Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Old School Lane's Top 10 Nickelodeon Halloween Specials

Happy Halloween, everyone! I'm sure you'll be watching some classic horror movies such as The Thing, Dracula, Frankenstein, Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, or Halloween. Or you'll be watching funny horror movies like Evil Dead, Shawn of the Dead, Fright Night, or Zombieland. But when you were a kid, you wouldn't be watching these now classic Halloween movies just yet. Instead Nickelodeon would be having their Halloween specials and we would be tuning in to watch them. But which ones are the best? Which are the specials we tune in to watch every year to give us the chills? Well, let's find out.

Before I get to the list, here are the honorable mentions:

Nightmare in Retroville

The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron has a really cool Halloween special. Jimmy has a device that can give them classic Halloween costumes, but it turned out that the machine actually made them monsters. Carl is a vampire, Sheen is a werewolf, and Hugh is a Frankenstein monster. Jimmy tries his best to make sure that chaos doesn't occur in Retroville.

It Came From Underneath the Bed

This is one of the first Halloween episodes I ever saw on Nickelodeon and Kevin and I absolutely love this special. In fact, it's our favorite episode of Eureeka's Castle ever! Batly tells the story of a scary monster in front of all his friends and they all get scared, especially Magellan. Bog and Quagmire decide to dress up as the monster while the actual monster is sneaking around Eureeka's castle. When we told this story to Cheryl Blaylock, the woman who played Eureeka, that we loved this episode, she was filled with smiles! It's one of her favorites too.

Ok now. Here are the top 10 Nickelodeon Halloween specials.

10. Mystery Magical Special

The first Halloween special ever to be aired on Nickelodeon was this one. Mystery Magical Special  starred Marc Summers and three kids wandering around a haunted house filled. The house was filled with creepy things like heads falling from ceilings, jump scares, and a demon-like monster. In every room would be a magician performing tricks like then newcomer magician Lance Burton, Tina Lenert, and Marc Summers himself. As you recall from my interview with him, he is still very proud of starring and producing this Halloween special and it still remains a classic for old school Nickelodeon fans to this day. It's a bit low on this list because it isn't that scary and the kids' acting is a bit hokey. Nonetheless, this is a true Halloween classic for every Nickelodeon fan and one of the rare times in which we see Marc Summers doing what he used to do before he became a game show host on Double Dare: magic tricks.

9. Candy Bar Creep Show

This Rugrats Halloween special was one of the first Halloween specials that most kids saw in Nickelodeon. It's Halloween night and Tommy, Chuckie, Phil, and Lil are seeing everyone dressing up in costumes, carving Jack o Lanterns, and setting up a haunted house outside the backyard. Angelica tells them about Halloween and shows them a Reptar bar. The kids want it and try their best to get one. They sneak into the haunted house, scream, and get themselves the candy in the end. It's pretty cute looking at it over 20 years later and it does have really creepy animation and music. 

8. Doug's Halloween Adventure

2 years after Doug debuted on Nickelodeon, it aired its only Halloween special for Nickelodeon. Doug and Skeeter enter into Funky Town in honor of Halloween dressing up in their costumes. Rumors of a creepy ghost that would haunt around midnight in Funky Town's haunted house spread around the town. Doug and Skeeter sneak into Funky Town to look around. They meet up with a creepy guy dressed up as the rumored ghost and he helps them scare Roger and the gang after they scared Doug and Skeeter around the theme park. At the end, they do. At the end, they find that their new friend isn't who he says he is. This is one of Kevin's favorite Halloween specials on Nickelodeon, but not really mine. Nonetheless, I'll put in on the list for him.

7. Haunted House

This episode of Ren and Stimpy starts off pretty simple and funny. Ren and Stimpy enter in a haunted house where a ghost tries to scare them. However, every time he tries to scare them, he fails at it miserably. There are references such as Psycho and Texas Chainsaw Massacre that make this show creepy and funny. However, the ending is so strange. It's so weird that after looking at the episode, I said out loud "What the #*$#%? did I just see?" But then again, this is Ren and Stimpy. I shouldn't be surprised.

6. Ed is Dead: A Thriller

Yes, yes, I know that Sugar Frosted Frights is the true Rocko's Modern Life Halloween special, but I prefer this one more. Rocko suspects that Mrs. Bighead killed Ed when he disappeared. Rocko watches Mrs. Bighead closely and she does things very strange and mysterious. It's very creepy and spooky as Rocko puts everything together to find out where Mr. Bighead is. The intro to this episode is an homage to Hitchcock Hour and it pulls everything together of making this spoof work.

5. The Day the World Got Really Screwed Up

For some reason, The Angry Beavers Halloween special gets overlooked sometimes and that's a shame. It's the day before Halloween and Norbert and Daggett are dressed up like Oxnard Montalvo, Norbert's favorite B horror movie actor, and a finger. They trick or treat all over the neighborhood with no luck until they go to the final house which happens to be Oxnard Montalvo's house. When they enter the house, the butler welcomes them with laser eyes and turns out to be a monster. Norbert and Daggett finally find Oxnard, the doctor, and the leading lady trying to fight off the monster. This episode plays off like a B movie with awful acting, cheap effects, crazy looking stairs, and a "scary" monster. It's awesome!

4. Arnold's Halloween

Hey Arnold's Halloween special is a great homage to Orson Welles' radio show talking about the story of War of the Worlds. It's Halloween and Arnold and Gerald want to do something a tad bit different. They hack into the radio station and talk about aliens landing on Earth and taking over the world. They convince their friends to dress up as aliens to fool all the adults. However, they believe that aliens did land on Earth and plan an attack against them. Big Bob leads the group and everyone in the town gets involved, even a television show that discusses about aliens hosted by a man who sounds like Orson Welles. This small little prank turns into a huge calamity throughout the entire town. 

