Friday, May 31, 2013

Old School Lane Casual Chats Episode 13: Old School Lane Updates

In this short episode of Casual Chats, Patricia gives updates about what to expect to see in Old School Lane, upcoming episodes of Casual Chats and Turtle Talk, upcoming projects, answering questions from fans, and appearing in Florida Supercon 2013.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Old School Lane's Nickelodeon Tribute: Romeo!

To conclude 2003, we take a look into another Nickelodeon sitcom starring a mostly black cast. Unlike My Brother and Me or Kenan & Kel, this one was based on a then popular celebrity known as Lil' Romeo. Lil' Romeo was a kid rap singer who is the son of rap singer Master P. He had featured in singing a few hit songs that he would perform in Slime Time Live! and had even sung "Parents Just Don't Understand" in the Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius soundtrack. There was even a little competition between Lil Romeo and Lil Bow Wow on who was the better kid rap singer since they came around at the same time. Nonetheless, Lil' Romeo was getting popular with the kids. That had gotten the Nickelodeon executives thinking to make a show based on him. So on September 14, 2003, Romeo! debuted on TV.

The show was about a kid named Romeo Miller (played by Lil' Romeo) living his everyday life with his record producer father Percy Miller (played by Master P), his older sister Jodi (played by Erica O' Keith), his little brother Gary (played by Zachary Isaiah Williams), and his white foster brother Louis (played by Noel Callahan). Romeo and his siblings are a part of a hip-hop band and they dream of having a big music career. But their father wants them to have a normal life right before they tackle such a big responsibility. He's mostly busy and is almost never around so he hired a nanny named Marie Rogers (played by SNL actor Victoria Jackson) to watch over them. She was a former circus performer and doesn't do the traditional nanny activities such as cook, clean, or help them with their homework. She's portrayed as a ditzy, goofy, and enthusiastic woman who loves the kids and entertains them with her sense of humor.


Similar to 100 Deeds for Eddie McDowd, there were numerous changes that occurred in the 2nd season of Romeo! Victoria Jackson's character was omitted from the show and entered in Percy's new girlfriend Angeline Eckert (played by Natashia Williams). Percy brings her into the house and the kids don't like her at first since big changes have been occurring around the house. But as time goes on, they start warming up to her and eventually, Percy and Angeline get married and have an additional son named Bobby. There were other character inclusions and certain character developments such as Jodi leaving the group to go to college, Romeo has a love triangle situation with his on-and-off again girlfriend Myra (played by Brittney Wilson) and his crush Peyton Cruz (played by Brittany Moldowan), and Louis struggling to find his place in the Miller family with all the changes going on in the house and seeing his former foster brother again. In the end, Percy officially adopted Louis in their family. In the series finale, Romeo and the group have a chance to have a music career in Los Angeles and they end up getting it. 


The show was created by Fracaswell Hyman, Master P, and Thomas W. Lynch. It's interesting to note that this would be the last Nickelodeon program that Lynch would ever created, not counting The Assistants and South of Nowhere on The N. It lasted for 4 seasons until it ended its run on July 23, 2006. The actors went on to do other projects afterwards.

Romeo Miller went on to do other projects such as becoming a more prominent rap singer, male model, and basketball player for his high school. He also appeared in movie and TV shows such as Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide, Dancing with the Stars, God's Gift, Uncle P, Jumping the Broom, Single Ladies, The Choice, and Madea's Witness Protection. 


Master P is still on his music career as a rap singer and record producer.
Master P.jpg 

Erica O'Keith went on to do other TV roles such as Scrubs and Close to Home. She's currently on the McDonald's commercials as the cashier advertising for the Southwest Salad.

Noel Callahan went to finish high school and is currently at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, British Columbia to major in Communications.
Noel Callahan 

Zachary Isaiah Williams went on to do other movies such as Honey, Lincoln Heights, and Calvin and Freddie's Cosmic Encounters. He also likes to give time to help the community such as bowling for AIDS, playing basketball for autism, and going to schools to speak to 4th graders.

Brittney Wilson went on to do TV roles and voice acting in shows such as Zolar, InuYasha, Johnny Test, Spymate, Scar, Ice Blues, The Collector, R.L. Stine's The Haunting Hour, Motive, and Bates Motel.


