Without a doubt, the Nickelodeon Network has been one of the most redefining networks in the history of television, by offering children a full-time cartoon network with innovative and one of a kind characters that remain popular to this day. We have all grown up on Nickelodeon, and without a doubt, remember the signature green slime that the network is famous for dumping on its live audience viewers. The shows that made the network explode in popularity during the nineties especially were some of the most memorable on TV, and many children today have fallen in love with the classic series all over again.
From the recent introduction of the Hey, Arnold! movie to the one of a kind phenomenon that is SpongeBob SquarePants, the brand is a strong force in the young entertainment sector. Nickelodeon has also innovated in live action television too, with their TeenNick brand and even the Nick @ Nite channel there is no shortage of one of a kind television. It is interesting to note where a lot of the inspiration for some of these cool shows came from, as well as the internal workings that have made Nickelodeon such a powerhouse media company.
In this list, we are going to take a look at some of the secrets that you didn’t know about your favorite Nicktoons shows, and what made them so unique at a time when cartoons were limited to Disney style of animation that had been popular up to this point.
25 The SpongeBob Series Was Inspired By A Marine Biologist
That is correct: the undersea cartoon that we all know and love so well was created by Stephen Hillenburg, who was a former Marine Biology teacher. According to Variety, Hillenburg channeled his love for the ocean into the animation which has gone on to become one of the most popular animated cartoons of all time. And, it's interesting to note that SpongeBob is also one of the longest-running animated series on Nickelodeon to date, which has helped the show to withstand the test of time.
24 Arnold’s Last Name Was Never Officially Revealed
During the long production of the series, Arnold's last name was never actually revealed, which is quite unique for a cartoon about a kid. Still, the series managed to be one of the more unique fictional cartoons to chronicle the life of a child who was being raised by his grandparents. Overall, Hey, Arnold! was a pretty unique show, to say the least. There was a lot of mystery that surrounded the star of the show, and his origins, which were explained more in the motion picture.
23 How Did CatDog Use The Bathroom?
Cartoons are not supposed to be based on reality, since they are, after all, entertainment for children. But the CatDog series introduced a serious question that we are sure many young fans probably asked about. How did CatDog use the bathroom? In a twist of unique cartoon magic, it's interesting to note that CatDog has no, erm, rear end. This created a real problem for the inquiring minds which watched the show faithfully for most of its run. There were many interesting aspects to the CatDog series, such as their fish/bone house and the fact that they could drive a car somehow.
22 Timmy Turner's Beloved Pink Hat? Almost Didn't Happen
One of the most notable aspects of The Fairly OddParents was the lead character's signature pink hat, which very seldom left his head. Timmy Turner was a unique character with a mouse-like squeaky voice who lead the series to the pinnacle of being one of Nickelodeon's highest-rated cartoons. The pink hat he's known for almost didn't happen. According to MTV, creator Butch Hartman originally intended for the boy's hat to be blue, but his marker ran out of ink. Thus, the signature pink hat was born.
21 The Unaired Hey, Arnold! Pilot
When it came to the Hey, Arnold! series, there was a lot of development that went into place. The series was quite well-known for their different themes of childhood crushes and adventures. The original Hey, Arnold! pilot never actually aired on TV, and the series was tweaked quite a few times until creator Craig Bartlett was actually satisfied with his final product. The original Hey, Arnold! TV pilot was a little different then the actual series was. This created a one-of-a-kind children's cartoon that was really different.
20 SpongeBob's Original Name Was Spongeboy
According to a recent interview with Variety, Stephen Hillenburg stated that the original name for SpongeBob was actually Spongeboy. The creator soon found out that a mop company had already copyrighted the name, and thus SpongeBob SquarePants was born. It's interesting to think what might have become of SpongeBob if his name was Spongeboy instead, as the little sea sponge has become synonymous with the Nickelodeon brand in many aspects. This series has gone on to become one of the most innovative cartoons featured on Nickelodeon.
19 The Angry Beaver Citizen Kane Reference
One of the things that made The Angry Beavers such a notable animated franchise were the iconic moments that made the cartoon feel like reality, pushing the envelope for what had been seen on Nickelodeon up to this point. One such episode has Daggett and Norbert watching movies together on the famous beavers' couch, when the classic, Citizen Kane comes up on the screen. This is just one of the many references that made the Angry Beavers one of the most iconic shows of the time. It really left a void in the Nicktoons lineup.
