- "Oh well, welcome to Weinerville. Ahhhhhh!"
- ―Dottie at the start of every episode
Nickelodeon Weinerville is an American television program on Nickelodeon that was produced from 1993 to 1994, aired in re-runs to 1997. The show was based around a giant puppet stage which was designed to look like a city, called Weinerville. The show was hosted by Marc Weiner.
Weinerville was a totally outrageous half hour variety show that used classic elements of kids programming, which included puppeteering and interaction with a live studio audience, to entertain kids and their parents. It commanded the attention of such shows as Entertainment Tonight, Good Morning America and The Early Show for being television's first and only half-man/half-puppet variety show where kids are transformed into puppet citizens.
The show received numerous award nominations, including two CableACE Award nominations, and has received critical acclaim from: The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, the Daily News, the New York Post, Newsday, TV Guide and the Los Angeles Times.
The show premiered on July 11, 1993. During the first season, all episodes ran in a two-hour marathon every Sunday. However, Weinerville quickly gained so much popularity that in the middle of the first season Nickelodeon began running the show on weekday afternoons. For the second season, which premiered on September 5, 1994, the episodes aired daily. The show was so popular that Marc and his characters appeared as the hosts for the Nick New Year's Eve '94 and '95 marathons, with the latter marathon including the premiere of the show's first special, The Weinerville New Year's Special: Lost in the Big Apple. Two more specials, The Weinerville Chanukah Special and The Weinerville Election Special: From Washington B.C., followed in 1995 and 1996, respectively. However, the show was not given a third season as Nickelodeon was switching from its family-friendly identity to airing edgy, sarcastic, and somewhat subversive shows, and a puppet show did not fit the new direction. Rerunrs continued to air until June 30, 1997, although the Chanukah special was re-aired on December 21 of that year.
Overview and characters
- Marc Weiner, the host who is always forced to solve most of Dottie's problems. In season one, Marc wears an unbuttoned Weinerville baseball jersey with a green undershirt. In season two, the color of his undershirts changes.
- Kevin L.M.N.O.P, the "executive producer" on the show, who makes three appearances (only in season 2). The character, played by an older child, is a play on the name of the real executive producer of the program, current MTV Networks executive Kevin Kay.
- Dottie, the Mayor of Weinerville. She had a Sidekick named "Zip".
- Baby Jeffrey, who introduces Marc at the beginning of each episode and always makes a mess.
- Big Pops, who is the owner of the Diner. (only in season 1)
- Schnitzel, a fresh/sassy, parrot sidekick. (only in season 1)
- Commander Ozone, a space traveler who defends evil and saves the universe with his sidekick, Wilson, who sounds like Scotty from Star Trek. In Season 1, he was Captain Ozone, and Wilson didn't sound like Scotty.
- Eric Von Firstensecond, Commander Ozone's evil enemy. He always tries to figure out an evil scheme to take over Weinerville, or to marry Dottie. (only in season 2)
- Cocktail Frank, the bandleader of the house band of the show "Cocktail Frank And His Weenies." Frank is the lead singer/guitarist.
- Joey Deluxe, The big shot manager/ and powerful TV show agent.
- Soup Dream, The 'That's not Fair' game show host.
- (All of the above characters feature Weiner's head and a puppet body.)
- Professor Phosphate, a Muppet-like puppet with green hair who can only be seen from the waist up. Phosphate is the owner of Weinerville Labs, and often causes explosions. Despite this, he often solves problems. (only in season 2)
- Boney, an obvious parody of Barney, he is a dinosaur skeleton who is beloved by children but hates them (the "theme song" to his show consisted of said puppet singing "I'm Boney, I'm Boney, leave me aloney, now get out of here!"). According to the 1995 summer issue of Nickelodeon Magazine, Boney is Weiner's favorite puppet.
- Zip, Dottie's helper, who always gets himself into trouble, makes his famous trademark scream and crashes into the wall.
- Pops, (aka "Little Pops"), the local chef.
- Louie, the local laundromat owner who always argues with Pops.
- Socko, an inverted hand puppet who likes to kick people, especially Marc.
The show also featured several non-puppet characters played by Weiner himself:
- Captain Bob, a sea pirate in yellow rain gear that constantly cracks puns. On many shows, an audience member would be invited to climb aboard Captain Bob's pirate ship, where the host would fling water on him before the "tidal wave" (a bucket of water thrown by a stage hand) soaked the participant.