Overall, this show was incredibly boring, dull, uninteresting, had bland characters, and felt very manipulative at times being a marketable product for Lil' Romeo and Master P. This was the Hanna Montana of its time in which it was a show that featured a kid celebrity with a famous father that no kid ever heard of getting more mainstream and eventually getting its own show. Nothing about this show stood out and has gotten to be forgotten when the popularity of the character faded away. The one thing I sort of liked in the show was Louis' struggle with being a foster child and trying to find his place in the Miller family. That is definitely Thomas W. Lynch's touch when it came to his former shows like The Secret World of Alex Mack, The Journey of Allen Strange and Caitlin's Way in which it brought realism to the show. One problem, they rarely focused on that and mostly showcased Romeo's journey into being a hip-hop singer. It's just too bad that they didn't bring out Lynch to his full potential since he could've developed the characters a lot more. But they didn't. Unfortunately, this would be the beginning of many other shows from other children's channels to copy from this formula. I don't recommend checking it out.

That's all for now. Tune in next time as we go into 2004 with Dan Schneider's first Nickcom Drake and Josh.


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

Monday, May 27, 2013

Old School Lane's Top 10 Nickelodeon Shows I Never Want to See Being Remade

Roughly a year and a half ago, I did a list of the top 20 Nickelodeon shows that I want to see being remade. Whether it needed to be updated for a modern audience, the concept of the show never showed its full potential, or it held up long enough to be made into a reboot, those shows are, in my opinion, need to be remade. To know what Nickelodeon shows I want to see being remade, click here and here to view my list. At the time, it's was my most controversial top 10 list I ever did and it still stands by that rank today since I've gotten mixed reactions overtime. However, I still stand by that list and I'm not ashamed that I listed the shows I mentioned. Let's be honest, a good portion of these shows are horribly outdated and underwhelming by today's standards and there's no way that today's kids would get into some of them compared to the people who grew in the 90's. That's like a kid who grew up with Are You Afraid of the Dark? being forced by their older sibling who grew up in the 80's to watch The Third Eye because they feel that it's much more scarier. Regardless of whether you want to accept it or not, very few Nickelodeon shows hold up to the test of time and were catered to the time period. Nonetheless, they still have a charm to them that can never be replicated, even with a reboot.

However, there are a few shows from Nickelodeon that I never want to see being remade. Whether they don't deserve to come back to TV or the show is just fine the way it is, here is my opinion of the shows I never want to see being remade.

10.  Rugrats


Ah yes. You probably recall my discussion about this in my video regarding about the rumor of Klasky Csupo reviving Rugrats. But I'm going to go into further detail into why it won't work. While many people see Rugrats as a classic, they can all agree that the show was at its peak in the first three seasons and when character additions such as Dil, Kira, and Kimi weighed the show down. However, coupled with that and the fact that the show was running for over a decade with stale ideas and mundane episodes later on made the inevitable cancellation. Rugrats was the SpongeBob SquarePants for its time. If Rugrats ever gets rebooted, most likely Paul Germain, one of the co-creators of Rugrats, will not return for the revival due to the major disagreement that he, Arlene Klasky, and Gabor Csupo went through in 1994 and the fact that he's too busy with the Pound Puppies reboot on The Hub. That right there is a major reason why a Rugrats revival won't work: Paul Germain's ideas for the characters and the themes were down-to-earth, intelligent, funny, and not dumbed down for kids. When he and the majority of the writers left, Rugrats was never the same and would continue to follow that path if the show gets rebooted.

Also, what kind of fresh ideas can you add to the show? The concept of the babies growing up was a huge failure. In fact, Klasky Csupo officially retconned All Grown Up due to how bad the treatment of the characters and show was. So, most likely, they would not let the babies grow up in the reboot or otherwise they'll make the same mistake twice. Also, they would have to push Rugrats to a more different approach that would attract to the kids of today and the people who grew up with it, which won't be easy since kids nowadays love crazy, random, adult humor and a simplistic show like Rugrats would most likely bore them. Plus, from what I can recall, the other two original Nicktoons were also rebooted by the creators and that didn't turn out well for the people who grew up with the original. What makes them think they're going to like a reboot on Rugrats. As much as we want to see our favorite shows come back, we hate it when they do come back because it wasn't the same. But if it is the same, then we hate it because they didn't do anything new to it. Man, are we hypocrites or what?

However, it's pretty low on the list because I feel it can work. Klasky Csupo did a astounding comeback in 2010 when we thought that the animation company was dead. They are willing to do different styles of animation and ideas from the looks of their newer shorts and if they can put the same kind of creativity to Rugrats, then I wouldn't mind seeing a reboot on it. But, it's not a show that I'm in a hurry to see come back.

