For me, growing up meant spending an unorthodox amount of time in front of the television. (Pretty sure I'm not the only one). Like any typical Millennial, the bulk of that TV diet was comprised of '90s Nicktoons. I'm not exaggerating when I ate, slept, and breathed by the back-to-back reruns of Doug, Rugrats, and AAH! Real Monsters. These cartoons were everything when I was a kid.
Plus, if you think about it deeply, that golden-age Nickelodeon lineup did plenty of the same work any great parent does. It entertained me, taught me life lessons, and introduced me to jokes I was far too young to understand. The Big Orange Couch was my constant babysitter, best friend, sibling, and cultural dictionary. I mean, what kid didn't accidentally memorize full episodes of Rugrats after watching them too many times to count? What avid Doug fan doesn't know the words to "Killer Tofu" by heart? What Hey Arnold watcher doesn't feel nostalgic for stoop kid refusing to leave his stoop?
I don't think I'm alone when I saw that part of my heart will always be stuck in a weekday afternoon in 1996. For that very reason, we've drawn up a series of charts that perfectly capture '90s Nicktoons and how much they meant to you.
What They Wore Vs. What You Wear
Since they're always wearing the same thing, Nicktoons are exempt from the daily "nothing to wear" crisis or real humans. Though if they were subjected to the same "changing your clothes" rules that us Third Dimension dwellers are, the progression may look something like the above. Let's use Patti Mayonnaise as an example.
Monday, you're clean and putting in an effort. Tuesday, comfort wins. Wednesday and Thursday are a struggle to hide the fact that you've been wearing the same pants for 3 days. Friday, you literally DGAF about outfit repeating. Let's do this.
What Do Nicktoon Emojis Look Like?
If Nicktoons had emojis, what would they be? First of all, hand signs would have four fingers as all cartoons do. Instead of our shruggy girl, the Rugrats crew would have shruggy Cynthia, and instead of a regular chocolate bar, it would be an oozy Reptar Bar. Being obsessed with Beets, Doug and his fellow citizens of Bluffington would be all about a Beet emoji, obvs.
How Did You Spend Your '90s Afternoons?
Riding bikes, going to the park, and general outdoor activity makes for a rich and fulfilling childhood, but let's be real. Your fondest '90s kid memories probably involve chilling in front of the TV and getting lost in the fantasy worlds of things that shouldn't be able to speak. Thanks, Nickelodeon.
Nicktoons & The Social Construction Of Time
Let's pretend that the IRL laws of time and aging apply to Nickelodeon characters. In the span of about 22 years, Doug would age from a baby-haired adolescent, to a bearded, aging hipster — horn-rimmed glasses, beanie, and all. Of course, because of the cycle of fashion trends, he'd end up wearing the same sorta stuff he used to in middle school.
What Would Nicktoons Look Like On Tinder?
Imagine running into your beloved childhood characters on Tinder. What would their profiles look like? In the department of "misunderstood ne'er-do-wells" Roger Klotz would clearly call himself a nice guy, but then reveal himself to be a total douche-king. (P.S. Roger would be 39 in person years).
People downtown sure are friendly, as is our favorite sensitive dude Arnold. Let's not forget though that this is the ruthless sexual jungle of Tinder, and he'd probably leverage the mystery of his kilt/shirt as a pick-up line. (Even if the hunky dude who voiced him is TK years old, Arnold would be around 30 right now).
We're not leaving Nick Jr. out of this game. Even if he isn't a full body, the OG host of the kiddie TV block Face would still be searching for someone to complete him. (Even if Fave always seemed like a child to you, he would literally be 22).
Images: Caroline Wurtzel, Dawn Foster (7)/ Bustle