Nickelodeon has produced some of the best-known and most beloved television shows for kids since their inception. While their reputation has faltered in more recent times, their commitment to rejuvenating 90s classics has given old-school fans reasons to be excited once again.
Despite the huge popularity and continued reverence for classic 90s shows (along with more modern installments), a huge chunk of the existing fanbases have seemingly glossed over the fact that so many of these fantastic shows from our youth and beyond are almost all… incredibly weird.
Perhaps even more peculiar is the fact that these shows, weird as they may be, also dance on the line between making sense and being totally absurd.
We decided to compile a list of 25 Times Nickelodeon Shows Made No Sense (And Fans Didn’t Notice) to address some of the longstanding issues that countless series from the network have been plagued with in terms of coherency.
While some of the shows we’ll be discussing only have a one or two moments that fail to pass the rationality test, others have entire concepts that that would make anyone scratch their head… except they didn’t, because no one seemed to notice just how weird and inexplicable things actually were.
We’re going to be dealing with classics such as Are You Afraid of the Dark?, Hey Arnold!, Doug, Aaahh!!! Real Monsters and other throwbacks, but we won’t be leaving the more modern shows like The Legend of Korra beyond. We’re even going to discuss a film adaptation of one of the most beloved Nicktoons of all time along the way.
With “all that” said, let’s get started!
25 How Is the Midnight Society Allowed To Meet?
It’s a cold October night, and a group of friends meet at their secret location within the heart of the woods to tell ghost stories for hours.
The narrative conceit of Are You Afraid of the Dark? is excellent, and the idea of the Midnight Society was something that gripped kids all over the country.
But, in all honesty, how were these early teens able to slip out of the house in the dead of night, go deep into the woods with no supervision, and then come back even later without parental consequences?
24 CatDog's Very Existence
CatDog was a beloved (and legitimately weird) cartoon of its era, and provided enjoyable antics for kids young and old. The only problem was that CatDog itself (themselves?) was such an anatomically impossible lifeform, and yet barely anyone seemed to wonder about it.
Things got even weirder in the TV movie where they meet their parents, who happen to be a sasquatch and a frog. While it’s true that they were merely CatDog’s adoptive parents, it was just another dollop of absurdity on a cake made of it.
23 Jimmy Neutron Breathes In Space... Somehow
Jimmy Neutron’s primitive 3D graphics and hideously disproportionate body were highly praised during his popular run on Nickelodeon, following his theatrical debut.
While most of Jimmy’s inventions never exactly seemed plausible, they were all pretty cool and never caused us (or anyone) to question them… but one particular element is just far too nonsensical to ignore: Jimmy and his friends casually breathe in space, and consistently go on interstellar adventures with nary a spacesuit.
We can accept a gum that gives the chewer the knowledge of a book, but we draw the line at space adventures with no realistic preparation.
22 The Length Of Time The Rugrats Were Babies
The very first episode of Rugrats is about Tommy’s first birthday. The show would then continue on for nearly a decade... and Tommy was still one year old, not to mention the rest of the babies.
This may not have seemed that odd while we were enjoying the antics and adventures of a bunch of imaginative babies, but if you take a step back and realize the horrific time-warp they must be trapped in, things take on a whole new layer.
Of course, we’d eventually get All Grown Up, but that sudden change made things even more spooky.
21 Fire In Spongebob
SpongeBob SquarePants takes place on the sea floor in a city called Bikini Bottom, which is populated by fish, squids, crabs, lobsters, snails and even a squirrel. And yet, despite things clearly being one-hundred percent submerged and aquatic, the characters routinely use fire.
Yeah, we get it, SpongeBob is a cartoon and weirder things happen (like ghostly invasions from the Flying Dutchman) but of all the unscientific and implausible content within the series, raging flames beneath the ocean make the least sense.
20 The Diet Of The "Real Monsters"
In the world of Aaahh!!! Real Monsters, the titular creatures of the night are known to ingest just about everything, but their primary means of sustenance is pure, unfiltered garbage.
One problem: where do monsters come from? It’s not inconceivable that they’ve existed since the earliest moments of Earth, perhaps evolving alongside humans. If that’s true, what did they eat when there wasn’t an enormous, limitless amount of garbage (filled with not only natural stuff, but also synthetic material and chemicals) at all times?
19 The Infatuation With Giant Ears Of Corn
All That was the equivalent of Saturday Night Live, but for kids and, in many instances, is still better than Saturday Night Live. It featured truly absurd (yet hysterical) skits like Kenan Thompson being a raging principal or Kel Mitchell infamously acting as a dimwitted fast food employee.
However, one particular element of the show that was mighty strange and never explained was the obsession with that gigantic ear of corn.
Beloved by the cast, this enormous prop corn was something of a mascot. But… why?
