Wumzum here for the Rugrats Writeup!
This is a cartoon I didn’t really pay enough attention to when I was younger.
For the next couple of sentences, I’m gonna pretend to be my younger self. this is what he would say if you asked him if he liked Rugrats.
“Rugrats, that baby cartoon that came on before Spiderman or X-men. That kinda cartoon that doesn’t epic tales of adventure and awesome fight scenes, or even serious character progression. Wheres the Good VS EVIL, It’s drawn really basic tho and kinda ugly. The characters aren’t that interesting even that interesting. Why don’t they grow up? WHAT THE HECKS UP WITH CHUCKIE! SOMEBODY SORT OUT ANGELICA SHE’S EVIL! and last but not least… Why is this considered one of the best cartoons of its time?”
Ok, now that that prematurity rant is over ill give you some of my thoughts on the rug rats.
They probably put Rugrats on before your favourite marvel/action cartoon because they thought it was better… but knew you wanted to watch X-Men… so that made you watch it first to try to educate you. One of the best things about it was that it was about babies. We’ve all been babies, and it wonderfully captures the imagination of that period in our lives.
EVERY EPISODE WAS AN EPIC ADVENTURE. it’s so smart how they took pretty much simple minded things and turned them into mini adventures with mini people. Sometimes episodes would be like an Indiana jones movie, there would always be an objective that was clear as day but difficult for our protagonists, each character would have their role to play in helping them reach their goals.
The animation for its time had so much character relating to the theme of the show. I know we all think babies are cute, but the stuff they get up to was not so cute… they pop themselves, eat nasty baby food, roll around and get dirty no matter how much you try to keep them together. growing teeth make them look goofy… These things aren’t all that cute when you look at it, and the drawing style of the show did a really good job of conveying this. It might not have been as crisp as spiderman, but that’s what added to the narrative and character.
The Characters were actually pretty relatable. Maybe not all of us have awesome superpowers, but all of us had been babies at one point in our lives. Tommy was that Courageous Leader who was imaginative and innovative! I like how he was the youngest as well, it correlated with him having new ideas and not being scared to explore. Chuckie was one of the oldest in the main group, which is funny because he was a big scaredy cat! Irony! he was used really well exert the insecurities we get in this world, that balance between trying to be sensible and dealing with fear, Chuckie was our guide to that part of the human experience. More Irony, it’s like he was named after that infamous TERRIFYING baby doll ‘CHUCKY’ Ha. Phil and Lil were like, the supporting cast, who supported each other and were great at showing us the goofy things that babies wanted to do, like roll around in the mud and eat… well, pretty much anything just to see what it tasted like… How is that not relatable people!
AND THEN THERES ANGELICA. who we all thought was evil… but pretty much acts like a spoiled brat because of how her parents treated her haha. She was clearly based off someone’s childhood bully and written to be some of a manipulative villain. But when you look closer she pretty much acts like how any child in her situation would act. It’s almost like a lesson in parenting… intact now when watching is I paid so much more attention to who the kids are because of their parents.
There are other characters who even deserve essays in themselves. Susie Carmichael being one of them… she was like the Black girl next door that was like a moral compass! I recently discovered is MASSIVELY UNDER-APPRECIATED. She probably had the least dysfunctional family!
I could go on and on about the characters, seriously.
The fact that the majority children could all communicate with each other but not the adults was a brilliant plot device for storytelling. having that insight into the world of the children was golden as it contrasted with the adult world(which was actually written equally well]. I definitely under appreciated what this did as a child, but a lot of the best cartoons of the 90s mastered this. Effortlessly making a show for kids that was equally adults enjoyed, and definitely for different reasons. I watched an episode recently where I found myself laughing at an argument the Tommy’s Dad and Uncle were having about their own childhood, it was something that would have just flown past me as a child. Which is funny because the Rugrats didn’t notice half of what the parents were doing swell. They were more interested in their next adventure or objective, as babies and toddlers do.
I think that probably why its considered one of the best cartoons of its time. Kinda like the Simpsons, it has something for everybody. I was just too much of a baby to notice back then. Too busy being like a rugrat and looking for the next EPIC adventure. Every episode was a Mini adventure that I’m glad I watched.