‘Amby & Dexter’ Was Like ASMR in the 90s on Nickelodeon

If you remember waking up in the morning as a child, then Nick Jr. may have been your go-to entertainment source. If you were watching Nick Jr. in the late 90s or early 2000s then you probably remember the animated shorts Amby & Dexter. Or at least faintly remember them somehow.

Amby & Dexter was a series of five shorts: Scotch Tape, Doorknob, Portraits (aka the infamous painting episode), Gardening, and Piano. The shorts were created by Paul Fierlinger, along with his wife Sandra Schuette, and composed by John Avarese.  IMDB summarizes the series synopsis as “small people who transformed from a pair into hands, and back again when their adventure’s complete. Amby is the playful one who loves to dance while Dexter is the serious one. The two never talk.” That is exactly what Amby & Dexter was, and despite the summary of the series sounding so simple, that’s what actually makes it still memorable today.

Just seeing the characters again makes me suddenly wonder if I’m 6-years-old again and getting ready for school. Amby was a raven-haired girl who wore glasses, a white hat that sort of looks like a beret, and a blue blouse and skirt. Dexter was a brown-haired boy who also wore glasses, along with a white long-sleeved short under a brown vest over it, and brown shorts. When the two transformed from the hands, they began exploring the giant world around them.

“Amby & Dexter” is a play on ambidextrous, which is a term used for someone who can use their left and right hand equally well. If that isn’t clever than I don’t know what is. What really made Amby & Dexter so unique and aesthetically pleasing that so many people have found themselves discovering the shorts all over again were the sounds. I included the uploaded episode “Portraits” above because that single short represents the entire series so well. In that episode, the tiny duo Amby & Dexter paint portraits of each other. A simple plot yet there’s a reason why this is the most memorable episode of them all.

If I could rename the Portraits episode to “ASMR painting sounds”, I would with no hesitation because that is what stands out the most. Hearing the paint brush dip into the water and then in the paint, along with some other texture sounds is like music to my ears. It takes me back to when these shorts used to air daily. Come to think of it, before YouTube existed, those of us who were kids back then got to experience ASMR prior to it being a thing. Another great episode that dominated in sounds was “Scotch Tape”.

Looking back on Amby & Dexter makes me wish kids today had such aesthetically pleasing animated shorts. If you think about it, the series could’ve also been useful for teaching kids about their hearing and visual senses. Visually, Amby & Dexter is one of the most beautiful short series I’ve seen. It was like seeing old school animation come back to life in the late 90s and early 2000s. Even hearing the background music again gives major nostalgic feelings.

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All New Season of Thomas & Friends Premieres on Nickelodeon March 12

Season-21-Keyart_LANDSCAPE_no-logosource: Nickelodeon

Nickelodeon welcomes the iconic series Thomas & Friends to its roster of preschool hits with the acclaimed hour-long special, “The Adventure Begins,” debuting Monday, March 12, at 10 a.m. (ET/PT) on Nickelodeon and the Nick Jr. channel.  The special follows Thomas on his first adventure as he explores the Island of Sodor, meets exciting new friends, discovers the true meaning of hard work and friendship, and transforms into the Number 1 engine.  All-new, never-before-seen Thomas & Friends episodes from season 21 will air regularly weekdays at 5 p.m. (ET/PT) on the Nick Jr. channel, and brand-new specials will air on Nickelodeon throughout the year.

Leading up to the linear premiere of Thomas & Friends, an all-new full-length episode and short-form content are available now on NickJr.com and the Nick Jr. App.

Nickelodeon recently announced a new U.S. television and consumer products partnership with Mattel for Thomas & Friends, which includes Nick serving as the exclusive consumer products agent across multiple merchandise categories including apparel, accessories, home goods, consumer electronics, and more.  Later this year, Thomas & Friends:  Big World! Big Adventures! The Movie and season 22 of the same name, which includes newly revamped content and show format, will make its Nickelodeon debut.

Thomas the Tank Engine™ was originally created over 70 years ago by the Rev W Awdry, as a storybook for his son. That story quickly grew to become the award-winning global brand franchise it is today, enjoyed by families around the world across multiple touch-points and formats, including; toys, apps; consumer products; publishing; live attractions and much more with over 1 engine sold per second. Thomas & Friends is aired in over 160 territories, in over 50 languages with over 1.16 billion lifetime views on YouTube, and offers more than 80 hours of original content produced from 500 episodes and 12 specials.

