If you grew up in the 90s, there is a good chance that Nickelodeon and its programming played an important role in your formative years. I know that I spent spent countless afternoons watching shows like Salute Your Shorts, Rocko’s Modern Life, and Legends of the Hidden Temple. Despite being over 20 years old, these programs still occupy a special place in our hearts (case in point: when the two main actors from the popular Nickelodeon show The Adventures of Pete and Pete announced they were launching a podcast, the news was met with excitement on sites like Geekosystem and The Daily Dot ). But why is that?
Well, there’s the nostalgia factor, of course. There’s the fact that Nickelodeon’s programming was a true reflection of its audience.
"It was about regular kids just having fun, kind of about the minutiae of regular life for children,” Mathew Klickstein, author of Slimed! An Oral History of Nickelodeon’s Golden Age told the hosts of The Morning Show.
Additionally, it didn’t hurt that the cast of the Nickelodeon shows looked like regular kids. Think more Kenan Thompson than Macaulay Culkin.
And where are they now?
"A lot of them are professors now. Teachers, musicians, filmmakers on their own, even doctors,” Klickstein added. “So the Nick kids were not just weird looking and kind of misfits like the rest of us, but a lot of them were very smart and good kids at the end of the day."
That, of course, is no longer the case. Dora The Explorer and iCarly are some of the network’s flagship shows. As Klickstein notes (almost laments), “Nickelodeon had to change… and evolved because kids are entertained by different things now.”
Fidel Martinez is an editor at Fusion.net. He's also a Texas native and a lifelong El Tri fan.