No doubt about it, the 90s were one awesome yet disturbing decade for kids’ TV. When you’re a kid, feral animals running a television network and horrific conjoined cats and dogs seem totally normal (CatDog, we’re looking at you). It’s only when you grow up and re-watch old intros that you realise...that was one hot mess of a decade (and humanity pretty much peaked with the Suzi's World).
Grab a Roll-Up, settle down and enjoy. Here are 22 of our fave kids' shows from the '90s.
Not only was Rugrats a kickass show, but critics have noticed it was WAY ahead of its time on issues like feminism and gender politics. Think about it: all the mums were professionals (Tommy's dad was the stay-at-home parent), Phil & Lil were the definition of gender fluidity, cross-dressing was common (and fun), and Angelica was a total badass.
The weirdest thing about this show was how you knew exactly what Pingu was saying, even though 90% of his vocab consisted of ‘mawp mawp!’
The Wild Thornberries
Just squeezing into the decade, it’s The Wild Thornberries, everyone’s favourite illustrated adventure family. Tim Curry’s laugh in this show is perhaps the greatest audio vibration ever picked up by human ears. If you want the next 4 minutes and 14 seconds to be as good as they possibly can be, watch this.
Hey Arnold! Arnold? Arrrrrnold!? They may not have been anatomically correct (there's a reason Arnold's nickname was Football Head), but out of all the Nickelodeon '90s froth, this show was one of the best. Good beat on that intro too.
Ahhhh! Real Monsters
On the one hand, great show. On the other, holy mother of hell. This thing scared the bejeeeeezus out of us growing up. We used to dream The Gromble was going to rise out of our toilet and murder the whole family (just us?). Consume at own risk.
Seriously, what even was this show.
Rocko's Modern Life
When you’re 10, you don’t know what a deus ex machina is. But we’re here to tell you—it’s bloody Captain Planet. We don’t know why the Planeteers even bothered trying to do anything themselves—they always needed to call CP in the last three minutes of the show, and he nuked the baddies every time. Just summon him at the start and go watch Ma-Ti play with his monkey (not a euphemism).
Basically raising an entire generation of Kiwi kids, no morning was complete without our daily ep of Suzi’s World. From te reo phrases to arts and crafts, there was nothing Suzi couldn’t do!
Twinky Winky jokes aside, we all fantasised about what tubbie toast would taste like. Whether we grew up to don a fabulous red bag, wear outrageous hats or become a clean freak like Noo-noo (yes, that was an actual name) there’s no denying we were obsessed.
Jason Gunn And Thingee
Who can forget funny Jason Gunn and faithful puppet thingee traumatising a generation, when poor Thingy’s eye pooped out. Oops!
We have The Wiggles to thank for laying the essential groundwork for when it came time to sit our drivers. Who knew a couple ‘toot’s’ and ‘chuggas’ in the big red car would make all the difference? Least we forget Dorothy the Dinosaur, Captain Feather Sword and Henry the Octopus. Wake up, Jeff!
Everyone's favourite anthropomorphic aardvark was all the rage in the '90s.
Magic School Bus
If there was something to discover, a trip on the magic school bus would talk you there. Setting up unrealistic expectations for school life since the ’94, we were all a little shocked to find Miss Frizzle wasn’t, in fact, our teacher.
Back in happier times, before the dreadful Peppa Pig was a thing, we woke up a little earlier to catch our favourite imaginative dinosaur. Always ending things with a great big hug and a kiss you’re kidding yourself if you think you didn’t love him.
With hands-down the most catchy theme song of the '90s, we’re convinced if released today it'd top the charts.
Thomas The Tank Engine
You know you were a Thomas fan when the Island of Sodor was at the top of your travel wish list. In between raiding our local Warehouse or Farmers to complete your train set, we were glued to the TV to follow along with his adventures with Percy and James. Warning: watching the above will cause you to realise their faces don’t move. Mind-blowing.
Bananas In Pajamas
So turns out Banana’s wearing PJ’s, with three bears and a rat who all live on ‘Cuddles Avenue’ could result in a childhood phenomenon. Who knew?
Image credit: Suzi's World