9. Invader Zim

 When this show first came out in 2001, people loved it. In a time in which cartoons with adult humor was growing in popularity such as South Park, Futurama, and Family Guy, Invader Zim was a breath of fresh air since it didn't rely on pop culture references and the humor was more darker and morbid. It made the show a standout and it had gained a huge amount of fans. However, the adults hated the show and eventually, Invader Zim was cancelled a year after its debut. Years after its cancellation, the show became a cult classic and there were many petitions and letters to Nickelodeon to get the show back. However, it has not happened and most likely will never happen. It was just a show that was released in the wrong place at the wrong time. If it would have been released in Adult Swim or MTV, then maybe it would've lasted longer. Nonetheless, the show is still beloved by many people, the merchandise is still popular, and there have been two conventions dedicating to Invader Zim simply known as InvaderCom and another one on the way is coming soon. Recently, Jhonen Vasquez posted on Twitter that he went to Nickelodeon productions for some reason. People have been posting left and right that there might be a chance of Invader Zim coming back to Nickelodeon. I hope that it doesn't happen.

If you know Jhonen's other works such as Johnny the Homicidal Maniac, Squee, and I Feel Sick, then you already know that he has a reputation of starting projects and never finishing them. Even if Invader Zim comes back and starts off with episodes that were never released, then most likely he'll never finish the reboot either. Plus, it still holds up unbelievably well and it still stands the test the time as one of Nickelodeon's best shows so it doesn't even need to be remade. Even though it had a short run, at least it was better than it running for a long time and getting stale later on. I'm looking at you, SpongeBob SquarePants. Plus, the voice acting cast for the characters was absolutely perfect and I cannot imagine anyone else playing the parts of Zim and GIR. Richard Horvitz and Rikki Simons were Zim and GIR and no one can replace them. Anywho, I fear that a new reboot won't appeal to Nickelodeon today. When the show first came out in 2001, it was something never seen before. Nowadays, shows like Invader Zim are the norm for programs on Comedy Central and Adult Swim and Nickelodeon would have to implicate new, edgy ideas to make the show relevant. But they most likely won't do that since Nickelodeon hasn't done that in a very long time and Cartoon Network currently has that reputation to show programs like that. I don't want to see Invader Zim to be remade on this current Nickelodeon until it gets its priorities straightened. I'm hoping that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Legend of Korra, and Sanjay and Craig will change that. Only time will tell.

8. Kenan & Kel


Kenan & Kel was the first All That spinoff and definitely one of the best Nickelodeon programs during the 90's. It featured Kenan Thompson and Kel Mitchell playing as best friends going through wacky situations to get rich and famous. The performances with Kenan and Kel were fantastic: they had great chemistry, they complimented each other very well, and they made each episode enjoyable to watch. Hell, why do you think they milked it for all its worth on The 90's Are All That block? Because you wouldn't find a show like this on Nickelodeon anymore with a duo this engaging and it was still funny. Around 2000, when the show ended, Kenan and Kel broke up as a duo and went on to do other movies and TV shows. Nowadays, we see Kenan a lot more than Kel with his appearance on Saturday Night Live. Originally, both Kenan and Kel auditioned for SNL at the same time, but decided to choose Kenan instead. Kel is now more focused on a voice acting career and is rarely on camera.

People wanted to have a Kenan & Kel reboot or reunion for a long time. While a reunion special would be cool, a reboot will most likely not happen due to the TMZ report of Kenan not wanting to work with Kel in any projects. While it hasn't fully been confirmed to be accurate, the major fact that they are doing other projects makes this a reboot that will never happen and shouldn't happen. True they tried to do the same thing with Drake Bell and Josh Peck, but it still wasn't the same. A nice suggestion would be to get a new duo and make a show out of them. I'm sure that Nickelodeon has some great shows coming that will do something similar.

Oh yeah.....never mind. Those shows can suck it!

7. Aaahh!!! Real Monsters


One of Klasky Csupo's underrated programs, Aaahh!!! Real Monsters capitalized on the 90's with its gross humor, unusual animation, and humorous moments. It was a show that was very creative and creepy at the same time with memorable characters and scary moments. If this show was rebooted, then most of the content that they portrayed in the original will never fly by today's standards. It would be considered too vulgar for children and will most likely tone it down to a watered down version of it. One of the main quirks of Aaahh!!! Real Monsters was that it wasn't meant to be pretty or clean, it was meant to be dirty, gross, and scary, a concept you don't see today with shows about monsters. Nowadays, when you think of monsters living in another world and going to the human world to scare people, you would think of this.


With Monsters University coming out this summer, the Nickelodeon executives would try to make the show similar to Monsters Inc. That won't work. Aaahh!!! Real Monsters is one of Kevin's all time favorite Nicktoons of all time and seeing a reboot would be blasphemous. We should enjoy the original the way it is now.

