NetCliques: Get nostalgic for after school specials

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Art by Jenner Chen
Art by Jenner Chen

If your summer plans consist of  lying on the couch watching Netflix (and don’t lie, we know that’s a lot of you) then consider re-entering the world of afternoon kiddie cartoons this month.

If your school bus dropped you off by 3 p.m., then you definitely remember the lessons learned from Arthur (available on Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, etc.). One of TV’s longest-running animated series, second only to The Simpsons, never ceases to entertain youngsters and adults alike.

In case you had a deprived childhood and didn’t watch Arthur, the show involves an anthropomorphic aardvark, and his many friends and family members. Even though Arthur has gone through many changes over the years, including new voices for almost all characters and also the latest addition of a female rabbit named Ladonna, the show still maintains its roots as a ways of teaching us important lessons related to school, annoying younger siblings, bullying, and how having fun isn’t hard when you’ve got a library card.

Another one of our favorites also started airing in the afternoon alongside Arthur: Dragon Tales (available on Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, etc.).  On air for six years, this series followed the adventures of siblings Emmy and Max, who with the powers of a magical scale and a rhyme, traveled to Dragon Land to embark on adventures with their friends Ord, Cassie, Zak, and Wheezie.  The addition of a new character named Enrique in the third season added new lessons on Hispanic culture.

The 5:00 p.m. PBS favorite was Cyberchase (available on the Cyberchase website, Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, etc.). This show is chock-full of fun and exciting math puzzles that you had to help the gang solve in order to save Cyberspace and Motherboard from the Hacker.

While watching, you were actually learning discrete mathematics through this program.  If you’re eager to brush up on your arithmetic this summer, make sure you’re caught up with all of the eight seasons that have aired before the show went on hiatus in July of 2010 because all new adventures are coming back to PBS Kids starting September 17!

If you want some more recent cartoons to pass your 104 days of summer vacation, try Phineas and Ferb (available on Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, etc.). Documenting the exciting and outrageous projects that young Phineas Flynn and his English stepbrother Ferb construct during their own summer vacation, this Disney Channel brainchild delivers with every episode stuffed full of musical numbers, engaging subplots, and humorous one-liners.

Also notorious for its smarter jokes that smaller children might not understand as easily as their older babysitters, the series stands as Disney’s longest running original series.

Another recent pop-culture phenomenon is My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (available on Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, etc.).  This new show was created by Lauren Faust (of the Powerpuff Girls and Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends fame) because she was irked by the sexist stereotypes that the original series employed.

Friendship is Magic tells the story of the studious Twilight Sparkle who is sent by her mentor, Princess Celestia to the town of Ponyville to learn about the wonders of friendship.

The show has catchy musical numbers, adorable animation, and true-to-heart lessons on being a good person,. It’s no wonder that the show has attracted so many non-target viewers, such as male viewers ages 15 to 35.

With the support of the “bronies” behind it, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic heads into its fourth season later this year.

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