January 06, 2009
NC: Hello, I'm the Nostalgia Critic. I remember it so you don't have to. Hey, everybody, it's January! You know what that means! (beat) Probably not, 'cause I just made it up. It's Nickelodeon Month!
(Intro to Nickelodeon Month is played, using a 90s Nickelodeon station identification promo, with footage of NC dancing and other goofy things superimposed over it)
(Footage of 90s Nickelodeon advertising)
NC (voiceover): Nickelodeon, the first network made for kids, by kids. Well, okay, not by kids. That would be stupid. But certainly the first network FOR kids. This was a ground-breaking channel with a ground-breaking notion, and what did this ground-breaking creation give us? Mostly (footage of You Can't Do That on Television, Danger Mouse, and Count Duckula) British and Canadian shows. But we didn't care, it was on all the time. That is, until evening, when it would switch over to (footage of...) older adult shows on Nick at Nite. But even those were so implausible and ridiculous that we enjoyed them, too! But, let's be honest--after a while, there's only so many reruns and syndicated shows they could run. So Nickelodeon finally made the logical choice to produce their own material. And what was the result? Nicktoons, a series of cartoons made specifically for the Nickelodeon channel.
NC: There were many of these cartoons and they even continued the trademark name of Nicktoons even to this day. But we were there when it first popped up, and don't you forget it! So, let's take a look at one of their finest and certainly strangest of shows, Ren & Stimpy.
The Ren & Stimpy Show Edit
(Footage of The Ren & Stimpy Show plays)
NC (voiceover): A lot of people have mixed feelings toward this cartoon, and there's a good reason: it's freakin' insane! Little made sense and half the time the humor came from just how totally out of control and psychotic it was.
NC: And it kicked ASS!
NC (voiceover): Sure, it was gross and vulgar, but on the other hand, it was gross and vulgar! Kids love that kind of stuff and this was one of the first cartoon shows to totally engross us in it. I mean, no other cartoon looked or acted like this. It was something completely different. So how do I really describe what this show is like? Well, it stars a big dumb cat named Stimpy and an angry Mexican [NOTE: actually Hungarian] chihuahua named Ren.
Ren: You sick little monkey!
NC (voiceover): And the rest, in all honesty, is pretty much like talking to a kid on the ultimate of all sugar highs.
Parent: (offscreen) Hey, kid, what do you wanna see on TV?
Kid!NC: (wearing his hat backwards and hanging his head; speaks in a kid voice) I don't know.
Parent: (offscreen) Have some candy.
(Candy is thrown at Kid!NC, who greedily eats it. There is a brief close-up of him widening his eyes with a "ding!" sound.)
Kid!NC: (excitedly, over footage of "Happy Happy Joy Joy") I wanna see a dog and cat dancing around like Jello! Then I wanna see 'em hit their butts together, 'cause butts are funny! Then I want them to tell my grandmother to suck eggs!
Stinky Wizzletreats: I'll teach your grandmother to suck eggs!
Kid!NC: (excitedly) And then I want them to take a hammer and smash themselves on the head with it! (laughs hysterically, then immediatelly falls asleep)
NC (voiceover): One of the biggest controversies about the show is about whether or not Ren and Stimpy are gay. To which the creator of the show John K. [John Kricfalusi] answered, "I don't know. That's none of my business." To be honest, I already talked about this show on one of my countdowns, so I'm not gonna go into too much detail. But let's just say the show definitely knew how to capture the craziest side of our silliness.
NC: So, let's move on to Nickelodeon's other biggest hit, Rugrats.
(Footage of Rugrats)
NC (voiceover): This was made at a more innocent time, when crawling babies were funny, men with purple hair was acceptable, and keyboard synthesizers seemed to rule the Earth. The show was pretty much about... babies.
NC: And that's it. It was pretty much just about babies.
(Beat, then NC transforms himself into a superhero as adventurous music plays)
Announcer: (with accompanying text) ADVENTURE HO!
