Nickelodeon's Rugrats: From Birth to All Grown Up

Nickelodeon's Rugrats
Nickelodeon's Rugrats

The Show

This children's cartoon has been around for a couple decades now. Created in 1991, Rugrats tells us the tales of brave baby Tommy and his little friends. Their rival, mean three-year-old cousin Angelica, constantly stirs up trouble with her lies and stories.

Together they embark on adventures every episode while their parents remain oblivious. What makes these explorations so creative and endearing is that they take place in our everyday life. To Tommy and his baby friends the whole world is a big, new journey waiting to be undertaken. Their innocent and grand outlook on the simplistic things around us give adults and children who watch Rugrats a fresh perspective as well.

The "Rugrats" or "The Babies"

Tommy: The bravest baby you'll ever meet is Tommy Pickles. A loyal friend and a good man at only one year old, he is also the main character and constantly leading the other babies on journeys.

Chuckie: The opposite of Tommy, Chuckie is scared of everything. But in his loyalty to Tommy he embarks on the adventures and brings a voice of reason to Tommy's daring.

Phil and Lil: The twins are inseparable, even dressed alike and told apart only by Lil's hair bow. The most like "real" babies of the bunch, they are content to play with their toys and get up to mischief around the house while following Tommy.

Angelica: The 'evil' older cousin of Tommy (and later, Dil). She's shown to have a good heart buried under many layers of brat.

Susie: The three-year-old neighbor to rival Angelica. She is everything Angelica is not. A good friend to the babies and a trusted adviser.

Kimi: Chuckie's step-sister, added in later years. Similar to Tommy in that she's always up for an adventure and never backs down from a challenge.

Dil: Tommy's little brother, added to the cast in the first Rugrats feature length movie. Dil's personality consists mostly of coos and gross sounds.

The Grown-Ups: The grown-ups exist to foil the babies' plans on the occasion that they notice them, and to provide a sense of humor for real life adults who watch. They are oblivious to the point of negligence on occasion.

Angelica intimidates Tommy. All in a day's play!
Angelica intimidates Tommy. All in a day's play! | Source

The Episodes

Pilot: This very first episode, titled "Tommy Pickles and the Great White Thing", aired in 1990. It was a year before the full show would be picked up and aired. The plot, a word used loosely as a description, followed Tommy as he discovered what a toilet was.

Season 1 through Season 5: AKA the "original" episodes. These seasons of Rugrats aired from 1991 to 1998 and featured 92 episodes all together. The main characters were Tommy and his friends and his cousin Angelica. No baby brothers or step-sisters in sight, until the last episode of season 5 entitled "The Family Tree." This led into the very first Rugrats film.

Season 6: These new episodes, which began airing in Fall of 1998, brought in Tommy's little brother, Dil, who was born in The Rugrats Movie.

Season 7 through Season 9: These final two seasons see the entrance of new characters from Rugrats in Paris: Kimi, Kira, Fifi the dog, and Lulu. The color on screen is noticeably brighter and, what's more, the theme song changes to reflect the additional characters and new style!

Pre-School Daze: While it only ever aired 4 episodes, this Rugrats spin-off isn't too far from the original Rugrats style. Only instead of a focus on the babies, we follow Angelica and Susie to preschool.

The Movies

The Rugrats Movie was a big deal to kids when it premiered in 1998! Rugrats on the big screen! This movie showed the birth of Tommy's baby brother, and the little ones get up to real danger as they become lost in the woods and hunted by a wolf.

In 2000 the next Rugrats feature film was released: Rugrats in Paris. New characters Kimi and Kira were introduced, to later join the TV series full-time as Chuckie's sister and mother.

A bit of a 'bonus' movie, in 2003 Rugrats Go Wild gave us a crossover between Rugrats and The Wild Thornberrys as both groups of characters become stranded on an island. It's considered the poorest of the three, at least in terms of box office success.

Throughout the years several "TV Movies" and straight-to-DVD films joined the series. The first made-for-TV Rugrats movie was "Runaway Reptar" aka the one where the babies go to a drive-in theater and imagine themselves in the movie. Other films for TV, often thought of simply as long episodes, were: "Acorn Nuts and Diapey Butts", "All Growed Up", and "Babies in Toyland". "Tales From the Crib" featured the Rugrats in fairy tale scenarios and could be seen on DVD.

Which is your favorite Rugrats movie?

  • The Rugrats Movie
  • Rugrats in Paris
  • Rugrats Go Wild
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The original Rugrats gang: Tommy, Angelica, Chuckie, Phil, and Lil.
The original Rugrats gang: Tommy, Angelica, Chuckie, Phil, and Lil. | Source

All Grown Up!

In 2001, in Rugrats' seventh season, they made a special episode. One viewers themselves had been wondering about for years. All Growed Up, mentioned above, is a television movie and transports the babies ten years into the future where we (and they!) see how everyone has both changed and remained the same.

It was successful enough that Nickelodeon brought around a whole spin-off show based on it: All Grown Up!

The premise of the show is quite simple: it's Rugrats, but ten years in the future. The "grown up" versions of the babies must deal with preteen drama and school troubles. Not quite the same show we knew and loved.

It ran from 2003 to 2008 with five seasons.

The End?

A Nickelodeon 90s classic, Rugrats is beloved by a whole generation of (now) young adults. Reruns play during the late night/early morning on Teen Nick, during a block of scheduling called The Splat. DVDs allow us to relive the smiles at our leisure. Some of us may have even introduced Rugrats to our own children or young siblings!

But what makes Rugrats fans continue to love the cartoon so many years later? Be it nostalgia, humor, simplicity, or just plain fun, it is clear this Nick show lives on in our hearts.

Would you watch a Rugrats reboot?

  • Heck yeah!
  • I might give it a try...
  • No, don't mess with a classic!
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Stevennix2001 profile image

Stevennix2001 2 years ago

Man i used to love watching rugrats as a kid. it's a shame that most tv cartoons these days that feature baby protagonists aren't as well written as rugrats were, but oh well. great read, as ill be sure to vote this up.

tHErEDpILL profile image

tHErEDpILL 2 years ago from New York

Yup Rugrats was a heart warming show. Really made you wonder what babies are really thinking.

trusouldj profile image

trusouldj 2 years ago from Indiana

there was also briefly a show that went back to preschool and featured Angelica, but I guess it didn't take off. And if I remember well, the look was a bit different. Probably since the orignators of Rugrats shut down their production company. Pity.

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