Echoing the 1994 flashpoint when their older siblings simultaneously remembered the lyrics to “Conjunction Junction,” children of the 1990s flocked to the debut of TeenNick’s late-night “The ’90s Are All That” rerun block this summer, tripling ratings for the Nickelodeon offshoot—this in spite of the fact that it still regularly engages the cast of Degrassi: The Next Generation in small-scale, Toronto-based versions of The Hunger Games. And just as Generation X’s affinity for the entertainment of its collective childhood elevated the most inconsequential pop-culture artifacts to era-defining touchstones (kind of like how remakes of The Munsters keep being generated out of pure Baby Boomer nostalgia), TeenNick will soon revive the career of Stick Stickly, the puppet whose catchphrase “Simmer down” spoke to an entire nation of restless kids navigating the tricky waters between school hours and dinner time. Stickly’s Oct. 7 return coincides with the introduction of all-request blocks of “The ’90s Are All That,” which, in all likelihood, will be dominated by former Nickelodeon stars angered by the fact that the network didn’t go with a human host. Surely a Lori Beth Denberg or Michael “Donkey Lips” Bower would charge the same amount of money the network is spending on googly eyes and popsicle sticks.
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