Where Have All the Good Toons Gone?

The ‘90s marked the golden days of Nickelodeon cartoons

When I reflect back on my childhood, a pleasant memory that comes to mind is watching Nickelodeon cartoons back in the ‘90s.

In the past week, I’ve been in a nostalgic mood. I’ve been watching YouTube videos of Nickelodeon promos and the commercials. The ones that would run just before “All That” came on. “All That” was the original Saturday Night Live for kids and, I believe one, of the greatest shows of the ’90s, along with “The Amanda Show”, “Rugrats”, “The Angry Beavers” and many more.

Who can forget the catchy promo phrase “Nick, Nick, Nick, Nickelodeon!”? I sure can’t. Remember the green slime? Kenan and Kel and their orange soda? “Nick News with Linda Ellerbee” was my prime news source. Oh, and Melissa Joan Hart pre-“Sabrina the Teenage Witch” in “Clarissa Explains It All”.

Recently, a friend of mine and I were discussing how great ‘90s Nickelodeon television shows truly were. In our discussion, we pondered why the television shows and cartoons currently aired today are not as appealing or catchy as they were in the 1990s. One concept I’ve come to terms with is that many of the classic “Nicktoons” had an edge to them.

One show in particular that had edge along with humor and was absolutely a bit provocative at times was “Ren and Stimpy”, which aired on the Nickelodeon network from 1991-1996. I wonder if it was that show that opened up the door for future shows to display a bit of “toilet” humor and sexual innuendos. As a child watching a show that was primarily targeted for older audiences, I have to admit I was quite entertained by the derogatory, raunchy humor of the series.

The group of quirky animals in “Rocko’s Modern Life” is another classic. This is another great show embedded with sexual innuendos and odd, surreal moments. The writers and producers of these shows are certainly geniuses. No longer does Nickelodeon showcase animated comedy cartoons featuring characters with bizarre, witty qualities.

Then there was the cartoon that taught us about being caught up in a tough situation and helping people with real-life issues; I’m talking about “Hey Arnold!” which aired from 1996-2004. If you’re a ‘90s kid, you remember in the show Helga who constantly bullied Arnold because she was secretly in love with him. This proceeded to indicate that when someone referred to you as “football head”, they had a crush on you.

The television shows that are currently on Nickelodeon will never compare to those of the ‘90s. What happened to the golden days of Nickelodeon? Today’s “Danny Phantom” could never replace yesterday’s “Rocket Power.”

I suppose the reason for ceasing wonderful shows, including the well known “Double Dare 2000” on Nickelodeon GAS, could be due the fact that Nickelodeon Studios closed down on April 30, 2005. This signaled the end of what I could consider an “awesome” era of game shows, children sitcoms and cartoons.

In reference to “Boomerang”, the spinoff channel from Cartoon Network that featured many classic cartoon shows, I hope Nickelodeon will one day come out with a similar network featuring Nickelodeon cartoons of the ‘90s. I’d sure tune in to that.