Theories About Nickelodeon Shows That Change Everything

If you grew up a hardcore Nickelodeon fan, you may think you know just about everything there is to know about the network where it's always great to be a kid. 

Or do you?

Even though some of Nick's most iconic shows finished their runs years ago, fans haven't stopped wondering if there was more to those classic series than met the eye. Was "Rugrats" really a fever dream? Did nuclear fallout create some of Nickelodeon's more unusual-looking characters? Those are just some theories that have been bandied about over the years, and, thanks to the Internet, some have really caught on. 

Sure, not every Nickelodeon fan theory is true; in fact, a few have been outright refuted by people who worked on those shows. Still, they're fun to think about,  especially since some really could change everything about classic Nickelodeon shows as we know them. Here are several of the most compelling, obscure, and outlandish fan theories about classic Nickelodeon fare. 

Is Rugrats all in Angelica's head?

Angelica Pickles is the scheming three-year-old always playing tricks on her cousin Tommy and his friends on "Rugrats." Yet a theory Teen Vogue attributes to former Tumblr user radioretaliation paints Angelica in a much more sympathetic, if tragic, light. It claims Tommy, Chuckie, Phil, and Lil all died prematurely, and that Angelica, who received little one-on-one attention from her workaholic parents on the show (despite being quite spoiled with presents by her dad, Drew), imagines the babies' adventures. The theory not only ties into "Rugrats" mythology (e.g., claiming that Chuckie and his mother, who is already established as deceased on the show, died together), but also incorporates the events of "All Grown Up!" by arguing that Angelica's imaginings eventually develop into schizophrenia during her teenage years, exacerbated by drug use.

While the original post is no longer online (it's been archived), this dark, twisted theory has been preserved by the Wikis of popular sites Creepypasta and Fan Theories, with new variations of it popping up on the regular. The theory became so widespread that "Rugrats" co-creator Arlene Klasky incontrovertibly debunked it in a BuzzFeed interview at the 2016 San Diego Comic-Con. Considering how one version of the theory ends with Angelica's death, the notorious "Rugrats" troublemaker is probably breathing a sigh of relief.

Is there a connection between Chris Potter from Kenan & Kel and Norman Bates from Psycho?

Sure, Kenan and his best friend Kel's shenanigans drive Chris Potter up a wall on occasion, but he seems pretty harmless on the whole. Yet could Kenan's otherwise affable employer at Rigby's actually be inspired by one of cinema's most infamous serial killers? That's what Reddit user DrSimonMetin posits in their theory, pointing out that even Chris' pet goldfish from the "Kenan & Kel" episode "Housesitter" shares a first name with Norman Bates, the lead antagonist from "Psycho." Not to mention Bates and Potter have a lot in common: as DrSimonMetin observes, both men at one point were adults living with overbearing moms; while Chris supposedly never murdered his and took her place, she is mysteriously absent when Kenan and Kel visit Chris' home, and her face is always obscured in photos, leading Kenan to openly doubt whether Chris' claims about living with him are true. Chris and Norman's psychological issues also overlap, as they can supposedly "hear" things speak that are inanimate -– or, in Norman's case, dead. 

Seeing as "Kenan & Kel" is very much a kid's show with only occasional adult undertones, though, the similarities, if intentional, are probably just tongue-in-cheek. There's no way Chris Potter's a serial killer... although maybe it's Norman the goldfish fans should be keeping an eye on. 

Do the Angry Beavers know they're on a TV show?

Sure, "The Angry Beavers" could get pretty out there, what with talking animals and a tree stump that seemed to have a life of its own. Yet one fan thinks it might have all been done for the cameras... literally.

Imgur user S7onedb0ss suggests that "The Angry Beavers" may have just been a show within a show all along, citing a sight gag where a cameraperson is recording Norb in the episode "Daggy Dearest." Other evidence includes the most infamous (and, according to Vice, halted mid-production) episode of the series, the unaired finale "Bye Bye Beavers," whose released audio has Norbert shock Daggett by revealing they're characters in a cartoon show that's ending. Maybe that shouldn't surprise Dag, since he actually refers to the episode "The Mighty Knot-head" by name when one of its characters returns in "Practical Jerks," as TV Tropes notes

Interestingly, "The Mighty Knot-head" might also suggest Norbert is aware of his fictional nature, as the name Robert Hughes, the episode's animation director, is written on a box Norb's holding (or it might just be an in-joke with no broader meaning). Continuity can be a pretty fickle thing in cartoons, however, meaning that Dag and Norb may have just known they were cartoon characters some of the time, explaining why Dag seemed to in "Mighty Knot-head," but not in "Bye Bye Beavers."

Do Aaahh!!! Real Monsters and Monsters, Inc. take place in the same universe?

