The Hip Hop And The White Funk

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AWESOME NEWS! My Desertbus auction to appear in a HijiNKS ENSUE comic raised $410 for Child’s Play. Thanks to all who bid and especially to Fancy Bastard Luke T. who won!

FANCY BASTARD ASSEMBLE Limited print update: The prints are at my house and will start shipping this week. Thank you for your patience.

Josh may be a bit off base, but Jesus, are those shows really 20 years old? I guess I’ll just crawl in bed and wait for my organs to fail. I came up for the idea for this comic while watching YouTube videos of the 80’s cartoon Kidd Video. Each animated episode would feature a live action music video from the show’s real titular fake band. I couldn’t help but thinking things might not have gone well for the four ethnically diverse, hair teased teens miming those instruments. That’s when I remembered that Nickelodeon offspring channel TeenNick recently started airing many of the early 90’s shows I used to watch as a kid.

All That (the preteen’s answer to SNL and the pedophile’s answer to Kids In The Hall), Hey Dude (another Nick show about 16 year olds that NEVER EVER EVER leave their summer jobs) and Doug (which broke new ground in racial discourse by featuring the only white kid in an all colored neighborhood) are all part of the “90’s Are All That” block. This sent me down a man eatin’ jack rabbit hole of Youtube videos and wiki articles. I emerged on the other side, feeling so much older and hardly any wiser, yet grasping on to this fundamental truth: Out Of Control and Weinerville were actually things, and not just chickenpox induced fever dreams.

Like it or not, these shows (along with Clarissa Explains It All, Welcome Freshman, Double Dare, The Adventures Of Pete And Pete, Salute Your Shorts, etc) really informed my sense of humor and popular culture at an impressionable age. Back in the early 90’s Nick was a sort of content generating machine geared specifically to my age group. You also never needed to change the channel. I also wasn’t really allowed to. At the time, we had basic cable and I was allowed to watched the 3 major networks, Disney (11) and Nick (31). I was NOT allowed to surf through the channels in between. I had to dial those particular stations in directly, lest my young mind be inappropriately influenced by C-SPAN or worse yet QVC. This limited selection is actually the main reason I am so well versed in 50’s black and white TV. I pretty much dialed in channel 31 and left it there from afternoon cartoons to Nick at Nite. Well, except for when I was watching The Mickey Mouse Club. I was only human.

COMMENTERS: Any special affinity for 90’s Nick TV? Remember those weird british Sci-Fi shows they used to import? Alien tweens in search of their parents or some such. Also did you, like me, breathe a big sigh of relief when you finally realized a lot of Nick’s shows were filmed in Canada and that accounted for why they seemed ever so slightly off? No? Just me? I’m going back to the organ failure thing.

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  1. I loved space cases when I was a kid that an are you afraid of the dark are what spawned a life time love of weird sci fi and horror.

  2. So many shows I loved that they have ignored. "Spartacus and the Sun Beneath The Sea", "The Lost Cities of Gold", "Danger Mouse", "Count Duckula" and the teen SNL, "Roundhouse."

  3. We went to Comizake in LA two weeks ago. They had an All That Reunion. Kenan was the only one who didn't show up. It was a mad house of 90's teen love. People were wrestle diving for chairs. Check out some of the pictures from the event if you're curious.

    • My friend Amy Berg, who used to write for Eureka and Leverage, got her start on All That. Also Keenan and Kel.

      I wonder if Keenan Thompson has any idea what life outside of televised sketch comedy is like. He's been doing it nearly his entire existence.

  4. Nickelodeon was a huge part of my childhood. Hey Dude was a staple, as was Double Dare and the one with the slime (You Can't Do That On Television?). Roundhouse too. I also loved the show Today's Special about a mannequin in a department store that came to life at night and had mystery adventures with the janitor and a puppet mouse.

    The actors on those Canadian shows seemed so… sincere compared to those on the American-produced kid shows.

    I also loved 90s PBS for kids. Square One, Where In The World Is Carmen San Diego?, and another I can't remember the name of but involved Bill Nye doing cool science experiments with kids.

  5. I used to love All That, I'm a bit younger than yourself so my formative Nick years were more about The Secret World of Alex Mack, The Amanda Show, Animorphs, Rugrats, Aahhh Real Monsters, Angry Beavers, Doug, and Hey Arnold.

    Some great stuff as a kid, some stays good. My brother little brother was watching Rocko recently, still laughed at it. Others, like Animorphs and The Amanda Show, did NOT remain funny.

