Cartoon Retrospective: Rugrats

For anyone reading this that's not informed: I'm writing a series of blogs about cartoons. My loose plan is to feature one cartoon per blog and tell you--dear reader--why I love each featured cartoon. We can then proceed to recall the 'good ole days' of our respective youths.

Full series:

  • Part 1 -- "Hey Arnold!"
  • Part 2 -- "The Magic School Bus"
  • Part 3 -- "Rugrats"
  • Part 4 -- "Spider-Man" (You're reading it!)

Rugrats

I'm not going to mention Reptar in this blog, but there he is down in the corner. Enjoy that.

Surprise, surprise. I was a child of the 90s, and I watched Rugrats. Is Rugrats super played out this day and age? Maybe, but it doesn't change the fact that Rugrats was one of my favorite cartoons as a wee lad. Having gone back to watch a few episodes of it on YouTube, it actually holds up. That may or may not be pure nostalgia talking, but I enjoyed reliving some episodes none the less. I'm finding, as I write these blogs, a common denominator between my favorite cartoons. That denominator being: super memorable and unique characters.

Spike was a G

Rugrats is obviously no exception, as many of you I'm sure remember. The characters are endless: Tommy, the fearless leader; Chuckie, the scaredy-cat; the always fighting twins, Phil and Lil; and Angelica, the older bully. Those are the most prominent characters, but there are other just as memorable characters that appear throughout the series such as: Susie, friend to the babies; Kimi, Chuckie's step-sister; Dil, Tommy's baby brother; Tommy's parents and grandpa, Stu, Didi, and Lou; Phil and Lil's Parents, Betty and Howard; Chuckie's dad, Chaz; and of course the dog, Spike.

Best buds! :D

Whew, that was quite a few characters. If I had to choose two that I most closely related with growing up though, it's hands down Tommy and Chuckie. In the show, Tommy and Chuckie are almost polar opposites. Tommy finds adventure and danger to be exciting, while Chuckie wants nothing to do with it. This dynamic ends up playing a big part in most of the episodes. When I was young I had a friend that was similar to Tommy, and as you may have guessed, I was more on the Chuckie side growing up. I can recall a specific moment when my friend and I were getting our usual adventure on, and exploring the local wilderness. There was a spot, where in order to get through, we would need to cross these super thorny bushes. I wanted nothing to do with it, but my friend tried his best to convince me by saying "Come on. Are you a Tommy, or a Chuckie?" So then I thought to myself for a minute before coming to the conclusion that "eff this, I'm a Tommy!". We then both proceeded to trample through this treacherous patch of thorn bushes. Minor scrapes and scratches may have been acquired. That just goes to show you: Kids that watch Rugrats learn to make stupid decisions! :P

I think a very large reason I liked Rugrats as a kid--and continue to like it--is the incredible ability to relate with the babies. Everything that they do--no matter how crazy or magical--is something that I too most probably did as a kid. The show has a great way of capturing the delightful thoughts of blissfully ignorant babies. A good example is an episode where Tommy's dad Stu decided to order an extravagant and complicated toy for the babies. This toy ends up being more trouble to put together than it's worth, but that doesn't stop each of the babies imaginations from running wild with the box that the toy came in. Each of the babies has their own box fantasy, and it's just an absolutely perfect example to me of how kids think, and I love it. I know I was that way as a kid as well. This episode's on YouTube, so check it out!

There was another episode in which Tommy's grandpa fakes that he is sick with a "bug" in order to get out of trouble, and out of doing yard work. The babies hear about the "bug" and naturally think that there's a real creepy crawly bug inside Tommy's grandpa. It's moments like this that makes this show so terrific, as the babies come to the conclusion that the only way to get the bad bug out of grandpa, is to get a whole bunch of "good" bugs from the back yard, and have them fight (!) the bad bug. How amazing is that?! Whoever writes these episodes is a great person. The simplistic logic of the babies in nearly every episode, and how that leads to interesting events, is always top-notch.

