All That LiveBlog: ‘Naughty By Nature’ – And A Bag Of (Chocolate) Chips

It’s the final day of Big Orange Couch Week, and we’re ending it with a classic SNICK show, All That. The sketch comedy show became a staple for Nickelodeon, with a tenure spanning over 10 seasons and introducing some of the greatest young talent America has to offer, including Kenan Thompson, Nick Cannon, Amanda Bynes, Jamie Lynn Spears, among others.  All That sparked five spin-off shows, a feature film, and even a live tour, and was beloved by many generations. We may not have noticed it at the time, but All That was changing the way kids watched and consumed television, influenced the way we doled out our own comedy, and shaped millions of kids’ view on diversity, without even knowing it.

It’s impossible to discuss the impact of All That in its entirety, so we’ll just try with one episode.

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Episode Title: Naughty By Nature

Air Date: October 7, 1995

All That Audition footage: The cast takes a look at some All That audition footage. Good Burger Commercial: Ed (Kel) tries hard to read the cue cards right in order to do a commercial. Loud Librarian: Librarian (Lori Beth) doesn’t want any noise to happen in her libarary even though she is the one making all the major noise. Randy & Mandy: Apparently, all the chocolate comsumed by Randy (Kenan) gives him a bad toothache. Mandy (Angelique) tries what she can to make it better. Musical Guest: Naughty By Nature (Clap Yo Hands)

Hit Play!!!

Cold Open T: This episode is the season two premiere, and we’re starting off with a segment where we find out how the kids got their jobs on the show. Angelique wears a hat made out of bread that has the “casting directors” in stitches, but when the next girl goes up and stands there eating a sandwich, they are not amused. Choose your gluten jokes carefully, aspiring kid actors.

They’re also put through the ringer with some treadmill time, an obstacle course, eat 520 cocktail wieners, gymnastics, etc.

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“What’s the opposite of *beeeepp* Judge

“*Bloooooop*” Kenan Thompson, I AM LEGIT LOL-ING.

M: Just from this open alone, anybody could predict that Kenan would be the breakout comedy star of the group. And maybe Sandwich Girl. I thought it was funny.

2:23 T: They even tested our GUTS *Cross promotion, folks*

M: This reminds me that one of my “going off to college” dreams was arriving at the dorm to find that my roommate had a piece of the aggrocrag just chilling all casual under their lofted bunk.

3:04 “You viewers can rest easy knowing each of our cast members has unusually thick thigh muscles.” THIS SHOW IS SO FUNNY

3:14 T: Gosh, this theme song is still so iconic and timeless. Playing on repeat. #RIPLeftEye

M: I got excited as soon as I heard “Fresh out the box!” But I remember having a lot of trouble with some of the lyrics in the days before you could just Google them. “My posse and my crew” sounded like “my bossie and my prince.” And 8-year-old me was just like “okay, cool… weird, but cool.”

3:52 M: I totally wanted to be Alisa Reyes. Can you blame me? She was like the quintessential 90s teen girl.

T: Yeah she was definitely the “Kelly Kapowski” of the bunch, if you will.

4:25 T: Josh, whose last name is NOT Hartnett, kinda looks like a Hartnett. I am confuse.

T: The director for this Good Burger commercial is wearing a beret. All he needs is one of those cone speaker things to finish his 1940s look.

Also, Kel accidentally knocks over a giant burger… stand? and knocks out the actor/Josh, so the director’s all, ok kid who actually works here, you have to take his place. You adults know full damn well this would not happen IRL.

M: So many SAG cards were earned by freak on-set accidents like that.

M: Kel, re commercials: Have you ever seen the one with the bunny that keeps going.. and going, and going? And just when you think he’s gonna stop… he goooeeesss.

T: Never heard of it.

M: Was Goodburger Kel supposed to be a 90s stoner type, because that was very lost on me c. 1996.

T: I think, yes?? I never got that either, but I’m assuming we weren’t supposed to? I just thought he was a super California surfer dude type. It’s like when Pixar puts jokes in the movies for adults.

T: Guys, I’m legit laughing out loud at these jokes, IDK what’s happening to me.

M: Me too, it’s fine, we’re fine. All That shaped our generation’s comedic sensibilities and we don’t give it enough cred.

T: Kel’s name in this sketch is Ed??

7:25 T: Kel, not used to the cameras, BECAUSE HE IS NOT AN ACTOR, keeps messing up his lines, including his iconic, ‘Can I take your order?’. In one take he accidentally says, “Can I take your mother?” and holy crap I had to play it multiple times because I couldn’t stop laughing at his delivery.

7:53 M: “The bunny wouldn’t quit! The bunny would keep goin’ and goin’ and goin’!: See, this was good. In comparison, kid’s shows today are just really neon and shouty, but not exactly funny.

