10 Nickelodeon Shows That Taught Us Valuable Life Lessons
Before we get started, we wanted to note that these shows are different based on your age during the time these shows were around. Don’t get your undies in a bunch if you can’t relate.
1990 was one of the best years. The iconic Air Max 90 dropped and I was born 😎 Growing up, I was always a Nick Jr. and Nickelodeon kid (channel 40), but I dabbled in some Cartoon Network here and there since it was just a channel away (channel 41). Before all the streaming platforms on here, we were so limited on viewing materials, but that didn’t bother us. We didn’t know anything different. Now, we’ve got all the streaming channels, no commercials, cloud based DVRs, and smart TV’s. Growing up in the ’90s meant that you get to see it all. I went from doing book reports by checking out encyclopedias in the library, not carrying a laptop around in college because it was bulky/heavy (plus, I was a pen/paper gal), and now I am fueled by coffee, wifi, and get all my work done on this super cute and slim macbook air. What is life? Anyway, here is my list of shows that got me through my awkward stage 🥴
Rugrats (1991 – 2004): One of the longest running shows on TV. This was my intro to the Nick world and cartoons in general. I was obsessed from the moment I watched Tommy and the squad go on their adventures. Rugrats was around when I was learning how to read, so I would look forward to reading every title screen. It also taught me you knew it was gonna be a banger if it had the below Klasky Csupo animation (Rugrats, Simpsons until ’92, The Wild Thornberrys, Rocket Power, As Told by Ginger to name a few). Rugrats was all about growing up and keeping your squad close. I was in theaters for both movies and remember mirroring my role as a big sister after Tommy/Dill. Not the part where he got sick of his nonsense and almost abandoned him, but how he always looks out for him and tries to teach him new life lessons. Afterall, a baby’s gotta do what a baby’s gotta do.
Doug (1991 – 1994): Fun fact, Doug and Rugrats both debuted on August 11, 1991. Doug was a show with the early bangers. Bangin’ on the trashcan, drummin’ on the streetlights. I started a journal because of Doug. I wanted to keep track of my day to day highlights and lowlights as well as write about my childhood crush. Fast forward, I’m with my own @pattyxmayo. One of my favorite episodes that got me thinking more about shoes was the episode about Sky Davis Air Jets. CLASSIC.
Clarissa Explains it All (1991 – 1994), All That (1994 – 2005), Kenan & Kel (1996 – 2001): Comedy sketches and sitcoms! I remember feeling so grown when I started adding these into my viewing rotation. Clarissa was such a unique show because she addressed the the viewers and it made me feel like I was a part of her everyday life. Back in the early ’90s, Melissa Joan Hart was basically big sis from Clarissa Explains it All to Sabrina the Teenage Witch.
All That introduced me to sketches and all the fun characters and skits were a riot week after week. Can we talk about those performances at the end? Probably the most LIT part of my childhood 😂
Kenan & Kel taught me family values and how to always have your homies’ back no matter what crazy situation they bring upon you. While they didn’t have notable performances, they had so many fun guest appearances like Kobe Bryant, Ron Harper, Bill Bellamy, Bob Eubanks, Britney Spears, and Kim Fields.
Hey Arnold (1996 – 2004), As Told by Ginger (2000 – 2006): From crushes, bullies, school plays, and classroom woes, both of these shows had it all. Hey Arnold is a cult classic. By far the coolest room of all the Nicktoons. Remember the episode where he had a remote controlled pull out couch was epic? Dope. Arnold and Gerald’s handshake: iconic 🤝!
Ginger and her squad taught me the grass wasn’t always greener on the side. Ginger Foutley & Co take on middle school and high school as she tries to gain popularity and metamorphosize into more than a social geek. Did anyone else ever notice that Ginger, Darren, Dodie, Macie, Courtney, Miranda all changed clothes from episode to episode? There were for sure repeats but it was a pretty novel concept to have the characters showcase different ‘fits.
Cousin Skeeter (1998 – 2001), The Brothers Garcia (2000 – 2004), Taina (2001- 2002): While Skeeter had the jokes, I got hooked on this shoe because of Robert Ri’chard (loved him in One on One too) and Meagan Good 😍 He had the looks and I loved her style. I alluded to Bill Bellamy earlier and he actually voices Skeeter in this series. Lots of life lessons, fashion tips, and good music in this show. I still listen to ‘Steelo’ by 702 on the regular.
While Taina was short lived, it was a fun show following Taina Morales, a young Latina teenager aspiring to be a singer and actress. She and her bestie Renee attend Manhattan High School of the Performing Arts. Back then, I too wanted to find my place in fame and her journey provided insight both good and bad. It was also nice to see more female leads in these types of Nick sitcoms. This happened to be the very last sitcom filmed in Nickelodeon Studios in Orlando, FL before it moved over to Nickelodeon on Sunset. Lesson: Never give up on your dreams!
The Brother Garcia was a teen sitcom that really tugged on my heart strings. The focus was family and family was all I had back then. This series was billed as the first English-language sitcom to have an all Latino cast and creative team! We follow narrator Larry and his two brothers and twin sister George, Carlos, and Lorena as they navigate through school work, growing up, and living in one house.
No matter what era you grew up in, there was a show for everyone on Nickelodeon. Lessons learned. Fashion tips acquired. Values absorbed. Join us today as we celebrate the 42nd anniversary of Nickelodeon’s debut on cable back in 1979. Cheers to all Nick shows old and new alike. 🥳