Beauty Contest/Baseball

Quick note: At the request of a friend of mine and my husband’s, I’m including screenshots from here on out.  Thanks for the suggestion, Wes!

Beauty Contest

Synopsis: Lou talks Stu into dressing Tommy in drag and entering him in a beauty pageant for babies.

Lou sees an advertisement in the paper for something called the Little Miss Lovely contest, which…

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…you can figure it out, it’s obviously a local beauty pageant for female toddlers… only a lot more innocuous than the shit you see on Toddlers & Tiaras and Little Miss Sunshine.  First prize is a shitload of toys for the little girl…

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… and a prize for the dads.  Lou makes the remark that it’s too bad Tommy isn’t a girl.  Yeah, and it’s too bad you don’t have another granddaughter you can enter in the pageant.  Oh, wait, you do – her name is Angelica!  But you know Lou wants that Kingfisher 9000 at any cost, and we can all predict how he’ll go about getting it.

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Yup.

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“Hellooooooo, Tommy!”  Yes, Lou is imagining Tommy in drag.  Yes, he did just howl that cat call at Tommy.  Yes, this creeps me out immensely.

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Lou goes down to the basement where Stu is working and talks him into his cockamamie scheme.  Stu is clearly against the idea, but he totally loses his spine after Lou whips out the ad and shows him first prize.

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Yeah, that was all it took.  What a pussy.  Any other dad would’ve been like, “He’s my son and I’m not allowing you to lie to everyone about his gender just to satisfy your selfish impulses!  If you want a boat, how about you pay for it yourself, pops!”  Seriously, grow some cojones and tell the old man to back the fuck off.

What follows that scene is some of the most fucked up shit I have ever seen on this or any other animated series.

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It isn’t so much the fact that Tommy is dressed like a girl that bothers me.  It’s the fact that Stu and Lou, two grown-ass men, are plotting to manipulate a bunch of people by lying to them about having a little girl while Tommy, an innocent infant, sits there confused as his father and grandfather cross-dress him, all for a fucking boat!  Normally I love Lou, but he sucks hardcore in this one.  He talks his younger son into dressing his grandson in a wig and a dress and entering him in a contest where the only requirement is you must be a female toddler.  Tommy is clearly an infant with a penis, but hey, let’s hide that minor detail all because Lou really wants to fish for bug-eyed carp!  Totally foul!

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The guys also lie to Didi about where they’re taking Tommy.  Their vague descriptions – “doing manly things” – totally screams bullshit, but Didi isn’t tipped off by this or their jumpy behavior.  Hmm.  Lying to your spouse, confusing your child, manipulating people into getting what you want – way to lead by example.  They get there and realize they’re fucked, because…

Angelica bullies Tommy

Oh, God help us all.

By the way, how do Stu and Lou not know about this?  Don’t they live just down the street from Drew?  Don’t contestants have to be entered at least weeks, or maybe months in advance?  In this episode it seems they’ve entered Tommy a day in advance, so I guess Angelica entered at the last minute or something.  Still… wouldn’t Stu and Lou have known about Angelica having been entered in the contest?

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Didi, on the other hand, knows about the pageant, but Stu and Lou don’t know this until they see her at the pageant.  Seriously?  I’m confused… don’t they live in the same house?  It also seems that Didi came to the pageant to cheer on Angelica at the last possible second.  And where the hell is Charlotte?  I know she’s played up as this workaholic mom, but would she really miss her daughter’s pageant?  What a family.

Oh, let’s just get to the shit-tastic Little Miss Lovely contest….

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Angelica is a hit with the judges, but loses points because she can’t sing for shit.  (I love that last screenshot of the audience twitching.)

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Tommy ends up winning the contest after just standing around and doing a tumble (actually tripping over a microphone wire and falling forward) in his dress and wig, because dressed in drag, he’s cuter than any of his competitors with actual vaginas.

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Stu tries to bolt, not because it finally hit him that this was a really bad idea to begin with, but because he knows Drew and Angelica are there and doesn’t want to get caught.  Lou is all, “Screw that, I want that bomb-ass speedboat!” despite Stu’s protestations.

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Didi finally realizes where she recognizes “Tonya” from after the host says Tonya’s last name, “Pickles.”  She’s totally pissed and walks onstage and busts Stu and Lou by yanking the blonde wig off of Tommy’s head, thus revealing to everyone that “Tonya” was packing a little surprise.  (I’m pretty sure some of the other contestants were sporting some horrible wigs, as is often customary in toddler pageants, but anyway.)

