The lives of '90s kids were changed tremendously when they were introduced to the concept of "Nicktoons." These were, of course, animated cartoons made for kids by the then-fledgling Nickelodeon network. It made Nickelodeon synonymous with animated programming, and helped turn the channel into a staple of kids of the era. Unsurprisingly, many of the children who grew up on those Nicktoons, though they are now adults, remember those shows fondly. While you likely remember the basics about those shows, the city where Doug lived, Tommy Pickles' parents' names, here are some facts that may be new to you. Enjoy this dive into the world of Nicktoons.

1. Doug, Rugrats and Ren & Stimpy all premiered on the same exact day


August 11, 1991 was a huge day for kids the nation over. That's the day the first Nicktoon debuted. In fact, the first three Nicktoons debuted that day. The shows in question? The powerhouse trio of Doug, Rugrats, and Ren and Stimpy. It's sort of mindblowing to think that a trinity of great but vastly different cartoons all premiered within minutes of each other and went on to define childhoods forever.

2. Doug got his start in an unpublished book (and then a commercial)


Doug Funnie was one of the first Nicktoon character we ever saw, but he didn't get his start on TV. Doug's first appearance actually came in a children's book called Doug Got a New Pair of Shoes. The book itself was never published, but the drawings did help creator Jim Jinkins get Doug started on Nickelodeon.

But for his first appeance on TV, Doug got some of that sweet advertising money.

This ad for Florida Grapefruit Growers actually broadcast in 1988, years before the first episode of Doug would air. Sometimes it pays to sell out. 

3. Arnold and Helga's secret names


Helga G. Pataki doesn't have the most mellifluous name, but it gets even less elegant when you know what her middle initial stands for. That would be Geraldine, which was chosen in honor of former Nickelodeon executive Geraldine Laybourne.

Many have speculated about Arnold's last name, but as it turns out, it's been in front of us the whole time:


"Short Man" isn't just a cute nickname that Grandpa has for Arnold -- "Shortman" is Arnold's last name. I know it's hard, but you can take some time picking up the shattered pieces of your life off the floor before we move onto the next entry.

4. No one can find the first episode of Aah! Real Monsters

real monsters

For most Nicktoons, and most any show in general, you can usually dig back into the past and find the original pilot episode. In many cases, these proof-of-concept anomalies serve as series premieres, and are a regular part of the rerun schedule. That's not the case with Aah! Real Monsters, because the pilot episode was completely reworked for broadcast -- and the original footage is lost to time

Seriously, all we have from the weird prototype of the already-weird show is a handful of super-grainy images


With the rediscovery of the pilot seeming unlikely, we'll probably just have to do with the 100+ other episodes of unsettling character designs.

5. If you look close enough, you can tell where Nicktoons are set

hey arnold

While it's not as clear as on other shows, it would seem that Arnold and the Hey Arnold! gang live in a city called Hillwood. Regardless of the city's name, it was based on a combination of Seattle, Portland, and Brooklyn. This may very well may Hillwood the ultimate hipster city. It gets even more specific at the end of the episode "Road Trip," where Helga and her mother are seen driving back into what appears to be Washington state.

hey arnold

Speaking of cities, while we all know that Doug and company lived in Bluffington, did you know that Angry Beavers took place in Wayouttatown, Oregon? They actually label it as such really quick in the episode "Omega Beaver."


While it is never explicitly mentioned, Rugrats took place in California. In addition to Cali license plates being visible on Grandpa's car, there was a familiar flag bearing a uh, bear at the Post Office. 


Seems like the West Coast is the place to be if you're an angsty preteen, plucky infant or uh, irritable semiaquatic rodent.