Rugrats is an animated series on Nickelodeon. It aired from August 11, 1991 to June 8, 2004. Produced at Klasky Csupo in Los Angeles, the show centers on a group of babies and how they perceive the events happening around them. It spawned three theatrical movies - The Rugrats Movie, Rugrats in Paris: The Movie, and Rugrats Go Wild - and a live touring show, Rugrats: A Live Adventure.
- → Main article: List of Rugrats characters
The show originally revolved around a group of little babies. The babies are able to communicate with each other through baby speak, although viewers can understand them, because it is 'translated'. Often, they mispronounce words or use poor grammar. The four main characters include fearless leader Tommy Pickles, his cowardly best friend Chuckie Finster, and the often-arguing twins Phil and Lil DeVille. The babies are often antagonized or sometimes reluctantly joined by Tommy's three-year-old cousin, Angelica, who is able to communicate and understand language from the younger babies, which she often uses as an advantage when she wants to manipulate either party. As such, she puts on a sweet face around everyone's parents but is always bullying the babies when no one's looking. An occasional participant in the group's exploits is Susie Carmichael, who lives across the street from the Pickles; she is also able to communicate on the same level as Angelica, though she isn't manipulative. As a result, Angelica and Susie often clash. Later seasons added two more members to the main group - Tommy's newborn brother Dil, who was born in The Rugrats Movie, and an adventurous Japanese girl named Kimi, who became Chuckie's sister when her mom married his dad in Rugrats in Paris: The Movie.
The series has a very vague setting. It has been shown that the little babies, 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 (Nevada), 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 little babies 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 the little babies.
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, "Little Dude", Didi is shown teaching at a high school in Yucaipa (California), an actual town about 70 miles east of Los Angeles (California). 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.
In the final issue of Rugrats Comic Adventures, it is implied that the Rugrats' hometown is not far from Ocean Shores, the main setting of Rocket Power, as the issue in question contains a story in which Reggie, Otto, and Twister travel to Tommy's house to babysit him and Angelica. Didi also mentions that she knows the Stimpletons.
- → Main article: Rugrats episode list
Home video releases
- → Main article: Rugrats videography
As part of Sony Wonder's tenure with the Nickelodeon video license, six Rugrats video tapes were released from 1993 to 1996. Each of these tapes included three regular episodes or a single full-length half-hour episode. Sony Wonder's Nickelodeon compilation videos (outside of the two SNICK tapes) also included one Rugrats episode each.
When the Nickelodeon video license transferred to Paramount Home Video in 1996, all of Sony Wonder's Rugrats tapes were reissued, with at least one additional episode added to each one. Paramount released 24 new VHS tapes of Rugrats episode from 1996 to 2003, and even released three Laserdiscs of the show (all of which collected the contents from two VHS releases each). Several of Paramount's Rugrats tapes would often include at least one episode that had not yet aired in the United States at the time of the tape's release.
On DVD, the series' releases were less frequent. Only three DVDs (outside of the movies) - Decade in Diapers, Mysteries, and the two-disc Holiday Celebration set, were released from 2002 through 2004, with two direct-to-video movies, Tales from the Crib: Snow White and Three Jacks and a Beanstalk following in 2005 and 2006, respectively.
When Amazon.com began producing manufacture-on-demand DVD sets of various Nickelodeon shows, Rugrats' first two seasons were released in 2009, with the remaining seasons following in 2011. However, the Season 2 DVD set initially only included the first half of the season, and the Season 9 set was a "best of" collection that left out the last four episodes. Also, the Season 4 set was missing the episode "Vacation". Full versions of the sets in question were made available in 2014; that same year, two new single-disc releases, Outdoor Shenanigans and Reptar Returns!, were also released in stores.
In 2017, the Amazon DVD sets were discontinued, and Paramount began releasing full season sets in all retailers, starting with the first and second seasons in May of that year. The third and fourth seasons followed a year later. However, the remaining five seasons were not re-released on DVD until 2021, when Paramount put out a "Complete Series" set to commemorate the series' 30th anniversary.
