Although cable television was a rare occurrence in my house while growing up, I still knew what my favorite Nickelodeon shows were and watched them whenever I got the chance. So here’s my “5 cents” on which cartoon shows I remember the most in no particular order.
Although this isn’t technically a Nicktoon, it was aired on Nickelodeon (primarily in the 1980s when Nick was still outsourcing their cartoons). The theme song was catchy despite the only words being “Inspector Gadget” and “Go Gadget Go.” They eventually made a movie out of the 2 season long series which wasn’t nearly as good as the cartoon. The basic premise was that Inspector Gadget was always trying to stop “Claw” but Penny and her dog, Brain, seemed to do all of the work and get none of the credit. I have to admit it was fun to watch what kind of gadgets would come out of his hat at his command of “Go! Go! Gadget!” Today Inspector Gadget is a favorite to dress up as at costume parties. Refresh your memory on the opening theme song below:
Doug was the first original Nicktoon and I thought this was a great show. The characters all had great names: Doug Funny, Porkchop, Patty Mayonaise, Skeeter. And even though the characters were blue, and purple, and green… their personalities and characteristics were easy to identify with. Doug’s most lasting legacy has probably been “Quailman.” Why anyone would base a super hero on a quail is beyond me, but it was this kind of humor that made the show awesome. Quailman is another favorite character to dress up as for costume parties.
Rugrats followed Doug in the same year (1991) but continued to air up to ten years after they stopped making new episodes of Doug. Rugrats practically became the face of Nickelodeon. You could buy any kind of merchandise with them on it. They eventually ended up making several movies. This is probably one of the most influential cartoons on pop culture of our time. These were the most famous babies without even being real. Tommy, Chucky, Phil and Lil were always going on adventures with their dog Spike and being terrorized by sinister toddler Angelica. Even though the plot was almost always the same, there was something about this show that made you want to watch long after you stopped being a kid.
I wasn’t a very big fan of this show, but it seemed to be on ALL the time whenever we went to visit my cousins (who actually had cable). This was definitely one of those shows that didn’t really have a plot. You couldn’t tell what half of the characters were and weird stuff was always happening. Maybe if I had been older I would have understood the sexual innuendos. It was about the day to day life of a wallaby named Rocko and his friends, Heffer and Filburt. It took me a very long time to realize that Heffer was a cow, which now that I think about it is pretty obvious. Filburt was a turtle. Rocko also had a dog named Spunky and was always trying to deal with the grouchy Big Heads.
MOVE IT FOOTBALL HEAD! This was probably my favorite show to ever be on Nickelodeon. A modern day version of the Peanuts gang, Arnold and his friends were always dealing with the day to day struggles of growing up in today’s society. Arnold lived with his crazy grandparent’s in a boarding house with crazy tenants and his pet pig. He was also the secret crush of Helga the bully. It seemed that everyone in this show had outlandish hairdos, but at least their hair and skin color was normal. I felt like each episode was new and different. I don’t think I ever watched one that I didn’t enjoy. The funny thing is that for the longest time, I thought Arnold wore a kilt!
Runners up included: Angry Beavers, Cat Dog, and Ahh Real Monsters. Comment below and share your Nicktoon memories!
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