If you’re a pretty nerdy thing of a “certain age,” you grew up with Nickelodeon. In the book Slimed, Matthew Klickstein provides an oral history from the actors, executives, and creative minds behind shows such as Doug, Rugrats, Ren and Stimpy, and the Adventures of Pete and Pete.
The book primarily focuses on the earliest of years in Nickelodeon. Anything after about 1993 is only covered in one chapter, called The End of an Era. 90s kids will feel vindicated in regard to how the network has changed, and what it was before- a scrappy underdog making art for art’s sake. Essentially, Nickelodeon sold out.
If you’re looking for the seedy underbelly of Nickelodeon, you’re not really going to find it. You won’t find a ton of drug addicted child stars, sexual harassment, and internal fighting in these pages. Only one chapter- the one on controversy, focuses on some of the negative aspects, such as the issues surrounding Ren and Stimpy's content and inability to stay on schedule.
The oral history format is cleverly edited so that people can appear to reply to one another- a remark about one actor’s mother is replied to by that actor, for example. There is also a delightful “whatever happened to her” aspect to hearing about the actors- well, mostly delightful. Pete and Pete’s Ellen is now a doctor, by the way.
What makes this a good candidate for the Pretty Nerdy Book Club? A chapter called “Diversity” provides an interesting study about the female characters (though even they admit they were not very good on ethnic representation.) It is interesting to note how they consider diversity so many things.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who loved 90s Nickelodeon as kids. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll miss a time when a character like Artie, the Strongest Man in the World could exist in a children’s show.