My Top 5 Favorite Nicktoons: 1. Rocko’s Modern Life

1. Rocko’s Modern Life

Rocko's Modern Life logo

Rocko’s Modern Life is based around the surreal adventures of an Australian-immigrant wallaby named Rocko, and his new life in the city of O-Town. The show explores his American lives of his friends: the gluttonous steer Heffer, the neurotic turtle Filburt and Rocko’s faithful dog, Spunky. The show is laden with adult humor such as innuendos and satirical commentary about society.

The first element I like about Rocko’s Modern Life is all the wacky situations Rocko gets himself into. The show takes the most menial tasks like vacuuming and doing the laundry and makes them into an entire plot. No matter how crazy the plot becomes everything seems to always work itself out in the end. Rocko isn’t the only one who causes his problems though, his friends Heffer and Filburt are known to create problems for him or exacerbate the problems. I like the wacky situations because they make the show fun to watch and make me want to see how the problems will get resolved in the end.

My favorite wacky situation that Rocko, Heffer and Filburt got themselves into was in the episode “Boob Tubed” in which Heffer, who has been watching too much TV, gets his brain sucked into the TV and Rocko and Filburt have to travel inside the TV to find it.

Another element I like about the show is the adult humor. One comedic device the show uses is double entendres which basically means a figure of speech in which a spoken phrase is devised to be understood in either two ways; rather obvious or more subtle. The shows does this a lot and leads to some very funny things being implied. The show is also known to use innuendos which means an insinuation about a person or thing of a derogatory nature. I remember the show having a lot of those aimed at many different characters. The final comedic device the show uses is satirical commentary about society. This just means that the show parodies a lot of things based on real products and places.

While most of the adult humor was allowed to air by Nickelodeon there is one example of an episode that was banned after its second airing. That would be the episode “Leap Frogs” in which Bev Bighead who feels unloved by Ed, invites Rocko over to do some chores and tries to seduce him. Of course when the network, Nicktoons TV, started airing the show the episode was reinstated into the shows run.

The final element I like about the show is all the varied characters.

Heffer is Rocko’s best friend, a glutton and loves to party. Heffer’s last name is Wolfe and was raised by a family of wolves who decided not to eat him as a child and adopted him instead. When Heffer is referred to as a “Big Fat Cow,” he objects to it by saying “steer.”

Filburt is Rocko’s other best friend and a neurotic, hypochondriac turtle wearing Woody Allen style glasses. He was a recurring character in Season 1, who worked many different jobs such as a supermarket cashier and DMV clerk, before being written into the storyline as Rocko and Heffer’s friend in Season 2. Filburt has an extremely weak stomach and even the slightest wrong movements can give him nausea and cause him to say, “I’m nauseous… I’m nauseous…”. He eventually started a family with Dr. Hutchinson, a bubbly cat with a hook for a hand. Two of their children are turtles, one is a cat and the fourth one looks similar to Heffer do to Heffer having sat on that particular egg during the incubation period to keep it warm.

Ed Bighead is Rocko’s neighbor and a toad. He vehemently despises Rocko and his friends and sees them as the bane of his existence. Mr. Bighead is aggressive and crass to most people. He works at the large Conglom-O corporation in middle management. Ed seems to have bad luck where ever he goes which causes him to be very cynical. His catchphrase is, “I hate my life.”

Bev Bighead is Ed’s wife and also a toad. She assumes authority in the Bighead household. Unlike Ed, she actually enjoys the company of Rocko, Heffer and Filburt. She is a party animal and known to be very compassionate.

One element of the show I’m not so fond of is the stories based on Bloaty the tick and Squirmy the Ringworm who live on Spunky. For some reason or other I’ve never really liked them and usually wait through the episodes with them in it to get back to Rocko. Luckily they weren’t in many episodes anyways.

Besides that part of the show I really enjoy the rest of Rocko’s Modern Life and have ranked it as my number 1 favorite Nicktoon. I was so excited when Shout! Factory started making season sets of this show that I have bought the whole show on dvd. I wish more episodes had been made but the 52 that were made are very good and are worth watching due to the wacky situations, adult humor and an ensemble cast of characters.

