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VOICE OVER: Emily Brayton WRITTEN BY: Nick Spake
These Nickelodeon scandals were messier than a tidal wave of slime or a Rugrats' diaper. For this list, we'll be looking at the first kid's network's wildest and craziest controversies. Our countdown includes "Zoey 101," "Double Dare," "SpongeBob SquarePants," and more!
Script Written by Nick Spake

Top 10 Nickelodeon Scandals

Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Nickelodeon Scandals.

For this list, we’ll be looking at the first kid’s network’s wildest and craziest controversies that proved even messier than a tidal wave of slime or a Rugrats’ diaper.

Which Nickelodeon scandal shocked you the most? Let us know in the comments.

#10: The “Lost” Film Too Scary For Kids
“Cry Baby Lane” (2000)

We all know creepy childhood staples like “Are You Afraid of the Dark?,” but fewer are familiar with “Cry Baby Lane.” This TV movie centered on conjoined twins - one good, the other evil - who were locked up, grew ill, and died. Their father then sawed them in half before burying them separately. After Melissa Joan Hart hosted its initial premiere, the film vanished from the airwaves, many assuming it to be lost. Some theorized that parents found the movie too dark while others wondered if it really existed at all. As Reddit started buzzing about the picture, a Nickelodeon representative claimed it wasn’t banned, but rather forgotten. Not forgotten entirely, though, as Nickelodeon dug up “Cry Baby Lane” in 2011, rerunning it several times since.

#9: A Scrapped Series
“Christmas in Tattertown” (1988)

“Doug,” “Rugrats,” and “Ren & Stimpy” initiated the golden age of Nicktoons. However, another animated series could’ve predated them. Ralph Bakshi rose to fame through adult animated features like “Fritz the Cat.” With “Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures,” though, he entertained kids and adults alike on Saturday morning. Bakshi was set to produce an animated series for Nickelodeon loosely inspired by his comic strip, “Junk Town.” Airing in 1988, “Christmas in Tattertown” served as a pilot for a 39-episode series order. Around this time, Bakshi found himself in hot water for a “Mighty Mouse” episode where the titular character inhales a crushed flower, unintentionally calling illegal substances to mind. Nick began to lose interest in the Tattertown series, which Bakshi acknowledged “just didn’t work” anyway.

#8: The Unproduced Finale
“The Angry Beavers” (1997-2001)

A lot of Nicktoons concluded their initial runs without a proper series finale. With “The Angry Beavers,” though, there was an attempt to bring a sense of finality to the misadventures of Daggett and Norbert. How? By going as meta as possible! The beavers would receive word that they’re being canceled, culminating with them going to cartoon heaven and an April Fools’ gag. In addition to poking fun at the series ending, the finale would’ve openly criticized the network and censors for constantly cracking down on the creators. Although the idea was initially approved, Nickelodeon pulled the plug mid-production for disobeying network policy. “Bye Bye Beavers” was never completed or aired, but storyboards and audio have left us with an idea of what could’ve been.

#7: Things Get Super Sloppy
“Double Dare” (1986-93; 2000; 2018-19)

Getting messy is part of Nickelodeon’s brand, but not everyone was in on it. According to “Double Dare” host Marc Summers, a woman who took a pie to the face in Philadelphia sued, claiming she couldn’t have sex anymore. Summers says she got “$25,000 to go away.” While pie is nothing to cry over, a broken bone is more serious. On “Double Dare,” a kid lied on his medical form, neglecting to mention that he had bones like glass, having broken 17 of them. Doing an obstacle course, a bone ended up going through the arm. Another time, Summers thought a kid snapped his neck on the Sewer Chute obstacle. His father was a lawyer, who insisted that they get the large-screen TV prize.

#6: The Expunged Episodes
“SpongeBob SquarePants” (1999-)

SpongeBob has ignited a surprising number of scandals, including discussions regarding the character’s sexuality. Fans were caught off guard again in March 2021 when Paramount+ launched. A classic episode was noticeably missing from the “SpongeBob” library. A rep revealed that Season 3’s “Mid-Life Crustacean” was taken out of circulation in 2018 due to story elements deemed inappropriate. While the rep didn’t reveal which elements caused a fuss, it was most likely a scene involving a “panty raid.” Nickelodeon also held off on releasing “Kwarantined Krab,” a quarantine-themed episode that was originally set to air around the same time COVID hit. While it eventually aired, “Kwarantined Krab” currently isn’t on Paramount+ either. Nick can pull episodes, but they can’t erase them from our minds… we think?