6. You're On!


In the 90's, there were various amounts of Nickelodeon game shows that people tuned into and wished to be there. Out of the 7 game shows that featured in the 90's, three of them have been rebooted and had been huge disasters. However, in my original top 20 list, I listed 2 game shows from the 90's that I want to see remade. The other two I really don't care about and You're On! is the one that I hate the most. Take Candid Camera and make it into an half-hour program where it's long, boring, and dull. Also, they only giveaway one prize. Not to mention, it's hosted by this guy. know you have a show that was a failure from the start. Almost no one remembers this game show and unless they do a huge overhaul on everything about it, a reboot of You're On! would suck! With Nickelodeon's reputation of rebooting classic game shows for a new generation, they shouldn't even try with this game show. There are plenty of others that deserve it a lot more!

5. Cousin Skeeter


I freaking HATE this show! This is without a doubt the WORST Nickcom in the 90's. Everything about this show sucks: the main characters, the premise, and the plot. The show was annoying with Skeeter around causing trouble and not learning anything from it at the end of the episode and completely boring without him. It doesn't appeal to anyone. Recently, Disney XD has a show named Crash & Bernstein in which it involves with a smart, down-to-earth boy building a puppet and wishing it comes to life. His wish comes true and the puppet ends up being annoying and zany as they go through wacky adventures. It's basically Cousin Skeeter for the new generation and from what I saw, it's just as bad.


With Nickelodeon copying off of the Disney Channel's sitcoms nowadays, it wouldn't surprise me if they do a reboot of Cousin Skeeter to compete with Crash & Bernstein. That is a stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid idea!!! Cousin Skeeter was absolutely nothing special when it first came out since it was overshadowed by All That and Kenan & Kel. To this day, many people have forgotten about it. Good! Keep it that way!

4. The Wild Thornberrys


Don't worry. This is the last Klasky Csupo program on my list, I promise. When Klasky Csupo made the announcement of reviving Rugrats, they were also interested in bring back The Wild Thornberrys as well. Let me ask you: why? The Wild Thornberrys came out in the right place at the right time when nature shows were becoming more popular and the movie Dr. Doolittle came out and gotten kids interested in having the ability to speak to animals. The show itself is mostly a borefest: most of the characters are very annoying and uninteresting and the premise was never really broadened enough to make the situations exciting. Most of the facts about the animals and the countries they went to are inaccurate, Eliza mostly uses her ability to talk to animals in the wrong way, the villains are forgettable and one dimensional, and the later seasons of the show were running out of ideas when they included characters such as Eliza's cousin Tyler and the teen singer Shane, both who added nothing to the series. I can kinda see why they included Shane since he brought in a love competition between Eliza and Debbie, but Tyler was completely pointless. While nature shows are still somewhat popular today, a reboot of The Wild Thornberrys would have to have a reality show feel to make it relevant kind of like Duck Dynasty, Swamp People, Man vs. Wild, etc. A show like The Wild Thornberrys isn't very interesting to reboot and shouldn't even be considered to be brought back. I don't know a lot of people who consider The Wild Thornberrys to be their all time favorite or even at their top 5. It didn't appeal to many people and it definitely doesn't appeal to me.

3. Avatar: The Last Airbender


Nickelodeon, if you're reading this, don't you DARE remake or reboot this show. Everything about this show works and it still is regarded as one of the best Nicktoons ever released. During a time in which Nicktoons were very basic and typical, Avatar: The Last Airbender came along and blew everything away! There was never a show like this on Nickelodeon with its Asian style animation, extremely complex and memorable characters, fantastic storyline, and overall amazing setting. I'm quite surprised that Nickelodeon didn't try to copy off this formula to make other great Nicktoons because this is how most cartoons for kids should be. Cartoon Network did that with Young Justice and Disney XD did that with Gravity Falls and Tron: Uprising, but Nickelodeon wasn't able to do another one like it since with the exception of The Legend of Korra and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. With the exception of a few minor nitpicks such as the filler episodes, some of the continuity errors, and the cliffhanger ending of not knowing about Zuko's mother, Avatar: The Last Airbender is a pretty flawless cartoon and still holds up really well almost a decade after its release. If they do reboot it, then they'll most likely make it based on the Avatar shorts that they featured in the 2nd season and make a whole series based on it to make it funny like Teen Titans Go! Just like with Invader Zim, the voice acting cast was perfect and I can't imagine anyone else playing these characters. This is a show that gets better with age and will be remembered many years later as a classic. Don't remake it!