On one hand, the chances of "Aaahh!!! Real Monsters" and "Monsters, Inc." coexisting in the same world seem slim to none, especially since one's a Nickelodeon show and the other's a Disney-Pixar movie. Yet in the world of fan theories, no connection is too unlikely. As SyFy Wire points out, the two franchises do have a number of qualities in common, including monsters attending school to learn how to be frightening and scaring people not just because they want to, but also out of necessity.

There are key differences, however, in why scaring is important for each universe. In the world of "Monsters, Inc.," the monsters frighten people because they use human screams to power their electrical grid. In "Aaahh!!! Real Monsters," screams themselves do nothing, but making people terrified keeps a special well of lava (or what looks like lava) full; if it empties, it makes monsters vanish. This sadly seems to discredit the fan theory, as monsters can technically get by without scares in "Monsters, Inc." (a fact that's actually crucial to the first movie's plot), but in "Aaahh!!! Real Monsters," frightening humans is an existential necessity. 

Did Artie, Little Pete's superhero friend, not exist?

1992's "The Adventures of Pete & Pete" always feels like it exists just a little to the south of reality. Sure, a lot of it seems real enough, and some of the more fantastic elements might be explained away as a subjective interpretation of events by the show's two young protagonists. Yet there's one beloved character who takes reality and chews it all up before spitting right out: Artie, Little Pete's personal superhero.

The show frequently depicts Artie, the self-proclaimed "strongest man in the world," performing feats well beyond that what a normal human can do, like lifting entire houses... which, as Danny Tamberelli, Little Pete's actor, mentioned on NickRewind, still leads fans of the show to ask: is Artie real?

As far as Tamberelli is concerned, the answer is a resounding yes. The show seems to back the actor up, as Artie interacts with several people on "Pete & Pete" on a regular basis, and not just Little Pete. Besides, would an entire group of parents try to get Artie kicked out of town if he wasn't real? Of course, pretty much everything Artie-related could have been dreamed up by Little Pete anyway, including the times it appeared the striped-shirt superbeing was talking to others. Maybe it's all just a metaphor, although Tamberelli's word seems pretty definitive... unless, of course, Artie is real, but his superhero feats are just sleight of hand. 

Is Good Burger actually John Wick's prequel?

Technically, this is a theory about a Nickelodeon movie, not a show, but since "Good Burger" is just a spinoff of Nick's variety show "All That," we feel it deserves a place on this list. 

It couldn't possibly be true, but being able to tie two movies that have nothing to do with each other like "Good Burger" and "John Wick" together is part of what fan theories are all about. Reddit user BigSchwartzzz has a doozy of a theory, claiming that the man who murdered John Wick's dog and stole John's Mustang, Iosef Tarasov, is actually a new alias of infamous Mondo Burger store owner Kurt Bozwell. 

The theory is exceptionally well thought out, explaining that Iosef, aka Kurt, used his connections with Russian organized crime to finance Mondo Burger and propel it to early success, and that the beef and shark poison used to make Kurt's infamous oversized hamburger patties could have originated from Kalmyk cattle and the Greenland shark, both of which can be found in Russia in real life. The Redditor actually ties quite a bit of real-world history into his idea but shortens the length of time between the two movies so they only take place four years apart to account for Kurt and Iosef's similar ages. It's not a foolproof theory by any means and has to tweak certain elements of both movies to make it work, but one has to admire the creativity and sheer audacity that went into it. If there was ever a fan conjecture we hoped were true, this would be it.

Did nuclear radiation create CatDog?

Ever wonder how a cat and a dog could have ended up sharing a body on "CatDog"? Or why so many parts of CatDog's hometown, Nearburg, are in such a state of disrepair? Nick Montgomery on Facebook might have the answer, blaming these unanswered questions on an unseen nuclear mishap. The theory pegs the Greasers' appearance on radiation and even gets a little gruesome, stating, for example, that's Lube's sagging features "could be a telltale sign that his face is starting to fall off."

One particularly interesting aspect of the theory is that it suggests Lola Caricola is actually a human analyzing the effects of nuclear radiation on CatDog and the rest of Nearburg on the military's behalf, and is posing as a bird so no one in the town suspects. Furthermore, Rancid Rabbit may also be a human in disguise, and his literally harebrained schemes are his way of acquiring whatever valuables the people who did escape the accident weren't able to bring with them. Oh, and Rancid's ears? Radio antennae. Why else do you think he goes around saying "What?" half the time?

The Fairly Oddparents are actually... pills?

On "The Fairly OddParents," Timmy Turner's titular godparents, the dim-witted Cosmo and more sensible Wanda, appeared during a turbulent moment in Timmy's life, namely when the sadistic Vicky was first hired to babysit him. To Timmy's great fortune, that also marked the start of his many amazing, magical adventures with Cosmo and Wanda, who can grant Timmy almost any wish he wants. It almost sounds too good to be true, which begs the question: What if it is?

