Last night marked the 21st annual Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards, the show that allows children to award their favorite actors and actresses with a giant orange blimp and a potential bucket of slime. Good times!
This year's winners were as predictable as the ending of a Reese Witherspoon film, with the children lavishing praise on Miley Cyrus, the Jonas Brothers, and Twilight. And though this spectacle was fairly boring, if you were over the age of 14, it does bring up a bit of historical hilarity.
I was 7 years old when the first Kids Choice Awards aired; Nickelodeon, at that time, was a network filled with kooky Canadian programming such as You Can't Do That On Television, Fifteen, and Today's Special. There were no fake, sugar sweet rock stars on Nick; those acts were relegated, as they are now, for the most part, to the Disney Channel, home of MMC and Kids Incorporated. Nickelodeon was a network designed for kids, but what set it apart was that the network never pandered to children; they were treated as equals and important viewers, which led to awards shows such as this- to give the kids a voice.
Children's live-action programming has since moved away, for the most part, from the wacky, Pete & Pete-esque shows of the past (though interestingly enough, the kids who grew up with Pete & Pete are now writing, starring in, and watching shows like The Office and Arrested Development) and toward this slickly-packaged, over-styled, super hyper musical view of childhood, where everyone is a movie star, rock star, or has secret celebrity identity. So it's not surprising that the kids chose Miley Cyrus and the like last night; that's all they've been given as of late.
The 1988 Kids Choice Awards paint a very different picture: the Favorite Movie Award was given to Beverly Hills Cop 2, a rated R movie that kids shouldn't have seen in the first place. Nickelodeon honored the votes, and the kids voices were heard. And while this suggests that the kids either had more of a say in their selection, if you look at the 1989 Kids Choice Awards winners, it's pretty clear that when it comes to award shows, the pop-star, ridiculous factor has always been firmly in place: the performers that night were Corey Feldman and New Kids On The Block, and the Favorite TV Star award was given to ALF.