“They said it was imposstirble to bring them back…”
So says Tommy Pickles, the legendary baby himself, in the opening scene to this brilliant reboot of the original Rugrats TV show from 1991. Like many of the older episodes from that bygone era, this slick new series opens up with a scene ripped straight out of the babies’ imagination. We see the gang of babies (Tommy, Chuckie, Susie, Phil/Lil) narrowly escape the clutches of a T-Rex who is in reality Tommy’s maniacal older cousin Angelica. They’re not, in fact, in Jurassic Park at all, but in a regular park with their family and friends having a picnic. It’s been a hallmark of the series since the beginning to show us all the fantastical and vivid adventures taking place inside the heads of its baby protagonists, and here it’s evoked beautifully. The new show has adopted a CGI-style animation over the original hand-drawn one, making for a freshly sleek and frenetic aesthetic. It’s faster paced and more visually splendid than anything seen in the Rugrats universe before.
And it’s also way funnier than it has any right to be. Hilarious, even. There’s a winning joke in practically every minute of this forty-three-minute premiere, many of which are laugh-out-loud funny. After Chuckie accidentally eats a worm and Angelica convinces him that he has “wormieoleosis” and will eventually turn into a worm himself, we get this amazing dream sequence of Chuckie as a worm-boy, complete with a nature documentary-type voiceover:
“After the worm boy sheds his favoritest arms, with its favoritest hands and fingers, he can no longer hug his daddy or pick his nose. It’s here, in the yucky dirt, that the sad worm boy lives a solitary existence, eating bits of rotten fruit…”
“I may be a worm boy, but I’m not an aminal,” says Chuckie.
“The worm boy then produces a nutrient-rich poop that helps the garden to grow.”
“And now we’re talking about my poop!?”
Later, after Chuckie repeats this surreal dream to the other babies, we get this classic response from Phil and Lil:
Lil: “That was the scariest dream I ever hearded.”
Phil: “Does my elbow look like a frog butt?”
Oh, Phillip hasn’t changed a bit. If you’re at all familiar with this series, these characters are just as lovable and weird as you always remember them being. Throughout the course of this extra-long premiere, we watch as the babies work together to cure Chuckie of his “wormieoleosis” as Angelica schemes to get them into trouble as she always has since 1991. Charming, sweet, and drop-dead funny, this energetic reboot to one of the greatest animated shows ever made has just found a new way to stay relevant.