Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Old School Lane's Not-Nickelodeon Tribute Week: Celebrity Double Dare

As we've been discussing over the past couple of months, Nickelodeon has had made a huge impact on television. The creative programs, the fact that it was a TV network for kids, and the copious amounts of slime made it a huge standout for the past 34 years. As time went on, a few Nickelodeon shows tried to make its way to other networks. Some have been done by the creators. Others haven't. Some have succeeded, most have failed. This week, we're going to take a look at former Nickelodeon shows that had a continuation in another network and compare it to the original. The first one to do so was the game show Celebrity Double Dare.

Debuting in 1987, the game show was shown on syndication to try to pick up a more adult crowd based on the popular Nickelodeon kids' game show. It came out a few months after Super Sloppy Double Dare debuted on Nickelodeon where it was double the mess and double the fun. This version had a team of two people: a regular contestant and a celebrity working together to gain enough points to win up to $25,000 worth of prizes. The show was hosted by Olympic gold medalist Bruce Jenner and the rules were pretty much the same: answer a bunch of questions to get money. If they didn't know the answer, they could dare the other team for double the dollars until eventually they would take the physical challenge. But there were a few new additions to the show that no other incarnation of the Nickelodeon Double Dare spinoffs did. First, each question had two answers and each person had to say 1 answer each. If one person got it wrong, they would lose their turn.

The physical challenges were similar to the original Double Dare in which they weren't as messy. In fact, the first physical challenge involved with the teams eating a long piece of licorice with a marshmellow in the middle. Then came the obstacle course in which they looked smaller, simpler, and less messy. Instead of getting flags, the team had to push 7 buzzers in 90 seconds ending it with one of the contestants in a dunking booth. Celebrity Double Dare had two pilot episodes and never got picked up for a TV series.

Overall, Celebrity Double Dare is boring. Very, very boring. Everything about it was just bland. The set was boring, the music was boring, Bruce Jenner was boring as a host, the physical challenges were boring, and the obstacle course was boring. It came out around the same time as Super Sloppy Double Dare when the show became hugely popular with its messy games, fun content, and the people who were involved with the show. Nothing really stood out and it played it way too safe. Eventually 3 years later, adults would get a chance to be in Double Dare with Family Double Dare, the most well known adaptation of the game show. That's the way to bring adults into Double Dare. I don't recommend checking Celebrity Double Dare out.

That's all for now. Tune in next time as we go into the 90's with a spinoff pilot of a popular 90's Nickelodeon teen sitcom Clarissa Now.

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


Friday, April 19, 2013

Old School Lane's Top 5 Best and Worst Nickelodeon Preschool Shows

We've talked about Nickelodeon: the Nicktoons, the Nickcoms, the game shows, the movies, and so much more. But the one thing we really haven't delve deep into was the preschool shows. Unless you're a parent or an expert of television or education, you don't really have deep conversations about shows geared towards 3-year-olds. But the fact of the matter is is that they're most likely the first things we saw on TV and we have a special place in our hearts for them. Whether they're influencial, iconic, groundbreaking, have memorable characters, a colorful background, have great morals told in a smart way, or just plain edutainment fun, we're going to count down the top 5 best Nickelodeon preschool shows.

5. Pinwheel

The show that started it all with the network has to be on this list. Debuting on December 1977, the show had a simple premise consisting of humans, puppets, and short segments of blocks and cartoons. Pinwheel was a huge success when it first came out lasting for over 10 years and having 6 hour marathons 5 days a week. However, it's pretty low on this list because the show is very outdated by today's standards. Looking at it now, it's a low budget Sesame Street clone. The characters are a bit forgettable, the setting looks a bit cheap, and the cartoon segments are long and boring. But I can't deny what a huge impact Pinwheel was for Nickelodeon. Without the show's success, the network wouldn't even exist.

4. Yo Gabba Gabba!

During the late 2000's, Nick Jr. was going through a slump. With the exception of Dora the Explorer, there were no Nick Jr. programs that grabbed the kids' attention. The majority of them were either cartoons based on books. But then, two regular dads named Christian Jacobs and Scott Schultz were sick and tired of the lack of great quality preschool shows on TV. So they decided to create one that was both informative, entertainment, and fun filled with artists, performers, and life lessons. The show starred a man named DJ Lance and 5 other characters named Muno, Foofa, Brobee, Toodee, and Plex learning a themed lesson of the day and singing songs based on it. There were also special celebrity guests, 8-bit transitions, singers, and artists who drew pictures to teach to the kids. It became an instant hit and is still really popular by many kids and adults watching it. This is definitely a show that people would be looking back 10 years from now as a classic.

