Monday, October 16, 2006

Nick Holiday

This past weekend, my family and I travelled to Chicago to visit family and celebrate the birthdays of two of my nephews (one of which is my godson - my only chance to be Vito Corleone).

The whole family decided to find birthday presents together and went to a local Target store to hunt them down. We were browsing through their toy section which was located dangerously close to their music section.

While my wife and my two daughters were "oohing" and "aahing" down the Barbie aisle together, I took my son and quickly cruised through the music section, intent on purchasing nothing - ain't that always the case?

Like a moth drawn to a flame, I found their newly installed Christmas music section. While I thumbed through the CDs, my son thumbed through a section as well.

Suddenly, I heard him cry "SPONGEBOB! FAIRLY ODDPARENTS!" I immediately thought he was looking at the toy section across the aisle.

"DAD! LOOK! IT'S A NICK HOLIDAY!" This was screamed so loud that people as far away as Egypt were calling in and asking us to keep that kid quiet.

My son thrust the CD you see before you into my hands and immediately ran back across the aisle to tell his sisters and my wife who was sure to kill me. The feeling in my arm still hasn't returned where she slugged me after I laid the CD onto the cashier's belt.

When I was a kid, cable didn't exist. Some of you may be shocked at that statement. Those of us over 35 can remember when there were only four channels on our supersized 28" TV screen with the bunny ear antennas.

Thank goodness for PBS. They began broadcasting children's programming aimed towards us: Sesame Street, Zoom, and The Electric Company. What a way to grow up!

Today, we have cable and satellite TV services. Spin the dial and you'll find around 15 kid networks out there. Case in point: our satellite dish just started offering BabyFirst TV, the first 24/7 channel devoted to babies six months to three years old!

Nickelodeon (<-- we have that bookmarked on our computer!) began broadcasting in 1979 and made a name for itself in the mid-1980s by featuring programming for kids that often featured green slime being poured onto something or someone. Around 1986, they began their successful Nick At Nite programming, showcasing classic sitcoms and TV shows from the past. This proved so successful that a whole new channel was created for programming of this ilk and it was named... you guessed it... TVLand.

At the beginning of the 1990s, Nick forever changed cartoons when they began airing NickToons such as "Rugrats", and the immortal "Ren & Stimpy Show". Happy happy, joy joy, happy happy, joy joy... Adolescent scatological humor and double entendres finally found its way into cartoons. This led to many other kid appealing cartoons such as "Doug", "Hey Arnold", "Rocko's Modern Life", and "Blue's Clues".

Around the time my son was born in 1999, Nick began broadcasting a particularly unusual character hailing from the mythical town of Bikini Bottom. We watched and we were hooked on SpongeBob. Shortly thereafter, "The Fairly OddParents" became another favorite as well as "Dora The Explorer", "Go Diego Go", and the newest favorite in our household "The Backyardigans".

This CD released last year (how did I miss this one?) takes all the Christmas related songs sung on various Nick shows into one handy compilation. From the very first track - "The Very First Christmas" by the cast of "SpongeBob SquarePants", you're taken on a fun ride through the whole lineup of cartoons.

My personal favorite is "Christmas Everyday" by the cast of "The Fairly OddParents", a fun tune that debates a question I ask myself frequently.

As for the rest of the songs, I can't tell you much... my kids grabbed the disc out of my hands last night and I haven't gotten it back yet. I suspect I'll be hearing it around bed time as my kids drift off into dreamland.

On to the next new Christmas CD in my collection...


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