‘Banging on a Trash Can’

Colleen Curry

Some generations get boring nicknames like “Baby Boomer” or “Generation X.”  Some have even tried to label ours as “Generation Y.” I, however, propose a better name: “Generation Nick.”

We are the only group of television-infiltrated children to enjoy the greatness of, if you will, “Old School Nick” (as Facebook fan groups call it). Nickelodeon, in its glory days, was a bastion of teen dramas, smart cartoons and even a comedic Popsicle stick. We all have our favorites – “Salute Your Shorts,” “Rocko’s Modern Life,” “All That.”  Most would argue that Nickelodeon, as we knew it, was some of the best television in our lives to date.

Last year, the Campus Activities Team had an “Old School Snick” night in the Connelly Cinema. The theater was packed. They played DVD episodes of “Pete and Pete,” “Salute Your Shorts,” “Hey Dude” and “Clarissa Explains it All.” Students buzzed for weeks ahead of time with excitement about seeing the shows and argued for weeks after about which one was the best. If there was one theme to tie together our entire generation, it was early ’90s Nickelodeon.

Robert Keller, a sophomore on the CAT Executive Board, helped organize last year’s Snick tribute.

“CAT’s event was very successful – filling the Connelly Cinema,” he says. “I think the nostalgia for childhood is very prevalent in the mind of stressed college students.”

Nostalgia is highly underrated, and taking a walk down memory lane really can bring people together. If you grew up in “Generation Nick,” you know your goal in life was to get to the Agro Crag. You always wanted to be slimed, and if someone asked you, “What Would You Do?” you’d answer just about anything for that pie machine. If you were an early ’90s girl, you always wanted a boy to put a ladder up to your window a la Sam of “Clarissa Explains it All,” and if you were a boy, you really just wanted to go to Camp Anawanna every summer.

“Oh man, nothing can beat ‘Clarissa’ and ‘Hey Dude’ and ‘Salute Your Shorts,'” sophomore Alyssa Bieler says. “In fact, I know they have ‘Clarissa’ on DVD now because I almost bought it. It’s great!”

You probably love the original Doug Funny and can even sing some of The Beets’ songs by heart. Cartoons like “Rugrats” were still cool to watch, unlike today’s slim offerings of SpongeBob or the parent’s educational favorite, Dora. One time, you even stepped in some kind of puddle in the street and thought you might turn into Alex Mac herself. Now that would be cool.

Some argue that today’s shows approach the educational aspect better, but our generation might disagree. “Legends of the Hidden Temple” was all about history, but set in a fun setting. Old Nickelodeon also encouraged physical activity (“Wild and Crazy Kids”), shed light on earthly issues (“The BIG Help”) and brought news to the level of 10-year-olds (“Nick News with Linda Ellerbee”).

The shows arguably related more to kids then than they do now, with shows like “Hey Dude” and “Salute Your Shorts” fulfilling most kids’ dreams of year-long summers sans supervision. Best of all, “Family Double Dare” promoted family values and togetherness, and it had lots of slime.

You may think that’s all far-fetched, but perhaps you’d still defend Old School Nick until the day you die. Sophomore Matt Haines sure would.

“They just don’t make TV names like that anymore,” he says. “You didn’t have to say what show you were talking about when you mentioned Donkey Lips, Patty Mayonaise or Pete. Plus, who doesn’t love slime?”

“Generation Nick” provided our couch potato generation with quality entertainment and cultural phenomena that still bring us together today. Last year CAT let us watch a lot of these old school programs – maybe this year we’ll actually get to see some slime.