A Case That’s All That

Throughout the 1980s, Nickelodeon’s popular show, “You Can’t Do That on Television” aired on the network. After the show had ended in 1990, the network was considering trying another sketch comedy show starring kids.


 In April of 1994, All That aired on Nickelodeon as a special preview. The episode had musical guest TLC who also sang the All That theme song.

In December of that same year, the show premiered with an original cast of: Angelique Bates, Lori Beth Denberg, Katrina Johnson, Kel Mitchel, Alisa Reyes, Josh Server, and Kenan Thompson. 

The Atlantic praised it for its “diverse cast, un-condescending tone, and kid characters played by actual kids.”  It was unlike any other shows at the time. Created by Brian Robbins and Michael Tollin. Written by Dan Schneider


    • Brian Robbins & Michael Tollin
      • In 1991, Brian Robbins started a production company with Michael Tollin. Robbins was good friends with Dan Schnieder, as they had previously worked together on a show called “Head of the Class” in the mid 1980s
      • The head of development at Nickelodeon asked Robbins and Tollin to film a project for the network. Pleased with their work, he asked them if there was a project they would be interested in making for Nickelodeon, and the men developed a pitch for an “SNL for kids”
      • Robbins and Tollin asked Dan Schnieder to be the head writer of the show, and the men started a nationwide search for the cast 
      • They felt it was important to find the cast first and then tailor the show to their strengths 
      • Keven Kopelow and Heath Siefert also wrote and produced the show, and went on to work with Kenan and Kel on their spin-off show 
        • Keven also played the stage manager 


  • Initially, the show did not test well with focus groups, but the then president of Nickelodeon Geraldine Laybourne decided to green-light the show anyway


  • The Cast Members

    • Original Cast
      • Lori Beth Denberg
        • On twitter we created a poll and asked who was the funniest original All That cast member, and Lori Beth was the obvious winner! We also asked our patrons this question and Joel Thomas answered that Kenan and Kel’s sketches were the funniest, he thought Lori Beth was the best performer on the show
        • 18 when the show began
        • Characters
          • She hosted Vital Information (as herself)
          • Miss Fingerly the teacher
          • Miss Hushbaum the loud librarian
          • Connie Muldoon, Good Burger patron
        • Has since played smaller roles in other movies and television
        • She was a frequent panelist on “Figure it Out” 
        • Was on the Steve Harvey show in the early 2000’s for 67 episodes
      • Josh Server
        • 15 when the show began
        • Characters
          • Detective Dan 
          • Earboy
          • Flem
          • Bernie Kibbitz
          • Tandy Spork
        • The only cast member to last all six original seasons
        • Theater thug in Drake and Josh and also guest starred on other Nickelodeon shows for an episode
      • Kenan Thompson
        • 15 when the show began, he had already been in The Mighty Ducks 2 (1994)
        • Characters
          • Pierre Escargo 
          • Mavis
          • Super Dude 
          • Lester Oaks
          • Randy 
          • Principal Pimple 
        • Starred in Kenan & Kel while still a cast member on All That
        • Also starred in films like Good Burger (1997) and Fat Albert (2004) 
        • Has been on SNL now for 16 seasons
          • Officially the cast member to stay the longest
      • Kel Mitchell
        • 15 when the show began
        • Characters
          • Ed in the Good Burger sketches
          • Clavis (to Kenan’s Mavis) 
          • Repair Man
          • Coach Kreeton 
          • Okrah 
        • He forgot his monologue he’d prepared for audition, but when he tripped on some studio equipment, he turned it into a joke and had the producers laughing. He has said that his Ed voice for the Good Burger sketch also came out of that audition
        • Currently plays “Double G” on Game Shakers on Nickelodeon and is an executive producer for the new All That 
        • https://www.kelmitchell.com/blogs/news/
          • Here he has a link to some cool Mr Mitchell Morning Motivation youtube videos
          • Overcame drug use and suicidal thoughts through finding faith- very open about this
      • Angelique Bates
        • 14 when the show began
        • Characters
          • Mandy
          • Penny Lane
          • Four Eyes (Earboy’s girlfriend) 
          • Beth (Good Burger sketch) 
        • The first cast member to leave All That, she chose not to renew her contract after season 2 
        • Dabbled as a rapper, going by “Alizay”
        • Did a few small roles but has switched to stand up comedy
      • Katrina Johnson
      • Alisa Reyes
        • 13 when the show began
        • Characters
          • Kiki (The Island Girls) 
          • Penny Lane
          • Sally (Earboy’s crush) 
          • Rash (bassist for the band Bacteria) 
        • http://www.alisareyes.com/
        • Has continued acting and is also an acting coach now as well
        • Is a singer, released a single called Sexy Hot
          • Reminds me of Island Girls…. Lol
        • Devotes some of her time to charities such as The American Cancer Society, Peace Beads, Kids with a Cause and many more
        • A board member for the non profit dance company called CDI – California Dance Institute
    • Added later

