (Samurai Jack), Craig McCracken (Powerpuff Girls, Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends), Butch Hartman (The Fairly Oddparents and Danny Phantom), Rob Renzetti (My Life as a Teenage Robot), and Seth MacFarlane himself.

Dexter: [laughing] Dee Dee, I heard this great joke! Okay, here it goes: A physics professor and his assistant are working on liberating negatively-charged hydroxyl ions, when all of a sudden, the assistant says, "Wait, professor, what if the salicylic acids do not accept the hydroxyl ions?" And the professor responds, "That's no hydroxyl ion; that's my wife!"




Bobby's World

Ahhh, the pre-crazy bald germ-crazy days of Howie Mandel. It seems like so very long ago....

Uncle Ted Genetic: Hey Bob-O. You know what time it is?
Bobby Generic: Uh, noogie time?
Uncle Ted Genetic: You're right - it's *noogie* time!




Freakazoid

I re-watched both seasons of this show last semester, and I was blown away by the number of adult pop culture references mixed in with the juvenile delightfulness. It was one of those fantastic shows written by people who just couldn't live with themselves if they reigned in their obscure referencing/dirty minds just to make it a children's show.

Freakazoid: If this were an after-school special, ooh, you'd pay a bittersweet price for your little deceit, like getting big oily zits! Or eating off the same plate as David Lee Roth!




Angry Beavers

Hands down, right up there with Hey Arnold! as not only my favorite Nicktoon of all time, but one of my favorite shows period. I need a daily quota of spaz, and Dag and Norbie filled and surpassed it every single episode.

Daggett: ...I suffered an unexpected prolapse...
Norbert: You mean relapse.
Daggett: Work with me here.




Samurai Jack

Basically Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon badassery and kung-fuey-ness meets the future. Which, to me, means an auto epic win.




Salute Your Shorts

I remember more of the lyrics to this theme song (which may or may not be on my iPod) than I do about the show, but I do remember it being pretty funny. And the camp name being hard to spell.

Budnick: [everyone is singing the opening theme song] It makes me wanna fart.
Ug: [shouts] It's "I hope that we never part". Now get it right or pay the price.




Clarissa Explains it All

Oh Melissa Joan Hart. What happened to you? You rocked Clarissa, then you rocked Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Now you're starring in such far as Holiday in Handcuffs (1 AND 2). Maybe you should just revamp this old classic and go back to teaching foreigners that the preferred form of entry into other people's houses here in America is via ladder through the window.




HONORABLE MENTION:
Magic School Bus - Right up there with Bill Nye the Science guy in educational excellence.
Where on Earth is Carmen San Diego - Seriously, that ho had more frequent flyer miles than Han Solo.
Johnny Bravo - Hooah!
Kablam - You can't tell me you didn't love Action League Now! and Angela Anaconda....
Ed, Edd, n Eddy - Random, occasionally a little gross, but filled with lots of odd laughs.


And I don't want to hear your nonsense about what shows you miss from those early childhood days of yore.

....PSYCHE!

....If you didn't laugh at that, just talk to the hand, 'cuz the face ain't listenin'.

10 comments:

Kara said...

Ok, I'm a bit old for some of the shows you posted. I was well out of Nickelodeon and onto MTV by that point, but I did LOVE me some Pete and Pete and Salute Your Shorts. Also, for some of the other live-action Nick shows of that era, what about RoundHouse and Hey Dude that brought us people like Christine Taylor (who'd later marry Ben Stiller)? :)

Sadako said...

Loved these shows! And Kel loves orange soda. :)

Pat Tillett said...

And yet again, you've mangaged to make me old as dirt. I do know most of these shows because of my kids. I'm too old for them, but I admit to liking and watching most of them...

soft nonsense said...

@ Kara/Pat - If it makes you feel any better, I was probably too old for some of these shows too, so no worries.

@Kara - I never watched RoundHouse and only sort of remember Hey Dude, but Nick had a surprisingly awesome number of great live-action shows.

@Sadako - He does, he does, he DOOO-OOOEESSS.

(Is that the proper way to phoneticize that?)

soft nonsense said...

@ Pat - My dad is an unabashed lover of Spongebob, so you're certainly not alone.

Ambiguous Geek said...

I miss those shows. I had all the Carmen Sandiego computer games.

I had the hugest crush on Bobby when I was a kid. Oh Bobby's World.

The Illustrious D said...

Dexter was amazing.

Why did I just realize that Clarissa is dressed like a street walker? Explain that, biznitch.

Also, the last 'pre-crazy' day Howie Mandel was as a zygote. Canadian Truth.

Eleni said...

We never got cable, so I never watched anything from Disney Channel, Nickelodeon, or Cartoon Network :( I guess I was missing out on a lot of good stuff.

I might have seen a bit of Freakazoid here and there, but it was never a show I followed. And I didn't watch Where on Earth is Carmen San Diego much, but I was a regular Where in the World is Carmen San Diego viewer.

Aside from Ninja Turtles and various comic book character cartoons, I guess my favorite cartoon was Animaniacs. I can still sing the whole theme song.

Hey! Look Behind You! said...

Ohhh mannn. You just took me down a childhood land of happiness :)

soft nonsense said...

Geek - My main memories surrounding the computer games revolve around bonding time with my Dad and an ER visit for stitches. (Two totally unrelated experiences, by the way).

D - Because in the 90s, people did crazy, crazy things.

Eleni - And that's what the internets are for. Also, I know a guy who used the Animaniacs to remember all of the presidents, it was fairly epic.

Hey! - That was the end goal :)

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