Candy Bar Creep Show/Monsters in the Garage

Happy Halloween! My first recap in months; I apologize, my lovelies. But with work, limited Internet and everything else, I have simply not had time to crank out any recaps. Today, just in time, I recap the Halloween episode. There will be no screen caps for two reasons; one, my computer suffered a huge malfunction and the episodes I had saved are now gone, and two, getting all the appropriate screen caps is very time-consuming and slows my process. I know, boo. And, be forewarned… these episodes invoked quite a bit of hatred within me (she of the blonde pigtails, he of the doofy suit and spiky purple hair)… so be prepared for a lot of swearing and other colorful language. With that said, enjoy today’s spooky recaps!
Candy Bar Creep Show
Synopsis: The babies sneak into the “haunted house” built by the Pickles clan to get their hands on some Reptar Bars.
Here it is, the famous Halloween episode! We open with a very short scene (less than thirty seconds) involving Didi carving a face into a hollowed-out pumpkin and then sticking a lit candle inside and showing Tommy the lit-up face of a jack-o-lantern. I only ever partook in this tradition twice, both times being at school. Maybe it was my inner girly-girl or something, but I thought having to empty out the pulp and the seeds with bare hands was pretty disgusting.

In the next scene, all four babies are in that flimsy-ass playpen and Tommy informs them that lately the grown-ups have been acting “pretty weird.” Angelica appears right then and there just to brag about being allowed to trick-or-treat this year. Joy. She’s excited because this means she’ll be getting Reptar Bars from every house she hits. And from what I gather, a Reptar Bar is chocolate-covered caramel (which Angelica pronounces “KAHR-mull,” a pronunciation that’s popular in the southern part of the U.S.) and peanuts, and the caramel has an artificial green coloring that turns your tongue green. As if her mere presence wasn’t exasperating enough, Angelica then decides to torture the babies by singing the Reptar Bar jingle, then proceeding to take a bite out of a Reptar Bar and sticking out her green tongue. Ick. Then she brags that she gets one and the babies don’t, because it’s Halloween and she’s the only child of the age to trick-or-treat, and bullshit. Bull fucking shit.

For the Lipschitz parents in the Rugrats universe, I guess it makes sense if it were explained that Dr. Lipschitz advised parents against dressing up and trick-or-treating on Halloween in one of his books, for this bullshit reason or that. But this doesn’t serve as a rationale for why Angelica, who is only a year older – a year older, mind you – than Chuckie, is the only child allowed to go trick-or-treating. I guess it makes as much sense as the fact that she speaks and behaves more like a seven-year-old than a three-year-old. I get that the other babies don’t have all their teeth and thus can’t eat any candy, but what exactly is the harm in dressing them up in cute costumes and going along with their parents and older relatives?

Well, apparently Phil and Lil’s parents are busy (probably participating in some sort of Halloween marathon), Charlotte’s most likely stuck in the office (like I said, she doesn’t show up at all in the first season) and Chaz is absent for some reason (did his wife die by this point? Is he in mourning? Is he going to a singles event or something?). Way to dump your kids into someone else’s care on a family holiday.

Yes, Drew, Stu, Lou and Didi are the only adults of present, out in the backyard and working on a “haunted house” tent. Which, I must admit, is pretty damn awesome. They manage to decorate with fun house mirrors, grape eyeballs, skull billboards, a tombstone, a black cat, fake cobwebs, spaghetti worms and a skeleton and spider hanging from the ceiling. To top it off, scary music is played from an LP player. Amazeballs. Didi says the haunted house may be a little too scary for the kids, save for Angelica who is a year older than Chuckie, and says they can experience the “haunted house” next year… when Tommy and the twins will be two, same age as Chuckie is now. Again, you’ve got to love the parenting logic in the Rugrats universe. And I’d like to note that Didi is wearing a hawt, really hawt low-cut red dress with gold stripes on the sleeves, plus some cool skeleton earrings in one shot, before she’s back in her trademark turtleneck dress and gold jewelry in the next shot. Continuity… what’s that?

The trick-or-treaters arrive, and Didi and Stu go inside to change as the babies observe the trick-or-treaters and Drew dressed in a gorilla costume from the screen door, noting that the costumed kids are “scarier and bigger than Angelica.” Bigger, yes. Scarier… that’s debatable. If I had to baby-sit that little twat bubble, I’d run for the hills. Didi is back in her sexy dress, but now there’s some sort of weird yellow drawstring thing closing her lower-than-normal neckline. Sigh. She does have her skeleton earrings and has somehow managed to style her trefoil hairstyle by getting it all into a headband. To top it off, she’s wearing the classic vampire cape. I love Phil’s reaction to her fake vampire teeth where he opens his mouth and points to his teeth. Stu has bolts and fake stitches in his neck, as well as one of those fake Frankenstein flat-tops, and gets into character by doing the same groaning and walking he did in the robot episode.