3. The Tale of the Twisted Claw

Of course I'm going to include an episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark? on this list. It would be a crime if I didn't. Even though that The Tale of the Dangerous Soup is my all time favorite episode, The Tale of the Twisted Claw takes place in Halloween. It stars two kids named Kevin and Dougie who play a prank on an old woman by spraying her face with shaving cream and causing her to break her vase. They go back to Trick or Treat as if it never happened and the woman gives them a gift: a twisted claw that has the ability to grant three wishes. Every time they use it, it comes true but something bad happens. It teaches the lesson to be careful what you wish for, it might come true. In this case, it does. 

But wait a minute, if an episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark? isn't #1, then what is? Let's continue.

2. Halloween Spectacular Spooky Doom

Invader Zim was always a very creepy, dark, and strange show. So what would happen if we had a Halloween special? Well, it gets creepier, darker, and stranger. It's Halloween and Zim is fearful of the hungry candy eating "zombies" that haunt his house. He locks up his house tight hoping that no one gets in. Meanwhile Dib is getting visions from another dimension filled with scary spooky places and monsters and many people think he's gone crazy. So crazy in fact that he's locked up in an asylum forever. He wakes up in the other dimension again and he learned that fooling around with his father's dimension device combined with his mind was the cause of these visions. The only way to stop them is if Zim can help reverse the effects. But it ended up with Zim and Dib teleported to the dimension again and no way to get out. The only way to do it is if they work together to find a way out of the dimension. Very strange and creepy indeed, especially a very fat GIR constantly eating candy.

1. Halloweenie

Even if you're not a fan of The Adventures of Pete & Pete, this Halloween special is truly something special. Little Pete wants to break the record of going to the most houses collecting Halloween candy and needs to find a new partner. Mona can't since her father won't let her and Big Pete refuses to do it because of a secret involving with a group known as the Pumpkin Eaters. But Big Pete decides to do it and he and Little Pete dress up as Buzz Aldrin and Neal Armstrong. As they go Trick or Treating, they get closer and closer to beating the record and Big Pete is on the lookout for the Pumpkin Eaters. This episode is a great episode that shows Halloween in a very realistic way that everyone can relate to, but has that strange charm that The Adventures of Pete & Pete are known for. A true Nickelodeon Halloween classic and my absolute favorite Halloween special in Nickelodeon! 

Those are my top 10 favorite Halloween specials from Nickelodeon. What are your favorite specials? Post it in the comments below. That's all for now. Hope to see you around Old School Lane soon. Happy Halloween, everyone!


Saturday, October 27, 2012

Old School Lane Presents: Top 10 Nickelodeon Shows That Need to be Remade

The podcast has been uploaded to YouTube. Watch as we begin the countdown on the top 10 Nickelodeon shows that need to be remade! What shows do you want to see being remade? Post it in the comments below!

Hope to see you around Old School Lane soon. Thanks for watching!


Friday, October 26, 2012

Old School Lane's New Podcast

If you've been noticing for the past two days, you can see that we have a new podcast! That's right! Old School Lane has a new podcast. The first one posted is "The Top 10 Nickelodeon Shows That Needs to be Remade".

Remakes are everywhere nowadays! Some have been successful, most have not. However there are some that deserve to be remade for a new generation! I tackle in a very controversial top 10 list of the Nickelodeon shows that need to be remade.

*torches, pitchforks, and flame shields are available on here for your angry mob needs.

What shows from Nickelodeon that you want to see remade? Post it in the comments and let us know. 

Hope to see you around Old School Lane soon. Thanks for reading.


Monday, October 22, 2012

Movie Review: Rugrats in Paris: The Movie

With the financial success of The Rugrats Movie, it was high time for a sequel. Two years later on November 17, 2000, Rugrats in Paris: The Movie was released in theaters.

So is Rugrats in Paris just as good as the previous Rugrats movie or has it taken a huge baby step down? This is Rugrats in Paris: The Movie. 

The movie starts off with a movie parody such like the first movie. The Rugrats Movie started with the parody of Raiders of the Lost Ark and Rugrats in Paris parodied The Godfather. Angelica portrayed as the "Bobfather" who can grant wishes to the babies if they kiss her ring. When it's Chuckie's turn, he doesn't know what his wish is. But before he can think about  it, we see Grandpa Lou looking at the janitor's closet where the babies are and brings them out. We then start the movie with the celebration of Grandpa Lou and Lulu's wedding. They finish off their dance until the next dance start which involves the kids and their moms. Everyone goes out to dance with their moms except for Chuckie. He feels sad and alone that he's the only one who doesn't have a mom. With that said, Chaz and Chuckie goes home. Chaz gives Chuckie a teddy bear named Wa-Wa that his mother made him. Chaz knows that Chuckie needs a mom more than ever and he decides to try to find a date again.

Meanwhile in Paris, a corporate businesswoman named Coco LaBouche (voiced by Susan Sarandon) is having a discussion with her boss Mr. Yamaguchi (voiced by Mako) about being the head of EuroReptarLand, a Reptar-themed amusement park. Mr. Yamaguchi is impressed with Coco's reputation and work ethics, but doesn't have the "heart of a child" to run the place. Coco makes up a lie saying that she's getting married to a man with a child and Mr. Yamaguchi considers her for the job. Coco's assistant Jean Claude (voiced by John Lithgow) knows that Coco is never going to find a man with a child at time since she's not a likable person. While Coco follows with an defensive argument, a giant Reptar robot begins to malfunction. Coco is very angry and asks for her assistant Kira Watanabe (voiced by Julia Kato) to call the man responsible for the giant Reptar robot to fix it: Stu Pickles.

Kira calls Stu around 3:00 in the morning asking him to get the earliest ticket for him and his family to Paris on the route to EuroReptarLand. All of a sudden, they play off a Home Alone in which the entire gang consisting of the Pickles, the Devilles, and the Finsters running towards the airport, getting passports, packing their stuff, and riding on the plane. On the plane, Tommy, Phil, and Lil are looking around the plane to see if there are any cool places to explore. They find Angelica in first class listening to music and hanging out, but they tend to mess that up when Chuckie stumbles at the stewardess' cart and crashes into the seats and opens up the luggage compartments. As things begin to calm down, Chuckie looks out to the sky and the song "I Want A Mom That'll Last Forever" sung by Cyndi Lauper begins.

