Thursday, July 11, 2013

Old School Lane celebrates the 20th anniversary of Weinerville

Around 2013, the kids who grew up in the 90's will be remembering and celebrating the 20th anniversaries of shows such as Beavis & Butthead, Mighty Morphing Power Rangers, and even classic Nickelodeon shows such as Legends of the Hidden Temple, Rocko's Modern Life, and The Adventures of Pete & Pete. These shows were influential, groundbreaking, and were standouts when they first came out. To this day, they are fondly regarded and talked about still to this day. However, there is one show that most people will not be talking about. This show has been forgotten by many 90's kids and hasn't gotten the recognition it deserves. It's a show that Kevin and I love dearly, but many people have never heard of it, let alone seen it. But that's about to change as Old School Lane celebrates the 20th anniversary of Weinerville.


Now this is not a review of Weinerville since we already did one a while back. If you want to read our review of it, click here to check it out. But here's a quick recap for those who haven't seen the show before. It's a variety show starring Marc Weiner in a city named Weinerville where he interacts with his puppets consisting of various characters such as the mayor Dottie, the sarcastic redhead Socko, and the loud, rude dinosaur Boney. There were skits, classic cartoons, and a segment called Play Land where Marc would choose two kids from the audience to get them Weinerized, or turn them into half-human half-puppets and play a game.

The show has had different specials such as a presidential special, a New Year's Eve special, and the very first Hanukkah special that Nickelodeon ever aired. Each episode was very zany, wacky, kooky, and fun. Call it weird, call it cheesy, call it whatever you want, but Weinerville can guarantee you a smile on your face. The show was about old fashioned fun similar to what Total Panic and Pee-wee's Playhouse would do. You have to be in the right mindset and mood to enjoy the show, but when you are, you're in for a real ride.

Marc almost didn't create this show. If you ever read the 1995 newspaper article titled "Of God and Weinerville", Marc was a standup comedian focused on doing his puppets for various TV shows such as SNL to perform. It was intended for adults and he became a comedic star. However, a tragic event involving his first son Avi made him go to hospitals to entertain his puppet work with him and the other sick kids who were there. But as time went on, Avi passed away and he almost lost interest in being a comedian. Originally, Weinerville was not going to be in Nickelodeon. Marc Weiner pitched the idea of a game show called That's Not Fair! to Comedy Central about him being a half-human half-puppet host with real contestants asking questions, but with a zany twist. But then the Nickelodeon executives saw the pilot and asked him to perform the show for kids. Thinking about Avi and the kids he entertained at the hospital loving his work as a puppeteer, he accepted and Weinerville was born.

When it first came out, it was a true standout and praised from many sources from The New York Times to The Today Show as being fun, original, and zany. Kids such as Kevin and myself would watch the show on the weekend or after school and we would be engulfed with the world that Marc created. But unfortunately, the show only had 2 seasons and was cancelled a year after its release. Coupled with the schedule changes and Legends of the Hidden Temple, Rocko's Modern Life, and The Adventures of Pete & Pete coming out at the same year as Weinerville made the program overlooked by many other kids. Plus, it's like I mentioned on previous occasions, Weinerville is not for everyone. It's a zany show with corny humor and a classic feel homaging 1950's and 60's variety programs and kids' shows. If those don't interest you, you won't get into Weinerville. But you have to admit that there were no other shows like Weinerville even today. Sure we would get more game shows, cartoons, and teen sitcoms, but never again a kooky variety show with puppets, cartoons, and skits like what Weinerville gave us and that's what makes it a underrated classic.

Despite that Marc and his son Max were doing new Weinerville skits on YouTube, I would love for this show to come back. If you recall from my top 10 Nickelodeon shows that need to be remade, if Marc can do Weinerville similar to his old 70's and 80's skits where the humor was for adults and the 1993 show, then it would be a huge standout once again and would generate a new generation of fans. Kids need to see creativity and originality like Weinerville in this day and age and I know that if done right, Weinerville will do just as well in 2013 compared to when it debuted in 1993. Maybe it'll be a cult hit like the original, but it doesn't matter. Kevin and I would watch it in an instant and this would be a program that we would introduce to kids if we ever have any. Do yourself a favor, watch some episodes of Weinerville on YouTube, go to, and take some time to get acquainted or reacquaint with Marc, Dottie, Zip, Pops, Louie, Socko, and Boney. You won't regret it. Happy 20th anniversary Weinerville! 

If you want to know more about Weinerville, check out our interview with Marc Weiner here. Also, check out our newest episode of Casual Chats where Kevin and I celebrate the 20th anniversary of Weinerville with a few special guests.

Hope to see you around Old School Lane soon!


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