“Tired of caring for your kids? Give them to us, and we'll raise them until they're 12 (and decide to switch to MTV)!”
Nickelodeon (also known as Nick) is a cable television channel that was once dedicated to surreal, grotesque programs aimed at youths and hallucinating college stoners. It is owned by ViacomCBS, ruler of the Free World, which in itself is dictated by the ruthless Emperor Bob Bakish. In the 1980s, 1990s, and early-mid 2000s, the channel churned out nostalgic cult classics such as Double Dare, You Can't Do That on Television, Rugrats, Doug, The Ren & Stimpy Show, Salute the Dark, Roundhouse, Are You Afraid of Your Shorts?, The Adventures of Pete & Pete, Rocko's Modern Life, All That, Kenan & Kel, Hey Arnold!, The Angry Beavers, pre-movie SpongeBob SquarePants, Invader Zim, and Avatar: The Last Airbender, fondly waxed over by Gen X and Millennials.
However, since the mid-late 2000s, numerous oldschool fans believe the network has undergone a significant decline in quality, and become a hollow conch shell of its former self. Following a management shakeup, several of Nick's classic shows were cancelled (the characters from these shows did not even receive the pensions they were promised), mediocre newer ones replaced them, the famous Nickelodeon Studios was closed down, and the network made the extreme economy move of sacking their old logo to appeal to a "hip" new generation of Zoomers. For a lifetime at this point, nostalgic Nick fans on social media have griped time and time again about Nickelodeon's alleged slide into a wannabe Disney Channel. Still, Viacom argues that the proof is in the pudding, and the niche that they sought — vapid couch potato sitcoms where 12-year-olds pretending to be 16 seek fame, fortune, and plastic surgery — has translated into greater sales of advertising.
1977–90: Stone Age
Nickelodeon was the brainchild of Dr. Vivian Horner, a PBS alumni, who was concocting to brainwash America's youth with trippy Syd Barrett-esque educational programming, but without resorting to talking sponges and teenybopper singers. Dr. Horner gave the project the name Pinwheel, and it was destined to be the world's "first kids' network". Initially, Pinwheel aired a Sesame Street knockoff (also titled Pinwheel), as well as obscure foreign cartoons and filmstrips. This approach met with little fanfare, and so in 1979, the network got a complete makeover and changed its name to Nickelodeon.
Horner then abandoned the project and moved into a cave, remaining elusive to the public for a number of years. Former Mattel exec Cy Schneider, the newly-appointed President and pseudo-god of Nick, decided to
steal import some cheap-quality Canadian and British kids' shows and air them on the American channel, at no expense to him or the network. One such show was the hip and irreverent, groundbreaking sketch-comedy show, You Can't Do That on Television. The show featured such iconic people and characters as Les Lye, Christine "Moose" McGlade, Ronald Reagan, and Barth. One of the shows trademarks (which is now owned by Viacom) was somebody getting slimed after replying "I don't know!" Slime soon became a staple of Nickelodeon, appearing in everything from YCDTOTV to Double Dare, to What The Hell Does This Kid Do?, all the way to the Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards, but currently only appears in the KCA.
In 1984, Schneider jumped the sinking Nick ship after it sank to become the lowest-rated channel in America, being nicknamed the "Green Vegetable Network" by viewers. Focus grouper Geraldine Laybourne was so embarrassed working at Nick that she told other people she was actually a schoolteacher. Still, Gerry stayed on board with the network and appointed herself the new President of Nick. She washed her hands of Schneider and rebranded Nick from an educational network into a zany one, from a dull pinball logo into a stretchy orange splat, and took all the credit for Schneider's good ideas; Cy was hurt and angered by this, and dropped out of public sight. By this time, Pinwheel was canceled due to low ratings, and the network was looking for bigger and better things. They
stole acquired the rights to such imports as Danger Mouse, David the Gnome, The Mysterious Cities of Gold, The Tomorrow People, The Yesterday People, and A Clockwork Orange. However, the respective copyright owners of these programs sued the network for copyright and trademark infringement and won big time, leaving Nick with nothing on their schedule in those timeslots, so they decided to fill time by rerunning YCDTOTV over and over again, while in the meantime looking for a solution.