As the babies watch from the glass door, Didi welcomes the “scary” trick-or-treaters (a princess, a cat and a clown) into the haunted house. A few moments later, the kids squeal excitedly and run out, Reptar Bars in hand. This prompts Tommy to think that you have to scream in order to get Reptars Bars. The kids scream and Didi and Stu rush in to see what’s going on. The kids just smile up at them, eagerly awaiting some chocolate and green caramel. Didi and Stu are confused and think the babies were screaming because the trick-or-treaters scared them. Um, wouldn’t they still be screaming, if that were the case? Whatever. Didi closes the curtain on the glass door and the kids wonder what the trick-or-treaters did differently.

Tommy concludes that they need to scream inside the tent, and he, the twins and a reluctant Chuckie (“I don’t know, Tommy…”) sneak out past a very sleepy Spike through the kitchen. They’re inside the haunted house and are totes impressed. At least, Phil and Lil are. Tommy dismisses the house as “not so scary,” and Chuckie says it’s “a little scary.” Meaning, not at all. So Chuckie plays around the fun house mirror, Tommy squishes some of the grape eyeballs, Phil and Lil play with the spaghetti thinking it’s worms (ah, their trademark obsession with worms).

At that moment, more trick-or-treaters arrive, including Angelica dressed as an angel, and… nah. I’m above that joke. While the babies hide (a sheet off the tent accidentally falls off and covers Tommy), Drew hands out candy to the kids and lets them enter the tent. It is at this point the babies decide to scream their faces off. Angelica and the other trick-or-treaters see the twins’ distorted reflections in the fun house mirrors and thinks they’re zombies covered in maggots (the twins got the spaghetti “worms” in their hair). Chuckie trips over the rope from which the skeleton is hanging, and it falls on Angelica and wrecks her halo. Ha ha, Angelica! She rears back into the bowl full of grape eyeballs and obnoxiously shouts, “Ewwww! Eyeballs!” She turns and sees Tommy in the darkly-colored sheet (which is being blown back by an electric fan), thinking he’s a ghost. And God, Angelica’s voice is soooo grating when she’s screaming in fear. I do get a sick pleasure from seeing her get tortured, though, so it’s an even trade.

Lou walks in, wearing a hideous monster mask, demanding to know why the hell his demon grandchild is screaming. All the trick-or-treaters freak out, drop their bags of candy and run from the tent. Lou takes off his mask, then drops it when he sees Phil and Lil’s distorted, zombie-like reflections. The mask lands on Chuckie, and Lou freaks because he thinks the mask is now haunted. But he nearly shits himself when he sees Tommy’s ghost-like brown sheet blowing in the air. Lou, all the while, is utilizing some pretty epic alliterative exclamations, such as “Jumpin’ Jehoshaphat,” “Leapin’ librarians,” and “Hoppin’ hornytoads!” Ha. Nice. He finally bolts.
The babies find all the candy and bags, and drag it back to the playpen. Meanwhile, Didi, Drew and Stu are laughing at Lou who’s telling them about his “supernatural” encounter and that he’s not re-entering that tent. Well, Stu and Drew are. Didi doesn’t even have a line and just stands there and rolls her eyes. Angelica defends Lou in a whiny little voice that makes me want to stick a rusty chisel in one ear and out the other. God, she is fucking grating. On another note, it never occurs to any of them that, even though we the audience know what caused Lou and Angelica to freak out, that it could’ve been vandals or pranksters in there? Hell, didn’t this occur to Lou? I mean, the reactions of the parents just don’t make sense. Here we have not one, but two people saying something happened and three other people dismissing it as an overreaction, but would it really fucking hurt just to look into it, or call the cops to report a possible vandalism? But, I digress.
Lou asks his sons which one of them has the balls to go back into the haunted house to check things out, and Stu and Drew look at each other apprehensively. Oh, for fuck’s sake, go in and look! It’s your house! Or call the cops, but fucking look into it! Angelica brats that she wants Reptar Bars. Inside, the babies are eating the Reptar Bars. Choking hazard alert! And the episode ends with Drew and Stu fighting over who goes into the haunted house first, and Angelica repeatedly screams at the top of her lungs that she wants her damn Reptar Bar. Shut up, Angelica, you little idiot!