Finally they arrive in Paris and make their way to EuroReptarLand. They meet up with Kira who welcomes them to the theme park. We then see the group looking at a parade consisting of a story about a princess who is loving and kind. She was the one who loved Reptar more than anything and was very sad when her people wanted to get rid of him. She approached the people saying that Reptar is not a mean dinosaur and that he is kind and friendly. When seeing the parade and hearing the story, Chuckie now knows that he wants the princess to be his new mommy.Angelica sneaks off and sees Coco and Jean Claude discussing about where they're going to find a dunce with a baby so that she can get the promotion. While they leave, Angelica makes her way into the office and begins eating her chocolate bon-bons. When Coco returns, she grabs Angelica and threatens her to why Angelica should live. Angelica claims that she knows a man who is a dunce and has a baby whom Coco can marry to get her promotion. Coco smiles and claims that she has made a new friend with Angelica. As the story continues, we find out that Spike runs away from the hotel room and wanders around Paris. Then the song that continues with Spike's journey, "Who Let The Dogs Out?" sung by The Baha Men begins.

That night, we then cut to a Japanese sushi restaurant where the gang is having their dinner. Chuckie tells the gang that he wants the princess for his mommy and Angelica interrupts three karaoke singing sumo wrestlers singing to the song "Bad Girls".

Then all of a sudden, Coco appears and beings flirting with Chaz. She sees Chuckie and tries to be friendly to him, but Chuckie appears scared to seeing her. After they return to their hotel rooms, Chuckie wishes to be brave and Tommy tells him that he will be. We see Chuckie have a dream of him turning into a martial arts expert named Chuckie Chan. Then the song "Chuckie Chan" sung by Isaac Hayes and Alex Brown begins.

The next day, Coco treats the babies to a trip around EuroReptarLand riding all the rides. The first ride is Gooey World. The babies then meet up with a new friend: Kira's daughter Kimi (voiced by Dionne Quan). She tells them that she knows where the princess is and takes them to where she is. They sneak out of the ride and Kimi takes them to a tower that has a robotic replica of the princess.

When Chuckie develops the courage to talk to the princess, Coco's ninja security guards capture the babies and bring them back to Gooey World safely. Chaz starts falling more in love with her, but is skeptical that Chuckie doesn't like her very much. If Chuckie doesn't like Coco, then Chaz will not consider dating her. Coco knows that she cannot do it alone, so she promises Angelica that she will be the leading lady in the parade if she can help her. Angelica then tells Coco that Chuckie wants the princess from EuroReptarLand to be his new mom. Coco then has an idea.

We then cut to Spike meeting a stray poodle named Fifi and they start going out. They walk around Paris, see the sights, and recreate the scene from Lady and the Tramp eating food together. Instead of it being spaghetti and meatballs, it's a slice of pizza from the trash. Spike and Fifi eat the pizza, but the cheese is so sticky that they get stuck.

The next day, the gang see a play about the princess and Reptar. Chuckie smiles as she sees the princess and walks over to the front stage to give Wa-Wa to her. But then Coco steals the stage princess and appears on the stage dressed as her. When Chuckie gives her Wa-Wa, she reveals herself as Coco and Chuckie is shocked. Chaz is so impressed that Coco performed on the show that he knows that Coco is the one. We then cut to the wedding of Chaz and Coco where everyone is getting dressed for the occasion.

Knowing that Chuckie and his friends are not happy about the wedding, Coco and Jean Claude captures the babies and locks them away in a warehouse. She also locks Angelica in the warehouse since she claims that she can stop the wedding by telling the adults. With the babies locked up, Angelica confesses to Chuckie saying that she was the one who tells Coco about her dad and making it so that she can be his new mommy. The babies are shocked saying that this is the worst thing she ever did to them. However, Chuckie knows that he has to go to the church and stop the wedding before it's too late. They steal the Reptar robot and walk all over Paris trying to find the church where the wedding is held.

When Jean Claude sees that the babies escape, he gets into a robot of Reptar's villain Robosnail to stop the babies. What happens next is a really awesome fight between the babies and Jean Claude controlling these giant robots. It's like looking at a battle in a Godzilla movie.

The babies win, of course, and the babies make their way to the church. Just when Chaz and Coco kiss, Chuckie runs into the church yelling "NOOOO!" Chaz is shocked that Chuckie can talk. Angelica then comes in and tells the whole story of Coco using Chaz and Chuckie so she can get a promotion. Mr. Yamaguchi hears the conversation and fires Coco on the spot. Coco couldn't believe it and so she walks out. The babies step on her dress and we see Coco's underpants. Coco runs away in embarrassment and everyone laughs at her.

Kira and Kimi appear with Chuckie's bear. Chaz sees Kira in a new light and begins falling in love with her. A few weeks later back home, we cut into Chaz and Kira's wedding. While they get married, the babies parody The Godfather again, but this time Chuckie is the new "Bobfather". When the game is over due to cake being served, Kimi asks Chuckie if he misses his mom. He does, but he knows that his mom is looking at him up from heaven and now he has a new stepmother. He feels lucky because he has two moms now. Chaz and Kira take their kids and now have their special dance together with the song "When You Love" by Sinead O'Connor.

The movie ends with a huge cake fight by the babies and cake is being thrown on the camera.

When the movie first came out, while it didn't make as much money compared to The Rugrats Movie, Rugrats in Paris was called a much more superior film than its predecessor. I completely agree. This movie is more well-put together, doesn't have as much plot points, is a lot easier to understand, and more funnier. There are some minor gripes, though. First of all, why didn't this movie take place in Japan? You have Reptar, who is originated from Japan, they go to a Japanese restaurant, Chaz marries a Japanese woman, and you have the song "Chuckie Chan". The only times in which I feel that the movie takes place in Paris is when Spike and Fifi are wandering around the city and the wedding taking place in Notre Dame. It didn't use Paris to its full capabilities and that's where the setting fails for me. It should have been in Japan.

