Nickelodeon has been responsible for many of our childhood memories: those early Saturday mornings catching up on The Fairly Odd Parents, or the nights we creeped ourselves out over re-runs of Are You Afraid Of The Dark? It was a channel that kids tuned into for some of the best and wackiest entertainment – from random, zany cartoons to slime-filled family game shows.
Sadly, Nickelodeon has also had their share of blunders from time to time, ranging from the disappointingly mediocre to the just downright embarrassing. Whether this be a new-generation barrage of live-action high school comedies, a CGI-fest of screeching misfits, or launching a certain Youtube star into televised infamy, it’s plain to see that some of the network’s decisions have left their audience scratching their heads and – due to some of their newer creations in past years – lose faith in the channel altogether.
Here are the now-cancelled shows that have not only marked the gradual decline in Nickelodeon’s programs in recent times, but have also shown that maybe its “golden years” of our childhood were not as pristine as many may make them out to be.
Here are the 15 Worst Nickelodeon Shows You Have Probably Forgotten About.
15. Mr. Meaty
Remember that show about two muppet fast-food workers that induced enough nightmare fuel to scar your childhood? If you’ve buried the haunting memory up until this point, you’re welcome for the reminder.
Mr. Meaty was a comedy series about two teenage slackers who worked at a soul-sucking food court, played by a cast of ghastly-looking puppets. This was probably the audience’s greatest gripe regarding the series – its incredibly unattractive character design.
To its credit, the series did have a unique aesthetic and feel, though for a network dedicated to young viewers, it garnered quite a more unsettled — rather than approving — response. The writing also had its moments of “so bizarre it’s entertaining” situations on occasion, though many were also often grotesque and crude, usually falling back on low-brow fart jokes and gross-out comedy.
Being a series of already freakish physical appearances, its combination with this category of humor did not fare well for the show. Criticized for its vulgarity, Mr. Meaty was eventually cut from the network after a short-lived run of only 20 episodes.
14. The X’s
If the concept of a crime-fighting family attempting to conceal their identities from the real world sounds like an awfully familiar narrative, it’s because most of us have already seen this story before. Done better, in fact – by Pixar Animations. Ever watched The Incredibles?
The X’s does such a meager job of breaking any new ground, that it’s no wonder the series was cancelled after only 20 episodes. Despite having a couple of renowned voice actors under their belt – Tom Kane and Patrick Warburton – the show couldn’t save itself from its tiring collection of corny jokes and boring, flash-animated art style.
On top of all that, a frequent complaint from most watchers was that its premise was highly unoriginal – seeming like a bargain-bin rip-off of Pixar’s The Incredibles, except the family are a bunch of spies and they don’t have an awesome shape-shifting baby.
While this Nick animation definitely wasn’t the worst of the worst, it wasn’t that great to by remembered by many, either.
13. Butt Ugly Martians
Butt Ugly Martians was a strange, short-lived CGI-animated series about three blue aliens on a mission to invade other planets for their evil Emperor, Bog. Finding themselves on the planet Earth, they become accustomed to the culture of Americans and begin slacking off on their duties.
The concept of the series could have made for some entertaining television, sure. However, Michael Train’s creation was just another typical case of “interesting premise, botched execution,” as the actual show itself was no more than a desperate mess of dim-witted silliness – whether this be in the character personalities, the storylines, or musical numbers, including the weary theme song itself.
What many viewers tend to point out in their criticisms is the undoubtedly shabby animation and style, which featured awkwardly rigid character movements, poor editing, and dead-eyed, wooden expressions. The overall aesthetic of the series seemed to have more of a likeness to a student art project, rather than a professionally produced cartoon for a popular children’s network. They stuck true to their title, at least.
The show, ultimately, had the great run of only three months on air, and was cancelled after only 26 episodes.
12. Sanjay and Craig
Writers for many of the animations on this list seem to have the notion that potty jokes are the highest form of comedy, given that so many of the shows mentioned have their episodes slathered with such material.