NC (voiceover): So they dealt with tough, nail-biting dilemmas, like "Can't the dog come with us?", or "Do we need to take a bath?", or "You want me to do what on there?"
Chuckie: They call it gettin' potty trained!
NC (voiceover): Actually, this episode is probably one of the most famous, as it talks about what all little kids love to talk about: shitting.
Chuckie: They're tryin' to make me use that! Instead of my diaper.
Phil: Aw, that can't happen!
Lil: Yeah, how's it gonna fit in your pants?
NC: Aw, this is just too pwecious.
Tommy: Maybe you could just stop pooping altogether!
NC: And that's just gross.
Lil: Maybe you could put a lot of napkins in your pants and use 'em like a diaper.
NC: That's even grosser...
Phil: Maybe you could poop in your room and hide it in your toy box.
NC: Okay, stop! Stop! Look, whatever you call it, poopy or poo-poo, whatever. It's still shit! You're talking about shit! Knock it off! You're grossing me out!
(Chuckie wets himself)
NC: Oh... that's charming.
Chuckie: They can't make me! I'm gonna wear my diapers forever, and nobody's gonna stop me!
NC: Don't worry, kid. When you get to be 80, you gotta wear 'em again, anyway.
NC (voiceover): Speaking of growing up, I always wondered what these kids would look like when they eventually got older. I think everybody imagined that. Like Chuckie would grow up to be Garth [from "Wayne's World"], Tommy would grow up to be Paul Giamatti, the twins would grow up to be John and Joan Cusack-- because they already look alike--and the always power-hungry Angelica... well, for some reason, I always saw her as Hilary Clinton. I can't help it; it's just a person that popped in my head. Actually, something I always noticed about these cartoons is they always open in a strange way. That is, they usually do an extreme close-up of something, and then eventually back up to show us what it is.
NC: That's all fine and good, but what happens when the image almost looks PERVERTED like this one?
(Close-up of a weird-looking pink object. NC looks disgusted as it gets closer.)
NC: Is it... two pigs humping? Is it the inside of a woman's... WHAT IS THAT?!
(Camera pulls out to show Spike's mouth and tongue as he is panting)
NC (voiceover): Oh, it's the inside of a dog's mouth panting.
NC (voiceover): Though the other kids are cute, I guess, the one kid that everyone seems to remember is Angelica, for being such a bratty little bitch.
Angelica: You little babies really make me laugh!/Can I dial the phone? Huh, huh, huh, huh, huh?/Don't you dummies know anything?
NC: Yeah, everyone remembers how harsh she was, but here's the thing. She's so mean that she's actually kind of creepy. Don't believe me? Look what happens when I put her face over these disasters.
(Montage of disaster scenes, with a translucent super-impose of Angelica laughing maniacally. All of this is accompanied by the theme to "Red Dragon".)
NC (voiceover): But not even Angel[ic]a, in all her negativity, can prepare you for the scariest, ugliest, most horrifying creation that Nickelodeon studios has ever produced.
(Fade to black, then footage of the show Doug plays)
NC (voiceover): (demonically) DOUG! (normal) Now perhaps some of you are wondering why I think so harshly of what appears to be a relatively harmless cartoon.
NC: Well, let's just say you knew someone with a very similar name. Someone who grew up with that name all his life. And happened to be raised at the exact same time this show came out. (begins to lean in close to the camera) Do you think any jokes or funny remarks in connection with this show could possibly affect his life in any negative way? Do you? DO YOU?!
(He hears sounds of kids laughing at him as he leans back and begins clutching his face in fear.)
Kids: Look! It's Doug Funnie! Hey, Doug Funnie! Where's Patti Mayonnaise? (Footage of the show plays.) Hey, Doug Funnie! On your way to school? (sing-songy) You're Doug Funnie! (NC begins to break down) You're Doug Funnie! You're Doug Funnie! You're Doug-- (NC suddenly snaps out of it.)
