Rugrats

Rugrats is an American animated children's television series created by Arlene Klasky, Gábor Csupó, and Paul Germain for Nickelodeon. The show focuses on a group of toddlers most prominently—Tommy, Chuckie, twins Phil and Lil, and Angelica—and their day-to-day lives, usually involving life experiences that become much greater adventures in the imaginations of the main characters.[5][6]

Rugrats
The word "Rugrats" and two small underlines in dark blue written in a child's handwriting, with red, yellow and green dots, a white background and a jagged yellow border.
Genre
Created by
Voices of
Theme music composerMark Mothersbaugh
Composers
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons9
No. of episodes172 (322 segments) (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producers
  • Arlene Klasky
  • Gábor Csupó
  • Vanessa Coffey (seasons 1–3)
  • Paul Germain (seasons 1–3)
  • Mary Harrington (seasons 1–5)
Producers
Editors
  • Karl Garabedian
  • John Bryant
  • Jerry Klovisky
Running time23 minutes
Production companies
Release
Original networkNickelodeon
Picture formatNTSC (480i)
Audio formatSurround
Original releaseAugust 11, 1991 (1991-08-11) –
June 4, 2004 (2004-06-04)[2][3][4]
Chronology
Followed byAll Grown Up!
Related showsRugrats Pre-School Daze
Rugrats (2021)
The Wild Thornberrys
Aaahh!!! Real Monsters

The series premiered on August 11, 1991, as the second Nicktoon—after Doug and before The Ren & Stimpy Show. Production was initially halted in 1993 after 65 episodes spanning three seasons, with the last episode airing on May 22, 1994. From 1995 to 1996, the only new episodes broadcast were "A Rugrats Passover" and "A Rugrats Chanukah", two Jewish-themed episodes that received critical acclaim; during this time, after the end of the show's production run, Rugrats began to receive a boost in ratings and popularity due to constant reruns on Nickelodeon and Nick Rewind.

In 1996, Klasky Csupo Animation began producing new episodes, and the show's fourth season began in 1997. As a result of the show's popularity, a series of theatrical films were released over the next five years: The Rugrats Movie, which introduced Tommy's younger brother Dil, was released in 1998; Rugrats in Paris: The Movie, which introduced Kimi, Kira, and Fifi, was released in 2000; and Rugrats Go Wild, a crossover film with another Klasky Csupo series, The Wild Thornberrys, was released in 2003. The final TV episode aired on August 1, 2004,[7] bringing the series to a total of 172 episodes over nine seasons. The 13-year run (with the 2-year break) ties Rugrats with King of the Hill as one of the eighth-longest-running American animated television series.

On July 21, 2001, Nickelodeon broadcast the made-for-TV special "All Growed Up" to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the series premiere. The special was a pilot for the Rugrats sequel series All Grown Up!, which aired from 2003 to 2008 as it chronicles the lives of the babies and their parents after they age 10 years. A spin-off series, Rugrats Pre-School Daze, aired on TV in 2008 but had only four episodes after Nickelodeon decided to focus on the sequel series. Two direct-to-video specials were released in 2005 and 2006 under the title Rugrats: Tales from the Crib. Tie-in media for the series include video games, comics, toys, and various other merchandise.

Rugrats gained over 20 awards during its 13-year run, including four Daytime Emmy Awards, six Kids' Choice Awards, and its own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The series became a hit, garnering high ratings, and anchored Nickelodeon as the network's top-rated show from 1995 to 2001. It was Nickelodeon's longest-running cartoon, until SpongeBob SquarePants aired its 173rd episode in 2012. The show is Nickelodeon's third longest-running animated series, behind SpongeBob SquarePants and The Fairly OddParents.

A reboot of the series to be executive produced by the original creative team of Klasky, Csupó and Germain is scheduled to premiere on Paramount+ in 2021.[8][9]

Premise and settingEdit

 
Tommy's house, the primary setting of Rugrats

Many of the adventures the babies find themselves in take place at Tommy's house; the parents usually rely on Didi, Stu, or Grandpa Lou to babysit the kids while they run errands. Their address is revealed on an invoice in "Tommy's First Birthday" (season one, 1991) as 1258 N. Highland, the original address of Klasky Csupo in Los Angeles.[10] However, an unnamed specific city or state is never mentioned in the show. Several indicators, such as a state flag at a post office, license plate designs on the vehicles, and various trips to the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, and the beach, place the characters somewhere in southern California.[11][12][13] The location is also hinted at during "Little Dude" (season one, 1991) when Didi, who is a teacher, takes Tommy to her class at Eucaipah High School, referencing the city of Yucaipa, California.[14] It has been implied that this ambiguity was done intentionally to help give the impression of seeing the world through the eyes of the babies, who would not understand the concept of location. The DeVilles live next door to the Pickles and, early in the series, the Carmichaels move in across the street.[2][15]

