TV

Best 90s Nickelodeon Halloween Cartoons

The reason your adulthood is haunted.

Back when there were only 7 Halloween franchise films and zero Disney live-action remakes, Nickelodeon was every '90s kids after school babysitter (unless you had adult supervision, in which case, enjoy your health insurance and advanced degree by now).

Halloween specials of '90s cartoons captured exactly what every kid wanted Halloween to be: unsupervised roaming and feeling at least a little endangered by strangers. Plus, the borderline PG imagery of Nickelodeon cartoons left a permanent, creepy impression on our entire generation. In season 1 of Hey Arnold, a ghost conductor with a broken face serenades traumatized children on his ghost train. A mutilated heifer soldier comes back from the dead wielding his own dismembered leg in Rocko's Modern Life. Oh, and Aaahh! Real Monsters...exists.

Now that Nickelodeon streams on Hulu (and many of these episodes are available to stream elsewhere), for a nostalgic stroll through the disturbing images that now haunt your mind, we present the 11 best Nickelodeon Halloween TV specials.

"Hey Arnold!" - "Haunted Train"

"After hearing a story from Grandpa, Arnold, Gerald and Helga attempt to find the Haunted Train."

For Adults: Daria, "Depth Takes a Holiday"

"Daria and Jane must convince Christmas, Halloween, and Guy Fawkes Day to return to Holiday Island."

CULTURE

Nazi-Chic: The Aesthetics of Fascism

Let's take a look at Nazi-inspired fashion.

Villains always have the best outfits.

From Darth Vader's polished black space armor to The Joker's snazzy purple suit, bad guys always seem to show up their protagonists in the fashion department.

Way more handsome than Batman. static.giantbomb.com

But could there possibly be a real world equivalent to the type of over-the-top villain fashion often found in fiction? It would have to be sleek and imposing, austere and dangerous. Probably black.

Maybe it's him. Maybe it's fascist ideology.

Oh, right.

Let's call a spade a spade. From an aesthetic standpoint, the Nazi SS outfit is very well-designed. The long coat tied around the waist with a buckle portrays a slim, sturdy visage. The leather boots and matching cap look harsh and powerful. The emblem placements on the lapel naturally suggest rank and authority. And the red armband lends a splash of color to what would otherwise be a dark monotone. If the Nazi uniform wasn't so closely tied with the atrocities they committed during WWII, it wouldn't seem out of place at Fashion Week. Perhaps not too surprising, considering many of the uniforms were made by Hugo Boss.

Pictured: A real thing Hugo Boss did. i.imgur.com

Of course, today, Nazi uniform aesthetics are inseparable from the human suffering doled out by their wearers. In most circles of civilized society, that's more than enough reason to avoid the garb in any and all fashion choices. But for some, that taboo isn't a hindrance at all–if anything, it's an added benefit.

As a result, we have Nazi chic, a fashion trend centered around the SS uniform and related Nazi imagery.

History of Nazi Chic

For the most part, Nazi chic is not characterized by Nazi sympathy. Rather, Nazi chic tends to be associated with counterculture movements that view the use of its taboo imagery as a form of shock value, and ironically, anti-authoritarianism.

The movement came to prominence in the British punk scene during the mid-1970s, with bands like the Sex Pistols and Siouxsie and the Banshees displaying swastikas on their attire alongside other provocative imagery.

Very rotten, Johnny. i.redd.it

Around this time, a film genre known as Nazisploitation also came to prominence amongst underground movie buffs. A subgenre of exploitation and sexploitation films, Naziploitation movies skewed towards D-grade fare, characterized by graphic sex scenes, violence, and gore. Plots typically surrounded female prisoners in concentration camps, subject to the sexual whims of evil SS officers, who eventually escaped and got their revenge. However, the most famous Nazisploitation film, Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS, flipped the genders.

The dorm room poster that will ensure you never get laid. images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com

Ilsa was a female SS officer and the victims were men. She spent much of the movie wearing her Nazi uniform in various states, sexually abusing men all the while. As such, Ilsa played into dominatrix fantasies. The movie was a hit on the grindhouse circuit, inspiring multiple sequels and knock-offs and solidifying Nazi aesthetics as a part of the BDSM scene.

Since then, Nazi chic fashion has been employed by various artists, from Madonna to Marilyn Manson to Lady Gaga, and has shown up in all sorts of places from leather clubs to character designs in video games and anime.

Lady Gaga looking SS-uper. nyppagesix.files.wordpress.com

Nazi Chic in Asia

Nazi chic has taken on a life of its own in Asia. And unlike Western Nazi chic, which recognizes Nazism as taboo, Asian Nazi chic seems entirely detached from any underlying ideology.

A large part of this likely has to do with the way that Holocaust education differs across cultures. In the West, we learn about the Holocaust in the context of the Nazis committing horrific crimes against humanity that affected many of our own families. The Holocaust is presented as personal and closer to our current era than we might like to think. It is something we should "never forget." Whereas in Asia, where effects of the Holocaust weren't as prominent, it's simply another aspect of WWII which, in and of itself, was just another large war. In other words, Nazi regalia in Asia might be viewed as simply another historical military outfit, albeit a particularly stylish one.

In Japan, which was much more involved with WWII than any other Asian country, Nazi chic is usually (but not always) reserved for villainous representations.

OF COURSE. i.imgur.com

That being said, J-Pop groups like Keyakizaka46 have publicly worn Nazi chic too, and the phenomena isn't limited to Japan.

In South Korea, Indonesia, and Thailand, Nazi imagery has shown up in various elements of youth culture, completely void of any moral context. For instance, in Indonesia, a Hitler-themed fried chicken restaurant opened in 2013. And in Korea, K-Pop groups like BTS and Pritz have been called out for propagating Nazi chic fashion. Usually such incidents are followed by public apologies, but the lack of historical understanding makes everything ring hollow.

