It’s been a long time coming for us to cover Rugrats on our Saturday Morning Cartoons, although technically originally it aired between 7:00-9:00 PM on weekends — Those Saturday Nights with Nickelodeon were family events!
The basic premise of Rugrats focuses on a group of babies who seemingly can’t talk, or at least adults can’t understand them, who hear or see something and then interpret it as a wild adventure. Their whole world is perceived as completely different as their imaginations take hold. Most of these adventures are often challenged by Tommy’s bratty cousin, Angelica, who is one of the very few who can still understand the babies because she’s still a young kid herself.
If you haven’t revisited this show as an adult, you should because you will be blown away with how many layers there are to this show. It was like being transported back to being a kid, not because we watched this show, but because it reminded us of how our imaginations could run wild back then. But the adults are just as interesting and realistic to watch and relate to as adults. They deal with real problems and have that sense of dry humor we all develop when we get older. The contrast between the two is amazing to watch because at this point, we’ve lived both of those worlds.
There are also some pretty progressive themes with the parents — Angelica’s Mom for instance is the CEO of a company and an incredibly powerful business woman. She wears the pants in her relationship, and she’s not the only one! Phil and Lil’s Mom is a feminist activist powerhouse while her husband is meek and mild. Often times in watching this we thought that given the time it came out, they may have been each others beards for each other to cover them from coming out. Then there’s Chuckie’s Dad, a single Dad, and the both of them are experiencing some pretty severe PTSD from the loss of their mother. Tommy’s parents, Stu and DeeDee, are both highly neurotic and kind of a hot mess, trying to figure the parenting thing out.
Eventually we are introduced to Susie Carmichael, the first real character of color on the show, and she is the voice of wisdom and reason. She’s also super smart like her parents. Her father is a script writer for a popular kids television show and her mother is Harvard-educated heart surgeon.
And finally, the animation in this show is really honestly out of this world. Don’t be fooled by it’s sketched-out opening appearance. The creative team behind this show got to play with really abstract colors and shapes to show the imagination of baby vision.
Currently, all of Rugrats is on Hulu. We highly recommend this show because it’s really good. Not only will you feel nostalgic, but you will be blown away by how beautiful and smart this show was at the time.