I can remember when I was younger the creation of the channel called Nickelodeon. I’m sure most of you are familiar with Nickelodeon. It’s a network with television shows directed towards kids. Well not long after Nickelodeon came on the air they decided that most kids were actually in bed at a fairly early bedtime. So rather than continue to show children’s shows at night they formed Nick at Nite.
Nick at Nite was a block of television shows that adults could enjoy after their children had headed off to bed. The channel showed older shows that the adults might remember from their younger days, but they were still clean enough shows that kids could still enjoy them if they were up for some reason. I was one of those kids.
I never really had a very strict bedtime so I was often awake to watch Nick at Nite and I’m glad I was. When I first saw Nick at Nite I thought all the shows they aired were boring because they were in black and white but as I watched the more I realized there were some great shows.
The first show that caught my attention was the Dick Van Dyke Show. Of course I recognized Dick Van Dyke because he was in the movie Mary Poppins. Dick Van Dyke was always my favorite character in Marry Poppins, so I began watching his show. As I’m sure many people did when the show first aired, I immediately feel in love with Mary Tyler Moore and I just couldn’t get enough Dick Van Dyke show.
There were several other shows I enjoyed too. The Patty Duke show is one that I wish was on DVD today. I also remember Laugh-In, Car 54, Where Are You?, My Three Sons, Dennis the Menace, Mister Ed and Dragnet. One show stuck out more than the rest of them. From the day I saw Get Smart it became my favorite show of all time. It was funny, it had spies, it had cool gadgets and it had Barbara Feldon. What more could somebody ask for?
Eventually all those shows went off the air and I lost interest in Nick at Nite. That is, until about two weeks ago. I was writing some articles as usual and decided to turn on the TV as a little background noise. I was flipping through the channels and left it on Nick at Nite on accident. I was then treated to the best night of television I had seen in a long, long time.
At 7:00 was SpongeBob Squarepants. SpongeBob isn’t part of the Nick at Nite lineup I guess it’s just one of their most popular shows so Nickelodeon shows it in their prime time spot. Following SpongeBob from 7:30 – 9:00 was Full House. I admit that I watched Full House when I was younger but I don’t particularly care for the show now. Uncle Jessie, Joey, Bob Sagat and all three girls are pretty annoying. This is actually a good thing though. If you have your favorite shows that come on in prime time during the evenings than you can watch those shows instead of Full House and then come back to Nick at Nite after those shows are over.
From 9:00 to 10:00 are two episodes of Roseanne. I was never a big Roseanne fan when I was younger mainly because it just seemed vulgar and my Mom raised me better than that. Now Roseanne is much like the Simpsons; ten years ago it was one of the trashiest things on television, now it’s actually pretty tame compared to what else comes on television. Since I’ve started watching television I’ve grown to enjoy Roseanne. They are a fun dysfunctional bunch.
Even though I like Roseanne it’s the weak link out of the shows I watch. Nick at Nite really ramps up from 10:00 to 11:00 when they air what I feel is the best sitcom ever made, the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Who doesn’t like Will Smith? I think people forget just how incredible a career Will Smith has had. These days Will Smith is making millions doing blockbuster movies but before that he had an extremely successful rap career and an extremely successful television show that lasted six seasons. Will Smith was getting nominated for Golden Globe awards on the Fresh Prince long before he was getting Oscar nominations. These days we see tons of singers/rappers turned actors stinking up the silver screen but Will Smith did it successfully and made it look easy.
From 11:00 to 12:00 is a show that everybody should be familiar with, The Cosby Show. Are you kidding me? An hour of Will Smith followed by an hour of Bill Cosby? Sign me up for that! The Cosby show is the classic television show among all classic television shows. You know sometimes you’ll see a rerun of a television show and it’s an episode you remember loving and you’ll tell the person next to you “oh man, this is a classic episode!” Yeah, it’s that way with every episode of the Cosby show.
Finally from 12:00 to 12:30 is Growing Pains. Now admittedly Growing Pains doesn’t hold up as well as the Fresh Prince and the Cosby show. Growing Pains is a little cheesy at times and the acting isn’t as good. It’s still great though because Mike Seaver ranks as one of the greatest television characters of all time. If you weren’t a kid in the 80’s like me you might not know this, but Mike Seaver was the heartthrob of the 80’s. All the girls loved Mike Seaver and all the guys wanted to be like him. Everybody wanted a leather jacket like Mike Seaver, everybody wanted a garage apartment like Mike Seaver, Mike Seaver was the man. Mike Seaver was Justin Timberlake times ten.
The great thing is Nick at Nite isn’t just for the parents anymore. Sure these days a lot of parents are people my age so they’ll remember these shows and have fond memories like I do but today’s Nick at Nite shows are new enough that the kids will like them too. The episodes are still about topics that are prominent today, the shows hold up pretty well and kids know who Will Smith and Bill Cosby are. These are also clean shows; I’d watch my kids watch these shows over the prime time sitcoms any day.
Catch Nick at Nite while you can though. Right now the shows are fun and clean but I have a feeling they are headed in the wrong direction. Starting in 2011 Nick at Nite will be airing Friends. I wouldn’t be surprised if they started picking up other sitcoms from the last few years and most of those shows are smut that I wouldn’t want my kids to watch.