Old School Lane’s Nickelodeon Tribute: Weinerville
The year is 1993.Â Jurassic Park, Schindler’s List, Mrs. Doubtfire,Â and the granddaddy of crappy video game moviesÂ Super Mario Bros.Â was released in theaters.Â Beavis and Butthead, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Bill Nye the Science Guy,Â andÂ Boy Meets WorldÂ debuted on TV. Nickelodeon had stiff competition of staying on top as the #1 network for kids with Fox Kids, Disney Channel, and Cartoon Network dishing out great cartoons. They needed something really creative to suck kids back in. So around July 13, 1993, a man named Marc Weiner created the bizarre, kooky, unique, and creative puppet-like variety showÂ Weinerville.Â
The show was about Marc Weiner portraying as half-man, half-puppet characters interacting with a live audience doing skits and storylines. He would play these characters alongside other actors likeÂ Ray Abruzzo, Scott Fellows, David Jordon, and Brian Burns.Â Weiner would host the show and try to solve the problems of Dottie, the mayor of Weinerville.
Most of of the half-man half-human characters were played by Weiner himself. They included the following:
Dottie is the mayor of Weinerville. She always goes through a bit of misfortune and screams a lot in pain.
Baby Jeffrey would introduce the show, then start crying afterwards.
Commander Ozone was an intergalactic superhero.Â He would defend evil from the villain Eric Von Firstensecond alongside his sidekick Wilson.
Cocktail Frank was the leader of the house band Cocktail Frank and the Weenies. He was the only half-man half-puppet while every other band member were puppets.
There were also puppets included in the show.
Zip was Dottie’s assistant who always ended up getting in trouble and crashing into walls.
Pops was an owner of a restaurant who always starts fights with a laundromat owner named Louie.
Louie was a laundromat owner who always argues with Pops.
Socko was a hand puppet who loved to kick Marc and make sarcastic gestures.
Boney was a parody of Barney who would tell kids stories about negative things. He was being a represented beloved children’s character, but he actually hates kids. He would always tell kids in the end of every story “Now get out of here. I’m Boney, I’m Boney. Leave me alone-y.” He was the favorite puppet amongÂ WeinervilleÂ fans, including Weiner himself.
In between the segments, they would always run a cartoon for the kids ranging from educational cartoons to classic cartoons likeÂ Mr. Magoo.Â
At the end of every episode, two kids from the audience get “Weinerized” which was get turned into half-man half-puppets. They would play a game called Playland in which the winner would receive The Golden Hot Dog.
Also, I made a minor mistake when it came toÂ RugratsÂ being the firstÂ Hanukkah special sinceÂ Pee-wee’s Playhouse Christmas Special.Â WeinervilleÂ had a Hanukkah special beforeÂ RugratsÂ had theirs one year prior. See, this is what happens when you don’t look at the minor details.
The show also had special celebrity guest appearances. Some of them included Dr. Joyce Brothers, the wrestler Kevin Nash, Paul Shaffer, Huey Lewis, Andy Lawrence, and Bill Maher. Also, you can’t have a Nickelodeon show without throwing him some Nickelodeon stars at the time. They included Marc Summers, Phil Moore, Moira Quirk, and the cast ofÂ Clarissa Explains it All.
The show lasted for 2 seasons ending its run on June 30, 1997. The people involved with the show did other things afterÂ Weinerville.Â
Scott Fellows had created other shows for Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network such asÂ The Moxy Show,Â Cartoon Network’s very first original show,Â Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide, Johnny Test,Â andÂ Big Time Rush.Â He has also written episodes for shows likeÂ U to U, The Fairly Odd Parents, 100 Deeds for Eddie McDowd,Â andÂ Brand Spanking New Doug.
Ray Abruzzo had done other TV roles such asÂ The Practice, Dynasty, The Sopranos, The Nanny, Law and Order, NCIS,Â andÂ House.
As for Marc Weiner, heÂ had decided to take his show on a live tour known asÂ Marc Weiner’s Weinerville Live.Â On and off over the years, he was traveled to other parts of the world to do live shows based on his show until he stopped in 2000. He is currently providing the voices of Swiper the Fox and Map onÂ Dora the Explorer.Â OnÂ January 23, 2011, Marc and his son Max launched a YouTube channel called Weinerville TV in which they are bringing the show back for people who grew up withÂ WeinervilleÂ as well as a new generation who had never seen it. They claim that new episodes will be coming in soon.
They launched a Facebook page, Twitter page, and an official website. Check it out right here atÂ http://www.weinerville.com/.
WhenÂ WeinervilleÂ first came out, it was something that has never been seen before. It was the first and only show that involved with half-man half-human puppets. It had gained a huge amount of popularity among audiences and it was acclaimed byÂ Good Morning America, The Early Show, The New York Times, The Daily News, Newsday, TV Guide,Â andÂ The Los Angeles Times.Â It was nominated for two CableACE Awards. It was one of the most popular, zany, and creative shows that Nickelodeon had done up to that point.
Overall, looking back at this show, it was one of the zaniest, kookiest, strangest, and most unique Nickelodeon shows that has ever aired and I still love it! I grew up watching this and some of the jokes are still funny. Sure, there are some that are a bit dated due to some of the pop culture references, but other than that, it’s a show that I can really appreciate due to its amount of creativity that it had at the time. Similar toÂ Roundhouse,Â no other show try to replicate whatÂ WeinervilleÂ tried to do at the time or since then. But unlikeÂ Roundhouse,Â there’s just something about it that makesÂ WeinervilleÂ still work after all these years. I can appreciate the charm, creativity, humor, and zaniest that Marc Weiner did for this show. I highly recommend checking it out.
That’s all for now. Tune in next time as I discuss, in my opinion, the best Nickelodeon kids’ game show in the Â 90’s.Â Legends of the Hidden Temple.Â Also, Kevin is going to review one of his favorite Nicktoons that many people call aÂ Ren and StimpyÂ clone,Â Rocko’s Modern Life.
Hope to see you around Old School Lane real soon. Thanks for reading.