9:00 T: Fun fact: The guy who plays the boss in this sketch, and the resident adult in the show is named Dan Schneider, who is also the executive producer and writer for All That. Before the show, he was in a 1980s sitcom called Head of the Class that I remember watching in Nick at Nite reruns and being funny. Dan has continued his career with Nickelodeon since All That, creating such hits as The Amanda Show, What I Like About You, Drake & Josh, Zoey 101, iCarly Victorious, and Sam & Cat. He also wrote the screenplays for the Good Burger movie and Big Fat Liar. So, he’s pretty much a big deal.

9:25 T: Lori Beth Denberg in Vital Information is how she will always look in my memories.

M: During break time in third grade, my friends and I would always make up Vital Information segments. Cool kid for life, here.

T: This is why we’re friends.

10:10: T: I sometimes use, ‘QUIET, THIS IS A LIBRARY!’ as a recent and topical reference.

M: No, but doesn’t the silliness of some of these sketches remind you of early SNL or Lily Tomlin sketches? Like Land Sharks / Roseanne Rosanadanna / Ernestine-type stuff?

T: YES!!

T: I swear neither of us planned or expected to be singing the praises of All That for this whole post.

T: But here we are.

12:12 T: Was Katrina always wearing weird vests? Because that’s also how I remember her.

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M: She was, but in her defense weird vests were sort of a thing at the time. Especially among kid actors, for some reason. Just vests and floppy berets and speaking like you’re in the talk-singing segment of a Kidz Bop song.

13:48 T: Cooking with Randy and Mandy! I remember really liking this sketch. Maybe it was because of the chocolate.

M: It was my version of gross-out humor then. It was funny, but also TOO MUCH CHOCOLATE.

14:30 T: Why is the inside of that giant chocolate block white? And why did Kenan just use his Pierre Escargot laugh when he scarfed down chocolate syrup?

T: Man, All That was not only a precursor to Kenan being on Saturday Night Live, but I think it also instilled in me the love of sketch comedy at a young age. And to bring up #RepresentationIsImportant for the second time this week, I think it was also great that the cast was so diverse. I mean, even SNL in the past few years has been under fire for not employing people of color/minorities in general, so All That was really groundbreaking in that sense.

M: I could be very wrong, but it felt like kid’s tv in particular was more diverse in the 90s, and also that they just went with the kids who are best for the job — not like a lot of the Nickelodeon/ Disney stuff today where the kids can’t act but will age into a marketably attractive teen in a few years.

16:28 M: Kenan weeping over not being able to eat the chocolate is just ::cry-laughing emoji::

T: Ok, but, Kenan is such a star. You can tell that he outshines a lot of his cast members and was destined to be a comedian. Even in this chocolate jacuzzi with his sister (??)

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T: This is the first time (as an adult) that I’ve wanted to watch more All That.

M: I haven’t said this to anyone since the mid-90s, but do you want to come over to my house and watch All That? We could have a pizza party!

T: See ya there. Free Saturday?

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The Secret World of Alex Mack LiveBlog: ‘Alex and Mom’ – Pools, Parties, and Pizzas

What did you watch if it was a Saturday night, and you were too old for Matilda (as if!) and it was too 1995 for Orphan Black – but you still wanted a healthy dose of telekinesis and corporate/scientific threats to bodily autonomy? And you also wanted to see a wardrobe made 70% of overalls? Ladies and gentlemen, Alex Mack.

The Secret World Of Alex Mack was a super high-concept show about a typical junior high girl (a pre-10 Things I Hate About You Larissa Oleynik) who is hit by a chemical plant truck and develops strange powers. She also wore a lot of overalls.

Episode Title: Alex and Mom

Air Date: January 7, 1995

Alex “disorganizes” her mom’s files after a huge fight, causing Barbara to nearly lose her job at the plant. A remorseful Alex tries to make amends when Barbara’s final chance at saving face seems doomed to disaster. Incidentally, this is the only episode of the series where Larisa Oleynik wears a Bathing Suit.

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Hit Play!!!

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M: Before we even get going, is “only episode where Larisa Oleynik wears a bathing suit” supposed to be a selling point, because I’m pretty sure she’s like 13. Grosssss. Plus is there a reason she’d be wearing bathing suits? It’s not like it was a beach show. Okay, let’s start now.

Opening Credits: T: I love when shows tell you the premise of the series in under 30 seconds or less. It’s one notch up from the ‘Previously on…’, and helpful for elders like me.

0:15 M: I am now realizing I have forgotten all of the characters except for Alex and her brainy sister, Annie. Also, Alex’s friend’s t-shirt with the earth-tone sun on it is the most 1995 thing ever.

