June 16, 2016
Ah, Thursday: so close to the weekend, and yet so far. Thank god for the #ThrowbackThursday hashtag, or we’d probably be spending our pre-Fridays in existential crises. Today, we’re looking back at the wacky characters that got us out of bed – especially on Saturday morning – and right in front of the TV. In retrospect, some of them are pretty dang weird, but hey, it’s our childhood.
The Powerpuff Girls
While there’s actually been a recent effort to reboot the series, there’s nothing quite like the classic PPG episodes. There was just something awesome about watching three kindergarteners saving their town, going to school, and figuring out themselves all before bedtime. Heck, I could barely decide which snack to go for after playtime. The Powerpuff Girls were practically the definition of Girl Power, and they still probably are. Also, who could forget that iconic heart background?
Courage The Cowardly Dog
If there was anything you shouldn’t/couldn’t watch before bedtime, it was this show. The phrase “return the slab” still makes me shudder to this day, eek! For a show that’s primarily aimed at kids, you’ll wonder how some of this stuff actually got to be aired. For now, though, it’s a great go-to cartoon for those of us who are too afraid to watch horror films, especially during Halloween. Just maybe have a flashlight close at hand, in case something goes bump…
How did these babies get away with these things again? The Rugrats gang was way too smart for their own good. But hey, when you’re faced with an evil baby-sitter like Angelica, you do what you have to do. Tommy and his friends truly went above and beyond the sandbox or their backyard, and it was always kind of cool to look into the world of toddlers. Kids are definitely smarter than you think.
The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy
Okay, really, how creepy is a kids’ show allowed to be? But in all honesty, there was something about seeing the Grim Reaper finding himself in strange, bizarre situations caused by none other than his human companions that just made for side-splitting laughter. And who didn’t feel empowered by Mandy’s eye-rolls and deadpan comebacks? Shoutout to Cartoon Network for never being afraid to shy away from horror-comedy, I guess. I still demand nightmare compensation, though.
The fictional town of Hillwood is actually an amalgam of the places that creator Craig Barlett grew up in: Seattle, Portland, Brooklyn – but kid-me honestly just assumed it was somewhere in New York. Regardless, watching this show as a kid, I couldn’t help but feel a little bit envious of how much freedom Arnold and his friends had to go roam the streets, especially at night. And of course, who could forget Helga’s weird crush-not-crush, which occasionally caused her to break out into heartfelt poetry recitations in private?
The playground is a battlefield, but the Recess gang knew how to play – there’s a reason the show’s theme has clear similarities to the marching song of soldiers. But the cartoon perfectly captured the weird clique hierarchies of school, and how to rise above them. Who could forget The Diggers and their eternal excavation of the sandbox, or Upside-Down girl and how she always found something to hang on (how did she get through classes)? Regardless, TJ and his friends always stayed true to themselves, but they also knew when to be fiercely loyal and stand up for what was right. Man, maybe we do kind of miss school…just a little bit.
PS. a group of students re-did the theme sequence and it’s truly amazing.
Some honourable mentions: CatDog, Pokemon, The Wild Thornberrys, Codename: Kids Next Door, Ed, Edd n Eddy.
Featured Image: Courage The Cowardly Dog opening.