YMMV / Rugrats

  • Accidental Innuendo:
    "I hate kissing movies. Nothing ever happens."
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Was Tommy the heroic, assertive and fearless leader of the babies or an overbearing, selfish Designated Hero and Manipulative Bastard comparable to Angelica who coerces his friends (particularly Chuckie) into doing what he thinks they should do based on his perceptions and getting his way? The episodes "Farewell, My Friend", "Garage Sale" and "The Odd Couple" showcase this.
    • Many fans view Angelica as a sociopath based on her Troubling Unchildlike Behavior as seen in "The Trial" as well as her out of nowhere freakout in "The Box" and it's assumed that her Freudian Excuse is that her parents are somewhat negligent towards her and clueless about her that it probably kinda warped her and, as a result, she gets a strange kick out of telling lies to her cousin and his friends and she has no idea how to be a good friend.
  • Archive Panic: 172 half-hour episodes over nine seasons, and that's not including the three movies, the two direct-to-video films adapting the fairy tales "Snow White" and "Jack and the Beanstalk", the short-lived Preschool Daze spinoff, and All Grown Up!.
  • Awesome Music:
    • The second movie's soundtrack is nothing to sneeze at.
    • Having Mark Mothersbaugh score the show isn't anything to sneeze at either.
    • "Reptar On Ice" stands out among individual episodes.
    • And "Vacation",
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Susie Carmichael. Some adore her, some see her as the worst case of Positive Discrimination ever.
    • There are fans who like Angelica Pickles for being an amazingly cunning brat and contributing to some of the show's humor as well as fans who dislike her for her It's All About Me attitude and always picking on the babies.
    • A lot of fans dislike Tommy's younger brother Dil Pickles because he does very little to contribute to the plot and is often The Load, but there are just as many people who find him adorable and enjoy the moments where he and his older brother get along.
    • Kimi Finster also has a divisive reception, mainly due to making her debut during the show's Seasonal Rot.
    • Chuckie has amassed this in recent years. This is mostly due to his latter seasons self where his cowardice was Flanderized into being afraid of everything, and it would be Played for Drama far more often than comedy - which makes him The Load to some. But others still love him for being The Woobie.
  • Big Lipped Alligator Moment:
    • "This World is Something New to Me" in the first movie.
    • How the Toy Palace episode ended, with an animatronic Reptar pushing an animatronic gorilla into a time machine, sending it to the period when Washington crossed the Delaware River. And this wasn't one of the babies' Imagine Spots.
  • Broken Base: As gathered from Seasonal Rot below, fan opinion is sharply divided as to when the series started going downhill. Depending on who you ask, the show either went downhill once the series was revived in 1997, after the first movie, or after the second movie. A small group of fans also prefer the later episodes over the pre-revival episodes, while others think the show stayed consistent throughout the whole run.
  • Creator's Pet:
    • Baby Dil. As soon as he was added, potty humor was cranked up.note 
    • What about Taffy? She was a babysitter introduced late in the series who everybody on the show loved, but almost everybody watching it hated. She mainly existed so that Amanda Bynes could have another Nickelodeon show to star in.
  • Designated Villain: In Silent Angelica, where both Drew and Charlotte tell Angelica they'll buy her a toy if she stays quiet for a half an hour. She genuinely tries to obey them but then the babies decide to exploit this to make a mess, enraging Angelica so much she finally snaps. She ends up getting blamed for the mess the babies made and doesn't get either toy.
  • Ear Worm:
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
    • Of the babies themselves, Chuckie and Angelica are by far the most popular—in fact, Angelica was the only one of the Rugrats to make it into TV Guide's 50 Greatest Cartoon Characters countdown. Her father Drew is one as well in recent years, thanks to Barney Bunch videos and his arguments with Stu.
    • Reptar has more fans on Facebook than the series itself does. This hasn't gone unnoticed by Nickelodeon, who released T-shirts of the character. Wearing one in public is bound to elicit smiles from passersby who fondly remember the show.
    • Charlotte for being a Ms. Fanservice-type as well as getting the most radar dodging moments.