Also, the subplot with Spike and Fifi is completely pointless. Do you really need to dedicate 15 minutes of the movie showing that Spike and Fifi fell in love and walked around Paris? No! I don't think that Spike was needed for this movie. I think he should have been left home instead so we can get more development from Kira and Kimi. Don't get me wrong, they're nice, but Kira's a bit bland and forgettable and Kimi is essentially a female Tommy. They should have been developed more and have a more understandable reason why Chaz fell in love with Kira in the first place.

The poop and pee jokes are more prominent in this movie than the series, but it's excusable since they were as well in The Rugrats Movie. Also, the soundtrack is hit and miss with the majority of the songs being updated retro songs like "These Boots Were Made For Walking" and "Bad Girls", but same could be said for The Rugrats Movie. However, the original songs for this movie are actually really good. "Chuckie Chan" is a very fun song and "I Want A Mom That'll Last Forever" is beautiful! Cyndi Lauper did a fantastic job bringing in the emotion and melody to this song. It's actually my favorite song in the whole movie. It's just too bad that this song was hugely overlooked due to The Baja Men's "Who Let The Dogs Out?" Remember when that song was just everywhere in every radio station? It was so popular that it was even the opening for the second season of 100 Deeds for Eddie McDowd. That song was one of the most iconic songs of the 2000's. I never really liked it, but I can see why it was loved by so many people.

As I mentioned in my Rugrats review, there were many people who were involved in Pee-wee's Playhouse that did Rugrats at one point. Cyndi Lauper was one of them. I can't believe that the same woman who sung "I Want A Mom That'll Last Forever" sung this song at one point.

Yeah, yeah. I know that she sung great songs like "Girls Want To Have Fun" and "Time After Time". I was joking, okay. You're supposed to laugh! Anyway, bottom line, Rugrats in Paris: The Movie is, in my opinion, a much better movie than The Rugrats Movie. I highly recommend checking it out.

That's all for now. Tune in next time as we go into the year 2001 with the TeenNick teen sitcom Taina. 

Hope to see you around Old School Lane soon. Thanks for reading.


Friday, October 19, 2012

Tim Burton Tribute: The Nightmare Before Christmas

During his years as a Disney animator, Tim Burton had written a poem called "The Nightmare Before Christmas". It was a tale of Christmas going completely wrong. It was inspired by classic Christmas stories such as Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and The Night Before Christmas. At first he wanted it to be a book , but as time went on, he never got a chance to do it. After the success of Vincent,Burton decided to go back to his project and make it into a 30 minute stop motion animated cartoon, but Disney denied it due to them thinking that the story was too "weird" and "unorthodox" for a Christmas special. When he was finally let go from Disney, he pursued in his other movies ending in financial and critical successes. 

In 1990, Burton found out that Disney still had the rights for Burton's poem. Burton and Henry Sellick decided to approach Disney to see if they can make a movie out of it. At first Disney was excited since they thought that it would have had the same story structures asWho Framed Roger Rabbit?  However, Disney did not distribute it since they thought that it would be too scary for kids. So instead, it was distributed by Touchstone Pictures, the same studio who distributed Edward Scissorhands. The work for Burton's next movie had begun.

He hired Danny Elfman for the 6th time working on the soundtrack for the new movie. As for the new script, he hired Caroline Thompson, the screenwriter of Edward Scissorhands,and Michael McDowell, the screenwriter for Beetlejuice, to collaborate on making a full script based on the poem. The co-producer was Denise DiNova, the same producer behind Edward Scissorhands. Despite seeing his dream a reality, Burton did not direct this new movie due to him being extremely busy working on Batman Returns and a new project based on the life of Ed Wood. In his place was Selick. After years of hard work with hundreds and hundreds of hours spent on puppets and scenery, The Nightmare Before Christmas had debuted in theaters on October 29, 1993, two days before Halloween. So does this holiday stop motion musical spook kids silly or has the strings worn out too thin? This is The Nightmare Before Christmas. 

We start of with a poem telling the tales of where holidays come from until we enter one of the doors in which is a town that is filled with ghosts, monsters, zombies, werewolves, and many other creatures. They are celebrating Halloween concluding it with the first song of the movie "This is Halloween".

All of a sudden, the Pumpkin King known as Jack Skellington (voiced by Chris Sarandon) appears closing the Halloween celebration. The major and the rest of the citizens congratulate him for another job well done with the celebration, but Jack merely smiles and walks away. A rag doll named Sally (voiced by Catherine O'Hara) follows him as we walks over to the cemetery talking about how he is sick of the same old Halloween routine every year. With this, we hear the next song "Jack's Lament". Interesting to note is that the singing voice for Jack is none other than Danny Elfman.

While walking at the end of Halloween town, Jack comes across a door. Curious as to what it is, he opens it and comes across the forest filled with doors that we saw in the movie opening. The doors represent a holiday and Jack enters Christmastown. He sees with wonder and amazement the bright, colorful town filled with bright lights, snow, a huge Christmas tree, a train, people with happy faces, and presents. The next song "What's This?" explains his enthusiasm of what he's seeing.

Meanwhile Sally returns home and sees that her "father" Doctor Finklestein was waiting for her. He's very disappointed that she ran out since he wants to keep her home safe and sound. But Sally still wants to venture outside and see what Jack is up to. So she devises a plan to get him to sleep by adding frog's breath to his soup. He drinks it and ends up completely knocked out cold. Sally sneaks away and looks for Jack.

Jack had just returned from his journey to Christmastown and decides to explain it to the monsters about it. However, they're clueless about seeing a holiday that isn't filled with gross, scary stuff and find it to be a bit confusing. It's all interpreted in the next song "Town Meeting Song".

Jack had returned to his home contemplating his thoughts about Christmas when he sees a gift basket on his window from a mysterious person. When looking around to see who gave it to him, he sees no one. We find out that it was Sally who gave him the basket. She smiles as she looks at Jack from the window, but doesn't want to express her love to him because she's afraid. Before she leaves, she picks up a stick and admires it. It turns into a Christmas tree and then all of a sudden, it bursts into flames. Sally sees this as an omen and knows she has to warn Jack about it before it's too late.

The next day, Jack visits Doctor Finklestein and asks for help to do some experiments for the preparation for Christmas. While studying hard and experimenting for days, the next song "Jack's Obsession" occurs.

