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My personal experience with Nickelodeon over the years

 
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IceDragon
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2016 11:38 am    Post subject: My personal experience with Nickelodeon over the years Reply with quote

Before I go into further detail, allow me to explain something: Nickelodeon wasn't the first network I have ever fell in love with nor was the first one I have ever got a chance of seeing. But it was indeed the one that left the most permanent impression on me... it just had to be, because I can't recall even a single cartoon nor show they had during the time I had it available as part of my cable provider that I didn't like... and that's definitely saying something.

Even as a young age (starting when I was six) I could tell that the characters were always very relatable and the storylines weren't eager to treat me like a fool, even though they never went as far as to have commentary on them. And that's precisely the case: Nickelodeon used to produce shows that confronted the main stars with problems that actually challenged them, rather than having them solving their problems without moving a finger of just because of some random plot point... and that made them all the more engaging for me.

How many times did things go south for Arnold or Doug? Exactly, they were pretty much punchbags for their writing staffs, but they didn't go out of their way to make them extremely miserable (I guess that Ren and Stimpy had monopoly on that one) and there was always something to learn from the episodes. For me, Nick was Disney without the sugarcoated junk and that was precisely what made it worthwhile.

Even though I liked the cartoons, the live action shows weren't a bad deal either (in fact, Nick's live action programming was the first one I have ever watched). Finishing homework to see either Pete or Pete or Clarissa Explains It All was a must-do for every day I faced and the laughs and memories are going to be there for a long time. Unfortunately, I didn't really have the channel available when Kenan and Kel became a thing, but I got a second chance at it later, and anyway, I had already experienced what a 48 hours (effectively an all-weekend) marathon of Are you Afraid of the Dark? felt like and that was unbeatable. See? That's the thing, Nickelodeon wasn't afraid of pulling off tricks like those and we were all the more grateful that they did.

The last thing that I want to say on the live-action department (which turned out to be longer than I expected it to be) is that no-other game show I have seen since has matched the charm and/or excitement provided by Legends of the Hidden Temple. Its colorful and kind of shady atmosphere caught my eye throughout all the episodes and I couldn't stop watching the show (even on re-runs) for years to come. Truly a testimony of its value.

But going back to cartoons, I'm amazed at how well I can remember things like Ahhhh! Real Monsters! despite the fact that it was pulled from the air very soon on my area. Years and experience would provide answers to all those jokes I didn't really get during the times of many of those shows and specially during Rocko's Modern Life era (jaw-drop included). And even during the awkward times of jokes flying right over my head, I was so in love with the channel that I even got some true enjoyment out of things that weren't even intended for me, like Gullah-Gullah Island.

Unfortunately (and pretty much exactly like what happened with Slam Dunk!) our paths were parted soon due to my family changing cable providers (because the one we had up to that point was incredibly faulty and unreliable). I believe I was like seven at the time (if that old) and I honestly took it as a personal tragedy... it is funny how our minds tended to work back then, but that's how I felt. That was indeed the last time I was able to experience Nickelodeon at its purest and fullest and, even though the CN era was reaching its top and channels like Fox Kids and Magic Kids were putting out a non-stopping wave of great content, it wasn't easy to find "replacements" to all those shows that I used to love.

Over a decade later (or so) I was hanging out at a friend's house when we stumbled across that orange logo with incredulity painted all over our faces. I knew that he had the same cable provider as I did (and the fact that that day was fist of the month only mystified us further... we honestly thought that they were only showing the signal as a one-off kinda deal). When I got home that same night, I rushed to the stairs to inform my sister and I stood guard in front of the screen to see which of my all-time faves withstood the test of time. It just took me one second, but I realized that it wasn't the same anymore.

The first show I have ever watched on the "new" Nick was Rocket Power (I can even remember the episode... the one in which Reggie has to partake in a triathlon and Otto and Twister covered for her because the three got in trouble the night before) and I really did like it, but it couldn't help but thinking that it looked overly-friendly for some reason. The characters were likable and all, but they were no longer relatable (unless you were some kind of miracle sports master, which most of us weren't) and the fact that they spent large chunks of the episodes saying cool stuff and doing cool stuff only made the gap grow bigger.


Then there was The Wild Thornberries, which I never actually liked (making it the first show on that network to earn such a distinction for me) and after that, there was CatDog (weird, but cool and it behaved a ton like Rocko's Modern Life in its wickedness). Then there was stuff like Ginger, which I honestly consider to be one of the greatest animated shows that I have ever seen, but it all felt like a miss-match.


My Life as a Teenage Robot, Danny Phantom... it was all great, but by the time those showed up, the channel had already changed so much (and a lot of people agree that it was for the worst) that many of those shows didn't even had a fair chance to prove their value. The fact that they even changed their name and logo only served as a visual reminder of the downfall. But the thing didn't turn hysterical until we found out that they cancelled Invader Zim because it was "too dark" (are you kidding me?) or that they started to air shows that weren't on-par with the channel's historical quality: who took an honest look at things like Wayside School, The X Family, Captain Flamingo, Phrankencat, Fanboy and Chum-Chum and Rugrats: All Grown Up and thought that they were ok to be aired?