  • Fanon Discontinuity: When the series ended depends on who you ask. Before the first movie? After? Before the second? After? After the first series? And even the people who like All Grown Up! don't like to mention the third movie.
  • First Installment Wins: Due to the increased tension between the Rugrats and the focus on preteen issues in timeskip spinoff, many fans prefer the original series.
  • Friendly Fandoms: The Rugrats fandom and the Recess fandom are very friendly toward each other; a contributing factor would probably be because the latter was created by two Rugrats writers, Paul Germain and Joe Ansolabehere (And written by their writing team)
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: In "The Santa Experience", Angelica meets a shopping mall Santa and one item she tells him she wants is a "911 working emergency stethoscope kit", pronouncing "911" as "Nine-Eleven".
  • Genius Bonus:
    • In "A Visit From Lipschitz" the song he's humming is the German national anthem. The "dog broomer's" name is Ilsa Umlaut. An umlaut is the little dots over vowels in Northern European languages.
    • Lou mentions in a flashback episode that his wife is working for Estes Kefauver's Presidential campaign.
    • In "Mirrorland" Didi comes home with an antique mirror that she claims is a "genuine Louis the XIX." You'd have to be pretty familar with your French history to know that poor old Louis Antoine never actually reigned.
  • Growing the Beard: Not that season 1 was bad, but the show really hits it's stride in season 2 where it focuses on all of the babies rather than mostly Tommy. The Animation Bump, Chuckie becoming less of a complainer, Angelica getting Hidden Depths and the other parents' personalities getting fleshed out all happened in Season 2.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • "The Santa Experience" has Chaz lamenting that his childhood Christmases were never that enjoyable and he worries that it'll be the same for Chuckie. Fast forward to the Christmas Episode of All Grown Up! where we discover that Chuckie's Christmases are indeed miserable because of Chaz. So much so that he's driven to stealing a Christmas tree.
    • Any episode that addresses the death of Chuckie's mother becomes this after Christine Cavanaugh's death from a stroke in December 2014.
    • "Chuckie's Wonderful Life", which has a guardian angel (essentially Chuckie's twin) show him what life would have been like if he hadn't been born, has also become sadder since Cavanaugh's death.
    • A couple of episodes deal with Angelica's loneliness and jealousy of the babies' friendship, notably "The Unfair Pair" where she gets annoyed that the twins exclude her. By the last season she's the only one of the babies without a sibling - and an episode explores her wanting one.
  • Hell Is That Noise:
    • The voice of the monster under Chuckie's bed in the episode "Under Chuckie's Bed".
    Monster: "Hi, Chuckie!"
    • The horrible creaking noise of Angelica's chair in the episode "What The Big People Do".
    • The first Halloween episode had some pretty creepy background music.
    • The ending credits music from the episode "Mega Diaper Babies".
    • The voices of Not!Tommy and Not!Stu creep Chuckie out, and while they're talking, the background music that plays lets you know something's wrong.
    Not!Tommy:: I'm not Tommy! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • In the All Grown Up! pilot, the main plot centers on Stu losing his lucky Scorpio medallion. Didi tells him "[He's] not a Scorpio. [He's] a Libra." Yeah, so is every Scorpio born before the year 2011 in the world now. But only if you follow the Eastern Zodiac. The Western Zodiac is still twelve signs.
    • The 1992 episode "The Big House" is about Tommy being put into a daycare similar to a prison and he then attempts to break the rest of the babies out. One of the babies is voiced by Pamela Segal, and the episode was written by Paul Germain. Flash foward to 1997, where the plot of the episode becomes almost the basis for Paul Germain and fellow writer Joe Ansolabehere's new Disney series, where Pamela Segal is one of the major characters.
      • The episode of The Simpsons that aired in October of the same year (a month after) called A Streetcar Named Marge has a very similar subplot to The Big House. In the early days of Rugrats, they shared animators with The Simpsons as well as Nancy Cartwright (Bart) later voicing Chuckie.
