You don’t have to be a wild and crazy kid to enjoy reading “SLIMED! An Oral History of Nickelodeon’s Golden Age,” but it sure helps if you’re a member of The Midnight Society.
“Wild and Crazy Kids” garners much less ink than “Are You Afraid of The Dark?” in author Mathew Klickstein’s recollection of the kid-centric cable network’s early ’80s to mid-’90s heyday, which points to one hurdle for potential readers hoping to find all the backstage stories of their favorite Nick programs: there’s a solid chance that your favorite stars or shows aren’t heavily featured within the book’s 297 pages.
“I really wanted to hit on that, when it was (in) the real embryonic stages,” Klickstein said about the book’s focus.
Some shows get a lot of love and rightfully so — look no further than Buzzfeed to see just how much Millennials are still affected by “The Adventures of Pete and Pete,” “Clarissa Explains it All” and “The Ren & Stimpy Show,” — but that approach risks turning off anyone who’s a big fan of “All That,” “Legends of the Hidden Temple,” or “Hey Arnold!”
“SLIMED” is a quick and entertaining read for anyone who remembers playing with Gak or hoping to ascend the Aggro Crag.
His ambition is admirable. Rather than serve as a chronological retelling “SLIMED!” is divided into chapters about topics ranging from the shows’ shared aesthetic to the casts’ varying levels of ethnic diversity. The result is a collection of anecdotes and opinions, some fascinating and others superfluous, that ends up feeling like a giant kiddie pool: broad but never too deep.
Klickstein, who is admittedly at the mercy of whom he could interview (though the fact that he included contributions from almost 200 people is worth a gold star), appears to view the network as a collection of shows and pays little attention to actual infrastructure responsible for placing and keeping those shows on the air. “SLIMED!” is ultimately a nostalgia-filled love letter from a Nick kid to the rest of his generation, a kind mission that keeps a good and well-reported book from being great.