Monsters in the Garage
Synopsis: A mysterious disturbance in the Pickles household knocks around and destroys a bunch of stuff in the garage. Spike is unfairly blamed, so Tommy and his friends set out to investigate.
The episode opens with Tommy and Chuckie crawling around underneath a large quilt or something. When they finally reach the edge and get out from underneath the quilt, Spike is right there to greet them with a big, sloppy kiss. Awwww, I love doggies. But this sweet moment is interrupted when a crash is heard from the garage. Lou, ever the responsible baby-sitter, wakes up from a deep sleep as soon as he hears the crash. Stu, who I guess was in the basement hard at work, and Didi, who is in a robe and is wearing an exfoliating mask (that’s right, dump the kids on Lou so you can do a little D.I.Y. spa treatment without anybody bothering you, bitch), rush to the garage along with Lou, to find that a shelf that held paint cans has collapsed. Paint has spilled and is now covering the floor. Spike walks up from the living room, where he was at the time of the crash, and Stu and Lou quite literally point the finger at him. Poor Spike. Also, Lou was in the living room with Spike; did he not notice the kids and the dog in the room when he woke up? Only Didi makes a case for Spike saying there was no way to know if he was at fault for the shelf collapsing. Um, yes, there was. Lou was in the room with him. Also, those shelves were bolted pretty fucking high up on the wall; I doubt Spike would have any reason to somehow jump and reach for something on that shelf.
But, because every adult is a fucking lost cause on this show, Spike is tied up to a doghouse in the backyard. Those mean fucks. Tommy is rightfully pissed as he vents to Chuckie about Spike’s unfair punishment. Yeah, what the hell? They’re going to keep an indoor dog outside, indefinitely, over a mess he didn’t make? Common sense, motherfuckers, have you some! But no time to talk about that, as Betty and Howard pop over with the twins. Apparently Boris and Minka are baby-sitting while the Pickles and Devilles go bowling. Boris and Minka wish them luck and tell them to “make many spare tires.” Well, at least the babies will be in the hands of some competent adults, if only for a couple of hours. I love Boris and Minka, and wish we could have seen more episodes with the two of them. I loved the Passover episode, and the Chanukah episode. Anywho…
Later that night, Boris is telling the babies a monster story from his old country. What I want to know is, how long were the parents gone if it is now nighttime (and, I might add, now thunderstorming)? Boris is really getting into it, and Minka snarks that the babies won’t understand a word that “Mr. Storyteller” is saying. They evoke that classic, cynical grandparent demeanor as they wave each other off and grunt. Man, the grandparents are fucking hilarious on this show. Back to the story, the babies are entranced with Boris’ epic shadow puppets and dramatic gestures as Boris is describing a dybbuk, which is a Yiddish word for a mythical evil spirit that sometimes possesses living beings, only here the definition is simplified to a big, scary monster (like the boogie man, or el cucú, as Spanish speakers call him). We also get a word for a blunt object that could be used for a deadly weapon, called clobbermeister (sp?). Not sure what language that is, but it sounds legit.
We abruptly cut to the next scene. It’s morning and Stu is out in the backyard in his robe and tries to greet Spike, who is still tied up outside and trying to quell his hunger pains with grass.

Wait a fuck.


You left him outside during a thunderstorm?! Okay, not only should you negligent assholes not be allowed to reproduce; you should not be allowed to own a domestic animal! Fuck, I wouldn’t trust these people with a damn rock! I should also note that there’s not a food or water bowl in sight. What the fuck is wrong with these people? Christ, it wouldn’t fucking surprise me if they leave Spike in the car on a hot day, too. Understandably, Spike walks away from Stu and hides in his doghouse. Awwww, I feel ya, Spike. If I had a douchecanoe for a master, I wouldn’t want to be around him, either.
All four babies are in the playpen and Stu bitches to Didi about having to baby-sit again. I don’t know what the fuck he’s complaining about since they never even watch the kids. Whereas Boris and Minka are proactive in child care, the rest of the adults either sleep, pawn their kids off on someone else or go off to another room doing God knows what. Anyway, Didi explains that Betty is training for a marathon and I’m not sure where Chaz is since they don’t mention him at all. So once Dumb and Dumber have left the living room, the babies talk about the dybbuk story Boris told them the night before. Tommy concludes that the same thing must be going on, that a monster or something resides in the garage and is causing trouble for everyone by destroying stuff, resulting in Spike being unfairly blamed for it.
We then see another scene from a varmint’s point of view (seriously, how can you not know the “thing” causing trouble is some type of vermin?) as it crawls out of the garage, through the kitchen, into the living room, up an armchair and onto a bookcase. It knocks over a few books, which in turn knock over a lamp. The lamp doesn’t even break, but Didi and Stu have a hissy fit anyway and go outside to chastise Spike. Spike, who is outside, tied to a fucking doghouse.
The Pickles parents, they are a special kind of stoo-pid!
Chuckie points out what I just did and says that Spike was outside the entire time (yeah, a fucking toddler pieced it together before a pair of fucking adults), and Tommy decides to round up the babies for a little monster-hunting in the garage. But first, they get the appropriate clobbermeisters. Phil and Lil have a squeaky ball and a rattle, respectively, which meets Tommy’s approval. Chuckie has a teddy bear he’s been holding onto the entire scene, so Tommy consfiscates it, gives Chuckie a flashlight and tells him to turn it on when prompted.
They head past Stu and Didi as they make their way toward the garage. Stu, rightfully feeling like a bastard for keeping Spike tied up outside, wants to feed the dog, and Didi bitches that the dog will gain weight. Oh, fuck these two, man! Re-watching this episode is seriously pissing me off; I hate the way they’re mistreating Spike over something they can’t fucking prove. As the owner of not one, but two furbabies, my mind is seriously blown. Did the writers hate dogs or something? I didn’t think a cartoon could piss me off this much!
So the babies are in the garage, and Chuckie notes that it’s pretty dark. Tommy utilizes his stupid “Don’t be a baby!” catchphrase and after everything else I’ve seen, I really want to scream and swear at this damn episode. The babies mistake a car and a pair of lamps for monsters until Chuckie shines a light on them. To be fair, the visuals in the dark are kind of clever, though. Then one of the lamps is knocked over, setting off a chain reaction in which more shit gets knocked over, flies around and falls, leading to an anti-climax in which a small fire log rolls under the car, toward the babies. But then, they see a shadow where the light from the now inexplicably lit lamp hits the garage door. The shadow turns out to be a mouse, and the babies, having never seen a mouse before, are all entranced. Tommy tells the mouse, “We come in peace,” and he and the mouse channel E.T. as they reach out to each other with their index fingers.
The garage door opens and Didi, Stu and Lou appear. Didi wonders how the kids got in there and oh, maybe if you or your nimrod husband had been watching them… Stu starts screaming at the sight of the mouse and after Lou was made fun of during the events of the last episode, it is now Lou’s turn to pass judgment. Ha ha, not so funny when the shoe’s on the other foot, is it, Stu? Stu starts screaming for Spike… uh, and Spike isn’t tied to his doghouse anymore… did we miss a scene? Spike runs to the front of the house and into the garage. Upon seeing the mouse, he barks once, scaring the mouse away. And that’s what it takes for Spike to get redemption from Stu… although, maybe Stu should be trying to make up for his shitty treatment of that poor dog… which he tries to do by declaring that Spike is now allowed to sleep in the bed for the rest of his life, but Didi ain’t having it, and fuck you too, lady! You were just as bad since you just stood by and let Stu starve the dog and tie him up outdoors, and on top of that, even complained about having to feed him. You’re both shitty, shitty dog owners.
The episode closes on the babies discussing the mouse and how it wasn’t so scary, another unspecified crash, and Stu screaming that it’s happening again. Let’s all pray that Spike doesn’t get the blame this time. Who knows, they’ll probably beat him with a baseball bat. I mean, Christ, nothing would surprise me at this point.
Hope you enjoyed the recaps, and again, though I can’t make any promises, I’ll try not to let too much time go between recaps.

