We’ve said it before, the 1990’s were the golden age of black television. Black dramas and sitcoms were all over the small screen. But with that some shows did slip under the radar. And this week’s #CultureClassic is one of the most unique black TV shows to ever air, Cousin Skeeter.
Cousin Skeeter is a children’s sitcom that aired on Nickelodeon from 1998 to 2001. It starred Robert Ri’chard as Bobby, a young boy whose life is flipped up and turned upside down when his strange cousin Skeeter (a puppet voiced by comedian Bill Bellamy) comes to live with his family. The show focused on issues that many young Black Americans were facing during this time, presenting them in a comical way via the use of Skeeter. Skeeter frequently causes hilarious mischief, leaving Bobby to sort out the messes. But with Skeeter’s help, Bobby learns life lessons and tackles the ups and downs of growing up.
The show also starred a young Meagan Good and the voice of Tisha Campbell-Martin as a female puppet character. And a who’s who of black entertainers and athletes from TLC to Shaquille O’Neil made guest appearances. Cousin Skeeter was truly that dude.
And finally, the most unique aspect of the show is that not only is Skeeter a puppet, he’s treated like a regular human with no mention of him being a puppet by any other character. Puppetry was something not seen on black TV so Cousin Skeeter served to inform, entertain, and spark the imagination of the young African-American children it was aimed at making it a true #CultureClassic indeed.
#FunFact: Like many 90’s sitcom themes, Cousin Skeeter’s theme is a bop. The song is a remix version of 702’s 1996 hit “Steelo”, which was written by Missy Elliott.
#NotSoFunFact: The show was canceled after the puppet used for Skeeter was slimed on another Nickelodeon show Figure It Out and was destroyed. Skeeter has been somewhat restored, and as is chilling in Nickelodeon’s nostalgic storage. But come on Nick, you really only had one Skeeter puppet?
If you enjoyed that look at a throwback TV classic. Check out more of our #CultureClassics:
Written by creator for The Culture @TalentedMrFord