Nine years older and wiser does not make them more fun. :(

I can't write about the Rugrats though without bringing up it's attempt to grow up with it's audience. That's right, I'm talking about the "All Grown Up!" spin off. In this cartoon, Tommy, Chuckie, and the rest of the gang are now several years older as the title suggests. To be honest, I didn't watch a lot of this series; It just didn't appeal to me nearly as much without the things I mentioned earlier, like the babies simple (yet amazing) logic. It could very well be a case of people not taking too kindly to change, but I have only heard negative things about the "All Grown Up!" show. It's sad really that the series had to go out on this kind of note, but it doesn't take away all the great original series episodes. Maybe I'll see if I can find a couple of the "All Grown Up!" episodes on YouTube to see what I think about it. That's not a high priority though; I'm perfectly happy looking back on the original cartoon, which was without a doubt one of my favorite shows as a child.

As always, feel free to share your own Rugrats memories. Cartoon memories in general are always welcome too. :)

<3

--JJWeatherman

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Posted by JJWeatherman

For anyone reading this that's not informed: I'm writing a series of blogs about cartoons. My loose plan is to feature one cartoon per blog and tell you--dear reader--why I love each featured cartoon. We can then proceed to recall the 'good ole days' of our respective youths.

Full series:

  • Part 1 -- "Hey Arnold!"
  • Part 2 -- "The Magic School Bus"
  • Part 3 -- "Rugrats"
  • Part 4 -- "Spider-Man" (You're reading it!)

Rugrats

I'm not going to mention Reptar in this blog, but there he is down in the corner. Enjoy that.

Surprise, surprise. I was a child of the 90s, and I watched Rugrats. Is Rugrats super played out this day and age? Maybe, but it doesn't change the fact that Rugrats was one of my favorite cartoons as a wee lad. Having gone back to watch a few episodes of it on YouTube, it actually holds up. That may or may not be pure nostalgia talking, but I enjoyed reliving some episodes none the less. I'm finding, as I write these blogs, a common denominator between my favorite cartoons. That denominator being: super memorable and unique characters.

Spike was a G

Rugrats is obviously no exception, as many of you I'm sure remember. The characters are endless: Tommy, the fearless leader; Chuckie, the scaredy-cat; the always fighting twins, Phil and Lil; and Angelica, the older bully. Those are the most prominent characters, but there are other just as memorable characters that appear throughout the series such as: Susie, friend to the babies; Kimi, Chuckie's step-sister; Dil, Tommy's baby brother; Tommy's parents and grandpa, Stu, Didi, and Lou; Phil and Lil's Parents, Betty and Howard; Chuckie's dad, Chaz; and of course the dog, Spike.

Best buds! :D

Whew, that was quite a few characters. If I had to choose two that I most closely related with growing up though, it's hands down Tommy and Chuckie. In the show, Tommy and Chuckie are almost polar opposites. Tommy finds adventure and danger to be exciting, while Chuckie wants nothing to do with it. This dynamic ends up playing a big part in most of the episodes. When I was young I had a friend that was similar to Tommy, and as you may have guessed, I was more on the Chuckie side growing up. I can recall a specific moment when my friend and I were getting our usual adventure on, and exploring the local wilderness. There was a spot, where in order to get through, we would need to cross these super thorny bushes. I wanted nothing to do with it, but my friend tried his best to convince me by saying "Come on. Are you a Tommy, or a Chuckie?" So then I thought to myself for a minute before coming to the conclusion that "eff this, I'm a Tommy!". We then both proceeded to trample through this treacherous patch of thorn bushes. Minor scrapes and scratches may have been acquired. That just goes to show you: Kids that watch Rugrats learn to make stupid decisions! :P

I think a very large reason I liked Rugrats as a kid--and continue to like it--is the incredible ability to relate with the babies. Everything that they do--no matter how crazy or magical--is something that I too most probably did as a kid. The show has a great way of capturing the delightful thoughts of blissfully ignorant babies. A good example is an episode where Tommy's dad Stu decided to order an extravagant and complicated toy for the babies. This toy ends up being more trouble to put together than it's worth, but that doesn't stop each of the babies imaginations from running wild with the box that the toy came in. Each of the babies has their own box fantasy, and it's just an absolutely perfect example to me of how kids think, and I love it. I know I was that way as a kid as well. This episode's on YouTube, so check it out!

