A couple of weeks ago, Nickelodeon announced that it's going to start airing "classic" episodes of its teen shows from the 1990's. This is based on overwhelming Facebook demand from nostalgic millennials. Starting on July 25, between the hours of midnight and 4 am, insomniacs in my generation will be treated to a bloc of programming including Keenan & Kel, All That, Clarissa Explains it All, and Doug. Everyone's totally excited. Democracy! Will of the people! Memories so think you'll have to brush them away from your faces!
Popular demand will continue to drive the bloc's schedule. Reports the New York Times,
The channel says that Facebook feedback will influence which other shows it rotates into the block. Research has convinced Nickelodeon executives that the Web - a repository of cherished childhood memories - "is allowing young people to be nostalgic, probably sooner than other generations," said Cyma Zarghami, the channel's president.
As I was born in the early 80's, one would think that I'd be in the sweet spot for this stunt, that nostalgia would pull me to my TV and compel me to watch along with my brethren. My generational narcissism and love of democracy would compel me to adamantly voice my opinion about what shows should air, and voice them just about as hard as I possibly could. The reality is that I missed this aspect of pop culture, I feel nothing about All That, and what I know of Keenan & Kel confuses and upsets me.
I was what you might call a pop culture pariah when I was a kid. I grew up in a rural remote area, far enough out of the nearest small enough town that cable TV wasn't an option for us, and my parents sure as hell weren't going to shell out for a giant satellite dish, as my dad was known to instruct my siblings and I to go outside and run around in order to "get the stink off." (To this day, I'm not sure what that means.) We watched PBS (Wild America with Marty Stouffer was my jam, and Square 1 made me briefly want to be a mathematician when I grew up, because I thought mathematicians solved mysteries) and read the encyclopedia and did other rural nerd things. We gardened and chopped wood and identified songbirds and made maple candy like Laura Ingalls Wilder and lived a life blissfully unaware of what was going on in the world of cable television. My relative country bumpkin innocence and lack of exposure to pop culture continued until I was almost in eighth grade, when I went to student council camp and made a bunch of kids laugh when I asked who was singing the song that had just started playing on the radio. It was "Spiderwebs" by No Doubt, and they thought I was being sarcastic.
While I don't begrudge any of you suburban (or non-rural remote) kids who grew up with Nickelodeon, I won't be pumping my fists joyfully skyward at the Doug theme song. I'll be sullenly looking for the theme song from 3-2-1 Contact on youtube. I'll indulge my television nostalgia when there's a late night Ghostwriter bloc.