1. Uncle Phil was the voice of Shredder. James Avery, who played Will Smith’s tough loving uncle on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was actually responsible for voicing the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ arch nemesis, Shredder. Honestly, if you go back and watch episodes of the heroes in a half shell, you’ll distinguish Judge Philip Banks’ voice immediately and question your younger self’s recognition skills. Were we hard of hearing or completely oblivious? Matter of fact, that wasn’t the only startling voice-acting situation of the 90s. Did you also know that:
- Jaleel White played Steve Urkel on Family Matters and voiced Sonic on Sonic the Hedgehog.
- Scott Weinger played Steve Hale (D.J.’s boyfriend) on Full House and voiced Aladdin.
- Mark Hamill who played Luke Skywalker in Star Wars also provided the voice of the Joker on Batman: The Animated Series.
2. The innuendo in Rocko’s Modern Life. If you watched Rocko’s Modern Life as a child, I’m certain you were too youthful and naïve to fully appreciate the adult jokes and innuendo that the cartoon was chock-full of. If you browse the web, you’ll find an abundance of clips displaying questionable grown-up content that found its way into a children’s series. For example, check out this clip below. Rocko, who gets a job as a “Casualty Phone Operator” unenthusiastically repeating the phrase, “Oh, baby” to the person on the other end of the line. Not to mention the signs in the background that say, “One-on-one HOTLINE” and “Remember: be hot, be naughty, be courteous.”
3. Barney was black. Not that his race is of any great importance, but this I found fascinating. I mean, come on — you can’t convince me that you ever even considered that it was a black guy underneath that suit. Yep, African American was the big purple dinosaur who we loved to sing along with until second/third grade-ish when the older kids started saying it was lame, so we only watched it isolated and in the privacy of our own home.
4. Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers used another show’s fight scenes. The unsuited, American actors and actresses we saw on our TV screens were legit, but the action packed, colorfully suited, whoop-ass machines were NOT. Get this; they used the stock footage from a Japanese series for a large portion of those episodes, dubbing our cast’s voices over and making it look somewhat authentic. If you re-watch the series now (which I highly recommend if you need a good laugh), you’ll spot some blatant evidence. For one, Trini, the Yellow Ranger is a dude in the Japanese version, which is why he isn’t wearing a skirt like the Pink Ranger. Also there are times where clips show herds of Japanese people in Japan, scattering away from monsters — then poorly edited cutaways displaying close-ups of Americans running away in what’s clearly a different location and scenery.
5. Space Jam had a Pulp Fiction reference. At one point in the movie, Yosemite Sam and Elmer Fudd — sporting black suits while the Pulp Fiction theme plays briefly in the background — shoot out the teeth of one of the opponent Monstars. As a kid, I foolishly assumed that they were imitating Men In Black (which didn’t come out until the next year). Regardless, it’s pretty splendid that they managed to fit such a classic adult movie reference into a 90s children’s film.
6. Helga from Hey Arnold had an alcoholic mother. If you have a way, I recommend playing back every episode of Hey Arnold and focusing a great deal of your attention to Helga’s mama. It’s so Everclear that she’s slammered. How can I tell?
- She slurs her words.
- She’s always using blenders to make her “smoothies” which were likely spiked with some moonshine.
- She falls asleep in random places that a sober person wouldn’t lay their head to rest.
- There’s an episode where it’s said that she had her license revoked, and was required to do some type of community service. *cough*DUI *cough*
7. Alanis Morissette and Dave Coulier (Joey Gladstone from Full House) got freaky in a movie theater. That’s right, folks — Alanis’ song titled “You Oughta Know” is in all likelihood about her past relationship with Coulier. Fifteen years her elder, Dave wanted to start a family but that feeling wasn’t mutual. The two split but Joey Gladstone moved on too hastily for Morissette who sang the lyrics:
Did you forget about me Mr. Duplicity
I hate to bug you in the middle of dinner
It was a slap in the face how quickly I was replaced
Are you thinking of me when you fu-k her?
That’s all angry and awesome but the really fantastic part is when she says:
An older version of me
Is she perverted like me
Would she go down on you in a theatre?
Wow, right? All that time we though Uncle Jesse was the ladies man when really it was Gladstone knocking boots with a beloved celebrity singer.
8. Marlon Wayans almost played Robin. Yeah, like Batman’s sidekick, Robin. I already know you’re not going to believe me, so just Google it and see for yourself. Shockingly, Marlon Wayans, the hilarious Wayans Brother known for his goofy antics, was going to fulfill the role of Batman’s sidekick. He didn’t get cast in Batman Returns because of a character overload and he missed out on Batman Forever because of a change in Director, yet he was still paid for the role. That means that someone paid Wayans a check (probably hefty) to do absolutely nothing. I don’t think anyone can honestly say that they wouldn’t watch a Batman film starring Marlon.
9. Animaniacs made the most inappropriate joke in cartoon history.
I can’t even say anything, just watch it until you comprehend the joke and realize that it is in fact the most inappropriate 37 seconds in the history of children’s television.