Cartoon Classics #3 – Rugrats

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A baby’s life isn’t something that normally gets made into an animated television series, I mean what is there to really say about babies? Well, there was a lot more to a baby’s daily life than anyone could have ever imagined when Rugrats hit the scene on Nickelodeon in August 1991 as part of the very first batch of Nicktoons.

This is just one of a handful of great Nickelodeon TV shows that we’ll profile right here. This one will be a bit shorter than usual because I haven’t seen Rugrats in so long but, it was one of my favourites growing up so I couldn’t go without giving it its rightful place as a Cartoon Classic.

I don’t think a lot of people realized just how successful the Rugrats franchise would become over the years when the series debuted nearly 22 years ago and yet it remained a staple on Nickelodeon well into the 2000s with reruns still airing to this very day.

Chuckie Finster is always the skeptic and is always trying to stay out of trouble but, usually ends up going with Tommy’s plan for better or worse.

Rugrats centers around a group of toddlers in which the viewer is taken into the world through their viewpoint. The show was a revolutionary take on things as something like this had never really been attempted. It was very imaginative for its time and there was never any shortage of inventive adventures for the gang to get caught up in. None of the babies could communicate with their parents yet, they could speak to each other and were always plotting and planning in one way or another.

Tommy Pickles, the main character of the series and arguably the most recognizable.

The show centered around 1 year old Tommy Pickles, the adventurous and noble leader of the group. He was joined by his best friend, Chuckie Finster who served as the skeptic of the group and one who is very fearful of the world around him. Phil and Lil were the twins who kind of went along with Tommy’s plans without much resistance and help the other members of the group achieve their goals. Angelica is Tommy’s 3 year old cousin and is generally one of the antagonists on the show although she occasionally helps the group. She can also talk to both the adults and the children which makes it easy for her to make the babies’ lives difficult. Of course there were also secondary characters as well like Susie who is of similar age to Angelica and most notably tries to help the babies when Angelica is being mean to them. Dil Pickles shows up later on in the series as Tommy’s brother who cannot understand the babies or adults and Kimi comes along even later as Chuckie’s stepsister.

Angelica Pickles always seems to be picking on Tommy as seen here.

Rugrats did things that few shows did and that was that it evolved with the times adding new characters, having 3 different movies made from the series (The Rugrats Movie, Rugrats in Paris: The Movie, and Rugrats Go Wild), and even having two separate spin-off shows in All Grown Up and Rugrats Pre-School Daze.

Rugrats aired 172 episodes over 9 seasons and 13 years from August 11th, 1991 to June 8th, 2004. Production on new episodes has ceased and it seems to be the end for the Rugrats but, whether it was trying  to escape a playpen or anything else that the kids were attempting, it was entertaining to watch a group of babies execute each plan they had and to see their thought process in motion as they were doing it. I doubt we’ll ever see a show like it again.

Here’s the Pilot that got the show approved at Nickelodeon:

 

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