Boomerang Is Sending Some Love Your Way in February with New Premieres

February means that it’s time to feel the love… for animation of course! Don’t worry about not spending the Valentine’s day season with a special someone, why not just kick back, relax, and enjoy some toons? You’re in luck, because with Valentine’s Day right around the corner, Boomerang is here to fulfill your animation needs. Boomerang’s streaming service has got you covered with some new world premieres and episodes for the month of February that you just don’t wanna miss. That includes Valentine’s Day specials of your favorite shows such as The Flintstones, The Smurfs, New Looney Tunes and The Tom & Jerry Show.

To kick off the month, don’t miss the premiere of The Sylvester & Tweety Mysteries, available now!

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It’s your chance to see the mysteries unfold yet again with the classic Looney Tunes gang. With Sylvester and Tweety, Granny is a globetrotting, mystery-solving maniac! Unraveling crimes around the world keeps her pretty busy so it’s a good thing Hector the bulldog is around to make sure Sylvester keeps his paws to himself.

On Thursday, February 8, get ready to binge on some Valentine’s Day episodes/specials because Boomerang is adding some classic favorites to the lineup.

The Flintstones: “I Yabba Dabba Do” (1993)i yabba dabba do the flintstones

We hear wedding bells in the prehistoric days: and it’s time to say “I yabba dabba do”. The Flintstones celebrate the nuptials of Pebbles Flintstone and Bamm-Bamm Rubble. As Wilma, Betty and Pebbles plan the big day, Fred suffers from the age-old paternal fear of losing his daughter.

The Smurfs: “My Smurfy Valentine” (1982)the smurfs my smurfy valentine

The residents of Smurf Village cheerfully await Cupid’s arrival… but evil lurks nearby. Can Cupid’s arrow make a dent in the stone-hard heart of Gargamel, the evil wizard? Will Smurfette’s Prince Smurfing ever arrive?

New Looney Tunes: “Love Is in the Hare/Valentine’s Dayffy” new looney tunes love is in the hare valentine's dayffy

Bugs’ day at the lake is interrupted by Yosemite Sam. To get Sam off his back, Bugs puts Sam through obstacles and a full makeover. Then, on Valentine’s Day, Daffy runs into Cupid and knocks him out. Cupid tells Daffy to spread love.

The Tom & Jerry Show: “Return To Sender”the tom & jerry show return to sender

Hildie has received a dozen black roses from her secret admirer. Curiosity piqued, Hildie puts Tom and Jerry up to the task of finding out who her admirer is! Tom’s search starts across the forest at the Enchanted Flower Shop.

Last but not least, on Thursday, February 15, the streaming service will be debuting the world premiere of Tom and Jerry: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

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Befriended by the Charlie Bucket, Tom and Jerry look to repay the favor by helping Charlie secure a Golden Ticket and a tour of the magical Wonka factory. Inside, it’s a world of imagination for the eyes and tantalizing tunes for the ears.

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Was Chuckie Finster’s Mom Originally Alive on Rugrats?

chuckie finster

Courtesy of Nickelodeon

It’s always fascinating to learn about any “hiccups” that TV shows may have in their timeline – whether they’re minor or major. Today, we’re examining Nickelodeon’s classic hit series Rugrats, and a topic that still runs through the minds of many fans today. No we aren’t discussing any disturbing creepypastas or anything else that would give you the chills, but this topic does include the discussion of death. Just another cartoon theory coming through? You can be the judge of that. Now by writing this piece, I am in no way trying to “call out” the amazing team behind the Rugrats series. I just feel that this certain topic and the pieces that go along with it are just too interesting to not discuss. This topic is regarding Chuckie Finster’s biological mother, Melinda Finster. Throughout the series we eventually learn that she is deceased after three seasons.

melinda finster

Courtesy of Nickelodeon

On season 4 episode 2 “Mother’s Day” it was the big reveal. We learn that Melinda Finster passed away when Chuckie was a small infant, from what many can assume, a terminal illness. Chas Finster implies this when he showcased the tragically beautiful poem that she wrote for Chuckie, which he states she wrote while she was in the hospital.

Death can be a very controversial subject in children’s shows. Co-Creator Paul Germain explained in a 2016 interview with EW, that they originally wrote Chuckie without a mother because they simply did not want an extra character. By season 2 or 3 they had to make a decision whether to let the fans know what really happened to her. Both divorce and death were subjects that Nickeledeon thought were too sensitive to younger audience members. The Rugrats team eventually went ahead and decided that Chuckie’s mom was to be deceased. Germain also reveals that this is something he regrets. Did the Rugrats team make a mistake? Your answer can be formed as an opinion, or even as a fact. Let’s take a deeper look:

So it is confirmed that Melinda passed away shortly after Chuckie’s birth, but could a few of those aforementioned “hiccups” in the show disprove that? Rugrats fans have been speculating whether Melinda Finster was actually alive and well in the earlier seasons. This can be assumed due to the fact that in season 1 episode 8 “Real or Robots?”, Stu tells Chuckie that his MOM and dad will come pick him up in the morning. This implies that Melinda was still alive at the time when she was supposed to be deceased, since Chuckie was already two years old in that scene.