- The Weinerville General Store, Members of the audience were also called down to participate in various activities during the main part of the show, such as helping to demonstrate items in the Weinerville General Store. A recurring joke on the show took place in the General Store, in which Weiner would sell comedic props similar to those of Carrot Top. Nearly everything in the store sold for $13.50. (only in season 1) (See Running Joke for uses of $13.50)
- Running Joke, Occasionally, the "$13.50" gag was used in other segments, for example: on the "Talent Show" episode the winners won with 1,350 points, on the "DTV" episode, DTV was on channel 1350, and on the General Store and Captain Bob skits, that would be the price when Marc would hand the participant anything.
- That's Not Fair!, A game show where a kid and an adult played for points answering questions. Usually the kids win. (only in season 2)
- Playland, Two participants would be selected to be new citizens in Weinerville by Weinerzing (See Below). These participants then competed in one of various carnival-style games in "Playland" that tested the skill of operating their puppet bodies. The runner-up received the "Silver Hot Dog", with the winner receiving the "Golden Hot Dog" as well as the "Special Topping" (a small amount of green slime dumped onto the player's head). Occasionally, both players received the Special Topping (especially in the second season), and if the game involved pies, both contestants would be hit with pies themselves instead of anyone getting the Special Topping. The Playland stage was enlarged and revamped the second season to incorporate more elaborate stunts; these frequently had the contestants facing each other and squirting water or whipped cream at some target, usually soaking the other contestant in the process.
The show always ended with Weiner choosing two people from the audience to get "Weinerized" (turned into puppets). The participants entered a contraption called the "Weinerizer", which appeared to then shrink them to the puppet size (it did so by having the contestants place their heads into a hole above a miniature puppet body). Although the audience members were ostensibly chosen at random, Matt Day (who at the time was working on another Nickelodeon show, Clarissa Explains It All) revealed that participants were sometimes selected beforehand.
All episodes aired out of sequence in no particular order.
Nickelodeon broadcast history
NOTE: All times are Eastern.
|July 1993 - November 1996||Sunday, 2:00 p.m. (Sunday Marathon)|
|October 1993 - September 1994||Monday-Friday, 3:30 p.m.|
|September 1994 - August 1996||Monday-Friday, 3:00 p.m.|
|August 1996 - June 1997||Monday-Friday, 7:00 a.m.|
On the second season and the specials Weinerville had special guest appearances:
- Pro Wrestler Bret Hart
- Phil Moore of Nick Arcade
- Dr. Joyce Brothers on the "XR-3 Space Shuttle Game" episode
- Moira Quirk of Nickelodeon GUTS
- Huey Lewis
- The cast of Clarissa Explains It All on the "DTV" episode
- Melissa Joan Hart on the New Year's, and Election special, and on the "DTV" episode
- Mike Maronna of The Adventures of Pete & Pete on the New Year's special
- Paul Shaffer on the New Year's special
- Bill Maher on the Election Special
- Stick Stickly from Nick in the Afternoon on the Election Special
- Joe Lieberman
- Andy Lawrence
- Harry Smith
- Marc Summers from Double Dare is occasionally mentioned, and appeared in "Giant Spider", "New Year's Special", and "Chanukah Special"
Before Weinerville made its debut, Nickelodeon ran the cartoons by themselves on a half-hour block called "Cartoon Kablooey".
- Season 1 (1993-1993) / Sunday Marathon (1993-1996): Classic Paramount and UPA cartoons
- Season 2 (1994-1995): The Alvin Show (1961)
- Re-runs (1995-1997): The shorts were shuffled throughout 1995. In 1996, they began exclusively showing Batfink and Courageous Cat & Minute Mouse.
Due to Viacom not owning the full rights to these cartoons, when Weinerville was broadcast on The '90s Are All That on April 1, 2015, the cartoons were cut entirely from the episodes. Later, the broadcasts of Weinerville on The Splat on October 10, 2015, had the block's commercial spoofs and Rugrats episodes appearing in place of the cartoons.
Marc Weiner's Weinerville Live
There was also a 13-minute educational VHS video made for the National Dairy Council called E.A.G.A.H.B.E.D.D. The title stands for "Eat A Good And Healthy Breakfast Every Day Day" and is done in the style of an abbreviated Weinerville episode, with the usual characters and sets but without the Playland segment.