Real or Robots?/Special Delivery

Real or Robots?

Synopsis: Tommy thinks Stu is a robot.

I have to preface by saying that this episode still makes me lose my shit. By that, I mean it’s fucking hilarious. I always loved how the early Nicktoons didn’t patronize kids by using infantile humor and I think this episode is an example of that. The first few seasons of Rugrats were great. Too bad they had to ruin it later by making it so damn innocuous and generic (not to mention the addition of Dil and Kimi).

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Tommy and Chuckie are watching a movie in which a scientist plots to replace every man, woman and child with robots. A little kid enters his laboratory and yells, “Oh, no! Dad, you’re a robot!” Since this is a movie-within-an-animated-cartoon-series, I won’t nitpick. Stu, dressed in his pajamas and appearing drowsy as hell, shuts off the television and claims the movie to be too scary for the babies. Well, jeez, Stu, why let them watch it in the first place? I’m pretty sure one of the harmless Not Quite Human movies would’ve sufficed! He takes the kids to the nursery and says good night. He tells Chuckie that his mom and dad will pick him up in the morning. Wait… the same mom who passed away? Maybe she dies somewhere between season one and season two, but even then, there was a Mother’s Day episode in which Chuckie doesn’t remember his mom… that episode, of course, occurs in a later season. This series has a weird time warp kind of like that of the The Baby-sitters Club, in which the characters are permanently the same age for over a decade. It isn’t until the spinoff, All Grown Up, that everyone finally ages accordingly.

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Stu shuts off the light and leaves, and Tommy can’t sleep. When Chuckie asks him what’s wrong, Tommy discusses his suspicions. After watching that robot movie, Tommy has been thinking about who among the adults in their life could be robots. He suspects the mailman, the ice cream vendor and even Stu, who in his drowsiness did seem a bit robotic, has been abducted and replaced by a robot. Chuckie is freaked out but still skeptical. Nevertheless, he follows Tommy and the two babies leave the crib and make their way to Stu and Didi’s bedroom.

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In the bedroom, Stu is completely out of it and Didi, worried, advises him to work a little less hard and get some sleep, lest he starts sleepwalking like he did the summer before. She reveals that the last time he sleepwalked, he rearranged his sock drawer and tried to make a thirteen-egg omelet on the kitchen floor. Oh, my God, that is hilarious. I only sleepwalked once and it wasn’t as funny as Stu’s domestic/culinary sleepwalking escapade. I just woke up in my kitchen in my pajamas and my sneakers tightly tied. That was when I was fourteen years old, too. Stu immediately conks out before he can kiss Didi goodnight, and she shuts off the light and goes to bed.

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Tommy and Chuckie enter the bedroom and find Stu snoring away. Tommy deduces that robots wouldn’t need to breathe, and Chuckie tentatively agrees. He climbs up onto the bed, crawls up to Stu’s face and sticks his index fingers in Stu’s nostrils. Stu snorts and wheezes, and in a powerful attempt to exhale, sends Tommy toppling backwards. Stu wakes up and sees the boys on the floor, staring blankly at him.

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After Stu takes the kids back to the nursery, ties the crib back together with shoelaces and leaves, Tommy unties the shoelaces as he explains to Chuckie that he’s still not convinced that Stu is not a robot, explaining that there were noises coming from inside of him (his snoring). They get out of the crib and Tommy gets a wrench from his toy box (a plastic one, I assume), as well as a flashlight.

