10. Dexter's LaboratoryI used to really like this show as a kid, but I think it declined in its later years (it sounds like I'm talking about a pet or something). Now the most memorable parts of the show to me were the Monkey vs. Duck (if that's even what they were called) segments, Mandark's laugh, and the episode where Dexter plays a French language CD while he sleeps, and it skips, so he wakes up being able to say nothing but "Omelette du fromage." I also remember enjoying the musical episode. All in all, it was good for a laugh.
9. DougThis show was pretty cool. I sort of liked it as a kid, but now I look back on it with a lot of nostalgia, because I remember going to see the movie on one of my birthdays when I was little. This show's theme song is the kind that sticks in your head for days and makes you remember it forever. I remember everyone's names from the show, but that's about all I remember. Also, both his dog Porkchop and his best friend Skeeter were unnatural colors, and his love interest was named after a food and a condiment. How did they go about naming things in this show anyway?!
8. RecessNow, this one is difficult because we didn't have Disney Channel when it was on for the most part, but I used to watch reruns on ABC kids in the morning, and I loved it. I probably couldn't tell you any of the kids' names now (actually, no "probably" about it--I don't remember any of their names), but I remember really liking the show and enjoying the movie a lot when I rented it one time. I remember it being witty and snappy, with great dialogue and storylines, and I enjoyed the art style.
7. Pinky and the BrainI didn't really watch this show that much-- I preferred Animaniacs. But I do remember one year, there was a holiday weekend, and I sat backwards in our recliner chair with my chin on the back and watched a marathon of this show. Now that I'm older, I appreciate the humor, pop culture references, and general zaniness of the show a whole lot more. My personal favorite part of the show is Pinky's responses to the AYPWIP (Are You Pondering What I'm Pondering?) question. Some of my favorite responses:
"I think so, Brain, but we're already naked."
"Well I think so, Brain, but if they called them sad meals, kids wouldn't buy them!"
"I think so, but were will we find an open tattoo parlor at this time of night?"
"Uh, I think so, Brain, but balancing a family and a career... ooh, it's all too much for me."
"Wuh, I think so, Brain, but isn't Regis Philbin already married?"
"I think so, Brain, but burlap chafes me so."
"I think so, Brain, but me and Pippi Longstocking-- I mean, what would the children look like?"
"Well, I think so, Brain, but I can't memorize a whole opera in Yiddish."
"Well, I think so, Brain, but pantyhose are so uncomfortable in the summertime."
"I think so, Brain, but if you replace the "P" with an "O", my name would be Oinky, wouldn't it?"
"Well, I think so, Brain, but if Jimmy cracks corn and no one cares, why does he keep doing it?"
"I think so, Brain, but how will we get the Spice Girls into the paella?"
"Umm, I think so, Brain, but three men in a tub? Ooh, that's unsanitary!"
"Yes, but why does the chicken cross the road, huh, if not for love? (sigh!) I do not know."
"Wuh, I think so, Brain, but I prefer Space Jelly."
"I think so, Brain, but Tuesday Weld isn't a complete sentence."
"I think so, Brain, but why would anyone want to see Snow White and the Seven Samurai?"
"I think so, Brain, but then my name would be Thumby."
"Um, I think so, Brainie, but why would anyone want to Pierce Brosnan?"
"I think so, Brain, but wouldn't his movies be more suitable for children if he was named Jean-Claude van Darn?"
That was longer than I intended it to be, but oh well.
6. Tiny Toon AdventuresI really liked all the Steven Spielburg cartoons when I was little, even though the humor was a bit too mature for me to really understand. I loved this show, and even though I can't tell you much about it now except the characters' names and what episode plots I remember (I remember one episode featured the characters singing oldies songs, which I enjoyed because I grew up listening to almost nothing but oldies). I think there was a Christmas special that I remember enjoying as well.
5. The Powerpuff GirlsThis one is really nostalgic. I was really into it for a time when I was little. Now I realize how violent and kind of gross it was, much to my amusement. Did you know the Powerpuff Girls started as doodled characters called the Whoopass Girls? Fun fact. Also, I really liked the episodes with the Rowdyruff Boys, and recently there was a marathon on and I was overjoyed to discover my beloved Rob Paulson (see #2 of this list) voiced two of the Rowdyruff Boys. As a kid I remember being really annoyed that they kept repeating the episode where Buttercup is mean to the kid who eats glue, and then the kid (Elmer, his name was... haha!) turns into a glue monster and rampages until Buttercup apologizes and then suddenly everything is okay again. But as I was watching the marathon recently, I was surprised that I didn't see that episode.
4. RugratsI really loved this show when I was little. When I think of my childhood, Rugrats is one of the things that comes to mind. Rugrats was BIG-- everybody loved it, and everybody was so excited when the movie came out. My friends in elementary school would sing that song that Angelica and Suzie sing in the movie in the mornings before school, and I would get annoyed because I still hadn't seen the movie. I just know that if I saw the show now, I would remember just about every episode, but right now I can't think of many plots. I do remember an episode where they think a "Champion-Chip" is a giant cookie, and an episode where they go to a huge Wal-Mart-like store and let all the animals out, and another one where they go see Reptar on Ice-- you know, actually, I remember quite a few, and I remember them fondly.