NC: Whoa. Sorry, just having one of my random psychotic episodes brought on by this very show. Luckily I didn't take anyone's life this time. But with that said--
(He lifts his hands, which are covered in blood and sheepishly hides them)
NC (voiceover): But with that said, this was a pretty lame show. I mean the show was pretty much just about a kid who went to high school.
(NOTE: Doug attends elementary school in the during the show's run on Nickelodeon.)
NC: And that's it, it was pretty much just about a kid who went to high school.
("Adventure Ho" scene plays)
Announcer: Adventure... Ho?
NC (voiceover): Doug--or Doug Funnie, if you want to know his full name--has some very odd friends, like Mosquito Valentine [nicknamed "Skeeter"], Bud Dink, his dog Porkchop, and Patti Mayonnaise.
NC: What is up with these names? What, you didn't have room for Johnny Pictureframe, Larry Toiletpaper, or Susie Contraceptive? Urgh.
NC (voiceover): He spends most of his time going after Patti Mayonaise, because, well, she looks pretty. And apparently that's all he needs.
Doug: Patti Mayonaisse!
NC: She's just as bland as I am!
NC (voiceover): Also, what is up with everybody's skin color in this show? Did the town get infected with radioactive poisoning?
Skeeter: Yo, man, let me take care of this.
NC: (as old man) I never liked them blue people.
NC (voiceover): On top of that, the music always sounds like it's literally farting out its soundtrack. Just listen.
(A clip is shown with the soundtrack beatboxing)
NC: We're gonna need a faster tempo. HOWARD! More pork and beans!
NC (voiceover): There's also this bully named Roger who constantly tries to make Doug's life a living hell. Why? Because all kids with leather jackets are just bullies now. Didn't you know that? It's like an official law! He also travels around with his pet cat named Stinky who probably lives up to his namesake.
NC: Ugh, this show is so unrealistic! I mean, what kind of boy would travel around with a cat, wear leather, cover his hair in gel, obsess over his looks and constantly go after a submissive boy roughly his age--? OH!
(A quick shot of Lucas from The Wizard)
NC (voiceover): I think the best way to describe this show is that it's kind of like an early episode of The Simpsons. They're not funny, not well animated, and surround in a world of awkward uncomfortable-ness.
NC: But whereas The Simpsons got funny, Doug just psychologically tortured me for life. I mean, psychologically tortured anyone named Doug for life. (nervously laughs, then stops) NEXT SHOW!
Rocko's Modern Life Edit
(Footage from Rocko's Modern Life)
NC (voiceover): Ah, Rocko's Modern Life. This show was kind of like Ren & Stimpy, except maybe a little more reserved and not quite as controversial. But it did capture a lot of the zaniness, as the show's main character was a tiny kangaroo with an Australian accent, who, for some reason, has a gigantic hole in his face. (An arrow points to Rocko's nose to prove NC's point)
(NOTE: Rocko is actually a wallaby. In fact, Rocko himself says this--and hates when people mistake him for a kangaroo--in the show.)
NC: Must've been the battle of the boomerangs, koala bears, and wallabies. You know, the great war of the Australian stereotypes. (beat, then speaks dramatically as photoshopped stills of the following is shown) WHEN THE DINGOS FLEW HIGH INTO THE NIGHT, ATTACKING THE ARMIES OF SHRIMP ON THE BARBIE! But the ancient league of Foster's bombed all the alligator hunters, leaving nothing but the kangaroos and eucalyptus leaves to brave the darkness!
NC: Or so I've heard.
NC (voiceover): Rocko also has a cast of interesting characters, most notably a cow named Heffer, who was kind of like an inbred version of the starfish (Patrick) from SpongeBob [SquarePants]; Filburt Turtle [actually Shellbach], who looks like Woody Allen and is just as slimy; and, of course, the Bigheads, who I swear are just the Grinch's testicles if they sprouted legs and started complaining about everything.
