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The FHM Throwback Machine: 6 Classic Nickelodeon Toons That Taught Us What We Know About Life

Everything our young selves needed to know about life, these classic Nickelodeon cartoons taught it to us!
by Camille Banzon | Oct 4, 2014
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There was a time in the late '90s and the early 2000s when cable television was all a 10-year-old could ask for inside a home—so long as it came with the bright orange glow of Nickelodeon.

Nick toons were a part of growing up for any kid starting to grow out their dolls and GI Joes, and were undergoing their prepubescent transformation. Every afternoon (or late night, without the parents knowing), we get the remote and glue our faces in front of the screen—better, certainly, with a tub of popcorn or a bag of chips on the side. Not only were these cartoons insanely fun, they also (quite sneakily) taught us The Secrets To Life.

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And that's exactly what we're going to talk about in this week's edition of FHM Makes You Feel #Tanders. Join us as we remember those innocent, golden days filled with juice boxes and premature zit-popping and whack toons starring football-head-shaped kids, safari families, and real monsters!


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The Set-Up: This nomadic, free-spirited family gave us a peek at how science can inspire a living with their wildlife filmmaking, result in endless run-ins with animals, and give you a crazy intelligent pet chimp named Darwin and a wacky, adopted jungle boy brother (voiced by a rock star).

The Life Lesson: It's possible to live life away from suburban comforts. But above all, if there’s one thing that this daring family taught us, it’s to love nature and respect every inch of it, especially the species we come across. Also, we knew that by following the lead, Eliza’s trail, we might just experience a fun day of being chased by a talking, venomous snake.

Fun fact: The Wild Thornberrys was the first 30-minute Nickelodeon toon to air; everything else before it was aired in 10 to 11 minutes per episode.


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The Set-Up: Who could forget how badass Otto, Twister, Reggie, and Squid were with their skateboards and surfboards? Aside from their unspeakable love for adrenaline and enthusiasm to skate within the fictional town of Ocean Shores, the gang taught us that a common passion can ignite long-lasting friendships.

The Life Lesson: Use metaphors when necessary. Tito, the trusty Shore Shack cook, gives little gems of wisdom with out-of-this-world analogies. Remember when he used a sea turtle to symbolize hard times between relationships? No? Well he said that “when the sea turtle retreats into its hardened shell, just give it time. It’ll show up…especially with some teriyaki barbeque chicken.”

Fun fact: The creators of the show say that Ocean Shores is modeled after Venice Beach in California; and the voice of Tito, Ray Bumatai, is a Hawaiian recording artist and a surfer. Now all his surf-inspired philosophies make more sense!

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The Set-Up: Mr. Football-head and all-around good guy, Arnold, always has an urge to do the right thing and solve problems even if it didn’t involve him as long as the world becomes a little peaceful, making him the best animated peg for any guy friend. You can probably relate when someone said they secretly wish they had Arnold’s crew: Gerald the loyal bro, Phoebe the bookworm, or Sid the punk.

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The Life Lesson: Don't discriminate! Imagine going to school with a bunch of crazy (and crazy-looking) friends and going home to a house filled with bizarre tenants. Hey! Arnold taught us how to deal with all kinds of people at a young age, and most importantly, how to love yourself and others around you even if you have a football-shaped head. You’d be lying if you said you didn’t want Arnold’s room with that sky roof.

Fun fact: Creator Craig Bartlett modeled his girl characters after the girls who liked and didn’t like him in school.

NEXT: A toon for girls...that we may have also secretly watched

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