Sumner Redstone, who was Viacom's ruthless Emperor at the time, bought Nickelodeon in 1985 for the sum of a paperclip and a piece of string, and ordered them to produce their own original series. The first such show was the Marc Summers game show Double Dare, which premiered in 1986. The show was an instant hit with critics and audiences across the country and helped put Nickelodeon on the map. Other shows produced during this time included Kids Court, the highly-controversial Kid Nation, A Clockwork Orange: The Series, Eureeka's Castle, Finders Keepers, and the short-lived Super Sentai parody dub, Dynaman. Nickelodeon then sought to appeal to cowboys with the short-lived comedy series Hey Dude. It became expensive to produce all of these shows and court the cowboy demographic, so they were all immediately canceled as soon as the network opened their own studio in 1990.
1990–98: Golden Age, Nickelodeon Studios, SNICK, and Nicktoons
The 1990s saw a noticeable shakeup for Nickelodeon, and a change in their kinds of programs. They opened up Nickelodeon Studios in the summer of 1990 and would produce their live-action shows exclusively at that location, which in itself was the embodiment of early '90s memphis pattern design. Laybourne was determined to expand Nick into a global media empire, with her goal being "A Nickelodeon Magazine in every Pizza Hut and a sliming on everyone's head." The first show to be taped at Nickelodeon Studios was the Anthony Hopkins-hosted game show Get the Picture, in which two teams had to guess pictures to win points. The show was again short-lived, so the network had a few backup plans, pouring their money into more live-action shows such as Salute Your Shorts, Fifteen, Nick News, and the short-lived Baywatch for Kids, all of which had varying degrees of success.
Having eliminated 90% of mediocre foreign programming, infomercials, and subliminal messages on the channel, Nick were also ambitious to produce their own original cartoons. These were not just any ordinary cartoons, but "Nicktoons" (a parody of Cartoon Network's "Cartoon Cartoons"), cartoons with spunk and attitude — a given, since this was the dawn of grunge and whatnot. The original three Nicktoons were: Doug, about a socially deficient tween boy; The Ren & Stimpy Show, a piece of anarchist propaganda centering on a mentally unstable talking dog and cat; and Rugrats, based on the lives of lumpily-shaped infants who walk, talk, escape from their playpen, go on crazy adventures, and somehow remain babies for 13 years. All three shows were hits, particularly Rugrats which made millions of dollars for the channel and became their most reliable cash cow for the next 13 years. In 1996, Doug moved to Disney for rather lame rebooted episodes where the characters are older, Roger is Doug's friend instead of a bully, and everything looks more colorful instead of scraggly.
In 1991, Nick debuted the sitcom Clarice Explains It All. In this prequel to the Silence of the Lambs, Clarice Starling (played by a young Melissa Joan Hart, later known for Sabrina the Teenage Witch and, more dubiously, God's Not Dead) is just a normal teenager with a quirky family. Her mother Janet (Elizabeth Hess) is a stereotypical June Cleaver, while father George Marshall Starling (Joe O'Connor) is a stereotypical Ward Cleaver, and little brother Ferguson (Jason Zimbler) is an annoying brat, yet also quite intellectual. Sean O'Neal played a young Hannibal Lecter, whom Clarice sometimes calls "Sam". The show moved to the SNICK lineup in 1992, running until 1994.
In 1992, Nick introduced Are You Afraid of the Dark? to their SNICK lineup. A legendary and influential Tales from the Crypt ripoff show, it centered around a group of eight teenagers tell terrifying campfire stories, and the first person to pee their pants would tell next week's story. The long-running show was cancelled in 1996, but briefly revived from 1999 to 2000 for inferior new episodes. 1992 also saw the premiere of Roundhouse, a show in which a group of improv actors had to perform comedy sketches while being roundhouse-kicked by Chuck Norris. Unfortunately, viewers felt that Norris, not being at all funny himself, detracted from the comedy; Nickelodeon responded by firing Norris and continuing the show without him, albeit without success. The show was canceled in 1996; this is what happens when you mess with Chuck.
After the cancellations of You Can't Do That on Television and Roundhouse, Nickelodeon needed another sketch comedy series to balance out their SNICK lineup. They hired Brian Robbins, Mike Tollin, Dan Schneider (Cy Schneider's cousin), and a bunch of people from Better Off Dead and Head of the Class to create such a show. They hired seven teenagers with enormous talent and called the show All That, premiering in 1994. Actors Kenan Thompson and Kel Mitchell proved so popular that they spun off into their own show, while Josh Server, to this very day, holds the record for staying on All That the longest.
