The Oregon Trail Cover

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When you take a look at the 1 and 2 seeds, “The Oregon Trail” seems more and more like the perfect name for this regional. Are You Afraid of The Dark? and The Ren & Stimpy Show were both pioneers in Nickelodeon’s canon in terms of horror and absurdism, respectively. Too bad one of these (dare I say both?) shows will go down in its attempt to ford the river.

It’s also interesting that the two biggest shows featuring a female protagonist are in the same region with Clarissa Explains It All and The Secret World of Alex Mack. Do you think it’s possible that one of those shows goes Manifest Destiny in this regional. I do.

Let’s look at the match-ups.

(1) Are You Afraid of The Dark? vs. (8) Cousin Skeeter

Analysis: If for some reason I ever found myself being pitched an invitation to join the Midnight Society back in the 90s, I would have had the same reaction 13 times out of 10.

nope…nope. NOOOOPE.

For a show that aired 7 seasons, I don’t seem to recall any vivid details of Are You Afraid of The Dark?. This has nothing to do with the actual quality of the show, and everything to do with the fact that most of it was viewed through the tiny spaces between my fingers as I hid under a blanket in the dark. Because, yes, I was very afraid. I’m starting to wonder if the only reason Nickelodeon produced an armada of cartoons, was so that they could justify the sheer amount terror they put their key demographic in, week after week. Either way, it can’t be ignored that this was, and always will be, a flagship Nickelodeon show. Sorry, Cousin Skeeter.

Winner: (1) Are You Afraid of The Dark?

(4) The Secret World of Alex Mack vs. (5) Kablam!

Analysis: And here is our first interesting matchup in this regional. On one hand we get a really good rendition of the classic “suburban teenage girl develops superpowers from chemical spill” trope that Hollywood can’t seem to get enough of, and on the other, we get bizzaro Toy Story.

It’s hard to pick the winner. But I think the 1-2 punch of Action League Now! and Prometheus and Bob are enough to knock out Alex and her ability to, um, goo?

Winner: Kablam!

(3) Clarissa Explains It All vs. (6) What Would You Do?

Analysis: Clarissa Explains It All was one of the only multi-cam sitcoms in Nickelodeon’s rotation (I think, someone fact check me). AND it also broke the fourth wall, which was mind blowing as a kid. But the only thing that made absolutely no sense to me, was that Clarissa’s pre-teen friend could just waltz up a ladder into her 2nd story bedroom window that was ALWAYS open, like he owned the place. Creepiness aside, Clarissa still beats out What Would You Do? and its pie throwing antics.

Winner: (3) Clarissa Explains It All

(2) The Ren & Stimpy Show vs. (7) Hey Dude

Analysis: You either hated or loved The Ren & Stimpy Show. There was no middle ground. There can never, ever be a middle ground.

This isn’t even an instance of something being ahead of its time. This show is from a whole different dimension. And whatever fight Hey Dude can muster up, Powdered Toastman will be right there with his cinnamoned flatulence  to put this matchup to bed, whether you like it or not.

Winner: (2) The Ren & Stimpy Show

Regional Champion Prediction: (1) Are You Afraid of The Dark?

Bracket Buster : (5) Kablam!

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