      • There's an early episode of the Simpsons with a scene Bart flipping around a marker, with the focus of the camera tight on the camera. The style that the marker is drawn in is VERY similiar to the crayons in the opening of Momma Trauma.
    • In one episode, Stu gets a head injury that makes him think he's a baby, so he spends the entire episode wearing a diaper and answering to the name "Stuie". This was, of course, several years before another baby named Stewie became a pop culture icon.
    • In the 1993 episode "Game Show Didi", Didi is going up against a smart, undefeated champion in a game of Super Stumpers (a parody of the game show Jeopardy!) featuring Alan Quebec (voiced by Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek). Fast-forward to 2004, and Ken Jennings seems to fit the bill in a winning streak from June 2 to November 30 that ended with a total of $2,522,700. Not bad for a champ who was then undefeated 74 times!
      • It could also be parodying Jerome Vered's winning streak in 1992, whose 1-day record of $34,000 ($68,000 in post-2001 scoring) stood until Ken's winning streak.
    • "Visitors from Outer Space" included a quick background gag that involved heads in jars (two of which were William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy).
    • In one episode, Chuckie comments that he was afraid of eating green Jell-O because it could've been alive. A couple of years later, Jell-O's slogan was actually "It's alive!"
    • Timmy McNulty, a minor character introduced 1997, was voiced by Tara Strong. Four years later, not only would she play another Nicktoon character with the same first name, but she'd use the same voice for both characters, too!
    • In a similar vein, Dil and Kimi, both later additions to the show, had their voice actresses star on The Fairly OddParents. Tara Strong (Dil) went on to play Timmy, while Dionne Quan (Kimi) went on to play Trixie (who Timmy has a crush on!).
    • In the episode "Garage Sale", Didi gets mortified when the kids stumble upon her and Stu's old disco memorabilia, and when Angelica asks her what "disco" is, she tells her that "It's something that happened a long time ago, and it's never, never coming back!" (which is currently the page quote for Deader Than Disco). Years later, the pilot for All Grown Up! would revolve around Stu and Didi competing in a disco dance competition. Not to mention the fact he was literally "Disco Stu".
    • In this series, both Elizabeth Daily and Tara Strong play siblings Tommy and Dil. In The Powerpuff Girls, these two would also play sibling characters, this time sisters instead of brothers. And in one episode, Christine Cavanaugh (Chuckie) appeared as another sibling.
    • In the 1999 episode "Opposites Attract", Tommy and Chuckie meet two kids very similar to them. One of them is a boy named Freddy, voiced by Hynden Walch. This would not be the last time she and E.G. Daily, the voice of Tommy, would work together on a Nickelodeon show.
    • In "He Saw, She Saw", Chuckie was hanging out with a girl who had an overprotective brother who, initially, refused to let Chuckie hang out with her. Chuckie later takes on this behavior with Kimi in All Grown Up, freaking out with she starts hanging out with a bad boy and being upset over his best friend (possibly) crushing on his little sister.
    • In "Unfair Pair", Angelica mentions how Phil and Lil are the only ones among the main characters who have siblings. Later on in the series, Tommy and Chuckie get a brother and a sister respectively, leaving Angelica the only one without any siblings. Additionally the episode "Angelica's Worst Nightmare" has her worrying about the news that she could possibly get a sibling, which is hilarious with the episode where she demands Drew get her a brother or sister.
    • One episode has Reptar destroying Viacom's headquarters (Viacom being Nickelodeon's parent company). Following the company's infamous crusade against YouTube's "fair use" clause, the scene is rather cathartic.
  • Ho Yay: In "Potty Training Spike," Chucky offers to be "Spike's other dad" along with Tommy.
  • Incest Yay Shipping: Some people ship Chuckie and Kimi together. At least they are only step-brother and step-sister. Tommy and Angelica get shipped, but it's more rare.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Angelica in some episodes, like "The Santa Experience" and "Angelica's Worst Nightmare". Other episodes show that she does care for the babies deep down but she hides it behind brattiness and aggression.
  • Launcher of a Thousand Ships:
    • Chuckie Finster has been paired with Angelica, Lil and Susie (and more) over the years. Though to be fair, in the original series Chuckie has had Ship Tease moments with all 3 of the aforementioned girls.
