Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Rugrats (1991-2004)

I'm back, bitches, and better than ever. Well, maybe not better. Still pretty mediocre, actually, but you get my drift.

You see, I finally found out what was causing my annoying little YouTube problem...something something Flash Player malfunction something something technical language blah blah blah. (And that was the short version.) I totally fixed it all by myself, because I'm just that awesome. To quote It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia -- am I the messiah? I don't know, I could be, I'm not ruling it out.

Anyway, I've made an executive decision to make this blog a weekly thing. It seems to make sense, what with it being assignment time at uni and everything. Plus I've decided to enter the NaNoWriMo this year, and if I don't come back with a winner's badge to proudly display on this blog, I will consider my life to be a failure. And on that cheerful note, let's get onto the big children's TV show fun of the day.

Rugrats was an animated children's powerhouse that ran from 1991-2004...and that's just the original series. Rugrats: All Grown Up and Preschool Daze followed during the noughties. I wish I could detail those series' for you, but I firmly believe they're bastardised sell-out versions of what used to be one of my ultimate favourite shows, so I flat-out refuse.

The show followed the strangely eventful lives of a bunch of talking babies and toddlers, doing what babies and toddlers do -- cause mayhem, create mischief, play with bugs and shit, and mispronounce words in the most hysterical ways. Want to meet them? Sure you do.

Tommy Pickles -- the leader. He's the youngest baby of the bunch, but he's the bravest, most adventurous of all the Rugrats.
Best Tommy adventure moments -- 'Incident in Aisle Seven', when Tommy causes disaster in the supermarket looking for Reptar cereal, and 'The Big House', where he leads a band of frustrated infants in a daycare escape.

Chuckie Finster -- the best friend. He is, in the words of John Bender, a neo maxi zoom dweebie, but he's the most loyal friend a baby could have.
Best Chuckie fraidy-cat moments -- 'Chuckie vs. the Potty', where Chuckie refuses to be potty-trained because he's scared of it, and 'The Slide', when Chuckie becomes scared to go down the playground slide after a traumatic experience with one at the pizza parlour.

Angelica Pickles -- the sociopath-in-training. She's an evil brat who loves nothing more than tornmenting the "dumb babies" with her extra year of wisdom.
Best Angelica schemes -- 'Family Reunion', where Angelica convinces the babies that their families are going to trade them for their cousins, and 'The Trial', where Angelica breaks Chuckie's clown lamp and then holds a trial to convince the babies that one of them did it.

Phil and Lil Deville -- the twins. They're off in their own little world, and love anything gross, dirty and disgusting...bonus points if it wriggles.
Best Phil and Lil disappearing acts -- 'Trading Phil', where all the babies get an idea that the adults are planning to give Phil away, and 'Angelica the Magnificent', where Angelica starts practising magic and makes Lil disappear into thin air.

Susie Carmichael -- the new girl in town. She's Angelica's rival and therefore automatically a friend of the babies. Oh, and she has a 'tude and a half.
Best sassy Susie moments -- 'The Big Flush', where Susie trains Chuckie to kick ass on a giant water slide to piss off Angelica, and 'Doctor Susie', where Susie becomes a toy-healer and fixes the Rugrats' broken toys.

Spike -- the dog. He was, uh, a dog. He did dog stuff. It wasn't that interesting.
Best Spike-Being-A-Dog moments -- 'Spike vs. Fluffy', when Angelica's cat (who resembles her way too much to be normal) destroys the Pickles house and everyone blames Spike, and 'The Dog Broomer', where Tommy and Chuckie plot to save Spike from a dog groomer.

Along with the Rugrats themselves, the show also chronicled the events of a number of parents, including Stu and Didi (Tommy's parents), Chaz (Chuckie's), Betty and Howard (Phil and Lil's) and Drew and Charlotte (Angelica's). Oh, and there was a grandfather, but he didn't do a whole lot expect provide the show with a much-needed 'feebleminded old codger' stereotype. In later episodes, they added a couple of 'Jewish feebleminded old codger' stereotypes, which, if The Nanny has taught us anything, no good TV show is complete without.

I really can't move on to the recap without mentioning the most important character of the show. While some argue that it's the borderline-psychotic Angelica, or even the ever-reliable Spike, I have no doubt in my mind that the show would not have lasted nearly as long as it did without the presence of Angelica's doll Cynthia. Sure, she did nothing -- in fact, many of the Cynthia jokes related to the fact that no matter how much Angelica spoke to her, Cynthia would not respond -- but she really committed to doing nothing. Angelica dragged that poor thing around until it looked, well, like this:
As an added bonus, Cynthia gave us one of the greatest moments of the show by including a workout tape as part of her franchise. There are entire Facebook groups devoted to this song, which began with the immortal lyrics, "Cynthia, she's a really cool dancer, Cynthia, boogy to the groove now." It sits comfortably in my iPod between 'Cry Me A River' and 'Da Doo Ron Ron Ron'. (Please don't base your opinion of me based on those two songs alone. My iPod is jam-packed with musical awesomeness, as well as a number of embarrassing nineties film soundtracks...and some Peter Andre.)

The episode I'll recap for you is 'The Trial', one of the many, many Rugrats episodes my parents taped off ABC Kids way back when. (Okay, so I actually had two Rugrats tapes. Sue me.) The character of Susie's not in it, but there is some Cynthia, which I think more than makes up for Susie's absence. I think I might do said recap tomorrow, though, at a time that's not 2am. It just seems a little more practical.


  1. Whoo you're back! I used to watch a bit of Rugrats: All Grown Up when I babysat for families who had Foxtel. The only episode I really remember involved Lil getting a training bra and Phil angsting about them being different and growing apart. It was... a little weird and incest-y. The original is definitely the best.

  2. I loved the orginal but for some reason Tommy bugged me? Think I thought it was a bit too bossy and was just friends with Chuckie so he could lord it over him how much more brave he was..think I may have read too much into a kids show there!