There once was a time when Gen-Y anticipated the weekend for reasons other than getting plastered, sloppily making out with strangers, and spending the entirety of their paycheck in a blacked-out haze. In simpler times, the weekend meant two things: TGIF and SNICK.

These two giants of childhood entertainment were vastly different in content, but the passion they evoked from the ‘90s child is worthy of examination. Let’s break down the minutiae of each lineup in order to declare one, ‘The Best Fuckin’ Line Up for Kids, Ever.’ (They don’t make lineups for kids anymore, right? Can you tell that the prospect of getting to know What Modern Children Like is one I’m decidedly wary of? Good.)

The Name

Contrary to popular belief, ‘TGIF’ actually stood for ‘Thank Goodness It’s Funny’ within the context of the lineup, not ‘Thank God It’s Friday.’ SNICK was short for ‘Saturday Night Nickelodeon.’ There’s really no disputing that ‘TGIF’ became part of the elementary school lexicon. All of us have a Facebook friend that still updates their status every week, “TGIF11!!!!! OMG!!” Also, ‘Saturday Night Nickelodeon’ screams, “We didn’t try very hard, because you’re going to watch it anyway.” TGIF wins this round.

TGIF – 1 SNICK – 0


At the end of the ‘80s (when TGIF began its run), 53 million households had basic, basic cable. Mine was not one of them. Basic cable is commonplace now, but it wasn’t ‘a thing’ for middle class families back in the day. It was more likely that you had 1-2 houses of refuge to sneak off to when you needed a taste of paid-for programming. I could only watch SNICK if we were visiting my aunt in New Jersey or if I was having a sleepover at a well-to-do friend’s place. By the time I got cable, I was too busy eating TGIFriday’s at the mall every waking second to care about what was on TV. Conversely, TGIF was a product of ABC – as long as your antennae was in working order, you could watch it.

TGIF – 2 SNICK – 0

Best Opening Theme

The TGIF opening theme was so insanely ‘90s – fluorescent and visually jarring (in a good way, if that’s possible). The song was pretty memorable, too: ‘It’s Friday night/and the mood is right/we’re gonna have some fun/show you how it’s done/TGIF.’

The SNICK opening theme relied on the mischievous Big Orange Couch that would show up at a kid’s house and be like, “Yo, sit on my lap; let’s watch some SNICK.” The kids (and dogs) that sat on The Big Orange Couch would get ‘charged’ by the ‘current of cool’ that was a byproduct of watching SNICK (and having cable); braces illuminated and hair erect with static electricity.

While TGIF’s theme was designed to appeal to a broad demographic, SNICK’s pandered to kids. It was aspirational, and it made me have wet dreams about owning cable television and orange couches.

TGIF – 2 SNICK – 1

Best Forgotten Show

Both TGIF and SNICK underwent several programming changes throughout the years – it’s difficult to recall every single program that landed a coveted spot in each respective lineup. Representing the TGIF lineup in the Best Forgotten Show category is 1997’s Teen Angel, the story of a high school kid (Corbin Allred AKA Young Lad in Robin Hood: Men In Tights) whose friend Marty died after eating a six-month-old hamburger. Marty rejoins the living in the form of a dimwitted-but-hot guardian angel.

SNICK’s Best Forgotten Show, Roundhouse, was a musical sketch comedy. The opening credits were vaguely reminiscent of The Real World: New York‘s. If RENT and In Living Color had an illegitimate baby, Roundhouse would be that love child. Enjoying four seasons, Roundhouse was definitely the more prolific of the two forgotten shows, winning this category.

TGIF – 2 SNICK – 2

Melissa Joan Hart vs. Melissa Joan Hart

From 1991-1994, MJH played Clarissa Darling on Clarissa Explains It All, the first show on the original SNICK lineup. Clarissa was the coolest bitch alive. She could rock a multi-patterned outfit like no other. She also made the score of a lifetime in befriending perfectly coiffed dreamboat Sam. His mere presence prompted phantom guitar riffs, that’s how much of a ladder-climbing babe he was. Clarissa broke the fourth wall on a regular basis and battled her demons via computer game, lovable ’90s minx that she was.

In an odd turn of events, MJH later joined TGIF’s lineup in 1996 with Sabrina, the Teenage Witch. It was an okay show, but it was no match for Clarissa. For one thing, Harvey Kinkle couldn’t hold a candle to Sam, and for another – what in the fuck was up with Salem? I love cats, but even I couldn’t digest an animatronic puppet disguised as a household pet. Salem looked like a summer camp project that involved papier-mâché and a shitload of black pipecleaners.

TGIF – 2 SNICK – 3

Strongest Premiere Lineup

Finally, let’s review the original lineups for each block of shows. A point will be awarded for each memorable show.

