Friday, May 23, 2014

Old School Lane Presents: What Nickelodeon Means to Patricia

Hey everyone, Patricia here. As you recall from last month, Kevin did a video on what Nickelodeon meant to him in honor of Nickelodeon's 35th anniversary. If you haven't seen it yet, you can click on the video down below.

Now it's my turn. Today is my 28th birthday and I think now is a good time to tell you what this network means to me. So, here we go!

Nickelodeon means a lot to me. Even though that they've made a lot of stupid decisions in recent years rejecting shows that had a lot of potential such as Constant Payne and The Modifyers, shows that turned out to be good to amazing such as The Proud Family, Phineas and Ferb, Dragons: Riders of Berk, and Adventure Time, relying on the Internet to create their shows such as Fred the Show, Awesomeness TV, and Breadwinners, and copying off the Disney Channel with their shows, all the things that Nickelodeon did right was amazing and became a huge part of my childhood. I first saw Nickelodeon back in 1989 when I was 3 years old seeing shows such as You Can't Do That on Television, Double Dare, David the Gnome, and Eureeka's Castle, but the show that cemented me as a huge Nickelodeon fan was The Ren & Stimpy Show with my absolute favorite episode of all time "Space Madness". I was 5 years old in 1991 when The Ren & Stimpy Show debuted. It was such an sugar rush of wacky animation and insanity in the scenes where Ren thinks that a bar of soap was an ice cream bar and where Stimpy was tempted to push The History Eraser Button. Those moments stuck on my head many years later and made me a huge fan of Nickelodeon. While I also loved Cartoon Network, Kids WB, Disney in the Afternoon, and PBS, I would choose Nickelodeon as my favorite.

Shows from Nickelodeon during the 90's were, for the most part, incredible and extremely memorable for me. Shows such as the 3 original Nicktoons, Clarissa Explains it All, All That, The Adventures of Pete & Pete, Rocko's Modern Life, Weinerville, Hey Arnold!, The Angry Beavers, Kenan & Kel, and more, were programs that shaped my sense of humor and my inspiration of becoming a writer. When rewatching this shows for the Nickelodeon tribute, I gained a bigger appreciation on these programs and how relatable the characters were, how much of the humor went over my head as a kid and understood when I got older, and how to tell a cohesive plot with great storylines. As a kid, I had little to no friends in school due to being socially awkward. But the characters from these TV shows sort of became the friends I never had growing up until I met Kevin at my 4th grade class. He also had a love for Nickelodeon and we would spend hours talking about our favorite shows after school. Of course, not every show in the 90's were flawless, you can read my article that I wrote last year on whether the 90's Nickelodeon shows are overrated right here.

Family Double Dare, Nick Arcade, Nickelodeon GUTS, and Legends of the Hidden Temple got me hooked into game shows and I wished that I could join in one of the game shows at Nickelodeon Studios in Orlando, Florida. The sets, games, hosts, and prizes looked so awesome and everyone I knew dreamed of being a contestant of one of those game shows. I did go to Nickelodeon Studios 3 times around the 00's and even saw the employees building the set for Double Dare 2000 and went in the Jimmy Neutron simulation ride. It was an amazing experience that I never forgot and the reason why I want other kids who either never went or were too young to remember to go through the same thing. Hopefully it'll happen someday.

As I grew older in the late 90's and early 00's, I didn't watch Nickelodeon as much and I gravitated towards other networks that were showing programs for teenagers. This was also when I went through the beginning of my anime faze watching programs such as Dragonball Z, Cowboy Bebop, and Pokemon. However, when programs such as Caitlin's Way and Invader Zim brought me back watching Nickelodeon and seeing what it had to offer for the new generation. By the first episode of Invader Zim, I was immediately hooked and hadn't gotten excited into watching a new show since The Ren & Stimpy Show. I remember back in high school that the goth/emo craze was big and I had a friend who was a part of that group. We would sit at the lunch table talking about Invader Zim as well as all the other graphic novels written by Jhonen Vasquez.

This was also the time in which forums complaining about Nickelodeon in the 00's started to form. Even back in 2000, many teenagers who grew up in the 90's bashed these new programs and stated that they were inferior to the old programs that we saw as kids. For a while, I agreed with them. But then, I saw the shows that were coming out at the time and slowly I no longer listened to them. There were so many programs such as SpongeBob SquarePants, The Fairly Oddparents, Invader Zim, My Life as a Teenage Robot, ChalkZone, Drake & Josh, Ned's Declassified, and Danny Phantom that I wished were around when I was a kid since animation, writing, and character development was gradually improving. This was the first time I learned about people being narrow minded and being blinded by nostalgia hating the programs that were new and only liking the programs that they grew up with. This experience would come into fruition a few years later when I co-founded Old School Lane.

