“Fresh out the box. Stop, look, and watch. Ready yet. Get set. It’s All That!” Now join in with TLC(!) and sing the rest of the theme song as you reminisce about the joys of All That, Nickelodeon’s comedy/variety show that aired from 1994–2000 and again from 2002–2005. But let’s be clear, the All That I fondly remember included a cast of Kenan Thompson, Kel Mitchell, Lori Beth Denberg, and Amanda Bynes. A golden era of kid comedy, if you will. I refuse to acknowledge the later reincarnation which featured the likes of Jamie Lynn Spears.
That said, in preparation for writing this piece, I went back and watched several clips from the show. And sadly, just like my colleague Sandra experienced earlier this month, I found myself saying, “I once watched this?!” Apparently, and probably for the better, my tastes have changed over the years. I no longer find Denberg’s “Vital Information” so vital. “Good Burger” is really more mediocre than good. And I couldn’t even make it through all of Amanda Bynes’ yelling in “Ask Ashley.”
And yet, even though the jokes are no longer funny to me, I still have a really special place in my heart for the series. Why else (other than its obvious catchy nature) would I consistently hum the theme song on my way to work? And surely it’s not just me who gets the urge to say, “Quiet! This is a library!” in certain supposed-to-be-quiet settings. Perhaps it’s because All That was really the only show of its kind geared toward kids at the time, but I remember being drawn to the show because it was different. Or maybe it was just because I was a kid and was easily entertained by other kids speaking fake French. Whatever the reason, I’m choosing not to be the cynical grown-up I’ve become. Instead, I’m going to hang on to the memory of what used to be funny and still laugh at fart jokes when I can.