Of course, we have seen a few animations in the past that have actually managed to pull this type of humor off – Ren and Stimpy, to name a notable one – but this same material in Sanjay and Craig sadly comes off as just desperately crude, lacking much of the entertainment its better-done predecessors had, at the very least.
A show about a boy named Sanjay and his pet snake Craig, the cartoon relied on an overbearing amount of content involving snot, poop, farts, and vomit to generate laughs – and more than a few audiences found themselves sickened by the staggering number of gross-out visuals and storylines.
In all fairness, that’s not to say that the show didn’t find itself a market that actually appreciated this type of comedy, as it actually ran for three seasons, with 60 episodes in total. However, it currently stands on user ratings of 4.6/10 on IMDb and an even lower score of 4.4 on TV.com.
11. How To Rock
How to Rock was Nickelodeon’s attempt to cash in on a more musically-inclined live-action sitcom, featuring an aspiring popstar named Kacey Simon, played by singer-songwriter, Cymphonique Miller.
Our story begins in a high school, where a once-popular mean girl named Kacey gets kicked out of her former girl band (labeled “The Perfs”) for wearing braces and a pair of glasses. That is, indeed, its ridiculously shallow premise – and one can only imagine the effect this would have on the young female viewers who sport that particular image.
The storyline gets only more cheesy and superficial as Kacey fights to regain her former popular status, joining another band named “Gravity 5” as she forms a rivarly against The Perfs. Granted, the cast does have musical talent, but is sadly overshadowed by the cliched and predictable writing.
The series also features your typical, cookie-cutter stereotypes – ranging from the token dumb blonde to the good-looking, vain male lead.
Overall, the show did not garner the appeal it needed to stay on air, getting the boot in the same year of its release.
10. Planet Sheen
Nickelodeon fans from back in the day will remember one of the network’s greatest animated hits, Jimmy Neutron.
As a show revolving a boy genius and his mechanical canine, the sci-fi adventure series took its watchers on a 20-minute rollercoaster ride of alien invasions, otherwordly explorations, and robots on the quest to destroy their little Texan city of Retroville.
The creators of Jimmy Neutron truly struck gold with such a well-written animation of clever jokes and engaging character development – though their depressing spin-off series, Planet Sheen, was a completely different story.
Planet Sheen essentially took everything that made its predecessor work, booting it straight to the nearest trash bin in favor of B-grade versions of its beloved characters (namely Sheen and Carl, the latter of whom shows up as a green alien in this show), an absurdly dumbed-down script, and a grating theme song that sounded like it only took seconds to create lyrics to (“dogs like cheese, cows like monkeys” is only a tiny excerpt of this cringe-worthy tune).
It goes without saying that anyone who was looking for a Jimmy Neutron throwback is definitely not going to find it with this one.
9. Fanboy and ChumChum
Fanboy and Chumchum was another brightly-colored CGI-fest that featured two male boys dressed as superheroes who went around causing mayhem for everyone in their town.
This typical formula would work well for a kids’ show – when done right, that is. Audiences have seen it reach great success with shows like SpongeBob SquarePants and Disney Channel’s Phineas and Ferb.
Unfortunately for this one, the concept crashed, burned, and got torn apart by numerous of its network viewers who weren’t of kindergarten age and below. With a 3.2/10 rating on IMDb and a 2.6/10 on TV.com, reviewers panned the series for being a hodgepodge of crude toilet jokes, irritating characters, and obnoxious screeching that was more than likely to have parents doing the same.
Surprisingly enough, the series did gain a bit of positive reception on the side – with some critics praising the show for being “fun” and commenting on its quality animation (which it was able to snag a few Emmy nominations for).
However, they still don’t save the series for being one of the more grating cartoons to have aired on the network.
8. Glenn Martin DDS
After Bill Cosby’s bland animation Fatherhood flopped on Nick at Nite, the network decided to try their hand at another animated series with the stop-motion “family” adventure that was Glenn Martin DDS.
