Tag Archives: Nickelodeon

Top 5 ‘Are You Afraid Of The Dark’ episodes

14 Aug

s5_topI miss SNICK. Every Saturday night, without fail, my brother and I would sit in front of the TV waiting for our favorite television shows to come on. We’d sometimes watch the entire two hours of programming, if “The Adventures of Pete & Pete” was on, but we never missed an episode of “Are You Afraid Of The Dark”. The intro, with the empty row boat in the water and the lone swing swaying in the wind and the ominous “woos” being sung in the background, still gives me the shivers.

Looking back, I can see why my parents were so okay with us watching the “scary” episodes. They ended much like R.L. Stine’s “Goosebumps” books did – sometimes terrifying, sometimes without a definite ending, and sometimes all wrapped nicely like a bow. They made you think and were not always as formulaic as they could have been. The show was really a “Twilight Zone” for junior high kids.

And while I sometimes go on YouTube to look up past episodes, there are a few that really stick out to me as favorites. Here are five of the ones that make the grade:

1. “The Tale of the Pinball Wizard” — Season 1, Episode 13

The story starts out with a boy named Ross who loves pinball games. While at the gaming store in the mall, he disobeys the shop owner who had forbid him from playing a certain game. Ross gets stuck inside the game (now being played in the real world, inside the closed mall). While he himself now has to save the princess, he encounters scary creatures and characters. This one doesn’t end so pleasantly, if I recall.

2. “The Tale of the Thirteenth Floor” — Season 2, Episode 4

Siblings Karen and Billy love to play hockey in their awesome apartment building, which includes an empty skating rink-sized loft on the top floor. A creepy/crazy toy factory moves in (how is this space even big enough for that?) and it turns out that the owners are actuallyaliens in search of their daughter … KAREN! It’s a bit weird and Twilight Zone-y. So I like.

3. “The Tale of the Whispering Walls” — Season 2, Episode 8

On a drive back home from somewhere, I don’t remember, a babysitter and the two she is in charge of get lost. They end up going to a creepy tavern run by a guy who looks like he spends most of his time gaming at his mom’s house. He gives them really bad directions (on purpose), and they arrive at an old Victorian mansion slash fun house. I love this one, especially when a baby the sitter is holding turns into a giant snake.

4. “The Tale of Watcher’s Woods” — Season 3, Episode 3

This might be my favorite one. Kelly and Sarah are at an all-girls summer camp. They get lost in these super creepy woods nearby, where three campers were lost long ago. Turns out, these three lost girls turned into ghostly old hags who want to eat the young ones and cook them in a stew. Yay!

5. “The Tale of the Unfinished Painting” — Season 4, Episode 11

Okay, disclaimer – I really dislike the actress (Jewel Staite) who stars in this episode. She was also in an episode about a girl who loves to sleep and gets trapped in her dreams. Unfortunately, the powers that be at AYAOTD decided that she needed to be in the better written episodes, so sigh, but so annoying. Anyhoo, this girl goes to a painting class and the teacher wants her to finish her painting with a “special” paintbrush. She gets trapped in the painting, just like the people in the pictures displayed in the evil teacher’s gallery. I always wondered if some works of art were a bit too real.

BONUS: “The Tale of the Vacant Lot” — Season 5, Episode 10

So I actually had 6 in mind, but a Top 6 just isn’t sexy enough. High-school student Catherine just doesn’t feel like she fits in with the rest of her classmates. She can’t run fast, she doesn’t have the right clothes – being a white girl in middle-class America just sucks. AMIRITE?  She comes across a mysterious tent in a vacant lot. It’s a store run by the strange Marie. She offers all that Catherine could possibly want, but at a price. And the price is every self-centered high school girl’s nightmare! Mu-ha-ha-ha!

I didn’t list any of the Dr. Vink (DR. VINK!) episodes or some of the creepier ones (note, the first episode of the entire series was definitely too horrifying for 11-year-old me), but I like them all. I have now graduated to “The Twilight Zone”, and can’t get enough of their marathons during the holiday season. I am glad that this was available to me as a kid, and hope that there is some sort of comparative show for pre-teens now. Probably not.

Nickelodeon favorites of the ’90s

20 Feb

Warning: I was going to list my favorite television shows of Nickelodeon. Can’t do. Too much stuff to list off. Was going to list off favorite middle school programming. Uh, again, a lot to list. So this is just one segment of my favorite 30-minute to hour-long shows of childhood past.

I can hear the "splat" sound right now.

I can hear the “splat” sound right now.

I watched a lot of television growing up. A lot. Some of it was educational, but a lot of the time it was just crazy garbage. Jerry Springer accidentally getting hit in the face by a baby mama or a woman gladiator in a spandex suit swinging on a rope.

But the Nickelodeon programs that were geared toward middle-school children, now that was some good stuff.

During the summer, if it were too hot, I’d turn on some Nickelodeon and tune in to their programming.

I had a lot of babysitting gigs. So a lot of times I would turn on the TV and see this:

RIP Face

RIP Face

He would get things moving right along. Not only that, but he was quite entertaining to the two-year-old twins that were in my care.

