Friday, January 05, 2007

New 'Nick' Nonsense

One night I had the sudden urge to play a really good computer game. I remember playing "Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego" in fifth grade, and decided to try and find an online version. It was pretty random, and I wasn't sure whether I wanted to play to reminisce about a familiar childhood game or to hear Rockapella sing the infamous theme song. I made a weak attempt at finding it after learning that the game only existed as a CD-ROM. I was a little upset but my disappointment quickly subsided as I began to recall all of my favorite childhood shows.

Earlier in the day while looking up the nearest Pinkberry location, I came across an article about new places to eat. The article, for the most part was irrelevant. One line, however, stood out to me and I had thought about it throughout the day. The author made a comment about food trends and made reference to "the waning of the latest cupcake trend giving way to the new Pinkberry hype". I thought it was an interesting way to view food. In trends. People buy into the hype of food as they do for everything else in life. Specific trends define a generation. For instance, I could sit in a room full of peers and mention things like pogs, "Are You Afraid of the Dark?", and "Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?" and everybody's eyes would light up.

Whenever my little cousins are over they sit on front of the TV and tune in to Nickelodeon (or "TeenNick" as they insist) and are deluded by shows that make middle school look more mini versions of "The OC". I can't help but notice that the trends of my cousins' generation/ today's youth, the "pre-teens" or "tweens" or whatever they want to call themselves, in a word... suck. On the few occasions that I have been able to bear watching some of the newer Nickelodeon shows that my little cousins watch religiously, I've noticed that the sense of humor is corny. Not even corny in a good way like "Saved By the Bell". It's as if the shows are trying too hard and failing. It's the type of humor that breeds obnoxious, know-it-all, smart alecky kids. The type of kid that some distant relative or a family friend brings over and you want to tape their mouth shut.

This new trend of teeny bop shows has disgraced Nickelodeon's glory days. Stick Stickley is turning in his grave! Shows like Salute Your Shorts seemed to be more genuine and innocent than the shows I've seen today. It was about kids in summer camp that played games had crushes and on occasion would sneak out for a night on the town. It at least gave kids a more realistic perception of adolescence than a show about a child pop star who disguises herself and creates an alter ego when she goes to school, or even better than a show about kids who enjoy a dorm-like experience living at a sleep-away middle school on a cliff that over looks a beach.

Nickelodeon should bring back the classic game shows. Those are timeless. How about a new school version of Wild and Crazy Kids or Double Dare? Here's a clip that will take you back to summer in elementary school...

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