I was a kid who grew up on television in the ’90s. From Rugrats to Alex Mack, there was something about Nickelodeon and the Disney channel that completely resonated with my younger self. So as I become nostalgic for some ’90s tv, I’d like to share with you some of my favorite shows from years past, shows that taught me valuable lessons about friendship, growing up and relationships.
1. As told by Ginger
This animated series followed middle schooler (and later a high schooler) named Ginger, who with the help of her friends, tries to become more than a social geek. What I loved about this show were the various deeper themes that the series tackled. For instance, in “Wicked Game”, Ginger’s two friends betray her after feeling jealousy toward her new boyfriend, Darren. In “And She Was Gone”, the staff and students at school think Ginger is depressed after she writes a disturbing poem. In the episode “No Hope For Courtney”, Carl’s pranks cause his teacher to retire. After she agrees to come back, Mrs. Gordon passes on. These were themes that allowed me, as a middle schooler, to really understand various emotions and situations and cope with anything that may happen in my life that may be hard. It allowed me to learn extremely valuable life lessons from Ginger and all her friends.
2. Lizzie McGuire
This show premiered on the Disney Channel in 2001. As I was in my prime tween years, Lizzie was my idol. I wanted to be Lizzie. She was all of us. Between her two best friends to her frenemy and even having a crush on the popular boy. Lizzie was me and I was Lizzie. (I still adore Hillary Duff).
Another animated program focused on six elementary school students and their interaction with other classmates and teachers. What I loved about the show is that it subtly depicted the larger theme of freedom. Most episodes involved one or more of the main six characters seeking a rational balance between individuality and social order. They are often defending their freedom against percieved threats by adults and school administrators or social norms. This show taught me a lot about society and friendship, specifically about loyalty.
4. The Magic School Bus
I was obsessed with this show. Every Saturday morning I would race downstairs, pour myself a massive bowl of cereal, and turn on The Magic School Bus. I loved that I was able to learn about a variety of topics and also be entertained. One of my favorite episodes comes in season 1. “Inside Ralphie”, was about the whole class going inside Ralphie when he falls ill. I remember being fascinated about what happens inside someone’s body when they were sick. It was the coolest way to learn about biology I had ever seen. And then there was Carlos!
Hey boy hey!
I have written about my love for the Rugrats (here). And my massive crush on Tommy Pickles. There are just so many lessons I learned from that show. Like what to do when I’m stressed, how to tell the truth, how to handle other people, how to get your parents off your back, the perfect way to confront a bully and that life isn’t always going to be easy (for a 2-year-old, Chuckie figured it out pretty quick). I also learned that I shouldn’t always worry about the future. All in all, Rugrats taught me how to be awesome!
These are just some of the myriad of shows I watched religiously as a child that taught me some valuable lessons. I’d love to hear from you. Are there any shows that you have watched and found yourself learning from, especially from your childhood? Any other ’90s shows I should write about? Please share in the comments below. Let’s continue this discussion about all the various shows that shaped your generation even if it wasn’t the ’90s. If you like this post please share it with all your friends and if you haven’t please subscribe to the blog and get instant updates straight to your inbox!
See you all next week!