    • Tommy in All Grown Up! is also paired with just about every female character the show has.
  • Memetic Molester: Drew is one for no discernible reason, thanks to the efforts of the Barney Bunch and their troll videos.
  • Memetic Mutation: A pageful, in fact.
  • Mexicans Love Speedy Gonzales: Didi's parents Boris and Minka didn't bode well with some viewers, who felt that they resembled the anti-Semitic caricatures published in Nazi Germany and found their stereotypical Jewish behavior offensive. Ashkenazi Jews, on the other hands, absolutely loved them, feeling it was an accurate portrayal of their people (it helps that Klasky-Csupo was founded and run by Jews). Tellingly, Nickelodeon's Jewish then-president Albie Hecht was baffled by this controversy, while his goyem successor Herb Scannell completely agreed with it and asked that the characters be downplayed.
  • Moe:
    • It's a show about babies, what did you expect!?
    • Chuckie is the prime example; he's a shy and tenderhearted Nice Guy with glasses.
  • Most Annoying Sound:
    • "Halt, I am Reptar! Halt, I am Reptar! Halt, I am Reptar! Halt, I am Reptar! Halt, I am Reptar! Halt, I am Reptar!..."
    • Angelica screaming
    • Baby Dil's crying
    • The Dummi Bears' Leitmotif. "SING A HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY SONG! SING A HAPPY. HAPPY happy HAPPY HAPPY SONG!
  • Most Wonderful Sound: The Pickles Household's doorbell buzz.
  • Nausea Fuel: "Chuckie Loses His Glasses" has the infamous scene where Angelica pukes directly into the camera and her father gets drenched in her vomit.
  • Nightmare Fuel: See here!
    • In-universe example: the episode when the adults took down Chuckie's crib and replaced it with a bed. The first night Chuckie sleeps on the bed, a monster from under the bed keeps talking to him and telling him that he's going to eat him (not even Tommy heard the voice when he slept over the next night). When Chuckie first investigates, he's frightened, thinking he actually spotted a monster reaching at him, and Chuckie jumps right back into bed, frightened. But as it turns out, the monster was actually [Chuckie's dad] Chaz's sweater with one sleeve poking out, and the darkness concealed the cooler colors, making the sweater look threatening.
  • Parody Sue: Susie's mother Lucy appears to be one. She's a qualified doctor with four kids, has studied in France and is a talented chef and artist - which she relays to a dumbfounded Didi in her debut episode. All Grown Up reveals that she was also a successful blues singer when she was eighteen.
  • Poison Oak Epileptic Trees: Pertaining to Tommy's maternal grandparents, Boris and Minka: They're holocaust survivors. Due to Boris and Minka's devout faith, it can easily be argued that they more likely escaped Russia while Hitler and the Nazis were just beginning to conquer Europe. While it may be difficult for some to believe, not every Jewish person who lived in Eastern Europe in the early to mid 20th century experienced the concentration camps.
  • The Problem with Licensed Games:
    • Rugrats: Time Travelers for the Game Boy Color.
    • Rugrats: Scavenger Hunt for the N64 could count as well, for being a Mario Party rip-off with none of the exciting stuff that Mario Party had and instead, had a unnecessary life system based on cookies, the ability to get cards that were pretty much pointless, and overall, got boring really quickly. See here for a Let's Play on the game by two guys that grew up with the series.
    • Rugrats: Royal Ransom is a downplayed example. While the game isn't horrible, it suffers from a lack of innovation and imagination. Not to mention all the annoying collectathons...
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap:
    • There are those whom found Dil to be a lot more likable in All Grown Up! (in which even certain people whom did not like the show would agree to that). This is because while, in the original, he never really had a personality, in the sequel series, he became a weird, conspiracy-and-alien obsessed guy who just happens to like being an oddball.
    • Similarly, Kimi was also better received in All Grown Up! than she was in the original series.