3. Eureeka's Castle

When Pinwheel ended its 10 year run, Eureeka's Castle was its forerunner show for the new time slot called Nick Jr. It was about a wizard named Eureeka and her friends Magellan the dragon, Batly the bat, Bog and Quagmire the moat twins, and more living in a castle going through various tasks and learning important life lessons. Just like Pinwheel, Eureeka's Castle was similar to Sesame Street with its puppets, segments, and characters. But Eureeka's Castle has aged much better than Pinwheel, it has funnier jokes, and more developed characters. Plus the show was co-created by R.L. Stine. Not much to say about it but a very well crafted preschool show that still has its charm.

2. Mr. Wizard's World

A reboot of the 1951 show Watch Mr. Wizard, Mr. Wizard's World starred Don "Mr. Wizard" Herbert would have a kid come in every week and teach him an experiement that would focus on what he was known for: science. From optical illusions to gravity, Mr. Wizard would make learning about science educational, informative, and fun. Plus, the experiements that he would teach the kids could be tried at home. Looking back at Mr. Wizard's World, it's a classic that still holds up to this day. The experiments look just as cool as it ever was and it became hugely influencial to a lot of science programs in the 90's such as Beakman's World and Bill Nye: The Science Guy. The episodes are on DVD and uploaded on YouTube. Check it out when you have a chance.

1. Blue's Clues

In the 90's, most preschool shows were preachy, sappy programs that shoved the lessons down kids' throats and had adults irratated that kids were subjected to watching them. But then Blue's Clues came along and everything changed. The show starred Steve, a young man who lived in a small house with a blue puppy named Blue. Whenever she wanted something, she would play a game simply known as "Blue's Clues". Steve would have to find 3 clues, draw them on his handy dandy notebook, and figure out what Blue wants. Along the way, he would meet up with his friends Mr. Salt and Mrs. Pepper, Shovel and Pail, Sidetable Drawer, Mailbox, Periwinkle, and more. They would teach many lessons for kids such as recycling, fruits and vegetables, the planets, sign language, singing, story telling, and more. While I was too old for Blue's Clues when it first came out, I cannot deny what a huge show it was to all the little kids I knew when they saw it. It was everywhere! To this day, Blue's Clues is not only the best Nickelodeon preschool show, but one of greatest kids' shows of all time. Steve Burns was one of the best kids' show host of all time and the show still holds up very well. It's a timeless classic that generations of kids will continue to watch and love.

We've talked about the best Nickelodeon preschool shows. Now let's talk about the worst. There's a ton of them. Which shows made it on the list? Let's find out.

5. Ni hao Kai-Lan

What do you get when you combine Dora the Explorer with Sagwa, the Chinese Siamese Cat? You get Ni hao, Kai-Lan. It's the story about a little girl named Kai-Lan who learns new things alongside her grandfather and pet tiger. She also teaches a few Chinese words to the kids watching the show. Yeah, that's it. It's pretty boring and forgettable. While I did say that I don't really like Dora the Explorer, at least they do different tasks and go to various places while teaching Spanish. Imagine Dora staying in one place and teaching Spanish once every few minutes. Not fun, is it?

4. Wonder Pets

There's one word to describe Wonder Pets: monotonous. Pretty much the same thing happens in every single episode. The story is about three pets from a daycare center who save baby animals from around the world. They learn about teamwork, the animal they rescue, and the place they live in. The problem is is that show is formulaic, redundant, and annoying. Once you watched one episode, you've seen them all.

3. Max and Ruby

Just like Wonder Pets, Max and Ruby is also monotonous, redundant, and annoying. The show focuses on two siblings named Max and Ruby who go through everyday life of tea parties, gardening, and bedtime. Ruby tries to have everything neat, presentable, and nice looking while Max is the mischievious little brother who says one word per episode and tries to pester or help Ruby with her problems. Ruby neglects or ignores Max and in the end, Max helps Ruby with her problems. Plus, it's questionable on where the parents are and the indication that kids are proven to be annoying and useless until the last minute. But the worst part about this show is is that it's still on the air.

2. Binyah Binyah

In my review of Gullah Gullah Island, I said that the show was a very basic kids' show that never lived up to its full potential. But around the end of its run, it had a spinoff based on the most popular character Binyah Binyah Polliwog. The show didn't last for very long. In fact, it lasted for only 1 week. I couldn't even find videos on the show on YouTube. No one remembered it and for good reason. It was a dumb idea to begin with and critical failure at the end.

1. Blue's Room

Around 2004, Steve left Blue's Clues to go to college (actually to pursue on a music career) and was replaced by his little brother Joe. While Joe wasn't a bad character, he was not Steve and Blue's Clues wasn't the same afterwards. But if Joe was the downfall for the show, the spinoff Blue's Room killed it. It was about Blue finding a magic music box and transfering her into another world where she could talk, a bunch of uninteresting characters, and the introduction of Blue's baby brother. The show only lasted for 3 years and the popularity of Nick Jr. died along with it. That is until Yo Gabba Gabba came out!

