Nickelodeon is the stuff of childhood. Where would we be today without the moral lessons we learned in front of endless repeats of Sabrina the Teenage Witch or, better still, Kenan and Kel. Whenever there was homework to be done, Nickelodeon was there, beaming the white teeth of its youth presenters into our brains, giving us an early, skewed definition of teenage cool.
For most, it ended there. Some people graduated to Hollyoaks. Others just retreated to screens they could hold on their laps. I would have been among the latter, but such is my attention deficiency, I developed a need to have the TV on in the background while I refreshed the whole internet. So I lived through the next generation’s Nickelodeon. I lived through Drake and Josh, and learned, despite the ridiculous plots and unforgiveably cartoonish peripheral characters, to love it.
Despite all efforts on the part of the writers to make it so, it wasn’t Drake who made it out the other end a megastar. His music was amongst the worst imaginable and, against the grain of plot and script, he was actually more annoying than his hapless brother Josh, who surprised everyone with his role as stoner-depressive Luke alongside Ben Kingsley in 2008’s The Wackness. And the younger sister Megan? Well, she ended up as iCarly.
There is no-one on earth who believes me when I say I genuinely enjoy watching iCarly, for reasons unrelated to dodgy morality or mental illness, but I do. Alongside Sam, whose thing is that she eats a lot and is rude, and Freddy, who is a loveable tech-nerd, Carly presents a web show. The also trio find time to get into MMA fights, go to Japan and create an ‘electro-magnetic’ Christmas tree, all against the backdrop of a weird passive teenage tension between the two girls and Freddy, whom they still outwardly claim is gross. That’s before we even get started on Carly’s older brother and guardian Spencer, who invented the world’s most complex kinetic sculpture but still managed to set a crash cymbal on fire just by hitting it.
It’s hungover couch day TV at its best, just likeable characters, great stories and ridiculous side-plots featuring exploding muffin baskets. Celebrities such as Nathan from Wavves and Bethany from Best Coast are fans. Admittedly they live together and smoke quite a lot of weed, but still. You’re missing out.