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When they return to the bedroom, Tommy gives the flashlight to Chuckie and crawls up onto the bed. He unbuttons Stu’s pajamas obviously looking for bolts and screws to open up the “chest plate” (like the robot in the movie). He points to Stu’s nipples and says, “See? There they are!”

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Holy shit, those things are erect!

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The look on Chuckie’s face is fucking priceless.

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Tommy takes the wrench and squeezes one nipple and Stu wakes up screaming, which scares the boys and makes them scream, too. I am not ashamed to tell you people that this entire scene still cracks my shit up over two decades later.  Mention it to me just once and I’ll be grinning like an idiot all day.

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Back in the nursery, Stu takes more extreme measures as he secures the crib a second time.  Well, this is shaping up to be an eventful, strenuous night for both babies and adults.

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Tommy and Chuckie escape by using… a blanket tied in knots?  How very A Man Escaped of him.  Of course, I wouldn’t expect anything less from an infant who knows how to use an elevator.

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The boys take Tommy’s toy tool box with them this time.  “Tiny Tools.”  You know, it’s like these people knew that twenty-some years later, “mind-in-the-gutter” people like me would be recapping and finding dirty humor in seemingly innocuous things like a fucking plastic tool box labeled “Tiny Tools.”

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Chuckie pleads with Tommy to go back to the nursery. Tommy says not until he finds out for sure that Stu isn’t a robot, and Chuckie exasperatedly throws his hands up and says there’s no such thing as robots. Just then, Stu gets up and starts sleepwalking. He makes this groaning noise that frightens the babies, and they run out screaming.

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Okay, bullshit. Didi can’t hear shit going on five or ten feet away from her because of a fucking pillow on her ear?  Hell, I can hear shit going on in the apartment below mine, pillow or not.

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The babies run downstairs (miraculously without falling) and Stu follows in hot pursuit. He chases them all the way to the kitchen, with Chuckie shouting, “You were right! He is a robot!” Along the way, Tommy finds the TV on and the robot movie still playing, and Stu knocks over a bunch of breakable shit, like clay planters and lamps.

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Tommy and Chuckie hide in a cabinet and Stu heads for the refrigerator and retrieves… a bowl of noodles and a carton of eggs. Hold on to your seats, folks, it’s omelet time. Stu is talking to an “audience” as he is dreaming of hosting a live cooking show.  As Tommy and Chuckie watch on, Stu drops the bowl of noodles into Tommy’s high chair and calls the chair his “lovely assistant Ramona” and starts breaking eggs on the floor and counting each one, like one-potato, two-potato, three-potato, six-potato, fourteen-potato, sixteen-potato, one hundred nineteen-potato… you get the idea. It’s pretty funny, and the kids think he’s talking in robot code. Actually, my husband has said his fair share of funny shit in his sleep, too. Among my favorites are, “I love chocolate swirlies,” “We don’t have anymore of that stuff on the carts” (in response to me asking him where my cell phone was) and my personal favorite, “Idu diku, Kermit.” (I think he was trying to do his Muppet Babies Animal impression and say, “Okey-dokey, Kermit.” I looked up “idu diku” on Google Translate for fun, and apparently it means “go for beauty” in Serbian and “tenth of the germ” in Estonian. My husband speaks neither language, which makes it all the more hilarious.)

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Stu notices the babies watching, and in his sleep thinks it’s Drew spying and trying to steal his recipe. (“This is my cooking show, Drew!”) Tommy and Chuckie run to the living room with Stu in hot pursuit.

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I have to admit, this is a pretty creepy image.  If my dad walked toward me like this, swung his arms in an attempt to grab me and addressed me as “Drew,” I’d most likely piss my pants.

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Tommy sees the remote control for the TV and tries to turn Stu off. When that doesn’t work, he and Chuckie run back to the nursery. Stu dances with a lamp and then falls asleep on the armchair.

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All the commotion finally gets Didi’s attention and she goes downstairs. She sees the mess in the living room (I wonder if she went apeshit when she walked into the kitchen?) and sees Stu snoozing on the armchair and doing the “one-potato, two potato” count in his sleep. He addresses Didi as “Ramona” and she’s momentarily pissed until he explains that Ramona is an assistant from his dream cooking show, not a side chick. She realizes he’s been sleepwalking and they go upstairs together. Might wanna confront the lamp, though.

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Okay, why does Chuckie have a mouthful of teeth?  Animators, did you just say fuck all to continuity?

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Stu and Didi stop in the nursery and Tommy and Chuckie, still scared shitless, pretend to be asleep. Tommy overhears Stu telling Didi about a dream he kept having in which Tommy kept trying to open his chest with a plastic screwdriver like he was a robot. Tommy smiles as Didi assures Stu that he (Tommy) would never do that, and Stu remarks that Tommy is a great kid. So great, he’d try to open up your chest with a plastic screwdriver. Oh wait, it was a wrench.

Tommy decides his dad isn’t a robot after all, and Chuckie ponders the possibility of his dad being a robot and I laugh at the visual of Chaz getting his nipples tweaked and screaming bloody murder.

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Wait, when did Didi get hot?

Special Delivery

Synopsis: Stu buys a doll from a competitor. Tommy thinks this means he’s getting a new baby sister.