EpisodesEdit

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
PilotAugust 7, 2001 (DVD)
113August 11, 1991 (1991-08-11)May 24, 1992 (1992-05-24)
226September 6, 1992 (1992-09-06)May 9, 1993 (1993-05-09)
326September 26, 1993 (1993-09-26)April 13, 1995 (1995-04-13)
417December 4, 1996 (1996-12-04)November 22, 1997 (1997-11-22)
512August 15, 1998 (1998-08-15)September 21, 1998 (1998-09-21)
636January 18, 1999 (1999-01-18)July 20, 2001 (2001-07-20)
714January 15, 2001 (2001-01-15)January 21, 2002 (2002-01-21)
814July 21, 2001 (2001-07-21)January 10, 2003 (2003-01-10)
914September 21, 2002 (2002-09-21)August 1, 2004 (2004-08-01)
Tales from the Crib2September 6, 2005 (2005-09-06)September 5, 2006 (2006-09-05)

CharactersEdit

 
Rugrats sports a vast array of secondary and tertiary characters.

The series focuses on the experiences of a courageous, adventurous one-year-old baby named Tommy Pickles and his group of playmates – several other infants and toddlers, some of whom debuted later in the series. Chuckie, Tommy's bespectacled, red-headed, insecure, cowardly two-year-old best friend; the twins Phil and Lil, noted for their revolting eccentricities and love of digging for and eating insects and earthworms; Tommy's baby brother Dil (who was born in The Rugrats Movie); Angelica, Tommy and Dil's outrageously spoiled and selfish three-year-old cousin who is a "rival" of his friends and the main antagonist of the program; Kimi, Chuckie's adventurous, playful stepsister (introduced in Rugrats in Paris) (later just his sister after adoption); and Susie, a good-hearted neighbor of the Pickles family, Angelica's schoolmate, friend, and "rival", who is better liked by the younger children and far more reliable than Angelica.

The other characters depicted in Rugrats include the babies' parents, who are portrayed as often being easily distracted, leaving their young children free to emancipate themselves from such restraints as playpens or strollers and venture out to explore. Such adult figures include Didi and Stu Pickles, Tommy and Dil's mother and father. Didi is a sweet, educated and loving mother who decides to return to college in one episode. Stu is an often-feckless toy inventor whose designs have been known to either fail or break. Other parents include Chas Finster, Chuckie's stereotypically nerdy and mild-mannered father, a widower who later remarries; Kira, Chuckie's sweet-natured, kind and understanding stepmother (later just his mother after adoption) whom Chas marries in Rugrats in Paris; Drew Pickles, Angelica's indulgent and doting father who pampers his daughter to a ridiculous degree; Charlotte Pickles, Angelica's workaholic mother who overindulges her daughter equally if often seen talking on her cell phone with an employee of hers named Jonathan, although neither of them afraid to put their foot down when they feel she is getting out of line; Betty DeVille, Phil and Lil's kind but boisterous feminist mother; and Howard DeVille, the twins' mild-mannered and soft-spoken father.

Susie's parents and elder siblings also make appearances in some episodes, and another major adult character includes Lou Pickles, Drew and Stu's father and Tommy, Angelica, and Dil's grandfather; an elderly widower who later remarries with an active woman named Lulu. Didi's parents, Jewish immigrants named Boris and Minka, also appear numerous times and serve as important characters and are often seen bickering. Rugrats also has animal characters, including the Pickles family dog, Spike, and Angelica's pet cat Fluffy. Spike played important roles, but most importantly was always ready to rescue Tommy when he was in danger.

The show functions under a translation convention for baby talk, which is presented as essentially a separate language which only other babies can understand. The babies' dialogue is almost universally translated for viewers into comprehensible English dialogue, but adults in the series cannot understand them. One example of this dissonance is when Tommy says "Reptar!", (the title character of a popular in-show children's franchise) but his mother then responds that she heard him say "riff-raff", and that she hopes he is getting close to speaking full words, indicating that adult characters still hear the dialogue of baby characters as babbling. The translated dialogue of the babies is still presented as infantile English, reflecting their limited understanding of the world. Another major point of this plot convention is that toddlers who have learned to speak the adult language can still understand baby talk because they are at a transitional age between the two. Angelica and Susie can understand what the baby characters are saying but can also communicate with adults, though they never outright reveal to the adults that they can comprehend complex messages from the babies. Very young newborns, such as Tommy's little brother, cannot yet communicate even with baby talk, although Dil has a very limited vocabulary consisting of the words "poopy" and "mine" which are perhaps the only words he is capable of saying. The older babies, such as Tommy and Chuckie, are able to interpret what Dil is trying to communicate although, due to their own age, it is difficult. When the older babies do figure out what Dil wants or needs, it usually involves changing his diaper or giving him an object – to play with or just to experience the joy of holding it.