The first TGIF lineup: Perfect Strangers, Full House, Mr. Belvedere, Just the Ten of Us (3/4 – What is Just the Ten of Us? When did that exist?)

The first SNICK lineup: Clarissa Explains It All, Roundhouse, The Ren & Stimpy Show, Are You Afraid of the Dark (3/4 – Roundhouse was awesome, but I did proclaim it Best Forgotten Show about five seconds ago)

Final Total: TGIF – 5 SNICK – 6

SNICK reigns supreme. And just think, it’d be a different world had anyone bothered to watch Just the Ten of Us! TC mark


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  • sarahrice

    “just the ten of us” was a spin-off from ‘growing pains’ (i think). it was about a schlubby football coach with 8 pretty daughters…. 

    • AdolfHipster

      Correct. It was on from ’88-’90 and was basically a vehicle for stand up comic/character actor Bill Kirchenbauer (the schlubby football coach). Also starring Heather Langenkamp of Nightmare on Elmstreet fame.

  • Elle

    I have an undying love for SNICK.

  • Greg

    I didn’t have cable growing up, so TGIF was the go to always

  • Bonaccis

    boy meets world is the most talked about show from our youth. that alone makes TGIF win 

  • EP

    How could you hate on TEEN ANGEL?! Loved that show. But SNICK reigns supreme in my heart, regardless.

    • Stephanie Georgopulos

      I promise I don’t hate it! When I found it while doing research I was like :O LOVED THAT SHOW! But I loved Roundhouse, too. Seems like more people liked it based on ratings.

  • Marianna Elvira

    I’m sorry but Sabrina Spellman is my love and Salem is my spirit animal.

  • Shwax

    You can’t mention TGIF and not mention Boy Meets World. On the flip side, late 90’s SNICK included shows like All That, Alex Mack, Pete & Pete and various awesome original nicktoons.  That said, SNICK’s lineup had a lot less consistency year-to-year and despite how great many of the shows were, Boy Meets World is widely considered the ultimate 90s show. 30 years down the road, Generation Yers will barely remember TGIF, Snick and most of these shows, but I would be willing to bet that BMW will still be remembered.

    • Stephanie Georgopulos

      I didn’t want to get too deep with the shows because a lot of them were ‘too big’ to be compared to one another, I think you’re right about BMW and of course, Full House. Mr. Belvedere and Perfect Strangers were also very near and dear to me. On the flipside, I think I’ll always remember All That, shit was like SNL for kids… and Are You Afraid of the Dark, and Ren & Stimpy. Both lineups had some kick ass, classic shows.

      I think BMW probably deserves its own piece, though.

  • Anonymous

    As a child, I always secretly looked forward to 20/20 after I had my age-appropriate TGIF fun.

    • Stephanie Georgopulos

      DAMMIT! I meant to include ‘Best aftershow,’ in which case we would’ve had a tiebreaker round. I feel a follow up coming on. 

  • Michael Koh


  • Lauren Doster Magruder

    I’d say SNICK would win out easily if it weren’t for Family Matters and Hangin’ with Mr.Cooper. But since I still have my SNICK keychain I won from a cereal box in 1992, I think that shows where my patriotism lies.  I’m glad you didn’t forget about Roundhouse either, I still want the motorized La Z Boy :)

  • newbornrodeo

    you have to compare the best TGIF lineup to the best Snick lineup.

    Boy Meets World, Family Matters, Step By Step, and something else.


    Alex Mack, All That, Kenan & Kel, and Are You Afraid of the Dark.

    Snick had Rugrats before (and Doug before that I think). TGIF had Wheel of Fortune before and 20/20 after. What a solid era for television programming. Not rivaled until VH1’s 2003-2005 revivalism that included classics such as I Love The ’80s, early Best Week Ever, and When _____ Ruled The World.

  • Cat

    They were both awesome.  Perfect Strangers was hilarious until I was old enough to know what was going on… same applies to Ren & Stimpy.

  • lauren

    this is the most important and relevant article that TC has ever published.

  • Andrew R.

    The only issue I had with TGIF was Step by Step which was painful to watch. I’d have to watch Barbizon commercials (which probably haunt television archives across the nation to this day) on UPN to bleach out the doofiness.

  • Anonymous

  • T.G.I.F. « alex eats green

    […] In elementary school, my principal would come over the loudspeaker and say “Good morning everyone and TGIF!”, and I would sit in my little desk, with my neon Lisa Frank pencil in hand and think: Yes, finally. It’s the day of the amazing cartoon scheduled line-up!  Doug. Rugrats. Legends of the Hidden Temple. Hey Arnold.  Too good to be true!  Now if only I could figure out what those letters stood for… […]

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