Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A (mostly) Comprehensive Guide to 90s Era Nickelodeon Gingers

I grew up in a culturally diverse area but I don't think that I actually conversed with anyone of the red-haired persuasion until I was in the 5th grade. It wasn't that I was some baby bigot, specializing in discrimination against the ginger-born; and I definitely wasn't afraid of them, despite the 90 minutes of parental negligence wherein I saw Child's Play, with its ginger antagonist, at the impressionable age of five years old. 

There just weren't any redheads around. 

Red hair is a recessive trait and only occurs in something like 6% of the American population. So, statistically, it makes sense that, growing up, the only gingers in my life were Lestat--my tabby cat--and his successor Lestat II. (My mom was really into Anne Rice at the time.)

But, if you watched Nickelodeon in the 90s, you probably thought that not having red hair was anomalous. 

The inordinate number of carrot tops on these shows leads me to believe that this particular television network was pushing a ginger agenda--pro-red hair propaganda, was the order of the day. Some might be quick to associate this apparent exaltation of the oft-maligned group with the network's orange logo, while others might chalk it up to coincidence. I, on the other hand, liken it to affirmative action--Nickelodeon deliberately promoted follicle diversity. Because of their efforts, kids like me, living in regions of the country seemingly devoid of gingers, were able to understand that "hey, sometimes people have red hair and that's okay." In those days it was about demystification, it was about integration. They were breaking the hair color barrier, and for that, Nickelodeon, I salute you(r shorts)!

1. Bobby Budnick
Classification: Gingeris salute your shortius
Curly/Straight Locks: Straight, in form of 90s mullet
Freckles: Yes
Pale: Yes
Evil: More or less
His/Her Whole Deal: Chief bully of Camp Anawanna. Though mostly harmless, doles out "Awful Waffles" to the frailer campers and has been known to hoist the underpants of camp n00bs up the flagpole. His BFF/minion is named Donkeylips.
Ginger Stereotypes He/She Reinforces: Gingers are bullies. 
Ginger Stereotypes He/She Breaks: Gingers are undesirable. Was able to woo Dina Alexander, the most popular girl in camp. 

2. Ferguson Darling
Classification: Gingeris clarissa explains it allius
Curly/Straight Locks: Straight, in form of clean-cut, pre-teen Republican  
Freckles: Yes
Pale: Quite
Evil: Fairly
His/Her Whole Deal: Obnoxious younger sibling of fourth-wall-breaking fashion prodigy, Clarissa Darling. Subscribes to the Alex P. Keaton school of "my parents were hippies, so, in defiance of their liberal ideals, I shall become a shallow, preppy, power-hungry, adolescent capitalist." 
Ginger Stereotype He/She Reinforces: Gingers are wicked.
Ginger Stereotype He/She Breaks: Gingers are more libidinous than the rest of us. No libido to speak of.

3. Chuckie Finster
Classification: Gingeris rugrata
Curly/Straight Locks: Both, in form of Yahoo Serious
Freckles: Yes
Pale: It's all relative
Evil: Not at all
His/Her Whole Deal: Timid, nearsighted pal of Tommy Pickles (who was basically the Bear Grylls of babies). Raised by equally timid single father Chaz (also ginger), Chuckie is especially afraid of clowns and "the guy on the oatmeal box."
Ginger Stereotype He/She Reinforces: Gingers are nerdy, weak, and nasally.
Ginger Stereotype He/She Breaks: Gingers have tempers as fiery as their hair. Chuckie is rather sweet.

4. Judy Funnie
Classification: Gingeris douglus
Curly/Straight Locks: Straight, in form of proto-hipster
Freckles: No
Pale: No
Evil: More pretentious than evil
His/Her Whole Deal: Beret-loving older sister of Doug Funnie. Goes to art school. Wears sunglasses indoors. Is this because she's a stoner or because she's trying to hide her lack of eyeballs? The world may never know.
Ginger Stereotype He/She Reinforces: Ginger females are sexy.
Ginger Stereotype He/She Breaks: Gingers are pale. (Of course, there's no way of knowing, since so much about Judy is shrouded in mystery, but I have a feeling that when it comes to her hair, the carpet doesn't match the Venetian blinds, if you catch my drift.)

5. Eugene Horowitz
Classification: Gingeris hey arnoldae
Curly/Straight Locks: Curly, in form of Jewish Afro
Freckles: Yes. In fact, has freckles on the back of his head.
Pale: Not really.
Evil: Except for the day that he "went bad," he is exceptionally good.
His/Her Whole Deal: Arnold's nerdy buddy. Aside from just generally being unlucky, Eugene also had the misfortune to be born with the most obscenely phallic head ever.
Ginger Stereotype He/She Reinforces: Gingers wear socks with flip-flops.
Ginger Stereotype He/She Breaks: Gingers don't have phallic heads.