Afterwards, Jack comes up with an idea. He calls upon Oogie Boogie's henchmen Lock (voiced by Paul Reubens), Shock (voiced by Catherine O'Hara), and Barrel (voiced by Danny Elfman). He tells them to go to Christmastown to bring Santa Claus, or Sandy Claws as he calls him, and bring him to Halloweentown so that he can take his place delivering presents to the boys and girls all over the world. The only condition is that they can't tell Oogie Boogie about it. They promise not to, but we see Lock cross his fingers. We then get to our next song "Kidnap the Sandy Claws".

They head over to Christmastown and kidnap Santa Claus and bring him over to Oogie Boogie (voiced by Ken Page). Meanwhile, we see the inhabitants getting ready for Christmas. We see an homage of the preparation of the holiday with the song "Making Christmas".

Regardless of the preparation, Sally tries to warn Jack about the vision that she had received about not mixing Christmas and Halloween together, but Jack doesn't listen to her. He rides away towards the human world and delivers the presents to the boys and girls. With everyone seeing Jack riding off, Sally sings the next song simply titled "Sally's Song".

It doesn't go very well as the presents end up scaring the children and causing chaos instead of joy. We then cut to Lock, Shock, and Barrel delivering Santa to the main antagonist of the movie, Oogie Boogie. Oogie introduces himself to Santa with the song "Oogie Boogie's Song". Things don't seem to look well for the fate of Santa.

Meanwhile, the military finds out the Santa riding around is an imposter and they shoot him down from the sky. The sleigh burst into flames and it crashes down hard! The citizens of Halloweentown pronounce him dead, but Jack is alive in a cemetery. He regrets doing what he did, but he gets his spirit picked up. He sings the next song "Poor Jack".

Sally then tries her best to save Santa from the Oogie Boogie, but she fails in doing so and ends up getting captured. Jack appears and saves Sally and Santa and confronts Oogie Boogie. Eventually Jack defeats Oogie and removes his sack and reveals a bunch of bugs under him. Oogie is defeated, Santa is set free, and the day is saved. Santa gives snow to Halloweentown to show Jack that there are no feelings. Everyone is playing in the snow and Sally and Jack walk over alone and have a tender moment together. The final song in the movie "Finale/Reprise" is played and the movie concludes with Sally and Jack together.

When the movie first came out, it had positive ratings by critics and viewers. However, it wasn't viewed by many people since it looked "too scary" for kids. But it began to build a huge cult following when it was released on VHS. Years later, it had gained acclaimed love by many people and had gained many more fans when it was re-released in theaters on October 20, 2006 on 3-D when Disney had gained rights over it. Now there's many DVD and Blue-Ray releases, T-shirts, toys, action figures, hats, posters, and so much more on sale on Hot Topic and the Disney Store during Halloween. It has become a huge phenomenon. 

Overall, I absolutely love this movie! It's one of my favorite animated movies of all time! The songs are memorable and catchy, the characters are so engaging and fun, and the animation is so beautiful! Although there are some effects in the stop motion are dated by today's standards like the strings in the bats, some of the effects still hold up today. 

I dedicate this review to my friend from Manic Expression JoTaKa. He and I were originally going to do this review together, but under personal circumstances, he left the site. The Nightmare Before Christmas is his favorite movie of all time and I wanted to take my time to make this review very special. So, here's to you JoTaKa. We miss you, buddy. Hope you're doing well!

I highly recommend watching this movie if you haven't seen it. It's a timeless Halloween/Christmas classic.

That's all for now. Tune in next time as we take a look at a modern take of the classic novel Captains Courageous with the movie Cabin Boy.

Hope to see you around Old School Lane soon. Thanks for reading.


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Old School Lane's Top 10 As Told by Ginger episodes

The following top 10 list is very outdated and is no longer relevant to what my favorite episodes of As Told by Ginger are. If you want to know what they are. Check out the video below.

Time for another countdown, everyone! This time, I'm doing it alone since Kevin's not a huge As Told by Ginger fan. As we've discussed in the As Told by Ginger review, it's a very underrated Nicktoon filled with character development, story arcs, and serious themes. But which ones are the best? Which ones are the episodes that still make this show relevant today? Well, here's my top 10 favorite episodes of As Told by Ginger. 

10. Come Back Little Seal Girl

In this episode, we see Ginger, Dodie, and Macie preparing for the talent show. Macie wants to sing and dance to a song that the girls had loved since they were little girls called "Little Seal Girl". However, Ginger and Dodie decide to leave at the last minute since they feel that the song is too immature and childish. But Macie is still determined to do it, even without her friends. Meanwhile, Carl and Hoodsey accidentally break Mrs. Gordon's mummified hand and work hard to repair it. I prefer Macie's story since it teaches us to stand up for who we are regardless of what people think. Even with all the setbacks and doubts, she still shines through to the end.

9. Ginger the Juvey

The first episode of As Told by Ginger starts off strong. It's Courtney's birthday and Ginger doesn't know what to get her. She thinks long and hard until Miranda shows up and convinces her to steal the exit sign from a bank. Ginger decides to do it alongside with Dodie, Macie, and Darren. Meanwhile, Blake sees that Carl has a petrified eyeball and wants it for himself. Carl refuses to give it to him since it's his most prized possession. The episode ends with Miranda calling a police officer, which happens to be her father, and reporting on Ginger saying that's getting involved with theft. Miranda ends up successfully getting Ginger and her friends arrested. That is both evil and incredible at the same time! Princess Azula couldn't get Zuko and Uncle Iroh arrested in the second season of Avatar: The Last Airbender, but Miranda was able to do it in the first episode! Also, Blake ends up stealing Carl's petrified eyeball and is now keeping it in his house. What a way to start a show!