  6. The first Nick Toons were Doug, Ren & Stimpy and Rugrats. I remember when the second wave of Nick Toons came out… Ahhh! Real Monsters and Rockos Modern Life and some other one… and I was like "These are not the REAL Nick Toons!". Then stuff like Hey Arnold and The Wild Thornberrys and Spongebob came out, but i was grown up and disconnected by that point. Now it' all lumped in together, but its interesting tho think back to when there was a distinction for me.

    I loved All That, and have always felt proud for Keenan Thompson's success (it felt like all us kids were in it together back then) but i remember Roundhouse being excellent. And because of Nick at Night I was exposed to Dick Van Dyke Show and Get Smart. Nickelodeon was really a great place back then.

  7. Did the likes of Batman: The Animated Series, Goosebumps, Power Rangers, and Animaniacs not satiate the desires of your young hearts? You dared to seek succor from the unholy font of cable television? May almighty Bruce Timm have mercy on your souls for your wandering eyes and straying hearts.

  8. Being a bit older, I was pretty well formed by the time cable television was even a thing. Which meant I was old enough at the time "Invader Zim" first aired to both enjoy it, and wonder what possessed the head honchos of Nick to seek to fill the void between "Wild Thornberrys" and "Rocket Power" by turning to the creator of "Johnny the Homicidal Maniac" and "I Feel Sick".

    I guess they just heard the part about Jhonen Vasquez writing comic books, and figured he was used to writing for kids…

  9. Mostly about "Hey Dude" I remember Christine Taylor as the cute blonde; she'd later grow up to be both Mrs. Ben Stiller, and Sally Sitwell, Michael Bluth's record-setting girlfriend.

  10. I was hoping someone would mention Roundhouse (yeah @KevinBosch!)! I remember it well… and might be humming the song to myself right now.

    Though this is a touch later, I was also incredibly fond of KaBlam!, particularly Action League Now!

    Oh how I wanted to sit on that Big Orange Couch someday…

  11. SNICK. I remember SNICK.

    I remember being totally outraged by Nick for what they did to Rugrats after the movie. Once Dill was born, things just weren't the same. And then that All Growed Up crap happened, and I wanted to rip out my own spleen. Seriously? Ugh. >.<

  12. Remember “Roundhouse” on Nick? It was one of those weirdly unique shows where a bunch of kids played a family getting into the usual family-sitcom situations, but with some slightly-unusual quirks and some sharp-witted bits. I wasn’t that much into the other shows (save for “Ren & Stimpy”), but I kinda miss “Roundhouse” every now and then.

  13. I remember seeing the very early first previews/commercials for Rugrats, before they even started airing the show, talking about it and how it was coming to Nick, and being confused and fascinated by how UGLY they were. (the show was even more ugly in the first season). But what added to the confusion was I was from Canada and visiting the US for a vacation, so I didn't see Rugrats until a few years later. Until that point, I was convinced that the 'ugly baby cartoon' was some sort of one-off thing that never went anywhere.

    Oh, how wrong 10 year old me was.


      I am currently 28, but I'm perpetually about 13. I remember watching Nick in the mornings and then all through the afternoons when it switched to Happy Days and Petticoat Junction then back to cartoons again. Snick was a favorite too, but bedtime was when Are You Afraid of the Dark came on so I didn't watch that until I bought a bootleg collection a few years ago. My brother was born just as Rugrats were and we watched that and all the other Nicktoons together right up through SpongeBob (which was great in the earlier seasons when it would still throw dark humor in) and Invader Zim (stlil a favorite, even with our dad!) The channel has definitly gone way downhill since and don't get me started on Disney. That channel breeds whores and morons.

  14. I loved all of those shows. If I weren't broke, I would immediately get a cable subscription just for that channel. Nothing now comes near the quality of those shows. Pete and Pete is perhaps one of the weirdest preteen shows, and the crap on now (hannah montana…really?) is not acceptable, even for preteens. Maybe that's why our generation is A) better and B) a bit more fucked up. Anyone else remember the episode of Eerie, Indiana where the main kids friend gets his old friend's heart – and then begins to turn into the old friend? I was terrified of surgery for years after that – what if you got some creepy person's organ? This was a long rant, because I'm tired, but the jist of it is:

    Yay Joel!! Thank you for liking everything that is awesome, and not liking anything that isn't!!

    • I was just thinking of that episode the other day! Except it wasn't the main kid who got the heart, but the new girl with the heart defect they'd both had a crush on…

      Wow, I miss those shows.

