My generation grew up on 90s Nickelodeon cartoons. There will always be a special place in my heart for characters like Arnold, Tommy Pickles, and Rocko. Ask any college student and chances are they had a favorite show. My friends and I often slip into moments of nostalgia and end up talking for hours about our favorite moments or recalling the theme songs. It’s always fun to have these conversations, but lately, somehow someone always seems to (at least try to) make my childhood memories with these guys feel like a lie. 

Maybe you’ve heard of some of the conspiracy theories about what our favorite cartoons really were. Maybe you believe them. Maybe you don’t. Maybe…you can’t. I’ve heard some crazy things, but these theories range from the outlandish to the bizarre to the downright sad. They’re really fun to talk and speculate about, but some of them are really disturbing. I thought nothing of it when I was a child and it never seemed strange to me, but looking back, there might have been some shady stuff going on. I was always under the impression that cartoons were intrinsically strange. The scary thing about these theories is that they all make sense. I just want to know who came up with them!

Let’s start with the sad and make our way to the bizarre, shall we? I’ve recently learned that Rugrats, my personal favorite, is actually about Angelica. What about the other babies? Well, the theory behind this is that they’re all dead and creations of her imagination, which explains why she is the only one who can communicate with them. The main character, Tommy Pickles, is said to have been stillborn which had a lasting effect on his father, Stu, prompting his obsession with creating toys. This theory says that the adorable Chuckie died with his mother, which is why his father Chaz is such a mess. Phil and Lil? Theorists say that their mother Betty had an abortion, and Angelica, not knowing the sex of the baby, created twins, so that each possibility could be represented.

This is similar to another theory I’ve heard about Ed, Edd, n’ Eddy, not from Nickelodeon, but a cartoon nonetheless. Some believe that the cul-de-sac where these kids live is actually a kind of purgatory for children who died tragic deaths across history. Look at their clothes, their manner of speech and their attitudes and you’ll see what I mean.

Some people also give Arnold from Hey Arnold a really sad story. According to the conspiracy, Arnold isn’t actually an orphan. In fact, his grandparents are his real parents. Because of a pregnancy so late in life, there were some complications, leading Arnold to be born with a condition called hydrocephalus, which causes his head to swell because of a buildup of water in the brain. What about his friends? Well, supposedly they’re figments of Arnold’s imagination concocted to help him escape reality.

Spongebob Squarepants. There has to be something up with that one right? Some conspiracy theorists claim that this lovable sponge who lives in a pineapple under the sea (as well as his friends, of course) is a victim of radiation from nuclear arms testing. In the 1940s and 50s there was nuclear arms testing on the Bikini Atoll. If we assume that Bikini Bottom is under the atoll, this could explain the existence of the strange creatures we’ve grown to love. [via Buzzfeed]

If you google “fan theories” you’ll run into a bunch more of these (there’s even a Reddit dedicated to them!) Personally, I think they’re fun to talk about because they’re so absolutely insane. But what’s your opinion on these crazy conspiracy theories?

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