8. An Even Steven Holiday Special

There were many Nickelodeon shows that had a holiday special. Some were Christmas specials, some were Hanukkah specials. As Told by Ginger's holiday special was both. Lois tells Ginger about her grandfather being Jewish. Ginger didn't know about that so she decides to combine Christmas and Hanukkah into one special party. Meanwhile, Hoodsey writes a letter to Santa Claus telling him what he wants for Christmas. Carl thinks that he should grow up and tells him that Santa doesn't exist. When getting to the heart of it, Hoodsey finds out that the reason Carl doesn't believe in Santa anymore is because that a few years back, he wished for his father to come home. It never happened so he stopped believing! That's a very touching message for a cartoon. I don't want to give away the ending, but it ends up being a holiday miracle for the Foutley family.

7. Wicked Game

The third season of As Told by Ginger starts after the airing of the TV movie Far From Home. Ginger returns after her semester of Avalanche Arts Academy is finished. She doesn't spend as much time with Dodie and Macie due to her going out with Darren after he confesses his love for her. Miranda and Mipsy are upset as well since Ginger isn't around long enough to be pestered by them. So we see Miranda, Mipsy, Macie, and Dodie work together to try to break up Ginger and Darren from their relationship. Meanwhile Carl gets involved in a dare to hang out with a crazy girl named Polly Shuster in order to get a picture with her. Carl ends up falling in love with her and Noelle finds out about it. She ends up breaking up with him. The episode ends with Courtney telling Ginger the plan involving the break up. Ginger tells Dodie and Macie that she doesn't want to see them or talk to them for a while. That's some very heavy stuff and an unsuspecting twist to the end.

6. And She Was Gone

This episode is a favorite for many fans of As Told by Ginger and I can see why. Ginger writes a poem about a girl who wishes to disappear from the world. Ms. Zorski believes that Ginger is depressed and suicidal so she sets her up to see the school psychiatrist. Ginger tries to convince the psychiatrist that she's okay, but with no luck. Meanwhile, Carl buys disappearing potion and wants to test it out on someone. They decide to use it on a wallflower girl named Noelle Sussman. When doing so, Noelle doesn't come back. But then they learned that Noelle is a very strange little girl with telekinetic powers. Carl finds her interesting and tries anything they can to bring her back. This episode was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Program in Less than an Hour.

5. Family Therapy

I already gave a brief synopsis in my review of As Told by Ginger so I won't go too much in detail. It's Macie's 13th birthday and the girls are very excited to give her a party. But then Macie calls her friends letting them know that her parents had forgotten it. We find out that they are too busy with their jobs as child psychologists to remember something that important. They decide to make it up for her by giving her lots of attention, buying her clothes, and taking her friends out to fun locations. The problem is is that they start treating her like a 5-year-old. However Macie doesn't mind since she's getting the attention that she had almost never gotten from them. Meanwhile Carl and his classmates go on a field trip to a petting zoo and see a naked mole rat.

Ha! I wish! That would have been awesome!

Anyway, the naked mole rat escapes and Carl begins to admit to Hoodsey that he was scared of the mole rat. They wish to find it and return it before it causes chaos to the whole town. But the real highlight of the story belongs to Macie. It's so unbelievably sad seeing the situation she goes through to not have her parents around all the time helping her with her teenage struggles. Because of this, she still keeps her childish ways and fears change. It's up to Ginger and Dodie to help her grow up to be a normal teenager.

4. No Hope for Courtney

In this episode, a new girl moves in to town and attends Lucky Junior High. She's a very shy girl that wants to fit in, but with no luck. Ginger teaches her the ropes of fitting in and does it successfully. So successfully in fact that she becomes the most popular girl in school and Courtney loses her coolness. Meanwhile Mrs. Gordon announces her retirement to her class saying that's she too tired of Carl and Hoodsey's crazy antics. Carl misses Mrs. Gordon and does anything in his power to get her back to teaching. I don't want to spoil the ending for those who haven't seen it, but the ending was so shocking that it made me cry. You have to have really appreciate and watch the show long enough to feel any emotion for this moment. Check it out!

3. The Wedding Frame

The series of As Told by Ginger comes to a close with this TV movie. Lois finally gets married to Dr. Dave and begin planning on the wedding. However Dr. Dave's mother hates Lois and her children so she plans on an elaborate scheme to break them up. Ginger begins having a confrontation between her current relationship with Orion and her former relationship with Darren. Darren feels the same way when Simone is too involved with his life. Meanwhile, the Griplings lose all their money due to bad business deals and end up living in the Foutley's former home. The series ends on a satisfying note with the characters growing up as adults and seeing Ginger become a successful author telling stories based on her experiences of growing up. This would've been #1, but unfortunately, there's one glaring issue. If you didn't see the final season like I did, then you're never going to understand what's going on. I mean, who's Orion and Simone? When did Dr. Dave propose to Lois? It's very confusing and it would've helped if I had seen the final season. But at the time, I didn't and it threw me in a loop. But it makes up for it with the ending.

2. Hello Stranger

In this episode, Ginger receives a graduation card congratulating her for passing the 6th grade by her father. However, it showed up too late. Ginger hadn't received any phone calls or letters from her dad in years and she's excited that he wants to be involved with the family again. A talent show is coming up so she decides to invite him to the event. Meanwhile Lois accidentally drinks Carl's dehydrated snake potion confusing it for lemonade and Carl gets bitten by his classmate Brandon's pet monkey, so they end up at the hospital not attending the talent show. Ginger goes on stage reading her poem based on her father called "Hello Stranger". I won't spoil the ending, but it's so touching and it assures me time and time again on why Lois Foutley is my favorite parent in any Nickelodeon show ever!

1. Butterflies Are Free

If this episode would have concluded As Told by Ginger, I would have been satisfied. This is the episode that pulls everything together. This is the episode that made me laugh, cry, and reminisce on how far these characters have gone in their journey and how much they have grown and developed. In this episode, Ginger and the gang are graduating from junior high and are entering high school. Ginger is told to give a speech which she accepts. As Ginger find out that her friends are going to be doing different things such as Macie joining the high school band and meeting with a cute guy, Dodie trying out for cheerleading, and Darren trying out for football, she gets scared and fears that she'll never see them again. However learning from both her mother and father that times change and people grow up and move on, Ginger decides that she must accept it. It's part of life for people to move on and she must do so as well. Meanwhile Carl and Hoodsey are going into junior high and worry about becoming teenagers. Then Polly Shuster suggests that they bury their things in a time capsule and begin their journey into leaving childhood behind. The episode concludes with a beautiful speech told by Ginger about how everyone is like a butterfly: we start off like caterpillars in which we learn, crawl, and grow. Then we get into our shells and burst into butterflies flying into life freely. This episode is absolutely perfect! So flawless and so beautiful as we look back at the past, present, and the future!