ProductionEdit

DevelopmentEdit

Rugrats was formed by the then-husband-and-wife duo of Gábor Csupó and Arlene Klasky, along with Paul Germain in 1989. Klasky Csupo had a major animation firm at the time which also provided services for commercials and music videos. Klasky, Csupó, and Germain were also animating The Simpsons for Matt Groening at the time, which they would continue to do until 1992 when the show's producer James L. Brooks and his company Gracie Films switched domestic production to Film Roman. The trio decided to create their own series in reaction to a proclamation by the children's cable network Nickelodeon that they were to launch their own line of animated shows, which would be later called "Nicktoons". The network's Vice President of Animation Vanessa Coffey approached them to create a pilot for their new series. With the comedic stimulation branching from the antics of Klasky and Csupó's infant children and also pulling inspiration from the Beatles, the 612–minute pilot episode, "Tommy Pickles and the Great White Thing" (never to be aired), was released on DVD by Paramount Home Entertainment in 2001.

Peter Chung, along with Klasky and Csupó, co-designed the characters and directed the series pilot, "Tommy Pickles and the Great White Thing", as well as the opening sequence. In a Decider article, Chung said, "He [Gábor] wanted the babies to be 'strange' instead of 'cute.'"[16] The production was completed in 1990 and they submitted it to Nickelodeon, who tested it with an audience of children. The feedback for the pilot episode was primarily positive. With that, Coffey and the network's then-president Geraldine Laybourne, approved of and bought the series and the series went into production. Chuckie and Angelica were added as characters.

Paul Germain felt that the series needed a bully. Angelica was based on a bully in Germain's childhood, who was a girl. In addition to that, it was Germain who decided that Angelica would be a spoiled brat. Klasky initially did not like Angelica Pickles and also protested the character's actions in episodes like "Barbecue Story", where she throws Tommy's ball over the fence.

In a New Yorker article, Klasky said, "I think she's a bully. I never liked Angelica."[2] She never fully approved of Angelica's character development. Her bullying caused Klasky to disdain her. Angelica started to become a problem for some of the Rugrats staff. In some instances, her voice actress, Cheryl Chase, had problems portraying a mean Angelica. To help Chase out, Steve Viksten, one of the writers, would mention that Angelica was the series' J. R. Ewing.

After the episode "The Trial", Klasky complained that the Rugrats were starting to act too old for their age. Csupó often acted as a mediator in arguments between Klasky and the writers, with the writers often winning. Some of the offscreen tensions ultimately found their way into the scripts and into the show. In 1994, before Nick premiered the last of the original 65, production of new episodes went on hiatus, and most of the Rugrats writing team (including Germain) left Klasky-Csupo.[17] After the first-run days were over, Nickelodeon had enough episodes to show every day, and did just that, scheduling the show in the early evening, when both kids and parents would be watching, among multiple other times in the day; in 1996, Rugrats episodes had aired 655 times over the course of the calendar year, and despite (or perhaps because of) the saturation it remained one of cable television's most-watched series that year.[18] The show resumed production in 1996. However, the tensions between Klasky-Csupo and their former writers still existed.

After The Rugrats Movie and seeing the "new" Angelica in the film, Klasky changed her tune: "I think she's great for the show; I love Angelica."[19]

NicktoonsEdit

Rugrats was Nickelodeon's second Nicktoon, debuting on the same day as Doug (which premiered before it) and The Ren & Stimpy Show (which debuted after). The first run of the series was produced from 1990 to 1993 before production went on a hiatus (episodes that had not yet been released at that point continued to be released through 1994). Between 1995 and 1996, only two Jewish-themed specials premiered, and the rest of the series aired in reruns. Production on new episodes restarted in 1996 and the show aired in Nickelodeon's SNICK block from 1997 to 2001. From 1994 until 2012, Rugrats was the longest-running Nickelodeon animated series, with 172 episodes produced across its 13-year run. It was surpassed in 2012 by SpongeBob SquarePants with the episode "Squiditis/Demolition Doofus" that year.[20]

On July 21, 2001, Rugrats celebrated its 10th anniversary; the special/TV movie "All Growed Up" was produced for the occasion. After the show, a special retrospective look-back aired, entitled "Rugrats: Still Babies After All These Years". It was narrated by Amanda Bynes. Nickelodeon approved of its ratings and popularity so much, they eventually commissioned a full series, All Grown Up, which ran from 2003 to 2008.

Rugrats ended in 2004, along with fellow Nicktoons Hey Arnold!, The Wild Thornberrys, and Rocket Power. After the run, two fairytale-themed direct-to-video films based on the original series, under the title Rugrats: Tales from the Crib, were produced and then released separately in 2005 and 2006.

Nick Jr.Edit

When production was put on hiatus the series was put on reruns both on Nick Jr. (the block) and regular Nickelodeon. As of 2013, Rugrats was also on Nick Jr.'s nighttime block NickMom for a brief time, before subsequently airing on the main Nick Jr. channel on July 11, 2014.