Nick wanted to see their empire reach an upstanding Afro-American audience, so in 1996, they launched Kenan & Kel, which gained a cult following among orange soda drinkers. As the Golden Age of Nick marched on, more Nicktoons were introduced such as Rocko's Modern Life, Aaahh!!! Real Monsters, Hey Arnold!, and The Angry Beavers, each one less strange and more conventional than the last. In 1996, Gerry Laybourne resigned and was replaced by programming director Herb Scannell as Nick's president.
1998–2005: Silver Age, corporatization, talking sponges, and alien invaders
Although Nick remained solid for the first two years under the watch of this Movie Channel mogul, fans believe the network started its decline quickly afterward, as numerous classic shows were cancelled, thrust into reruns, and replaced with mediocre ones such as CatDog, The Wild Thornberries, Rocket Power, and As Told by Ginger, most of which placed an emphasis on cleaner-yet-still-crude animation and less-witty humor than before. '90s Nick historians generally pinpoint 1998–99 as the end of the network's glory days, due to the release of The Rugrats Movie (with the introduction of the Poochie-like character Dil and the beginning of the show's decline), SNICK being converted into SNICK House and taken over by Nick "Pray for Eminem" Cannon, the network's programming changing its style, and Lori Beth leaving All That.
Nick ended the '90s by launching their secret weapon, SpongeBob SquarePants, a highly-addictive series with many jokes understandable by teens and adults. Many were skeptical of the show when it premiered, thinking the talking sponge idea would never take off, but were proven to be very wrong. This zany Nicktoon was initially worked on by the dudes who worked on Ren and Stimpy and Rocko's Modern Life, but it soon became Nick's cash cow and suffered a post-movie decline in quality, à la Rugrats. SpongeBob, much like The Simpsons, is now so old that its newer audiences don't even know it used to be good. That year also saw the premiere of The Amanda Show, a sketch-comedy spinoff of All That starring pyromaniac Amanda Bynes, self-centered Drake Bell, and neurotic Josh Peck who performed wacky antics.
Following the turn of Nickellennium, Scannell launched two very addictive and dangerous Nicktoons: The Fairly OddParents, about an average kid who no one understands; and Invader Zim, a darkly funny show about an evil alien adjusting to life on Earth, trying (and always failing) to conquer it. The former was one of the most popular shows on the channel in this era; SpongeBob was more popular of course, but FOP was a close second. It's essentially a kids' version of Family Guy complete with all the pop-culture references, hidden adult jokes, Adam West, abrupt cancelations/revivals, and KISS. Unfortunately, Zim was quickly cancelled due to low ratings, as children (much like pathetic moose-worm-babies) found themselves too stupid to understand its dystopian, warped sense of humor that likely induced nightmares in the young ones.
All That started to suck in 2002, when it was relaunched with a new cast for season 7. With weaker cast members, and unfunnier and less relatable sketches like Sugar and Coffee or Know Your Stars, the show was as good as dead. Luckily, the show got back on the right path in season 10, when the old '90s castmembers returned for a reunion special. Unfortunately, many of them were eaten by Roseanne. Still, they did manage to get Kenan, Kel, Josh Server, and Danny Tamberelli back. Also in 2002, Nick premiered ChalkZone, about a boy and his magical piece of
calk chalk that he could use to travel into a blackboard dimension; and Jimmy Neutron, a show where Jimmy used his hypo-ray to turn Nickelodeon bad so that people will be desperate to watch him along with SpongeBob until 2006 where he ended because SpongeBob was a dictator.
In 2003 Nick premiered All Grown Up!, a poor Rugrats spinoff that died really fast in three years, and featured the Rugrats aged up into
teenagers preteens pretending to be teenagers. They also premiered My Life as a Teenage Robot, where a robot girl named Jenny or XJ-9 saves the world while juggling the trials of adolescence and all that same sort of generic stuff. Surprisingly, it was pretty entertaining to watch, had a nice Art Deco artstyle, and was sorta funny if you were sedated enough. Plus if you squint, Jenny looks sorta cute.