Those are my top 10 favorite episodes of As Told by Ginger. What are your favorites? Post them in the comments below.

That's all for now. Tune in next time as we take a look at Nickelodeon's 5th movie and Klasky-Csupo's 2nd, Rugrats in Paris.

Hope to see you around Old School Lane soon. Thanks for reading.


Old School Lane's Nickelodeon Tribute: As Told by Ginger

The last Nicktoon that debuted in 2000 was a show that focused on the everyday life of teenagers with much variety in the characters and realistic situations. This show is none other than As Told by Ginger which debuted on October 25, 2000.

The show stars a 12-year-old girl named Ginger Foutley (voiced by Melissa Disney) and her best friends Macie Lightfoot (voiced by Jackie Harris), Dodie Bishop (voiced by Aspen Miller), and Darren Patterson (voiced by Kenny Blank) going through everyday teenage problems at their middle school Lucky Junior High. Ginger is sort of like the leader of the group. She's really into writing stories and poems, science, writing on her journal, ponies, and singing songs.

Dodie is a hyperactive girl who loves gossip and desperately has the urge to be popular. Her big mouth has caused trouble for her friends at times, which makes Dodie a somewhat subtle antagonist. More on that later.  She has a crazy overprotective mom and a dad who's basically a loving guy, but mostly sits on the couch and watches game shows and The Weather Channel. Out of the three girls, she's the least developed.

As for Macie, she's your typical nerdy girl with panic attacks, allergies, and fearing of change. You might think that she's very cliche and nothing more than a throwaway character, but surprisingly she's not. She has a childish personality struggling to go through the changes of teenhood. This is mostly due to the fact that her parents are almost never around since they're both child psychologists and really busy.

It's really fleshed out in the episode "Family Therapy" in which not only they forget her birthday, but then they start treating her like a 5-year-old buying her a swing set, taking her to a Chuckie Cheese-like setting, mother-daughter dresses, and a petting zoo-themed birthday party due to guilt. Believe it or not, Macie actually loves being treating like a 5-year-old since she's getting the attention of her parents that she never had. It wasn't until Ginger stepped forward and reminds her that she's 13, not 5. It's a very surprisingly sad scenario that fleshes out Macie wonderfully.

As for Darren, he's a very nice guy with a giant metal head gear for his orthodontia. Due to his head gear, he is teased constantly by the popular kids. He's also having struggles at home due to his father and his older brother. His older brother Will is a high school student who is popular, has many friends, and is on the football team. His father was the exact same way when he was younger and they tease Darren for being too nice, soft, unpopular, and nonathletic. He's Ginger's next door neighbor and they had been best friends forever. 

Ginger, Dodie, and Macie hang out with each other all the time and dream about fitting in to the popular kids., especially Dodie. The popular kids consisted of rich girl Courtney Gripling (voiced by Liz Georges), Miranda Kilgallen (voiced by Cree Summer), Melissa "Mipsy" Mipson (voiced by Sandy Fox), and Ian Richton (voiced by Adam Wylie). Courtney is your stereotypical blonde haired, dunce rich girl similar to Beebe Bluff from Doug and Rhonda Lloyd from Hey Arnold, but she has some characteristics that are a tad bit different. First of all, she's very fascinated about middle class life and the differences between that and the wealthy life as oppose to Beebe and Rhonda hating it. In one episode when going into Ginger's room, she finds a vacuum cleaner in her closet and she confuses it for a robot. She finds Ginger very interesting so she decides to form a friendship with her.

As for Miranda, she's a very bitter, mean, and envious girl. She's Courtney's best friend and sidekick. She's very jealous of Ginger because she feels that she will take Courtney's place as best friend. So whenever she can, she tries her best to ruin her life. In the first episode, Miranda fools Ginger into stealing a sign from the bank, calls her father who is a police officer, and ends up getting Ginger, Dodie, Macie, and Darren arrested for theft. That's right, arrested! Princess Azula, eat your heart out! Miranda is truly one of the best portrayed bullies in Nicktoon history and very underrated. She's surely someone you don't want to mess with.

Alongside the teenagers, we also get a glimpse of elementary school life consisting with the characters Carl Foutley, Robert "Hoodsey" Bishop, and Blake Gripling. Carl Foutley, Ginger's brother, Carl Foutley (voiced by Jeannie Elias) is a 9-year-old boy who is portrayed as a gross, disgusting boy who loves hanging out at a doghouse doing experiments and getting to crazy situations. While he is portrayed as gross, there's more to his character than that. He's a very intelligent, unique, different, has a very good heart, and is a stand out compared to all the other boys. When it comes to being around his mother and sister, they see him as a very odd, disturbing little boy who's constantly criticized and even to a point in which they act like they don't like him. However, deep down, they love him. Regardless, he doesn't care about what people think of him and is happy and content of who he is.

Robert "Hoodsey" Bishop (voiced by Tress MacNeille) is Carl's best friend and Dodie's brother. He's a very gullible and loyal kid who follows Carl throughout his many experiments and mishaps. He is called "Hoodsey" due to the fact that he always wears a purple hoodie. Not much to say about him, so moving on.

Blake Gripling (voiced by Kath Soucie) is Courtney's brother and Carl's rival. He's a very sophisticated kid who tries to get involve with Carl's schemes and experiments, but with no luck.

Now we get to the adults: while there were a fair number of adults portrayed in As Told by Ginger such as the teachers and the parents, there are only two that stand out to me. First is Carl's elementary school teacher Mrs. Gordon (voiced by Kathleen Freeman). She's an old, feisty woman who is a bit burned out due to the mishaps of Carl and Hoodsey. However, she doesn't take any of their crap as she scolds them and gives them their rightful punishment of detention and losing privileges. She's a far more interesting character compared to Ginger's English teacher Ms. Zorski. While Ms. Zorski is a very nice teacher, she's a bit forgettable.