Those are my top 5 best and worst Nickelodeon preschool shows. What preschool shows do you love or hate from Nickelodeon? Post it in the comments below. That's all for now. Hope to see you around Old School Lane soon. Thanks for reading.


Sunday, April 14, 2013

Old School Lane Casual Chats Episode 10: Interview with the Re-open Nickelodeon Studios Admins

In this special episode of Casual Chats, Patricia interviews Admins Zac, Tim, Isaiah, Gabe, and Jaycob from the Re-Open Nickelodeon Studios in Orlando, FL Facebook Page! Stay tuned for a very special prize giveaway!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Old School Lane's Nickelodeon Tribute: All Grown Up!

The year is 2003. The last Lord of the Rings movie Return of the King, The Last Samurai, Finding Nemo, and Big Fish were released in theaters. Chappelle's Show, TMNT, The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, and Reno 911! debuted on TV. As we mentioned in our last review, Klasky Csupo was the top animation company for Nickelodeon. They had created and/or produced 5 Nicktoons, released 3 critically and financially movies, and had a pristine reputation of quality, creativity, and unique animation. Around July 21, 2001,Rugrats had released a special called Rugrats 10th Anniversary: All Growed Up!

It was a 1 hour special featuring the Rugrats characters as pre-teens. The story was about Tommy borrowing Stu's lucky medallion to give to Angelica after she bragged to her friends that she had it. It turns out that Stu has the same mediallion as Emica, a famous pop star who is going to have a concert in her town. Tommy makes a fake mediallion to confuse Stu and Spike steals it. It's up to Tommy and the gang to find the mediallion before Stu needs it for a disco competition. For many people, it was amazing to see the same babies that they've seen for 10 years grown into pre-teens. The same characters that people saw as kids were already teenagers like they were. It was such a huge success. It was so successful that over 70% of children from 2-11 watched the special. It had ratings that Nickelodeon had never seen before."The ratings compared to Superbowl shares, and I remember I cried,'' said Cyma Zarghami, then executive vice president and general manager of Nickelodeon. "We have to make that show.'' Even Arlene Klasky and Gabor Csupo wanted to create a spin-off show based on that idea. "It was always in the back of our minds that we would love to see what these characters were like as they grew," replied Arlene Klasky. 

There were also talks from the producers from Nickelodeon that they were excited for a new spinoff on Rugrats. Zarghami approved of it and the people who grew up with the original will love this new show. "''I think the exciting thing about this series is that we'll have the opportunity to tell more individual stories,'' Ms. Zarghami said. ''The greatest thing about aging up is that characters' personalities just get more developed. You can ask a 13-year-old if they still watch 'Rugrats' and in public they say no, but the research shows many of them still do." On April 12, 2003, All Grown Up! debuted on TV.

The show takes place 9 years after Rugrats, but before the Rugrats 10th Anniversary Special. The same characters Tommy, Chuckie, Phil, Lil, Dil, Susie, Kimi, and Angelica are living their regular lives as middle school students dealing with everyday problems and solving it. There were many changes that the characters went through besides them getting older. Tommy had a love for film and wanted to be a filmmaker, Chuckie was struggling with talking to girls, Phil and Lil loved soccer and were trying to be their own person as oppose to a twin, Angelica is trying to be popular, Susie wants to be a singer, and Kimi is...well, not much went with her that stood out. But the one person who changed for the...weider was Dil. Dil dressed in a very strange getup with a hat with chattering teeth hanging on the side, mismatched clothing and having strange hobbies from speaking with dolphins to looking for aliens. If people thought that Dil was annoying when he was a baby, he's certainly more stranger as a kid.

Not only were there the characters we knew from the original show, there were new characters introduced in All Grown Up! There was Savannah, Angelica's popular friend, Harold, Angelica's goofy friend that knew her since preschool, Rachel, Tommy's on-and-off again Jewish girlfriend, and Z, a "bad" boy that Kimi has a crush on. While there were some new things that were introduced in the Rugrats universe, there were some old things that were brought into the show such as flashbacks from when they were babies and toddlers to bringing back characters such as Boris and Minka to Reptar. 

The show lasted for 5 seasons until it ended its run on August 17, 2008. When the show first came out, it had received positive feedback from both critics and viewers alike. For people who grew up with Rugrats, it was an incredible concept for characters that they've known for a decade to be grown up. Very rarely do we see cartoon characters age and develop, but Rugrats was willing to take that risk. For kids who were introduced to the newer episodes of Rugrats, they were able to see All Grown Up! as well and it became one of the most popular cartoons in Nickelodeon. However, just like ChalkZone, it had received a ton of hate over the years. Many people who grew up with the original Rugrats hated All Grown Up! due to the many changes that the show went through.