3. Spongebob SquarepantsNow, before you all groan, let me just say that when Spongebob first premiered, it was awesome. The first one I ever saw was the one with the Bubble Stand and the Ripped Pants, and to this day it is my favorite episode ever. I still know all the lyrics, and I really want to type them here just to prove it, but I'm sure you remember them as well, because everybody knew them. This show was amazing, and I loved it a whole, whole lot. I used to get mad if I wasn't home by 5 o'clock on weekdays to watch it, even though I'd seen all the episodes a billion times. The humor was witty and smart sometimes, and just plain stupid or out-there at others, and it was always unpredictable and engaging. I really enjoyed it. And even though I hate almost every condiment that can go on a hamburger, I found myself longing to taste a Krabby Patty.
And then the movie came along.
And then Stephen Hillenberg left, and it all went to hell. Spongebob's voice raised by like half an octave, Sandy wasn't featured as much in episodes, Mr. Krabs became more of a jerk, Patrick became dumber than the house he lives in, and that guy that always screams "My leg!" just wasn't around as much. The only character who stayed about the same (and that is a good thing) was Squidward.
There have been only one or two good Spongebob episodes since, and it really makes me sad that this stuff can be on TV, but really good shows (like my #1 on this list) got the boot just because of one unsuccessful movie.
2. AnimaniacsI love this show with a burning passion. I love it so much that when I rediscovered it last summer, I had to buy the 3 seasons currently on DVD. I love it so much that I have memorized Yakko's World (the one where he names all the countries of the world), and several other un-memorize-able songs, including all of Rita's songs from the Rita and Runt segments (which are my favorites besides the Warners'). I love it so much that I attempted to get every friend and family member into it and, for the most part, succeeded, even converting my young cousin from Florida. I love it so much that I've drawn fanart, wanted desperately to write fanfiction, changed my status on deviantART to "Love love loves Yakko Warner :)" and dreamed about the characters. Its hilarious dialogue, hidden adult innuendos, cutting pop-culture references, biting wit, and zany hijinks keep me enthralled and rolling with laughter. The brilliant voice-acting by Rob Paulson (Yakko), Jess Harnell (Wakko), and Tress McNeill (Dot) amazes me over and over again, and I love every song Bernadette Peters (Rita) sings. I signed a pointless online petition to bring back Animaniacs even though I know it will never happen because it has been too long, and I am dying for the day to come when the fourth and final season makes its DVD debut, because it is impossible to find the episodes online because the companies who own the rights are moneygrubbing, territorial jerks. I loved the movie when I was little (I remember it was on once during the Fourth of July and I would not go to our neighbor's pool party until it was over), and I still love it and pray for its DVD release. Really, I could go on forever about how much I love this show, but you really just have to see it for yourself. I really cannot stress how amazing this show is. I own a CD of some of the songs, and I downloaded the rest. I have an extremely long file of quotes, and I saved the online list of pop culture references so I can point them out to people who I force to watch the show with me. I am just ranting now. I love this show. It is possibly my favorite 90's show in the world. The end.
1. Hey Arnold!
I am putting this show in the #1 spot because I just watched some episodes last night and it is fresh in my mind now. I loved it when I was little after a long time of disliking it (I didn't think the art was pretty enough as a very young child--I'm very picky about my animation. It's the reason I hated Rocko's Modern Life). But once I discovered that I liked it, I would look forward to watching it every day after school. I'd sit on the school bus thinking, "I hope I get home in time to watch Hey Arnold." I never actually saw the movie, but I'm going to fix that soon. I think it was the best and greatest show for kids, because it dealed with issues that no other kid's show did-- poverty, alchoholism (only hinted at, but nevertheless), family problems, homelessness, crime, gambling, religion, and just poor living conditions in general. It had a jazzy, hip-hop vibe to it unique from anything else, and the setting was much more grungy and "street" (a trait shared with another of my childhood favorites, a Disney movie called Oliver and Company). It delivered good messages to kids, with the main character always striving for ideals and attempting to help everyone to his best efforts. The brilliance of the show can be seen in the very first episodes of the show--go on, find them now. The memories will flood back to you the moment the title theme starts. And now I realize how good for kids this show was--it exposed them to a lot of different stuff, but always gave a positive and helpful message, encouraging kids to do the right thing. Despite all its moral and educational values, they take a back seat to the awesome art and sidesplitting humor. It's hilarious in the way that makes you laugh so hard you cry, but you're not quite sure why it's funny. For some reason, hearing Stinky say "This turtle reallah biiiites!" just made me crack up over and over and promote it to inside-joke status with my brother, and seeing an aquarium worker tease a penguin by saying "Want a cookie? Oh--you tossed your cookies! Hauhauhauhauh!" and eventually fall in the shark tank after sticking his hand in and saying, "Come on Jaws! Bite me!" just made me cry tears of laughter. The characters are realistic and endearing, even the ones with the worst problems (I'm talking mostly about Helga here!). Plus I didn't realize how adorable their voices were when I was closer to the same age as them. What is it about Helga's cute voice combined with her tsundere tendencies that makes her so endearing?
So in short, perhaps I watched too much television as a kid, but at least I learned a lot from the shows, and at least I can still enjoy them now, when I am old enough to truly appreciate all they have to offer.