Ruthless Tommy/Moose Country

Quick note: Wow, I can’t believe it’s been nearly a year since my last review.  Sorry for the delay between posts, y’all, but with school, French and Italian lessons, band rehearsals and now choir practice, I’ve been pulled in many different directions and I’ve sort of left this blog on the back-burner.  But I’m back now.  So here we go!

Ruthless Tommy

Synopsis:  Tommy gets kidnapped.  (Don’t act so fucking surprised.)

True story, y’all: this was the first episode of Rugrats I ever watched.

The episode opens with Didi frantically looking for her keys. Tommy dangles them inconspicuously for a full twelve seconds before Didi even notices. Jeebus, not even fifteen seconds into the episode and already we’re seeing a potential infant hazard. But this is just the tip of the iceberg, my friends. Just the tip of the iceberg.

Didi is going shopping and asks Lou if he minds watching Tommy while she’s out, since Stu will be working in the basement all day.  Lou retorts, “Actually, I was planning on training for the decathlon this morning.”  There’s the Lou we all know and love.  Like seriously, why doesn’t she just bring him with her?  Why pawn him off on a senior citizen who can’t be trusted to stay awake on a baby-sitting job, even if he is a relative?

Anyway, Didi leaves and the door stays open.  Let me reiterate: when Didi leaves, the door doesn’t just stay unlocked, it actually stays wide open.

Door Open

Re-watching this episode, I totally lost my shit.  It’s bad enough Didi doesn’t pay attention to her son.  It’s bad enough she pawns him off on people who are not well-equipped to take care of a child (like narcoleptic senior citizens or inept teenagers).  But leaving the door open?  Un-fucking-real!  Is she really that clueless?  Does she not take into account that mosquitoes, geckos, vermin, anything could enter her house?  Not to mention burglars, rapists, murderers and kidnappers!  It might sound mean, but if anyone deserves to lose their child, it’s Stu and Didi.  Never have a set of fictitious, animated human parents pissed me off so much regarding the safety of their kid.  If this shit were real, you know social services would snap up Tommy in a second and Stu and Didi would be persecuted for child neglect.

Anyway, as if the door being open wasn’t bad enough, Lou settles into his chair, watches TV and naps.  Tommy sees this as an opportunity to bust out of his playpen and toddle outside, so he does just that, and plays with a ball he finds in the front yard.  Sure enough, less than a minute later, two goons, under the ludicrous assumption that Tommy is the son of a famous millionaire, kidnap him and leave a ransom note tied to a brick (intended for smashing a window as they drive off, but ends up landing on the newspaper on the front stoop.  Total fail).  If you ask me, knowing Stu and Didi’s genius child-rearing history, this has been a long time coming.  Let’s not feel too bad for Tommy, though, because criminals in the Rugrats universe are not too bright and are totally non-threatening.  Check out the ransom note that Tommy’s abductors, Bob and Mike, left the Pickles clan:

Ransom Note

Heh.  “Ronald Thump.”

Ruthless Tommy 1 Ruthless Tommy 2 Ruthless Tommy 3 Ruthless Tommy 5

During the car ride, Tommy is screaming his stressed little head off, and Bob is doing everything from making hideous faces (unsurprisingly, this only adds to Tommy’s distress) to singing a lullaby in his monotone voice with the thick Brooklyn accent (“Hush, little baby, don’t say a woid, papa’s gonna buy youse a mockingboid!”) to wearing a rather freaky Dummi Bear mask (a thousand points to anyone who can come up with a great caption for that last screenshot; the best I could come up with is, “Domino, motherfucker!”).

Ruthless Tommy 4

We, the audience, know the cause of Tommy’s distress; the ball he was playing with is on the floor where he can’t reach it.  Bob asks Mike for a banana to pacify Tommy, saying he read that kids love bananas, and Mike gives him one from his coat pocket.  So… these guys just hang around wearing coats filled with bananas?  And Bob can read?  Color me impressed; I mean, these guys can barely spell.  Bob tries to give Tommy the banana, but to no avail.  He throws the banana out the window, which addresses another pet peeve of mine, throwing stuff out of a moving vehicle and into traffic, particularly food or garbage.  One time, some idiot driving in front of me threw an entire bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken out of their car window, right on the highway.  Grade-A asshole at its finest.  Anyway, Bob finally sees the ball on the floor and gives it to Tommy.  Presto, Tommy blessedly STFU.  Bob makes the remark that he’d make a good father, and I feel so, so bad for whatever woman makes the ill-advised decision to procreate with him (to say nothing of the child resulting from that union!).