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And presto, Angelica is crowned Little Miss Lovely.  Lou feels absolutely zero remorse for involving his son and grandson in something that’s psychologically harmful, but with a shit-eating grin looks down at Angelica and realizes he can reap the benefits of having a pageant-winning granddaughter.  Maybe you should’ve thought about that when you saw the ad, asshole!

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Of course, instead of Drew telling his father to back the fuck off of the damn boat (which technically belongs to Drew, as the Kingfisher 9000 belongs to the winner’s father), he lets him keep it!  Drew, I hate to break it to you, but your father would rather enter his grandson in a beauty pageant than your daughter.  If I were you, I’d be pretty fucking insulted, and probably wouldn’t relish in your shitty daughter’s victory too much, since a cross-dressing male infant (her own cousin!  Talk about salt in an open wound!) was originally voted as being cuter and more charming (though it should be noted that the latter is not difficult for anyone to accomplish).

So what did we learn here, folks?  If you are selfish enough to want something, you’ll get it… even if it means hurting members of your family.  And also, Betty can’t tell her own kids apart.

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Inside the mind of Tommy Pickles: Well, I’ll be damned!

Baseball

Synposis: Stu and Lou take Tommy to a baseball game.

This episode is not my favorite, and it certainly isn’t much of an improvement from the last, simply because it’s sooooooo boring.  The only comic value it has is Didi passing out and falling flat on her face in slow motion.

Basically, it’s the same shit we see in just about every episode, but in a different setting.  That setting would happen to be a baseball stadium.  Man, I remember going to baseball games with my family when I was a kid.  Not only that, I remember when the Marlins first formed back in 1994 (I was nine), and going to a few of their games, and all the hype surrounding both World Series (1997 and 2003).  You’d think a baseball-themed episode of Rugrats wouldn’t be such a snooze fest.

Lou wins a contest on the radio station K-OLD (“Music for the old and old at heart!”) by calling in and correctly answering a trivia question.  The prize, of course, is tickets to a baseball game.  By the way, Tommy is in a full bathtub while Lou is nearby, shaving, listening to the radio and – to no one’s surprise – not paying attention to his grandson.  Drowning hazard, anyone?

Lou and Stu take Tommy to the Grizzlies vs. Boston Boomers game.  Boston Boomers?  Okay, then.  The Pickles men have settled into their seats and are loaded down with souvenirs, including a balloon with a grizzly bear face on it and a teddy bear for Tommy.  Tommy is trying to eat a hot dog (oh, my God, why?  He only has one tooth!) and play with his stuff at the same time but, being only a year old, he naturally sucks at multitasking.  Of course, he eventually lets go of his balloon, then crawls out of his seat and into the aisle to retrieve it but, seeing the Grizzlies’ mascot dancing around, decides he’d rather follow the mascot into the dugout.  Naturally, Stu and Lou don’t notice.

Tommy makes it into the dugout without anyone seeing him, and in trying to keep up with the mascot he falls into a box filled with bags of popcorn, which belongs to a blue-haired vendor with an Italian accent named Dominic.  Weird.  I’m not sure how he doesn’t notice the difference in weight the entire time he’s in the aisles selling popcorn, during all nine innings.  (By the way, if anyone cares to know, the Boomers are winning, one to nothing.  That’s pathetic.)

Over the course of the game, Stu and Lou have fallen asleep.  They are so responsible.  (Also, I think that’s what this episode was scientifically engineered to do – induce sleep.)  It’s not until the top of the ninth that they wake up… and they still don’t realize they’re one infant short.  Dominic makes his way to the press box and starts trading baseball cards with the announcers.  Somehow, Tommy’s balloon has floated up to the press box (what are the odds, am I right?), and floats over to the next booth, where an old lady is playing the organ.  Tommy crawls over the pedals and the result is some noisy feedback blaring through the speakers.  I note this seemingly menial instance because, again, despite the fact that someone is crawling over her feet, the old crone doesn’t think, “Hmm, maybe I should look under the damn organ and see what’s going on down there.”  I’m pretty sure any normal person in this universe would have, and upon discovering a baby, would’ve brought him to security and made sure he was returned to his family.