18 The Enormous Mech Battle Of Rugrats In Paris
Okay, this isn’t necessarily a Nickelodeon show, but it is a movie based on one and it contains something that makes absolutely no sense and we had to include it. Rugrats in Paris, the second Rugrats film, mainly focuses on Chuckie getting a new mom, which is beautiful, and that’s what everyone seems to remember.
What painfully few recall, however, is the enormous, hyper-destructive mech battle that gives Power Rangers and Pacific Rim a run for their money.
How is this not acknowledged by not only fans, but the citizens of the in-universe world?
17 Children Being Expected To Perform At Olympic Levels
Nickelodeon has a stranglehold on wacky, but extremely fun, game shows for kids to partake in. There’s always the super-sloppy Double Dare, or the perilous adventures awaiting in Legends of the Hidden Temple. And then there’s GUTS.
We’re not hating on the show, but compared to the likes of Figure It Out, GUTS is legitimately asking children to participate in extreme athletic competitions that’d make most adults pass out from heart failure, like crazy aquatic challenges or climbing a mountain. And we loved it.
16 The Irken Invasion Actually Arrived (When It Shouldn't Have)
Zim, the so-called “invader” is seen as something of a screw-up by his superiors, and his entire “mission” to invade Earth was a way to get him out of their hair, with a promise of the armada showing up later to help finish the job… despite that promise being a lie.
And yet, in “Dib’s Wonderful Life of Doom,” Dib defeats Zim and gains extraordinary powers from aliens disguised as shoes. Then, the Irken Armada actually shows up, and Dib destroys them. While this is almost certainly non-canonical, it’s wild that the Irkens lived up to their promise after all.
15 Doug's Obsession With Beets
Compared to other entries on this list, we admit that this isn’t exactly the most nonsensical thing Nickelodeon ever pulled, but it is definitely weird and hardly ever acknowledged or spoken of.
First off, Doug’s world seems to have essentially canonized beets. As to “why,” that’s something we may never know, but their influence is everywhere.
Not only are they a desirable food choice for all kinds of situations, but even the greatest cartoon rock band of all time, The Beets, are named after the beetroot plant.
14 Airing Korra's Final Season Exclusively Online
Avatar: The Last Airbender was a huge success for Nickelodeon. Not only was it unique in terms of content and style from their typical fair, but it was also excellent, gathering a huge fanbase of both kids and adults.
The follow-up series, The Legend of Korra, is arguably superior to its predecessor, but was treated far less kindly by Nickelodeon.
Partway through Season 3, Nickelodeon decided to experiment with Korra premiering on their website. With the final season, they inexplicably chose to air each episode exclusively online. As to why, we may never know, but it sure didn’t make sense.
13 Arnold Faces No Consequences For Inciting A Riot
During Halloween, Arnold, Gerald, and the majority of their class decide to pull an elaborate prank on the boarders by staging an alien invasion in the style of War of the Worlds.
The plan succeeds, but it succeeds too well as the entire city is plunged into chaos.
Not only is footage aired of the “aliens,” but power is lost throughout the city, causing a guerilla unit of vigilantes to destroy “the mother ship” and the “invaders.” And when all is said and done, with millions of dollars in damages, Arnold and co. face zero consequences. Must be nice!
12 Shelby Wu's Genius-Level Skills Are Under-Appreciated
The Mystery Files of Shelby Wu was a fairly popular show of the early 90s on Nickelodeon, and followed the crime-solving adventures of Shelby. The granddaughter of an inn keeper, she interns with the local police and helps them solve crimes.
Her skills at being a detective are incredibly well-honed, despite her young age, and she’s instrumental in solving countless crimes.
So how come no one appreciates her gifts? Not her family, and certainly not her employers. You’d think they’d be rewarding her efforts constantly, but nope, they’d rather just deride her. Cool.
11 Mark Hamill Was On Space Cases
This isn’t exactly something that didn’t make sense per se, but it was still pretty odd and it’s definitely something that fans didn’t notice. The series was a sci-fi show that was essentially Star Trek for kids, following Space Academy students who are trapped in a mysterious alien vessel and try to find their way home.
While there were other guest stars such as George Takei, the fact that Mark Hamill made an appearance was entirely unexpected.
It’s just incredibly bizarre to know that we were watching Luke Skywalker and not even realizing it.
10 Magic Exists In Hey Arnold!
Fans across the board were satisfied with Hey Arnold!’s triumphant return to TV, The Jungle Movie. Not only were long-standing fan theories and questions answered (such as Mr. Simmons' relationship) but Arnold finally found his parents and all things ended happily.
… except no one seemed to acknowledge or care that there was some legit, inexplicable magic going on with the Corazon. Like, here’s this glowing, ancient, enchanted artificat, and not one person in the show (or out) seemed to be like “uh, I guess magic exists now?”