There was another episode in which Tommy's grandpa fakes that he is sick with a "bug" in order to get out of trouble, and out of doing yard work. The babies hear about the "bug" and naturally think that there's a real creepy crawly bug inside Tommy's grandpa. It's moments like this that makes this show so terrific, as the babies come to the conclusion that the only way to get the bad bug out of grandpa, is to get a whole bunch of "good" bugs from the back yard, and have them fight (!) the bad bug. How amazing is that?! Whoever writes these episodes is a great person. The simplistic logic of the babies in nearly every episode, and how that leads to interesting events, is always top-notch.

Nine years older and wiser does not make them more fun. :(

I can't write about the Rugrats though without bringing up it's attempt to grow up with it's audience. That's right, I'm talking about the "All Grown Up!" spin off. In this cartoon, Tommy, Chuckie, and the rest of the gang are now several years older as the title suggests. To be honest, I didn't watch a lot of this series; It just didn't appeal to me nearly as much without the things I mentioned earlier, like the babies simple (yet amazing) logic. It could very well be a case of people not taking too kindly to change, but I have only heard negative things about the "All Grown Up!" show. It's sad really that the series had to go out on this kind of note, but it doesn't take away all the great original series episodes. Maybe I'll see if I can find a couple of the "All Grown Up!" episodes on YouTube to see what I think about it. That's not a high priority though; I'm perfectly happy looking back on the original cartoon, which was without a doubt one of my favorite shows as a child.

As always, feel free to share your own Rugrats memories. Cartoon memories in general are always welcome too. :)

<3

--JJWeatherman

Posted by Jeffsekai

This show was amazing. 

Posted by Video_Game_King

Thoughts upon watching that episode:
 

  • Yea, it holds up rather nicely, but it's a bit more generic than I remember. There's just something about it that doesn't come off as distinct, even though it is.
  • Holy shit, some of that cartoon made me feel like I was back in LSD.
  • Angelica's a bitch. Enough said.
Posted by Goldanas

Rugrats was good before it came back the first time. It was like an entirely different show, now with an extensive range of fart jokes and horrible musical vamps to let the audience know when the "jokes" were. 
 
It was a hollow, simplified version of what it once was.

Edited by paradox121

Great blog sir.
I dearly miss Rugrats. It had a certain...class to it. They could have easily gone down the 'babies poop and eat weird stuff' route but instead like you say they explored the mind of a baby and how they take things literally. Great cartoon. I also remember playing the Rugrats golf game on the PS1. Turns out it wasnt that great.
 
I was weirdly thinking about All Grown Up the other day, about how it was a slightly pointless and unnecessary excercise. I like the one of episode they did in proper Rugrats but spinning a whole series around it seemed unwise.

Posted by BPM027

It seems we have identical tastes when it comes to 90's cartoons.  You've covered 3 of my absolute favorites so far (like, seriously, I can't express how much I loved these shows as a kid).  Keep up the good work!

Posted by JJWeatherman
@Video_Game_King: Angelica's just misunderstood.  :) 
 
@paradox121: Thanks. And yeah there were quite a few Rugrats games. I was going to talk about some of them, but I figured that's what the GB wiki is for.
Posted by Video_Game_King
@JJWeatherman: 
 
No, she's a bitch. Also:
 
 
 
Posted by Atomasist

Rugrats was an awesome show.

Posted by Scooper
@Jeffsekai said:
" This show was amazing.  "
Posted by JJWeatherman
@Video_Game_King said:
" @JJWeatherman: 
 
No, she's a bitch. Also:
 
 
  "
OMG!  xD 
 
I vaguely remember that.
Posted by ConstantRyan

To this day i refuse to eat watermelon seeds because of Rugrats.

Posted by Video_Game_King
@JJWeatherman: 
 
All I vaguely remember from that era was an episode where they went TV shopping. Also, some psychic energy gave me memories of Mischief Makers from the same era, even though I didn't play it until 2008 at best.
Posted by ReyGitano
@JJWeatherman: I love reading these retrospective's of  yours. It's good to remember all these cartoons I grew up with especially since, looking back on it now, they're such a strangely important part of my childhood and who I would become. I just went back a while ago and re-watched most of Hey Arnold(What they have up on Netflix streaming) and it held up well. I even picked up on things I wouldn't have back when I was younger and now I'll probably go back now and stream Rugrats in the background while I play games or write. I can't wait to see more. 
 
