Sunday, March 6, 2016

"Dear Journal": Post-Nickelodeon

WRITER'S NOTE: This piece focuses on trivial facts following Doug's run on Nickelodeon, as well as other shows and films that followed suit in terms of coming-of-age stories. 

After “Doug” ended its run on Nickelodeon in 1994, other coming-of-age shows that played on the network included “The Secret World of Alex Mack,” “The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo,” “The Wild Thornberrys,” “As Told By Ginger,” and the ever-popular “Hey Arnold!” And as “Doug” moved to the Disney channel (it ran on the network from 1996 to 1999), so did other Nick veterans, who wrote and created their own series—arguably surpassing Doug and his friends in the process. Such shows included “Recess” (set in an Arkansas grade school) and “Pepper Ann” (set during middle school). 

Films produced by Nickelodeon's film company that echoed similar sensibilities of growing up (e.g., friendships, interests/ambitions, mystery, adulthood) included Harriet the Spy (1996), Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004), and the not-really-for-kids bomb Fun-Size (2012). But more specifically, the past decade-and-a-half has seen the release of several studio films targeted to teens or young adults, echoing the John Hughes-era of the 1980s. These films included Napoleon Dynamite (2004), Juno (2007), (500) Days of Summer (2009), The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012), and Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (2015). The same goes for film adaptations of John Green’s YA novels The Fault in Our Stars (2014) and Paper Towns (2015). 

It wasn’t until 2013 when author Matthew Klickstein released a book that chronicled the stars, crew members and shows from the “golden age” of “the first kids network”. The book was aptly titled, “Slimed: An Oral History of Nickelodeon’s Golden Age.” This is, by far, the most detailed book that talks about “Doug,” series creator Jim Jinkins and company, and their Nickelodeon days from the late-eighties to early-nineties. 

POSTSCRIPT: If Doug were made into a movie (not the one that Disney made in the late 90s), and if done right, it should be big and small, in an independent way. And it should be traditionally-animated.

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