With a show about a dentist taking his family on a cross-country trip, the creators decided to follow in the footsteps of Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim, and attempted to steer the show into a more adult territory.
The series was thus given a good amount of raunch, both in the humor and visuals. One of the most notable running gags involved a gross (and frankly, unnecessary) focus on the family dog’s anus, which got itself involved in its own number of inappropriate hijinks.
Sadly, Glenn Martin became known (during its short-lived time on the air) for primarily just that: a sardonically crass Nick ‘toon that did little to bring in the laughs. Topping off its limp, desperate jokes was even a typical sitcom laugh track, that – if anything – only blatantly pointed out the flaws in its writing.
With a 48/100 rating on Metacritic and a 3.1 user rating on TV.com, the show was pulled off the network after two lifeless seasons.
7. The Breadwinners
The Breadwinners, an animated series featuring two best-friends – anthropomorphic ducks – who deliver bread for a living, has a premise that surprisingly sounds less bizarre than what the cartoon actually delivers.
As a hyperactive, juvenile rollercoaster of absurd shenanigans, each episode has its constant share of bad puns, overdone and overused butt jokes, and, strangely enough, stock images in place of various animated objects or characters.
The concept itself is unoriginal, once again playing on the “two buddies who go on insane, illogical adventures” trope, but carries it with obnoxious randomness that lack any wit or comic ingenuity.
It also doesn’t help that the design of the characters themselves look nothing like ducks, and that the series would often burst into hip-hop-style musical numbers that sound more repetitively annoying rather than entertaining.
With all that said, The Breadwinners, needless to say, was one of Nickelodeon’s weakest productions, with Tom Conroy of Media Life Magazine describing it as “too noisy and violent for little kids,” “too stupid for big kids,” and “too hectic for the stoner niche of the Adult Swim audience.”
6. The Brothers Flub
The Brothers Flub was one of Nickelodeon’s animated creations from the 1990’s – a flop that proves the era might not be as stellar as nostalgia would have you to believe.
An easily forgettable series, the cartoon takes place in outer space, centering on the lives of two alien brothers, Guapo and Fraz Flub, who venture the galaxies as interdimensional couriers. The two frequently get into a number of outrageous hijinks together, taking place in a number of different planets with unique, yet bizarre themes.
The show was panned by both critics and Nickelodeon fans alike for a number of reasons. Many picked apart the weak character designs, while others pointed out the lack of charm or wit among the protagonists (in comparison to other Nick hits like Aaahh!!! Real Monsters), making their energetic personalities more annoyingly hyperactive, rather than entertaining.
Evan Levine of the Lakeland Ledger also mentioned how the show’s wacky humor was often overshadowed by blatant mean-spiritedness, stating that this could possibly send a negative message to its targeted demographic of young children.
On top of that, the plots were frequently predictable and un-intriguing – not leaving much for audiences to remember.
5. Talia in the Kitchen
Talia in the Kitchen was yet another one of Nickelodeon’s “tween” dramedies that was just as uninteresting as the title sounds. With a premise that focused on a 14-year old with a passion for cooking, attempting to revive her family’s restaurant business with the help of “magical” spices, the series delivered little more than sub-par acting from its teenage protagonists, with underwhelming attempts at comedy.
Having an already predictable, lazily written script, its young stars sadly didn’t offer much to save the doomed series, carrying it with the hammy-acted performances of a bad school play. It seems that the creators relied on the exaggerated movements, facial expressions, and slapstick antics of the actors to create humor – though sadly and unsurprisingly it failed in that respect.
To top it off, for teenage characters, they acted and behaved in ways that were often unrelatable for their targeted demographic, with one particular critic (Youtube’s “PhantomStrider”) describing them as being too “agonizingly happy.” A term, which – let’s face it – was pretty much foreign to most of us at that age.
With all its flaws, at least audiences can applaud the series for one thing: ditching that insufferable laugh track.
