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Rugrats

From Academic Kids

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The whole Rugrats gang as of 2001.

Rugrats is an animated television series, produced by Klasky-Csupo, Inc. for Nickelodeon. The show is about how babies view life and perceive the events happening around them. Each character is personified with his or her own individual charm.

Contents

Characters

The Children

  • Tommy Pickles (voiced by E.G. Daily): The most adventurous baby, always getting the group into trouble. Generally considered the babies' leader. Tommy is named for the first son of Paul Germain, one of the show's creators.
  • Dil Pickles (voiced by Tara Strong): Tommy's younger brother, a true baby (i.e. not a toddler like the other children). Introduced in the first Rugrats movie.
  • Chuckie Finster (voiced by Christine Cavanaugh up to 2002, Nancy Cartwright since): Tommy's loyal sidekick. Afraid of everything.
  • Phil & Lil DeVille (voiced by Kath Soucie): Twins (boy and girl) that have everything in common. Both enjoy playing in mud and like to eat worms and insects.
  • Angelica Pickles (voiced by Cheryl Chase): Tommy and Dil's cousin who always bosses the "babies" around, being the oldest. Enjoys lying to the toddlers, distorting their perception of reality. Acts perfect towards the adults but is generally mean to the babies.
  • Kimi Finster (voiced by Dionne Quan): Chuckie's younger step-sister, introduced in the second Rugrats movie, Rugrats in Paris. Kimi is a very happy girl (years later, a teenager) who always is smiling.
  • Susie Carmichael (voiced by Cree Summer): A neighborhood friend who is about Angelica's age. When around, Susie often stands up to Angelica when she taunts the young toddlers.

The Adults

  • Stu Pickles (voiced by Jack Riley of Bob Newhart Show fame): Tommy and Dil's father and brother of Drew. Absent-minded inventor. Married to Didi.
  • Didi Pickles (voiced by Melanie Chartoff): Tommy and Dil's mother. A part-time schoolteacher and married to Stu.
  • Lou Pickles (voiced by David Doyle from 1991, until his death in 1997, and Joe Alaskey; 1997-2004) Tommy, Dil and Angelica's grandfather and Stu and Drew's father. Lived with Stu's family for the first few seasons and often babysat the children.
  • Lulu Pickles (voiced by Debbie Reynolds): Lou's second wife; he met her in the hospital where she works as a nurse. Also Tommy, Dil, and Angelica's grandmother and Stu and Drew's stepmother.
  • Drew Pickles (voiced by Michael Bell): Angelica's father and Stu's brother. An investment banker (much like Mr. George Banks from Mary Poppins); married to Charlotte.
  • Charlotte Pickles (voiced by Tress MacNeille): Angelica's workaholic mother. CEO of her own company (just like Donald Trump) and married to Drew. She tries to be a good mother, but is usually sidetracked by business interests.
  • Betty DeVille (voiced by Kath Soucie): Phil and Lil's mother. Quite the jock and women's-libber. Married to Howard.
  • Howard DeVille (voiced by Phil Proctor, formerly of Firesign Theatre): Phil and Lil's father. Often overpowered by and cringing towards his wife, Betty.
  • Chaz Finster (voiced by Michael Bell): Widower; Chuckie's father, from whom he inherited his adenoidal whine. Married Kira in the second Rugrats movie. Kimi's step-father. Runs the Java Lava Coffee House.
  • Kira Finster (voiced by Julia Kato): Kimi's mother and Chuckie's step-mother. Married Chaz in the second Rugrats movie. Operates the Java Lava Coffee House with her husband.
  • Lucy Carmichael (voiced by: Cheryl Carter (1992, 1997-), Lisa Dinkins (1993), Hattie Winston (The Rugrats Movie): Susie's mother and Randy's wife. She is a Harvard-educated "wonder mom" and does a lot of cool things. She is also a Doctor. She delivered Dil.
  • Randy Carmichael (voiced by: Ron Glass): Married to Lucy Carmichael & is Susie's father. Randy is a writer for the famous Dummi Bears Show.

The Pets

  • Spike (not voiced in the TV show, but voiced by Bruce Willis only in Rugrats Go Wild): The Pickles' brown hound dog. Tommy deeply admires him.
  • Fifi (not voiced): Purple poodle which Spike fell in love with in the second Rugrats movie. Now, lives with the Finsters.
  • Puppy and Peppy (not voiced): Purple and brown (respectively) puppies adopted by the Drew Pickles and Chaz Finster households. Probable (one is led to believe) offspring of a union between Spike and Fifi.
  • Fluffy (not voiced): Angelica's cat who Angelica loves dearly, but who always causes trouble for the others, particularly Spike.
  • Reptar(not voiced): Not exactly a pet, but rather, a popular film character. A big green dinosaur reminiscent of Godzilla. Tommy and the other Rugrats love him; Reptar products such as cars, clothes and candy are frequently seen on the show. Reptar was a main character in Rugrats in Paris and had his own theme park called Euro Reptarland. There was a giant Reptar robot there too.
  • Robosnail (voiced by John Lithgow): Reptar's arch enemy. Robosnail is an mechanical snail with snapping pincers. He made a special guest appearance in Rugrats in Paris, controlled by Jean Claude. Robosnail and Reptar fought throughout Paris and he wound up falling into a river.