Places to watch it: streaming on Amazon Prime and DVD Season Sets.

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My Top 5 Favorite Nicktoons: 2. The Penguins of Madagascar

2. Penguins of Madagascar

POM logo

The Penguins of Madagascar is a spin-off of the Madagascar films. The show is about the adventures of four penguins; Skipper, Rico, Kowalski and Private, who perform various military-like missions to protect their home in the Central Park Zoo. They often deal with problems caused or exacerbated by King Julien, a ring-tailed lemur; Maurice, an aye-aye and Mort, a mouse lemur.

The first element of the show that I enjoy is the interactions between the four penguins and how very different each of their personalities are. Having four very unique characters makes the show more interesting and leads to plots that are fun to watch and plans that could go haywire at any minute.

Skipper is the leader and devises tactics and gives orders. Due to Skipper being overly paranoid and having experience in covert ops it has caused him to view ordinary activities as military activities and to prepare for almost any situation that could happen.

Rico is the team’s weapons and explosives specialist. He communicates mainly through grunts and squeals but has been known to speak normally on occasion. Slighty unhinged and referred to as a psychopath in several episodes, he swallows useful tools, such as dynamite, and regurgitates them when needed.

Kowalski is a brilliant inventor but can’t read. He tends to over-analyze situations and creates amazing devices which have been known to put the team in danger.

Private is emotionally sensitive, the rookie of the team and younger and less experienced than the other penguins. He tends to offer simpler solutions in response to Skipper and Kowalski’s complex startegies. Private speaks in a British accent as opposed to Skipper and Kowalski’s American accents.

Another element of the show that I enjoy is the character of King Julien. He is a fun loving and narcissistic ring-tailed lemur. King Julien is conceited and has no concern for others, even his royal subjects; Maurice and Mort. He often misinterprets figures of speech and uses incorrect words in place of a word with a similar sound. Julien considers himself to be king over all animals but is oblivious to their dislike of him.

His personality is the biggest reason I like him and consider him an integral part of the show. The way he interacts with other characters and the problems he causes leads to many laughs and great plots.

The last element of the show that I enjoy is when all the zoo animals interact with each other. Other zoo characters include Marlene, a female otter; Mason and Phil, two intelligent chimpanzees; Bada and Bing, two gorillas who enjoy to fight and Joey, an anti-social kangaroo with a passion for boxing.

I like seeing other characters besides King Julien, Maurice and Mort involved in the penguins’ missions because we get to learn more about them. The other character involved with the penguins the most though is Marlene. She is often neutral and doesn’t take sides between the penguins and the lemurs. By being a levelheaded, feminine voice of reason, she is a counterpoint to Skipper’s masculine, covert-ops character.

Just like I said a few days ago about CatDog, The Penguins of Madagascar is also an ensemble show and every character adds to it in some way. But really isn’t that what we want in every show we watch, the characters and plots coming together to improve the quality of the show and making it enjoyable to watch.

Future of the Madagascar penguins:

Even though this show is no longer in production, Nickelodeon U.S.A. still has 2, 30 minute specials and 3, regular length episodes left to air. So that’s something to look forward to whether they air on Nickelodeon or Nicktoons. The other big news is that The Penguins of Madagascar movie is coming out in theaters March 27th, 2015. Although it won’t be directly related to the tv series the penguins’ will be like there Madagascar film counterparts I assume.

Places to watch it: Nickelodeon, Nicktoons and episodes can be purchased on Amazon Instant Video, iTunes and Google Play.

My Top 5 Favorite Nicktoons: 3. SpongeBob

3. SpongeBob

SpongeBob Logo

SpongeBob is about an energetic and optimistic sea sponge who lives in a pineapple under the sea. Plots revolve around SpongeBob and the various main characters of the show.

