By Anjelica Blige
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Before the beauty of services like Netflix and HBO Go, we millennials all started our love for TV through the basics brought by cable television networks. Many of us twenty-somethings look back upon shows that aired on channels such as Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network.
The shows we grew up on are still sewn into our adult hearts and childhood memories. Their plotlines and characters may have even influenced our personalities or perspectives. Whether these shows made us laugh, cry, or even taught us a lesson, we all probably wouldn’t have survived elementary and middle school without them to guide us along.
So here’s a small list of some of those shows that got us all talking during recess.
This childhood favorite is iconic from its opening theme song to its notable gang of characters. Tommy, Chuckie, Phil, Lil, and Angelica were the quintessential crew getting into shenanigans all while still taking a naptime and hardly leaving the perimeter of the backyard. They’re kind of like the childhood version of the It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia gang–without any of the drugs, alcohol, or other illicit behavior.
She was the girl who couldn’t get Ethan Craft, but won us over with her unique style–not to mention that cartoon version of herself. She got her own movie that catapulted her to teen idol status where she entered a league all her own. And let’s get real for a second because that movie was everything.
Kenan and Kel
This All That spinoff was a hilarious combination of two star actors, Kel Mitchell and Kenan Thompson. The show can be best noted by Kel’s infamous affection for orange soda and the opening theme song performed by ‘90s rap legend Coolio. Those dreadlocks were everything.
Arnold’s classic football shaped head is unforgettable. In fact, the entire cartoon cast of Hey Arnold! is memorable in its own right. The characters dealt with adversity in an urban community ranging from trying to build a park to helping Mr. Hyunh find his daughter just in time for Christmas, but most memorable is Gerald’s impeccable high-top fade.
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
Will Smith’s breakout role is one for the ages. As a street kid from Philadelphia moving to upper class Bel-Air, California, Will’s new upbringing and ever evolving relationship with Uncle Phil taught us everything about how to break the mold and be yourself even if the setting doesn’t say so. But this ‘90s sitcom than make us laugh hysterically–it brought us the Carlton dance and a famous theme song that launched Will Smith’s rap career.
Arthur Read is the true definition of childhood television with a message. He dealt with everyday struggles like crazy teachers and an annoying younger sister, themes which are very relatable to young audiences. With most of his problems being school related, it felt relieving watching someone who had the same problems we did at that age. It also taught us how to spell aardvark.
The Powerpuff Girls
Three sisters were created in a lab by Professor Utonium, when he accidentally added “Chemical X.” Lucky for him, the mistake just turned his lab project into three superpower sisters. They fought all sorts of villains like the infamous HIM and Mojo Jojo, but were still told to finish their peas and abide by their bedtime. Easily identifiable by color and hairstyle, we each had our favorite character. The show was a true testament of how powerful these girls were, especially because they were just five years old.
Saved by the Bell
It was the high school we all wanted to go to mostly because of how darn good looking everyone was–well, except for Screech. Saved by the Bell was the predecessor of other high school based dramas much like The Hills or Awkward with all its ‘90s glory (enhanced by Mario Lopez’s mullet jerry curl thing). I was a die-hard Zach Morris fan.
Whether they sparked your first TV crush or taught you how to be yourself, these iconic ‘90s shows had a tremendous impact on us as kids. In fact, the episodes might even be funnier in our 20s–especially as drinking games.