      • Danny Tamberelli
        • Widely known for his role in Pete and Pete first
        • Took over for Lori Beth as the Vital Information anchor
      • Amanda Bynes
        • Amanda replaced Angelique Bates at the beginning of season 3 and became a breakout star
        • She had been discovered while at a comedy camp; she was doing stand-up comedy at age 10  
        • Her most popular character was Ashley in the “ask Ashley” sketches
        • Once the show ended, she had her own spinoff called “The Amanda Show” at age 13
      • Nick Cannon
        • Before being a cast member, Cannon was already a writer for the show and was normally the audience warm-up. He came to the show after Lori Beth exited. 
      • Other members that were added in the later seasons were:
        • Christy Knowings
          • Played Jessica, the co-host of What-Everrrr
          • Took over the Penny Lane role 
        • Leon Friarson
          • Played Leroy in Leroy and Fuzz
        • Mark Saul
          • Most well-known sketch was Stuart, who takes over other peoples’ jobs 
          • Was on Grey’s Anatomy for a bit 
        • Gabriel Inglesias 
          • Only one season on the show, now a well-known stand-up comedian and has a Netflix show
  • Favorite Sketches

    • We asked on twitter what were peoples’ favorite All That sketches
      • For Your Reference Podcast and Alex Heine both named Pierre Escargot 
      • Another Damn Movie Podcast named Detective Dan 
    • Lori Beth Denberg with Vital Information
    • Loud Librarian
    • Good Burger
      • Spawned the 1997 movie of the same name
    • Earboy
      • This was a recurring character played by Josh Server about a boy named earboy who had a friend named Pizza Face played by Kel Mitchell 
    • Lemonade Stand 
      • Katrina Johnson played a deceptive girl who would trick people with free peanut butter donuts
      • Once their mouths were sticky and they needed a drink, she charged $30 a glass for lemonade and $100 for a non-peanut butter doughnut
  • A look into the first reboot 

    • After the cast left the show in 2000, the show went on hiatus as producers went on another nationwide search for a new All That cast
    • Chelsea Brummet, Jack DeSena, Lisa Foiles, Bryan Hearne, Shane Lyons, Giovonnie Samuels, and Kyle Sullivan were the kids chosen for the All That re-launch in 2002
    • Jamie Lynn Spears, younger sister of Brittany, joined the cast in season 8 
    • Nickelodeon held a nationwide contest to find the “funniest kid in America” and added the winner, Christina Kirkman to the cast as well
  • In 2004, the start of the “10th” season, the show aired an All That 10th Anniversary reunion that featured some of the old cast members
    • This episode was hosted by Frankie Munez (why?) 
    • It also brought back Vital Information with Lil’ JJ
    • The special ended with the staple characters Mavis and Clavis for a melancholy good-bye as they walk away on the empty stage
    • This was the show’s last season until they announced a reboot in 2019
  • The Revival

    • In the fall of 2018, Brian Robbins (the original co-creator of All That) was named the president of Nickelodeon
      • A revival of the show was inevitable as Robbins said, “I would’ve never, ever, ever canceled the show. It should’ve been [Nickelodeon’s] Saturday Night Live. All That was a very sophisticated show. Young humor, but the level of comedy on that show was sophisticated.”
    • Favorite moments
      • Lori Beth handing off Vital Information
      • Kids doing celebrity impressions
      • Cancelled with Nathan 
    • Cameo Appearances
      • In the first episode, Lori Beth Denberg and Josh Server make appearances with Kenan and Kel 
    • Keenan Thompson’s Influence
      • Executive Producer of the reboot with Kel Mitchell


The Case of Summer Movies

It’s officially summer! It’s the season of cook-outs, family reunions, patriotic holidays, and childhood nostalgia. This week, we each chose a movie we watch every summer and talked about why it’s a quintessential summer movie.