  15. Does anyone remember Stick Stickly, the popsicle stick mascot Nick had for a while? I still remember the address they gave for writing to him, said in a sing songy voice. "Write to me, Stick Stickly, PO Box nine six three, New York City, New York State, one oh one oh eight!"

    The strange things people remember from childhood TV.

  16. It was pretty much Ren & Stimpy for me. I remember animation was kind of hit or miss back then. Like when you watched a really cool cartoon on "Liquid Television", only to have it followed by a real crappy cartoon.

    For the "Live action", I tried "Hey Dude", and "Salute Your Shorts", but I got bored pretty quickly. And I think "Fifteen" made me vomit once.

  17. I bought the first season of Pete and Pete on DVD a few years back. That shit totally holds up. Still an amazing show. The one where little Pete decides to stay up all night is incredible.

    But don't discount how great shows are now. I don't know about the live action stuff, but as long as they keep making weird cartoons like Adventure Time and The Regular Show I think we're gonna be ok.

  18. Hurray! Someone other then me thought KaBlam! was awesome! I try to talk to my friends these days about TV that was on when we were kids and I usually get blank stares because apparently my parents were the only ones well off enough to afford satellite TV while being easy-going enough in my rearing to not regulate what I watched. All That was awesome but no parent would let their kids watch it now. It isn't pablum-ized enough and has "gasp" overweight characters! I liked it when TV had variety in characters and stories.

  19. Space Cases. I shall repeat that because it bears repeating. SPACE. CASES.

    Created by Peter David, Writer of Stuff, and Bill Mumy, (the original child Space Case, Wil Robinson), and starring Kaylee and the Black Ranger, and goddamned Mr Sulu as the major villain, and folks like Leela, Luke Skywalker, and Dawn Summers as guest stars, it is probably the most geek-tastic (contemporarily and retroactively) tween television show in history!

    Give us our gorram Space Cases DVD, Nick!!

  20. Oh God, you are all making me feel so old! Most of the shows mentioned came out while I was in High School and "too old" to watch. lol. I do remember Clarissa Explains it all, You Can't do That on Television, and Are You Afraid of the Dark. When I was very young I used to LOVE watching David the Gnome.

  21. Anyone else remember a Nick show called Space Cases, starring Zack from Power Rangers as the leader and Kaylee from Firefly/Serenity as a chick from Saturn w an imaginary friend from another dimension? It's the closest thing i think there has ever been to a tween Star Trek.

  22. I remember Count Duckula, Clarissa Explains It All and Freakazoid made it over here to Germany. Was Darkwing Duck also a Nick show? Cause that shit was LEGENDARY.

  23. Joel, I have to thank you. For years I have told people about a teen nick show involving marionette puppets with human heads and crazy hair and a host with a weird name. I swear, I'm NOT making it up. NO, it WASN'T a dream! No, I CAN'T remember what it was called!!! Thank you thank you thank you for Weinerville. That has been driving me nuts for years.

  24. Not sure if NICK ever carried it …. didn't get that stuff up here on Robbers … er Rogers Cable … >_> ….. unless it was sindicated to YTV or some such.
    The Pirates of Dark Water , that show where the word science became a verb, as well as the Disney shows like Duck tails, Tail Spin, Gummi Bears, Chip'n'Dales Rescue Rangers …. wonder where that watch went ….. it was always good for a laugh when I mentioned I had a Chip'n'Dale watch =P [ was in college at the time ]

    Remember, real toon fans are never too old for toons. Some of the modern stuff is weird for the sake of weird but there is still some decent story telling with some of them.

  25. We were never rich enough to afford all that high-falootin' "basic cable". It caused me to be a social outcast when I couldn't relate to the other kids about their precious Nic and Disney shows. From that day forward, I vowed to never again be caught unawares with a pop-culture reference. Those fools will rue the day they laughed when I asked "Who's Ron and Stumpy?" I'll show them. I'll show them all! BWAH HA HA!

  26. I used to love Roundhouse. I may recall it clearly because it sticks out among the other episodes, or because it was one of the last ones I watched, but one in particular dealt with the theme of gang violence. And while every other "serious" topic (the perils of a stage mother!) that was touched upon had a whimsical resolution, this one ended somberly and without a reprise to the theme song, or rolling of the credits. Instead it faded to white on black statistical facts about deaths related to gang violence.