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We open with Stu working unsuccessfully on a walking, talking doll called Patty Pants. The doll eventually shorts out and stops working. I have to say, that doll is pretty fug.

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Tommy and a mailman get caught up in a rousing round of reverse tug-of-war with today’s mail (the mailman wins) when the mailman finally looks through the slot to see an angry dog flashing his teeth and barking. He promptly shoves the last of the mail, a thick catalog, into the slot and into Spike’s mouth, then leaves.

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The catalog is from a toy company called Eggbert, a competitor of Pickles Toys. Stu thumbs through the catalog and sees that Eggbert has released a doll similar to Stu’s Patty Pants doll called Tina Trousers, available for next-day delivery. Tina Trousers is actually a lot cuter-looking than Patty Pants. Tina Trousers is basically a walking, talking version of Baby Alive. (I totally had one of those when I was seven!) In fact, Tina Trousers actually gets realistic diaper rash. Inventive? Stu bemoans the fact that his doll can’t even say the right catchphrases, let alone wet realistically. Didi assures him that Eggbert always hypes up products that are never any good, and advises Stu to order one and see for himself. Stu decides that this is a good idea and goes to order one. I have to agree that this makes perfect sense. Stu can check out his competitor’s project and see exactly where the flaws are and release a better doll. (I hope this means refining her physical appearance a bit, that Patty Pants doll is scary as fuck!)

Holy shit, you guys.  Something actually makes sense in the Rugrats universe!  Somebody hold me!  Anyway, Didi shows Tommy the Patty Pants doll in the catalog and tells him that a “new baby” is coming in the mail. Tommy is rightfully confused.

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Betty shows up with Phil, Lil and Chuckie and Stu is downright rude to her. He bursts into the living room asking Didi for the catalog, then says, very rudely, “Oh, hi, Betty.” What the fuck? Didi explains to Betty that Stu is just stressed out over the Patty Pants project, but that’s still no excuse to be an asshole. Betty and Didi put the babies in the playpen and head to the kitchen for some coffee. Tommy tells his friends that his parents are getting another baby. Phil and Lil reveal that Betty wants another baby, too. Okay, Betty? You have two infants right now; don’t go back for seconds if your plate’s already full. Just sayin’. Chuckie asks Phil and Lil where Betty would find another baby, and Phil and Lil argue back and forth whether you go to a store or a stork brings them. Chuckie puts a stop to the argument by saying that his mom (the one that supposedly died) told him that he came from the hospital. Tommy says the baby his parents are getting is coming in the mail. Chuckie is impressed that Tommy’s family is getting a baby that’s going to be pushed through the mail slot (insert birthing joke here).

The next day, Tommy is sitting on a little stool in front of the mail slot, waiting for Tina Trousers. The usual mail comes through, but no doll. Stu opens the door and immediately demands to know where the package is. The same poor mailman from the day before, who has been attacked by every dog on the block up to this point, tries to keep his composure as he explains that the package was too large to carry and that Stu would have to pick it up. Stu starts screaming that he doesn’t have time to go to the post office and that the postal service isn’t as good as it used to be. God, STFU, Stu.

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Tommy, unnoticed (of course), dives into the mailbag and looks for Tina Trousers. He sees a baby magazine, flips through it and says, “Baaaaaaaby,” rather lustily, and I die a little inside.

When the mailman arrives at the post office, Tommy crawls out of the bag and onto a stool next to a conveyor belt. He spies a package that – I guess – is kind of shaped like a baby (it turns out to be just a vase). He climbs onto the belt, and… well, you can guess what kind of Rube Goldberg-esque shenanigans unfold….

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What.  In.  The.  Fuck.

No, seriously, what in the fuck?  Did the writers and animators just not give a shit?  Good God, that is horrible!  That poor guy.  That poor dead guy.  Imagine… being trapped in there for the rest of your days, alone, starving to death.  Since he’s a skeleton, it’s pretty obvious he’s been down there a long time.  I wonder how long before his family just gave up looking for him?

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Obviously, if the only other living human to have ever reached this little area died and was never heard from again, then it’s clear this room was never, ever intended for human use and it’s pretty fucking pointless to have those levers (unreachable ones, at that), isn’t it?

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Well, after that series of events (which, of course, also goes completely unnoticed, because it’s fucking Rugrats), he finally makes it to the end of the line, where the Tina Trousers package awaits. The box is not even wrapped in any sort of paper, so Tommy can see the doll through that little cellophane window on the box. He opens the box (which isn’t even taped shut, proving Didi’s point about the Eggbert company not exactly being high quality) and dives in, making conversation with Tina Trousers, whose only response is, “Mama!”

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Stu is in line at the post office, and when the postal clerk at the package desk calls on him, he immediately starts screaming at her. Literally. She actually calls him out for being rude, but he doesn’t get the memo. She hands him the box and tells him there’s no charge because the box is damaged (which Stu snaps at her for, as if she has anything to do with the condition of the box), and Stu storms off muttering about the shitty service at the post office. Stu, you’re a dick.

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And of course, he never notices that Tommy is in the box with the doll, not even when he opens the package and takes out the Tina Trousers doll. Clueless idiot. It isn’t until Lou comes into the kitchen and sees the package that he finds Tommy in the packing peanut-filled box.