@ConstantRyan: I was afraid of those watermelon seeds for about a good year.
Posted by ConstantRyan
@SlashseveN303: It's not that I fear them anymore, it's just become a habit.
Posted by JJWeatherman
@SlashseveN303: Good to know you like my blogs; I'll keep 'em comin'.  :) 
  
I wish I had Netflix to stream some of this stuff. Sadly I have to settle with watching on YouTube.
Posted by ISuperGamerI

Rugrats was one of my favourite shows when growing up and I watched almost all of the episodes back in the day. I also watched "All Grown Up!" and I thought it was also a good show. You forgot to mention the Rugrats movies they made though, there was one in Paris and such.

Posted by PeasantAbuse

I think my favorite episode was the one where Tommy and Chuckie got locked in a toy store overnight.  Classic.
Online
Edited by JJWeatherman
@PeasantAbuse said:

" I think my favorite episode was the one where Tommy and Chuckie got locked in a toy store overnight.  Classic. "

I'm sure I've seen it, but I'm having a tough time remembering. I'll see if it's on YouTube later. 
 
@ISuperGamerI said:

" Rugrats was one of my favourite shows when growing up and I watched almost all of the episodes back in the day. I also watched "All Grown Up!" and I thought it was also a good show. You forgot to mention the Rugrats movies they made though, there was one in Paris and such. "

Yeah, I'm not sure I ever saw the movies in their entirety. I can't remember them very well anyways. There were several Rugrats movies and video games though. Good stuff.
Posted by ArbitraryWater

From what I saw of All Grown Up, it was pretty terrible. After all, whereas Rugrats lasted 10+ years on weird baby diaper jokes (that somehow managed to be clever), the spinoff just managed to exemplify everything everyone hated about middle school. Without being funny.

Posted by ChristianCastillo

I was such a Rugrats fan, I remember going to watch that movie where they go to China at the theaters and having the Rugrats game for the ps1 which was great. aww man good times

Posted by zyn

I remember Rugrats.  I even bought the golf game for PS1.

Posted by JJWeatherman
@zyn said:
" I remember Rugrats.  I even bought the golf game for PS1. "
There was a Rugrats golf game? You should totally add it to the database, because I can't find it on the Rugrats page.
Posted by Glak

I loved Rugrats
Out of most of the shows that I watched in the 90's, Rugrats is one of the few that I remember well
Watched it so much, I stopped when they got older, wasn't as fun anymore :/

Posted by ComradeKritstov

I'm officially declaring this the best blog (the whole cartoon retrospective) on the website. You are my new favorite poster JJWeatherman. Sorry biff, you've been replaced.

Posted by BraveToaster

I love the episode where they pretend that they're Adventure Squad. 
 
  

Posted by JJWeatherman
@ComradeKritstov said:
" I'm officially declaring this the best blog (the whole cartoon retrospective) on the website. You are my new favorite poster JJWeatherman. Sorry biff, you've been replaced. "
Well thanks! Biff can never be replaced though.  <3 
 
@Axxol said:
" I love the episode where they pretend that they're Adventure Squad. 
 
  
"
Oh my god, holy shit, yes!  xD
Edited by BraveToaster
@JJWeatherman: There is an older super hero episode, but it got removed from YouTube. 
 
I liked Reptar. 
 
Reptar, Reptar, gotta find that Reptar.
Posted by zyn
@JJWeatherman said:
" @zyn said:
" I remember Rugrats.  I even bought the golf game for PS1. "
There was a Rugrats golf game? You should totally add it to the database, because I can't find it on the Rugrats page. "
Sorry, I thought it was a pure golf game, it wasn't.  It was Rugrats: Search for Reptar.  I remember there was a level with ghosts in it, scared me back then.  O_o;
Posted by Turambar

Oh god nostalgia trip!

Posted by JJWeatherman
@zyn said:
" @JJWeatherman said:
" @zyn said:
" I remember Rugrats.  I even bought the golf game for PS1. "
There was a Rugrats golf game? You should totally add it to the database, because I can't find it on the Rugrats page. "
Sorry, I thought it was a pure golf game, it wasn't.  It was Rugrats: Search for Reptar.  I remember there was a level with ghosts in it, scared me back then.  O_o; "
Ah OK. I thought it would be kinda weird to have a full on Rugrats golf game.  :P 
 
@Turambar said:
" Oh god nostalgia trip! "
Yeah! Embrace it!  :)
Posted by George_Hukas

What a great read!
 
