I was watching college football late last night while simultaneously reading Jon Krakauer’s latest book “Where Men Win Glory” (the book chronicles the life and death of Pat Tillman, a true f*ckin American who turned down fame and fortune in the NFL to join the Army Rangers. He is one of the most interesting and heroic people who has ever lived. Read this book). Anyways, I was watching television and a commercial came on for the latest children’s programming for the Disney Channel/Nickelodeon, although I can’t remember which one because, frankly, who gives a shit. It did, however, challenge me to remember the good ol’ days of kids shows. The shows you would wake up early to watch before you went to school and the ones you would race home for in the afternoon. They didn’t star Miley Cyrus and they weren’t about futuristic yellow chinchillas who could produce lightning bolts from their ass…the shows back then had substance and captured our hearts. Here is my top 10 greatest childhood shows of all time.
10. Captain Planet – When their powers combined, they created Captain Planet. Captain Planet was cool long before Al Gore first stood on his soapbox. Their rings were for reals also…earth, wind, water, fire, heart. Wait, seriously? Heart? What the f*ck. This transgendered character provides absolutely no value to the team. I could think of plenty of rings that would have been better. Rings that shoot lasers, rings that initiate bear attacks or rings that blast the Isley Brother’s greatest hits. Smoove.
9. Mighty Morphin Power Rangers – There have been many variations on this karate kid/transformers concept, but I’m only ranking the original version, before the Mighty Morphin was dropped in 1996. These ninjas made wearing multi-colored, skin-tight jumpsuits cool again. When Rita Repulsa supersized her villains, the Rangers would combine their dinozords into the mighty Megazord. An unknown fact about the show…they had originally casted the Flesh colored Power Ranger, whose dinozord would attach to Megazord just below his utility belt, but the producers thought this might be mildly offensive so he was subsequently cut. Maybe thats why Megazord can kick so much alien ass…because he can’t get none.
8. Guts – Like American Gladiators but with more acne and less steroids. Nothing seemed more glorious than the thought of heading home with a piece of the crag. “Lets take it to Mo…Mo”.
7. The Secret World of Alex Mack – One of the only television show I can remember where bathing in toxic waste didn’t turn you into Sloth. Once Alex Mack was covered in the radioactive goodness, she was given multiple “super powers”, one of which was her ability to transform into a silvery liquid. This liquid didn’t resemble a puddle of water as much as it reminds me of what the Silver Surfer would throw up after a night spent drinking too much Kentucky Gentleman bourbon. Gross.
6. Dinosaurs – Because when watching T-Rex’s eating people like they are fingerling potatoes stops being funny, you can tune in to this show and watch a baby dinosaur, Baby Sinclair, hit his dad over the head yelling “not the mama” and “I’m the baby”. Classic. Also, where else are you going to be able to see a male teenage dinosaur get caught doing a “mating dance” by himself. Someone get that dino a tissue.
5. Doug – The show that gave us Quailman and made wearing your tighty-whities outside your pants socially acceptable. Skeeter, not a sexual reference in a Lil John song, was Doug’s best friend and reminds one of the fabled “blue people” living in the mountains of Kentucky. Also, Patti Mayonnaise. Mmmmm…Patti Mayonnaise.
4. Hey Dude – Darn tootin. Who didn’t want to visit the Bar None Dude Ranch as a child. I sure as hell did. These teens did nothing but stir up trouble and cause problems for Mr. Ernst. Where I come from, this show could be looked down upon for its influence on what would inevitably become, the Marietta cowboy. One of the taglines for the show was “watch out for the killer cacti”. We all know that Danny only warned every one of said cacti so that he could have it all to himself. Definitely cacti’d-out the entire show.
3. The Adventures of Pete & Pete – Honestly, one of my favorite shows when I was younger. I mean their neighbor was Iggy Pop for God’s sake. That is grounds alone for it being ridiculously enjoyable. I bet that Iggy had no idea where he was for most of the filming and never questioned it because this show was totally f*ckin trippy. Definitely a strange show. So you had Iggy, appropriately named “Pop” on the show, a guy named pit stain and my favorite character: Artie, “the strongest man…in the world”, who could skip stones on Neptune and once hit a golf ball 300,000 yards. Suck on that Tiger.
2. Salute Your Shorts – This show had maybe the best two characters of any kids show that I can remember: Budnick and Donkeylips. Being a fellow fat man, I can totally empathize with Donkeylips and his attempts to fit in. Budnick was your typical bully with one of the most incredible mullets ever displayed on television. Cross him and you are most definitely getting an awful waffle. While we never quite figured out what this was, it definitely involved mass quantities of maple syrup and most likely resulted in being really damn sticky. I hate being sticky. Ever try an awful waffle on me and I will Ray Finkle you in the junk.
1. Family Matters – Now, you may argue with me that this isn’t truly a kids show. It was never a part of Nickelodeon’s SNICK line up, but ask me what one show I can remember watching over and over again growing up and the answer is the same. Carl Winslow is single-handedly the greatest television father of all time. He rules his household with an iron fist and a belly full of Krispy Kreme doughnuts. Also, where else are you going to EVER see a show with a character named Waldogeraldofaldo? This show is family comedy at its best.