Voice actorsEdit

Through its full run, Rugrats occupied several main voice actors. E. G. Daily provided the voice of Tommy Pickles, except in the unaired pilot where Tami Holbrook provided the voice; Christine Cavanaugh was the original voice of Chuckie Finster, but left the show for personal reasons and was subsequently replaced by Nancy Cartwright in 2002. The fraternal twins, Phil and Lil (as well as their mother, Betty) were voiced by Kath Soucie; Dil Pickles and Timmy McNulty were voiced by Tara Strong. Cheryl Chase initially auditioned for the role of Tommy, but was passed up. When the show came to series, she was brought on board to be cast as the voice of Angelica Pickles. Dionne Quan was the voice of Kimi Finster. Susie was primarily voiced by Cree Summer, though in two episodes where she could not be in attendance E. G. Daily filled in.[21] Other regular voice actors included Melanie Chartoff as Didi Pickles, Jack Riley was the voice of Stu Pickles, Tress MacNeille as Charlotte Pickles, and Michael Bell as Drew Pickles and Chas Finster, Julia Kato as Kira Finster, David Doyle provided the voice of Grandpa Lou Pickles until his death in 1997,[22] when Joe Alaskey took over until the end of the series. In 2000, Debbie Reynolds joined the cast as Lulu Pickles, Lou's second wife, and remained until the series' end.

Episode productionEdit

Episodes took up to a year in advance to produce. First, the story had to get written and then approved. The next phase consisted of voice recording, storyboarding, pre-eliminating animation, overseas production, overseas delivery, followed by editing and polishing. All of that had to happen even before Klasky-Csupo sent the master tapes to Nick. In addition, fine animation took time to make. During the first six seasons of Rugrats, shows were primarily divided into two eleven-minute episodes. After the second movie, during season seven, Rugrats made a change with a different format that consisted of three episodes per show, though it returned to its original two-episode-per-show format in the final two seasons.[23]

Animation for the series was done at Wang Film Productions, Shanghai Morning Sun Animation and Anivision.

ThemesEdit

Rugrats visualizes ordinary, everyday activities through the eyes of a group of toddlers. Using their imaginations, the babies transform routine tasks into surprising adventures. The show plays with baby talk, having the group constantly mispronounce words and use improper grammar. Challenges often emerge because the babies misinterpret the adults, usually caused by Angelica's deceptive translations. The grown-ups of Rugrats are simultaneously quirky, over-cautious, and oblivious. The series portrays adults as mysterious eccentrics. Episodes usually center on a moral lesson that the babies learn during their imaginative explorations.

ReleaseEdit

Home mediaEdit

Nickelodeon and Amazon.com struck a deal to produce DVDs of new and old Nickelodeon shows, through the CreateSpace service. Using a concept similar to print on demand, Amazon made the discs, cover art, and disc art itself. The first and second seasons of Rugrats were released on June 2, 2009, along with the first and second seasons of The Fairly OddParents (although the Rugrats Season 2 was released in a "Best of" collection).[24] Season 3 and 4 were released on September 23, 2011, through the CreateSpace program.[25] Season 5 was released shortly after on October 4.[26] On October 6, 2011, the complete Seasons 6–8 were released through CreateSpace, and Season 9 was released in a "Best of" collection.[27] Amazon re-released seasons 2 & 9 as complete seasons on May 9, 2014.[28] As of February 2017, the Amazon.com releases have been discontinued.[29] In May 2017, Nickelodeon and Paramount Home Media Distribution released Seasons 1 and 2 on DVD.[30] In February 2018, Nickelodeon and Paramount Home Media Distribution released Seasons 3 and 4 on DVD.[31] Rugrats: The Complete Series DVD from Nickelodeon and Paramount Home Media Distribution has been announced for release on May 18, 2021 in North America.[32]

In Australia, all seasons have been released by Beyond Home Entertainment.

DVD releases — complete seasons
DVD name No. of
episodes
Release date
Region 1 Region 4
Amazon Paramount
Season 1 13 June 2, 2009 May 2, 2017 December 4, 2013
Season 2 26 May 9, 2014 May 2, 2017 December 4, 2013
Season 3 26 September 23, 2011 February 6, 2018 April 2, 2014
Season 4 17 September 23, 2011 February 6, 2018 June 4, 2014
Season 5 12 October 4, 2011 N/A June 4, 2014
Season 6 28 October 6, 2011 N/A June 4, 2014
Season 7 18 October 6, 2011 N/A December 3, 2014
Season 8 13 October 6, 2011 N/A December 3, 2014
Season 9 14 May 9, 2014 N/A December 3, 2014
The Complete Series 172 N/A May 18, 2021[32] October 31, 2017
Other releases
Title Episode count Movie count Release date Episodes
Decade in Diapers 11 0 September 24, 2002 "Angelica Orders Out", "The First Cut", "Reptar on Ice", "No Bones About It", "Be My Valentine", "Chuckie vs. The Potty", "Doctor Susie", "Vacation", "Finsterella", "Bigger Than Life", and "Tommy Pickles and the Great White Thing"
Mysteries 8 January 28, 2003 "Murmur on the Ornery Express", "The Fun Way Day", "Trading Phil", "Grandpa's Date", "The Legend of Satchmo", "Grandpa's Teeth", "Visitors from Outer Space", and "Grandpa Moves Out"
Holiday Celebration 12 August 31, 2004[33] Disc 1: "Curse of the Werewuff", "Ghost Story", "Aunt Miriam", "Sleep Trouble", "Spike's Nightscare"
Disc 2: "Babies in Toyland", "The Turkey Who Came To Dinner", "Kwanzaa", "The Santa Experience", and "Chanukah"
Nick Picks Vol. 1 1 May 24, 2005 "Finsterella"
Nick Picks Vol. 2 October 18, 2005 "All Growed Up"
Nick Picks Holiday September 26, 2006 "The Santa Experience"
The Trilogy Movie Collection 0 3 March 15, 2011[34] Disc 1: "The Rugrats Movie" Disc 2: "Rugrats in Paris: The Movie" Disc 3: "Rugrats Go Wild"
Halloween 5 0 September 20, 2011[35] This release is a reissue of the first disc from the Holiday Celebration DVD set.
Outdoor Shenanigans July 8, 2014 "Discover America", "Barbeque Story", "Moose Country", "Sand Ho!", and "The Gold Rush"
Reptar Returns 3 "Runaway Reptar", "Reptar 2010", and "The Big Showdown"

