In the summers of the 1990s, kiddie TV station Nickelodeon had a daily afternoon TV block called Nick in the Afternoon. It was a combination of cartoons (Aaahh!!! Real Monsters, Rocko’s Modern Life, Doug) and live action shows (Salute Your Shorts, Hey Dude!, The Adventures of Pete & Pete) and when you are 12 and bored and don’t want to go out of the house this was just right.
Now, Nick was not the only channel with a barrage of programming for children in the summers and despite billing itself as the first network for kids, it wasn’t even the only cable channel catering the cereal munching crowd. But what Nick was always really good at was making you feel like the shows and actors were all connected in some weird contiguous family and Stick Stickly here really pushed that concept well.
If you didn’t spend your summers huddled around the TV like my sisters and I did, maybe you aren’t familiar with him, but despite the fact that he never had his own TV show, this little guy was pretty memorable. He was a popsicle stick with a clay nose, googly eyes, and an anxiety complex. He was in love with one of those little wooden spoons that come with ice cream. He even had a catch phrase, “Simmer down!” He was constantly reminding himself to chill out, like a virgin on his first night with a woman.
He was kind of a mess, but he was lovably neurotic.
Nick in the Afternoon had several regular features. One of them was U-Pick, where (supposedly) kids voted for what show they wanted to see. Sometimes you’d even get to see old shit that hadn’t been on TV in years. That was always a nice treat.
They also had a feature where they would spin Stick around like a spinner for a board game, and whatever show he landed on they would play. I am convinced this was rigged.
Another recurring feature was Dip Stick, where kids would write in and suggest things to dip Stick Stickly into. He was always dunked in stuff like whip cream or guacamole sauce, never any of the things I sent in. But to be fair, my suggestions were all things like dog shit, horse vomit, and goat blood.
Stick also starred in little shorts that were pretty entertaining. I found some online, and there’s even a Twin Peaks parody to boot!
He also encouraged you to write him, and everyone who ever saw Nick in the Afternoon has his little jingle permanently stuck in their brains. It goes a little something like this:
Write to me, Stick Stickly
P.O. Box 963
New York City,
New York State
I did not need to look this up. Trust me. If you hear it, you will never fucking forget it. I can remember Stick Stickly’s address when I can’t even remember me OWN address.
Anyway, I scanned this ad from some comic book I tore up and no longer have, but it’s a fun reminder of how kids in the ’90s spent their summer vacations. Now someone find me a video of Stick Stickly doing his “write to me” song.