M: I used to think Alex had the coolest tomboy outfits ever – growing up with two older brothers, I was outdoorsy – but her hat is just confusing me. There’s a strap in the front like it’s a backwards baseball cap, but then there’s no brim? WHAT IS THIS?
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:55 T: Alex attempts to ask cute boy Scott if he wants to go to a screening of a new movie with her, but she asks if he has “plans for science”. What does this mean? Does he have plans for science class? Or like plans for science in general, particularly radioactive sludge that makes tweens turn into puddles?

1:03 M: Alex’s Mom: Isn’t Scott too old for you? [A beat, seemingly forgetting about too-old guy entirely] I need you to go to the store!

Alex: I can’t, I’m going to the movies!

Ah, yes. 1995. When “free range parenting” was just… parenting.

2:20 T: Now, I didn’t grow up in a town where I could easily go to the grocery store by myself then bring home said groceries, so WTF why isn’t the mom or dad doing this instead of a child?

2:45 M: Alex’s mom, Barbara, works at the chemical plant – but you already knew that. I just feel like in real life, these plants aren’t all shiny and futuristic, like an evil corporate overlord’s secret lair. They probably just look like factories, no?

T: Agreed. This chemical plant looks like Nickelodeon had to stay on budget and double up on the use of the Space Cases set.

M: Ah, yes. Space Cases. Hated the dude with the curly mullet and the pig-pink child, loved the flat-top and the girl with gay pride hair.

3:27 M: Alex fantasizes that she binds her mother with rope so that she can hang out with Scott and levitate soda cans and change the tv channels with her mind. Well that got dark fast. I can’t remember if these daydream sequences were a regular thing. By the way, we had remote controls in 1995, so changing the tv channel by pointing her finger at the tv didn’t really save much time.

T: “Why are you always treating me like a little kid? Why can’t you ever let me do what I want to do?”, whines Alex. Apparently what she wants to do is tie her mother up in a hostage-type situation, eat pizza out of the box with Scott, and use your powers to change the channels on the TV without getting up.

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4:40 M: Alex and Barbara are having a weird argument about how Alex has to make dinner for Annie and her dad because Annie’s not home and Alex didn’t go to the store yesterday. This argument makes no sense, and sounds like two kids playing house and saying random things they think a mom would say.

4:55 M: Alex messes up her mom’s files via telekenisis, and once again, Alex’s powers aren’t allowing her to do anything that she couldn’t do as a regular human.

T: I mean, it’s a sick burn for someone who… hates unorganized accordion file folders…? 

T: Alex’s mom’s boss is creepily leading this important meeting, but doing so in a way that rivals Dr. Evil. Except she’s stroking a silver letter opener and he’s got a cat.

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6:45 M: Annie and dad have to go to the “Einstein Society.” Ughhh, that even sounds like an Asshole Club. Anyway, they won’t be staying for dinner so now Alex is cooking for no reason. I’m also sort of confused as to why they couldn’t just make their own dinner? This whole episode is like a bad childrens’ improv scene.

T: Yeah, why can’t the dad make dinner? If it’s some sort of sexist thing (which I hope it isn’t), then wouldn’t the oldest kid have to do it? Why is this 13 year old slaving away?

M: They NEVER EXPLAIN why Alex had to be the one to go shopping and make dinner. For some reason this is bothering me more than the chemical spill powers.

7:30 Barbara’s boss is being shot from a super weird angle. I’m assuming it’s to subconsciously show the viewer who is in charge, but I feel like it’s a very ’90s move to shoot from the bottom and angle it slightly so you feel like you could maybe be a lil’ inebriated.

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8:40 M: Alex is going to Scott’s pool party tomorrow! I’ve found that as an adult, the pool parties – and pizza parties for that matter – really slow down.

T: Unless you’re me and went to a “pool party” this past Saturday (does 6 people count as a party?) and have friends who like to cook and own a chef’s jacket specifically for pizza parties. This is more of a ‘me and my friends are nerds’ situation, more than anything. I’m livin’ the life, y’all.

M: I don’t know what the cutoff is, but I feel like 6 people is just swimming with friends? I always think of “pizza party” in the context of it being a prize for something. Like your homeroom raised the most money in Operation Rice Bowl.

9:26 T: Barbara tells her hubs that she was all thrown off at the meeting because her files were out of order, and he’s all, ‘But what about the Einstein meeting?’ and she clearly forgot because of her horrible day. ARE YOU GOING TO MAKE ALEX GO IN YOUR PLACE FOR THAT TOO??

M: I shall sit at home and rock/ rise to heed a neighbor’s knock/ Brew my tea and snip my thread / Bleach the linen for my bed —- either Dorothy Parker’s poem about Penelope from The Odyssey, or Alex Mack’s chore list.