Now, babysitting in the summer while all my friends were at the pool wasn’t a favorite thing of mine. So I compromised with the kids. We’d watch one of their boring shows as long as I could catch at least an hour of Steve and Blue.

Everybody love's Blue's Clues. EVERYBODY.

Everybody love’s Blue’s Clues. EVERYBODY.

If there were ever a job opening and the main requirement was to recite all the songs from Blue’s Clues, I’d be in like flint. I even carried a lunch box in the shape of Steve’s notebook (complete with large green crayon!) with me in high school. In homage.

Alright, early in the afternoon they would sometimes show re-runs of this favorite. I just wanted to go down the tongue slide so bad. I also wanted that green slime to run down my back. I imagined it smelled like a mixture of plastic and Play-Doh.

My brother and I would have creamed the other contestants. I am absolutely sure of it.

My brother and I would have creamed the other contestants. I am absolutely sure of it.

This enjoyable team competition show was quickly overshadowed by my favorite-ist of all time game shows. THE LEGENDS OF THE HIDDEN TEMPLE. GET IT, GET IT.

When this came on. I shut up and listened, and then started shouting obscenities at the screen.

When this came on I shut up and listened, and then started shouting obscenities at the screen.

Damn, I wanted to be on this show soooo bad. I was always rooting for the red or purple team at the beginning. But the entire time, I was just waiting in anticipation for the last team to run through the temple. BUT WHY IN GOD’S NAME COULD NO ONE EVER PUT THE FREAKIN’ SILVER MONKEY TOGETHER? WHY? And why did they always run into the temple guards when it was so obvious where they were stationed? Also, their mouth guards were obscenely huge. AMIRIGHT?

I could have entered the Shrine of the Silver Monkey and nailed that task. Nailed it.

I could have entered the Shrine of the Silver Monkey and nailed that task. Nailed it.

You may have been at the pool or T-balling it up. I was instead catching up on my favorite-ist show ever. SALUTE YOUR SHORTS. Budnick and Donkey Lips were seriously so cool. I was always ticked off that Budnick always got a bad rap and I secretly had a huge crush on the redhead. Also, I wanted to be Z.Z. and hang out with Telly and Dina in our cabin.

Camp Anawanna, we hold you in our hearts ...

Camp Anawanna, we hold you in our hearts …

Was anyone else super happy when they replaced Michael with pransker Ronnie? And did anyone know that the super hottie became lead guitarist of Rilo Kiley?

Usually, this show aired before Salute Your Shorts. And I loved it.

Hey Dude, and dude, and dude, and dude, and dude.

Hey Dude, and dude, and dude, and dude, and dude.

I wanted to visit the Bar None and hang out with Ben Stiller’s wife Melody and date Ted. He was hot, hot, hot. I just never want to wear shorts down to my ankles. The girls seemed to dig those.

While these shows were great afternoon exploits, what I most enjoyed was SNICK (Saturday Night Nickelodeon).

Snick_2610That was when the quality programming came out to play.

Over the years, the shows changed, but here are a few of my favorites.

images-6

The Secret World of Alex Mack. Yes.

I love me some Pete & Pete. I still find this to be a brilliantly written show.

I love me some Pete & Pete. I still find this to be a brilliantly written show.

The irreverent characters of Ren & Stimpy. They made me cringe and laugh all at once. Does anyone remember the episode where they were scraping a tongue for a good minute?

The irreverent characters of Ren & Stimpy. They made me cringe and laugh all at once. Does anyone remember the episode where they were scraping a tongue for a good minute?

I needed Clarissa to explain it all. Someone had to.

I needed Clarissa to explain it all. Someone had to.

I have seen each and every episode, and I want to take home Chuckie Finster and be his surrogate mommy.

I have seen each and every episode, and I want to take home Chuckie Finster and be his surrogate mommy.

oug's theme song was the catchiest thing ever written. And I loved every character. Doug was like a middle-aged balding man stuck in a cartoon teenager's body.

Doug’s theme song was the catchiest thing ever written. And I loved every character. Doug was like a middle-aged balding man stuck in a cartoon teenager’s body.

And last, but definitely not least, is the best show ever made for teenagers (in my opinion). This show can still freak the ba-jeez-us out of me. I catch it every once and a while on YouTube. Are You Afraid of the Dark? was my go-to, and I looked forward to every weekend that a marathon was playing. I have two favorite episodes. The first was where a babysitter and the two kids she took care of get trapped in an old mansion in the middle of nowhere. The second was about a kid obsessed with video games, and he gets stuck in an arcade game in a mall where he has to save the princess. SOOOO GOOD!

I am deathly afraid of the dark, and still can't watch this show before bedtime.

I am deathly afraid of the dark, and still can’t watch this show before bedtime.

What were your favorite Nickelodeon shows of the ’90s? Was it Keenan and Kel? Or All That? I just named a few of my favorites. Next up will be Saturday morning cartoons. And then a look back at TGIF. Because we all need to ride that rollercoaster of life that was the beginning of every Step By Step episode.

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