Bob and Mike take Tommy to some crackhouse-looking building which looks all but deserted. Bob and Mike carry Tommy up the stairs (all the while complaining about his weight) and finally make it to an apartment splattered with food and decorated with pizza boxes, bricks and, of course, banana peels.  Blaargh.  Tommy slips on one of the peels, again losing his ball in the process, and starts crying again.  Bob takes another banana out of his coat and offers it to Tommy. Like that worked the first time, Einstein. Also, if Bob had bananas in his coat the whole time, why would he have asked Mike for one earlier?  Stupid, stupid, stupid!  So anyway, Bob and Mike decide to rush off to the kitchen to fix Tommy a bottle of milk, leaving the kid in the living room.  Christ.  Nothing fucking changes.  (Though to be fair, child neglect can be expected from criminals… not to mention two twatheads with a combined single-digit IQ.)

Tommy spots a briefcase full of money and jewels, and opens it.  Since the concept of money and valuable items are naturally unfamiliar to infant Tommy, he begins tossing coins, pearls and dollar bills across the room, and then grabs fistfuls of rubies and emeralds, finally making his way to the toilet (Tommy and his penchant for flushing things).

Woman's top toilet screencap

Bob and Mike come back and see Tommy tossing the jewels into the toilet, briefly reprimand him (because leaving him someplace where suitcases full of cash were within his reach was a brilliant idea) and then fight over who will retrieve the rubies from the toilet.  A piece of mind, guys: if you “criminals” don’t want to stick your hands in a dirty toilet, maybe you should clean it every once in a while, and why in the blue fuck is Mike wearing a purple halter top?

Anyway, Tommy sees his ball, which has landed on a high shelf above what appears to be a pretty sweet sound system (most likely stolen, of course), and climbs onto a nearby vacuum in an attempt to retrieve it.  His foot grazes the vacuum’s “on” switch, and the vacuum sucks up three pizza boxes, fast food containers, a copy of a book titled Burglar Life, window curtains, Bob and Mike’s dirty underwear (blaargh) and, finally, Tommy’s ball.  That is a mighty powerful vacuum.  Bob and Mike walk out of the bathroom just in time to see the money in their suitcase being sucked up by the vacuum.  Mike turns it off and Bob suggests putting the vacuum on in reverse.  They do so, causing an explosion of dust, coins and torn dollar bills.  Tommy’s ball shoots out of the vacuum and lands on the windowsill.  When the dust from the vacuum clears away, Bob and Mike see Tommy climbing a pile of VCRs next to the windowsill.  He successfully retrieves his ball and climbs off of the VCR pile just as the criminals dive toward him in an attempt to get him away from the windowsill and out of harm’s way, instead flying out the window themselves, screaming all the way down.  Okay, that was pretty damn funny.

Out the Window

Mere seconds later, Bob and Mike somehow make their way back up to their nasty-looking apartment (where’d they land anyway?  Who cares?)  They see Tommy innocently bouncing his ball on the floor and ultimately decide that all of the pain he’s supposedly put them through isn’t worth it.  Later, just before Stu can peruse the part of the ransom note that reads, “Dear Ronald Thump,” the doorbell rings and the criminals, still under the assumption that Stu’s a famous millionaire with a bad combover, apologize profusely, hand the baby to Stu and drive off.  My, that was anticlimactic.

But karma ain’t done with Bob and Mike just yet, oh no.  The wind blows the ransom note out of Stu’s hand and all the way to the next street, into the open window of of Bob and Mike’s car and onto Mike’s face, obstructing his vision so that he blows through a red light and hits a fire hydrant.  The impact causes the guys to fly through their windshield, into that of a police car, and also causes the ransom note to fly into the air into an officer’s hand.  Karma, y’all.

The episode ends when Didi returns home and offers Tommy a squeak-toy banana (she must’ve read the same book Bob had read… I wonder if it was penned by Lipschitz?).  Tommy sees it and freaks out, because his encounter with his banana-loving (yet ultimately harmless) abductors was apparently so traumatic.

Call me crazy, but I preferred this whole kidnapping plot when it was used in Baby’s Day Out.

Last thing you see before you die

The last thing you see before you die.

Moose Country

Synopsis: Tommy and his friends look for a moose in the Pickles’ backyard.

Didi is in the kitchen trying to feed Tommy some strained peas.  Ick.  She pretends to eat it by dropping a spoonful into the bowl as she feigns “yummy” noises, which doesn’t fool Tommy one bit.  But seconds later, when Didi leaves him alone in the kitchen, he dumps the entire bowl onto his head and licks whatever drips near his mouth.

