Mathew Klickstein hates inauthenticity. Not too long ago, he said, is when television was real. And great.
“The early ’90s was a tremendous time for television,” the author says. “The first few seasons of ‘The X-Files’? There’s nothing on TV that looked like that. They’re not even trying now.”
Klickstein takes issue with the assertion that we’re currently experiencing a golden age of television. He’s partial to the ’80s and early ’90s, which is the era he chronicled in “SLIMED! An Oral History of Nickelodeon’s Golden Age.”
During a free event billed as “Nick Nostalgia Night,” scheduled for 8 p.m. Tuesday at FilmScene in Iowa City, the author will share stories and provide commentary while screening classic programming from that period of the kid-centric cable network. Aside from the Mr. Tastee episode of “The Adventures of Pete and Pete,” Klickstein wouldn’t reveal which episodes will be shown or which Nick stars will be present via Skype.
“It’ll be an entertaining, amusing, nostalgic look at Nickelodeon,” Klickstein says. “When you watch it, you’ll get the full spectrum of what Nickelodeon was like in the ’80s or ’90s.”
For “SLIMED!,” the self-professed former “frothing fanboy” included interviews with almost 200 Nick-affiliated creatives and executives. Through the course of reporting the book, released in late 2013, Klickstein formed actual bonds with some of the people he’d grown up watching and admiring on the network.
Klickstein was candid about the bittersweet nature of nostalgia, even for Millennials hoping to recall the days of things as silly as Stick Stickly and slime.
“Some of this stuff should be ephemeral, maybe. It should be our memories,” he says. “It makes it sort of special that you can’t find that episode of ‘Ren and Stimpy’ that you remember and it only exists in your mind, just like your first kiss. ... I think we’re a unique generation in that we have everything at our fingertips, but I wonder if that’s a good thing.”
Still, Klickstein is confident that Nickelodeon’s birth and adolescence is a unique phenomenon and the programs still hold up in terms of quality today.
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