If you grew up a Nick Kid, two things: you know what that even means, and Nickelodeon characters probably introduced to you to kissing, crushes, and other stuff you might have thought was icky at the time. But you were intrigued. And you learned. And you probably grew a big old pre-adolescent crush on Gary from The Midnight Society, or someone else who, when googled in 2020, looked insanely young and non-sexy. And you thought, how did I have a crush on Gary from The Midnight Society? Those were crazy days, weren’t they? Let’s remember what we learned from these classic Nick shows.

Plus: 9 Ways To Get Him To Leave Your Apartment The Morning After


Everybody Get Along (And Crush On Each Other Secretly)

Doug Funnie’s world was made up of kids who were green, yellow, turquoise, pink, and blue — and they all got along, for the most part. (Except for Roger, who everyone just hated because he was a dick.) It was a slice of diversity, and Doug struggled with love issues that were easily relatable. They all had to do with just one thing: boning Patty Mayonnaise. But Doug was just like us. He was a shy kid crushing on the sweet, popular girl, which gave confidence to the shy guys and the girls who thought nobody was pining for. “Maybe,” you told yourself, “there is a guy like Doug Funnie out there who writes in his journal about me but is just too nervous to come forward.” Sometimes when I think that nobody knows what true love is anymore, I convince myself that Doug Funnie and Patty Mayonnaise ended up together, and are in sweet, sweet cartoon love in some parallel universe.

Clarissa Explains It All

Guys And Girls Can Too Be Friends 

Clarissa and Sam’s platonic relationship did not confuse me at a young age, and it wasn’t until later that I said, “wait — Clarissa and Sam were totally hooking up, right? Like, it was implied?” But looking back, I see they really were just friends (that did experiment with kissing, once), who were able to hang without letting pressures of second base and “fingering” destroy their bond — despite the fact they climbed up to each other’s windows via ladders, Rapunzel-style. Sometimes there was a bit of sexual tension, but if they could fight off teenage hormones in such close quarters, anyone can.

Plus: 10 Reasons You Might Think Sex With A Pirate Would Be Hot (And Why You’d Be Wrong)

Are You Afraid Of The Dark?

Guys And Girls Can Have A Secret Society Without Any Sexual Tension Whatsoever

Sexual tension was actual what Are You Afraid Of The Dark was missing. Even before you knew what sex was, you wondered how these kids could possibly meet by the light of the moon every single week and tell sexy stories aside the crackling fire without experimenting with each other in the bushes. I can’t be the only one who had a crush on Gary, even after acknowledging the fact that he appeared to be sexless. No, Gary was all business. All about the scary stories. I went on to recreate many other real-life relationships in my life similar to my relationship with Gary. Guys who I flirted with and was attracted to but that didn’t give me the time of day. “If you’d just put down that sack of sand for a second, I could show you a real good Saturday Night, Snick man,” you’d say to him in your dreams.

Plus: 10 Pickup Lines For Flirting At The Bookstore

Figure It Out

That’s What Ginormous Knockers Look Like

Thanks, Summer Sanders. She was always squeezing the contestants with her boobs basically caressing their ears, and I must admit it helped me in my difficult transition to womanhood. When I sprouted my own little Summers, I was more able to deal with them. And caress people’s ears with them.

Salute Your Shorts

Chicks Dig Jerks

Looking back, Bobby Budnick was an icky creepster who I wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole. But if my memory serves me correctly, the most popular girl at Camp Anawanna, Dina Alexander, went on a date with and developed feelings for the skuz-bag when he softened up and expressed interest in her. Maybe this taught us that jerks were desirable, but maybe it just taught us what cute girls are willing to resort to when the pickings are slim. I mean, what was Budnick’s competition? Donkey Lips? I would actually have gone for Donkey Lips.

The Adventures Of Pete And Pete

Man, Feelings Are Complicated And Stuff

Big Pete’s relationship with his love interest Ellen was not cut and dry — he ended up developing feelings for “the girl who is a friend but not a girlfriend.” But throughout their ups and downs, they managed to stay cool. Ellen was also one of television’s first Cool Girls. She showed dedication when acting as the Dot in the marching band, harbored fascination with metallurgy in shop class, played the French Horn, and kicked butt in Greco-Roman wrestling. She was inspiration to all girls to embrace their inner bizarre, and to all guys pursuing the girls who embraced their inner bizarre.

Plus: 10 Hilarious Things To Say On A First Date NEVER

Hey, Dude

The One You Hate Is Really The One You Love

We learned a lot from the teenage ranch hands on the Bar None Dude Rance, since love and sex were pretty much the pillars to the show. The underlining lesson was that in any situation where two dudes and two chicks work and live together, there’s going to be sex drama. And could anything have been more predictable than that the rich and beautiful Brad falling for Ted, the trouble maker, even though they hate-flirted with each other for 90% of the series? They played pranks on each other and fought with each other, adamant about how despicable they found each other. And the whole time you knew it was because they wanted each other. Each week as the end credits rolled, we threw our tiny fists to the sky and cried, “when will you just admit your feelings for each other?!” And it was the first time we noticed the discrepancies in teasing someone you loved deep down, and how obvious it was to everyone else. (When we did it ourselves, it seemed quite natural.) Brad and Ted’s relationship probably made us examine our own childish flirtations a little more closely.

Legends Of The Hidden Temple

Guys And Girls Shouldn’t Be Partners For Everything

As adults we know that men and women can do things together, but usually those things have to do with sex. Sex, in adult situations, is what drives men and women to function amicably together. However, it is clear that nobody on Legends was having sex — these kids were farther away from passionate, loving romantic sex than amoebas. And my blood boiled to watch them compete to try to dominate the temple together. If you remember, the teams (The Silver Snakes, The Green Monkeys, The Purple Parrots, The Red Jaguars, et al) were pairs of one boy and one girl. And together, these kids were unbelievably inept. They could never finish the simplistic physical feats, nobody could ever put together the goddam three-piece monkey in The Shrine of the Silver Monkey, and nobody ever, ever made it through the temple. It used to frustrate me to watch these kids bumble through the simple physical feats, and I was sure that, given the chance, I would have been able to conquer the temple. At the time I just surmised that the reason these kids slipped was because they should be on same-sex teams. That would lead to excellent teamwork. (It was the first time I expressed interest in attending an all girls’ school.) I mean, have you ever seen my parents try to put up the Christmas tree together? Have you ever seen my boyfriend try to teach me how to play soccer? It’s ugly, head-butting chaos. Guys and girls don’t always work well together, and we caught our first glimpse of that in Legends Of The Hidden Temple. 

Plus: 10 Reasons I Would Never Date A Runner (Even Though I Am One)


Nice Guys Do Exist

Tommy was what we all wanted in a man. He was brave, kind, adventurous, smart, a leader, adorable, and he valued friendship and stood up for what was right. It’s just too bad he was a baby, leaving us to wonder, were all the guys we know like Tommy at some point? Does it all go away?

Plus: 10 Universal truths That Will Help You Bond With Anyone On A Date

The Secret World Of Alex Mack

Not Even Telekinesis Can Help You In Junior High

Alex Mack, after being doused in chemical DC-161 in an accident, could move things with her mind, transform into puddles, and transmit bolts of electricity with her fingers, but she could not clench her crush, Scott Greene. Alex might have had super powers, but Junior High was still an uphill shit show, something we could all relate to. And we all knew Alex was too cool for Scott, anyway. It was our first example of realizing that even though Alex was lowering her standards for her cute-but-doltish crush, nothing could get in the way of undying teen love. And nothing — not even GC-161 powers — could conquer it, either.

Filed Under: