As a person who grew up in the 1990s, I watched a great many shows on TV that many people of my generation greatly enjoyed. They are responsible for some of my happiest childhood memories. I loved escaping the real world to go into the world of TV to relate to people and to just have fun being entertained. I will save discussion of most of the shows I watched as a child for other posts, but I want to focus on one of my favorites: Rugrats, which I began occasionally re-watching online a few months ago.
I’m sure you all know about them. The show focused babies who could talk. Well, they could not technically talk. The implication is that they spoke in “baby talk” and that their words were translated into English for the convenience of the audience. They could not communicate with adults, but they could communicated with young children who also had the ability to communicate with adults.
In addition to being able to talk, they also got into lots of adventures, and that leads me to my main point, which something that I realized a few months ago. THEY HAVE HORRIBLE PARENTS!
Seriously, every episode, their parents leave them alone, and they get into all sorts of crazy situations; for example, in the episode “Touchdown Tommy,” Angelica tries to steal Tommy’s bottle of chocolate milk while the Rugrats’ dads are watching a football game and not paying attention to them; this results in the Rugrats playing football with the bottle to keep it away from Angelica, and this results in the entire living room being drenched in chocolate milk. In “Turtle Recall,” they are left alone and unattended in a department store and go exploring on their own to another part of the to get to a fountain that looks like a turtle. In one of the first episodes, “Barbecue Story,” Tommy climbs over the fence to get back his ball that Angelica threw into a neighbor’s yard; he almost gets mauled by a bulldog.
Seriously, if this were real life, their parents would be charged with child abuse and the Rugrats would be put in foster care. There is no excuse for the babies being able do even a fraction of what they do.
But of course, this is a cartoon, and not real life. And of course, if their parents showed even the slightest bit of attention to their parents, the plots of the various episodes would have never happened, and then none of the countless children of 1990s would have had those memories of enjoying one of the best shows of that decade.