Back at the house, Didi has come back from shopping and finds a note from the guys, saying they’ll be home in time for dinner, and to look for them on channel two, where the game is being aired.  So Didi turns on the TV and sees Tommy falling into the bubble gum-chewing star player Bucky Majors’ glove (all the players chew gum, because of course Nickelodeon wasn’t going to promote chewing tobacco; not that I’m complaining, ’cause chewing tobacco is disgusting).  Apparently, Tommy somehow crawled up to the nosebleed section, and in trying to retrieve his balloon (which finally floated up there – man, talk about crappy buoyancy; I’m guessing the guy at the gift shop blew up the balloons using the air from his own lungs, rather than filling them with helium), fell off the balcony.  Lou and Stu finally realize Tommy’s been gone the whole time (wow, and it only took them nine fucking innings), though not even immediately after seeing Tommy down in the field, and Didi…

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Wa-ha!  Total face-plant!  That was the best moment of an otherwise shitty episode… well, except for a brief appearance of Larry and Steve cheering Bucky Majors, of course.  (Hey, when did Larry go ginger?)

Larry and Steve

Honestly, I doubt if most Rugrats fans find this episode all that memorable.  I know I don’t.  Dragging out a recap for this one was quite the tedious task.  Anyway, we come to our bullshit happy ending where Stu, Lou and Tommy get their picture taken with Bucky Majors, Lou goes off on a boring diatribe about his own baseball days, no one really cares, and of course no one charges Stu or Lou with child neglect.  Oh, and this hilariously inappropriate newspaper headline actually happens….

Bucky bags babe

Baby Commercial/Little Dude

Baby Commercial

Synopsis: Phil and Lil recount shenanigans that occurred during the shooting of a diaper commercial.

Wow!  A twin-centric episode!  We don’t even get to the Chuckie-centric or even the dreaded Angelica-centric episodes until the second season.  The episode opens on the twins, Tommy, Didi and Betty watching TV at the DeVilles’ house.  A diaper commercial starring Phil and Lil comes on.  It consists of them bungee jumping onto clouds and wearing hooker make-up.  Didi remarks on how cute the twins look and I think she must be drunk because the twins are wearing false eyelashes, bright red lipstick and obscene amounts of blush.  That’s not cute, that’s disturbing.  To top it off, the phone sex employee narrator of the commercial is all sensual when talking about how “heavenly” Tighties diapers are.  Shudder.  Betty and Didi go to the kitchen to fix a cup of coffee, leaving the babies in the living room.  I gotta say, the living room does not look kid-friendly at all – all of this breakable shit is within the reaching distance of a child, including Betty’s sports awards and trophies.  No toys in sight, either.  Tommy toddles up to the TV and asks how Phil and Lil could be in two places at once.  Phil and Lil explain to Tommy that it’s a commercial that was previously recorded and retell the story of what turns out to be a very disastrous commercial shoot, thus beginning the flashback sequence.

Betty is totally stoked and grinning from ear to ear as she and the twins make their way to Studio 2.  The set includes fluffy clouds, a sky backdrop and a pyramid made of Tighties packages, which apparently can fall apart easily if slightly touched or if someone nearby sneezes.  ‘Kay, whatever.  I’ve never tried constructing a pyramid of packaged diapers, so I don’t know.  Betty, Phil and Lil are immediately greeted by the assistant director, a nice enough guy named Bob.  He introduces Betty to a trio of advertising executives named Snow, Steele and Trickum.  Womp, womp.  Ugh, cue the douchebag director Jonathan Whitt.  I already hate him once he comes in with his entourage and laughs with them at his own stupid joke, and also calls Bob – who, by the way, is his brother-in-law – by the wrong name.  He doesn’t even notice the twins because he’s totally creaming his boxers over the pyramid, which apparently was inspired by a dream he had (Lil: “He really likes diapers.”  Phil: “Yeah, he must not be potty-trained yet!”).  Jonathan scolds the twins for being late (uh, they showed up on the set before you did, you wanker) and orders Bob to take them to make-up.

In the dressing room, the make-up artists are asphyxiating the twin with clouds of hairspray (for what?  They each only have like a tiny tuft of hair!) and applying a crap ton of make-up, and why are they making these children look like the prostitutes in Les Misérables?  On set, Jonathan is getting all philosophical as he tells Phil to crawl over to a box of diapers and wink at the camera.  Dude, he’s an infant.  Of course, once the cameras begin rolling, Phil does little more than stare blankly at the camera and produce a bubble of drool.  Jonathan cuts and calls for Betty, and Betty leaves Lil in the hands of the best boy grip, who subsequently places her on the ground so he can continue stuffing his face with doughnuts.  As always, we all know where this is going.  Even with Betty’s encouragement (“Go for the diapers, baby!”), Phil still doesn’t do anything.  Bob decides to replace Phil with Lil, and surprise, she’s nowhere to be found.  Betty runs over to the best boy grip, yanks the doughnut out of his mouth and demands to know where her daughter is.  The best boy grip points up to the rafters, and sure enough, Lil is crawling around up there, playing with her toy car.  Okay, how the fuck did she get up there in the first place?  The only access to the rafters appears to be a couple of ladders and I highly, highly doubt the possibility of a one-year-old being able to use one.