18 The CatDog "Mouth" Controversy
The CatDog cartoon was both popular for a short stretch of time, and also improper for many younger viewers in a couple of aspects. First and foremost, many parents took note of the fact that in quite a few episodes Cat and Dog would go down each other's throats. This is quite an oddity for a children's cartoon. The series was a little much anyway, but this just added to the weirdness factor that made many parents uncomfortable with their children watching CatDog. The series was eventually canceled, and instances like this might have lead to the timeless finish to the series.
17 Pee-Wee Herman Inspired The Bubbly Personality Of SpongeBob
When it comes to friendly characters, SpongeBob is noticeably one of the most friendly that you will see. This is partly thanks to creator Stephen Hillenburg's love of Pee-Wee Herman. You’ll notice how SpongeBob has that signature happy go lucky voice, as well as a bubbly personality that simply makes most viewers melt when they see the content sponge. There are also similarities in the actor's high-pitched voice and SpongeBob's voice as well, just to note another subtle difference in both the character and the actor.
16 Arnold Appeared On Sesame Street
The main character from Hey, Arnold! was featured on a few Sesame Street shorts before the series actually came to fruition. That is because the creator Craig Bartlett was hired by Sesame Street to create a few shorts for the series. The shorts included Arnold using his imagination and going into a magical dream world where there were animals and other creatures. This was an interesting fact about Hey, Arnold! that many people probably didn’t realize, and it's interesting to see Arnold in Claymation.
15 Winslow Is Like CatDog's Surrogate Dad?
CatDog had a lot of interesting characters, such as the Rabbit who resembles a business tycoon that we all know and love. There was also the addition of a talking mouse who lives in CatDog's house. Winslow was a character who would come out of his hole in the kitchen to give Cat and Dog wanted and “unwanted” advice. Winslow was more or less a surrogate father for the troubled and unique animal combo, but would generally be more sarcastic toward the two then anything else. This odd relationship would last through the series, although the trio did have more than a few notable bonding experiences as well.
14 Some Hey, Arnold! Characters Can Be Traced To The Simpsons
Hey, Arnold! was quite well known during the nineties with young viewers after it made its debut on Nickelodeon, but did you know that the series could be traced to The Simpsons as well? The creator of Hey, Arnold!, Craig Bartlett, is married to Lisa Bartlett, who is the sister of Simpsons creator Matt Groening. This interesting mix influenced quite a few episodes of The Simpsons, and Lisa Bartlett also gave major influence into Helga's infatuation with Arnold. This infatuation is similar to the Milhouse-Lisa deal that has been going on with The Simpsons for decades.
13 Patrick Star Was Originally An Angry Business Owner
Ever notice how Patrick Star tends to come off a little abrupt and mean at times? Well, this is because his original role was going to be that of an angry tavern owner. The personality of Patrick Star evolved over the time of the series into a deeper character who was a close friend of SpongeBob. This one of a kind relationship has been one of the most detailed and well-known of any animated cartoon to be featured on the Nickelodeon channel to date. This depth of character development is what makes the series unique, and at the same time continues to bring viewers in.
12 The Angry Beaver Nick @ Nite Plug
The Angry Beavers show was a little different than many other series, and it often poked fun at the fact that it was a cartoon and that the characters realized this. In one such episode, Norbert is seen fiddling with the beavers' television set, and when the TV powers on a plug for Nick@Nite is seen on the screen. This is just one reference a real-life situation that was featured in the series, and one of the things that made it so unique.
11 Wanda Stems From A Classic Hanna-Barbera Cartoon
Have you ever noticed Wanda's signature hairstyle looks familiar? Well, that's because the mother figure was based on another famous mom out of a Hanna-Barbera Cartoon. Wanda got her style from none other then Wilma Flintstone, who also featured the same hair swirl. This one of a kind hairstyle might have made a lot of cartoon fans notice something familiar, and thus the legendary mother figure was featured in the spirit in one of the most popular cartoons to grace a Nickelodeon screen in recent times.
10 Lisa Groening Came Up With Helga’s Infatuation With Arnold
Lisa Groening had a lot of Simpsons-based input into the new series created by her husband. There is no doubt that Helga is a notable force on Hey, Arnold!, and her infatuation with Arnold has existed since the beginning of the series. This notable series of events and her crush have been the cornerstone of the series and continue to keep viewers on the edge of their seats wondering if Helga and Arnold are finally going to fall in love.