UK VHS releasesEdit

VHS Title Release Date Episodes Bonus Features Classic Shorts
Rugrats - Tales from the Crib (VHR4232) 1996 "Toy Palace", "Real or Bobots?", "Beach Blanket Babies" 2 Inside Out Boy shorts Maisy short "Sandcastle"
Rugrats - A Baby's Gotta Do What a Baby's Gotta Do (VHR4277) 5 February 1996 "Monsters in the Garage", "Touchdown Tommy", "Let There Be Light" 2 Inside Out Boy shorts Maisy short "Washing"
Rugrats - Angelica the Divine (VHR4278) 1996 "Angelica the Magnificent", "The Seven Voyages of Cynthia", "Runaway Angelica" Nickelodeon Picture Puzzle Maisy short "Meow"
Rugrats - Phil and Lil: Double Trouble (VHR4396) 9 September 1996 "Twins' Pique", "The Unfair Pair", "Together at Last" 3 The Non Adventures of Safety Queen shorts Maisy short "Tummyache"
Rugrats - Tommy Troubles (VHR4279) 1996 "Naked Tommy", "Incident in Aisle Seven", "Baseball" 3 The Off Beats shorts Maisy short "Shopping"
Rugrats - The Santa Experience (VHR4233) 4 November 1996 "The Santa Experience" "Wiggly Wiggly Christmas" Music Video Maisy short "Snow"
Rugrats - Chuckie the Brave (VHR4444) 12 May 1997 "The Slide", "My Friend Barney", "Chuckie vs. The Potty", "Chuckie's Wonderful Life", "Cradle Attraction" "Rugrats Rap" Music Video Maisy short "Playground"
Rugrats - Return of Reptar (VHR4479) 14 July 1997 "At the Movies", "Reptar on Ice", "Reptar's Revenge", "Candy Bar Creep Show", "Reptar 2010" "Joke Time" (old short, 1997) Maisy short "Ice"
Rugrats - Grandpa's Favourite Stories (VHR4478) 1 September 1997 "Grandpa's Date", "Legend of Satchmo", "Grandpa's Teeth", "Visitors from Outer Space", "Grandpa Moves Out" Microscopic Milton short "Holiday Camping" Maisy short "Camping"
Rugrats - Diapered Duo (VHR4445) 13 October 1997 "Down the Drain", "The Odd Couple", "Mirrorland", "Give and Take", "Farewell My Friend" Animal Stories short "Simpson the Slug" Maisy short "Bathtub"

StreamingEdit

As of March 4, 2021, all seasons of the show are available on Hulu and Paramount+.[36]

ReceptionEdit

Critical reception and legacyEdit

Since its debut in 1991, Rugrats has generally received positive reviews from critics and fans. In a 1995 interview, Steven Spielberg (who, at the time, was producing several competing animated series for Warner Bros.) referred to the show as one of several shows that were the best children's programming at the time. Spielberg described Rugrats as "sort of a TV Peanuts of our time".[37] It was named the 92nd-best animated series by IGN.[38] Rugrats was also considered a strong point in Nickelodeon's rise in the 1990s.[39][40][41][42] In a press release celebrating the show's 10th anniversary, Cyma Zarghami stated, "During the past decade, Rugrats has evolved from a ratings powerhouse, being the number one children's show on TV, to pop icon status. It has secured a place in the hearts of both kids and adults, who see it from their own point of view".[43] According to Nickelodeon producers, this show made them the number-one cable channel in the 1990s.[44] Jeff Jarvis reviewed Rugrats and stated, "When The Simpsons was a segment on The Tracey Ullman Show, it was just a belch joke with hip pretensions. As a series, it grew flesh and guts. It was my favorite cartoon. until I discovered Nickelodeon's Rugrats, a sardonic, sly, kid's eye view of the world that skewers thirty-something parents and Cosby kids."[45] In 2017, James Charisma of Paste (magazine) ranked the show's opening sequence #11 on a list of The 75 Best TV Title Sequences of All Time.[46]