A little backstory:

The show was created by Stephen Hillenburg, who worked on Rocko’s Modern Life as a writer, producer and storyboard artist during the series’ third and fourth seasons. SpongeBob became sucessful quite fast and by its second season it was Nickelodeon’s number 2 Nicktoon after Rugrats. The show surpassed Rugrats in popularity during its third season.

After Hillenburg completed the film in 2002 he wanted to end the series over concerns that they had begun to peak creatively and wanted to prevent the show from jumping the shark. Nickelodeon didn’t want to so Hillenburg resigned as the series’ showrunner. He continues to work on the show as an executive producer and reviews each episode and provides suggestions.

Rest of the story:

I have continuously watched this show since it premiered back in 1999 and still enjoy the new episodes. The biggest reason I like watching this show is that it has an ensemble cast and each characters’ individual quirks make them all so interesting.

The main characters of this show include, Patrick Star, a starfish; Squidward, an octopus; Mr. Krabs, a crab; Sandy Cheeks, a squirrel; Gary, a snail and Plankton, a form of plankton.

Patrick is dim-witted, friendly and lives under a rock. Squidward is arrogant, ill-tempered, lives in a Easter Island head, enjoys playing the clarinet and painting self-portraits and hates his job. Sandy is from Texas, a scientist, an expert in karate, lives in a underwater treedome and due to not having gills she wears a spacesuit that provides her with air. Mr. Krabs is a miser obsessed with money, owns the Krusty Krab restaurant and is SpongeBob’s boss. Plankton is Mr. Krabs’ rival, owns the Chum Bucket restaurant located across the street from the Krusty Krab and spends his time planning to steal the Krabby Patty formula to get success and put the Krusty Krab out of business.

With so many diverse characters the show has many interesting plots. Some of the best episodes revolve around the Krusty Krab and Plankton. I’ve lost track of how many times Mr. Krabs and SpongeBob have thwarted Plankton’s schemes to steal the formula.

Episodes with Squidward, SpongeBob and Patrick are also great to watch and lead to some wacky shenanigans. One of the best, in my opinion, is the episode entitled, “Club SpongeBob,” in which all 3 of them get lost in Kelp Forest and use a novelty toy, the Magic Conch Shell, to find their way home. Of course Squidward doesn’t believe it works. A lot of their episodes together involve SpongeBob and Patrick doing something crazy that Squidward doesn’t believe in and they drive him so insane he goes over the deep end and starts to believe in something he didn’t before.

The other kind of episodes I like are the tv movies and specials. One of my favorite tv specials is Friend or Foe, which reveals the cause of Mr. Krabs and Plankton’s rivalry. The first tv movie was Atlantis SquarePantis and involved the main characters traveling to Atlantis together. Of course now it seems every new episode that Nickelodeon airs is considered a tv special and makes it seem like every episode is important.

New episodes of SpongeBob have been airing on Nickelodeon since its premiere on May 1st, 1999. After Season 3 ended on October 11th, 2004, The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie came out November 19th, 2004. Season 4 began May 6th, 2005 and the show is still on the air 9 years later with Season 9. The airing schedule has become erratic in recent years and seasons take over a year to two years to finish airing.

The future of SpongeBob consists of a Season 10 to start sometime this year and a 2nd SpongeBob SquarePants movie due out in theaters February 13th, 2015. Even though I still enjoy this show I’m kinda hoping Season 10 and a 2nd movie will be the end of the show. No show should be dragged out as long as The Simpsons. I figure the reason why this show has continued to air so long though is due to having fun characters and solid plots.

Places to watch it: Nickelodeon, Nicktoons, DVD Season Sets and Seasons 1, 3, 6 and 7 are available for streaming on Amazon Prime.

My Top 5 Favorite Nicktoons: 4. Ren and Stimpy

4. Ren and Stimpy

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Ren and Stimpy is about an emotionally unstable chihuahua Ren Hoek and a good-natured, dimwitted cat Stimpson J. Cat.