As for me, I didn't really care for All Grown Up! The majority of the episodes were very boring and very forgettable. The great thing about Rugrats was that it was a very creative concept with talking babies going through many adventures involving with imagination. With All Grown Up!, it lacked the charm and creativity that the original Rugrats had. Also the new characters introduced to the show weren't very interesting. They were very 1 dimensional and bland. Klasky Csupo already had a very well done show about teenager problems with As Told by Ginger and we already had the 10th anniversary special to answer the big question of what the babies would look like if they were older. This was the first indication that Rugrats was growing stale on viewers and the beginning of the end for Klasky Csupo as Nickelodeon's #1 animation company. SpongeBob SquarePants, Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, ChalkZone, and The Fairly Oddparents were already gaining popularity and viewers. As of recently, Arlene Klasky and Gabor Csupo had officially retconned All Grown Up! from the Rugrats universe. However, the show still has a huge cult following, but it didn't impress me or many other Rugrats fans. I don't recommend checking it out.

That's all for now. Tune in next time as we see Klasky Csupo try to get back on track with their 4 feature film Rugrats Go Wild.

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


Saturday, April 6, 2013

Old School Lane Presents: Turtle Talk Episode 1

In the premiere episode of Turtle Talk, Patricia and Kevin talk about the TMNT shows, upcoming 2014 movie, the characters, the toys, and other merchandise.

2013 Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards Winners

Long overdue, I know. I've been busy with work, live, and other stuff. Here are my reactions for the 2013 Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards Winners. Were Kevin's and Patricia's predictions correct? Let's see!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Old School Lane's Top 10 Nickelodeon Shows That Deserve More Love and Less Hate

We've talked a lot about Nickelodeon shows, both good and bad. There are some shows that deserve a ton of hate due to being very mediocre, mean spirited, boring, lazy, or just plain bad. However, there are a lot of TV shows that has been getting just as much hatred that doesn't deserve it. Now I know that people are entitled to their opinion and each person has different tastes in things so the shows on my list may or may not convince you to give it a second chance. Nonetheless, here's my list of the top 10 Nickelodeon shows that don't deserve the kind of bashing that it gets.

10. Nick News with Linda Ellerbee

Kevin and I already talked about Nick News with Linda Ellerbee in our top 10 underrated Nickelodeon shows. We understand why this show gets a ton of hate. It's mostly because it's about the news covering serious topics such as AIDS, slavery, autism, the war, and the president election. When you're a kid, you don't want to see that kind of stuff, you want to see cartoons. So what did you do? You switched it over to Cartoon Network and watched something else. Kids did this in 1992 and kids are still doing it today. Did you watch last night's episode of Nick News when they discussed about women's appreciation month or did you watch Adventure Time? Exactly. For many kids, this was the show that "ruined" their Sunday nights when they wanted to watch something fun before going to school the next day and it has remained in many people's minds as one of the worst shows in their childhoods.

Quite frankly, please stop hating on this show. This is the longest running program in Nickelodeon, next to SpongeBob SquarePants, and there's a big reason why it's still on the air 20 years later. Whether they know it or not, kids need something like Nick News to connect with everyday problems that something like CNN won't cover. Nick News treats kids seriously. It doesn't talk down to them and it treats with the respect that they deserve. They could've gone in a completely different direction by talking down to them and have celebrities or kids talk about news regarding about movies or TV show, but they didn't and I have to applaud them for that. Nick News may not be one of my favorite Nickelodeon shows or anyone else's, but you cannot deny how important it is.

9. Doug

Once upon a time, Doug was revered by many people who grew up with Nickelodeon in the 90's as a classic. Nowadays it's been seeing as a boring, uninspired, bland cartoon with cliched characters. While I do agree that out of the 3 original Nicktoons Doug is the most poorly aged, I have to commend on what it did for cartoons. The 3 original Nicktoons did a lot for TV history, especially The Ren & Stimpy Show, but no one brings up on what kind of impact that Doug did. It was one of the first animated shows that featured a regular kid going through middle school life with a group of friends. Doug was inspired by the real life of creator Jim Jinkens and almost every single character was based on people that he knew growing up. The town of Bluffington was based on his hometown of Richmond, Virginia. Doug was inspired by himself when he was a kid.

Most cartoons in the 80's were either based on toys, movies, comic books, or reboots of cartoons from the 60's. Rarely was there ever a show that was about a regular kid living his everyday life with friends that most likely we've all had at one point. Doug was the kind of show that was directed for kids and teens and it mirrored almost anything that we may have gone through at the time. When teenagers who never grew up with Doug and mostly know about it from the Nostalgia Critic's review of it bash on Doug by not being a huge impact on 90's Nickelodeon culture like Rugrats or The Ren & Stimpy Show was. To tell you the truth, Doug did do an impact, but it was just more subtle. We would later on have shows such as The Proud Family, Hey Arnold!, Pepper Ann, Gravity Falls, etc. that deal with the everyday life of kids, but done much more superior than Doug. Yes, Doug may seem boring and bland now, but it help started a lot of cartoons as well. It doesn't deserve to be hated on.