10:40 T: I totally forgot the sister knows about Alex’s powers. Is that why she’s overly sarcastic all the time??

“How do I look?” Alex, recreating the Deal With It meme

“I’ll look for you in next season’s swimsuit issue” Annie, Alex’s sister, says creepily

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12:39 M: Barbara’s glasses are so Warby Parker.

13:40 T: What I can tell you is that our pool parties don’t consist of anyone playing water polo, like this nonsense. It’s mainly floating and eating/drinking by said pool.

M: I feel like all my childhood pool parties were mostly inventing weird pool relays, trying to get people to understand things you said underwater, and doing that thing where you pop up from the water with your hair flowing behind you like Ariel. Oh, and underwater handstands.

M: NOBODY in this whole pool sees Alex melt into a pile of mercury (or whatever it is)? Oh come on. Also wouldn’t she diffuse in liquid and scatter all around the pool?

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Alex pops back up across the pool to catch the volley ball, and once again could have achieved that as a normal person by just swimming underwater.

T: Also, why does Scott all of a sudden look like he’s 18 years old?? It’s the water polo.

M: He’s TOO OLD. Barbara said.

14:12 M: Most unrealistic thing thus far: Alex’s ginger friend tanning with one of those open metallic folder things. See? I don’t even know what it’s called! Because redheads can’t tan.

they’re called sun reflectors. i only know this after googling ‘metallic sun shield’. – T

15:27 M: Barbara’s caterers cancelled on a work event and Alex’s bitchy friends are harassing the guests. And, like, waiting on them I guess?

T: Ok, but how old are Alex and her friends supposed to be though? I would find it interesting to see high schoolers as waiters at a corporate event, but highly questionable of 13 year olds were serving canapes to chemical plant execs.

16:08 M: I forgot about this jaunty instrumental music that would play whenever Alex would get hardcore into using her powers.

18:59 M: Alex saved the day by getting the food ready and fixing a fountain. But she is also the one who ruined the day in the first place.

T: To reiterate, all this putting brie on plates and popping bottles are all things regular humans can do. And Alex isn’t even doing it at a fast pace, per se.

Also, Alex ‘fixed the fountain’ by becoming the water. This is the type of magical power shit I approve of. I may have totally seen it coming, but it’s better than putting shrimp cocktail on a plate without touching it.

M: I just feel like Alex’s set of powers is really poorly defined.

19:46 M: Let’s just see if we can mention overalls every day, shall we? Alex’s outfit reminds me of these black velour overalls I just HAD to have for a commercial audition in 6th grade. Why no, I did not book that job. Probs because I didn’t rock a bow tie like Alex.

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M: But, I mean, Scott WAS too old for her. That’s some Stacy and Luca shit right there.

T: Relatedly, I would be PISSED if I was one of those kids who got pulled away from a pool party to put on a bow tie and serve rich folk. Did they get paid. I call child labor.

The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo LiveBlog: ‘The Hot Dog Mystery’ – Sponsored By PETA

To me, SNICK had always been a hotbed of coolness, the block of programming that was a necessity for kids to watch in order to be considered at the very least normal with their peers, but also a place where ‘cool’ characters were always present. As a kid, I always looked up to the kids on Nickelodeon as either wanting to covet their lives or utterly fascinated by how their everyday lives seemed to be.

As a little Asian girl growing up in Western New York, this was particularly true of Shelby Woo. At the time, I don’t remember seeing anyone that looked remotely similar to me or had a similar background. Now, I didn’t live with my former Karate sansei innkeeper grandfather or was Chinese or even an amateur sleuth for that matter (as much as I tried, Ghostwriter didn’t write back), all I knew was that I could relate to someone on television that was also a descendant of an immigrant and – not white. #RepresentationIsImportant

Shelby Woo was a go-getter, someone who wasn’t afraid to find the truth about the cases police had trouble solving. She was smart and cunning, among many other things, but all these character traits were enviable by 12-year-old Traci. Shelby was a possibility – a possibility for a young girl to become a detective when she got older, because we still were asked, ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ without it being totally depressing. I didn’t grow up to be a detective or anything close to it, but Shelby Woo represented what could be. Even when she was figuring out less-than-enviable cases about stolen lunch meat from the cafeteria.

Episode Title: The Hot Dog Mystery

Air Date: Unaired

A sudden bout of food poisoning hits the cafeteria at Space Coast High, and Shelby searches her school for suspects. Could it be the work of a rival meat supplier? A nasty cafeteria employee? Or someone trying to send a message to the school administration? And if Shelby can’t find out how someone made the kids sick, is there a chance it could happen again?
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Hit Play!!