AwesomenessTV started out as a Youtube Channel that focused on the creation of “comedic” web series and sketches, carried out by various young actors – many of whom started out on the video-sharing platform themselves.
The show itself managed to garner millions of subscribers, and eventually moved to an even greater platform for their content: Nickelodeon. With a longer-form, television series, AwesomenessTV continued to provide audiences with the same material it produced in the online world… and failed embarrassingly.
With awful editing, direction, and an overabundant, obnoxious shower of laugh tracks, the series induced more cringe than the entertaining hilarity it was going for. The jokes, parodies, and sketch antics were sad to watch – with punchlines that frequently didn’t land or even had any comedic substance to begin with.
Much of the material was often followed with canned laughter, which only highlighted the show’s miserable attempt at humor. On top of that, there was an overlay of audience screeches after every title transition, which of course, grew tiring after a couple of uses.
The series was pulled off the air after two seasons, and should probably stick to creating content for Youtube.
3. Marvin Marvin
Marvin, Marvin was Lucas Cruikshank’s attempt to portray a more subdued – yet still, slightly slapstick – character for a typical Nickelodeon tween sitcom.
Veering off from his high-pitched, hyperactive Fred legacy, Cruikshank stars as an alien named Marvin in this series, who gets adopted by your everyday, American suburban family after being dropped onto Earth when his planet came under attack.
Very well-deserving a place on this list, Marvin, Marvin was nothing more than a lazily written, painfully unclever mess of cliche’d characterizations, butt jokes (Marvin’s ears are in his rear, ha ha!), and embarrassingly absurd antics involving even more toilet humor.
Needless to say, the show sadly did some irreparable damage to Cruikshank’s acting career, and the “comedic” writing was too dumb to keep even its demographic entertained. It got the axe after 19 episodes – though how it even got nominated for a Kid’s Choice or Young Artist award was a greater mystery than the initial green-light itself.
2. Nick Studio 10
With all the fervid hate and backlash collected during its run, to say that Nick Studio 10 was a bad network decision would be a grand understatement.
More of a programming block rather than an actual show, Nick Studio 10 was a painfully unfunny and unentertaining experience for viewers, featuring skits and stunts performed by four teenagers who managed to stain their “comedic” careers before they even began.
Their segments heavily focused on juvenile antics and random sketches, one of which was their infamous music video, “Fart in a Jar”, and number of exploits that featured heavy food wastage – a prominent criticism of many offended viewers.
To make matters worse, the program would frequently interrupt actual Nickelodeon shows to insert a nonsensical three-second video clip – be it of dancing robot toys or a cat on a vaccuum cleaner.
As if their reptutation couldn’t damage itself any further, however, the block gained quite the level of internet heat for constantly snapping at angry network fans on social media, along with blatantly claiming themselves as superior to another (poorly-rated) sketch show on Cartoon Network, Incredible Crew.
The unsuccessful show was cancelled after only five months on air.
1. Fred: The Show
If you were ever a fan of the original Fred Youtube series – or were familiar with it, at the very least – this unfortunate Nickelodeon blunder may not be as easy to forget.
Lucas Cruikshank, creator of the Youtube Channel Fred, made his mark in the internet sphere with his entertainingly bizarre character: six-year old Fred Figglehorn. His videos centered around various dysfunctional home issues regarding Fred, and was best known for his trademark digitized voice, frantic jump-cuts, and overactive antics.
It wasn’t long before Nickelodeon picked up on Cruikshank’s success and decided to bring his Youtube creation to everyone’s televisions screens, to the dismay and disappointment of many.
Despite its success on the video-sharing platform, Fred: The Show failed miserably as a regular TV sitcom. Those who didn’t find the excitable character all that engaging to begin with only grew more weary of his hijinks, while those who were fans of the original series found the show to have poor acting, weak plots, and an excessive, tired serving of Cruikshank’s schtick.
The show was ruthlessly panned by most, and was pulled off the air after one season.
What were some other Nickelodeon shows that you regretted watching as a kid? Let us know in the comments below!
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