6. Roger Klotz
Classification: Gingeris douglus
Curly/Straight Locks: Curly, in form of bacon
Freckles: Since I don't believe that anyone would shave their hair in such a ridiculous fashion, I'm assuming that those dots above his ears are sideburn freckles.
Pale: Yellow
Evil: Yes
His/Her Whole Deal: Bluffington's resident juvenile delinquent, Roger torments Doug Funnie and his crew. Has a crush on fellow ginger, Judy Funnie. Also, has flat butt and weird shoes.
Ginger Stereotype He/She Reinforces: Gingers are bullies.
Ginger Stereotype He/She Breaks: Gingers are insecure about their hair. With those shoes, Roger is obviously more insecure about his height.

7. Robyn Russo
Classification: Gingeris alex mackias
Curly/Straight Locks: Straight, in form of quintessential 90s girl
Freckles: Yup
Pale: Yep
Evil: Nope
His/Her Whole Deal: Alex Mack's sarcastic friend. Insecure despite being a paragon of 90s beauty--perfect, over-tweezed eyebrows, dark lip liner, choker, etc.
Ginger Stereotypes He/She Reinforces: Gingers are outcasts. Somehow even more awkward than gangly Alex Mack.
Ginger Stereotype He/She Breaks: Gingers are soulless. May actually have too much soul, which might explain why she's so down on herself. 

8. Big Pete Wrigley
Classification: Gingeris adventurus peteris
Curly/Straight Locks: Straight, in form of wholesome suburban boy
Freckles: Indeed
Pale: Yeah
Evil: No
His/Her Whole Deal: Perceptive junior high school student who shares his name with his younger brother. In spite of his mellow demeanor, has a remarkable number of enemies, including "Endless" Mike Hellstrom, Hat Head, and Open-Face. Plays the trombone in the marching band. Prone to narration. 
Ginger Stereotypes He/She Reinforces: Gingers are eerily omniscient with the ability to describe everything that happens to everyone around town.
Ginger Stereotypes He/She Breaks: Gingers aren't cute. He's adorable. Just ask Ellen Hickle.

9. Little Pete Wrigley
Classification: Gingeris adventurus peteris
Curly/Straight Locks: Straight, in form of little creep
Freckles: So many that face is practically one giant freckle.
Pale: Perhaps under the freckles.
Evil: Has his moments
His/Her Whole Deal: Grimy younger brother of Big Pete Wrigley. Has his own personal superhero. Also probably has his own personal hair lice. While his older brother is grounded and rational, little Pete is mentally unbalanced. Sticks cereal up his nose.
Ginger Stereotypes He/She Reinforces: Gingers are mischievous/have things in common with Satan. 
Ginger Stereotypes He/She Breaks: N/A. Little Pete is part of the reason why gingers have such a bad rep. 


Lorelai said...

I'm starting to realise that the 90s were ginger heaven, even here in Ausralia where we now call them rangas and mock their resemblance to orangutans.

While they're not all on Nickelodeon (or even in the US), I'd personally like to give a shout-out to Louis Driscoll, Kelvin Crump, Gribble Junior and Wheeler from Captain Planet.

Barbara said...

Thanks for the good laugh Amber. I think my favorite part was when you said Tommy Pickles was the Bear Grylls of babies. :)

Steve G. said...

This blog posting is wonderful. Nickelodeon did have a preponderance of redheads, so many that you missed one - Jessica Gaynes.

It seems like that was her only significant role ever, except for some part in Jawbreaker, and I confess to having a crush on her when I was a kid.

Jill said...

I forgot just how many redheads there were on Nick. Judy Funnie is my fave hands down!

Shannon said...

Your blog is the only blog I'll read even when it's longer than 3 paragraphs.

And I feel so educated on redheads in 90's shows.

And that makes me a happy person.

MJenks said...

I hadn't really noticed how phallic Eugene's head was...until you pointed it out. Thanks.

MJenks said...

Also, I was unfamiliar with Robyn Russo. Thusly, I now have someone new to stalk. Thanks for that. I'll spend my one phone call on you.

Nicki said...

I am ALARMED at how much I've forgotten about Salute Your Shorts.

Netflix Instant, you need to work on your 90's Nickelodeon game.

Srsly said...

This is a seriously brilliant post and I'm honestly jealous I didn't think of it first. You should do a sequel featuring TEEN or twenty-something gingers from other 90s TV series and movies...Amber from Clueless (also GINGER on 90210 (Valerie Malone's evil friend)), Sydney from Melrose Place, etc.

Liz said...

HAHAHAHA! OMG! Never realized that! However, it may be because I was and still am hypnotized by the awesomeness that was 90s Nick! =P

Thanks for opening my eyes!

Pete & Pete (and Arnie, your awesome Blog Logo) FTW! :D

joaoleopires said...

Lol....very nice blog, it's always good to remember some old stuff like of the best cartoons ever.
Roger and Judy...OMG, I went back in tme just reading about these ones!!

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