News broke last week (much to the chagrin and/or pleasure of ’90s kids) that Nickelodeon will be revitalizing – if you will – some of their most popular shows from the Snick At Night era and beyond. The series they’re eying in particular include cultural mainstays like The Rugrats, Hey Arnold and (for the whippersnappers) Victorious.
It’s easy to wax nostalgic about those shows and the yesteryears of kid’s television –They were good. They were really damn good. And really, who doesn’t love to reminisce about Clarissa and that kid who climbed through her window on a ladder unannounced (stalk, much?) or the creepy campfire stories from Are You Afraid of the Dark (spoiler alert – I was)?
Among the plethora of awesome programming, however, there are a few Nick classics that sometimes get forgotten. While a talking dog might not be best for a gritty reboot, these less popular shows definitely have the gusto for a second chance.
So, Russell Hicks, Mr. President of Content and Development at Nick, for your consideration….
Salute Your Shorts
The pre-Wet Hot summer camp show with a little more appropriately aged cast, Salute Your Shorts, which aired from 1991-1992, took you to Camp Anawanna and all of its summer joys, fart jokes and young romance. The characters (who were actual kids – unlike the Disney Channel’s heavy reliance on 25-year-olds to play preteens) had names like Donkeylips and Sponge, prime humor for a pre-adolescent audience. This show is perfect for a reboot. Kids may grow up, but summer camp will always remain the same. Awful waffle!
The Adventures of Pete & Pete
Who could forget good ol’ Wellsville and the two red-headed siblings with the same name? The Adventures of Pete & Pete followed the suburb shenanigans of Big and Little Pete, all narrated by the one who wasn’t Danny Tamberelli. A lot of what happened was far-fetched, and the characters were a bit weird and a little awkward, but so were you at 13.
Also, a stunning amount of famous faces made appearances during the show’s short three seasons. We’re talking Oscar winner J.K. Simmons and LL Cool J himself. If even half of the guest stars reprised their bit parts, a revamped Pete & Pete would be must-see television.
The Secret World of Alex Mack
You know you remember this show – the girl from 10 Things I Hate About You that LOVED her Prada backpack turned into a silver puddle at really inconvenient times. An accidental run-in with a chemical waste plant truck left her with some other weird side effects too: telekinesis, electricity zapping power, phosphorescence, you name it. The series, which ran from 1994-1998, followed Alex as she navigated the woes of teenagerdom (zits, melting, etc.) while hiding her shocking accidental abilities.
If people will pay to see things with sparkling vampires, I certainly think we can put a glowing 16-year-old back on the air.
100 Deeds for Eddie McDowd
The concept was a stretch – Eddie McDowd, a bully, gets turned into a dog for being an all-around jerk. He has to remain a tail-wagging butt-sniffer until he completes 100 good deeds. The dog can talk, but only to the last kid he picked on – so he’s reliant on him for help. Talk about a moral complex.
The biggest tragedy of 100‘s untimely cancellation was that the poor “pup” only completed 60 of his deeds. It’s been 13 years since the show last aired, so it’s safe to assume that Eddie lived out his doggy years and passed away before ever grabbing that high school diploma.
There is actually a current, popular song about Queens resident and sassy teen Latina Taina. Seriously – it’s called “I Like to Cha Cha” and some man named D.R.A.M. sings it. What further proof do you need of Taina‘s cultural relevance?
In this 2001 show, Taina and her friends went to the fictional Manhattan School of the Arts, so most of the episodes revolved around her dreaming of Hollywood and superstardom. Victorious has already nabbed the singing schoolkids show spot on Nick’s new lineup, but the show made 3LW, AKA Blye Mascara, famous (briefly) so it deserves some respect.
Ren & Stimpy
Before Seth MacFarlane even thought about drawing a maniacal talking baby, there was an odd, funny and a little disturbing cartoon for adults cleverly hidden among a kid in a green vest and his blue friend. Ren & Stimpy was so off-color (and sometimes borderline gross) the show’s staff had a bevy of run-ins with Nickelodeon’s standards and practices department. The show none-the-less ran for 52 episodes and got a short-lived reboot back in 2003 on Spike.
To refresh your memory, Ren was a slightly sadistic and endlessly miserable Chihuahua, and Stimpy was an overweight and unintelligent (yet lovable) cat. It was a love-hate friendship, and it was a fun one to watch.
So, Nick – third time’s the charm?
Action League Now!
Action League Now! traveled through both All That and Kablam! before finally being gifted its own show. The stop-motion project followed an unwitting group of action hero figures as they took on the many dangers of a suburban house (see: toilet bowls). Think Toy Story but less Disneyified. The motley cast of characters include a naked bodybuilder named The Flesh, the flying Thundergirl, a scuba diver Stinky Diver, Meltman (who couldn’t be left outside), The Chief and an actual golden retriever. Think a bootleg version of the Avengers – but they never seemed to accomplish much.
With Marvel’s current entertainment domination, don’t you kinda want some superheroes that are more G.I. Joe, less Norse god?
As Told By Ginger
As Told By Ginger had a theme song by Grammy-winner Macy Gray so you knew it meant business.
Student Ginger and her gang of nerdy friends navigate the cruel hallways of junior high and tackle teen heartache and weird step dads. The show was emotionally intelligent beyond its adolescent audience. When Ginger’s boyfriend broke up with her, he actually said “You’re Ginger, and you’re opinionated, and headstrong and wonderful.” I think my eighth grade boyfriend just changed his AIM status…
Ginger actually grew up , though, something a lot of cartoon characters never did, and her audience learned and went through life’s trials and tribulations right with her. Somewhere, there’s a preteen girl that’s embarrassed about her braces, and she needs Ginger to tell her the grass is greener on the other side.