Adam started off the episode with the 1980 classic Caddyshack!


  • Although the main plot seems to slip as the film goes on, Caddyshack initially follows Danny Noonan (Michael O’Keefe), a teen caddy at the high-end Bushwood Country Club. Eager for money to pay for college, Noonan attempts to gain votes for a college scholarship reserved for caddies by volunteering to caddy for a prominent club member Elihu Smails (Ted Knight). As the stressful Caddy Day golf tournament approaches, Noonan seeks advice from wealthy golf guru Ty Webb (Chevy Chase). Meanwhile, Al Czervik (Rodney Dangerfield) arrives and starts to flaunt his money and causes big trouble for the club owner.

Fun Facts

  • This was Harold Ramis’ directorial debut and is considered to be an accidental hit by those who made it
  • Referred to as “Animal House on a Golf Course,” Caddyshack is an over the top comedy about the Bushwood Country Club
  • The movie was originally going to be more about Michael O’Keefe’s character Danny Noonan and his fellow caddies. However, throughout a ridiculously difficult shoot it turned into an adult comedy with no significant plot.
    • Gopher was added last minute to create some kind of plot that would tie scenes together.
  • According to actors and crew there were parties almost every night that would rival those of rock stars. The cast of Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield, Ted Knight, and Bill Murray didn’t make things any easier either. They were constantly goofing around and ended up ad-libbing a large amount of the movie.
    • Examples of this include:
      • Cinderella story
      • Party scene
      • Ugliest hat
    • Dangerfield thought he was doing terribly during scenes, as no one was breaking character to laugh. Being a stand up comedian, he was used to laughs

Favorite Moments

  • “Doodie” Pool scene with Jaws theme
  • Destroying the yacht
  • Carl Spackler the grounds keeper, blowing up the course and winning the game for Al.


Marci brought us back to camp with Heavy Weights (1995)


  • Gerry Garner comes home from the last day of school (The True beginning to summer!) He is surprised to find that his parents have decided to send him to camp named Camp Hope. Not just any camp though- in Gerry’s words a “Fat Camp”. When he arrives all the campers soon find out that this year will not be the same as years past.  The owners have gone bankrupt and sold the camp to Tony Perkis (Ben Stiller) who is a fitness junkie.
  • Screenplay written and produced by Judd Apatow
    • Known now for Superbad, Anchorman, and Knocked Up


  • Marci believes the former Chipmunks kid was a real entrepreneur. He takes away the kids candy by snitching on them but then proceeds to charge them to sneak candy into a tree trunk in the woods.
  • Who would not want to jump on an awesome air filled bag named “The Blob” into the water?
  • The dance scene was perfect- just as it seemed to be everywhere- girls on one side, guys on the other.
  • One of the funniest lines is when Tony tells Josh (Shaun Weiss from Mighty Ducks) to promptly get off the scale when he is weighed on camera during the second weigh in.
  • Even though this movie has mixed reviews because it seems to have mixed messages we have loved it for many reasons.  One of the main messages Marci takes is that you should take control of your own lives.

Fun Facts

  • The original camp owners were played by Ben Stiller’s parents: Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara.
  • The boy that played Gerry (Aaron Schwartz) ended up breaking his arm during the food fight scene and had to be taken to the hospital.  In order to continue shooting the crew covered his stand-in’s face with chocolate syrup.
  • This was basically the beginning of Ben Stiller’s Dodgeball character
    • Since Heavyweights did not fare well at the box office he thought nobody had seen it and borrowed mannerisms and things from the Tony Perkis character.  He then uses them for his character White Goodman in Dodgeball.
  • Ben Stiller did not hang out with the kids during filming which may have helped to contribute to his villainous nature in the movie.
  • 20 Mile Hike
    • The story that Tony tells the boys during this hike is actually a mixture of the myths of Icarus and Sisyphus. Sisyphus was a Greek king who tricked the gods. When he died the gods created a hell for him where he was forced to push a boulder up a hill forever.  Every time just before he reaches the top of the hill the boulder rolls back down and he has to start over. Icarus was a young man who attempted to escape an island with his father, Daedalus.  They made wings out of feathers and wax. Even though his father warned him not to, Icarus flew too close to the sun, his wings melted and he perished upon the fall down.