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Courtesy of Nickelodeon

Rugrats fans also pointed out that in season 1 episode 2 “Barbecue Story”, Chas was sitting next to a woman wearing green glasses that kind of resembles his (image shown above). It is assumed that she was originally suppose to be Chuckie’s mom. This argument could be backed up because of the fact that many other couples were seated or standing around Chas and this mystery woman, like Boris and Minka or Betty and Howard. This is one of the earliest episodes so who knows how things were planned to play out back then. I feel like divorce could’ve been slightly been a better option than the dark nature of death, but this option could’ve led down to other dark rabbit holes as well. The question of why Chuckie’s mom didn’t have custody of him eventually would’ve came about. Divorce is way too common in American families today, so if the Rugrats were to come out in the recent years, it wouldn’t have been too big of a deal.

So what have we got here folks? This may just be have to be ruled as a case of TV writers hiccups, or maybe a “glitch in the matrix” in the Rugrats world. If you like posts like this follow Cartoon Buzz and don’t miss another!

 

What We Already Know About the NickToons Movie

cartoon buzz nicktoons movie

Back in September 2015, it was announced that a NickToons movie was in early development by Paramount Pictures. It would be a cross-over movie with some of the most famous NickToons characters from Nickelodeon’s classic shows such as Rugrats, Doug, Hey Arnold, Rocko’s Modern Life, etc. The film is said to have an “Avengers style” theme by many sources. Some Classic NickToons fans definitely were ecstatic at the fact that the network hasn’t forgotten about its roots, others were wondering what the hell Nickelodeon was thinking. Despite the mixed opinions, the movie is happening, and here’s what we already know about it:

  • Jared Hess will be directing. Author & director of the very notable book & film Napoleon Dynamite.
  • Ren & Stimpy will NOT be in the film. Co-creator of the show Bob Camp told screen geek in March that Paramount wanted nothing to do with the idea and that their adult sequel “poisoned the well”.
  • The film is set to be released on July 31, 2020.

It’s quite obvious that Nick is trying to get back those viewers that some of their new content just isn’t bringing to the table. Appealing to the 90s lover’s culture by rebooting their classics may be a smart strategy. With the Hey Arnold & Rocko’s Modern Life TV movies on the way, I’m almost sure millions will be watching to see just how dedicated Nickelodeon is to rebooting it’s classics.

Review: Rugrats “Candy Bar Creep Show” (1992)

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“Green stuff”

In honor of Halloween time, you can find reviews and discussions on some animated TV shows and their Halloween specials at Cartoon Buzz. The 9th episode of the first season from the Rugrats might have aired on January 5, 1992, but it will always be aired as a Halloween special. In “Candy Bar Creep Show” as Halloween comes around Tommy, Chuckie, Phil & Lil are destined to find some Reptar candy bars, after seeing Angelica have one herself. They realize that “the growed ups” – aka Stu & Didi are passing them out to other kids as they saw them leave screaming from the Halloween maze that they were hosting. The babies were sure they had to scream like the trick-or-treaters in order to get some Reptar bars, but they were left confused as their plan didn’t work. Tommy and the gang decided to take matters into their own hands and they invaded the haunted maze. Meanwhile Grandpa Lou was sure that he wasn’t scared of anything, but when Angelica ran out screaming and horrified, she was sure that the maze was filled with REAL monsters. Grandpa decided to investigate and found himself scared silly as well. Little did they know, those were actually the babies in disguise. Finally, the Rugrats managed to snag themselves some Reptar bars when the coast was clear.

Not only is this my favorite Rugrats Halloween special, but it really made me wonder what the “green stuff” was in the Reptar bar? It can only make you wonder, since Reptar himself is green too. Cartoon conspiracy theory coming? Ha, a little Halloween humor. I still would really like to try a Reptar bar and no joke, I wish Nick would market them someday. Now as I stated before, this episode was aired in January 1992 and I can’t help but wonder why Nickelodeon aired Halloween episodes 4 months after October back then. The Rugrats premiere August of 1991 and it could have perfectly been placed in October of that year. Who knows though. Something I noticed in the episode that warmed my heart was Angelica and Grandpa Lou hugged one another after both of them were horrified by the little “monsters” in the maze. It really represents how Lou is not only the old man who falls asleep in front of the TV, but he is Tommy, Angelica & later on baby Dil’s grandpa after all. Not to mention the choice of costumes in the episode was gold.

 

 

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Didi killin’ it as a Vampire

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Lou terrifying us all