Strained peas

Later in the backyard, where Stu is planting a bunch of trees (hey, how come we don’t see these trees in later episodes?  Did they all die or something?), Lou is regaling Tommy and the other babies with tales of Moose Country, where he supposedly used to live with his family (Stu disputes this early on in the episode).  Lou shows the babies a photo of the supposed moose he hunted and later ate, and compares it favorably to the strained crap Didi feeds Tommy.  I would be inclined to agree about moose being a better meal than strained peas, even though I’ve never actually eaten moose.  It sounds interesting, if a little gamey.  I’ve had gator before, so the prospect of eating moose doesn’t really gross me out.  (Surprised?)

Lou falls asleep in his lounge chair as he is reminiscing about that yummy moose meat, like the responsible caregiver he is, and Tommy, under the delusion that Moose Country is really in his backyard due to all of the sorry-ass trees Stu planted (seriously, those things look like they could snap if you poked at the trunk with your damn pinky), convinces the other babies to bust out of the playpen.  Tommy holds out a hot dog-shaped squeeze toy, and Spike tugs at it, causing the playpen to fall on its side, all while Lou sleeps comfortably in his lounge chair.  I have to remind myself that this is a fucking cartoon before I get too upset, but Christ, the negligence demonstrated by these adults is astounding.

Upon escaping, the kids almost immediately get into some shenanigans, including falling into a hole (meant for one of the trees, obviously), getting into a mud fight and eating worms.  The latter will later be a recurring theme in Rugrats episodes, particularly with Phil and Lil, but it’s Tommy who first bravely swallows the little sucker, declaring that “it dances all the way down.”  (That hilariously inappropriate line could be misinterpreted in more ways than one.)  The other babies hastily look for worms to eat (I can only imagine the horror that will befall their parents when their diapers are changed in the next twenty-four hours.  So nasty!).  Chuckie is the only one who doesn’t take to eating “chocolate spaghetti,” as the babies call it.  Tommy then reminds everyone that the purpose for their little excursion is to find a moose.  He, Phil and Lil somehow get out of the hole, leaving poor Chuckie behind.  They spot random objects that they at first mistake for moose.

Fertilizer Hi Grow

Spike runs around with the squeeze toy from earlier, accidentally knocking over a bag of fertilizer, which stains all three babies’ faces.  Then Spike flings the toy into a pile of leaves and digs through, while in the process getting some twig-like branches caught in his ears and collar, giving him a moose-like silhouette.  The babies then mistake him for a moose and run away as he walks toward them.

Spike moose

Tommy, Phil and Lil happen upon the same hole to discover that – oops! – Chuckie’s still there.  Chuckie yells for Tommy to get him out while simultaneously expressing his disbelief in the possibility that a moose could exist in Tommy’s backyard.  (Smart kid!)  As the babies climb out of the hole, Chuckie inadvertently yanks the valve off of a nearby hose, causing a huge geyser that shoots the valve high into the air and also cuts off the plumbing in nearby neighborhoods (how far do Boris and Minka live?).

Boris hose

For a moment, it looks as if the valve is going to hit Lou in the head as it falls back down to earth.  Maybe that’ll wake him up.  But no, the valve falls onto the roof, rolls down the gutter, shoos out of the water spout, bounces off the glass door and hits the switch on the water system that turns off the hose.   Whew!  Of course, not only is the water supply restored to nearby homes, the water pressure’s also stronger.

Boris spray

I love how Minka’s just standing around laughing as her husband gets sprayed with the hose.

Tommy, having had his shit-stained face washed off by the geyser along with Phil and Lil, asks Chuckie if he’s okay.  Chuckie then goes off on a rant similar to that of the one in the “Barbeque Story” episode just before he and all the babies spot what looks to be an actual moose.  Turns out, it’s only Spike.

Spike moose 2 Spike moose 3 Spike moose 4

The babies hear Stu and Didi coming back and run to the playpen, which is still on its side.  They push their weight against the floor of the playpen and turn it right side up again before Lou wakes up.  Stu and Didi go out into the backyard, and Lou starts telling Didi the same spiel he told the babies about Moose Country.  When he shows her the photo of the moose, Stu grabs it from him, take a look at the pic and turns it over.  It turns out the picture is actually just an insurance calendar.

Moose pic Moose calendar

So… the whole moose thing was a lie?  Or maybe a really realistic dream Lou mistook for an actual memory?  Doesn’t matter.  It’s the end of the episode and Tommy tells the other babies that they should go further into Moose Country (i.e., his backyard) to catch a real live moose.  The twins are ecstatic, Chuckie not so much.  Kind of a pointless way to wrap up this episode… neither Moose Country nor those stupid trees are ever mentioned again after this.

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