Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The 90's: A Television Love Affair

The nineties were a great time to grow up as a child, period. Television became a pseudo babysitter during this time, and almost another member of the family whose sole purpose was to entertain children to the point where they became hypnotized into mindless drones watching their favorite shows. The nineties gave rise to all kinds of tremendous programming, from cartoons to action shows to kids’ game shows there was always something great on television before and after school.

Cartoons during this time really set the bar for future programming for children. Nickelodeon, which was founded as pinwheel in the late 70’s, really garnered major success throughout the 90’s. Shows like Rugrats, Doug, Rocco’s Modern Life, and later on Rocket Power entertained children across the country. These shows were on the Leboff family television on a regular basis. Whether it was mindless bathroom humor like in Rocco’s Modern Life or tales of friendship and hard times as a student on Doug there was something for everyone. Cartoon Network was born in the early nineties as well. This channel originally started to recycle old cartoons such as one of my personal favorites, Scooby Doo, on a 24/7 basis has enjoyed wild success and now has its own original programming as well as a timeslot for the high school/college age crowd with adult swim. Two other shows I will mention in the cartoon category are The Real Ghostbusters and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles originated as a comic that turned into a cartoon series followed by a number of movies whereas Ghostbusters originated as two wildly popular movies that turned into a series in the late 80’s and early 90’s. These two shows along with Scooby Doo (which was actually a product of the 70’s) were my favorite shows of this decade. I would parade around in my backyard catching (hopefully) imaginary ghosts as Dr. Ray Stantz or fight New York City’s evildoers as Leonardo.

This decade also gave rise to a number of great reality game shows for children. Every kid our age dreamed of bringing home a piece of the crag, getting slimed, or getting a pie in the face on one of Nickelodeons tremendous game shows. Marc Summers was a household name hosting both What Would You Do and Family Double Dare. Family Double Dare probably cracked my top three favorite shows in this category. Everyone always sat on the edge of their seat hoping that the families would supersede the double dare into the physical challenge. The other two shows that cracked my top three, in no particular order, were Legends of the Hidden Temple and Guts/Global Guts. Guts itself was great, but when the producers of the show decided to have kids compete for their native countries, the stakes really jumped up a notch. Mike O’Malley and Moira Quirk were really an unbeatable combination. The one last show I will bring up in this category as an honorable mention was Wild ‘N Crazy Kids. The ridiculous activities that these kids got to perform on television were the envy of every kid that watched the show, hosted in part by, my boy, BrOmar Gooding.

Finally, and most importantly, the one kid’s action show I will bring up in this section is Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. This show was so cool that it saved the g at the end of Morphin to put an extra g in ganggster. I honestly don’t think I know one person that didn’t watch this show. Everyone loved tuning in to watch the power rangers kick some butt (I said butt because I wasn’t allowed to say ass in the 90’s) every Saturday morning. Every week they would take on some new monster sent to Earth from outer space by Rita Repulsa. Looking back on this show the only thing more entertaining than the monsters and putty patrollers the team fought was the lack of any politically correct tact in giving the rangers their colors. Walter Jones (a black man) was the black ranger, Thuy Trang (an Asian woman) was the yellow ranger, David Yost was the blue ranger (not too politically incorrect, but he was a dude who got the color blue), Amy Jo Johnson the hot girl was the pink ranger, and Austin St. John (who has native American heritage) was the red ranger. It is safe to say that if Rev. Al Sharpton watched this show he would have turned his pants into the brown ranger. Much the same as Ghostbusters and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, everyone had their favorite ranger in this show that they would pretend to be when playing in the backyard, and would fight who got to save Kimberly (the pink ranger played by the super fine Amy Jo Johnson). This show was everything a kid could ask for before it was bastardized into a thousand new age spinoff shows with new characters.

The ‘90s really were a tremendous decade for television. From cartoons to game shows to Mighty Morphin Power Rangers I will always revel in the incredible programming of this Era. I will always get nostalgic when I see my old proton pack or ninja turtle outfit. Here is a preview of the next topic...

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