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"You Can't Do That on Television"
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28 out of 34 people found the following review useful:

Before Kids TV became P.C.

Author: severe_td from Los Angeles
9 May 2005

You take a look at kids' television today, and it's amazing that this show saw the light of day. Consider the following aspects of "You Can't Do That On Television"....

- Kids are chained up and put in front of a firing squad in a third world country. They usually trick their captor into getting shot himself, but occasionally the kids themselves end up being fired upon. Today, the show would be criticized for depicting violence against children, as well as perpetuating negative stereotypes against foreigners.

- "Ross", the supposed director of the show, tortures the kids and treats them as slave labor. Today, the show would be attacked for glorifying exploitation of children.

- Blip, the owner of the local arcade, finds whatever ways he can to cheat the video-game obsessed youth that frequent his business. Today, the show would be protested for making light of adults cheating children out of money.

- The "family" scenes depict parents as lazy, poor role models, or just plain cruel. Today, the show would be boycotted for making a joke of dysfunctional families.

- The two most frequently featured female characters (Moose and Lisa) are constantly taunted about their weight. This is despite the fact that, while not thin, neither girl is really all that fat. Today, parents would fear the show could cause eating disorders.

- Even the theme show of the song depicts children being ground up into hamburger meat (or is it hot dog meat -- I forget). I won't even touch this one! While outrageous shows depicting children exist today (i.e. "South Park"), these are aimed at ADULTS, and are given TV-MA ratings. You Can't Do That On Television was aimed at (and watched almost exclusively by) kids. That's the amazing part. You'll never see another kids show like it again.

This wasn't a show with educational or cultural value. It had value in other ways, though, which are harder to quantify.

It was funny and entertaining. It was outrageous enough to be interesting, but never so over-the-top to where it could be considered a true danger to anyone. I don't know anyone who had nightmares about being in front of a South American firing squad. Somehow we all got the sick humor in that, and didn't really see it as real violence.

The kids seemed real. They weren't beautiful, didn't seem precocious, and in fact all used their real names on the show. Alasdair, Kevin, Lisa, Moose, and the bunch seemed like the rest of us. This made the characters easy to like and relate to.

The show tapped into the minds of kids in the '80s. We were all obsessed with arcades, yet all knew the pain of losing quarters in malfunctioning games with "no refunds". We all dealt with controlling and irrational teachers, difficult parents, and incompetent/obnoxious bus drivers.

The show wasn't brilliantly written or produced, but it was fun, and it grew on you over time. Too often growing up I found that kids' shows were talking down to me, and I didn't like it. This was one show that wasn't guilty of that, and set out to entertain me, rather than preach to me or teach me a lesson. I didn't realize it back then, but that was perhaps the aspect of it that I appreciated the most.

Sadly, children's fare of today is over-scrutinized, and any program that can be deemed a bad influence is deepsixed. Just the weight jokes alone would put this show in the 2005 trash can. The fact that we have gotten to this point is indeed a tragedy.

Les Lye did a fine job with all of the different characters he played. I remember being amazed as a kid when I realized that he played every single adult character on the show. He's 80 years old now -- can you believe it?

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19 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

Probably the funniest kids show of all time.

Author: Overjoyed from Minnesota
11 April 2000

Growing up in the mid to late 1980s, one of my favorite shows was 'You Cant Do That On Television'. It had such wacky stuff. Like every episode would have these Opposites sketches, where they would do everything exactly different then we would in real life (A kid gets caught reading a Book under a Playboy and the teacher makes him look at the Playboy instead).

Of course the slime is what took this show from OK to great. Every episode at least a dozen kids would get slimed. And it never got old.

I think they quit making the show in 1989, but reruns aired as late as 1993. I wouldn't mind being able to watch 4 or 5 old episodes. But due to it not being on the air. Tough.

I would never want to eat at that restaurant. Barf puts the burgers under his armpits.

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15 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

"d'I Heaaard Thaaat!"

Author: midigal from NC, USA
6 April 2003

This show is so off the wall that it's right on target. I really MISS THIS SHOW! When I was a kid, a good dose of "You Can't Do That On Television" and then maybe a little "Out Of Control" could put me in a great mood and could also relieve my Mom of duty for a little while. :)

The silly execution sketches and the diner scenes alone make this show worthy of watching. But there's so much more. Nickelodeon's slime theme derived from the success of this show. But none of the kids nowadays will know this. Why can't they air some of the old good stuff on Nick anymore?... Hey, Nick needs to come up with a channel called "Nick - The First Generation" and then I'll actually purchase cable.