Everyone except the best boy grip, whose fat ass decides to have just one more doughnut, and Jonathan, who is basically a terminally useless human being, start climbing up one of the ladders one by one.  Um, shouldn’t at least one or two people be down there to catch her if she falls?  Besides Jonathan and the best boy, of course.  Phil crawls over to the camera, which is still running, and starts riding it around the studio.  Cameraman sees this and lets go of the ladder, causing Betty and another crew member to fall off it.  Lil falls from the rafters, but luckily, a hook attached to a rope somehow gets caught in her jumper, and she swings around and squeals in delight.  The camera is zipping through the studio, catching Lil in action.  Phil knocks over the table of doughnuts and the best boy, people are diving out of the way and he charges toward the diaper pyramid.  Jonathan dives in front of the camera and begs Phil to stop, which he does at the last possible second.  Lil finally lands safely on one of the clouds on set, and while Betty and Bob are relieved that the babies are all right, Jonathan has a meltdown and yells at the twins for almost destroying his precious diaper pyramid and to leave the studio.  What an asshole.  The little battery-operated toy car that Phil and Lil had been playing with throughout the episode appears out of nowhere and rolls right into the pyramid.  Predictably, the pyramid collapses… right on top of Jonathan.  He rises out of the pile and screams that the twins will never work in this town again.  Phil and Lil react with glee, and the entire crew rolls their eyes and laughs at Jonathan’s shitfit (as I would).  The advertising execs announce that it’s time to see the playback, which consists of Lil bungee jumping out of the rafters and landing on the cloud, and both twins sitting in front of the pyramid and smiling as it collapses.  The execs love the playback and give Jonathan the back-handed compliment that he’s not as bad of a director as they thought, at which point Jonathan realizes that, whoops, he fucked up royally by yelling at the babies.

Cut to Phil and Lil finishing their story to Tommy.  The doorbell rings, and it’s Jonathan pathetically attempting to convince Betty to let the babies star in more of his stupid commercials.  He even bribes the twins with candy!  But Betty ain’t having it and says “eff you” to Jonathan, his diaper pyramid, his incompetent best boy grip and the make-up crew who thought it was a good idea to make over a pair of one-year-olds into French whores.

Little Dude

Synopsis: Schoolteacher Didi takes Tommy to work.

Lou is practicing his putting in the living room.  Tommy is acting as caddy, which consists of him holding a cup sideways while Lou attempts to putt the ball into it.  During his first attempt, Lou accidentally swings the ball into the window and breaks it.  Heh, whoops.  But then he manages to effectively putt the ball into the cup from ten feet away.  Tommy giggles gleefully and throws the ball back to Lou, who remarks that Tommy has a good arm.  Didi picks up Tommy and announces she’s taking him to work with her.  Didi teaches home economics at Eucaipah High and decided to bring Tommy for the purpose of teaching her students how to change an infant’s diaper.  Now, maybe it’s partly because I went to high school with a bunch of toolish assholes who thought it’d be fun to throw the dolls from the ninth grade health class onto the floor (on purpose), but if I were a high school teacher and had a baby, I wouldn’t even entertain the thought of bringing my child to school with me.  I think it would be okay for older kids during Take Your Child to Work Day (formerly Take Our Daughters to Work Day).  God, I miss Take Your Child to Work Day… my mom never took me, but my aunt used to take me to her office all the time, and I’d have fun with the copier, or watch TV in the break room, or go to the salon with her during lunch.  That was so fun.  Anyway, Lou protests, accusing Didi of using the opportunity to show off her kid (total word!), not to mention he won’t have someone to caddy for him.  Didi suggests letting Spike caddy.  And of course, this proves to be a shitty idea when Spike just rolls over.

