Zip back in time 16 years to August 1992 and you’d find Nickelodeon’s debut of SNICK (Saturday Night Nick), which was geared to a teen audience featuring shows like Are You Afraid of the Dark?, Clarissa Explains It All, Pete & Pete, and my favorite of them all—Roundhouse.
Roundhouse was a musical, comedy, educational show that looked at all the various aspects of teen life. During it’s four seasons, the show went from the simple topics like friendship, being picked last in gym or trying out for the school play to tougher things like gangs, dropping out of school and war.
For each episode, there were a number of skits and original songs to explore the episode’s theme. There were lots of recurring elements: a dad who zipped around the set in an electric recliner; send ups of popular TV shows, played out behind a cardboard TV screen; a game-show style announcer and lots of movable set pieces that could turned into just about anything.
What drew me into the show was the mix of music and dance, and the plots were pretty good too. The show’s wit came from creator Buddy Sheffield, who worked as a writer on In Living Color.
Never seen Roundhouse? Here’s your chance, the clip below is the first segment from the season 1 episode “You Can’t Fire Your Family” (and if you want to see the rest of the show, just hop over to YouTube because the complete episode is there in four different pieces).
Sadly, Roundhouse has not made it’s way to DVD. A couple of episodes were released back in 1993 as part of two SNICK compilation tapes, but that’s it. I suspect the reason has something to do with clearing the rights for all the music. Hopefully one day though, this will get released! No doubt I’d buy it.