by Dustin P. Anderson
This DVD contains some of the scariest episodes of classic Nickelodeon animated TV shows. Hey Arnold! follows a young boy living in a city trying to deal with the day-to-day troubles an elementary-grade child would be dealing with. The Angry Beavers is about a sibling duo of beavers; the cool, sophisticated Norbert and his hyperactive brother Daggit. Ahhh! Real Monsters tells us the story of monsters going through “Scare School” (this series came way before Monsters University) under the strict thumb of The Grumble. Three troublemaking monsters must try to stay on their professor’s good side, or they will face severe repercussions. Catdog is exactly what it sounds like; the show follows a hybrid cat and dog living on one body. The show features these two growing up in an all animal society where they are looked at as weird by some and friends by others. The last show on this disc is Rocko’s Modern Life; much like Catdog we are taken through an all animal society, this time we follow a wallaby named Rocko as he goes through work troubles, neighbor inconveniences, and friendship woes.
This is a great disc for nostalgia or force-feeding your childhood to a future generation. Classic Nickelodeon always seemed to have some more adult themes than anything that is featured on cartoons today. When I am watching Hey Arnold today, I can catch some more subtle nods to the older audience. Like in Hey Arnold! there is a cereal made of bran featuring an older gentleman straining on the box art, or in The Angry Beavers where an episode is entirely devoted to making fun of old-timey schlock horror movies and the people who watch them. I always say that the best animation is where the creators take all age groups into consideration. Try to make sure the adults aren’t going to regret that their children are watching this, and try to make sure the children are entertained; all of the shows featured on this disc do that. The show that was best at this enacting this concept for my generation was Hey Arnold!
Not only did Hey Arnold! define an entire generation, but it got the message across to every age group that might watch it. Whether they were children or adults, elderly or middle-aged, there is something about Hey Arnold! that speaks to you. The themes in the background catch my eyes the most, like the tenants including a couple who is always fighting, a Chinese/Vietnamese immigrant, a construction worker enthralled with demolition, and an elderly couple taking care of a young boy. These are characters who can relate to an audience. These are characters who can educate as well as entertain. These are characters who can understand any situation a child is going through. This show was great and almost makes the entire purchase worthwhile by itself, except we get other great cartoons to watch as well.
My main problem with this style of television release is that I am always clamoring for more at the end. It’s a great tool to make me want to go out and get all of the seasons for every show featured here, but a bit lackluster beyond that. If I have any other minor annoyances for this disc, it would be that not all of the episodes are “scary-themed.” Some have a bit of a lighter tone to them, and I would have appreciated it more if the Halloween collection specifically featured Halloween episodes.
This is a great collection of old school Nickelodeon shows, and you will love that you bought it. Not all of the episodes may have been scary, but this still a worthwhile buy for any occasion.