2. The Adventures of Pete & Pete


Just like with Aaahh!!! Real Monsters, The Adventures of Pete & Pete is a show that can never work for today's kids. The reason why is because kids are surrounded by mainstream music, pop stars, boy bands, and pop rock music. They would definitely have to do that when rebooting The Adventures of Pete & Pete to get to a mainstream audience. That would lose the charm that the original has. The Adventures of Pete & Pete is a show that has an indie feel to it with its simplistic premise, quirky and unusual characters, funny and strange scenarios, and major wonders of being a kid. The music that played in the show was not from some famous pop star or boy band, they were from indie rock and pop singers that most kids had never heard of and it broadened them to different music that they've never heard of. It's not easy getting kids to listen to indie music, but Pete & Pete did it and it's one of the most remembered things about the show. Also, today's kids wouldn't capture what made the show so quirky, unless it was done by Wes Anderson. To know what I'm talking about, watch Fantastic Mr. Fox and Moonrise Kingdom. Other than that, no one would know what to do with rebooting Pete & Pete except making it more "cooler" and more well known to the kids. The show is still regarded as one of the best written kids' shows of all time and it still holds up very well today. You should really check it out if you've never seen it.


1. Double Dare


Now I know what you're thinking: "But Patricia, they already rebooted Double Dare with Double Dare 2000". Yes, you're right. But would you believe me when I said that people still want to see a new reboot of Double Dare. I'm not joking. Besides Legends of the Hidden Temple, Double Dare is the most requested game show to get a reboot. Double Dare is a game show that resides very specially on kids who grew up on the 80's and 90's and has been considered to be the greatest kids' game show of all time. I can see why with the premise, the games, and Marc Summers as the host. No other Nickelodeon game show host could top Marc's charisma as a kids' game show host except for Jeff Sutphen. However, today's kids are not interested with game shows anymore. Shows like the Figure it Out reboot, Brainsurge, and Splatalot have been getting less and less viewings and are slowly dying from the network. So reviving an old game show will definitely not work if kids aren't interested in it in the first place. Plus, there's already a Double Dare reboot on the Nickelodeon resorts and hotels and it's terrible. Even Marc Summers himself says it sucks!

Why would you want to reboot Double Dare when it has had two reboots and they've sucked? You think a third time would work? Most likely not! This is why I have defended Brainsurge in my top 10 underrated Nickelodeon shows since it's new, fresh, and it has a classic Nickelodeon game show feel for a modern audience. Watch that show instead of wanting a reboot of a classic show. It would most likely come off stale and will most likely be hated just like Double Dare 2000 is.

Those are my top 10 Nickelodeon shows that I don't want to see being remade. What Nickelodeon shows that you never want to see being remade? Post it in the comments below.

That's all for now. Hope to see you around Old School Lane soon. Thanks for reading.


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Old School Lane's Nickelodeon Tribute: My Life as a Teenage Robot with James Bevan

The first new original Nicktoon that debuted in 2003 was the last cartoon short that debuted in Oh Yeah! Cartoons! A cartoon that was mixed with action, science fiction, superhero, and drama. That cartoon was none other than My Life as a Teenage Robot that debuted on August 1, 2003. 

Joining me today once again is Manic Expression member James Bevan. James, welcome back to Old School Lane.

James- Glad to be back, Patty. I'm thrilled I have the chance to join you for another discussion of one of my favorite Nicktoons. Nice to see that we've got a new face here as well. 

 Patricia- The show was about a teenage robot named Jenny (real name XJ9) who is a robot built by a scientist named Dr. Nora Wakeman. She built Jenny to defend the world from aliens, villains bent on world domination, and natural disasters. However, Jenny is not interested in saving the world. She's interested in making friends, going to school, reading teen magazines, and fashion. While Dr. Wakeman built her into a powerful robot, she installed her mind similar to a teenage girl's personality. As time went on, Jenny became friends with her next door neighbors Brad and Tucker Carbuckle.

James- The premise alone is what makes this so great; it's not a standard superhero show or a teen slice-of-life series; it blends both genres very well to deliver a show that appeals to fans looking for action, comedy, and down-to-earth drama. What sells this are the main characters. Jenny (voiced by Janice Kawaye, who has also voiced Yuzu Kurosaki in Bleach and Ami in HiHi Puffy AmiYumi) is a young woman who has been sheltered most of her life and is learning to adapt to the new world that's opened up to her. She's a bit naive, easily taken in by fun new experiences, and subject to quick mood swings when upset (she was programmed with emotions). But overall, she's a kind person who just wants to help her friends and do what's right for others. Her "mother", Dr. Noreen Wakeman (voiced by veteran voice actress Candi Milo) is an interesting mix of mad scientist and overprotective parent. Initially she wanted to keep Jenny a secret from the outside world, called upon only to prevent disasters, but gradually accepted that she deserved her own life. Dr. Wakeman has a number of amusing quirks, such as adding syllables to certain words, misusing slang, and looking for the prospect of an invention or scientific discovery in almost everything. Despite her age, she's no pushover, capable of holding her own against serious threats.