8. The Amanda Show

I've heard a lot of people saying that The Amanda Show was nothing more than an All That ripoff due to the skits and different characters that Amanda Bynes portrayed as. While it was an All That spinoff, ripoff it is not. All That was inspired by You Can't Do That on Television and Saturday Night Live and at the time, there were a lot of sketch comedy shows on TV. The Amanda Show was more like The Carol Burnett Show than anything. It had Amanda Bynes portraying as mutiple characters and different skits about those said characters similar to what Carol Burnett did. Amanda Bynes herself was a huge fan of Carol Burnett and Lucille Ball, two comediannes who were infamous for portraying as multiple personalities. During 1999, critics called Amanda Bynes the next Lucille Ball. Nowadays, she's now known as Nickelodeon's Lindsay Lohan. Many people who criticized The Amanda Show say that it's too weird and that is was not All That. News flash: it wasn't supposed to be All That. It was an entirely different kind of show and never got the praise it deserved. It was cancelled too early for its own right and still to this day, it was never given the same love and attention that All That had gotten. Now is the time to do so.

7. Catscratch

When this show came out in 2005, I didn't find a lot of people who liked it. In fact, they didn't know what to think of it. It came out 3 months after Avatar: The Last Airbender and everyone was watching that while leaving Catscratch in the dust. They said it was too weird, stupid, strange, and random. But what most people seem to forget about was that it was created by Doug Tennapel, the guy who created Earthworm Jim. So, people praise Earthworm Jim for its strangeness and random humor and people hate on Catscratch? I don't get it. But then again, most people did not know that it was based on Tennapel's graphic novel named Gear. Gear featured 4 cats going through a huge adventure that was filled with adult humor, a more serious tone, and random scenarios. When I read the novel and saw Catscratch, I was a bit disappointed that they had to cut a lot from the original source material, But what we got wasn't bad. It was funny, it was random, it was quirky, and it was strange, just like Tennapel's material. People never gave it a chance when it first came out and still to this day, it's not praised compared to the other Nicktoons that came out in the 2000's. I think that you deserve to revisit Catscratch again. You might be surprised on what you missed out.

6. SpongeBob SquarePants

Yeah, yeah. I already hear the complaints as you're reading this. "SpongeBob is way past its prime". SpongeBob is very annoying!" SpongeBob sucks nowadays!" Yes, you're right. SpongeBob SquarePants has been on the air for almost 14 years and it has gone in a completely different direction ever since Stephen Hillenberg gave the forerunner position to Paul Tibbit after The SpongeBob SquarePants movie and many of the writers left to do other shows. But you have to consider that before SpongeBob ran its course years ago, it was an influential cartoon that was appealing for both kids and adults. Many of the people who working on Rocko's Modern Life went on to do SpongeBob SquarePants and brought that same lighthearted fun and subtle adult humor for a new generation of kids. The characters were all funny, genuine, and memorable, the jokes were spot on, and the episodes were brilliantly written. Many claim that SpongeBob SquarePants was the last great Nicktoon before it went downhill. While that is debatable, we can all agree that SpongeBob was both Nickelodeon's blessing and the beginning of its downfall. Many of the shows that would continue on lacked the edge, creativity, and innovation of SpongeBob and would continue to play way too safe on their shows. For a time, it seemed to have been that way and a lot of cartoons went on a dark age of mediocrity. But things are starting to look up with shows such as Adventure Time, Regular Show, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, Phineas and Ferb, and more.

I think that the reason why people are hating on SpongeBob besides the gradual change of direction is the fact that we're officially burned out on it. We've seen nothing but marathons of SpongeBob for years and nothing but that. But then when we tune in to Nickelodeon, the majority of the shows are generic and mediocre so we have no other choice but to watch SpongeBob or switch to another channel. However, people still care for SpongeBob. Last month they interrupted SpongeBob for a sketch comedy show called Nick Studio 10 from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Besides the show being unfunny, people hated it because it interrupted SpongeBob, which means that people still care for it despite them saying that they hated it. I bet that if there was another show such as iCarly or Victorious that was being interrupted, it wouldn't get as much hate compared to interrupting SpongeBob. I do agree that the show needs to end and I hopefully want it to end after they premiere The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie 2, but we know that deep down inside, we still have a love for it.

5. ChalkZone

As you recall from my ChalkZone review and my top 10 underrated Nickelodeon shows, there's a huge hate for ChalkZone. People have regarded it as "uncreative", "unfunny", "annoying", and "forgettable". The thing about ChalkZone that I love is the amount of creativity that it has, the memorable characters, and the great songs that it had. I've already talked about it numerous times, so I don't have anything new to add. All I have to say is give it another go and look at it with different, open minded eyes.