However, in 2004, when I graduated from high school and entered into college, I slowly got away from Nickelodeon once again. However, 1 year later, one show brought me and my college friends back to this network: Avatar: The Last Airbender. That show was such a marvel to see when it first came out with its stunning animation, memorable characters, and amazing storyline. It was the best show I've ever seen for Nickelodeon and it was one of the most talked about topics that my friends and family brought up. A few years later, I went to my first sci-fi/anime convention in Orlando and I saw many people dress up as Nickelodeon characters such as teams from Legends of the Hidden Temple, Quail-Man from Doug, and numerous characters from Avatar: The Last Airbender. I even dressed up as a Blue Barracuda at Megacon 2008. It showed me that the love of Nickelodeon, both classic and new, is still going strong.

Then when 2011 came, Kevin and I started our blog Old School Lane and the first tribute we wanted to dedicate to was Nickelodeon. We rewatched all the old shows we grew up and gave our opinions on them. Some of them are still classics that still hold up. Others are awful trainwrecks that should be forgotten in the sands of time. A lot of our reviews and opinions on these shows and topics has brought us our fans and our haters, but we still stand by them and not worry about the negative feedback we get. We focus on the wonderful people who have been on our side for these 3 years reading our articles and listening to our podcasts. Eventually, we became associates of Manic Expression were we shared our love for all things Nickelodeon to the members. Some of our favorite episodes of Casual Chats are the ones that we've talked about Nickelodeon with the people from Manic Expression such the Rocko's Modern Life, Legends of the Hidden Temple, The Adventures of Pete & Pete, and Danny Phantom. 

Then I became an admin for The Re-Open Nickelodeon Studios page and founded the Nickelodeon Slimecast Podcast. It's amazing that I've been an admin for this page for over a year and I've gotten to know so many people who have a huge passion for Nickelodeon as I did when I was young. Talking about the Nickelodeon topics is always a lot of fun and I'm glad that we have a dedicated fanbase who also enjoys listening to us discussing about them. That means more to me than you will ever know.

The Nickelodeon tribute has also giving me the courage to interview all the wonderful people who had worked on these shows that I grew up with. When Kevin first brought up the idea of trying to get a hold of people such as Marc Summers, I thought he was crazy. "There's no way we can get a hold of these people. They accept journalists or reporters to interview them, not regular fans like us", I thought. Boy, was I wrong and I'm glad I was wrong. In total, we interviewed about 30 people including Marc Summers, Cheryl Blaylock, Noel MacNeal, D.J. McHale, Moira Quirk, Craig Bartlett, Marc Weiner, Bill Burnett, Ross Hull, and more.

We even met these people face to face at the Slimed book event in NYC hosted by Mathew Klickstein (whom we also interviewed). All the work that Kevin and I put in had been worth it meeting wonderful people such as Marc Summers, John Harvey, Phil Moore, Vanessa Coffey, Jim Jinkens, and more. Meeting up with various people who also shared the same love of these shows and people was also incredible. It was probably one of the best moments that I've ever experienced in my life and a wonderful opportunity to meet up with the people that shaped my childhood.

If you haven't been to the Slimed book event, it was recorded live and has been uploaded to YouTube. Here's the video to check out. If you see the audience, Kevin and I are the ones in the first row in the middle.

So, as you can see, Nickelodeon still means a lot to me today. Sure, Nickelodeon has made a lot of mistakes over the past few years and it isn't the same network that I grew up with, but the huge impact that it made to me shaped me into a better person. I hope that Nickelodeon continues and shapes many children's lives for years to come.


Monday, May 19, 2014

Turtle Talk Episode 11: Interview with Chris "RowdyC" Moore

In this episode of Turtle Talk, Patricia and Kevin interview RowdyC Productions founder and Reviewers Unknown member Chris Moore. In it, they discuss questions about his recent TMNT retrospective, his opinions on the franchise, the upcoming TMNT movie, and much more.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Old School Lane's Nickelodeon Tribute: My Family's Got GUTS

At this point in time, game shows for Nickelodeon were dead. Just plain dead. After Nickelodeon Studios shut down its doors in 2005, people's interest for kids' game shows waned down fast, especially when Nickelodeon GAS was done in 2007. However, Nickelodeon decided to bring back kids' game shows with another revival. The first two attempts of game show revivals such as Double Dare 2000 and the 2002 Wild & Crazy Kids were such colossal failures that they didn't last longer than a year and people still look back to the original with fondness. Third time would be the supposed charm with the revival of the 1992 game show Nickelodeon GUTS with My Family's Got GUTS debuting on September 15, 2008.