I used to watch Rugrats with my younger siblings and remember loving it because it actually felt like you could relate to it, which is really weird for a cartoon.

Posted by EVHKwick

Nice work, JJ. This is my favorite reoccurring user blog series on GB.
 
I really used to like Rugrats, but the one thing I couldn't stand was how it would always win any "Pick your Nicktoon" event. My favorite Nicktoon will always be Rocko. It never won, and I will partially blame that on Rugrats.

Posted by JJWeatherman
@cide: @hack745:  Thanks for the support guys!  :)
Posted by ajamafalous
@ConstantRyan said:
" To this day i refuse to eat watermelon seeds because of Rugrats. "
Oh man, whenever I accidentally eat a watermelon seed I think of that episode. 
 
 
So weird how something so random will stick with you.
Posted by EpicSteve

Dr. LipShitz
 
Some things in older Nick shows shock me that they got pass whatever certification they go through.

Posted by JJWeatherman
@EpicSteve said:
" Dr. LipShitz  Some things in older Nick shows shock me that they got pass whatever certification they go through. "
I literally just listened to a clip where Didi said that, and I was thinking the same thing. 
 
But damn, I couldn't find the watermelon seed episode anywhere online.
Edited by RecSpec
@PeasantAbuse said:

" I think my favorite episode was the one where Tommy and Chuckie got locked in a toy store overnight.  Classic. "

HALT! I AM REPTAR!
THORG HUNGRY! THORG WANT EAT!
 
I loved how at the end the Gorilla got sent back in time to the Revolutionary War.
 
Also, totally picked up Bit.Trip Runner due to your glowing recommendation and love it. Thanks for the tip
Online
Posted by I_love_Eva_Braun

 

Edited by MarkWahlberg

I deman' ah Pinkay an' the Brain blahg, deah sirrah!

Posted by Dylabaloo

Ahh rugrats was my childhood.

Posted by Daveyo520

I used to watch Rugrats all the time.

Posted by Bigbombomb

I'm enjoying these retrospectives. Out of all the shows you've done so far this one probably my most favorite.

Posted by dankempster
@JJWeatherman: Great blog as always, JJ. 
 
One thing I've noticed (between Rugrats and The Magic School Bus at least, I can't speak for Hey Arnold) is that the animation for these kids' TV shows isn't all that great. That's not a criticism, though. These shows weren't about having top-class animators - it was all about the stories the episodes told, and the consistent, identifiable personalities of their characters. I think if you compare it to more recent animated kids' shows, which are much better animated, but lacking in terms of substance, it goes some way to proving that it's not all about the visual side of things with these programmes. 
 
Also, watching back that Rugrats episode revealed a lot of content that seemed geared towards adults, which I definitely didn't pick up on as a child (Stu's 'doormat' quip, for example). These programmes weren't just made for kids - they were made for parents to watch WITH their kids. I think that's something that's sadly missing from kid's TV these days.
Edited by lemon360

My favorite episode was when all the Rugrats were afraid of an evil terminator-like toy that kept coming back no matter what they did. :) Those were the good old days.

Posted by JJWeatherman
@dankempster: Great points. I don't watch a lot of recent cartoons nowadays, and I think what you pointed out is why. Cartoons need to take a step back from the animation and bring back the substance. That's why I've created this internet petition... 
 
kidding of course.  :P
Posted by Zimbo

Great blog man. I really enjoyed reading it. It took me on one hell of a nostalgia trip. I hope we are going to see a Batman:Animated series retrospective one day :)

Posted by JJWeatherman
@Zimbo said:
" Great blog man. I really enjoyed reading it. It took me on one hell of a nostalgia trip. I hope we are going to see a Batman:Animated series retrospective one day :) "
Thanks, glad you liked it! I'm actually not sure if I can remember enough from any single Batman series to write a whole blog about. I was thinking about maybe doing a general Batman blog, with things like Batman Beyond in it. I don't know though.
Posted by natetodamax

Rugrats was a great show. I also loved the feature films. Did you see those? One of the things I loved about the cartoon was when they would misinterpret everyday things, like when they thought the guy changing the pilot light was a pirate (due to them thinking Tommy's parents said "pirate light")

Posted by LiquidSaiyan3

In Bob we trust

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