nostalgia necessities: NICKTOONS on NETFLIX
Any excuse to revisit the 1990s is totally welcome to me, so when I noticed that the Instant Watch feature on Netflix was rife with complete seasons of my former favorite shows from yesteryear on Nickelodeon, I jumped at the opportunity to see them from my now-adult eyes. Considering how much I shake my head at children’s programming of today – having caught an unfortunate snippet of Hannah Montana and that damn Suite Life show – I thought it only fair I take a gander at my own tendencies as a youngster. I seem to recall a lot more creativity and worthwhile storylines back when Nickelodeon’s cartoon lineup was all the rage. To my relief, I’ve not been entirely off-base.
I remembered very quickly that some of my favorite shows in the animation block throughout the decade were the most strange. Namely, The Angry Beavers (wow, what an unfortunate name in retrospect) and Aaahh!!! Real Monsters. The former telling the story of two wisecracking beaver brothers forced to live together despite their obvious personality differences, and the latter following the antics of a trio of young monster students learning the ropes of scaring. Seeing it now, with a lot of these shows, I’m noticing there isn’t this inherent need to please an adult audience that you’ll likely find in most animated film efforts, if not on television (for evidence, see anything Pixar has made). But the nice thing about these two series in particular is that there is something beyond the physical humor at face value – some amusing writing and some amazing creativity.
Now, beyond my two faves from the nostalgic trip back, some other gems I rewatched were Hey Arnold!, Rugrats, and Rocko’s Modern Life. Though my attachment to these wasn’t quite as strong, I found, of the five I reviewed, that Hey Arnold! had the most appeal to a multi-generational audience. And while I remember fondly finding everything Rugrats and Rocko highly amusing as a grade-schooler, the humor doesn’t entirely translate now. Still, it’s tough to put a price on sentimentality.