Last week, I talked about the potential positives and negatives of the upcoming High School Musical Disney movie. Talking about it, however, did draw me back to the time when High School Musical was the biggest thing in my life. A more simpler time, if you will, where being a kid was all about watching TV. My generation did have a good number of great television programs targeted at kids. And I’d like to talk about ten shows that stick out in my mind!
1. Kim Possible
“Call me! Beep me!”
Is it just a coincidence that Disney had not one, but two shows featuring a teenage girl living a double life? I can certainly understand the idea of wanting to be a pop superstar like Hannah Montana. But a secret agent like Kim Possible? Well, yeah, I can actually understand it. I mean, who wouldn’t want to be able to do all the things Kim Possible could do?
This show was very inspirational for me in a sense that it made me want to be more adventurous like the titular character was. And this show was also my first introduction to what a naked mole rat is! Never heard of the creature until I saw Ron Stoppable’s adorable pet/sidekick!
Speaking of Hannah Montana…
2. Hannah Montana
God, next to Hello Kitty, this was my everything during my adolescent period!
There was just something magical about the entire Hannah Montana phenomenon. It was more than just the setup of your ordinary teenager who’s secretly the biggest singer in the world. Hannah Montana was more like a sitcom geared for kids. There would be harebrained schemes like in the older sitcoms! I think that was pretty unique for the time. Oh, and the music was just so catchy! I can still remember the lyrics to the opening credits even up to now!
Hard to believe this show was on a decade ago. Gosh, that makes me feel so old!
3. Disney’s Recess
Recess was never as fun when I was a kid! But I guess that made the show much more fun that it should have been!
Disney’s Recess was great because of how well developed all the characters were. And I’m not only talking about the main group of the leader TJ, tomboyish Spinelli, athletic Vince, nerdy Gretchen, gentle giant Mikey and naive Gus. Everyone in the school had their own quirks that made them memorable and special. Oh, and the stories were brilliant enough that adults wouldn’t be bored watching the show with their kids!
4. Dexter’s Laboratory
“Hmm, what does this button do?”
Dexter’s Laboratory was another cartoon that was highly entertaining for both kids and adults. Children would love the high, frantic animation and antics of Dexter and Deedee and the whimsical scenarios. Adults would be able to enjoy the nods to past films and television shows as well as some risque humor that will fly over children’s heads. There were also other segments that made Dexter’s Laboratory a great 30 minutes. There was the Justice Friends, which made fun of superheroes by putting them in a sitcom like situation like Friends. And there’s Dial M for Monkey which was pretty good as well!
Oh, and it’s thanks to Dexter’s Laboratory that I know what’s a cheese omelette in French!
5. Fairly Oddparents
This was a cartoon that made me want to have Fairy Godparents! There were so many things I would want to wish for. Well, maybe they would have the same disastrous results Timmy had. But, boy, would they have been fun!
While the basic structure of each episode is rather repetitive (Timmy wishes for something that seems like a good idea, it turns out it isn’t and he has to wish for everything to be return to normal), the Fairly Oddparents always tried to change things up. Initially, the main “bad guy” was Vicky, Timmy’s babysitter. Eventually, the main antagonist became Denzel Crocker, Timmy’s fairy obsessed teacher. Eventually, Timmy’s godparents, Cosmo and Wanda, had a baby named Poof, which did add something fresh to the show.
Unfortunately, the show seems to be in “jump the shark” mode now as The Fairly Oddparents are trying a lot of new things out that just ruffles my feathers. There was a time when there was a fairy dog, which was just awful. And it seems like Timmy now has a new neighbor and Timmy now has to share his fairies with her. Things seem terrible but, hey, Fairly Oddparents were great when I was young!
Who would’ve thought a show about babies would be such a huge hit?
Truth be told, I didn’t like Nickelodeon’s Rugrat at the start. Everyone in the neighborhood was talking about it but I had a hard time actually watching it because, well, they all look so freaky looking! Everyone looked really, really ugly! Especially Tommy! I mean, look at his oversided head and beady little eyes. Brrrrr.
But, once I did get over the nightmare inducing visuals, I discovered how inventive Rugrats was. The kids would go in all manner of adventures that’s essentially in their heads. It’s kind of like a very “safe” version of Calvin and Hobbes in that way. And, since I totally adore Calvin and Hobbes, then that means I also like the Rugrats.
7. Hey Arnold!
I would’ve preferred Nickelodeon called this “Hey Helga!” because, c’mon, who’s the real star of the show?
Okay, yeah. Arnold is technically the star of Hey Arnold! But, whenever I did watch this Nickelodeon animated show, I was really disappointed that Helga wasn’t the focus of the episode. Helga is the most complex character on the show, which made her the best part of the cartoon! Hey Arnold! was a pretty good show but was absolutely brilliant when Helga was the character that made it special for me.
8. Spongebob Squarepants
Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?
Honestly, I can’t imagine how the creator of Spongebob Squarepants pitched his idea to Nickelodeon and got this into production! But, I will have to admit, the show works! There’s a lot of really dumb, absurd humor that goes in your typical Spongebob Squarepants episodes. A lot of it doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense. But the people behind the show still manage to make it work!
Spongebob Squarepants has been on the air for more than a decade now and it’s still going strong. That’s pretty amazing for a show that features a undersea sponge!
9. All That
This was my Saturday Night Live when I was young!
All That was a sketch comedy starring kids and teens. It’s not really all that unique. There was a show called You Can’t Do That on Television, which is probably where the creators of All That got the idea. But, hey! I didn’t get to watch You Can’t Do That on Television and I watched a whole lot of All That! And, for a sketch show featuring kids, it was pretty good! Sure, it was over the top with the acting and situations and the recurring skits (like the ever popular Good Burger) were incredibly dumb and immature. But it was a good time for kids like myself growing up!
10. Kenan and Kel
Oh, here it goes!
This was one of my favorite shows as a kid! I like this almost as much as I liked Hannah Montana. However, comparing the two is like comparing apples to oranges; they’re just both different. Sure, both shows are geared towards children and they essentially have the characters try out ridiculous schemes. But Kenan and Kel was special because of the chemistry between the two leads.
There was something magical when you paired Kenan and Kel together. There was a great rapport between the two actors that just worked so well. A lot of the show’s success was because of those two. Oh, and they had such great catchphrases as well! I still love to bust out the “Who loves orange soda?” once in a blue moon whenever someone asks me what I want to drink!
Anyway, those are just a few of the shows from my childhood I have so many great memories of. I know a lot of the youngsters out there don’t know them and are probably thinking why people love talking about old shows. Well, they’ll know what I’m feeling about these shows when they themselves get older.
Speaking of which, there is one show that I’ll bet they’ll be talking about… and it’s a show that I practically gave up on: Supergirl! I’ll talk more about this next week!
What’s your favorite kids show? Let me know what they are in the comments section below!