“What if the viewer could become her/his own programming director; what if s/he could define the very entertainment-happiness it was her/his right to pursue.” – David Foster Wallace
First of all, don’t get pissed: This is the last Nick of Time piece. Even worse, it’s not a real Nick of Time piece. Sorry.
Now, yes, I still have a few more shows left to investigate, analyze, and deconstruct, but, well, this modest little hat trick actually worked. That’s right: The history of Nickelodeon’s “golden age” I’ve been developing alongside my Nick of Time series will be published by Plume, an imprint of Penguin, next year.
Out of Control is probably one of the more obscure programs from Nick’s golden era, even though it enjoys the honor of having been the first major series to be produced on American soil by the network. Originally airing in 1984, the show gave us Dave “Cut It Out” Coulier as “himself” hosting an outrageous news program (of sorts) that took on a metacognitive approach much in the same way You Can’t Do That on Television had with a kids show.
In layman’s terms, Out of Control was more about the “news” show being made than it was about the news being presented by its quirky cast of characters. [...]
“As we grow more literate, it seems we mature more in our collecting, passing from the kid stuff of stamps and bubblegum cards and butterflies to the more adult items such as ‘deep meanings.’” — Ken Kesey
Ever since taking on the charge of being the biographer for the “golden age” of Nickelodeon, a few executives’ names continually crop up in my interviews with terms such as, “He/she gave me my start.” Along with Gerry Laybourne, Bob Mittenthal, Scott Webb, and Vanessa Coffey, there was Geoffrey Darby. Barely 25 at the time, Geoffrey Darby was one of two creators of You Can’t Do That on Television.
Whereas Darby’s co-creator [...]
I’m not going to lie. Rugrats is one of the “golden age” Nickelodeon shows that I was never really that into. Sure, I would watch episode after episode as would any devoted Nick acolyte (I mean, what else would I do? Go outside and play?). And it did tend to come on between other shows more my style like Ren & Stimpy. So, I definitely gave it a day in court. Frequently.
But why was it that Rugrats has blazoned itself so indelibly on my mind, then? Maybe because, well, it was kinda a weird show, if you remember correctly. Something about it was rather off-putting. There were all [...]
Last week on “Nick of Time,” we revealed the secret identity of Quail Man (aka “Super Clod”), who turned out not to be animated every-man Doug Funnie, but show creator Jim Jinkins. Oh, and there really was a Patti Mayonnaise (amongst other characters) in Jim’s life growing up, Doug Funnie originally bloomed out of a grapefruit commercial voiced by Garfield the Cat, and Jinkins is one of the people we have to thank for Nickelodeon.
20 years after the show’s debut, Jinkins says he still marvels at the way fans of Doug notice all of the “little details” of his show, which he can see being discussed and [...]