So apparently this episode never aired. Not sure whether it’s because the show was cancelled or Nick execs just didn’t think the quality of this particular episode was up to par, but it has had to resort to a life on YouTube, never seeing the light of cable day. I’d also like to note that I don’t think I’ve seen this show in like, 17 years, so I don’t really remember all the details of it. What I can tell you is that Shelby Woo was obviously a precursor to our beloved Veronica Mars. Like, eerily so.

0:31 Bless grandpa Pat Morita. Is he still alive?? And why does Shelby have a thicker accent than gramps? (PS: Pat Morita died in 2005. Oops. #RIPPatMorita)

1:10 I don’t remember Shelby breaking the fourth wall in this show??

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“See if you can pick the right suspect from the menu” – Shelby

As previously mentioned, a bunch of kids are sick, and Shelby’s managed to trace it back to the hot dogs served in the high school cafeteria. One dude ate 11. There was a wager going on. Kids are dumb.

3:25 Tim’s mom (also the school’s librarian) is a vegetarian and mad at her son for eating meat. She then sees another kid in the nurse’s office with a leather bookbag and scolds him, suggesting he use a macrame bag instead. A) She’s probs the head of PETA rn. B) I think Tim tainted the hot dogs.

Also Shelby’s friend Noah is wearing one of those shirts

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4:30 Shelby’s boss (?) at the police department was called in to solve this hot dog mystery. Why is an actual detective at some high school trying to find the culprit instead of figuring out a murder or something in the town?

6:00 The meat provider for the cafeteria is a Southern dude who works for Cummings Meat. He legitimately just used the phrase “Cummings weiners”

“These kids won’t trust hot dogs for a year” German lunchlady who has too much trust and belief in teens

By the by, Shelby is using her computer skills to solve the case, because apparently there’s a special program on her Apple computer that organizes all her case information.

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12:30 Now Shelby and her co-sleuths think the Cummings Meat guy could be the culprit and follow him at his morning delivery. They also look like they’re two years out of college and have nothing better to do than hang out at their old high school.

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“I had to rotate 40 pounds of meat” Cummings Meat Guy

“While we’re here let’s look around of clues.” Shelby

HELLO DID YOU NOT LISTEN TO WHAT WEINER GUY SAID? The perishables should be moved to the top not kept being pushed down. German lunch lady probs wasn’t paying attention to expiration dates and grabbed a pack of hot dogs she thought were fine and served them to the kids. Which would explain why none of the packages had been tampered with.

13:43 Shelbs and Co. are stuck in the freezer and it’s like I Love Lucy all over again. This is when cell phones come in handy.

“Oh man I hate exercise maybe we could… snuggle?” Noah is my favorite, despite his creepiness.

15:00 I feel like this episode is a giant PSA for PETA and anti-eating meat.

16:00 Okay now the nurse is starting to be sketchy. First Shelbs accidentally knocks over the nurse’s purse and crap falls out, including a big ass bottle of aspirin, latex gloves and a needle, despite the fact she said earlier she can’t use needles (as per the law?). She also initially said she was “glad” to see all the kids in her office in the beginning of the episode, so maybe she’s the one who did a switcheroo in the freezer to get more kids sick? Because she’s an insane masochist? Or she wants to prove she’s invaluable?

16:25 TIM THINKS HIS MOM POISONED THE HOT DOGS. There’s still like 10 minutes left, so it’s not her.

17:34 Gramps shows up to school because Shelbs forgot her lunch. And the “detective” hat he’s been trying to push on her since the beginning of the ep. Again, taking a page out of Full House’s book, are we?

18:00 Gramps reveals the PTA is considering slashing the budget – including cutting the school nurse.

21:00 Shelbs has a solid theory for the case and calls her Detective boss back in to do some questioning, but really, neither of them are legit. Shelbs fingers the nurse and says she used the needle to poison the hot dogs without opening the packaging, and she did it to prove she needed to keep her job. I was half right.

22:00 Tim feels bad about putting the blame on his mom, but ultimately realizes it’s fine because she’s just a super vegetarian who just wants to push her ideals on her son and his teenage friends.

They fired the nurse! I feel like IRL there would’ve been a lawsuit against her, but there’s only 22 minutes in Woo World.

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The executive story editor for this show is Suzanne Collins – and if that name rings a bell, it’s because she wrote The Hunger Games triology. She also wrote most of the novelizations for Shelby Woo, which explains why Katniss and Shelbs are basically the same. jk. ALSO, the director was Allison Liddi (-Brown), a person whose name I creepily recognized because she has directed eps of such shows as Parenthood, Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice AND The Secret World of Alex Mack, among others. Her resume reads as my life story.