9 In One Episode, Dog Finds Out Where Meat Comes From
Let's not sugarcoat the fact that CatDog was one of the strangest shows featured on Nicktoons, with a lot of gross aspects that made the show extremely cringeworthy. Nevertheless, one of the more painful episodes is when Dog discovered where meat came from. In a rare twist of cartoon reality, Dog learns that his fellow animals are being ended, and thus goes on to become a vegetarian until he cannot resist the taste of a T-Bone steak any longer. This was a realistic yet unique episode, to say the least, exploring a facet of life that many cartoons don’t.
8 The Crimson Chin Was Based On Jay Leno
Watching The Fairly OddParents is an entertaining thing to do, as it was one of the more notable cartoons. It features a guest cameo by legendary comedian Jay Leno on more than one occasion. Jay Leno played none other than the Crimson Chin, which was a play on his notable chin. Jay Leno managed to play the character quite well, and we found no problem in matching up the similarities between the star and his one-of-a-kind cartoon character which made for a pretty memorable cartoon.
7 The Angry Beavers Cameraman Reference
Another notable episode has Daggett and Norbert arguing over something while Norbert is in the bathroom. He opens the medicine cabinet, revealing a cameraman in the mirror. This is one of the few reality-based moments ever revealed on a children's cartoon, and it was quite unique for its time. This uniqueness is one of the things that made the series continuously innovative and pioneering at a time when most cartoons were still trying to find an audience on the busy Nicktoons television lineup.
6 CatDog's Origins Are Inexplicable
While many cartoons are notable for featuring the protagonist's parents at least once in the series, such as how SpongeBob's mother and father come around on occasion. But CatDog never actually explains where the odd animal's parents came from. It was never explained if the two were conjoined as a genetic defect, or a lab experiment gone wrong. This could have been one of the things that made the series unique, since it left suspense that would keep the young viewers tuning in for more.
5 Mr. Crocker Wasn't Originally Created For The Fairly OddParents
Mr. Crocker was actually written into another cartoon in which Butch Hartman was working on at the time and attempting to sell to the execs at Viacom. The Mr. Crocker character seemed to fit the bill as the villainous teacher who would torment Timmy Turner, thus Hartman decided to include the villain in The Fairly OddParents series instead. There is no doubt that the series wouldn’t have been the same without the addition of Mr. Crocker. We're happy he was added.
4 Six Different Actors Voiced Arnold
The Hey, Arnold! series has had a number of different actors voice the football-headed character over the past few decades, with Alex Linz being one of the most notable. The series is known for having quite a few different voices, as well as some notable guest stars, such as Jamil Walker Smith who was also known for starring on The X-Files. It's interesting to note that the voice actors had higher pitches in the new Hey, Arnold! movie because it was mastered differently than the TV episodes.
3 The Chip Skylark Connection
There were many aspects of The Fairly OddParents that made the show unique and made it connect with younger viewers at the time. One of the unique characters that have been a staple of the show since its inception was the singer Chip Skylark. If the young singer looks a little familiar, that is because he was based on the boy band 'NSync. It's interesting to note that Chip Skylark has remained a fixture of the series, even as the boy band disbanded shortly after the series made its debut on Nickelodeon in 2001.
2 The Rugrats Creators Are Behind The Simpsons' Yellow Skin
The creators of Rugrats were also behind the earliest renderings of The Simpsons, which is how the notable characters got their signature yellow hue. There were many Rugrats characters who also got that one-of-a-kind skin tone, and in another notable Nick cartoon, Doug, Skeeter was known for his lively green skin color. This stylistic design queue is what has made The Simpsons a household name to this day, and it's interesting to know that the series had a connection to Rugrats, which was one of the most popular cartoons of the nineties.
1 Only Meant To Be A TV Movie
When Nickelodeon was in talks to reboot Hey, Arnold!, there was the talk of a television-only motion picture which would air exclusively on Nickelodeon. There was such an outpouring of support by fans that the network decided to bring the motion picture to movie theaters. The movie was an instant hit. There have been talks of a sequel already, and this is welcome news to the millions of Hey, Arnold! fans who have been loyal to the series since its inception. Football-head might get to the movie theater once more, but the real question is whether Helga will reveal her true feelings.