Who said being doused in a mysterious chemical was bad? Not Alex Mack! The Secret World of Alex Mack was one of the longer running Nickelodeon shows, even if you don't remember it. With 78 episodes over four season, people tuned in to watch this 12-year-old-turned-science-experiment live a secret life and be the target of an evil chemical company.
Here are something things about The Secret World of Alex Mack that aren't covered in goo.
1. One of a Kind
Over 300 girls auditioned for the role of Alex Mack. Co-creator and producer, Thomas W. Lynch, says he didn't want a girl who "looked like she worked too much in television, had the kinds of reactions you always see, the smile, the look, the acting with eyes and all that kind of thing." That's why when Larisa Oleynik auditioned, he knew she was the one.
Larisa had such a great natural instinct," he said. "It was stunning. She made the character richer and more shaded."
2. Replacing Clarissa
Clarissa Explains It All was one of Nick's most popular shows. It was the beginning of the classic Saturday night lineup on the network, followed by shows like All That and Are You Afraid Of The Dark? When that show ended, the network decided they needed to replace the slot with another female lead. That's when Alex Mack took over. Eventually, the show would get two new episodes on Nick per week.
3. Welcome, Jessica
Though she's known now as a movie star and successful business woman, Jessica Alba was a budding child star when she landed a role on The Secret World of Alex Mack. Alba had just made her film debut in Camp Nowhere and was hoping to make it big on the small screen. She only appeared in three episodes of the show, before she left to star in the television reboot of Flipper.
4. Naked Controversy
The pilot of the show caused more controversy than I'm sure it intended. When Alex is reformed back into a human after being turned into goo, she's not wearing any clothing. The writers quickly realized it probably wasn't a great idea to have a 12-year-old girl be naked in every episode, both for the character and the actress, so they gave Alex the ability to keep her clothes on.
"I remember being mortified!" Larisa Oleynik said years later. "I was just really embarrassed, being that I was 12 or 13 or whatever. I had this towel wrapped around me or something and was behind some boxes. I was so, so embarrassed. They did then end up changing that ... which was a good thing."
5. Banned DVDs
In the United Kingdom, the first season DVD set was released in 2012. But the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) pushed to have an age requirement to purchase it. They said one of the episodes features a "child character" hiding in a tumble dryer, but never addressed how dangerous this was. The BBFC suggested the scene be cut, but the distributor actually agreed to the rating. They said the DVDs were aimed for "an adult nostalgia market" anyway, so there was really no risk of kids purchasing the DVDs.