Salute Your Shorts
I have never been to sleep-away camp. But from what I gathered by watching Salute Your Shorts there is a hierarchy: everyone with awesome nicknames like "Sponge" and "Donkeylips" will always be better than camp counselors named "Ug."
Also, if you're an adult and wearing a thick layer of sunscreen on your nose, you're probably a pedophile.
The Adventures of Pete & Pete
As a ginger kid, Pete & Pete exposed me to a world where grownups are blowholes and being a redhead means you can do any one of the following:
Start a radio station, find a superhero best friend, get a tattoo of a lady named "Petunia," scam your parents out of money, and sell the house because your older brother hung out with a girl instead of you.
I still carry these lessons with me today.
Kenan & Kel
Survival of the fittest is what I gathered from watching Kenan & Kel. Because their story reflects a tale of rivalry as old as time...
You're either the pretty friend or the smart friend, and never the twain shall meet. So, if you're a smarty pants, you'll have enough sense to harness your brain power and make your orange soda loving best friend into your devoted follower.
Victory shall be ours, my fellow nerds!!
Here's the thing about "friendly" competition. You know what you get if you lose? A shit colored medal.
While WINNERS reap all the benefits and a fresh slice of Aggro Crag glory!
They also probably get laid more frequently.
Are You Afraid of the Dark?
Sometimes I still have nightmares about that "Tale of the Pinball Wizard" episode. But this show taught me that if I ventured into the woods sans parents, I would only find massive bonfires and friends who would freely scare the shit out of me... Hooray!
Incidentally, you know who else formed a group and held meetings in the middle of the night next to a camp fire?
You're in a video game. No, you are a video game. Or, at least that's what Nick Arcade let kids do.
Just try not to make out with someone who says, "You know, I'm a character in a video game..." Just try.
By the way, did I mention that I'm a character in a video game? Want to buy me a drink?
The Secret World Of Alex Mack
My obsession with Alex Mack was not so much that she bathed in toxic waste and became a superhero, but more that she wore backwards caps and dressed like a boy and, well, so did I in the 90s.
Alex Mack: Making tomboys everywhere feel like we were better than you.
It's me, Doug Funnie! I may be a total loser and have a best friend who makes a "honk honk" sound when he gets nervous, but when I let my freak flag fly and put my tightie whities on over cargo shorts, I get all kinds of awesome.
The Guy Who Makes Being Awkward Seem Cool
Kids say a lot of stupid shit, but All That made me feel like I could rattle off any old nonsensical thing I wanted to and it would still be funny!
Like, "Please remove your banjo from my belly button," or "Hey! Stop licking my kangaroo!"
Oddly enough, this does not translate well into adulthood.
Clarissa Explains it All
Have an annoying little brother? Perfect! So did I!
And as Clarissa so aptly explained, it's our job to torment, belittle, and antagonize that little "Ferg-face" until they eventually lose all their will to live and become a bus driver.