Aside from the sequel series 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 (Georgia), 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 put the new series' plans on ice. Subsequently, when plans for All Grown Up! and Angelica and Susie's Pre-School Daze (below) came up, concerns for continuity prompted this idea to be shelved for good. The Season 7 episode "Kwanzaa" serves as the show's pilot.
Appearances in other Nickelodeon projects
- One episode of Kenan & Kel begins with Kenan, trying to figure out the plot for the episode, looking up the TV listings and reading a description for Rugrats.
- A Rugrats parody titled "Carpet Critters" appeared on The Fairly OddParents TV movie "Channel Chasers".
- Lou Pickles made a cameo appearance in The Loud House episode "Linc or Swim", along with other elderly characters from other Nicktoons.
- In The Loud House episode "Driving Ambition", in a fantasy sequence, the youngest of Lori and Bobby's eleven future children wears a light blue t-shirt and a diaper, the same outfit of Tommy.
- In The Loud House Winter Special, the robot toy cat from Rugrats' original opening sequence appears as an audience member in Lily's dream.
- Rugrats: Search for Reptar (1998; PlayStation)
- The Rugrats Movie (1998; Game Boy)
- Rugrats: Studio Tour (1999; PlayStation)
- Rugrats: Scavenger Hunt (1999; Nintendo 64)
- Rugrats: Totally Angelica (2000; Game Boy Color, PlayStation)
- Rugrats in Paris: The Movie (2000; PlayStation, Nintendo 64, Game Boy)
- Rugrats: Castle Capers (2001; Game Boy Advance)
- Rugrats: Royal Ransom (2002; PlayStation 2, Nintendo GameCube)
Characters from Rugrats have also appeared in the following crossover games:
- Tommy and Angelica were playable racers in Nicktoons Racing for PS1, PC, GBC, GBA, and arcade.
- Tommy and Angelica were playable characters in Nickelodeon: Party Blast for Nintendo Gamecube, Xbox, and PC.
- Angelica appeared as a master model in the home console versions (PS2 and Wii) of Nicktoons: Attack of the Toybots. Tommy appeared as a master model in the Nintendo DS version.
- The Rugrats appeared in one of the loading screens of Nicktoons MLB for Wii, Nintendo DS, and Xbox 360.
- Tommy and Angelica were playable brawlers in the 2019 mobile game Super Brawl Universe. Reptar was later introduced as an official playable brawler in an update.
- 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 Avenue, outside a toy and costume shop. To date, it is still the only Nicktoon to have received this.
- The Pickles are a mixed Jewish-Christian family. Many fans say the Pickles are somewhat based on Arlene Klasky's real family. 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 the Christian holidays such as Christmas, Easter, etc. These episodes have been praised by Jewish groups and were annually re-run on Nickelodeon and later on TeenNick's NickSplat programming block at the appropriate holiday times.
- It is the longest-running Nickelodeon show to have ended, running at nine seasons spread across 14 years.
- In 2018, Rugrats was back on reruns on the main Nickelodeon channel up until Valentine's Day; select episodes were broadcast. Bumpers and promos featuring the characters from the show were created exclusively for and aired on Nickelodeon during each episode, using the current design format used from the 2017 channel rebranding.
- Klasky-Csupo's Rugrats area on cooltoons.com (Studio site)
- Nickstory Archives: Rugrats
- NickToonstory Archives: Rugrats
- TeenNickstory Archives: Rugrats
- Rugrats at the Big Cartoon DataBase
- Rugrats at the Internet Movie Database
|1992-1994||Clarissa Explains It All • Roundhouse • The Ren & Stimpy Show • Are You Afraid of the Dark?|
|1994-1996||The Secret World of Alex Mack • All That • Space Cases • Kenan and Kel• The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo • KaBlam!|
|1997-1999||Rugrats • The Journey of Allen Strange • Animorphs • Cousin Skeeter|
|1999-2002||SpongeBob SquarePants • The Amanda Show • 100 Deeds for Eddie McDowd • The Nick Cannon Show • Taina|