Nickeloden

Nickelodeon in the early 90’s was the king of campy TV shows. You Can’t Say that on Television, 15, Salute your Shorts, and—campiest of them all—Hey Dude.

One of the shows that really sticks out in my mind is Welcome Freshmen, which chronicled the misadventures of a group of high school freshmen at Hawthorne High School. There were also some more bizarre elements such as Myrtle the Safety Turtle, an eponymous named reptile who warned against unsafe household practices and often became the victim of what he warned against. There was also Mr. History, whose shtick I can’t quite recall beyond that it had something to do with re-telling historical episodes.

I remember many of the episodes being quite funny at the time and, even in hindsight, I think it was one of the better shows on Nick. It was no Pete & Pete, to be sure, let along a Rocko’s Modern Life, through the writing was reasonably clever. There is a dearth of clips of the show on YouTube, though I was able to come up with this:

First, the show was an obvious rip-off of Saved by the Bell and the Simpsons. It copied the former’s general high school scenarios and some of the latter’s humor. In of the clips above, for example, we see a Scottish janitor reminiscent of Groundskeeper Willy (is there some sort of Scottish school janitor stereotype?) and principal Lippman’s run in with an angry school superintendent, not unlike Chalmers. I’m almost certain that Lisa’s band teacher inspired the principal’s love of John Sousa, and I seem to remember a Simpsons episode that took the form of a mock court as featured above.

Second, the character Walt was consistently characterized as being a dull, dimwitted jock. Watching now he seems to be much more clever than I remember him being, and his antics are reminiscent of Chico and Harpo Marx.

I think that the writers of this show were actually quite clever, but forced to dumb down their writing for the under-10 set. I do wish that this show was available on Netflix or DVD, though I doubt that we’ll see it any time soon given it’s short (3 season) run.

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One Response to “Nickeloden”

  1. paris je t'aime Says:

    i have no recollection of this show. weird. hey dude was awesome though. mr. ernst!

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