The worst thing about that is that honestly good shows (of course your millage might vary) got caught in the middle and were pretty much murdered because of this chaotic scheduling. Catscratch lasted only a handful of episodes and so did Kappa Mikey and Jimmy Two Shoes (they didn't even bothered showing the entire thing, calling it quits mid-season). It seems to me that they were trying to live off the success of Spongebob and not even trying to match it with other animated shows, but instead they were surrounding it with "things" to play in between episodes, that's how it felt. When the final episode of Danny Phantom was aired, it was the silent end of an era for me: never would I purposelessly tune in that channel again.

Only the existence of Avatar: The Last Airbender kept me from dropping everything, but that was way after that decision I made and I was only aware of the show because of the internet (and it's a shame, because it truly was a masterpiece). Things like "Nick Hits" and "Nick at Night" were also enough to make me turn my head, but they were also mismanaged beyond believe and their lives were completely shortened because of it. It didn't really matter, though, because by that time the transition to a "teen-centered" channel had already been completed (with shows lasting one season and being demolished by the critics) and I realized that I was no longer welcomed to watch it. It could have been a sad end, but they recently put out a cartoon called The Loud House which I honestly adore and I think that Nick might be recovering from this eternal downfall after all... I mean, they have already put out another good cartoon called Harvey Beaks and they are always trying to improve on the area that made them famous in the first place (yes, even that piece of garbage BreadWinners is a good effort). Who knows? Maybe in ten years from here Nickelodeon would recover its rightful spot as the king of animation.

I know that this posts is visually uninteresting and that I left a lot of stuff out... but maybe that was for the best. I just wanted to re-tell my experience with the channel and how I felt during it. Hopefully, you found this topic to be well-worth of your time and maybe you have something to say as well. Please do feel free to do so.



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MacGyver
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2016 2:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice recollection here, ID. Nickelodeon was certainly a great kids channel in the '80s and '90s- and still is, to some degree. (Though I'm not as much as a fan of the programming now.) But I definitely love classic shows like Doug (that one's a favorite for me Cool ) and live action game shows like Legends of the Hidden Temple. GUTS was also a great one and I also enjoy The Secret World of Alex Mack. (Because I love most superhero shows.) And in the '80s, the channel ran great cartoons like Inspector Gadget and I definitely love that show! Very Happy Cool



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IceDragon
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2016 4:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, Mac. I wanted to illustrate my personal timeline to see if I could pinpoint the exact time when everything went wrong with that channel.

I remember that I quit watching it sometime in 2007 and that a part of my childhood went with it.



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LepricahnsGold
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2016 5:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My earliest recollections of Nickelodeon were watching re-runs of the 70s Tomorrow People, the anthology show The Third Eye (with Children of the Stones and The Haunting of Cassie Palmer, among others), and the five-hour-a-day long Pinwheel (one segment of which was Simon in the Land of Chalk Drawings).



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MacGyver
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2016 2:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Thanks, Mac. I wanted to illustrate my personal timeline to see if I could pinpoint the exact time when everything went wrong with that channel.

I remember that I quit watching it sometime in 2007 and that a part of my childhood went with it.

Yes, the timeline worked quite well. It's interesting how everyone has different takes on it, usually depending on when they had access to the channel and such like that. (I didn't have cable as a kid, so I only saw some of Nick shows here and there at friends' houses and such.)



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Captain S.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2016 4:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've always liked Nickelodeon cartoons AND live-action shows, so this channel carries a place in my own heart as well Smile

Interesting post, Dragon - a good read!



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LepricahnsGold
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2016 6:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

LepricahnsGold wrote:
My earliest recollections of Nickelodeon were watching re-runs of the 70s Tomorrow People, the anthology show The Third Eye (with Children of the Stones and The Haunting of Cassie Palmer, among others), and the five-hour-a-day long Pinwheel (one segment of which was Simon in the Land of Chalk Drawings).
These were from the early to mid 80s. I also remember seeing re-runs of a Canadian sketch comedy show call You Can't Do That on Television!.



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PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2016 6:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You Can't Do That on Television intro
70s The Tomorrow People opening and closing (after the title flies away, there would be the opening intro of the show then the hand part)
Pinwheel opening
The Third Eye opening
Simon in the Land of Chalk Drawings opening
Padding Bear opening
(I can't find just the opening so here is the first part of the first episode) The Haunting of Cassie Palmer
Children of the Stones opening



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PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2016 6:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great finds! Thanks for the Youtube links. I haven't watched all of these, but I have heard about them and become familiar with some of them because of reading about them online. Smile



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IceDragon
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2016 6:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"You can't do that on Television" is quite famous, actually... I have known of it way before I had internet and even though I never actually saw it on TV.



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PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2016 6:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

They could make a sequel series nowadays and call it, "You Can't Do That on the Internet!" (Actually, I think the Internet in general could use such a show to learn from- lol.) Laughing Cool



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