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10 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

a truly hilarious show

Author: Allen Dean Peterson ( from an obscure Floridian swamp
1 December 2001

This was a truly hilarious show, not in spite of what some attribute to amateurishness, but probably in part because of it. The best were the earlier seasons, with Christine, Lisa, Alasdair, Vanessa, and of course Les Lye and Abby Hagyard. Nothing against her, but Alanis faded so efficiently into the background that I didn't even know she was on the show til years after it was off the air. Chalk me up as an old pervert if you must [I'm over 40 now], but I thought Moose was HOT in the extreme. Smart, funny, and damn good looking. In my defense I was in my 20's when I watched the show, and she was older than the other cast members. Abby Hagyard was actually pretty decent looking, too, under all the crap she usually wore. But I digress... It's a shame this show didn't continue, and more so that it's not available in reruns. Nobody would ever mistake it with Shakespeare, but there was no mistaking the good fun it was to watch.

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9 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

I was too young to realize it back then, but this is hilarious...

Author: Mulliga from United States
13 June 2003

From the Python-esque opening cartoon to the end credits, "YCDTOT" is easily one of the best sketch comedies ever made. It's faster and more frenetic than "Roundhouse," "All That," or even SNL, and it resorts to current events and pop culture less frequently than other sketch comedies.

A talented young cast is led by Les Lye (arguably the star of the show) in routines satirizing the ins-and-outs of kid life: school buses, cafeterias, arcades. Sometimes it gets even wackier - the Mexican firing squad routines and slime/water/etc. gags are priceless.

See it if you can find it.

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10 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Please put this on DVD

Author: csalings from United States
17 November 2005

You Can't Do That on Television was one of the most funniest kid shows that I remember watching as a kid.

The comedy of Les Lye as Barth serving burgers or handy man Ross is priceless or the endless bad jokes that somehow were funny.

I'll always remember catch phases like "I head that" or if one of the crew said I don't know they would get slimed.

Recently VH1 did a I Love the 80's 3D and they did cover You Can't Do That on Television.

I wish they would put all the episodes on DVD, so my kids could watch it.

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10 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Best Show of All Time

Author: North Stars Fan from Minneapolis Minnesota
22 July 2000

I used to love this show, especially as a kid growing up in the early to mid 80's. I can still remember the characters names. My favorite scene on the show was where there would be a kid in detention and the principal would make the kid copy a dictionary that was like 3 feet thick, while another kid would be chained to the wall. That skit always made me laugh. I even remember the little catch phrases they used like "Sometimes it's so easy, I'm ashamed of myself" and other ones like "Blue skies, Barthy burgers, girls!" I also used to love the bus driver they had "Snake Eyes" who used to always crash into phony brick walls, and the chef they had named "Barth" who used to always make the kids throw up with rancid food. I never understood why they always ate there though. Every skit on the show had it's own unique sense of humor. Another interesting note is that every male character on the show was played by that guy "Ross" The all time best episodes were the ones that featured both "Moose" and "Lisa". Moose used to always make fun of Lisa because she was overweight. My favorite episode was the "Video Game" episode because at the end they showed Pac-Man eating the cast members. I even have episodes on tape somewhere in my house. I ought to look for them some time

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9 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Arguably, the definitive Nickelodeon show

Author: weerdo1482 ( from little ROCK
1 November 2001

God, you know your old when you remember when new episodes of this show were still being made. The premise was basically sketch comedy. Kind of like, a kids Saturday night live, yet in a more warped style. featuring sketches of kids throwing up after eating tanted burgers, kids standing in front of the firing squad, or kids riding on a school bus driven by a semi blind bus driver. besides the sketches, this show also had commentary by kids, and a few episodes had interviews with kids on the streets. You Can't Do That On Television" also spawned a ton of catch phrases like " Lisa, Don't encourage your father!" or " What do you thinks in the burgers?" even "READY! AIIIIIIMMM.." not to mention dropping water on kids that say "water" and slime on kids that say "I don't know" (now a trademark of Nickelodeon) in my opinion this is one of the best shows Nickelodeon ever did. Its really a crime that it isn't still on the air.

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Memories are made of this

Author: siege_b from Queensland, Australia
30 January 2001

While the first six years of this show are arguably the best, any chance to see any of the reruns is to be seized with both hands. The comedy goes from the brilliant to the bizarre, the feel is fun, and the layout is something worth stealing. There's a whole generation out there who still fight the urge to duck whenever they say the words "I don't know" for fear of green slime falling from above, and many a fond smile can be found when the phrase "Lisa, don't encourage your father" is repeated in a certain tone of voice. When this show was good, it was very, very good.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Good show

Author: Catherine_Grace_Zeh from Fairfax, Virginia, USA
17 July 2006

I used to watch this show when I was a little girl. I remember it pretty well. If you ask me, it was a good show. I also remember the opening sequence and theme song pretty well, too. In addition to that, everyone was ideally cast, and it was always funny when someone got something dumped on them. Also, the writing was very strong. The performances were top-grade, too. I hope some network brings it back so I can see every episode. Before I wrap this up, I'd like to say that I'll always remember this show in my memory forever, even though I haven't seen every episode. Now, in conclusion, if some network ever brings it back, I hope that you catch it one day before it goes off the air for good

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