  27. I LOVED TedHey Dude. Also Clarissa and AHHH Real Monsters. They have all of AAHHHHH Real Monsters for streaming on Netflix.

    Did anyone else find it weird that after playing a teen on Clarissa, Melissa Joan Hart played a teen on Sabrina, Teenage Witch? I mean she already was a teen.

    If they bring back "You Can't Do that On Television" I will love them forever!

  28. Oh good god.
    I'm too old for these shows, and I never had cable.

    I'll just be over here, whittling a Nickelodeon out of a stick, like in the old days.

  29. Now I feel super old(my childhood and teen shows are from the 70s and 80s), and I didn't get Nickleodeon in Canada – but some of the best cartoons made it to other channels like Ren & Stimpy on Much Music….I still have the video tapes.
    I loved the original "Eerie, Indiana", even the remake was good.
    You can't do that on Television, and Animorphs were shot in Canada , so qualified as "Canadian Content" and therefore aired on our channels.
    Our kid/teen shows consisted of "The Kids of Degrassi Street", "Degrassi Jr. High", and "Degrassi High" not to be confused with the series currently on…there was some humor, but they were great shows that covered teen issues. I was a bit older than the actors, but still could not stop watching these excellent shows….My friends and I were all abuzz about the Degrassi finale tv movie and a few curse words were aired during primetime (we were in University but were still shocked to here the "F" word on the CBC.

  30. Alien tweens searching for their parents? Tell me that was a "Tomorrow People" reference! I was pretty messed up when I learned that puberty did not come with teleportation powers.

  31. Mine was really messed up as we had the HUGE satellite dish for awhile [the ones that were like 12 ft in diameter and had a motor that actually moved the whole freaking thing] I got all kinds of shows I got the Scandinavian [I think] one with the Viking Artax [or something], Danger Mouse [ofcourse], Count Duckula, David the Gnome, some odd french one with a little boy who seemed to be like 6 but was always wandering around the city alone, ofcourse the Disneys and Nicks [Todays Special, Rescue Rangers,Duck Tales,etc], He Man, Silverhawks,Tigersharks, Thundercats, Mask, Gi Joe, Super Fiends/Battle of the Super Friends, then add to all that actual BBC with Dr Who, Red Dwarf, Monty Python, and Benny Hill,..then add even more the PBS runs of Dr Who, Red Dwarf, 321 Contact, Reading Rainbow, Sigmund and the Sea Monster, HR Puffnstff, and Fat Albert,…. yeah I had a very eclectic choice of TV viewing,….lol. I think my watching all these shows made me the oddball I am today and am darn proud of it. Our cartoons back then had fun and morals and actually taught us some stuff rather than just random stupid humor [sorry folks I cannot stand Spongebob].

  32. "Remember those weird british Sci-Fi shows they used to import? Alien tweens in search of their parents or some such." you mean Space Cases basicly the kids version of far scape staritn pre firefly Jewel Statie and post Mighty Morphin power rangers Walter "black ranger" Jones? i call it farscape for kids cause the plot was erilee similar* and they both remired the same week (or close to it)

    *kids from a space academy (ecach from a diffrent planet in the sol system w freeky powers to go w the rainbow wigs or skin paint etc>) board an organic ship wich procies to bod with them (like pilot) and fly off to god nos were) …actually it was kinda Farscape meets voyager now that i think of it cause they DID know where they were going it would just take 60+ years

  33. Dude, you're making me feel old. I didn't watch most Nick shows, but one I do remember with equal parts nostalgia and pain is "You Can't Do That on Television." I was about 10 when it was on, and I watched it faithfully every day. I'm 35 now. Yeah, that foot just keeps sinking deeper and deeper into the grave.

  34. How can no one mention Wild and Crazy Kids? It had Cuba Gooding Jr.'s brother Omar and they had to go down waterslides with ice cream cones. And Matthew Lillard (known as Matthew Lyn) on Nick's SK8 TV. I loved those shows. And I too was forced to only watch a few channels by the parents, and I vividly recall watching Nick all day and Nick At Nite all night. MTV came in scrambled porn style and my sister and I would watch Beavis and Butthead when my parents weren't looking. Ahhh, to be young again.

  35. I love it when people make new phrases a la Hermes from Futurama. The first line of this comic is choice.

  36. Joel, we're the same age. How is it possible that I've never heard of any of these shows!? I guess we just watched different 90's crap in the Great White North. 🙂 I still watch the occasional Saved By the Bell if I catch it on TV, does that count?

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