Implications

So the question then: is Nazi chic a bad thing?

The answer is not so black and white.

On one hand, seeing Nazi chic on the fashion scene may dredge up painful memories for Holocaust survivors and those whose family histories were tainted. In this light, wearing Nazi-inspired garb, regardless of intent, seems disrespectful and antagonistic. Worse than that, it doesn't even seem like a slight against authority so much as a dig at actual victims of genocide.

But on the other hand, considering the fact that even the youngest people who were alive during WWII are edging 80, "forgetting the Holocaust" is a distinct possibility for younger generations. In that regard, perhaps anything that draws attention to what happened, even if it's simply through the lens of "this outfit should be seen as offensive," might not be entirely bad. This, compounded by the fact that Nazi chic is not commonly associated with actual Nazi or nationalistic sentiments, might be enough to sway some people–not necessarily to wear, like, or even appreciate its aesthetics, but rather to understand its place within counterculture.

Ultimately, one's views on Nazi chic likely come down to their own personal taste and sensibilities. For some, Nazi chic is just a style, an aesthetic preference for something that happens to be mired in historical horror. For others, the shadow of atrocity simply hangs too strong.

TV

Dear NBC, Let the Chaotic Evil of Zack Morris and "Saved by the Bell" Die

The show was about a teen sociopath named Zack Morris (played by Mark-Paul Gosselaar) who drugged, prostituted, and sexually harassed his friends and who once put a baby in a gym bag (before losing said bag).

NBCUniversal is launching its own streaming service called "Peacock" (seriously), for which the network has recruited talented 30 Rock writer and Great News creator, Tracey Wigfield, to give toxic masculinity a reboot with a new Saved by the Bell series exclusively available on Peacock.

If you weren't raised by cable television like a normal '90s kid (or if you were one of those sheltered homeschooled kids who has a mortgage by now), the original show ran from 1989 to 1992. It was about a teen sociopath named Zack Morris (played by Mark-Paul Gosselaar) who drugged, prostituted, and sexually harassed his friends and who once put a baby in a gym bag (before losing said bag). Morris was inappropriately friendly with his school principal, Mr. Belding (played by Dennis Haskins, who, according to his popular Twitter account, is "still chasing the dream!"), and his ability to freeze time and break the fourth wall was either a blatant rip-off of Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986) or a manifestation of his schizophrenic mental disorder.

The Time Zack Morris Sold Swimsuit Photos Of Underage Girls www.youtube.com

The good news is that in April 2020, you can revisit the chaotic evil of Bayside High—maybe? Actually, not many details are known about the reboot other than the fact that NBCUniversal is launching its own streaming service to rival Disney+ and Apple TV, and they really, really want you to know about it as soon as possible. The cost has yet to be announced, but Peacock (Jesus Christ, we really have to call it that) will boast 15,000 hours of content, including original titles from NBCUniversal production. That means Peacock will be the only streaming service to offer The Office and Parks and Recreation, with other hit shows also available, from classics like Cheers, Frazier, Everybody Loves Raymond, and Will and Grace to 30 Rock and Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

But 2020 will bring more problems than deciding which streaming service to subscribe to and ever worsening climate crisis. Peacock's plans to revive Punky Brewster, Battlestar Galactica, and Saved by the Bell mean that NBCUniversal is going to attempt the cringey tactic of aging its teen stars to suddenly become modern adults—and that never goes well. Whether it's Boy Meets World's bizarre, infantilized revival of Cory Matthews and Topanga Lawrence as terrible parents in Disney's spinoff series, Girl Meets World, Netflix's creepy (and critically panned) revival Fuller House, or the epidemic of Soap Opera Rapid Aging syndrome (SORAS): Stop it.

The Time Zack Morris Got Jessie Hooked On Caffeine Pills youtu.be

So far, only two original characters are confirmed to return for Saved by the Bell 2.0. Elizabeth Berkeley and Mario Lopez are expected to return as Jessie Spano and A.C. Slater. Mark-Paul Gosselaar isn't attached to the project as of yet, due to complications with his contract with ABC's Mixed-ish and the fact that 30 years after Saved by the Bell first aired signs still point to Gosselaar being not a terrible guy. (Luckily, the same can't be said of Mario Lopez and definitely not of Dustin Diamond, who played Screech and is human trash). The series' original producers Peter Engel and Franco Bario have both signed on as executive producers. Here's their stupid premise for the revival:

"The new, straight-to-series comedy explores what happens when California Gov. Zack Morris gets into hot water for closing too many low-income high schools, he proposes they send the affected students to the highest-performing schools in the state — including Bayside High. The influx of new students gives the over-privileged Bayside kids a much-needed and hilarious dose of reality."

So, at best, a sexist teenage soap opera with a laugh track is going to tackle classism, income inequality, and America's failing school system in a world in which an egomaniacal sociopath has ascended to a position of power through his fast-talking manipulations and grandiose narcissism. At worst, it's going to depict Jessie Spano and A.C. Slater as quirky, eccentric parents who are so excited to welcome poor, disadvantaged kids to their neighborhood in an outdated and out-of-touch after-school special format.

Still, we bet you a baby in a gym bag that the revival won't be as cringey as the Saved by the Bell reunion sketch Jimmy Fallon hosted in 2015. That revival managed to capture all the creepy-next-door-neighbor energy of Mr. Belding and the homophobic overtones of A.C. Slater's entire character arc. It ended with the tasteless climax of Kelly Kapowski revealing she's pregnant with Zack Morris' baby, prompting him to wink at the camera.

Jimmy Fallon Went to Bayside High with "Saved By The Bell" Cast youtu.be