ControversyEdit

Rugrats was noteworthy among contemporary children's television for depicting observant, identifiable Jewish families.[47] Jewish, Christian and Muslim religious groups gave the show high praises for their special holiday episodes. Nonetheless, at one point the Anti-Defamation League and The Washington Post editorial page castigated the series for its depiction of Tommy Pickles' maternal grandparents, accusing their character designs of resembling Nazi-era depictions of Jews.[47]

Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Association Award category Nominee Result
1992 Daytime Emmy Award Outstanding Animated Program Won
1993 Daytime Emmy Award Outstanding Animated Children's Program Nominated
1994 CableAce Animated Programming Special or Series Won
Daytime Emmy Award Outstanding Animated Children's Program Won
1995 Annie Award Best Individual Achievement for Writing in the Field of Animation Episode: "A Rugrats Passover" Nominated
Humanitas Prize Children's Animation Category Episode: "I Remember Melville" Nominated
CableAce Animated Programming Special or Series Nominated
Daytime Emmy Award Outstanding in Animation Won
Emmy Award Outstanding Animated Program (for Programming One Hour or Less) "A Rugrats Passover" Nominated
1996 Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Cartoon[48] Won
1997 Emmy Award Outstanding Animated Program (for Programming One Hour or Less)[49] "Mother's Day" Nominated
Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Cartoon[48] Won
Young Artist Awards Best Performance in a Voiceover Charity Sanoy
for "Dust Bunnies"/"Educating Angelica"
Nominated
CableAce Best Writing in a Children's Special Or Series Episode: "Mother's Day" Won
1998 Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Cartoon[48] Won
Humanitas Prize Children's Animation Category Episode: "Mother's Day" Nominated
1999 Emmy Award Outstanding Children's Program[49] Nominated
Genesis Award Television – Children's Programming Episode: "The Turkey That Came to Dinner" Won
Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Cartoon[48][50] Won
Humanitas Prize Children's Animation Category Episode: "Autumn Leaves" Won
TV Guide Award Favorite Children's Show Nominated
World Animation Celebration Best Director of Animation for a Daytime Series Episode: "Naked Tommy" Won
Kids Choice Awards Favorite Movie[48] The Rugrats Movie Won
Cable Guide Favorite Cartoon Nominated
2000 Artios Award Best Casting for Animated Voice Over – Television Nominated
Kid's Choice Awards Favorite Cartoon[48] Won
Emmy Award Outstanding Children's Program[49] Nominated
TV Guide Award Favorite Children's Show Won
2001 Artios Award Best Casting for Animated Voice Over – Television Nominated
Emmy Award Outstanding Children's Program[49] Nominated
Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Cartoon[48] Won
Television Critics Association Awards Outstanding Achievement in Children's Programming Nominated
Jewish Image Awards Outstanding Achievement Won
2002 Artios Award Best Casting for Animated Voice Over – Television Episode: "Cynthia Comes Alive" Nominated
Emmy Award Outstanding Children's Program[49] Special: "All Growed Up" Nominated
Kid's Choice Awards Favorite Cartoon Nominated
BMI Cable Award Won
2003 Artios Award Best Casting for Animated Voice Over – Television Episode: "Babies in Toyland" Nominated
Kid's Choice Awards Favorite Cartoon Nominated
Daytime Emmy Award Outstanding Children's Animated Program Won
BMI Cable Award Won
2004 Daytime Emmy Award Outstanding Children's Animated Program Nominated

HonorsEdit

 
The Rugrats received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in a ceremony on June 28, 2001, commemorating the show's 10th anniversary.

On June 28, 2001, in commemoration of their tenth anniversary, Rugrats received a star on the fabled Hollywood Walk of Fame, making it Nickelodeon's first series to receive a star. It was placed at 6600 W. Hollywood Blvd., near Cherokee Ave., outside a toy and costume shop.[51]

In the October 2001 issue of Wizard Magazine, a leading magazine for comic book fans, they released the results of the "100 Greatest Toons ever", as selected by their readers; Rugrats ranked at No. 35. Three other Nicktoons—SpongeBob SquarePants, Invader Zim, and Ren and Stimpy—also placed on the list.[52]

In a list of TV Land's "The 2000 Best Things About Television", ranking the all-time TV shows, channels, commercials, people, catch phrases, etc., Rugrats is ranked No. 699.[53]

Angelica Pickles placed seventh in TV Guide's list of "Top 50 Greatest Cartoon Characters of All Time" in 2002.[54]

On September 24, 2013, in honor of their 60th anniversary, Rugrats earned a spot on TV Guide's "60 Greatest Cartoons of All Time" list.[55]

FilmsEdit

In 1998, The Rugrats Movie was released, which introduced baby Dil, Tommy's little brother, to the show. Its worldwide gross was $140.9 million against a $24 million budget, though it received mixed reviews from critics. In 2000 a sequel, Rugrats in Paris: The Movie, was released, with three new characters introduced, Kimi, Kira, and Fifi. Kimi would become Chuckie's sister and Kira would become his new mother, after marrying his father. Fifi would become Spike's new mate and Chuckie's new dog. It too was a box office success and also received a more positive critical reception. In 2003, Rugrats Go Wild was released. It was a crossover between the Rugrats and The Wild Thornberrys.[56] It was the least successful Rugrats film both critically and commercially. The Rugrats film trilogy has grossed $299.6 million.[citation needed] In July 2018, Paramount announced that Rugrats would release a live-action movie on January 29, 2021. However, in November 2019, Paramount decided to pull the movie from its schedule with no explanation given.[57]

