By Jem Wilcox
As someone whose household didn’t have access to the Disney Channel until the age of twelve, at which point I had surpassed the right time to get overly obsessed with the likes of Hannah Montana, I am a firm supporter of Team Nickelodeon, and I’ll jump right in with why I think it is objectively the superior channel.
Firstly, Nickelodeon demonstrated a range of characters from non-traditional families, for example in Drake and Josh, whose entire premise relies on the fact that the titular characters belong to a newly-established blended family, and iCarly, in which all three of the main characters have at least one parent completely excluded from the show, if not both. Rather than pushing the “American dream” family, Nickelodeon provided representation for kids watching who were living under circumstances different to the traditional family model.
Secondly, as well as representing different family forms, Nickelodeon undermined stereotypes with their quirkier characters. In Victorious alone, Jade is presented as intimidating with her gothic aesthetic, Cat is often deemed stupid due to her childish demeanour, and Robbie fulfils the cliché of the lonely nerd (his best friend was literally a puppet). However, as the show went on, all of these stereotypes were flipped on their head and we saw how secretly loving, smart, and confident all of these characters were, and how despite their extreme differences, they still had strong bonds with one another, which I think is an essential message for kids who feel like they can’t live up to the standards of a ‘normal’ or ‘cool’ teenager.
Thirdly, whilst Disney undoubtedly trumps Nickelodeon in terms of its star status, anyone who has seen iCarly would have to concede that it has the most mind-boggling guest stars – YouTube sensation Fred, the world-famous One Direction, and the actual Michelle Obama, just to name a few. There was really nothing crazier than tuning in to a new episode and watching someone like the Plain White T’s perform on the show.
Finally, to bring a more subjective opinion in, Nickelodeon is just funnier! I can’t imagine a world where any Disney show makes me laugh more than SpongeBob. I’m twenty now and I still quote it on an almost daily basis. As well as that, if you listen carefully enough, you can find some more mature jokes (hidden in the likes of iCarly and Victorious) which probably went right over your head as a child but could make you chuckle today. I think this gives Nickelodeon a fresh perspective upon re-watching that I’m not sure the Disney Channel could provide, which is why I, even putting my nostalgia aside, will continue to be a staunch supporter of Team Nickelodeon.
Image: Vector Cliparts via Pixy