Didi’s students consist of several teenage stereotypes, including geeks, jocks, Valley girls, girl scouts (in high school?) and, of course, Not-Bill and Not-Ted (who I just found out are named Larry and Steve – Larry’s the tall, lanky blonde and Steve is shorter and more heavyset with brown hair).  And they all react to Tommy as if they’ve never seen a baby their entire lives.  Tommy has dropped a load in his diapers and Didi says that whoever changes it will get extra credit.  No one wants to do it.  Suddenly, this poor man’s version of Fonzie walks into the classroom and everyone catches their breath and someone in a hushed voice exclaims, “It’s Rocko!”  Didi casually asks Rocko (or Ramone, as she calls him, and so will I from this point on, because that’s a way cooler name than Rocko) if there’s something he wants to share with the class, as if he hadn’t just shown up late to class.  He proceeds to change Tommy’s diaper, and doesn’t suck at it.  Guess Ramone’s getting extra credit, and possibly an excused tardy.  He also balls up the old diaper and tosses it over his shoulder, leaving every other student to toss it to the next until Steve finally dunks it into the wastebasket.  Nasty!  Once Tommy’s in a fresh diaper, he grabs the Ray-Bans from Ramone’s face and everyone gasps.  Okay, I have to ask – what is the deal with this guy and everyone else shitting bricks over him?  Is he a rumored hit man or something?  Dude seems pretty chill to me, despite his obvious idolization of Henry Winkler.  He gives Tommy the alias “Little Dude” and “knights” him with a hair comb.  The bell rings and everyone leaves, except for Ramone who hangs back as Didi praises him for his diaper-changing skills (to which Ramone says that it’s not a big deal since he has an infant brother, and then salutes Tommy with a thumbs-up gesture, which Tommy emulates), and three girls named Kirsten, Pamela and Stephanie, who beg Didi to let them play with Tommy while she takes her lunch break.  Didi agrees on the condition that the girls bring him to the teacher’s lounge if he cries.  You know, I’m having a hard time deciding the bigger fuck-up on this show – adults ignoring their kids, or adults placing their kids in the care of other adults (or teenagers, in this case) who prove to be totally incompetent.

The girls, with Tommy in tow, walk out onto the field to watch the football players.  Pamela’s totally cute and is rocking a snazzy pink and purple outfit with some matching accessories.  Hawt.  Stephanie is sporting a Jane Jetson-inspired ‘do and seems to be the Silent Bob of the trio.  Sadly, she does not supply us with an insightful monologue at any point in the episode.  Kirsten, who for some reason reminds me of Kathie Lee Gifford circa the Eighties (must be the bob with the side-swept bangs and the voice), is creaming her panties over football player number twelve… until he walks up to her and makes some dumb joke about Tommy being her “new boyfriend.”  Kirsten rightfully retorts that Number Twelve is immature… and then she places Tommy on the back of the janitor’s pick-up truck, which immediately begins driving away.  Number Twelve starts gloating that the girls just lost the baby and laughs as he walks off.  What a dickhole!  And to top it off, he doesn’t stay and help even though he saw the truck go around the corner and didn’t say anything until it was completely from sight?  Ugh, asshole.  (Though I have to wonder how anyone could not hear a nearby vehicle driving off when it’s only a few inches away.)  Thankfully, the truck hasn’t left school grounds, just went to a different area on the campus.  Kirsten, Pamela and Stephanie decide to split up and search for Tommy, who the girls happen to miss completely during their search as he roams around the school.  This leads to some unfunny events in the gym and the library.  Tommy then toddles into shop class and grins when he recognizes Ramone, who asks the shop teacher if the lunch bell had rung yet.  Apparently the lunch bell rung like twenty minutes ago… I’m pretty sure lunch break began as soon as Didi’s class ended, unless it’s like my high school where lunch hours were split into four shifts.  It’s plausible.  Ramone drops his comb on the way to the sink, where he washes his hands, and Tommy walks over and picks it up.  Ramone inadvertently throws a towel onto Tommy and breezes past him, and Tommy pouts because he has really, really taken a liking to Ramone.  Awwww, I’m sorry, but I thought that was so cute!  Elsewhere, the girls meet up and Pamela wonders out loud if this will affect their grade.  I say worry about the kid and not your fucking grade.  Kirsten tells the girls to think like babies and figure out where Tommy could have possibly gone, and for some reason this prompts Stephanie to crawl around on the ground.  The fuck?  I’d also like to point out that maybe this would’ve been a good time for her to launch into some words of wisdom, Kevin Smith style.  Like maybe, “Drop the ‘think like a baby’ bullshit and keep looking for the kid!”

