SBox Soapbox: Should the Rugrats Come Back?

My older sister and little brother have been recording and watching a couple of TV shows that air on TeeNick’s “The 90’s Are All That” block, and one of them is Rugrats. Seeing the Rugrats again in my current age is always a lot of fun. It takes me back so far I get flashbacks of crawling on the floor. What a show that was! I don’t think there exists a soul on the planet who watched this show and hated it, especially if you’re a 90’s-born. It’s one of the most likable shows ever made, and one of the best cartoons in my personal opinion.

This got me to thinking about how awesome it would be to have this show on today. I started thinking about if it could work today, if there is reason to do so, and how would a show like this come back. A quick search on the Internet shows that there seems to be a demand for and rumors of this comeback.

So I’m here to discuss if this should happen, how it would happen, and if it ever will happen. This will be very similar to my post of a Friends reunion, if you are familiar.

Is it possible?

The beauty of this show’s chances is that it’s a cartoon. With live-action shows, there are obvious complications. A cartoon is simpler to resuscitate, and that’s why you see constant revivals of shows like Looney Tunes and Mickey Mouse nowadays. All they would need to do is treat it like a brand new episode of any modern hand-drawn cartoon. You don’t even need the entire original cast (though it would be nice). Cartoons have a very good revival factor that way.

There was also an interview from Arlene Klasky herself, who said she would gladly reunite with Gabor Csupo to bring the show back to life with Nick’s okay. So it’s not really a situation of possibility since the creators are on board.

The real question is: Should it happen?

This is where our debate begins. The show has not been on for 10 years, and its legacy is bigger than its relevancy. No one will deny that the show had a very big impact when it came out, and has been part of many people’s lives. The trouble is deciding whether a revival would be necessary.

A good many people would probably find it unnecessary, understandably so. Rugrats lasted so much longer than many cartoons, or TV shows in general, could ever dream- 14 years and 10 seasons! It took SpongeBob SquarePants 10 years to break this show’s record for longest running Nicktoon.

With that said, many believe that the show had its run, and doesn’t really need much more; especially if you include the fact that Rugrats saw continuation in the form of 2 spin-offs, 3 movies and 2 direct-to-DVD specials.

However, I don’t see why that’s a problem. The concept of a revival was never contingent on how long the show has been around. If it is, then why are there not 1, not 2, but 3 spin-off series to the original 1980’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles show, which also ran 10 seasons? That’s just one example. Reunions happen not because of age, but because of its potential.

Now, does there necessarily need to be a revival of the Rugrats?

No, not really. The show doesn’t exactly need closure as there really is no central plot. Not only have we seen years of these babies lives, we’ve even seen them grow up. And depending on what they decide to do with this idea, you could potentially dampen the franchise as some people say All Grown-Up already did.

Technically nothing needs to happen, though. When a show ends, it owes nothing more to the audience unless they left a loose-end; and even that’s debatable. So it all comes down to whether or not its smart to make a revisiting of something and if there is enough demand for such an event to happen.

Now say they go through with it. How would/should the show come back?

Well, I personally think that if the show had a comeback, it shouldn’t be in a reboot of the show. I’m sure a lot of you would agree. We don’t need a third Rugrats spin-off, no less a reboot to the original. I do see this as the method which Nickelodeon would lean most toward since it’s the more profitable, albeit risky, move to make.

Maybe a movie would be a decent idea, but that’s a risk Nick wouldn’t take. A movie would take too long and be too expensive for something that just may not deliver. And I’d argue that a Rugrats movie wouldn’t do financially well today. Unlike the already announced SpongeBob SquarePants Movie 2, Rugrats no longer has the star-power it did in the 90’s and 2000’s. You could argue that Mr. Peabody & Sherman defeats that argument, but I still don’t see Nick going for that.

The smartest way to do this, personally, is to make a TV movie or special. The Rugrats is particularly good as specials. Maybe you can take a Charlie Brown approach with this franchise. Make the Rugrats the Nickelodeon version of Peanuts, making isolated TV specials instead of a full-blown series. Grant it, Rugrats have already made plenty of specials for a good number of holidays from Halloween, to Christmas, to Hanukkah. Still, Charlie Brown has about 4 Christmas specials. So, who’s counting really? Or you can just make it a one episode thing celebrating the anniversary and be done with it completely. Either option works well.