9 That One Time Clarissa Cursed
Clarissa Explains It All was a slightly edgy sitcom on Nickelodeon, starring Melissa Joan Hart. While much of the show dealt with things that kids related with (such as crushes, pimples or school), it would occasionally get a little more raucous than usual… Like that time Clarissa uttered the name of the underworld out loud.
No parents called in to complain to Nickelodeon, and no censor seemed to care, but yup, it happened. And the fact that there wasn’t a big, moral to-do about it was beyond unexpected.
8 Henry And June Casually Chill With Bigfoot
There were a lot of weird things going on in KaBlam!, and we mean A LOT.
Supposedly taking place in the world of comics, we had the utterly surreal Action League NOW! and Prometheus and Bob to mesmerize and confuse us, but no one seems to ever bring up the fact that Bigfoot is not only proven to exist within the show, but he’s a close friend of Henry and June.
Mr. Foot, as he was known, is a stagehand for the show.
If that’s not the weirdest unacknowledged nonsensical thing we’ve ever heard, we’re not sure what is.
7 The Surreal Content Of Weinerville
We’ve previously mentioned that Nickelodeon was (and is) home to the greatest kid-centric shows of all time. They are also home to the weirdest one ever created, and that is Weinerville.
While the unfathomably surreal and absurd series is absolutely hilarious to watch and easy to enjoy, one need only take a half-step back to realize that everything going on makes little to no sense.
Why are children being turned into puppets? Why did Boney run for president?
Questions that were hardly asked and certainly never answered.
6 Rocko Getting Past The Censors... Repeatedly
It’s absolutely no secret at this point that Rocko’s Modern Life is filled to the brim with extremely weird jokes, and they occur almost constantly. What doesn’t make sense about this, and what fans didn’t ask themselves at the time or even now, though, is how in the world did this show ever make it past censors… like, ever?
These jokes are almost laughably blatant, and while most kids wouldn’t understand them, there’s no chance that adults didn’t.
And yet, somehow they weren’t scrubbed out. Thankfully. Let’s hope the upcoming TV movie keeps up the trend.
5 Literally Every Last Trick Done By The Rocket Power Kids
Is Rocket Power fun? Yes. Does it make sense? Absolutely not. While we loved seeing the gang surf monster waves or inexplicably visit Tony Hawk in his skating dungeon, nothing about the level of sports mastery they have makes any sense, and no one seems to acknowledge this or care.
Their level of technical prowess with nearly every “extreme” sport is so freakishly off the scales, that there should be reporters at their house daily, and maybe even scientists discovering if they are humanity’s next evolution. But nah, it’s all so run-of-the-mill that Otto can essentially do a 900.
4 The Very Real Supernatural Threat In Kenan & Kel
In a typical Kenan & Kel episode, some outlandish antics would happen, but it was all for fun and laughs. Then comes the movie, “Two Heads Are Better Than None,” which is not only filled with life-threatening events, but a very real and merciless headless knight.
The duo’s heads are hunted by this undead villain, who has apparently eliminated the population of his entire town.
To clarify: there is a tangible, supernatural experience where an entire town has been wiped out, and no one decides this is worth investigating, and no fan ever batted an eyelash?
3 When The Wild & Crazy Kids Went For Each Other For Miami Vice
Wild & Crazy Kids was a weird Nickelodeon game show (which is really saying something) where “wild and crazy” kids participated in big Field Day-styled games. Except that one time that they were on the set of the Miami Vice stunt spectacular at Univesal Studios, played “Cops and Robbers,” and hit each other into oblivion.
Sadly, we were unable to find any footage of this, but it definitely happened, and it was definitely weird, and we definitely loved it, but we never once asked ourselves why these kids shot each other… or why they decided to cross-promote with Miami Vice.
2 Everything About Cousin Skeeter
So let’s get this straight: a regular, human, everyday kind of family has a relative come to live with them, and this one is a puppet. Yeah, okay, that’s about every red flag in the world being raised at once in terms of sheer weirdness. The reality that Skeeter is a puppet is never once acknowledged, and fans of the show (of which there were shockingly several) just seemed to accept this fact. Again, somehow a puppet is part of a normal family. Maybe they have Muppet DNA on one side or something.
1 Olmec And Kirk Fogg's Twisted Morality
Olmec may seem like a benevolent king as he tells kids legends and gives them advice for how to proceed through his temple, but has it ever occurred to anyone just how evil he may actually be?
Why does Olmec send defenseless kids into his trap-laden temple to retrieve treasure? Why doesn't he have control over his own temple guards?
It’s almost as if Kirk uses pawns to increase his own riches while losers are sacrificed to Olmec within the cursed structure. It’s a win-win situation for them. Kirk and Olmec are not your allies, and no one noticed.