And now, we move onto the epic food fight scene.  Tommy makes his way into the cafeteria.  He hides under a table, reaches up and grabs a bowl of… I want to assume it’s chocolate pudding, which is sitting on the tabletop.  He grabs a handful and eats it, then reaches up to get something else and inadvertently flings a spoonful of pudding from another bowl, which flies across the lunchroom directly onto Number Twelve’s jersey.  He starts screaming like a chimp and a hush falls over the lunchroom as everyone stares at him warily, except for Ramone, who is calmly eating another bowl of pudding.  Number Twelve throws a fistful of mashed potatoes in Ramone’s direction, and it lands on his white shirt and black jacket.  The music, as well as everyone’s terrified reaction, tells us that shit’s about to go down as Ramone stares Number Twelve down and walks toward him.  I also love how every time Tommy recognizes Ramone, he smiles and gives him the Fonzie salute.  Ramone takes a fingerful of the mashed potatoes on his shirt and smears it onto Number Twelve’s jersey.  Number Twelve picks up a corn dog with mustard and smears the mustard onto Ramone’s shirt.  Ramone unpeels a banana and stuffs it into Number Twelve’s mouth.  Finally, Number Twelve picks up another bowl of chocolate pudding and attempts to throw it in Ramone’s face, but Ramone ducks and Larry gets beaned right before yelling, “FOOD FIGHT!”  A major food war commences.  Banana peels, pizza, ice cream cones, cans of soda and corn dogs are flying in the air and people are repeatedly smashing pies and shit in each other’s faces.

It.  Is.  Awesome!

Awesome, that is, until Number Twelve finds Tommy under the table and grabs him forcefully.  Ramone bellows, “HOLD IT!” and the food fight momentarily ceases.  He takes the Little Dude from Number Twelve and once he walks out, the food fight resumes.  Kirsten, Pamela and Michelle have been watching everything from the cafeteria window and run up to Ramone to get Tommy.  The girls are all relieved that Ramone saved Tommy from that fucking gorilla, and suddenly Kirsten and Ramone are very, very hot for each other.  Didi appears and Kirsten tells her that she and the girls now have a better idea of what it’s like to be a parent.  Yeah, a parent in the Rugrats universe, where people pay zero attention to their kids and nobody gets in trouble for showing up to class late or starting a food fight.  That’s about right.  Ramone and Tommy exchange parting gifts – Tommy returns Ramone’s comb to him, and Ramone lets Tommy keep his Ray-Bans.  They give each other the Fonzie salute again, and am I wrong for finding their bond fucking adorable?  Ramone walks off and we never see or hear from him, Kirsten, Pamela, Stephanie or Number Toolbag again.  In fact, I think Didi’s teaching career gets like one or maybe two other mentions throughout the series, but I might be wrong.  Later in the day, the family is having dinner and Lou asks the Little Dude what he learned in school today.  Tommy, wearing Ramone’s Ray-Bans and smiling impishly, responds by throwing a spoonful of his food in Lou’s face.  Hey, you asked, Lou-meister.

At the Movies/Slumber Party

At the Movies

Synopsis: Title says it all.

Tommy is playing with his toys when a movie preview on television catches his attention.  It’s for a movie called Reptar, the Rugrats version of Godzilla.  The advert also blatantly rips off Jaws with the use of its tagline, “Just when you thought it was safe to visit New York…”  (…said no one ever, I add mentally.)  Stu picks up a very fussy Tommy and announces that they’re taking him to the movies for the very first time, along with the other families.  Who thought this was a good idea?  I hate it when parents bring babies to the movies, because the kid ends up screaming midway through the film and the parents end up having to walk out, baby in tow.  Some parents even refuse to take their kid out of the theater!  In fact, I actually remember going to the movies with my parents as a toddler, getting restless and upset, and my mom having to take me out.  And I remember it happening on more than one occasion.  I don’t remember the movie, but my parents were pretty bad about taking me to see age-appropriate movies half the time.  It was whatever they wanted to see versus the latest animated film.  Anyway, I think I was actually about three or four years old when my parents could finally take me to the movies without worrying about me raising a fuss.  So what made the adults think it was a good idea to bring a bunch of babies to the movies?