2004 saw the premiere of Drake and Josh, a white version of Kenan and Kel minus the orange soda and plus "hug me brotha". There was also Danny Phantom, an animated documentary series about Danny "Phantom" Fenton, a ghost/human hybrid ("halfa") who helped rid the world of various ghosts, ghouls, demons, apparitions, and poultrygeists, doing the same job the Ghostbusters did but better. In 2005, Avatar: The Last Airbender, widely considered to be Nick's hurrah, premiered. An unusually lofty show for Nick's standards, Avatar intricately incorporates aspects of Eastern culture, much like Star Wars's borrowing from Western culture. It also kicks ass because the people in the show can attack each other by using air, water, earth, and/or fire, much like Captain Planet's Planeteers. For some reason the show suggests the Moon makes water attacks more powerful, which is ridiculous because everyone knows that the Moon has no water on it. Nevertheless, ATLA as a whole still beats the hell out of everything Nick has done since.
2005–11: Bronze Age, Schneiderverse tweencoms, SpongeBob reruns
On April 30, 2005, Nickelodeon Studios was shut down because rat poison was accidentally dumped into the cafeteria beef stew. The perpetrators were suspected to be members of the Blue Man Group. According to many, this marked the final stab in the network's metaphorical heart. After a government investigation and expired copyrights, most classic Nick shows were removed completely from the schedule around this time, replaced with teenybopper shows like Zoey 101 and UnFabulous and endless reruns of SpongeBob (which had recently been renewed for weaker post-movie episodes); blocks like SNICK, U-Pick Live, and Friday Night Nicktoons were also canned around this time. Through this rebrand Nick was trying to be more like Disney Channel, losing their previous unique "grungy grossout" identity. On January 4, 2006, Herb Scannell resigned from his post, being replaced by Cyma Zarghami as president of Nick. Zarghami more or less followed the blueprint of tweencoms and SpongeBob spamming that Scannell had set up shortly before he left, as well as blacklisting and firing all the network's pro-union staff.
Thus began the Dominance of Dan Schneider and his increasingly-formulaic sitcoms. In Zoey 101, Britney Spears's sister Jamie Lynn Spears plays a weird teenage girl who eats too much (mostly muffins), and is on a quest to capture 101
dalmatians muffins while attending the ultra-perfect Pacific Coast Academy. She blew it around season 3 though, when some Mississippi hick got her knocked up, and the show was never seen again. In 2007 iCarly flooded airwaves, where a snarky little girl, Carly, hosts a webshow with her friends: Freddy, who's a prissy nerd; and Sam, who's a criminal and one of the most meat-loving people ever. The laugh track goes off numerous times in the show because they cannot afford a live audience. There's also Neville, a crazy geek who loves Carly and plots to take over the world, and Gibby, a big balloon who likes taking his shirt off and rubbing his belly. Also that year there was The Naked Brothers Band, about a forgettable band of kids who can't sing on key; and El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera, about Mexican superheroes. In 2007 Back at the Barnyard, a spinoff of the not-so-hit movie Barnyard, came out, about a group of wacky barn animals getting into chaos. The main character is a male cow with an udder, 'nuff said. Nick also unveiled Tak and the Power of Juju; nobody even speaks of this one anymore, nor does anyone know what the hell they were thinking when they thought of it. It died in less than a year.
True Jackson VP, also emphasized as T-R-U-E J-A-C-K-S-O-N V-P, premiered in 2008. It is about a girl who sells sandwiches (seriously folks) at a fashion industry and mysteriously becomes the Vice President. Also that year The Mighty B! flew in, not to be confused with the actually-good The Mighty Boosh. This show consists of an annoying girl scout with a lisp who's on a quest to earn every merit badge ever, and relies on four people to change her life. Her quest was ruined by the show's cancellation, and now the show is looking for new episodes to air. Spongebob Squarepants The Movie Featuring Half Naked David Hasslehoff
Also Glenn Martin DDS in 2009. Let's just say it involves crappy stop motion, a lame brained dentist, and a dog with an over sized anus. Think about it... yeah, not a pretty image. The show's original theme song was titled "Let's Kick Some Ass"/"Let's Hit the Shit", but was changed to a less extreme "Let's Hit the Road" as requested by the King of the Liberals. Also Fanboy and Chum Chum, a show about mentally-challenged comic book nerds who eat chum and make potty jokes. And Breadwinners and Sanjay and Craig.