Are You Afraid Of The Dark LiveBlog: ‘The Tale Of The Lonely Ghost’ – Neglected Child Haircuts

We’re on Day 2 of Big Orange Couch Week – live blogging shows from the classic SNICK lineup – and let’s hope that couch has a nite lite nearby because things are about to get spoooooky. Today I’m rewatching one of the best-loved episodes of Are You Afraid of The Dark, the one where we learn the important lesson that you should never befriend the quiet, neglected-looking girl next door because she’s probably a ghost. Submitted for the approval of Cookies + Sangria, I present…

Episode Title: The Tale Of The Lonely Ghost

Air Date: August 26, 1992

A girl who desperately wants to be friends with her snotty cousin and her group of friends agrees to spend the night in the haunted house next door to become part of the group.

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0:02 I remember getting so spooked out by the music and title sequence of this show as a kid- along with Unsolved Mysteries and The Twilight Zone – that I was terrified before the action even started.

And when I say “as a kid,” know that I am watching this episode on my lunch break at work so I don’t have to watch it alone in my 100-year-old house.

0:55 Have we ever established that Are You Afraid Of The Dark is set in Canada? Because the kids were always so CANADIAN. First of all, David says “sore-y.” And more Canadianly, he is apologizing because a girl bumped into him.

1:27 They made the kid with curly hair get a center-parted undercut hairdo, and he looks like a damn Newsie. But I just looked him up (Jacob Tierney) and if he looks like a Newsie these days, it’s one of those cute older Christian Bale-type ones where you’re, like, pretty sure he’s of age so it’s fine.Transformation Tuesday, y’all.

Then.

NOW.

1:38 Sorry Count: #2. Ugh, this part where they all talk in the beginning is still boring 23 years later. You’re the Midnight Society, not the Chit-Chat Club. And yes, “23 years later” will almost certainly be the scariest part of this live blog.

3:09 Like most Are You Afraid Of The Dark eps, this one begins with a girl arriving at a new town, this time because her parents are scientists who are “up north studying Inuit carvings.” This is more Canadian than Anne Of Green Gables host Hockey Night In Canada.

Amanda is an adorable young lady wearing a gigantic blousy shirt tucked into even bigger khakis with mid-butt-length hair. Yeah, put that in your tumblr and smoke it, “90s fashion bloggers.”AYAOTD Amanda

4:41 There’s an abandoned house next door that Amanda’s realtor aunt cannot sell, and you can tell that it’s haunted because the For Sale sign keeps falling over and it’s made of spooky natural wood.

5:11 Beth, Amanda’s cousin, looks like every bitchy teenage girl in the early 90s. The spikier the bangs, the bigger the attitude.AYAOTD Beth

6:17 Amanda has to prove she’s “not a zeeb” (was nerd, dork, or geek not on the Nickelodeon-approved vocab list?), but then one of Beth’s ground rules is that Amanda has to put Beth’s stuffed animal collection back every day. Were stuffed animals cool for teens in 1992? I almost think yes. Like, Troll Dolls and Pillow People were big.

7:43 A disheveled woman introduces herself to Amanda as Nanny. I smell a plot point coming! She’s not even particularly old, just hunchy with bad hair. Plus what teenager has a nanny? Beth agrees.

9:41 Nanny hears Beth and Beth’s Realtor Mom talking about her, and maybe this is the scariest part of the show. Anyone else out there just terrified of overhearing people talk about them?

10:31 Backstory: A little girl who couldn’t talk lived in the haunted natural-wood house. The girl was supposed to stay with her grandmother when her mom went away, but got locked into her bedroom by some mean kids and died there. I have questions. Beth says the girl’s mom was gone for two weeks because her husband was sick, and her grandmother didn’t know she was supposed to be coming. But even in the 1940s or whatever (Beth says “the war”), wouldn’t the mom have made a single call to make sure that the grandma would be home or that the kid got there safely? Especially since the child is speech or hearing impaired?

Anyway, Amanda has to go to the little girl’s death room so that she can be friends with Beth and Beth’s shitty friends. Which … why would she want to?

14:01 The words Help Me are scrawled backwards on the walls of the house. Hey Beth’s Realtor Mom, I, uh, think I know why the house isn’t selling.

14:36 A little girl wearing a white nightgown with a grown-out mullet bowlcut – the haircut of an unloved child – appears in the mirror and beckons to Amanda. So this is the dead girl, I assume, but why the nightgown? After she got locked in she was just like “ho, hum, better go change into these jammies to die in?”

AYAOTD hair

AYAOTD jammies

15:00 Amanda’s “Running Away From A Ghost” music is twinkly jazz piano.

15:55 Beth’s Realtor Mom makes the girls clean Help Me off the walls as a punishment after Amanda rats out her cousin. Amanda wears 2015-approved overalls. No… wait. It’s like an overall dress?