At the theater, Tommy, Chuckie, the twins and all their parents, plus Lou, walk into a room full of screaming babies.  See?  See?  I told you!  There are also some older children throwing handfuls of popcorn in the air and trying to catch the kernels with their mouths.  Charming.  Lou rightfully asserts that they all should’ve gone bowling instead.  The parents place the kids on the floor in front of them.  Gross!  Why don’t they just place them in their lap?  I also have to marvel at the fact that Stu and Didi take Tommy to public places wearing only a diaper and a shirt.  I mean, if he can walk, why doesn’t he wear shoes?  Before the movie starts, Tommy tells Chuckie and the twins that he saw Reptar smashing buildings on TV and also saw his picture (a movie poster) outside the theater, and deduces that Reptar must be in the theater somewhere.  The movie starts and, what do you know?  It’s The Dummi Bears in the Land Without Smiles.  Lou is sitting there fuming and busts loose with some pretty hilarious Mystery Science Theater 3000-type commentary during the presentation, and I gotta say, the movie does look and sound pretty inane.  One of the Dummi Bears sounds exactly like Angelica, which makes me hate it even more.  Since the grown-ups are all engrossed in the movie and the kids are on the floor, no surprise, they are easily able to sneak away and begin their search for Reptar.  They go into another movie and onscreen, a man and woman are closed-mouth kissing and moaning for entirely too long.  The babies crawl around and get stuck in chairs, and Tommy inadvertently grabs a girl’s leg in trying to get unstuck from the chairs, and the girl for some reason thinks her date did it and slaps him.

The babies make their way to the concession stand, where two Bill and Ted-type employees are fighting over which brand of skateboards are the best.  These particular teenagers makes reappearances in other episodes.  Anyway, apparently they’re so busy arguing that they don’t notice the babies go behind the counter.  Pretty much, whatever you expect to happen, happens.  The concession stand is a mess, Not-Bill and Not-Ted have to clean it all up (bummer, dudes!) and the babies sneak away again, this time to the projection room.  Meanwhile back at Dummi Bears, some terminally ill child named Shawna (apparently lack of valentines are a life-threatening issue) begs someone named “Squeaky Bear” to get valentines to other “needy” children, concluding that it’s too late for her.  Lou remarks, “It’s too late for me, too!”  Ha!  Stu, on the other hand, is actually weeping over this mind-numbing stupidity.  Pussy.  Lou gets up to hit the concession stand, proclaiming that he’d rather rot his teeth than his brain (waaaaiiit, doesn’t he wear dentures?) and I imagine going from this scene to the next like this:

door5anim

Little do the adults know, the babies are watching from the projection room.  Interestingly enough, the guy in charge of the projectors, or “basghetti merry-go-rounds,” as Tommy calls them, fails to notice that there are four babies present in the room.  Tommy and Chuckie are looking at each movie to find Reptar.  They see Dummi Bears (Tommy, to Chuckie: “I’ve seen this one already!”), some variations of Indiana Jones and Taxi Driver (there’s a cute bit where Chuckie is watching and asks Tommy if it’s Reptar, and the guy onscreen says, “You talkin’ to me?” and Chuckie responds with, “No, I was talking to Tommy”) before they finally find Reptar.  Phil and Lil shove each other to get a better look at the dinosaur onscreen, and the altercation ends with Phil getting pushed onto the film reel.  The babies lose interest in Reptar and decide they want to spin around on the reels.  They ride the reels, run around and take fistfuls of film, which destroys the film and throws all of the projectors out of whack.  The projectionist finally looks up from his comics and sees all the mayhem, and the babies again leave without being seen.  Back at the concession stand, Lou is getting snacks and chastising Not-Bill and Not-Ted for letting the snack area get that messy.  The babies walk up to Lou, and he supposes that they got sick of the movie, too.  They return to the movie and, because the babies messed with the projectors, the picture goes white.  The lights come up and everyone in the theater is pissed.  The episode ends with a snooty couple bitching about not getting their money back after what sounds like a shitty movie experience (picture going black before the movie concludes, popcorn tastes like soda, blaargh at the latter), followed by Stu bitching about the damn Dummi Bears movie.  Didi suggests seeing another movie next week, and Stu agrees under the condition that they go to a different theater.  Seems fair to me, honestly.

Slumber Party

Synopsis: Tommy falls ill at his very first slumber party.