The game show starts with a group of two families competing each other in a tournament filled with extreme games and concluding it at the Aggro Crag. The families with the highest points will move on to the next round, receive a piece of the Aggro Crag and the next family competes. It continues on until the final two families compete in the Aggro Bowl and the winner receives a full Aggro Crag trophy and a family trip. The host of My Family's Got GUTS is film critic/actor Ben Lyons and his co-host is Australian celebrity Asha Keurten.

What makes My Family's Got GUTS interesting is the fact that it was filmed in Sound Stages 23 and 24 of Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida, which is something to behold since as previously mentioned, Nickelodeon Studios had shut down 3 years prior and every show that was being filmed were taking place at Nick on Sunset in California. Similar to the original Nickelodeon GUTS being a kid version of American Gladiators coming out around the same time, My Family's Got GUTS came out a few months after the American Gladiators revival back in January 2008. However, My Family's Got GUTS lasted for 2 seasons ending its run on October 10, 2009 despite the fact that Season 2 was never shown in North America due to most likely low ratings. There are a lot of reasons that My Family's Got GUTS frustrates me.

First off, this would've been a great opportunity to not only to revive the Nickelodeon game show genre that had been dead for 3 years, but it could've been the thing to bring back Nickelodeon Studios. If the show would've been a big hit, maybe more game shows or live action shows could've been filmed at the different Sound Stages at Universal Studios. Unfortunately, there was no mention of My Family's Got GUTS being filmed at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida similar to most of the game shows during the 80's and 90's during the ending credits. Parents could've taken their kids there and Universal Studios could've made a lot of money, but it was wasted potential.

Secondly, the hosts of Ben Lyons and Asha Keurten are very forgettable. It seems that the people who created this revival wanted them to be the next Mike O' Malley and Moira Quirk, with Lyons being kooky and wild and Keurten having a exotic language, but didn't understand what made O'Malley and Quirk work in the first place. Mike O'Malley was very goofy and silly, which would have normally been out of place for an "extreme" game show like Nickelodeon GUTS, but he was likable. Moira Quirk was the steady, down-to-earth referee who explained the rules to the kids and had a cheerful personality that was a much needed balance for O'Malley. They worked great together and no other Nickelodeon game shows accomplished this feat ever since. Lyons and Keurten were rehashes of what O'Malley and Quirk did 15 years prior as oppose to their own true personalities with no chemistry or likability.

Double Dare 2000 was a revival that played itself way too safe with little to no changes. Wild & Crazy Kids back in 2002 had too many changes that didn't make it unrecognizable from the original. My Family's Got GUTS was a mixture of both. While it retained the extreme games, the Aggro Crag, the theme song, and the criteria of the hosts' personalities, there were a lot of changes that were made that were mostly unnecessary. For example, the addition of the families being the contestants didn't mesh very well and made the pacing slower. The scoring system is very different from the original and can be confusing at times. Plus, the Aggro Crag was very confusing with the different gameplay, having a few seconds start with the teams with the highest score, and it being 5 feet smaller than the original Aggro Crag, it became a letdown since every Crag in each season became taller with more challenges with the Mega Crag being 28 feet tall and the Super Aggro Crag being 30 feet.

Overall, I have mixed opinions of My Family's Got GUTS. On one hand, it was the best revived game show that Nickelodeon had at that point and it felt like Nickelodeon GUTS. However, due to a mixture of keeping things way too safe with things that needed to be changed and having unnecessary changes that shouldn't have been made makes it a game show makes this a very frustrating experience to sit through. I think the game show would've done better if it wasn't based on Nickelodeon GUTS and was an original idea. It's an okay game show by itself, but it's nowhere near as good when compared to the original.

That's all for now. Hope to see you around Old School Lane soon. Thanks for reading.


Monday, May 12, 2014

Manic Expression Digression Session Episode 49: A Dimension of Sight and Sound

In this episode of Manic Expression Digression Session, Manic Expression members Kevin, Patricia, TheOtherDude92, and Jim Bevan discuss about one of the greatest TV shows of all time, The Twilight Zone. They also touch upon the movie and its two revivals.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Turtle Talk Episode 10: TMNT Memories

In this special episode of Turtle Talk, Patricia and Kevin celebrate the 30th anniversary of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles alongside Manic Expression members Alexthed, Decker Shado, and TheMimic1013 with their fondest TMNT memories. Also, Patricia and Kevin discuss about the newest 2 episodes of TMNT and the upcoming toys.