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.)
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!