By the way, I just love how this episode indirectly foreshadows a certain new addition to the Pickles clan a few years later.

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Damn it, Dil, why did you (and Kimi, for that matter) have to go and shit on one of my favorite Nicktoons?  I curse the day you were born!

Grandpa’s Teeth/Momma Trauma

Quick note: Hey guys, just to inform you, another recap is half-done and will be up soon.  And yes, it includes the “Real or Robots?” episode… perhaps the funniest episode of the series.  Since the crappy connection where I live interferes with media being uploaded onto this site, there won’t be any screencaps for these recaps.  But I’ll insert them for the next one!

Grandpa’s Teeth

Synopsis: Lou loses his dentures at a picnic. This episode is every bit as disgusting as it sounds.

We open on Lou playing a sweet solo on his trumpet. Wait, Lou can play the trumpet? Is this ever mentioned again? Doesn’t matter; everyone’s fawning over him like he’s Satchmo… until he makes allusions to taking out his new dentures in order to eat the potato salad Didi made. Then everyone’s bitching and pleading for poor Lou not to take them out until he’s home. (Drew, in particular, is pretty nasty about it.) Granted, they do have a point: apparently Lou previously lost another set of dentures the year before. Still, they could’ve been nicer about it.

This episode takes place at a veterans’ picnic, and Lou is part of a band comprised of vets who served in World War II. Well, on behalf of all of us young ‘uns who watched Rugrats as kids, thanks for your service, Lou!  When Didi, Stu and Drew have all left the picnic table, Lou takes out his dentures and sets them on a napkin next to what looks like a plate of ribs. Ick. Tommy and Chuckie, who are watching from a playpen set up near the food table, make some pretty awesome faces demonstarting their surprise, then express envy at the fact that Lou can take his teeth out, mainly due to the fact that if you bit your tongue without your teeth, it wouldn’t hurt. They then try to pull on their own teeth (Tommy has like one little tooth and Chuckie has only his two front teeth… which I’ve always found rather odd. Was there ever a baby in existence that grew their two top teeth first, rather than the two teeth on the bottom?) as Lou samples everything from Didi’s potato salad to lime Jell-O. Then they see Spike take the dentures into his mouth, along with a rib, and run off.

At that moment, Didi yells at Lou to put his teeth back in his mouth. But of course, the teeth are gone. Didi asks Lou the last thing he did with his teeth, and Lou thinks they probably fell into the potato salad. We get a lovely shot of the bubbling surface, then Stu pulls back his sleeve and sticks his hand into the salad, making a squishy noise. Blaargh.

Tommy decides he wants to retrieve the dentures from Spike. Chuckie, of course, wants to forget the whole thing and tells Tommy, “Maybe he’ll grow some new teeth!” Heh. Dumb toddler. Tommy then goes off on a rant about how Lou is the only grown-up at the house that actually gives a shit about him, and how he actually takes care of him and plays with him when he’s not lying unconscious in a chair with the TV on. Yeah, that’s about right. Tommy produces a screwdriver hidden underneath the fabric lining of the playpen, and the babies escape. And by the way, no, the adults don’t notice at all during this episode. They’re too busy looking for Lou’s dentures. By the way, why did they bring the dog to the picnic in the first place? It just seems like a weird plot device, as does the fact that Drew is there but not Angelica, and Chuckie’s there but not Chaz. But whatever.

Spike has a run-in with a menacing bulldog, who is automatically frightened by the sight of Spike’s teeth in addition to the dentures. Tommy and Chuckie find Spike burying his rib by the lake and start making their way back. Huh. That was anti-climatic.

But soon, they are confronted by a bunch of oddly territorial geese who don’t even honk; the sounds they make sound more like growls. Spike barks at them and inadvertently spits out the dentures. The “head” goose gets them and chases after them, followed by the other geese. What is with these geese? Are they on ‘roid rage, or possessed by demons, or something?

Elsewhere, a little kid brats to his dad about not wanting to ride ponies because they might go too fast. The dad assures him that they can barely even trot on account of they’re so old. At that moment, the geese appear and scare the shit out of the pony, who starts running with the kid on the saddle and the dad screaming and clinging on to the reins. Wouldn’t you know it, the kid loves ponies now! The pony, the geese, the babies and Spike all run across the park to where a couple of old guys are playing shuffleboard. The goose with the dentures slips on a puck and the teeth come flying out of his mouth. Tommy retrieves them and he, Chuckie and Spike finally make their way back to the picnic area, where Lou is still frantically looking for his teeth. When he tells Didi to check a bucket of friend chicken, Stu spits out his food, which happens to be a drumstick. God, what the hell? I don’t remember this episode being that gross.

It’s time for the band to perform the national anthem. Without his dentures, Lou sounds like crap on his trumpet. Spike, with Tommy and Chuckie riding on his back, shows up just as the band begins their performance, only to be stopped by the same flock of crazy geese. Spike is running so fast that it’s too late for him to come to a safe stop, and he runs into the geese like a bowling ball. The dentures fly out of Tomy’s hand and by chance Lou sees them headed his way. He quickly catches them, dunks them into a nearby glass of water, sticks them in his mouth and plays the last few bars of “The Star-Spangled Banner” effortlessly, finishing off with a cheesy grin.