  • “Don’t put Twinkies on your pizza”- Roy (Kenan Thompson) telling Pat Finley what they learned after the big party


Robin finished up the episode with Field of Dreams (1989)

  • Robin started hers off with an excerpt from the poem, “Green Fields of the Mind” by A Bartlett Giamatti
    • “[Baseball] breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall all alone. You count on it, rely on it to buffer the passage of time, to keep the memory of sunshine and high skies alive, and then just when the days are all twilight, when you need it most, it stops.”
  • She also quoted an article about poetry in baseball
    • In a Thought.Co article by Bob Holdman and Margery Synder, they say, “Baseball is the most literary of sports, bursting with metaphor, image, and rhythm.” Baseball is considered to be America’s official pastime, though its popularity has dwindled in recent years. This sport has a rich history filled with nostalgia, an activity played in backyards and on small town fields among family and friends for at least 150 years
  • Shoe-less Joe
    • It’s not a surprise, then that Field of Dreams was a success. Initially the film was to be named the same as the book by W.P. Kinsella, “Shoeless Joe,” but the producers were afraid that audiences would be confused as to what it was about. Kinsella was fine with the change because his original title for the book was “The Dream Field”
  • Synopsis

    • Ray, a farmer in Iowa hears a voice one night as he tends to his fields of corn. “If you build it, he will come.” When Ray is confused, the voice seems to give him a vision of a baseball field. Taunted by fellow farmers and other townspeople, Ray mows down his corn and builds a baseball field. He believes that the ghost of his father’s hero, Shoeless Joe Jackson, will appear. Sure enough, Jackson does appear. Soon, the rest of the 1919 White Sox appear in Ray’s field, only visible to him and his family.
    • Ray believes he built the field so that others could fulfill their baseball dreams, but he finds there’s something there for him too.
  • The Black Sox Scandal 

    • Now, to understand why these particular players appear on the field, you should know a little about The Black Sox Scandal of 1919
        • Back in 1919, baseball players were not paid as well as they are today. Many of them found it difficult to sustain a living off of being a player. The Chicago White Sox first baseman conspired with some gamblers and agreed to throw the World Series against the Cincinnati Reds for $100,000.00. After the Sox lost the first few games, gamblers weren’t paying out the amounts promised and so they called off the fix and decided to win the series once and for all. However, the gamblers threatened their families and the White Sox lost the World Series to the Reds.
        • When authorities started investigating the series, the players (including Shoeless Joe) confessed to taking the money
          • Shoeless Joe had only taken 5k from his teammates
        • Because of the suspicious disappearance of evidence, the players walked away free from the court. But, the commissioner of baseball did not let them off so easily. All eight players were banned from baseball for the rest of their lives, including Buck Weaver who dropped out of the fix before it started and Shoeless Joe who batted just as well during the series as he had all season. Shoeless Joe also claimed he was an unwilling participant and tried to tip off the owner of the fix.
        • Shoeless Joe was a hero to many children and the scandal brought about the famous cry, “Say it ain’t so, Joe!”
  • Fun Facts

    • In Field of Dreams, Ray visits a reclusive author named Terence Mann. In the novel, the author was JD Salinger. Kinsella purposely used the name Kinsella for the title character because Salinger had also written pieces with characters of that name. The purpose was for it to seem that one of his own characters had come to knock on his door and take him to a baseball game.
      • James Earl Jones took the part of Mann after his wife was mesmerized by the famous “people will come, Ray” speech
      • No one outside of the cast and crew knows for certain who’s voice is used as THE voice, though the common belief is that it was Ray Liotta who played Shoeless Joe
    •  Moonlight Graham, a player that Ray travels to Minnesota in order to find, was an actual person. Graham did in fact only play one game before moving to Minnesota and becoming a doctor. Kinsella, the author, found his stats in a book and decided to use them for the story
      • The movie is the final film for Burt Lancaster, the actor who played Graham
    • Field of Dreams was never number one at the box office, it competed with: Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade; Batman; Honey, I Shrunk the Kids; Dead Poet’s Society; and Weekend at Bernie’s
    • Roger Ebert gave it four stars: “The ghost of Shoeless Joe does not come back to save the world. He simply wants to answer that wounded cry that has become a baseball legend: “Say it ain’t so, Joe!” And the answer is, it ain’t.”

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