Born in 1994, I remember growing up in the nineties. I remember all the hype over something called a “new millennium”, the styles that we mimic today at halloween, and of course, the tv shows.

As an avid television watcher today, I know that what’s on Nickelodeon and Disney for kids works. They’re entertained, and parents spend obscene amounts of money purchasing memorabilia for their children. Same as always. But something is missing. On Disney, you basically have to be a performer to get a show. While Nickelodeon is still entertaining,  the shows have gotten too similar in certain ways. Below is a list of reasons why 90’s/Early 00’s Television is better for kids at such an important developmental stage in their lives.

1. Everyone wasn’t a stick.
That’s So Raven. Full House. Drake and Josh. Recess.  All of these shows and many more contained at least one character that wasn’t super skinny. Many characters from that era, in fact, were normal size; they were healthy. When you look at shows today, almost every girl is skinny. They maybe be healthy, but it pressurizes many young girls to feel that they must look like that to be liked. I won’t get into the body image issue, but this portrayal doesn’t help it. Many boys today in television are either skinny or very in shape as well. Some tend to forget that boys have body issues too, and this can harm them. Television today had lost its sense of realism in the way that people look, and altering that so at least one character looks normal and healthy would be a step in the right direction.

2. Easier to Connect To
The first show that’s pops into my head when I think “What show did I most connect to as a kid” is Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide. If you have never seen this show, you majorly missed out. Every viewer could relate to the traumas of Ned’s middle school drama because it always applied to every aspect of life. Lizzie Mcguire was a great one too. The little animated version of herself for side comments was a great way to show the audience, “Hey, I think to myself too!” With today’s television, it’s more difficult to connect. Sure, normal life dramas are prevalent, but most kids don’t lead a double life, or are full time nannies, or run their own web show. I’m not saying they’re bad. I’m actually a fan of some of them, and I applaud their more original take. I’m only saying it’s harder to make subtle, so-called “normal life” connections, which I terribly miss.

3. Cartoons and Animated Series

Immediately after reading this heading, the child in you smiled. Whatever happend to Dexter’s Laboratory? Cat Dog? Rocket Power? Hey Arnold? Memories fly back as I write this, and I remember how great those shows were. They were fun, exciting, different, and defined a generation of television. Foster’s Home took a positive twist on imaginary friends. Powerpuff Girls taught us to face evil and how to live with siblings. The list goes on and on. In today’s world, a few shows like these still exist, but the hype has definitely died down. Cartoon Network seems to focus more on Adult Swim than its cartoon programming. Nick doesn’t have many animated shows left, but thankfully decided to bring back the 90’s shows on TeenNick. But props goes to Disney for introducing Phineas and Ferb. A great example of how great affect cartoons can have on children’s minds.

So there’s my two sense. Anything that I miss? What was your favorite turn-of-the-century television show? Leave me a comment with your thoughts.

Football-head lover for life,

-A

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