It was quite controversial for airing on Nickelodeon due to its crude humor, sexual innuendo and violence. A lot of the jokes inserted into this show are meant for adults but most of those jokes go right over the kids heads and they possibly don’t notice or care about what they hear. Fellow Nicktoon, Rocko’s Modern Life is also known to be full of adult humor and sexual innuendos but that show will be covered in further detail later in the countdown.

Now that I understand the jokes that are meant for adults it takes this show to a new level and tends to make the episodes even funnier.

The violence isn’t that bad except for maybe one episode entitled, “Stimpy’s Invention.” in which Stimpy, in an attempt to make Ren happy, creates a helmet that makes the wearer happy. Once Ren breaks his helmet, to the tune of happy happy joy joy, by hitting himself on the head repeatedly with a hammer. I don’t know why I love this episode so much but maybe it’s just because it’s so absurd you can’t help but love it.

Ren and Stimpy always got into crazy adventures and did so many jobs like being astronauts, door-to-door-salesmen, firefighters and even hosts of a nature show. Seasons 1 and 2 are great and Seasons 3 thru 5 are okay but could be better.

The split in the quality of the show is due to John Kricfalusi, the shows creator, being fired by Nickelodeon in late September 1992*. One of Nickelodeon’s reasons for firing him are that episodes were not produced in a timely manner. Some of the delays of course were attributed to Nickelodeon’s prolonged approval process. Another issue of contention was that they didn’t like the direction of the show. They wanted them to make it lighter and less frightening.

From Season 3 on Nickelodeon produced the show in house at their own, Games Animation, studio. They actually asked John K to be consultant to the show but he told them, “Why would I sell out?”^

While, I personally don’t think Seasons 3 thru 5 are on the same level as Seasons 1 and 2 you should still check them out for yourself when watching this show so you can form your own opinion about them. All in all Ren and Stimpy is still a fun show and worth the watch.

Places to watch it: Amazon Prime (They have 37 of the 52 episodes over 3 Best of Volumes) and all seasons can be purchased on DVD.

*Information taken from Ren and Stimpy’s Wikipedia page, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ren_and_Stimpy.

^Quote taken from an old Entertainment Weekly article, http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,312442,00.html.

My Top 5 Favorite Nicktoons: 5. CatDog

For the next five days I’m going to discuss My Top 5 Favorite Nicktoons. Now this isn’t a list of ’90s Nickelodeon was great and being blinded by nostalgia. I have recently watched all these Nicktoons as an adult and still get entertainment value from them.

5. CatDog

CatDog title Card

To jog your memory CatDog is all about the adventures of Cat and Dog, who share the same body, are best friends and brothers and have very different personalities.

Many elements of this show cause me to really enjoy it. A lot of episodes involve, Rancid Rabbit in a myriad of jobs like police officer, prison guard, mayor and even an Egyptian pharoah. He hates CatDog and will go out of his way to punish them or force them to work for him. He also takes advantage of CatDog quite often. I just love how he would appear in so many episodes with a new job each time and it made me wonder what he’ll be doing next.

The Greaser Dogs (Cliff, Shriek and Lube) also were interesting characters. They aren’t so bad when separated and seem somewhat decent. Most of the time though they are your typical playground bullies and beat up CatDog over being a two-headed freak. Cat gets most of the beatings though since they kinda like Dog a little bit since he is a fellow canine. The Greasers make the show more entertaining and cause most of CatDog’s problems which leads to many great episodes.

Winslow, the mouse, lives in CatDog’s house in a hole in the wall. He is almost always sneaky and underhanded with CatDog. He gets Cat into trouble quite often leading to them not getting along very well. In the end though he helps CatDog out more often than not. The things he says and does cause him to be a great addition to the show.

The final element I like about this show is that it depicts both Cat and Dog acting like normal cats and dogs like Dog chasing cars and garbage trucks and Cat being a clean freak and afraid of water. Both Cat and Dog cause a lot of their own problems though due to their conflicting personalities.

The show is really an ensemble show and every character adds to it in some way. It also helps when a show has great plots.

Places to watch it: TeenNick and streaming on Amazon for free when you sign up for Amazon Prime.