#5: Angelique Bates’ Experiences Weren’t “All That” Pleasant
“All That”

Standing out with her comedic timing in sketches like “Randy and Mandy,” Angelique Bates became an inspiration to aspiring female African-American comedians, being the first in the show’s history. Sadly, she was also the first cast member to leave “All That.” Viewers wouldn’t understand why until years later when Bates revealed that her mother had been physically and mentally tormenting her during the show’s run. The producers were apparently well-aware of this, as Bates claims it took place right in front of them. The adults tasked with protecting the young performer urged her not to speak to Child Protective Services. Bates stayed quiet about her ordeal for almost two decades before opening up to the public about it.

#4: You Can’t Make Fun of Adoption
“You Can’t Do That on Television” (1979-90)

“You Can’t Do That on Television” gave birth to many Nickelodeon staples, including green slime. The “Ghostbusters” team reportedly tried suing creator Roger Price over the slime, although the Canadian sketch series predated that blockbuster comedy by five years. While you can slime people on television, poking fun at adopted children proved too controversial for Nickelodeon. In one episode, a senator calls an orphanage, saying that he wants to return his adopted child now that he’s completed all the chores. In addition to making light of child labor, the episode sends a pretty mean-spirited message to the actual adopted children watching at home. Nick pulled the episode from U.S. airings soon enough while co-creator Geoffrey Darby admitted years later that it “went too far.”

#3: Jamie Lynn Spears’ Pregnancy
“Zoey 101” (2005-08)

Some know her as Britney Spears’ younger sister, but to Nickelodeon viewers, Jamie Lynn Spears in Zoey Brooks. In a 2007 interview, the then-16-year-old sitcom star made a startling announcement. She was 12 weeks pregnant and her boyfriend of two years, Casey Aldridge, was the father. Given Spears’ status as a teen idol, not all parents were happy to hear this, insisting that Nickelodeon pull the fourth season of “Zoey 101,” which was ready to air. Nick ultimately released the season to record ratings, although this was also the show’s last. While many assumed that the series was canceled because of the scandal, Spears says that her contract was already set to expire and filming wrapped about six months before learning of her pregnancy.

#2: Not-So Happy Happy Joy Joy
“The Ren & Stimpy Show” (1991-96)

“Ren & Stimpy” was an immediate success for Nickelodeon, but creator John Kricfalusi was also a source of constant confrontation. From the show’s suggestive content, to missed deadlines, to the toxic work environment, the writing was on the wall for Kricfalusi. The pulled episode “Man’s Best Friend” was seen as a breaking point with Kricfalusi leaving his creation. Production shifted from Spümcø to Games Animation with Bob Camp now leading the charge. Although Kricfalusi maintained a following in the animation world, he fell from grace in 2018 when former Spümcø artists Robyn Byrd and Katie Rice accused him of sexual harassment and grooming when they were underage. In 2020, a “Ren & Stimpy” reboot was announced, but given the controversy, John K. will have no creative input.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable, or we guess dishonorable, mentions.

Casting Controversy, “The Last Airbender” (2010)
A Show Grounded in East Asian Themes Gets An Adaptation with White Actors as the Heroes

For a Good Time, Call Tommy’s Mom, “Rugrats” (1991-2004)
Artists Apparently Drew Naughty Photos of Didi Pickles in the Nick Studio’s Bathroom Stalls

Bringing Down the House, “The Loud House” (2016-)
Creator Chris Savino was Fired Over Misconduct Accusations

Banished Episodes, “Rocko’s Modern Life” (1993-96)
“Leap Frogs” & “Heff in a Handbasket” Have Us Wondering if This Show Was Really for Kids

“Dark Harvest,” “Invader Zim” (2001-06)
This Twisted Episode Would Come Up During the Scott Dyleski Trial

#1: “I’m Glad My Mom Died”
“iCarly” (2007-12)

Dan Schneider created several hit shows for Nickelodeon, including “iCarly.” However, his relationship with the network ended in 2018 amid allegations involving “temper issues” and feet. In 2022, “iCarly” star Jennette McCurdy chronicled her troubling history with her abusive mother. She also discussed “The Creator,” i.e. Schneider, accusing him of pressuring her to drink as a minor, giving her a nonconsensual massage, and more. McCurdy reprised her role on “Sam & Cat” where she developed a rivalry with Ariana Grande, claiming her co-star was allowed to pursue other products while she wasn’t. When “Sam & Cat” was abruptly canceled amid a risque photo scandal, McCurdy claims Nickelodeon offered her “hush money” to stay silent about Schneider’s behavior. Naturally, she turned it down and wrote a book instead.