17:30 A mirage of the room filled with dolls and stuffed animals appears in the mirror, and instead of freaking out about the time and space-ness of it all, Beth just gawks at the “awesome collection.” I still don’t think the titles Head Bitch and Teenaged Doll Collector really go together.

17:55 Beth goes through the mirror and the Neglected Bowlcut Girl comes out. Win some/lose some, eh? All the kid wants to do is give Amanda a locket. Why would anyone give their child a locket? It only means they’re going to get orphaned or become a ghost. Never ends well. Anyway, Nanny’s picture is in the locket. SHOCKING.

19:22 They’re overall shorts. Shortalls.

So that’s one mystery solved, but we’re still not going to learn why the child can’t talk, are we?

20:17 Amanda gives Nanny the other half of the locket. What happens to missing or neglected children who DON’T have a half locket?

21:24 Nanny went through the mirror. Is she… dead now? Neglected Bowlcut Girl is now wearing day clothes and her hair is better.

22:17 Beth’s friends are all in the haunted house, which they refused to go in before, and are all casual about their bitchy friend being stuck in a mirror. But then Amanda opens the closet door and Beth falls out, and they’re all going to be friends all summer! Everything’s great for everyone! Except Neglected Bowlcut Girl who got bullied to death.AYAOTD RIP

23:31 David gives Kristin ( a pre- Clueless Rachel Blanchard) a locket for her birthday. Great, David. Now she’s going to get kidnapped or orphaned.

Clarissa Explains It All Live Blog: ‘Sick Days’ – The Girl Who Cried U-N-I-T-Y

Welcome to the first day of our Big Orange Couch Week, when we revisit five of our favorite shows that were among the classic SNICK Saturday night lineups from the 1990s, and liveblog them!

Today, we’re kicking it all off with Clarissa Explains It All and Sick Days, the season one finale. Of course, back then, finales for Nick shows didn’t end in some ‘Who Shot J.R.?’ cliffhanger (that reference was relevant, right?), so many of these eps were stand-alones, which made it perfect for syndication. That being said, Sick Days is classic Clarissa: tension between her and her parents, tension between her and her little turd brother, Ferguson, and possible sexual chemistry between her and her BFF Sam. Let’s go back in time and see what happens when Clarissa plays sick – only to backfire on her soon enough.

Episode Title: Sick Days

Air Date: June 1, 1991

Clarissa fakes sickness in trying to get out of her part in the school pageant. But, when the play turns out to be a success, Clarissa truly becomes ill.

snick_clarissa

Hit Play!

T: I do not remember this episode, but judging by the description, it’s going to be a GREAT one.

M: I vaguely remember it, but 1991 Molly would be floored that she was watching it at age 28 via an app and an internet connection on her flatscreen. Or, she would be floored if she knew what any of those things meant.

0:15  T: Does Clarissa have a lisp?

0:45 T: Whoa Janet Darling’s outfit is very Mom Jeans-esque!

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T: My memories of Janet Darling – she is obsessed with healthy food. Like seaweed and sprouts and tofu.

M: Yes! And Marshall was an architect whose buildings were always like the architectural version of a Claudia Kishi outfit.

M: I feel like moms have stopped saying “pronto.”

T: I feel like everyone has stopped saying “pronto”.

1:04 Opening Credits T: I don’t remember quirky pajamas being part of Clarissa’s ‘thing’?

M: Were those pool ball pajamas? Do tweens play pool? I know there wasn’t an internet in 1991 but I still don’t remember recreating at pool halls.

This theme song sounds wrong. The NaNas are too fast and Clarissa isn’t wearing that weird aerobicise outfit.

2:44 M: Clarissa outfit #2: Black top with giant floral bell sleeves, denim cuffed jorts over polka dot bike shorts, teva(?) belt, pink chiffon hair scarf, daisy earrings, big freaking watch.

2:53 T: Sam asked Clarissa for help as he walked up the ladder and handed her an aquarium… did he climb up to the second story with this glass aquarium in his one hand?

M: Shhhh. My inner child can hear you.

T: Sam is like the Joey Potter to Clarissa’s Dawson. I’m sure this comparison hasn’t even been brought up before.

M: Between this, D.C., and Saved By The Bell, I was definitely lead to believe that in high school I’d have straight male friends crawling through my window all the time. Also that I’d have a straight male friend. NOT!

Remember “Not?” That was a thing people said a lot in 1991, it was like the “said nobody ever” unfunny punchline of the early ’90s.

T: Also did the all of this show’s budget just go toward’s Melissa Joan Hart’s wardrobe? Because the actor who played Sam looks like he straight up rolled out of bed and walked onto the set.

M: Sam Outfit #1: A giant blue Hanes t-shirt, rumpled plaid shorts from a man.