Bev: (gravelly voice) Oh, Ed, this mountain cabin sounds so romantic!
NC: (as Bev) You know, I used to be a man, but I thought my voice was too feminine, so I changed.
NC (voiceover): Rocko himself is a pretty normal and innocent character, but the adventures he embarks on certainly are not. For example, there's one episode where Filburt is looking to practice dentistry on his friend. So he takes him to the Academy of Dentists, where he performs in front of a STADIUM of people. But that's not the weird part. He is then taught by a teacher who is a cat with a hook for a hand. But that's not the strange part. One of Rocko's teeth breaks loose, grows seven stories high, starts attacking the city by crawling up buildings while Filburt dresses up like the tooth fairy to stop him.
NC: But THAT'S not the strange part. No, the strange part is this!
Gordon: (a foot apparently attached to a leg held up from the bottom of the screen, with a face, who talks) Hey, kids, my name is Gordon. Let's talk about good oral hygiene.
(NC starts screaming in fear throughout Gordon's speech)
NC (voiceover): So for as... fucking weird as many of these jokes get, sometimes they hit a little too close in familiarity. Like tell me this bit sounds familiar at all.
Filburt: I never wanted to be a dentist, anyway. I always wanted... to be a chimney sweep!
Man (Michael Palin from Monty Python's Flying Circus): I didn't want to be a barber, anyway. I wanted to be a lumberjack!
Filburt: Leaping from roof to roof of the O-Town high rises.
Man (from Monty Python's Flying Circus): Leaping from tree to tree as they float down the mighty rivers of British Columbia.
Filburt: And I'd sing, sing, sing.
Man (from Monty Python's Flying Circus): We'd sing, sing, sing!
NC: I mean, there's paying homage, and there's just plain ripping off. And I mean it. These rip-offs of great comedians have to stop! (A clip of Duck Amuck butts in on the picture as NC and Daffy speak simultaneously) All right, enough is enough. This is the final--this is the very, very last straw! (NC notices Daffy and punches the clip away)
Aaahh!! Real Monsters Edit
(Footage of Aaahh!!! Real Monsters)
NC (voiceover): Well, at least we get some originality from the next show that popped up: Aaahh!!! Real Monsters. Now, I have to admit, I was just starting to get out of the Nickelodeon phase when this show came out. So I didn't watch much of it. But when I did, it was a pretty cool show. All the monsters looked creative and had really funny and enjoyable personalities. The story was about an academy of monsters whose job was to go out into the world, scare the daylights out of people, and return back where they reported their progress. Gee, wouldn't it be horrible if some other successful study pawned that off as their idea?
(Brief shot of the poster for Monsters, Inc.)
NC (voiceover): A-bullshit! So, in the line-up you had Ickis, who kinda looked like (picture of Noid) The Noid from the Dominos commercials; Krumm, who looked like how most people look after laser-eye surgery--
NC: Just keepin' it real, people! (adjusts his glasses to illustrate his point)
NC (voiceover): And Oblina, who kind of looks like Beetlejuice's dildo... if he had one. I guess she's supposed to have some sort of accent, but God help me if I can tell you which one.
Oblina (with an unidentifiable accent): We've got to do something. If humans are not afraid of him, they could lose their fear of ALL monsters.
NC: It's like somebody said, "This character has an accent." "Oh, okay. Which kind?" "Just... an accent!"
NC (voiceover): They all have to work for their intimidating boss known as The Gromble, who, I swear, is the cartoon version of Tim Curry from [The] Rocky Horror Picture Show.
(A picture of Dr. Frank N. Furter is put next to The Gromble for comparison, then a clip of The Grumble is overdubbed with "Sweet Transvestite")
NC (voiceover): The show was good, but I always had a feeling some of these jokes had a double meaning. Like listen to some of these lines and tell me if they sound decent to you.
Gromble: Have you forgotten why you're here?
