In its early years, much of Nickelodeon’s schedule was devoted to second- or third-run cartoons. As the channel moved into original programming in the late 1980s and early 90s, its first three original cartoon series—Doug, Rugrats, and The Ren & Stimpy Show—naturally became cornerstones of Nick’s developing brand identity.
All three shows, along with many Nicktoons that followed on their heels, caught on with young audiences—fueling huge swaths of nostalgia-driven Internet culture 20 years later. In fact, after just typing that sentence and realizing these shows premiered 20 goddamn years ago, This Was Television On needs to go lie down for a bit and take his pills. -A.D.
Today’s Birthdays: Embeth Davidtz, recent widow (47); Viola Davis, SVU adversary (47); Mike Douglas, talk show eponym (d. 2006); Will Friedle, stoppable (36); Alex Haley, Roots author (d. 1992); Terry “Hulk” Hogan, manic (59); Ashley Jensen, Extra, (43); Joe Rogan, handyman (45).