Will it ever happen?

The most conclusive question of them all. It doesn’t really matter what I say, think, or feel about this hypothetical special. At the end of the day, is expecting to see a return of the Rugrats realistic?

You know what? It’s most certainly in the cards. I say for mainly one reason. Unlike many other companies, Nick does not bury their past. It’s easy not to see such things, but in recent years they have proven that they often do look to their past for ideas.

The fact that they give spin-offs to shows like Jimmy Neutron and Avatar, the fact that they make full-blown shows out of shorts from Oh Yeah! Cartoons, the fact that they made a block on TeeNick dedicated to 90’s shows, and the fact that there even were countless continuations of Rugrats through direct-to-video and spin-offs proves that Nick acknowledges their past. To Nick, its worth it to explore and examine their heyday.

And why wouldn’t Nick want to acknowledge Rugrats? It is not only one of Nick’s first cartoons, but also Nick’s first big hit. Not to discredit Doug or Ren & Stimpy, but Rugrats was a much bigger show than them. That’s why I believe the adventure really never ends with the babies.

It could be a year from now or it could be 10 years from now, but while I don’t think the show begs for a new installment or episode, it’s never out of the question. There is a possibility that even Nick feels it’s not worth revisiting, but we can at least be confident that Nick is taking notes about the past. Whether that will one day lead to a new generation falling in love with Tommy, Chuckie, Phil and Lil as we did is yet to be seen. Rumors are popping up in a modest quantity so always keep an eye out for it in case it turns out to be true.

To all the teens, older kids and adults who watched the show, I implore you to give the show another look if you catch it on TV. It’s a show that surprisingly gets better as you get older. And with the new feeling you get while watching this masterpiece of a cartoon, it’s as if the show really never ended.

What do you guys think? Do you agree with anything I said, or feel differently? Do you see something that I don’t? And should the Rugrats indeed come back? Let me know in the comments, and we can discuss together.

I’m SBox180. Thanks for reading!

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4 thoughts on “SBox Soapbox: Should the Rugrats Come Back?”

  1. I have been re watching rugrats as well and I noticed how much the treatment of Angelica’s character changed when Kimi and Dil came on to the show. Before they arrived Angelica used to have moments where she got what she wanted like winning the art show or the beauty contest Tommy entered. After they arrived Angelica became a villain who always lost and the rugrats always won even when they exhibited behavior similar to Angelica’s for example when Suzie won the pet show even though she rudely showed her pet’s trick off to gain attention which Angelica always does and Suzie won even though she showed the same behavior as Angelica who lost. If the show is rebooted they need to figure out better ways to handle characters fairly and not blur the black and white lines of Hero’s and Villian’s

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    1. Interesting observation! I can see what you mean by how Angelica’s role changed mid-show.

      I think what changed was that, before, the idea of Angelica’s spoiled nature was an avenue of comedy and irony. The show was never really about villains and heroes for the most part. The reason people saw Angelica as the villain was mostly due to her bratty personality.

      During the hiatus, the writers did many things to ease the production process and fix problems. One of the issues they had was Angelica. Her rotten nature was the cause of conflict among the staff. So when they revamped the show, they “fixed” her.

      That is the Angelica of which you’re referring to. The version that came from the movie onward was the version that made her the “villain” of the show. This, I assume, makes it easier for kids not to act like Angelica.

      I’m not sure particularly if they would have to fix Angelica a third time. It’s not really about whether she wins or loses, because the show never dealt with a struggle that required victory. It’s just a fact of life that sometimes good things happen to bad people, but that doesn’t mean you have to be bad in order to gain good things.

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      1. My problem is that at that sometimes in the later seasons the rugrats would act like Angelica and not recive the same consequences she did. I liked Angelica in the earlier season where she had moments of compassion like when she defended the babies from josh or they helped her win Dean’s affections. I blame Susie for the change before her character was introduce the babies and Angelica relationship was much better.

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      2. I see what you mean. I do very much agree that what made the Rugrats characters stand-out was the fact that even the perfect little angle babies had dark-sides, and the bratty little toddler could also be sympathetic. As rotten as Angelica can be, you forgive her because she’s a kid.

        Hopefully a new rendition of the show, if it does happen, would explore that avenue a bit further like you said. It’s a very interesting dimension you bring to the table. It actually makes me appreciate the show a little more.

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