Drew and Angelica are spending the night at Stu and Didi’s house for her and Tommy’s first slumber party.  Technically, I’m not sure sleeping over at a relative’s house counts as a “slumber party,” since I used to do this all the time when my mom worked the night shift at the post office, up until I was eleven years old and she got a day job.  (Very rarely did I even get to sleep in my own bed.)  My first slumber party was at a friend’s house, when I was nine.  I don’t think this particular slumber party will consist of makeovers, movies, junk food or pillow fights.  Just sayin’.  Hey, Angelica’s mom actually gets a mention in this episode!  As any Rugrats enthusiasts will tell you, Charlotte is such a workaholic that she doesn’t actually show up until the next season.  Remember when she got all of that plastic surgery in the All Grown Up spinoff?  Well, I do, and I want to forget, ’cause… yikes.  Anyway, Angelica is a major twat in this episode.  She immediately starts picking on her cousin for drinking from a bottle, proclaiming that only babies drink from bottles (well, he is a baby) and nastily informing him that she has better things to do with her time than sleep in a baby’s room.  Poor Tommy, having to sleep in the same room as that.

Up in Tommy’s room, Didi has made up a cot for Angelica, like the kind I used to sleep in at my grandmother’s.  Didi puts Angelica and Tommy down for a nap.  As soon as Didi leaves, Angelica starts punching her pillow repeatedly (to the point where feathers start flying out) and refuses to answer Tommy’s questions about slumber parties.  She complains that Tommy’s room smells like a baby’s room (once again: he’s a baby!) and opens the window.  Tommy complains about the bedroom being too cold and Angelica mocks him for it.  Later, she gets up and closes the window when the bedroom’s too cold for her.  As she walks back to her cot she notices that Tommy has chills.  Nice going, you little shit.

After the kids’ nap, it’s dinnertime, and Tommy looks like shit and starts sneezing up a storm… on Angelica.  From across the kitchen table.  Ha!  Good aim, Tommy!  Angelica tries to direct Didi’s attention away from Tommy by saying she can feed herself and sometimes stays up until nine o’clock.  Didi doesn’t really give a shit about Angelica’s attention-whoring and just asks her to finish her dinner while she puts Tommy to bed, prompting Angelica to dump her plate of food (which appears to be a burger, carrots and mashed potatoes) on purpose.  I wish someone would punch her.  Upstairs, Didi puts Tommy in his crib, gives him his bottle and teddy bear, turns on his baby mobile and leaves, at which point Tommy starts hallucinating.  First, he imagines his baby mobile is spinning entirely too fast, then the crib and everything in it grows to like three times their size, then his clown lamp comes to life and starts dancing, then the window starts blowing wind into the bedroom, then Angelica’s head appears on the nipple of his bottle (creepy!) and then she turns into the cupid doll on his baby mobile.  Tommy freaks out and hides under his blanket until Didi comes in… and turns into the crescent moon from his baby mobile.  Stu comes in as the gray cloud; Lou and Drew come in as a Wright Brothers-inspired airplane and a star, respectively.  Didi informs the guys that Tommy has a fever.  Stu leaves to call the pediatrician and Drew leaves to get the thermometer.  Lou chastises Stu and Didi for being such hypochondriacs and calling the doctor every time they think something’s wrong with Tommy.  Whatever to that!  This is the most proactive parenting I’ve seen on the show so far!  Stu says the doctor said just to give him some medicine and call in the morning.  Angelica’s all, “It wasn’t me!” and, “He’s just faking it!” and I’m kind of surprised nobody’s even the least bit suspicious.  She’s practically taking out a billboard to announce she’s the culprit.

Didi reads an excerpt from a Lipschitz book, which advises parents to put a radio under the baby’s pillow.  Stu says what I’m thinking: “A radio’s bigger than his pillow.”  (Not to mention it would be sorely uncomfortable.  Why not just put a radio next to the crib with the volume turned down?)  An alternative solution would be to sing a lullaby.  Surprisingly, Stu and Didi don’t know any.  “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”?  “Rock-a-Bye, Baby”?  “The Itsy-Bitsy Spider”?  Really, guys?  You don’t know any lullabies?  What the hell kind of upbringing did you have?  Finally, Stu and Didi decide to just make one up.  To the surprise of no one, it’s pretty bad (it does rhyme, though, which is good for a song just made up on the spot).  In addition to having a chill, a fever, sneezing and, evidently, hallucinations, Tommy is also nauseous and winds up hurling all over Angelica.  Yes!  That’s twice in one episode!  Angelica screams and runs off, with Drew following her and yelling, “Wait up, muffin!  You’re dripping everywhere!”  Lou smiles at Tommy and says, “That’s my boy!”  God, I love Lou.

The next morning, Tommy is completely back to normal, to the relief of the adults.  Angelica walks over to his crib and says (with a hint of admiration in her voice), “I’ve never seen anybody barf like that!  Wow!”  Ah, nothing like a bout of nausea to strengthen the bond between cousins.