In 2009, Big Time Rush rushed onto Nick. Since we're afraid to watch it, we got a 12-year-old girl to write the following plotline for us: ZOMG!!!!! BTR it is about like these 4 guys named Kendal, Logan, Carloz and James but nobody cares about anyone but James bc he is freaaaaaking haaaaaawt!!!!!!!!!one!!111!!!! lol jk so um anyway I guess they win liek a contest or something and this fat guy and his blak girlfriend manage them and they get in to all kinds of antics LOL!!!!! For those of you who don't speak 12-year-old girl: it's a documentary about the rise and fall of four guys who form a band with a morbidly obese man and his slave managing them. But the producers let it go because the guys are somewhat attractive, I guess.
2009 saw The Penguins of Madagascar belly-slide onto airwaves, rather obviously about the penguins from the movie Madagascar. Not only does this show include the penguins themselves getting into crazy schemes, but they also included Lemurs as well. It instantly became a hit; whether it was because of the popularity of its original movies or simply because of the love of the penguin team is unknown. The Penguins of Madagascar is a spin-off TV show of the famous and widely-(un)known movie, Madagascar (followed by its sequel, Madagascar 2). It features your (least) favorite group of penguins you (Never) loved in the movie: Kowalski, Private, Rico, and the leader Skipper. Since it premiered back in March of 2009, it instantly became a (s)hit; whether it was because of the (un)popularity of its original movies or simply because of the love of the penguin team is unknown. The show features the penguins getting into crazy and hilarious schemes, and King Julien (who was a hit character in the original movies) adds even more humor to the series. The Penguins of Madagascar is also one of Nick's most (un)popular shows. It is soon to release a new toy line some time around November 2009. But hopefully it won't. A documentary show about how penguins smoke weed and the existence of Madagascar and why Madagascar over-reacts to the man coughing in Brazil (or woman sneezing in Germany).
In 2010 T.U.F.F. Puppy aired, a Sin City-esque drama by Frank Miller, Butch Hartman, Quentin Tarantino, Spike Lee, and Tom Hanks about a dog who moonlights as an intergalactic vigilante by night and has a cat girlfriend by day. They also aired Bucket and Skinner's Epic Adventures, like Rocket Power without power; and Planet Sheen, about metal patient/Ultralord freak
Charlie Sheen Estevez (the most entertaining character from Jimmy Neutron) who breaks out of jail, rockets into outer space, and makes the dumbest show on Nick. Victoria Justice also launched her career at this time, with the appropriately-titled show Victorious.
Today, Nickelodeon has essentially morphed into a wannabe Disney Channel, only with more cuckolding-related subliminal messages. Nostalgic manbabies can cry if they want, but the niche that Cyma sought — softcore pornography with teen girls, usually directed by Dan "Get in the Van" Schneider — has proved to be a ratings success. Recently, the network has decided to do continuations of their older shows such as You Can't Do That on Television, Rocko's Modern Life, Invader Zim, Hey Arnold!, and Danny Phantom, to make some easy nostalgia bucks off Millennials with disposable income, as well as to mask the fact that they have been creatively bankrupt for over a decade.
2011–present: Nostalgia Age
Since 2011, Nickelodeon has undergone something of a renaissance banking on older properties. This rebirth started when Shout! Factory, a sort-of Criterion for Millennials who were living with their parents after the 2008 Recession and spent their free time buying Reptar bars and browsing Buzzfeed, acquired the home video rights to the network's classic shows. The shift kicked off in earnest when Entertainment Weakly reported that Nick would bring back its old shows and air them on their TeenNick channel, as part of a retro block called
The '90s Are All That The Splat NickSplat NickRewind. These developments showed that Nickelodeon had a heart after all (however cold and shriveled). Shows announced as part of the deal included All That, Kenan & Kel, Taxicab Confessions, Salute Your Shorts, Clarissa Explains It All, The Adventures of Pete & Pete, Rugrats, Spawn, Rocket Power, The Amanda Show, Scarface Babies, and The Amanda Show. Proof that Nick is finally getting it's crap together
On Nickelodeon proper, the overall quality of shows has improved since 2011. It was around this time that Saban bought back the rights to Power Rangers and moved the show to Saturday mornings on Nick, at a time when the show's original fans are still sleeping, so they had better own a DVR. SpongeBob brought back some of the old writers and had the characters make wackier faces. Dan "Get in the Van" Schneider's tween sitcoms were consistently mediocre in quality, and he even brought Kel back to Nick with a show called Game Shakers. Other original shows produced during this renaissance are Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn, Cousins for Life (which returned Kevin Kopelow and Heath Seifert to the network for the first time since All That and Kenan & Kel), and The Loud House. In their acquired programming department: Dragon Ball Z Kai was more proof Nick's becoming cool again; Power Rangers, need I say more; and TMNT 2012, okay, we get it!