Krumm: Our mothers and fathers loved each other very much, so they--
Gromble: TO SCARE!
NC: They what? They what?!
Barney rip-off: If you see a monster, just say "Coochie-coochie-coo!"
NC: All right, no one's going "coochie-coo" around my monster.
Ickis: Aren't you supposed to use two fingers?
NC: (disgusted) ...Next cartoon.
Hey Arnold! Edit
(Footage of Hey Arnold!)
NC (voiceover): All right, this is the last show I'm gonna talk about, because this is when I OFFICIALLY stopped watching Nickelodeon. I actually never saw a single episode of this show, but I know a lot of people did. So I decided to take a look at it. From what I can gather, it's a show pretty much just about a kid in the Bronx.
NC: And that's it, it's pretty much just about a kid in the Bronx.
(NOTE: The show actually takes place in the fictional city of Hillwood, not the Bronx.)
("Adventure Ho" plays)
Announcer: (unenthusiastically) Adventure Ho.
NC (voiceover): It's a tough time where kids walk like they're in a production of West Side Story, girls repeatedly shout the word "Arnold" for some strange reason...
Helga: Arnold. Arnold! Arnold!
NC (voiceover): And an army of boys against an army of girls ultimately results... in the boys very politely stepping out of their way.
NC: I'M HYPED!
NC (voiceover): There's a boy named Arnold, who is blessed WITHOUT the pressures of having a personality; his best friend Gerald, the one black person that every white person claims to know; and then there's Helga, who's so tough that she actually names her fists.
Helga: You're gonna have to answer to Old Betsy.
NC: That's not so tough. I named my fists, too. This is Glenda and Pancake! (embarrassed) I know it doesn't seem very threatening, but when you look at the... SHUT UP!
NC (voiceover): And they had to deal with tough, nail-biting city drama that everybody in the Bronx has to deal with, like...
Gerald: We're stuck downtown, I'm a strawberry [it makes sense in context], and we don't have any money!
NC (voiceover): Even though Helga constantly makes fun of Arnold, she secretly has a crush on him that quite literally drives her to madness.
Helga: Oh, my poor lost sweetheart. How I love you. And yet I hate you! And yet I love you. And yet I hate you! And yet I love you!
NC: (in a voice reminiscent of Smeagol) We loves Arnold. We loves him so much! No, we hates Arnold. We hates him so much! Love! Hate! Love! Hate! (goes crazy)
NC (voiceover): Also, maybe it's because I don't watch the show but, why does Arnold wear a plaid skirt? I mean, is it a kilt? Is it a jacket? Is he just an open transvestite? I mean, Brooklyn--that wouldn't surprise me. But, come on, how about a little clarification?!
(NOTE: It's a flannel shirt that Arnold wears under his blue sweater. This is revealed in an episode where he accidentally puts on his flannel shirt backwards, so he must remove his outer shirt to fix it, and he also says it to Rhonda in another episode.)
NC: (voiceover): Oh, well. I guess, for some reason, the show didn't seem that bad from what I saw. But, sadly, I had reached my peak by this point. I had grown older and Nickelodeon cartoons no longer seemed to entertain me. It's strange to think that for all the loud and bizarre shows I remember, Nickelodeon actually had a lot of quiet and subtle shows as well. It was like the mood swings of children's programming. And we loved it. Every last bit of it.
NC: Nicktoons were different, surreal, and one of a kind, making it a very memorable part of our childhoods. And trust me when I say I'm not REALLY as bitter about the whole Doug show as I let on. I mean, it didn't leave nearly as bad a mark as you may think.
(The Doug theme song plays, and NC looks around fearfully)
NC: No... the singing... it's coming back. IT'S COMING BACK! MAKE IT STOP! MAKE IT STOOOOOP! (the song stops) Oh, all I had to do was ask. I'm the Nostalgia Critic, I remember it--
(The song starts again. NC squeals like a little girl and shoots the camera.)