Sometimes I wonder why I pay so much for my cable subscription. My television only visits three channels. No, it’s not broken. There are only three channels that I like watching – BBC America, ESPN, and Cartoon Network. In the early 90’s, my television was tuned into only one station, Nickelodeon. Back then you had shows like Salute Your Shorts, Hey Dude!, Rocko’s Modern Life, Aaahh!! Real Monsters, and so much more. Now, it seems that Nickelodeon might be revisiting some of the shows that made the channel so dominant for kids. Two of the shows that are making the rounds are Rugrats and Hey Arnold!.
I think that Cartoon Network has some amazing shows. Shows that really hit me in the feels. I’m probably being very biased, but it’s hard to compare these shows to what we watched when we were kids. It should be important to note that it has not been determined if these “revisits” will be re-airings of the original shows or reboots. Either way, let’s just be happy.
It’s pretty obvious that one of the main reasons Rugrats was so good was because, as a kid, you could completely relate. I didn’t know any twins growing up, but I could definitely see myself as Chuckie. My best friend at the time was totally Tommy. I’m sure I also had a cousin that was just like Angelica. As for Grandpa, that was every adult I knew over the age of 65.
Something that really stands out is how the show dealt with some really serious things. As a kid in the early 90’s, watching a kids show that tackled the subject of being a single parent was a serious thing. Get ready for some feels, but I bet some of you don’t even know what happened to Chuckie’s mom. [SPOILER] It was later revealed that Chuckie’s mom had died shortly after giving birth to him due to a “sudden, terminal illness.”
Aside from that, I think that the raw, gritty animation also had something to do with it. Aesthetically, it really stuck out in my mind (and really scared me for some reason). Other shows had the same style. Shows like Aaahh!! Real Monsters and Ren & Stimpy, and those shows were just a memorable.
Hey Arnold! was another show that every kid could relate to. One of the big story lines was that we didn’t know who Arnold’s parents were…at least not until the very end of the series. He was a young kid, growing up in a big city, and living with his grandparents. Those of us who had parents when we were younger were lucky because we had people who were close to us that we could learn from. In Hey Arnold!, he only had his friends and those around him.
I know that the theme here has been how we could relate to these shows as a kid, but even as an adult today, these shows still hold some relevance. Now I’d like to make it clear that this isn’t a shot at the current shows on television right now. In fact, I’m sure they’ll have the same kind of impact on the kids today who watch them. There’s that saying, “If only they could have seen what I saw when I was a kid.” It may not have been that long ago to us, but the 90’s was over 20 years ago. Society and technology has changed a lot since then.
I don’t have any kids, but a lot of my friends do. Now I don’t have to say, “If only…” because now they can.