The Carbunkle brothers are a mixed bag. Brad (voiced by Chad Doreck) is one of the show's main comic relief characters. He's very enthusiastic, sometimes tending to act before he thinks, which can get him and his friends into very strange dilemmas. He also fancies himself a ladies man, with his attempts to charm the girls he finds attractive often ending up making him look foolish. But in spite of his flaws, Brad is a pretty compassionate, intelligent guy who frequently helps find solutions to the issues he and his friends get caught up in. Tucker (voiced by Audrey Wasilewski) is probably my least favorite character. I know the writers were going for an "annoying little brother" trope, but he's just TOO annoying. Overly-energetic, manipulative, selfish, there aren't really many redeeming factors I can find with him. That's just me though.

Rounding out Jenny's circle of friends is the incredibly geeky Sheldon.

Wrong Sheldon.

That's the one. Voiced by Quinton Flynn (best known as Raiden from the Metal Gear Solid series), Sheldon is the stereotypical high-school nerd taken to the extreme. He's socially-awkward, has a bad complexion, a nasally voice, and a heart of gold He's incredibly proficient with technology, capable of building machinery so advanced that Jenny often uses some of his inventions as upgrades. He actually has a romantic interest in Jenny, making him a literal technophile, and has made repeated attempts to get her to fall in love with him, even creating a mech suit to pose as a robotic superhero known as The Silver Shell. It's sweet, but at the same time, a bit disturbing for a show aimed at young viewers.

Patricia- The show was created by Rob Renzetti. While working on various cartoons such as Batman: The Animated Series, Two Stupid Dogs, and Dexter's Laboratory, he created and developed a pilot called My Neighbor was a Teenage Robot

But he put it on the side to try to make a TV series of a few shorts called Mina and the Count. The synopsis was about a little girl named Mina who befriends a vampire known as the Count. He presented the Mina and the Count shorts and a few other shorts he created to Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon, but they rejected them. 

Afterwards, he went to work on other cartoons such as Family Guy, The Powerpuff Girls, and Samurai Jack before he decided to go deeper into his concept of his first short. Fred Seibert saw the short and liked it. The short eventually became a TV series.

James- I loved Mina and the Count; Mark Hamill was great as the titular beleagured vampire. Pity that show never made it to series, but at least we got another great show from Renzetti. I have to say, though, I wish some aspects from the pilot short would have been retained in the full show. I liked the different designs used (especially for Jenny and Dr. Wakeman), and I thought the electronic undertone to Jenny's voice was a bit of a nice touch.

Patricia- Some of the great things about My Life as a Teenage Robot were the villains. The one villain that everyone remembers in Teenage Robot was Vexus, the leader of Cluster Prime, a planet that is inhabitated by robots. Vexus even tries to lead Jenny to join Cluster Prime since she's a robot and she would fit in with them more than with the humans who mostly don't understand her. Not to mention she's voiced by Eartha Kitt, whose awesome in anything she does.

James- Definitely. Miss Kitt (may she rest in peace) was absolutely phenomenal as Vexus. Cold, strategic, manipulative, she was definitely a force to be reckoned with. I really did like the concept of the Cluster as a recurring antagonist; a fully mechanized society that believes robots are superior to organic life, yet they're always bested by a robot who fights for co-existence rather than dominance. And while almost all of their plans involved reprogramming or converting other robots to aid in their conquest, there was always a bit of variety to keep the threats fresh. The variety also extended to their visual designs; every soldier of the Cluster empire had a unique build based on an insect motif like beetles, flies or bees. 

The Cluster wasn't the only threat Jenny had to deal with, though. Much like Danny Phantom, Teenage Robot had a recurring rogues gallery of incredibly strange adversaries that would cause grief for Jenny and her friends. Some of her more noteworthy foes included Vladimir, aka "Mr. Scruffles" (voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson), a lab rat seeking revenge against Dr. Wakeman for the disfiguring experiments she subjected him and other mice to, the Mad Hammer Brothers, a pair of criminal construction workers that bear a close resemblance to Mario and Luigi, and Armagedroid (also voiced by Richardson), a titanic robot programmed to eliminate all weapons on Earth, even if it means destroying the planet in the process.

Patricia- What many people seem to not realize is that Jenny was the first true hero in Nickelodeon with actual villains. While you can say that there were other shows such as The Secret World of Alex Mack, Space Cases, Butt Ugly Martians, and The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius that implicated a villain, My Life as a Teenage Robot was a show about a person who was designed to save the world from destruction and/or world domination. Later shows such as Danny Phantom, El Tigre, Tak and the Power of Juju, Avatar: The Last Airbender, and The Legend of Korra would have a similar premise. It's something that I find interesting.

