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:
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.
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.