4. The Legend of Korra

From the moment Michael Dante DiMartino and Brian Konietzko announced about a new spinoff of Avatar: The Last Airbender, people already began to hate it. Seeing a spinoff show based on a show they loved without their favorite characters already set itself as a target. Then when the show came out, it had received mixed reactions, especially the last episode of Book Air. They complained that everything went way too fast, the characters weren't interesting, and the show tarnished Avatar: The Last Airbender. What did you want? A rehash of Avatar: The Last Airbender? If you would've gotten that, then you would've hated on how it was show was a repeat of the first show. Seriously, I think that some people aren't satisfied with anything anymore. The first season of Legend of Korra isn't even finished yet. I like it how the show went on a different direction and it takes place after Avatar: The Last Airbender. I love the setting, I love the music, I love the direction it's going, and I also like that the creators are willing to go on a different route. The war is already over, there's a new threat that lingers in the show, and the characters are going through different things than the previous characters. It keeps everything that we know, but has a bunch of fresh, new ideas.

Yes, Bolin and Mako aren't as developed and interesting compared to other characters from Avatar: The Last Airbender. Yes, Korra is already a realized Avatar a little too soon for our liking. Yes, they should have kept Tarlok and Amon for another season and their deaths were anticlimactic. Yes, Tenzin's children aren't that great of comic reliefs compared to Sokka. But the show only  had half a season and there going on a different direction of story telling, but I like that. I like that they're pushing outside the box of what we're accustomed to and pretty soon, it'll gain more appreciation and will be just as loved as Avatar: The Last Airbender. We still have the Promise trilogy and The Search trilogy that continues the story of Avatar: The Last Airbender so there you go. If there's anything that ruined Avatar: The Last Airbender, it's the movie. We'll talk about that another time.

3. As Told by Ginger

Ah yes, my most favorite underrated Nicktoon of all time. Not much to say about what I've already said about it, but I have to defend it. Many people claim it to be too much of a cliched teen show filled with uninteresting characters and boring episodes. As Told by Ginger was hugely influential in Nicktoons that most people don't seem to realize. It was the first Nicktoon that had story arcs, character development, and different clothes. As each season went on, we saw our characters grow and change into more mature teenagers. Everything that happened affected our characters both for the better and worse, just like regular people. Just like with Doug, As Told by Ginger was a show that showed real people dealing with real problems. Before Avatar: The Last Airbender came out with its memorable characters and great storyline, there was this. It was way ahead of its time and still stands today as one of Nickelodeon's best. It had a beginning, middle, and end. Most Nicktoons never had that kind of format and that's what makes As Told by Ginger a true standout.

2. 80's Nickelodeon Shows

The shows that featured in Nickelodeon before Doug, Rugrats, The Ren & Stimpy Show, etc. were shows that most people never heard of. Shows such as Pinwheel, America Goes Bananaz, Livewire, Danger Mouse, The Third Eye, etc. were the pinnacle of Nickelodeon and were just as beloved as the other shows from the 90's. Many people felt that since the majority of the Nickelodeon shows were either syndicated or acquired from other channels or countries, Nickelodeon didn't really begin until the late 80's. Even the Nickelodeon executives called the early years of Nickelodeon their "vegetable state". Sure, many of these shows are very outdated for the wrong reasons, you cannot deny that without these shows, the network wouldn't even exist. Without You Can't Do That on Television, there wouldn't be All That, The Amanda Show, Drake and Josh, Zoey 101, iCarly, or Victorious. Without Pinwheel, there would be no Nick Jr. Without Double Dare, there would be no other Nickelodeon game shows. The earlier shows of Nickelodeon had a huge impact on pop culture history and need more love and attention.

1. All That (The Relaunch Era)

Whenever anyone talks about All That, they always look fondly on the original. The skits such as Good Burger, Vital Information, Randy and Mandy, The Loud Librarian, and more were regarded as classics. When the show was relaunched after its 2 year hiatus in 2002, many people hated it saying that it was nothing like the original. The cast was different, the skits were different, and the format was different. Well, guess what? It needed this change desperately. The first 3 seasons of All That were looked upon as the best seasons of the show. When seasons 4-6 were going, it was relying on some of the same cast members, same skits, and same jokes mixed in with new people that weren't as funny as the original cast members. Plus the original cast members looked awkward with the newer cast members since they were getting too old. As time went on, the popularity of All That declined and the show was cancelled.

