Since the mere mention of Nickelodeon's 1990s shows tends to set off a tidal wave of incredible nostalgia, the network has officially decided to give the people what they want.
"The Splat," an entire block of programming devoted to Nickelodeon's '90s shows, debuts on TeenNick October 5 at 10 pm Eastern. The Splat will then continue to run all night, every night from 10 pm to 6 am. There will be themed weeks that hark back to Nickelodeon's original programming, such as the popular Halloween-themed "Nick or Treat" week. The Splat will feature reruns from a variety of shows, including: All That, The Angry Beavers, Are You Afraid of the Dark?, CatDog, Clarissa Explains It All, Hey Arnold!, Hey Dude, Kenan & Kel, The Ren & Stimpy Show, Legends of the Hidden Temple, Rocko’s Modern Life, Rugrats, Salute Your Shorts, and The Wild Thornberrys.
While TeenNick has run a similar block with "The '90s Are All That," the Splat will run longer, be much more comprehensive, and have more connection to the internet, from whence the nostalgia came.
The Splat will also have a heavy presence online
The block will be available on the Splat's website, and TeenNick senior vice president Keith Dawkins tells the A.V. Club that the network will depend on viewer feedback to determine which shows make cut. "It’ll all be based on what the audience tells us they want," Dawkins says, in a clear bid to send fans scrambling to start campaigns for their favorites.
There will even be an accompanying emoji keyboard, for all those who have felt limited in their texting by the lack of Angry Beavers emojis. (Note: We do not know at this time if Angry Beavers will be represented in the Splat's emoji keyboard. We can only hope.)
The Splat is riding a wave of '90s nostalgia — for Nick shows in particular
While the resurgence of '90s trends can be seen in the recent abundance of stretchy chokers, leggings, and John Stamos, Nickelodeon's programming has always been a linchpin for that nostalgia. Even just the tease of a possible '90s block earlier this month — despite any concrete information whatsoever on the channel — set the internet ablaze with speculation and excitement.
Cartoons like Rugrats, Hey Arnold!, and Aaahh!!! Real Monsters still have a hold on their now-adult fans thanks to their commitment to weaving more mature jokes into the wacky hijinks. Live-action show The Adventures of Pete & Pete has inspired live-action events to this day, where fans gather to share their love of the show with the stars themselves.
All That, a tween version of Saturday Night Live, inspired a sketch just this week, in which current SNL cast member Keenan Thompson and his former comedy partner Kel Mitchell appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon as their popular characters from the "Good Burger" sketches (and subsequent Nickelodeon movie). When Mitchell came onstage, he had to wait out a full 30 seconds of cheering before he delivered his iconic line, to yet more cheers: "Welcome to Good Burger, home of the Good Burger, can I take your order?"
Only time will tell if this enthusiasm will mean tangible success for Nickelodeon, but in a time in which there are infinite alternatives to cable subscriptions, the channel is smart to tap into its passionate internet fan base.
While nothing definitive has been shared about the particulars of how to access the Splat's website, it in all likelihood will be something like HBO Go, which requires a cable login. (Nickelodeon's parent company, Viacom, also has similar services available with MTV and Comedy Central.) This could cause Nickelodeon's young adult fans to opt in to a cable subscription — unless, of course, they're already using their parents' passwords.
Updated to reflect the announced slate of shows.