James- Definitely. What also helped strengthen the series was how it focused on Jenny's social life. As a robot, she's a true outsider, and her efforts to be accepted by her peers have more impact since her peers are, essentially, all of humanity. The writers did a stellar job with stories that show her dealing with people who are prejudiced against machines, augmenting herself in the hopes of better fitting in, even dealing with the standard teen problems of unrequited crushes and bullies... though when your body is stocked with a weapons system that could put most small dictatorships to shame, harassment shouldn't be that much of a problem. As cliched as this may sound, despite being mechanical, Jenny is well developed as an incredibly human character. Her desires, her weaknesses, her interests - all are well crafted to make her a well rounded protagonist, perhaps one of the strongest central characters in Nicktoons history.

I also have to mention that the art style is great. The development team at Frederator went for unique pseudo-retro style that blends 60s sci-fi like The Jetsons with the classic Fleischer cartoons. It seems like an odd mix, but it actually works very well. The stylized designs give each character a unique, recognizable appearance, and since they didn't obsess over incredibly fancy animation, it meant that the show's success relied on its characters and plot, not simply the visuals. It was also a nice touch that the crew left in subtle homages to the animation style that inspired them, such as the popular after-school hangout being called Mezmer's after Felix the Cat's creator Otto Messmer, and of course the very obvious homage to animation legend Walt Disney in the character of eccentric theme park owner Uncle Wizzly. 

Patricia- Agreed! With the exception of As Told by Ginger, many of the other Nicktoons at the time didn't have their characters grow and develop over time. But with My Life as a Teenage Robot, we see Jenny from a naive, confused teenage robot to a strong, capable hero. We see Dr. Wakeman from a tough, strict, scientist to a more open-minded person who has a love and care for Jenny. We also see Sheldon from a geeky nerd to a more confident person. Things about this show work so great! Also I have to commend on the art style as well. Many other Nicktoons tried to either do animation that was common at the time or trying to get into the 3D realm that many other cartoons did in the 2000's. But with My Life as a Teenage Robot, it was so nice to go for a more retro look when most animators tried to go cutting edge and "innovative". We hadn't seen a classic art style like this since The Ren and Stimpy Show so it was nice seeing it here on Teenage Robot!

Unfortunately, as great as the show sounded, it never got a lot of views from many people and the show was eventually cancelled after 40 episodes. Rob Renzetti went on to work on other shows such as being a supervising director for Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, a story editor for the first two seasons of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, and currently being a supervising producer on Gravity Falls. While he hasn't created another show since Teenage Robot, he certainly left a huge impression on what a Nicktoon should be despite many people not really giving too much regards for it. Overall, it's an overlooked gem with great characters, classic animation, and fantastic action that is worth checking out. Definitely one of my favorite Nicktoons of all time!

James- Same here; this is definitely one of the best series in Nick's history. With all the recent reboots, I'm holding out hope that maybe we might see a revival of this show in the future, even if it's just for a mini-series. Of course, it won't be the same since Eartha Kitt is no longer around to voice Vexus. But there were occasions when Cree Summer filled in for the late Ms. Kitt, and did a pretty stellar job, so she could be a good replacement. Though I do worry that it might affect fans the same way a possible revival of Reboot would; without Tony Jay as Megabyte, would the character have the same impact they did when we grew up watching it?

Patricia- I'm not sure. We'll see if they'll be interested in a possible reboot. That would be cool to see. That concludes our review of Teenage Robot. James, once again, thank you so much for joining me on this collaboration review. Hope we do it again soon.

James- Thanks again for having me, Patty. Always great to talk about classic shows with you.

Patricia- That's all for now. Tune in next time as we have Nickelodeon's first teen sitcom featuring a then popular celebrity. Romeo! 

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

-Patricia and James

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Movie Review: Rugrats Go Wild

Around 2003, Klasky Csupo were slowly losing popularity with their Nicktoons. While All Grown Up still had decent ratings and reviews, The Wild Thornberrys ended its run a year prior and their magnum opus Rugrats was losing steam and people were getting burned out on watching it. The addition of the newer characters, the other newer Nicktoons such as SpongeBob SquarePants, The Fairly Oddparents, The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, and more, and the somewhat stale nature of the newer episodes were the main causes of people losing interest in the show. Arlene Klasky and Gabor Csupo decided to do a TV special simply titled Rugrats meet The Wild Thornberrys to bring up their TV ratings, but the Nickelodeon executives decided to scrap that idea and make the concept into a movie. This would be the first time that two different Nickelodeon shows would come together so it was hyped up to a big hit like Klasky Csupo's previous movies. On June 3, 2003, Rugrats Go Wild was debuted in theaters. In honor of the event, the theater even included scratch and sniff cards to see alongside the movie in homage to Smell-O-Vision back in the 1960s and John Waters' 1981 movie Polyester. The smells included from bananas to smelly feet. This would be the second time that the Nickelodeon executives released a TV special theatrically. Would this time be successful? Let's find out. Here is Rugrats Go Wild!