Chuckie and Tommy, unscathed and alone long after the crowds have parted (yeah, apparently no one has bothered still to check the playpen at this point) decide that being old sucks ass and that it’s best to keep your stuff (i.e., teeth) where it belongs… until they see a guy take off his toupee and wipe sweat off his dome. Then Tommy looks at Chuckie’s thick red hair and decides he wants to yank that shit off. Naturally, Chuckie tells him to fuck off.

Seriously, what was up with those crazy geese?

Momma Trauma

Synopsis: Stu and Didi take Tommy to a shrink.

Didi walks in on Tommy humming “Red River Valley” (?!) and coloring on the walls in the hallway with crayons. She decides he’s so emotionally fucked up that she needs to take him to a baby therapist. Stu is rightfully against the idea and Didi says Tommy doesn’t have a proper creative outlet. Okay. First of all, it is not unheard of for a child to color on the walls. If anything, it’s common. Hell, my sister did it when she was a toddler – she colored my mom’s bathroom with lipstick. Second, he’s one. He doesn’t need a creative outlet at this point. All he needs is a secure environment and age-appropriate toys. What is he even doing with crayons? He’s an infant! Third, the only problem he has is that the adults in his life are so fucking negligent that most of the time, they don’t even notice when he wanders off! And that goes for the rest of the parents on this show!

Didi and Stu take Tommy to the office of a Dr. Lepetomaine, Ph.D and M.D. Not only does Didi claim to take Lepetomaine’s writings as gospel (I thought she was all about Lipschitz?), she actually tells the doctor what could be wrong with Tommy. Let the man do his job, you fucking dumb broad! Stu is exasperated and tells Dr. L that he doesn’t feel like they should be there in the first place and wants to leave two minutes into the session. Hey, for once I agree with you, Stu-meister. Dr. L starts in on Stu and starts asking him questions… at which point, Tommy notices the open door and sneaks out right under their fucking noses. Which, considering what I just said about the parents on this show being a bunch of negligent asses, is not hard for him to do. He crawls into the lobby, where this receptionist with blonde hair and a shit-ton of dark green eyeshadow, who just seconds earlier was eavesdropping on the session, is listening to loud music on her headphones and dancing with her eyes closed. Moron.

Tommy spots a bunch of parents and children walking past the lobby and crawls out into the hallway to follow them. He crawls past a scary janitor who talks to himself and somehow gets into the elevator and rides all the way up to the top floor where, conveniently, he spots the same crowd of parents and children. They walk around a corner and he sets off to find them, crawling past the law office of Sockem and Suem (womp, womp) and a studio where some pervy painter is trying to score points with his model. He finally makes his way to the Snow, Steele and Trickum Agency (womp, womp) and finds the kids and their moms and dads. So what’s the payoff here? Well, it turns out the agency is helping a toy company test out new toys by letting the young ‘uns play with them. The toy being tested today is a plastic robot called Super Plasto-Man, a robot action figure that shoots a bouncy ball from its chest. That actually doesn’t sound too bad. Tommy removes the ball, which looks like one of those bouncy balls with a fabric covering, and the other kids follow suit. It turns out they prefer the ball to the overall robot toy, and the kids start playing with it, bouncing it, tossing it, what have you. Tommy accidentally loses his ball and it bounces its way down a stairway. So Tommy crawls out of the office and decides to take the elevator down.  Yeah, sure, why not?

The agents are losing their shit because the robot toy was top-secret and if they don’t retrieve the ball and return the robot to the toy company in one piece, shit’ll hit the fan and they’ll lose their jobs. I don’t see how losing a small, replaceable part of a toy is such a problem, especially since the other robot toys are apparently back in one piece, but whatever. Tommy somehow miraculously makes it to the floor where the ball has landed and finds it in an ashtray. He climbs onto one of those high-powered, electric floor cleaners to get the ball out of the (full – ick!) ashtray. He falls backwards and hits the on switch, and the creepy janitor from before plugs in the cord for the floor cleaner. Tommy whizzes past some offices, including – conveniently enough – Dr. L’s office. He then lands in a cart full of mail, and a mail clerk (voiced by Jeremy Piven, interestingly enough – I looked at the credits after completing the review) wheels it to (where else?) Dr. L’s office, where Stu is sobbingly breaking down over shit that happened in his childhood involving his older brother Drew, and Dr. L… is asleep. Didi and Stu both seem to be oblivious to that, just as they’re oblivious to the fact that Tommy has been gone the whole session and just came back.

Ironically, Stu and Didi have changed their respective opinions about Dr. L. Didi is upset that Dr. L didn’t even talk about Tommy and the bill for the visit was expensive, and Stu is happy someone was willing to listen to him bitch and moan about his problems with Drew and doesn’t seem at all concerned about the fact that the meeting was really supposed to be about Tommy. I have to agree with Didi that Dr. L’s “qualifications” seem phony. Any legit child psychologist would’ve straight up made the observation that they’re both shitty parents.

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.”

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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!”).

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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.

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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.

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…

Screencap 1

…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.

Screencap 9

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:

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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.