Setting

The series has a very vague setting. It has been shown that the Rugrats, as it is probably assumed, live in the United States, but the name of a specific city or state is never mentioned. The best guess as to which region of the country in which the series takes place is somewhere in the southwest, since the family has taken trips to both the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas, and Stu once mentioned "driving through the desert" while returning home from a one-day trip. There have also been several scenes of desert or arid land around the area where the Rugrats live.

It is also unclear what type of community the characters live in; it could be a small city or a suburb of a larger city. This ambiguity in the setting was probably done intentionally to help give the impression of seeing the world through the naive eyes of toddlers.

One episode does however show they live somewhere in California due to the license plate shown on Grandpa's station wagon. Also in the episode Special Delivery, a post office has the state flag in front of it.

In another episode in the first season, Didi is shown teaching at a high school in Yucaipa, an actual town about 70 miles east of Los Angeles. It does seem to snow in the wintertime, as in the episode where the babies play in the snow and pretend to go to the north pole.

Brief History

The series debuted on August 11, 1991 (with "Tommy's First Birthday") as part of Nickelodeon's latest move: commissioning its own animated series (known as Nicktoons). It went out of production in 1994, but after increased ratings when shown in primetime it was revived in 1997, subsequently leading to 3 films: The Rugrats Movie (1998), which became the first non-Disney animated film to earn $100 million in the US, Rugrats in Paris: The Movie (2000), and Rugrats Go Wild! (2003), a crossover with The Wild Thornberrys that was hated by many fans. Despite the fact that The Rugrats Movie did very well at the box office, many fans feel that this was the moment when Rugrats jumped the shark.

In 2001, the show celebrated its 10th anniversary by making a special one-hour episode about what the Rugrats would be like 10 years older. After the special had aired, Klasky-Csupo said that they had no plans to make a series about it. The special became one of the highest rated episodes in Nick's history. Nickelodeon eventually commissioned a full series, All Grown Up!, which started its regular run in November 2003 (a sneak peek full episode named Coup DeVille had aired earlier in April). Many fans feel that AGU has taken a step in the right direction, while others feel that it takes away from the show's original premise, and reduces it to something that, at best, vaguely resembles the show that many people grew to love in the 1990s, and pales in comparison to the writing, acting, artwork, and even music of the original show. Still, it is considered the best cartoon Klasky-Csupo has made since 1998. Meanwhile, production on the Rugrats series (along with that of most of the other Klasky Csupo shows) was eventually shut down, and the last new episode ("Hurricane Alice") aired on August 1, 2004.

In 2005, Klasky Csupo announced that they were reviving the original Rugrats as a series of DVDs based on classic fairy tales. The first were based on Snow White and Jack and the Beanstalk.

Other spinoff plans

Besides All Grown Up! there were plans for two other spinoffs that never made it to air:

  • The Carmichaels was planned to see Susie move away from California to Atlanta, where she apparently has relatives. There were plans to make The Carmichaels into a series as early as the 1999-2000 TV season, but plans involving the toddler Rugrats had put the new series' plans on ice. Subsequently, when plans for All Grown Up! and Angelica and Susie's School Daze (below) came up, concerns for continuity prompted this idea to be shelved for good. The "Kwanzaa" ep (2001) serves as the show's pilot.
  • Angelica and Susie's School Daze was planned to be about the titular characters going to pre-school. 13 eps had originally been ordered, and slated to premiere late 2002, and was also intended to feature new looks for the two characters. The most recent official word on this series was in this press release (http://www.rugratonline.com/tweens2.htm) for All Grown Up!, when it was announced that it was reduced to just 4 episodes. There were also complications involving the planned new animation designs for the characters. The "Pre-School Daze" ep (made for 2002, aired 2004) serves as the show's pilot, and used the regular Rugrats look (as did the other episodes involving the preschoolers that actually aired before that ep in the US). Latest news: Klasky Csupo has finally completed the 4 episodes of the series [1] (http://www.cooltoons2.com/newsletter/2005/newsletter161/).

However, the Rugrats as babies will live on in direct-to-DVD feature animation series Rugrats: Tales From The Crib.

Miscellaneous Info

The Rugrats received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in a ceremony on June 28, 2001. It was placed at 6600 W. Hollywood Bl., near Cherokee Ave. outside a toy and costume shop. (Klasky-Csupo press release (http://www.cooltoons2.com/rugrats/games/star/walkoffame.html))

The Rugrats had a daily comic strip that ran from 1998 to 2003.

The Pickles are a mixed Jewish-Christian family. Many fans say the Pickles are somewhat based on Arlene Klasky's real family (for example, as in the show, she is from southern California and in real life she is Jewish and married to a Christian). There are two episodes that reflect the Pickles' Jewish heritage, one episode deals with the Passover holiday and the other with Chanukah (in addition to episodes about Christmas, Easter, etc.). These episodes have been praised by Jewish groups and are re-run every year on Nickelodeon at the appropriate holiday times and can also be purchased on VHS or DVD.

See also

External Link

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