According to Reddit user Super_Inuit, Cosmo and Wanda may not be fairies after all, or even goldfish, for that matter. Instead, the two fairies are actually antidepressants Prozac and Zoloft, which Timmy takes to deal with Vicky and his other troubles. The Redditor assigns Prozac to Wanda and Zoloft to Cosmo, and while the reasoning behind those choices isn't given, fellow Reddit contributor Unholynik shares that Zoloft made them "giddy happy all the time" -– not unlike Cosmo –- and Prozac made them "happy and over[ly] analytical" –- a fairly accurate description of Wanda.

Is Steve taking care of the kids you hear on Blue's Clues?

There are plenty of moments on "Blue's Clues" and "Blue's Clues & You!" where Steve and his successors, Joe and Josh, break the fourth wall and talk directly to the audience. Yet there's also at least one child's voice that can always be heard off-screen actually talking to Steve, his brother, his cousin, or sometimes all three.

Just who are those kids? Their identity may always remain a mystery, but one Redditor, Chengweiyingji, thinks that Steve (and, by extension presumably, the other clue hunters of his family) just might be the children's babysitters, and that the babysitting gig may have even helped fund Steve's college education. That would also explain, as Chengweiyingji further notes, everything from Steve not always figuring out easy clues to why he talks to inanimate objects: It's all part of the game he's playing with the kids he's looking after. The thought that "Blue's Clues" might have not just been teaching deductive reasoning, but also how to take care of young people, just makes what Steve (who appeared in a touching video celebrating the franchise's 25th anniversary), Joe, and Josh do all the more impressive.

Did Katara miss her chance at being Avatar?

There's no shortage of "Avatar: The Last Airbender" fan theories out there, but one in particular is bound to put a smile on at least a few "AtLA" fans' faces. Renegade_Reference has quite an intriguing theory on Reddit, suggesting Katara could have been the next Avatar instead of Korra if Aang hadn't gotten trapped in an iceberg. Seeing as "Avatar: The Legend of Korra" stated the toll Aang's time in ice took on his body prevented him from living further into old age, it's not implausible that Aang could have lived all the way up to Katara's birth year (as new Avatars are always born right when the previous one dies), thus dying in his late 90s — not an uncommon life span in the "Avatar" universe. Katara's bravery and waterbending skill certainly would have made her a qualified Avatar, especially with her unique ability to fight off others' bloodbending. Renegade_Reference points out that Aang's and Katara's backstories even mirror each other's somewhat, as the Fire Nation made Aang the last airbender of his generation and killed every waterbender in the Southern Water Tribe until Katara was the last one left.

Just what kind of meat (or meat substitute) is used in Krabby Patties, anyway?

Just how far is SpongeBob SquarePants' boss, Eugene Krabs (better known as simply Mr. Krabs), willing to go to make a profit? Pretty far, as far as one Redditor is concerned, who posits that the money-grubbing crustacean's famous Krabby Patties are crabby in more than name. Yet would Mr. Krabs really go so far as to betray his own species and use actual crab meat in his burgers?

Not according to "SpongeBob SquarePants" co-executive producer Vincent Waller, who revealed on Twitter in 2018 that franchise creator Stephen Hillenburg "has always made very clear, there is NO meat in the Krabby Patty." So what are those delectable patties made of? Another Reddit user thinks it may be completely meatless imitation crab, although that, too, seems an odd choice: Why would Mr. Krabs risk his own life by making his customers wonder what real crab meat tastes like? That's probably one of the reasons why the formula's a secret.

Is Keef from Invader Zim an Irken, too?

Zim bit off more than he could chew when he made Keef his designated pal in the "Invader Zim" episode "Bestest Friend." What started as a plot to make Zim look more human to his classmates quickly went sideways when Keef became too obsessed with being Zim's friend, even after Zim tried to end their friendship.

Yet what if Keef has an ulterior motive for becoming Zim's best bud? Fan Theories Wiki thinks Keef may be a member of Zim's species who wants to stop Zim from conquering Earth. The theory further goes on to say that Keef has secretly has it out for Zim for wreaking havoc on their planet in the series pilot, which forced Keef to leave Planet Irk for his safety. There definitely are certain things about Keef that seem to suggest he might at least be an alien (if not necessarily Irken), as being electrocuted and attacked by a beaver seem to barely hurt him; his head is also better at absorbing liquid than the average human's. Also peculiar is his shared physical trait with Zim's kind, namely having only three fingers. If this theory's ever proven right, that just might make Zim even more oblivious than most of the humans on the show.