The second adult that is a huge standout for me is Lois Foutley, Ginger and Carl's mother. She's a single mother raising her children alone after divorcing her husband Jonas. She's a nurse who works on late night shifts. She's a very strict mother who disciplines her children whenever they disobey her or if they do something stupid and reckless. She doesn't take any crap that Carl does on a daily basis and she's very strict with Ginger about not doing things until she's older. For example, in the episode "Kiss and Makeup", Ginger wants to wear makeup for her school picture, but Lois forbids it. So Ginger decides to make her own makeup that she found in a teen magazine calling it "fakeup". When Lois finds out about it in the pictures, Ginger gets grounded with no hesitation. However, she's also very kind, nurturing, and gives wonderful advice to Ginger whenever she goes through a problem. I have to say that out of all the parents/guardians I've encountered over the Nickelodeon shows, Lois Foutley is my absolute favorite. Despite being a single parent, it goes to show you that she is more than capable of raising a family while struggling on a job to provide for them. Unlike the father from Journey from Allen Strange in which while he is divorced from his wife, he's portrayed as clueless and goofy around his kids. That's pretty much like the majority of the other adults portrayed in the upcoming Nickelodeon programs in the tribute, but we'll get to that another time.

Not to mention, she's voiced by former SNL cast member Laraine Newman. You can't go wrong with that!

The show was produced by Klasky-Csupo, the same company that created and animated previous Nicktoons such as Rugrats, Aaahh!!! Real Monsters, Rocket Power, and The Wild Thornberrys. An interesting thing to note that As Told by Ginger was the only Nicktoon that was NOT created by either Arlene Klasky or Gabor Csupo. It was created by Emily Kapnek, who would later go on to be an executive producer of the show Emily's Reasons Why Not, a consulting producer for Parks and Recreations, and the creator and executive producer of Suburgatory. 

There were many things in As Told by Ginger that separated it from other Nicktoons at the time. First, there were story arcs. The kids began to grow and change in personality, some for the best and some for the worst. For example, in the first season, Ginger wanted to fit in with the popular crowd and had a huge crush on Ian. However, on the second season, Ginger became more of herself and didn't worry about being with the group anymore. Also, she knew that Ian would never be interested in Ginger, so she started going out with other guys such as a boy she met on summer camp named Sasha, a boy named Orion, and even Darren. Macie is a shy, nervous girl who fears change in the first two seasons, but in the third season, she's more confident and strong. Although she's still a bit timid, she had came a long way compared to the previous seasons. Also, she changed her looks by a new hairstyle and occasionally wearing contact lenses.

And then there's Darren. He completely went 180 throughout the series when he finally got his headgear removed. When we finally get a good look at his face, he's a really handsome guy that gets the attention of all the girls, especially Miranda. Then in the third season, he looks almost unrecognizable. His hair grew longer, he gets more muscular, he becomes more popular, and he joins the high school football team making his father and brother proud. What?! Why did they change his character? I actually prefer him being a different character being different from his father and brother and being the black sheep of the family. It creates a bit of tension that anyone who doesn't feel like they fit in their family can relate to. Yes, yes, I know that Darren represents the ugly duckling-white swan transformation, but to me, he ends up being a stereotypical popular jock! What a disappointment!

Also, there's the fact that in every season of the show, they change grades. The first season starts of with Ginger and her friends in the 7th grade and Carl and his classmates in the 4th grade. On the third season, Ginger and her friends are in high school and Carl and his classmates are in junior high. It was a very rare thing in cartoons to age in real time, even in today's time. Not to mention that the characters started wearing different clothes throughout the series. The reason why many animated shows have the characters wearing the same clothes is because it's cheaper to animate and it saves time. However, they decided that since the characters are developing in each episode, they deserve different outfits.

As Told by Ginger contains serious themes such as addiction, depression, going through the struggles of teenhood, love, betrayal, and even death. While other Nickelodeon shows such as Doug and Hey Arnold tackled everyday life issues, the main characters in those shows were kids. As Told by Ginger was a Nicktoon starring teenagers having normal teenage issues.

The show lasted for 3 seasons until it ended its run on September 21, 2009. When the show first aired, it had gained a huge amount of popularity among many teenagers. So much so that it became one of the shows to air on TeenNick. However in the second season, the popularity declined. Not because of the show taking a different direction, but because the show had changed its schedule numerous times. Eventually in 2002, As Told by Ginger aired exclusively on the Nicktoons Network. At the time, many people didn't have Nicktoons Network so many people weren't able to see the third season. It wasn't until years later until the final TV movie The Wedding Frame was released on DVD and people were able to see As Told by Ginger conclude its story. It's a very satisfying ending to the series, in fact it's one of the best endings in any Nickelodeon show ever.

Overall, I absolutely love this show! Looking back at it again, I can't believe some of the messages it taught and how relatable the characters were. It was really ahead of its time with the story arcs, different clothes, and the development of the characters. No other Nickelodeon shows had ever done this at that point and it was so refreshing to see something like this. However, I've seen a lot of comments and responses that people hated this show because it was more for girls than boys. It was understandable since Nickelodeon was mostly geared towards boys at the time and seeing a show like As Told by Ginger was a damper for them.

But wait a minute, as I recalled from my review of Clarissa Explains it All, a lot of guys watched that show as much as girls. So, what's with the hate with As Told by Ginger? I don't know.

Clarissa Explains It All Logo.png

While I think that The Wild Thornberrys is overrated and underwhelming, As Told by Ginger is very underrated and overwhelming. There are so many episodes that I have seen that made me laugh, think, and even cry. If you haven't seen this show in a while, give it a chance. It's a very well-written cartoon that still holds up to this very day. I highly recommend it!

That's all for now! Tune in next time as I count down my favorite As Told by Ginger episodes.

Hope to see you around Old School Lane soon. Thanks for reading.