If your eyes were ever glued to the television when Nickelodeon was on in the 90s, then you may have heard of a little show called All That. Before returning in 2019, it was one of Nickelodeon’s most successful shows. The show has always featured sketches and musical performances making it the teen-friendly version of Saturday Night Live. This is ironic when you realize that Kenan Thompson was a part of the original cast of All That and is currently a cast member on Saturday Night Live. Other cast members of All That went on to have varying degrees of success but one of the most successful has to be Amanda Bynes.
Bynes was a part of the cast from seasons 3 to 6 and made cameos in seasons 7 and 8. The reason for her departure from the show was the creation of her own spin-off, The Amanda Show, which aired from 1999 to 2002. Dan Schneider was behind the creation of this show as well as All That. This explains why The Amanda Show retains the same format as All That minus the musical performances.
Growing up, I watched reruns of All That but always found The Amanda Show to be more memorable and funnier. Revisiting the show today, both obviously aren’t as good as they were when I was a kid but The Amanda Show is still better to me. One of the reasons why is probably the format. All That is pretty much a copy of Saturday Night Live except it only 30 minutes instead of 90. It had a cold open, an opening monologue, guest hosts, and musical guests.
The Amanda Show tweaked this formula slightly by setting itself in a fictional world taking place in front of a live audience. It also only has a few main cast members along with a large number of supporting cast members. The main cast besides Amanda herself featured Drake Bell, Josh Peck, Nancy Sullivan and Raquel Lee. Some of these names may look familiar if you are a fan of Drake and Josh, a spin-off of this show, which starred Drake Bell and Josh Peck.
Another aspect of The Amanda Show I enjoyed was the sketches. While rewatching All That, there weren’t many sketches that made me laugh and I ended up cringing every episode thinking to myself, “How did I watch this?” However, The Amanda Show gave me the opposite reaction. In fact, I ended up laughing for most of the time I re-watched it. Since her name is in the title, Amanda takes on the role of recurring characters in the show such as Penelope, an obsessive fan of Amanda, and Judge Trudy, a parody of Judge Judy.
These two bring some of the funniest moments to the show. I can’t help but crack up whenever Penelope randomly says “please” after saying something or when the dancing lobsters come out at the end of a Judge Judy segment. Some other great sketches from the show include The People Place and any of the Blockblister sketches.
It’s disappointing that despite being the better show, The Amanda Show only had 3 seasons while All That aired for almost 10 years. If you have the time or are just craving some early 2000s nostalgia, I recommend giving The Amanda Show a watch. This is a great comedy series that has definitely aged well.
Seasons 1 and 2 of ‘The Amanda Show’ are available to stream via CBS All Access.
By Brendan Bell