Spin-offs and revivalEdit

Rugrats Pre-School Daze, also known as Angelica and Susie's School Daze, is a spin-off that follows revolves around Angelica Pickles and Susie Carmichael as preschool students. Arlene Klasky, Gábor Csupó, and Paul Germain were its creators and executive producers.[58] It was announced in 2001 as the first spin-off for Rugrats, and initially received a 13-episode order.[59] Even though it was reportedly a "highly-anticipated" part of the March 2002 upfront presentation,[58] the show was reduced to four television specials.[60] This decision was reached after Nickelodeon shifted its focus to the All Grown Up! spin-off following the rating success of "All Growed Up".[60] Rugrats Pre-School Daze was first shown in the United States between November 2008 and December 2008.[61] The series carried a TV-Y parental rating, meaning that it was judged as "designed to be appropriate for all children".[62]

In 2005, Paramount Home Entertainment released all four episodes of Rugrats Pre-School Daze on the DVDs for the Rugrats: Tales from the Crib movies. The first two were released on the Snow White DVD,[63] while the last two were on the one for Three Jacks and a Beanstalk.[64] The series was once available on the iTunes Store and Amazon Instant Video,[61][65] but the episodes were later removed from both platforms.[61][65] All episodes are available on Hulu. Variety's Brian Steinberg felt that the show's concept could be retooled as part of a Rugrats reboot, where the baby protagonists would be shown in preschool and Angelica in kindergarten.[66]

In 2001, a spin-off centered on Susie Carmichael and her family was also proposed. It would have focused on the Carmichaels moving to Atlanta, Georgia, to help their grandmother run the family restaurant.[67]

On July 16, 2018, it was announced that Nickelodeon had given a series order to a 26-episode revival of the series, executive produced by Klasky, Csupó, and Germain. It was further announced that Paramount Pictures had greenlit a live-action/CGI hybrid feature film which was last set for a January 29, 2021 release date.[57] Originally, it had been set for a November 13, 2020 release, and then was pushed back, with Clifford the Big Red Dog taking its old slot.[68][69] But on November 12, 2019, the live-action/CGI hybrid film was removed from Paramount's release schedule.[57] On May 14, 2020, it was announced that the revival series was delayed until 2021.[70] In May 2021, it was announced that the reboot is scheduled to premiere on Paramount+ on May 27, 2021.[71]

Other mediaEdit

ComicsEdit

From 1998 to 2003, Nick produced a Rugrats comic strip, which was distributed through Creators Syndicate. Initially written by show-writer Scott Gray and drawn by comic book artist Steve Crespo, with Rob Armstrong as editor. Will Blyberg came on board shortly after as inker. By the end of 1998, Lee Nordling, who had joined as a contributing gag writer, took over as editor. Nordling hired extra writers, including Gordon Kent, Scott Roberts, Chuck Kim, J. Torres, Marc Bilgrey, and John Zakour, as well as new artists including Gary Fields, Tim Harkins, Vince Giaranno, and Scott Roberts. Stu Chaifetz colored the Sunday strips. The Rugrats strip started out in many papers, but as often happens with spin-off strips, soon slowed down. It is still seen in some papers in re-runs. Two paperback collections were published by Andrews McMeel It's a Jungle-Gym Out There and A Baby's Work Is Never Done.

During this time, Nickelodeon also published 30 issues of an all Rugrats comic magazine. Most of these were edited by Frank Pittarese and Dave Roman, and featured stories and art by the comic strip creators and others. The last nine issues featured cover art by Scott Roberts, who wrote and drew many of the stories. Other writers included Roman, Chris Duffy, Patrick M. O'Connell, Joyce Mann, and Jim Spivey. Other artists included Joe Staton and Ernie Colón. The magazine also included short stories, many by Pittarese, and games, as well as reprints from an earlier, UK produced Rugrats comic.

Nick produced a special, 50-page comic magazine retelling of the film Rugrats in Paris, edited by Pittarese and Roman, written by Scott Gray, pencils by Scott Roberts, and inks by Adam DeKraker.

On October 18, 2017, Boom! Studios began publishing a new Rugrats comic book series.[72]

Video gamesEdit

Nineteen video games based on the series have been released. Notably, Rugrats: Search for Reptar became one of the bestselling PlayStation games. Tommy and Angelica appear as guest characters in Rocket Power: Team Rocket Rescue. They appear again as playable characters in Nickelodeon Party Blast and Nicktoons Racing. Tommy later appears in Nicktoons Basketball in his All Grown Up! form. Rugrats characters make non-playable appearances in Nicktoons: Attack of the Toybots and Nicktoons MLB. Tommy, Angelica, and Reptar are playable characters in the official mobile game Nickelodeon Super Brawl Universe. Tommy, Angelica, and Reptar appear as playable characters in Nickelodeon Kart Racers. These same characters, along with Chuckie, are playable in Nickelodeon Kart Racers 2: Grand Prix.