When the show came back, it started back from scratch with a new cast and new skits. It was so refreshing to see new talent and new skits such as Sugar and Coffee, Bridget's Slumber Parties, Randy Quench: Volunteer Fireman, and more in the mix. We got to know really talented cast members such as Lisa Foiles, Jack DeSena, Kyle Sullivan, Chelsea Brummett, and more. It was the change that the show needed and it introduced a new generation to All That. Sure, it took a bit of a nosedive with the over saturation of celebrities and reusing the old skits in the later seasons, but I feel that it's just as good as the original and it should be acknowledge for that. If they didn't do this change, then the show wouldn't have been a huge impact for Nickelodeon as it is now. Give the relaunch era of All That the love and credit it deserves.

Those are my top 10 Nickelodeon shows that deserves more love and attention. What shows from Nickelodeon do you feel needs more recognition and less hatred? Post it in the comments below. That's all for now. Hope to see you around Old School Lane soon. Thanks for reading.


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Autism Awareness Month or How I Learned to Cope and Accept My Asperger's Syndrome

Well, it's April. After we had our fun and laughs with our April Fools' Day pranks, what's next for us? The celebration of spring? The anticipation of warm weather to melt away that snow we're already getting sick of looking at? For me and for a lot of people, it's the start of a new month for a certain celebration. Autism Awareness Month.

It's the time of the month where people become aware of autism or autistic disorders. For me, this is important. Some of you may already know this, but for the ones who don't know I'm going to reveal it right now. I have Asperger's Syndrome. For those who don't know, Asperger's Syndrome is an autistic disorder that deals with a lot of the same symptoms as autism. But the main difference is that a person with Asperger's Syndrome tends to have a huge lack of social skills, completely unaware of facial features, a lack of common sense, limited and unusual hobbies and habits, sensitivity to sound and bright lights, the inability to have eye contact with other people, and awkwardness towards interactions with other people. As a kid, I had suffered greatly due to people constantly teasing me and everyday coming home from school crying. At the time, I wasn't aware of this condition due to my parents never telling me anything, yet I went to an autistic daycare from the ages of 3 to 6, I went through many therapists, counselors, psychiatrists, and taking antidepressants on and off over the years. I started taking Paxil when I was 10 years old so that I would stop crying and I would see a school counselor to bring up my already low self esteem. When I was 15, I heard the diagnosis for the first time and I went through a confusing state over the years. I never connected with people who had severe mental disorders and I never connected with people who were "normal". I felt like an outcast, like someone not from this world. Despite being surrounded by at least hundreds of people in your lifetime, you feel all alone.

There was a time in which I wanted to be like everyone else. I wanted a cure to get rid of this condition so that I can be like "normal". I thought that people were born just to be cruel. For every nice person, I found 10 assholes who pushed around people who were not like them. If you weren't like them, you were the scum of the earth. It wasn't easy with me being a teacher's pet, having a weight problem, having hand-me-down clothes, or not liking the majority of the things that they liked, but having this condition, made things 10x harder. Elementary and middle school were difficult times in my life and high school was like stepping into the 7th circle of hell. It seemed that no one understood me.But then as time went on, I went to seminars about self acceptance and autism awareness classes and met with other people who had the same condition that I had. The self awareness classes helped with coping with my inner struggles. Sometimes I do have a few setbacks, but nothing like when I was younger. I had learned over time to let go of my past and look forward to whatever the future holds for me.

Every single shitty experience I went through was a life lesson that helped me grow up and become more aware of life's struggles and helped me mature. I learned about not following the same path that everyone else is going. Everyone is different and I have to set up my own path and my own life. I just have a few more stones to cross over. However, as of recently, my emotions hit me again. I'm not getting any younger and I have the same life that I've always had. I'm almost 27-years-old and I'm still living with my parents, I'm in $2,000 dollars in debt, I have no car, no savings, a temporary job, and many of my former college friends are starting to get careers, spouses, and even children. I've asked myself many times "What's wrong with me?" I've learned that people with Asperger's Syndrome may or may not be independent, depending on how severe the condition is. As of now, I feel like a big loser not capable of going anywhere but where I am now. Sure, my emotions will eventually go away and I'll be fine, but those feelings are still there. My condition is still there. I'm always going to have it. It's never going to go away. 

But there are some moments in which I use my condition to its advantage. I have an IQ of 140, I made a lot of friends online discussing about many topics that most people don't find interesting or even care about, and I'm doing a lot of things that is bettering myself as a person. I've learned to just be me and no one else. I feel that trying to copy other people just to get noticed is very sad and doesn't make you as a standout to the rest of society. Many people with Autism and Asperger's Syndrome already know this. Sure it was a tough way to learn it, but we learned it better than anyone else. So remember, everyone. Take a little bit of time to remember the people who go through a type of autistic disorder. You may not know it, but they're all around you. They may seem different, but they're exactly the same.


Patricia's Jewels: Oddworld: Abe's Odyssee (April Fools Swap with James Bevan)

The following post was from yesterday in honor of the Manic Expression April Fools' Day Swap. Each person who participated had to switch to another person's style of reviewing. I got James Bevan, who reviews a video game series called Jim's Gems. I hope you enjoy me not talking about Nickelodeon stuff.

