11 Disney Shows That Basically Defined Your After-School Life
After-school TV programming was a staple in the life of any millennial in the late '90s and early '00s. After a long day of doing basic algebra and analyzing a chapter book, all anyone wanted was to go was come home and relax in front of the TV. Yes, there was still homework to be done — but there would be plenty of time for that later. What we all needed right after school was a good 30-minute break from reality, and the Disney channel was there to provide just that. Between the modern cartoons and the live-action programs with relatable protagonists, Disney after-school shows totally defined every '90s kid's life. And they were conducive to your schedule, too! Since after-school shows were in 30-minute increments — and there was no opportunity to fall into a Netflix binge — you could easily watch an episode or two of something and still have plenty of time to finish your Spanish homework.
And, because the show's plots were always resolved at the end of the episode, watching just one episode felt like enough. They were simple, beautiful times, regardless of the acne and awkward AIM away messages that were also part of your life during that period. As if you could ever forget, here are some of the most unforgettable Disney shows that made your after-school routine.
1. Bill Nye The Science Guy
Bill Nye was probably the only person who could get schoolchildren interested in science after they were home from school. He has since been involved in a realm of different projects, from being a guest lecturer at Cornell University to appearing on Dancing with the Stars to meeting with President Obama to discuss climate change.
2. The Proud Family
This was one of those cartoons that you felt no shame about watching long after you'd written cartoons off as being in appropriate entertainment for someone in the double digits. It was sassy, funny, and the theme song was sung by Destiny's Child featuring Solange! So hip.
3. Lizzie McGuire
Hilary Duff was the most relatable preteen ever as Lizzie McGuire. Her little brother was so annoying! Ethan never noticed her! Kate was so mean! It was prime after-school entertainment in the days before you ever had to worry about student loans and work deadlines.
4. The Famous Jett Jackson
Possibly the most meta of all after-school entertainment, The Famous Jett Jackson featured a young actor on a show about a young actor on a show about a teen secret agent. And the whole thing was remarkably less confusing than it sounds.
5. Sister, Sister
The sibling bickering, the breaking of the fourth wall, the yelling at pesky Roger to go home... Tia and Tamera Mowry's show about two twins with contrasting personalities was a '90s gem.
6. So Weird
A totally underrated Disney show, So Weird touched on the paranormal, the awkwardness of being a teenager, and the rising power of the internet. It was a little weird how the main character switched actresses halfway through the show with no explanation, but hey, that's television.
7. The Weekenders
Another highly underrated after-school show, this cartoon showed four friends with different personalities who united over their love for the weekend. It was a great thing to watch on a Monday afternoon to remind yourself that there was a light at the end of the tunnel.
8. Even Stevens
Before Shia LeBeouf was marathoning all of his films at NYC movie theaters, he was the mischievous Louis Stevens, always coming up with pranks and finding new ways to annoy Ren.
9. Pepper Ann
Pepper Ann was an awkward but well-meaning preteen who always managed to get herself into some sort of major dilemma. But, as a children's TV show would have it, things always turned out OK in the end!
10. Boy Meets World
This show made being a teenager in Philadelphia look so cool. Also, Topanga remains the best name of all time. Hands down.
11. Bug Juice
The premise for this show was basically The Real World meets summer camp. It was definitely worth watching while procrastinating doing your science homework.
Gone are the days of gel pens and backpacks, but that doesn't mean you can't still appreciate these awesome after-school shows of yesteryear. Thanks, Disney, for helping eighth-graders around the world get through many an afternoon in the suburbs. The late homework assignments were totally worth the hours spent watching these shows.
Images: Disney Channel, Giphy (11)