Titles in the series of Rugrats video games
Year Title Platform(s) Acquired label(s)
Console Computer Handheld
1998 Rugrats Adventure Game N/A
  • Windows
  • Mac OS X
N/A N/A
Rugrats: Search for Reptar N/A N/A
The Rugrats Movie N/A N/A N/A
Rugrats Activity Challenge N/A
  • Windows
N/A N/A
1999 Rugrats: Studio Tour N/A N/A N/A
Rugrats: Scavenger Hunt N/A N/A N/A
Rugrats: Time Travelers N/A N/A N/A
Rugrats Mystery Adventures N/A
  • Windows
N/A N/A
2000 Rugrats: Totally Angelica N/A
  • Game Boy Color
N/A
Rugrats in Paris: The Movie
  • PlayStation
  • Nintendo 64
  • Windows
  • Game Boy Color
N/A
2001 All Growed Up N/A
  • Windows
N/A N/A
Rugrats: Castle Capers N/A N/A
  • Game Boy Advance
N/A
2002 Rugrats: Royal Ransom N/A N/A N/A
Rugrats Munchin Land N/A
  • Windows
Game Boy Advance N/A
Rugrats: I Gotta Go Party N/A N/A
  • Game Boy Advance
N/A
2003 Rugrats Go Wild N/A
  • Windows
N/A N/A
2004 All Grown Up: Express Yourself N/A N/A
  • Game Boy Advance
N/A
2005 Rugrats: Totally Angelica-Boredom Busters N/A
  • Windows
N/A N/A
Rugrats Food Fight N/A N/A
  • Mobile
N/A

Live performancesEdit

Rugrats – A Live Adventure was a show about Angelica's constant attempts to scare Chuckie. To help Chuckie combat his wide range of fears, Tommy invents a magic wand called the "People-ator" to make Chuckie brave. Angelica, however, wants Chuckie to stay scared, so she steals Tommy's wand. The Rugrats try to get it back but to no avail. Angelica becomes Princess of the World. Eventually, Chuckie becomes brave thanks to the help of Susie, Mr. Flashlight and the audience.[73] Many songs were included in the play, including the theme song. Despite some criticism, the show was well received.[74] The show had two 40-minute acts, with a 20-minute intermission (or a commercial break).

MerchandiseEdit

Merchandise that was based on Rugrats varied from video games, toothpaste, Kellogg's cereal to slippers, puzzles, pajamas, jewelry, wrapping paper, Fruit Snacks, Inflatable balls, watches, pencils, markers, cookie jars, key rings, action figures, My First Uno games, and bubblegum. The show also managed to spawn a popular merchandise line at Walmart, Kmart, Target, eBay, Hot Topic, J. C. Penney, Toys "R" Us, Mattel, Barnes & Noble, and Basic Fun.[75] By March 1999, the franchise had generated an estimated $1.4 billion in merchandise sales.[76]

The Rugrats had their own cereal made by Post called Reptar Crunch Cereal. The Rugrats and Reptar were predominantly featured on the front, there's a board game on the back and a special $3 rebate for Runaway Reptar on the side. This cereal was released for a limited time only, sold at US supermarkets 8/1/99 to 9/15/99 only, and not all supermarkets carried the cereal. To memorialize the movie, Rugrats in Paris, another Rugrats-based cereal came out in October 2000. Simply called the Rugrats in Paris Cereal, it has a similar appearance to Trix; it's a sweetened, multi-grain cereal with small-round bits in plain, red, purple and green. Small Eiffel Towers could also be seen.[77] In 2017, entertainment retail store chain FYE began selling Reptar Cereal, as well as Reptar Bars, both based on fictional products within the show. Reptar Cereal is very similar to Froot Loops, and Reptar Bars are chocolate bars filled with green frosting, a reference to the show in which the bars would turn the tongues of whoever ate it green.

Rugrats made fast-food appearances as well, with the most appearances being on Burger King. In 1994, the Hardee's fast-food chain offered a collection of Nicktoons toys as premiums that were included with kids' meals at their restaurants. All 4 Nicktoons at that time were featured — Doug, Rugrats, Ren & Stimpy, and Rocko's Modern Life. Other food items that feature Rugrats were Fruit Snacks, Macaroni and Cheese, Bubble Gum and Campbell's Rugrats Pasta with Chicken and Broth.[78]

In their first tie-in with Burger King, 5 Rugrats toys were offered with their Kids Club meals, a different one with each meal. Each toy came with a 12-page (including covers) miniature version of Nickelodeon Magazine, which featured the toy's instructions, word search, picture puzzle, "Say What?", a scrambled word puzzle, a coupon for Oral-B Rugrats toothpaste and toothbrush, and entry blanks to subscribe to Rugrats Comic Adventures, Nick Magazine, and the Kids Club. From 1998 until 2004, Rugrats based-products included watches and various toys.[79]

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External linksEdit