Nostalgic twentysomethings and stoners rejoice—Nickelodeon will be re-airing the shows we grew up on in the delicious 12am to 2am timeslot starting this fall. According to Entertainment Weekly, the programming block will be called The ‘90s Are All That (because, duh, they totally were). So far, the line-up includes Clarissa Explains It All, The Adventures of Pete & Pete, All That, Kenan & Kel, The Amanda Show, and Rugrats. But hey, start your letter-writing campaigns now, and maybe we can ensure that Hey Dude and The Secret World of Alex Mack get some love, too.
Here are the shows I’m most excited to see make a small-screen return, along with some tips on revisiting these childhood classics as a disillusioned college graduate.
Then: Who among us, regardless of gender or eventual sexual orientation, didn’t have some sort of crush on Melissa Joan Hart? Clarissa was effortlessly cool. She had a pet alligator named Elvis. She solved her problems by making her own computer games. She wore awesome overalls.
Now: Unlike most sitcoms geared toward kids, Clarissa gave us two so-hot-right-now conventions—breaking the fourth wall and unresolved sexual tension. OK, the second one’s a bit of a stretch, and Moonlighting certainly broke ground back in the ‘80s, but the platonic friendship between Clarissa and Sam will forever be my David and Maddie.
Then: Fresh out the box, stop, look, and watch. Back when Saturday Night Live was legitimately good but too adult for my preteen sensibilities, I got my sketch-comedy kicks with All That. This is the show that taught me to laugh at politics—insofar as Ross Perot’s giant ears can be considered political.
Now: I’m gonna be honest here—I doubt All That’s humor really holds up. Anyone who's recently tried watching the 1997 spin-off film Good Burger knows that it’s very much a product of its time. But be on the lookout for the current big-name performers who got their start here: Amanda Bynes, SNL’s Kenan Thompson, and Mr. Mariah Carey, Nick Cannon.
Then: Despite the fact that Roundhouse aired for a little over three years, few people seem to remember it with the joy that I do. Hell, I still hum that theme song in times of trouble: “Whenever my life gets me so down, I know I can go down to where the music and the fun never ends…” It was weird. It was hip. It made this fat kid feel pretty cool.
Now: Alas, the Roundhouse troop never made it quite as big as the All That-ers. Even sadder, Season 1 standout Dominic Lucero passed away from lymphona three years in. But Roundhouse had a funky ‘90s sensibility that I’d love to see again. The humor was also quite contemporary: hope you like jokes about Prince changing his name to an ankh!
Then: Even though Alex Mack replaced my beloved Clarissa, I was always fond of this bizarre sci-fi series. To paraphrase the opening narration, Alex was just an ordinary kid until an accident changed her life. Then she could move shit with her mind and turn into a puddle of mercury. Science!
Now: There’s something really disturbing about the entire concept, made all the more hilarious by the innocence of ‘90s youth programming. A young girl is drenched in chemicals and never sees a doctor. There are evil scientists hot on her tail—looking to dissect her, presumably. Oh, and she emerges from her puddle state naked. Awk-ward.
Then: That’s right—the show you remember watching for years and years was only on for two short seasons. But Salute Your Shorts was magical enough to air in reruns through 1998. I never went to summer camp, so Camp Anawanna was the closest I ever came to the experience. I hold it in my heart. And when I think about it—sigh—it makes me wanna fart.
Now: I’m pretty excited for the Season 2 episodes, in which Pinsky stepped in for Michael. That’s because Pinsky was played by Blake Sennett, who’s now in my favorite band of all time, Rilo Kiley. And maybe as an adult I can finally confront my fear of Zeke the Plumber, the scariest villain to appear on any kids’ show, ever.
There are so many more ‘90s classics to choose from: Let’s not forget Cousin Skeeter, My Brother and Me, Are You Afraid of the Dark, Rocko’s Modern Life, Ren & Stimpy, Doug, The Journey of Allen Strange, The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo, 100 Deeds for Eddie McDowd, and Space Cases.
What shows do you want to see Nickelodeon resurrect?