Inspired by Derek Alexander (Happy Video Game Nerd) and James Bevan (Manic Expression)

Welcome to Patricia's Jewels, a video game series where I cover my favorite games. Whether it's triple "A", indie hits, cult classics, and underrated, obscure games that I feel deserve more recognition. Hopefully, my review will let you check out the game for yourself. Today's game we're going to cover is an underrated cinematic platformer back in 1997. Back in 1994, a new indie video game company by the name of Oddworld Inhabitants was founded by Lorne Lanning and Sherry McKenna. They wanted to step right outside the box of typical platformers that were hugely popular at the time such as Super Mario 64, Spyro the Dragon, and Crash Bandicoot by introducing a rich, complex universe taking place in the planet called Oddworld. They wanted to make the kind of games that they wanted to make, not the kind of games that were gaining popularity. So begins the Oddworld Quintology, a series of 5 games that would take place in Oddworld. The first game from this Quintology was Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee which debuted on the PlayStation on September 19, 1997.

The game stars our protagonist, Abe, a creature known as a Mudokin, who works as a slave in a meat-packing industry called RuptureFarms. While working overtime, he hears a conversation from his supervisor named Molluck the Glukkon saying that their stocks are going down and are at risk of going bankrupt. He comes up with the idea of using all the Mudokin slaves and use them as food called Mudokin Pops to bring up profits while saving money on getting other creatures for food. Abe, frightened at what he heard, is determined to save all the Mudokins before it's too late. 

The game plays similar to Prince of Persia and Out of this World, in which it's a simple 2D platformer with cinematic backgrounds, tough puzzles, and atmospheric music. The game features the amount of Mudokins that you have to rescue, the amount of Mudokins you already rescued, and the amount of Mudokins remaining. The character of Abe is a very simple minded, clumsy, and humble Mudokin. Remaining as a slave the majority of his life, he learned to take orders, but seeing his people in danger gets him the courage to rescue them and help them escape RuptureFarms. He meets up with different Mudokins that are normal, blind, confused, and suicidal. He uses an ability called GameSpeak to control the Mudokins and lead them to a portal that leads them out of RuptureFarms. Along the way, you learn different abilities such as telekinetic powers that you use to control the Glukkons, clever puzzles to get rid of them, and learn stealth to avoid them in tight spots. Abe travels to different ares in the game and learns new abilities and new things about his people. 

The story has a great mixture of humor and dark moments as you begin to learn about the Mudokins from Abe's visions from Big Face, a Mudokin Shaman, and the plans of Molluck the Glukkon containing greed and selfishness, and Abe's path to freeing his people. The scenary was really ahead of its time on the PlayStation. The scenary was both bright, dark, colorful, gritty, and atmospheric from the dark, depressing RuptureFarms to the lush, green forests of Paranormia, and the deserts of Scrabania. The music fits very well with the game by being ombious or catchy.

However, the game has its share of flaws. The controls are a bit dated by today's standards with the Triangle button to jump and the X button to pull off the GameSpeak, and the Square button to trigger Abe's abilities. Also, you have to save 1 Mudokin at a time and once you lose a Mudokin, they can't come back. They're dead and stay dead and you need a certain amount of them to get the good ending. Sometimes it isn't easy since it's a huge pain to control the Mudokins to lead them to the portal, especially the blind ones. But the biggest flaw in the entire game is that there are rarely any checkpoints in the game. There are a few, but once you die, you start in a level where you lose your progress unless you create a new save state on your PlayStation memory card every time you want to save. That can be a huge problem at times. However, those problems would be fixed in the later games.

Oddworld: Abe's Odyssee was received very well by gamers and critics alike, but complained of the "ugly" characters, confusing gameplay, and lack of save states. However, it was hugely praise for its innovation for cinematic platformers with its graphics, story, and gameplay. The later games to come out would improve the gameplay, continue the story, and introduce us to new characters and abilities. However, cinematic platformers lost interest to many gamers with the increasing popularity of 3D platformers and first-person shooters and the Oddworld Quintology had been hugely forgotten. In fact, the 5th game was never released due to the poor sales of games from the last two gamesMunch's Oddysee and Stranger's Wrath. However, more people are getting introduced to it due to the games being released on OnLive, the PlayStation Network, and XBOX Live Arcade. Coming this fall will be a HD reboot of Abe's Odyssee called Abe's Odysee New & Tasty will be released in the PlayStation 3, XBOX 360, and PlayStation Vita in honor of the game's 15th anniversary of its release. 

Overall, while there are a few flaws, Abe's Oddysee is a fantastic game that has a great story, beautiful graphics, atmospheric settings, and tough puzzles to solve. There's a lot of variety in this game and for people who love platformers, you deserve to check it out!