The movie starts off with Tommy watching Nigel Thornberry on TV discussing about animals. When seeing it, Tommy wishes that he wants to be just like him. Angelica doubts this, but Tommy is still determined. Meanwhile, we see the adults getting ready to go on a big cruise that they've been really excited for. While they dream of getting pampered and relaxing in the sun, Stu surprises them with a tiny little ramshackle boat to travel to the South China Seas for their vacation. The adults, hugely disappointed, decided to go anyway. Things don't go very well when a huge storm hits and the boat gets completely destroyed with a giant tidal wave. Luckily, everyone escapes out of a life boat.

The next day, they arrive at a deserted island and Stu tries to make things better for everyone. Unfortunately, the adults blame Stu for getting themselves into this and decide to make him watch over the babies and appoint Betty as their leader. While the adults go off into getting supplies and food, Stu tries to prove himself to the adults and leaves Angelica in charge of watching them. She tells the babies that they're stuck on the island, but Tommy believes that Nigel Thornberry is at the island. They decide to venture out into the jungle to look around looking for Nigel. Angelica and Spike find out that the babies are missing so they looked around separately. Along the way, Angelica meets up with Debbie Thornberry at the comvee saying that she was a tribal princess and having the best scene in the movie by singing the song "Should I Stay or Should I Go" by The Clash, Eliza and Darwin meet up with Spike and talks for the first time (voiced by Bruce Willis), and Chuckie inadvertently meets up and swaps with Donnie.


The next song involves with Spike and meeting the movie's villain in a form of a leopard named Siri. Another song involving with dogs being better than cats called "Big Bad Cat" is sung and in the end, Spike is able to defeat Siri. Meanwhile, Nigel and Marianne are looking around for a clouded leopard for their nature show when Nigel gets lost, falls down, and gets his head hit by a coconut giving him amnesia. The babies found Nigel and he starts acting like a baby around him. Tommy becomes very disappointed that Nigel is not the person he seems to be on TV. Back to Angelica and Debbie, Debbie finds out that Angelica was lying about being a tribal princess and accidentally crashes and sinks the comvee. Nigel and the babies get themselves into the Thornberry submarine. He accidentally bangs his head again and regains his memory. Everything seems to go fine until the sub runs out of gas and oxygen. What happens is one of the saddest moments in Nickelodeon history when Nigel tries to calm down the babies and tells them a story as their inevitable moment of death is coming upon them. But then later on, Marianne meets up with Stu, Drew, Didi, Betty, Howard, Chaz, Kira, Drew, and Charlotte and together with Stu's invention, they free the comvee and bring the submarine up. The movie concludes with all the Rugrats characters and The Wild Thornberrys characters making it on the cruise and having a fun time.

When the movie first came out, it didn't very well on the box office and had mixed reactions with critics and fans. Not only that, but the movie came out around the same time as Finding Nemo which hugely overshadowed it. Overall, this movie is awful! It was a rehashed version of The Rugrats Movie with the babies getting lost in the jungle instead of the forest. Also, it had another forgettable animal villain in the form of Siri, which is hugely disappointing after we got a memorable villain in the form of Coco LaBouche. Also, the addition of the Wild Thornberrys characters were inconsistent with their appearances. Debbie was the only one who was an interesting addition to the movie while everyone else was on the side. The possibility of mixing in these two shows together was a lost opportunity with the Rugrats characters getting more screen time. But that would be fixed one year later with The Jimmy Timmy Power Hour one year later.

Also making Spike talk was so annoying! He had absolutely no purpose in talking other than making bad jokes and witty remarks, which is absolutely nothing like Spike's character in the show. Finally, the movie has way more gross factors than the previous two movies, in fact, this is the only Rugrats movie that was rated PG. You know how I feel about the grossness in the Rugrats movies, so I'm not going to go into too much details. However, it seemed very unneeded and gross for the sake of being gross. It would have been the norm back in the 90's, but since this movie came out in 2003, the humor of things being gross was already done at that point. When I had mentioned that All Grown Up kind of ruined Rugrats for me, Rugrats Go Wild killed the franchise as this was the last movie that Klasky Csupo did for Rugrats and their reputation had dwindled away with the cancellation of Rugrats a year later. I don't recommend checking it out!

That's all for now! Tune in next time as we look at the final cartoon series that originated from Oh Yeah! Cartoons in the form of My Life as a Teenage Robot.

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