There are two ways to create children’s television. The first is to talk down to the audience while advertising an inordinate amount of merchandise. The second is reach the children on their level and respect them as human beings.
The documentary,The Orange Years: The Nickelodeon Story, was released in 2018. The movie tells the story of the children television network, Nickelodeon, from its inception in the late 1970’s to the powerhouse it became in the 1990’s. Interviewing execs, writers, creators, and actors, it is the story of a channel that was ahead of its time and continues to push boundaries today.
Cartoons are often thought of as only children’s television.
What seems as mere children’s entertainment can be so much more. It can be one of many building blocks toward the child’s future.
In the early 1990’s Nickelodeon introduced audiences to several new cartoons, two of which I will highlighting with this post.
Airing from between 1991 and 1994, Doug, is the story of 11-year-old Doug Funny, a young man who moves from Bluffington to Bloatsburg. Becoming best friends with Skeeter Valentine and falling in love (as much as an 11-year-old boy can) with Patti Mayonnaise, Doug goes through the same trials and tribulations that anyone at that age goes through.
A year earlier, the characters in Rugrats were introduced to audiences. Premiering in 1990 and airing its last episode in 2006, Rugrats was told from the point of view of four babies. Tommy Pickles, Chuckie Finster, Phil and Lil Devine go on adventures as only a baby can. Add in Tommy’s sometimes bullying older toddler cousin Angelica and you have a hit children’s television series that had an impact on an entire generation.
When you’re a kid, watching television, you have no idea the impact that these shows can have. But looking back, the now much older audience may realize that even with the all of the years that have passed, these shows and the characters within the shows have stayed with them.