Nick also revived Legends of the Hidden Temple, Hey Arnold!, Rocko's Modern Life, and Invader Zim as TV movies, and Double Dare as a regular series. Thingmaker Brian Robbins — Eric on Head of the Class, co-creator of All That and Kenan & Kel, and director of Good Burger and Varsity Blues — became President of Nickelodeon in 2018, thus officially ending Cyma Zarghami's reign of terror. One of his first accomplishments was reviving All That with the help of Kenan, Kel, Josh Server, Lori Beth Denberg, Kevin Kopelow, Heath Seifert, and original All That executive producer Kevin Kay (and unlike the 2002 relaunch, this version is actually funny). After sitting in limbo for nearly a year, the Rocko and Invader Zim TV movies debuted on Netflix in 2019. Robbins has also revived Are You Afraid of the Dark? as a Halloween miniseries (as well as a theatrical film whose current status is unknown) and Fox's Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?, hosted by John Cena replacing Jeff Foxworthy. "Why would a 10-year-old kid wanna watch some redneck who voted for Gary Johnson?" Robbins pondered. "This is an audience who think that fart jokes are funny. They are, but still."
Blocks and spinoff channels
SNICK (Saturday Night Nickelodeon) was a two-hour block of cheesy-yet-addictive programming that aired on Saturday nights from 1992 to 2004. It was hosted by kids and teenagers who sat on a Big
Comfy Orange Couch. This block has since become legendary and influential to other sketch comedy programs, including Saturday Night Live.
Nick at Nite
Nick at Nite (stylized as Nick@Nite to appear hip and young) is a programming block/channel launched in 1985 as a place to dump off old worn-out shows. Nostalgic viewers, longing for a time when women stayed in the kitchen and minorities weren't allowed on golf courses, flocked to the network to view these shows. Older viewers today still flock to it because it means a chance to watch something other than SpongeBob for the 20th time in one day. Originally Nick at Nite was meant for classic '50s–'70s shows like Dennis the Menace, I Love Lucy, F Troop, Gilligan's Island, and Happy Days, but has over time drifted into less-classic '80s–'00s shows like Full House, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, The Nanny, Malcom in the Middle, George "Low Rider" Lopez, My Wife and Kids, Everybody Hates Chris, and SpongeBob reruns.
Over time, Sumner Redstone ordered Nick to remove their classic shows, effective immediately; this movement pissed off loyal Nickelodeon fans, who had watched the channel since before they were even born. Classic Nicktoons like Ren & Stimpy and Rocko were off the air without a home for a few years, until Redstone begrudgingly made amends with the fans, and launched the Nicktoons channel for reruns of classic Nicktoons.
NickSplat (formerly The 90s Are All That and The Splat) is a block on TeenNick consisting of nostalgic '90s Nick shows, despite teenagers being too young to remember most if not all of said shows. In 2015, it was renamed The Splat so it could include almost-nostalgic shows from the early 2000s such as As Told By Ginger, ChalkZone, and All Grown Up!, much to the dismay of viewers over the age of 30.
Nick for babies and little kids.
Nick for cool wine aunts and Karens.
Nicktoons have almost always been characterized by characters with sub-ape intelligence and distorted human figures, resulting in psychological trauma among children about their own identities and personalities. It is believed that Nick holds drawing competitions before releasing a series, and the worst drawing, or the most deformed, is what is chosen to misfortunately represent the series.
Nicktoons characters often have: square heads or American football heads, fat/huge rear legs, floating eyebrows, noses full of snot, 4 or 3 fingers on each hand, collars inspired by a wasp waist, giant brains, arrows in the head, and skin colors that can only be explained if human cells have chloroplasts.