Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Rugrats: The Trial

Big thanks to AngelicaPicklesFan19, who's posted a whole host of Rugrats eps on the 'Tube, including this one.

The episode begins with a close-up of Mr. Fluffles, Tommy's clown lamp. Quick story -- when I was really young, I had a clown lamp too. It wasn't anywhere near that cool, though. It was more like a regular lamp with a ceramic clown on the base, playing a violin. I know most kids are scared of clowns, but clearly I never was, and I guess neither was Tommy.

Didi and Betty are hanging out in the kitchen when they hear a crash. It's Tommy's clown lamp, shattered into a billion pieces on the floor. Oh noes! Tommy starts bawling his eyes out, because Mr. Fluffles obviously means a lot to him. Angelica walks into the room, innocently saying she was taking her nap and hear a loud noise. So really, right from the start it's pretty clear that Angelica broke the lamp. Technically she's only four, so she's got a few years to hone her lying skills before she turns into a full-on Jessica Wakefieldesque sociopath. (She's well on her way, though.)

Betty tells Didi that she saw a similar lamp at Babyworld, and the adults go off to call them and see if they have any in stock. In the playpen, Tommy is mourning the loss of Mr. Fluffles. He even screams, "Why my lamp, why?!" I doubt I'd have been quite that cut up if my lamp had met a similar fate, but poor ol' Tommy is really taking this to heart. Angelica suggests that one of them broke the lamp, and they ought to have a trial to determine which baby did it. Hee. Angelica turning the babies against each other over a crime she committed is really, really low. This is so beyond regular toddler bullying right now.

Angelica teaches the babies all the court lingo they'll need to know. Tommy gets to be the judge, complete with his very own "gravel." Angelica gets the be the "persecutor", because she is the oldest and therefore the wisest. Oh, and a whole bunch of teddy bears get to be the "jerky." Handing down the verdict is kind-of a big job to give to a bunch of bears, but hey, this isn't my court. Phil demands to know why he can't be the persecutor, and Angelica's like, "Quiet, or I'll make you the jerky!" I do notice that they're missing a bailiff. Where's Byrd from Judge Judy where you need him?

The first thing Angelica does in her role of persecutor is to call Phil and Lil to the stand. She asks them, "Do you swear to tell Ruth, the whole Ruth and nothing but the Ruth so help you Bob?" I don't know about anyone else, but to this day I stil say, "so help you Bob." It's just funny. Anyhoo, Phil and Lil tell their story -- they were playing Ring Around The Rosy around the lamp, then ran off just before it crashed.

Angelica is not conviced. She accuses Phil and Lil of knocking the lamp over in their dizzy state before running away. Lil admits that she did bump into it, but it didn't fall down. I'd just like to take this time to point out that it's probably not the best parenting idea to leave a giant unstable glass lamp in the middle of the room full of small children. Had Lil actually knocked it over, I daresay Mr. Fluffles would've been responsible for a few trips to the emergency room.

While Phil and Lil sit there all ashamed-like, Angelica decides that perhaps they didn't do it...despite the fact that Lil just admitted to bumping into the lamp right before it broke. The fact that Angelica has already caused a lot of heartache and suspicion among friends yet still wants to continue this game is really shocking. The girl has problems. She turns her attention to Chuckie, who begins his story.

Chuckie says that he was in the corner, playing with blocks, while watching Phil and Lil play Ring Around The Rosy. He claims that he didn't want to join in because it "looked kinda dangerous." And for the first time, Chuckie actually has the right to be cautious. They're spinning around right next to a frickin' glass clown lamp, for God's sakes! Seriously, what parent would think that's harmless? Anyway, Chuckie says that a giant bunny rabbit suddenly appeared behind him, and he hid under the couch to get away from it. Because Chuckie is Donnie Darko. Yeah.

Persecutor Angelica states that Chuckie must be the "poopetrator." Despite the fact that his alibi involved seeing a giant rabbit monster, Angelica doesn't try to nitpick this. Instead, she accuses him of deliberately knocking over the clown lamp. After all, Chuckie is afraid of clowns, is he not? Chuckie tearfully admits that he did want to break the clown lamp, on account of it being so scary and all. Angelica's all victorious, until Chuckie says that he only ever thought about breaking the lamp, and that he didn't actually do it. Still, though, admitting his intent to do away with Mr. Fluffles couldn't have been good for his case. If I was on the jerky, I'd definitely be thinking that the future doesn't look so bright for the short-sighted, clown-hating, monster-witnessing ranga.

Angelica calls bullshit on Chuckie's story, but Tommy firmly states that, "if Chuckie said he didn't broked the lamp, then he didn't broked the lamp." Aww. Let's hope Tommy doesn't grow up to be a judge, though, because I don't think that kind of reasoning is exactly smiled upon in real courts of law.

Just then, Tommy has a brainwave. Hadn't Angelica already taken a nap before she came over? And if she was sleeping, how did she know that Lil bumped the lamp after Ring Around The Rosy? And, in Chuckie's words, "how do you know all the other stuff you knowed?" Angelica finally admits that she broke the lamp, and breaks out into a spontaneous confession:

Angelica was looking for a crayon so that she could write on the walls and blame Tommy. (Example of sociopathy #137.) She went into the living room, and got mad that Phil and Lil were playing a game and didn't invite her. Because...she's such good company? So she found Tommy's bunny rabbit mask and used it to scare Chuckie away. She looked up at the lamp and decided that it looked stupid and must die. Um, wow. Apparently she didn't like it's stupid smile. She says, "I decided to make sure it'd never smile again." Again, wow. That's I always pretty much knew that Angelica was a mean girl when I was younger, but she seems be presenting signs of some sort of personality disorder. After all, she just murdered an innocent clown lamp for no reason whatsoever, then took pleasure in turning a bunch of babies against each other by accusing them of a crime none of them committed.

Back to the present. Tommy is crushed that his older cousin broke his favourite lamp. I can't relate, because my older cousins were the best. And also, they weren't psychotic. Anyway, Angelica starts boasting that yeah, she broke the lamp, "and if I had the chance, I'd do it again." Kinda like a serial killer. She taunts the babies about how she's going to get away with it, "because you can't talk!" Just then, Didi screams her name. She and Betty have been standing behind Angelica the whole time she was confessing. Heh. Suck it, Angelica.

Didi grabs Angelica and drags her off to the kitchen, and the babies wonder if she'll go to jail. Just then, they hear Angelica scream out, "No! Not the chair!" as Did locks her into the high chair. The lesson here, for your 411, is to always make sure that you're not in the company of adults when confessing, and that the punishment for clown lamp murder in the Pickles household is the chair....the high chair. Tommy says, "I guess the persecutor is the poopetrator this time!" and all is well in Rugrats-land once more.


  1. Heh, awesome! This was so fun. Just found your blog from Shannon's. I loved Rugrats so much back in the day!

    Will be checking back again soon for new updates! :D

  2. Rugrats ruled. Thanks for the blog love.

  3. My son was born in Sept 90 and Rugrats was a favorite son of HIS and MINE!

    Thanks for these links from a mom in SoCal USA :-))

  4. Ray -- you are so welcome! I have young cousins born in the noughties that still love this show, and will watch the reruns I grew up with, so there you go.

  5. Great review! Rugrats is so the best!