Nickelodeon’s Glory Days are Explored in “The Orange Years” Documentary

A lot of us should remember the old days of Nickelodeon, with the various shows and cartoons that were running continuously and the green slime most of all. Those were the days that many kids, as the clip mentions, were home alone while parents were out working. Anyone that’s ever been a latchkey kid would know what it’s like to get home, find a snack, and then sit down to enjoy whatever’s on TV, usually Disney, another bunch of cartoons, or Nickelodeon, which was insanely popular at one time since they were the kind of network that delivered shows that pushed the limits when it came to kids’ programming and made it clear that they weren’t a Disney-fied network that was going to adhere to the many rules that people had come to think were necessary when it comes to the type of programming that was being developed for kids. Nothing was so horrible that it would have been seen as being worthy of cancellation, but there were a few shows that were borderline WTF material since they hadn’t been seen before and the subjects and content they covered were a bit risque for that day and age. Nowadays kids watch Family Guy and other shows and wonder what all the fuss was about when Nickelodeon was paving the way. Seriously, has anyone watched Rick and Morty or any other animated series?

The stuff that’s pushed for kids today is also made for adults at times as well since the jokes and subject material are sometimes a bit too much for many kids to understand and goes right over their heads. Back in the day, even Nickelodeon was something that managed to deliver jokes and content that not every kid understood, though many adolescents did and they loved it. This was the kind of network that was innocent enough by appearance and yet dealt with a few subjects that might have appeared to be less than wholesome to some people. But that’s the trick, isn’t it? What’s okay to one person might appear blasphemous to someone else, and what’s funny and endearing to one individual might be a bit disgusting to another. Nickelodeon was like that, it could interest a lot of people in many different ways and then turn them off in another way with a different show, but on the average, a lot of people would stick around since it was still something to watch that wasn’t as cute and cuddly as it could get and saccharine sweet, but it wasn’t hardcore and in your face as possible since it still used a good amount of humor.

Things have obviously changed over the years as more and more networks have had to go PC in order to avoid being canceled or otherwise penalized continuously for content that censors don’t want to allow. It’s kind of a blow to the childhood that many of us can remember, but it’s also a disservice to the idea that something made to let kids and adolescents have fun was anything other than a good time. It’s true that Nickelodeon went a bit fringe with some of its content, and it’s also true that some of the shows were a bit out there when it came to the overall manner they were filmed in. But they were funny, they were fun to watch, and they entertained kids that needed to pass the time before their parents came home. A lot of people would say that Nickelodeon was just one more network that successfully distracted kids from doing things they should have, but to be fair, that tends to come down to the parents and what they teach their children regarding TV and chores, since Nickelodeon never actively pushed the idea of sloughing off authority of any kind, unless it was meant to convey something amusing and fictional. Nickelodeon wasn’t exactly anti-Disney, but they had no problem promoting the idea of being ‘anything but Disney’, since they didn’t toe the same lines and they definitely didn’t offer up a lot of the same content. They were there for kids that were tired of the cutesy song and dance routine and that wanted something that wasn’t necessarily hardcore but was a little more realistic and a little easier to relate to as a kid.

A lot of us should be able to relate to this since the idea of Disney being there for kids to enjoy and fantasize with is all well and good, but Nickelodeon and a few other networks like them over the years have been far more conducive to the idea of what life is really like beyond the sugar-coated walls and the pleasant interludes of song and general well-being. In short, Nickelodeon was there to make sure we remembered to get dirty and do and say things that might have horrified some Disney-loving parents in the name our childhood.

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