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Quiet On the Set

The Dark Years of Nickelodeon

By Judith JaschaPublished 21 days ago 4 min read

A few weeks ago, I learned that ID was airing a documentary about Nickelodeon. As someone who grew up on Nick, I was eager to watch. In recent years, there have been a number of actors and actresses come forward with stories from there times with the network. After watching all four episodes, I was saddened to discover the terrible things that happened behind these shows that brought me so much joy as a kid. I admire those who were brave enough to share their stories.

Nickelodeon first hit the air in 1979. At the time, it was the first of its kind. Kids now had their own network made just for them. It began with educational programs, as well as old cartoons. The first huge success it had was when it started to show a popular Canadian show, "You Can't Do That on Television." This show would introduce kids everywhere to what would become Nickelodeon's trademark for the next forty-plus years, slime.

By the end of the eighties, Nickelodeon added the Nick Jr. for preschoolers and Nick @ Nite for adults. As the nineties began, it brought with it what would become known as the Golden Age of Nickelodeon. As I grew up during this time, I remember watching every block. In the morning, I loved Eureka's Castle and Sharon, Lois, and Bram's Elephant Show. In the afternoon, I loved Hey Dude and Salute Your Shorts. At bedtime, Nick @ Nite introduced me to classic sitcoms such as I Love Lucy and the Patty Duke Show.

As I got a little older, I became a huge fan of more teen shows such as All That, Kenan and Kel, and Drake and Josh. My Saturday nights were always spent sitting in my room eating pop corn and watching Snick. My favorite actors were Kel Mitchell and Drake Bell. I would laugh so hard at these sitcoms, and I loved every time Drake would pick up the guitar. Like many other viewers, I dreamed of going to Hollywood and being on these shows. They seemed to have so much fun. I wanted that life.

Ever since the early days of Hollywood, we have heard of ex child stars who were never able to bounce back once they outgrew the roles that had made them so famous. Sadly, many lives were cut short in incredibly tragic ways. Judy Garland, Bobby Driscoll, and Natalie Wood were popular in the forties and fifties. Years later, stories have come about at some of the mistreatments that were done to them. Garland was put on strict diet of pills, chicken soup, coffee, and cigarettes to stay awake. Driscoll, who was the inspiration of Disney's Peter Pan, was abruptly fired once he hit puberty. Natalie Wood would end up dying a very mysterious death that remains unanswered today.

In more recent years, we have seen so many actors and actresses that we grew up with fighting their own demons. Lindsey Lohan, Britney Spears, Amanda Bynes, only to name a few. For years, there have been speculation as to what caused these great falls from grace. Many times, it was thrown to them feeling desperate to break free from their childhood roles. Little did any of us realize that the reasons ran much deeper and darker.

In the past decade, rumors have begun to swirl about dan Schneider, who joined Nick in the nineties on All That. He would go on to produce some of Nick's most popular shows from the Amanda Show to Henry Danger. Jokes that were seen as funny as children are able to be seen in a different light as adults, many incredibly inappropriate. Alexa Nikolas first came out with stories of being bullied by castmates and crew on the show Zoey 101. But once Jeanette McCurdy from ICarly wrote her autobiography I'm Glad My Mom Died, people started talking, and listening.

A few weeks ago, I heard the Max was doing a documentary on Nickelodeon. I quickly decided to subscribe, and like millions of others throughout the country, I was glued to my screen during each episode. I was stunned and heartbroken to see actors, actresses, parents, and crew telling stories of mistreatment and abuse behind these most beloved shows. But what broke me the most was when Drake Bell came forward as a sexual assault victim. I watched his dad tell of trying to protect him, only to be ripped away from him.

These people who have come forward has shown great strength in telling their stories. They are the voice of so many victims who are unable to share their experiences. But also, in sharing, we are able to look at the way things have been, so that we can stop the cycle. It's so hard to look at these shows that have brought so much joy to so many over the years, knowing what these stars went through. I have to believe that when Nickelodeon was created so long ago, it was created with good intentions. However, there are those who saw an opportunity to take advantage of it. These people were beyond cruel and heartless. There are no words. Thank you to those who found the words.


About the Creator

Judith Jascha

Mom, sister, teacher, student, writer. I love to touch on all areas as I like to expose myself to new things. My goal is to use my experience to entertain and educate.

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Very well written. Keep up the good work!

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  1. Excellent storytelling

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Comments (3)

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  • Lamar Wiggins20 days ago

    Very informative and shocking! The grooming and exploitation of kids is senseless. I've watched of few of Nick's shows growing up and like you, thought how fun it would be to take part. This is a reminder that Hollywood isn't all what it's hyped up to be. Thank you for sharing.

  • L.C. Schäfer21 days ago

    We never had Nickelodeon. But we grew up watching Jim'll Fix It, so, similar. Something you enjoyed as a child and believed to be wholesome, completely ruined. 😫

  • Kendall Defoe 21 days ago

    I watched YCDTOT as a kid, but never had Nickelodeon (no chance with my family; no chance they would pay for cable). This is just a sad story all around and people should seriously think twice about what they want for their kids.

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