12 Creepy Theories About '90s TV Shows That Will Ruin Your Childhood

Now, don't get me wrong. The internet is a spectacular thing. But as far as TV shows go, the web is a breeding ground for unverified, wild, and wonderful fan theories. As such, there are currently countless creepy theories about '90s TV shows to be found online. Admittedly, many of them make little to no sense, but some of them are so out there that, whether they make any sense or not, you have to admire someone's gall in even suggesting them in the first place. Some of the best kids' shows from the '90s seem to make for the darkest theories, to boot. And you know what? At least a small percentage of them seem at least vaguely plausible — to the point where I kind of want to believe that they're true.

Whether it's fans conferring about the intricate meanings of minute Game Of Thrones details or people still scratching their heads over the bizarre rules of very much fictional universes screened decades ago, the internet has provided a platform for people to open their minds and spill out even the weirdest of ideas concerning some of their favorite shows. So tread carefully, and be sure to leave behind any sense of sweet nostalgia that you might still be holding for your beloved shows from the '90s. Some of these theories could completely ruin a precious part of your childhood.

1. Rugrats

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Oh man, this one is dark. One theory suggests that all of the Rugrats babies are actually dead, and are figments of Angelica's imagination. This explains why Chuckie's dad, Chaz, was such a mess and why Tommy's dad, Stu, was so obsessed with making toys (i.e. helping him cope with the trauma of losing his son).

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2. Hey Arnold!

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Did you ever wonder why so much of every episode of Hey Arnold! was about Helga's obsession with our eponymous hero? This theory suggests that the entire show was actually told from Helga's perspective, and as such, was never really about Arnold. Instead, the show was about Helga's painful and elaborate obsession with him.

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3. Friends

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If you were often puzzled by what Phoebe Buffay ever had in common with the other characters of Friends (like, those guys would never be tight friends IRL, right?), then have yourself a look at this tweet from Twitter user @strnks which could help to explain why:

That's right. Every episode of Friends ever could well have been just a figment of Phoebe's imagination. Genius.

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4. Recess

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This insanely elaborate theory suggests that the main gang of kids from Recess are all ghosts who were killed in or nearby the school playground from 1928 onward, and who continue to haunt the school. I'm not sure it makes much sense, but it definitely makes for a fantastic, creepy read.

5. Ed, Edd N Eddy

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Was the cul-de-sac in which the kids of Ed, Edd N Eddy resided actually purgatory? It would definitely explain the endless summers, the absence of adults, and the odd green hue of the kids' tongues on the show (because obviously, they are very much dead).

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6. The Simpsons

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As you might have by now noticed, nobody seems to age in The Simpsons, and there's one particular fan theory which strives to explain this. Known as the "Tesseract Theory," fans have speculated that Springfield is actually trapped inside a space-warping tesseract, with users on 4Chan suggesting that "this allows it to be much bigger than the space it takes up... as well as shift its location as needed." So, you know, that explains why Springfield has appeared to be located everywhere from the Midwest and Northeast to beyond.

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7. Saved By The Bell

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We all know that the narrative wolf cry of "...and it was all just a dream" is one of the worst building blocks for any story to be based on, but it definitely works for this Saved By The Bell theory. It holds that Zack Morris isn't actually the amazingly popular stud of Bayside High who can stop time, but is in fact a totally miserable student lost in an escapist fantasy of his own making. In fact, even the lyrics of the theme song sort of point toward that: "If the teacher pops a test, I know I'm in a mess, and my dog ate all my homework last night. Riding low in my chair, she won't know that I'm there..." Whoa.

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8. Dexter's Laboratory

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Turns out that Dexter might not have been the childhood science genius that we all believed him to be. This particular theory makes perfect sense, painting Dexter as a socially awkward introvert escaping into his imagination as a coping mechanism. It would definitely help to explain why Dexter had such a peculiar accent that no one in his family shared.

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9. Sesame Street

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Though not a specific '90s show, there's a good likelihood that you still grew up watching Sesame Street in the '90s, and as such, this theory can't be ignored. Was the math-obsessed Count von Count actually luring children to his lair and teaching them number skills only to drain them of their blood and youth? Say it ain't so. Even more outrageous is the fact that nobody on Sesame Street wants to stop him, and that all the children who hang out there are constantly being replaced.

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10. SpongeBob SquarePants

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Mr. Krabs has a daughter who is a whale. It's a cartoon, so like, of course. Except there are some people who believe that the underwater restaurateur is actually planning on slaughtering his poor daughter and turning her into Krabby Patties. Which, horrifyingly, totally sounds like something he'd do for money.

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11. Clarissa Explains It All

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Clarissa Darling was super smart and beyond cool, but she also spent a whole bunch of time alone in her room simply talking to us. Except, in Clarissa'a universe, we kind of don't exist. There have been a few variations on this theory over the years, but it basically goes that Clarissa was a little delusional, and that we the audience were figments of her imagination.

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12. Doug

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There's a lot of pretty chilling theories concerning Doug Funnie to be found on the internet, but the one that's clearly the creepiest is that Doug is living a world of his own deluded creation. Throughout Doug, reality is completely warped, the character becomes regularly paranoid about how his classmates perceive him, and he constantly indulges himself with elaborate, weird fantasies. Something was totally not right.

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See what I mean? Some of these are just way too bogus to be believed, but some of them? Well, not only do they make sense, but they also add an extra element of intrigue to some of these shows.

Images: Nickelodeon; Giphy (9)