It was 1998, two years before the inevitable “Y2K”. Disney Channel was undergoing some major “changes” to its programming to align with the futuristic nature at the turn of the century. It first introduced the marketing tactic to unite kids with their TV viewing experience and the Interwebz. (And this was waaay before live-tweeting was the norm). You could go online and play games with your favorite TV show characters! What a fantastic idea.
It seemed to appeal to the teen crowd (or those cool enough to have dial-up Internet access) , but no matter how old/young we were, we rushed home after school to see those little earthlings called “Zoogs” and watch hour after hour of one of the greatest blocks on television. And it didn’t end until 2002! Let’s refresh your memory:
What the hell was a “zeether”? Were we afraid the world was going to end so we needed to learn futuristic lingo?
1. It had more “mature” programming that late ’90s-early ’00s teens and tweens could relate to.
Like So Weird.
(With Andy “Brink” Brinker and fellow “Soul Skater” Peter)
And Lizzie McGuire, Even Stevens and The Famous Jett Jackson (RIP Lee Thompson Young).
Influenza: The Musical–the single-handedly best episode of Even Stevens.
Zoog Disney was soo cool, it even had its own movie opening.
Time for a Zoog movie featuring hottest brother trio of the Y2K: The LawBros. #SWOON
3. It had TONS of hotties our tween hearts couldn’t handle.
Like Ryan Merriman, as seen in Smart House and The Luck of the Irish.
And Shawn Ashmore, as seen in Cadet Kelly and In A Heartbeat.
Brad Rigby definitely has our full ATTEN-TION!
4. It attempted the Game Show circuit with “Mad Libs” and “Off The Wall.”
Zoog Disney also tried to be like Nickelodeon and try its hand at game shows; while neither of them had the finesse of “Figure it Out” (nor the amazing host Summer Sanders), it did make us all want to be that girl or that guy test our tweenage selves on a game show.
Mad Libs was basically like the more interactive form of that word game you play on long road trips that require you to remember basic things like verbs and adverbs, but with the stunts of Double Dare.
Then there was “Off The Wall”, where the host was the Disney Channel version of Johnny Knoxville, but with a giant blonde afro. You had to complete a “Head to Head” challenge with some rando on the street in Disneyland to wacky and weird stunts.
5. Youngstown ruled the Zoog Disney charts.
Forget *NSYNC and BSB. Y-Town had the cheesy lyrics and the dance moves, but scored major points for being the first boy band in a Disney Channel show theme song.