4:50 T: Sam – “I think this calls for the one sure-fire method of getting a sick day.” Clarissa: “What is it?” Sam – “Take it!” Sam’s comic timing is great. I’m not even being sarcastic.

T: As a kid I thought this show was ‘ahead of its time’, however now it just looks incredibly low-budget.

M: I think it actually looks ahead of its time compared to the Nick/Disney shows of today (I mean I love Girl Meets World, but otherwise). Instead of those slick production values, it looks more “indie” or “real.”

Wait, were those just words for cheap?

T: Yes.

6:16 T: Marshall – “You’ve had two children, you’re not the same woman you were when you were 18.” Besides the fact he’s being a tad misogynistic, it really doesn’t matter if she can fit in it or not because this dress still sucks and she shouldn’t be wearing it.
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M: Reunion themes like “wear what you wore in high school” are the reason we skipped our 10-year. Even though those boot-cuts and handkerchief hemlines are really calling my name.

6:50 M: Clarissa outfit #3: Giant robe, pajamas without billiards ephemera on them. Try harder, Darling.

7:10 T: MJH is doing her best coughing acting work and that is saying something.

8:37 M: Clarissa Outfit #4: I can’t see it behind the giant aquarium Sam carried one-handed up a two-story ladder.

9:50 T: Clarissa’s outfit is back in style and I think I hate it.
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M: Clarissa Outfit #5: A thing I think I saw a youth wear on the bus a few weeks ago

T: Soy muffin. Take a shot for Janet’s healthy weird snacks.

M: Janet’s 1991-weird food is stuff that’s all over Pinterest and instagram now. Oh, what 20 years will do.

11:30 T: Janet calls the family doctor, Dr. Festerspoon, to check on Clarissa. Did doctors still make house calls in ’91 or is this a result of low-budge and not being able to afford a medical office?? Also why would a sick doctor make a house call to a sick child???

M: And why is he from, like, the Progressive Era? Also of course Clariss has a rhinovirus, her room is a nest of dusty plants, hats, stuffed animals, and aquatic life. I feel germy just looking at it. Speaking of aquatic life: Clarissa Outfit #6: pajamas with a repeating trout motif.

12:30 T: Dr. Festerspoon suggests Clarissa’s common cold could escalate to “The Schezuan Flu” if she didn’t take care of herself… and then an Asian-sounding gong playing right after he said “The Schezuan Flu”…

T: What was the point of the guitar riff every time Sam came in?

M: Sexual tension music. But where “sex” is, like, exchanging slap bracelets and waving glowsticks in unison.

14:20 T: Clarissa – “I can’t miss Queen Latifah!” … because Queen Latifah is making a guest appearance at a small Ohio middle school for their Ancient Greece day, and it makes sense, obviously.

M: Wait, this is OHIO?

T: Per Wikipedia, it is!

15:25 M: Clarissa is trying to act like she feels better and she just put on the same outfit from earlier. I’m not counting it.

T: I just realized that both Marshall and Janet are home during the day? What are their jobs??

M: Architect and museum person. I, uh, watched a lot of Clarissa.

But seriously, this isn’t the mixed-up files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. You go to museums in the DAYTIME, I’m sure of it.

T: Clarissa’s phone isn’t the same one I used to covet? Did she just upgrade her season 1 phone to a clear one in the later seasons?

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M: She absolutely did. My sister had the clear one – and her own phone line – and I thought it was the coolest thing in the universe. And I was right.

18:50 OMG CLARISSA’S U-N-I-T-Y OUTFIT

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M: Clarissa’s Outfit #6: A Cultural Appropriation Headband. Next week’s episode: Clarissa Explains White Privilege.

19:37 M: Clarissa and Sam try to sneak out, but are thwarted by Ferg-Wad dressed as a Greek Cloud. Sam is again wearing a giant crumpled top that belongs to a dad.

20:53 M: To get Clarissa to stay home and convalesce from Asian Disease, Marshall plies her with any video rental she wants. Sometimes I forget about life before Netflix, when a sick day meant watching Wheel of Fortune or soap operas unless your parent did you a solid and picked up Beetlejuice.

21:12 M: Clarissa’s Outfit # Whatever: A floral top, honestly pretty good bangs for 1991, and I can’t pay attention to the rest because I’m looking at her awesome watermelon drinking glasses.

22:00 M: Man, what I wouldn’t give to tour Nickelodeon Studios, Universal Studios, in Orlando Florida during its heyday. Heck, I’d settle for a t-shirt. That I’d wear with two pairs of layered shorts and an African headband in Clarissa’s honor.

T: Nickelodeon Studios, Universal Studios, in Orlando, Florida was the MECCA for our generation. RIP.