    • Susie is also much less of an Ace than she was in the original series. In fact the first episode has her getting conned into giving a woman $1000 thinking it's for a record deal. Other episodes give her proper flaws such as worrying she's too perfect, becoming jealous of Angelica in her house and being unable to juggle two hobbies at once.
    • Within the show's staff, Angelica was hated prior to her Character Development in later seasons. Arlene Klasky in particular, who stated in excess how much she loathed the character initially, admitted her fondness for her by the time of the first movie.
  • Ron the Death Eater:
    • Out of all the parents in this show, Charlotte gets most of the criticism for her parenting. Fans make her out to be the worst, forgetting the fact that she: never left her kid at a public places and never allowed Angelica to get lost in the woods. What's more is that Charlotte has never had a problem disciplining Angelica, and it's Drew who usually gives into his daughter.
    • Angelica herself gets treated like a Complete Monster and called 'sociopathic' by a lot of fans. This is ignoring the fact that she's three years old and most of her problems are down to indulgent parenting by Drew. She is nasty to the babies, but numerous episodes show that she does have Hidden Depths and cares for them in her own special way. Not to mention All Grown Up! showing that she did mellow out as she grew older.
  • The Scrappy:
    • The babysitter Taffy introduced in the show's last two seasons gets a lot of hate because many saw her as a completely unnecessary Creator's Pet.
    • As far as the parents, Didi tends to be the most disliked. While the other adults are liked for their sympathetic traits, for being pathetically hilarous, their Fanservice or for Memetic Mutation, her overall cluelessness, Selective Enforcement and lackluster parenting (as well as her delusions of being the contrary) make her this.
  • Seasonal Rot: After the second movie and Kimi became a regular. Her presence did not ruin the show, however, it was the fact the Baby Talk was dumbed down. They dumbed down baby talk.
    • However, after Kimi's introduction they did begin basically recycling plots to shoehorn her in. For example, despite Rugrats having several holiday specials in previous years (including in the first season which dealt with the baby's first Halloween), after Kimi becomes part of the babies, the Halloween special is treated like the first with none of the babies nor Angelica remembering what had happened a 'year' ago.
    • Not to mention randomly retconning things: such as Tommy, Chuckie's, Phil, and Lil's first meeting, Angelika's first walk, etc. It was almost like the old writers had never seen the earlier series.
    • There are some fans who believe the show started to go bad after the 1997 revival, some after the first movie, some after the second movie, some after All Grown Up!, and the rest who either believe the show was sweet mana from above or jumped the shark from the beginning.
  • Self-Fanservice: Discussed in this column by Eric Molinsky, a former Rugrats storyboard artist who says that fanart of the characters as adults tends to render them too attractive and glamorous for the show's "lumpy" Eastern-European style, and shows some art of his of how the Rugrats kids would look like as adults in a way much more characteristic of the show.
  • Spiritual Licensee: It can be the closest thing to an animated spin-off of Look Who's Talking as both the series and the film are told from the viewpoint of an infant. Interestingly, the voice of the baby character Mikey of the said film, Bruce Willis, would later voice the character of Spike in the cartoon's The Wild Thornberrys crossover film Rugrats Go Wild!
  • Tastes Like Diabetes:
  • Toy Ship: Tommy/Kimi, Chuckie/Lil, Chuckie/Angelica, Tommy/Lil among others.
  • Uncanny Valley:
    • While the show's art style generally averts this during actual episodes, seeing stills or character art of the cast often has them look... off somehow. With big, manic eyes and gaping mouths, characters who otherwise look fine end up looking terrifying.
    • The pilot, "Tommy Pickles And The Big White Thing," was even worse, where all of the adults have weird, undulating necks throughout. It didn't help that it was directed by Peter Chung, who's own works were known for this.
  • The Woobie: Chuckie certainly has his moments especially during the Mothers Day episode. You could argue he's this in just about every other episode. (Well, maybe not the earliest ones when he was a bit of a Bratty Half-Pint.)
  • Values Dissonance: It's difficult to imagine a show with a character like Angelica, who is a bully but is depicted sympathetically, airing in The New Tens when a raised awareness of the increasingly negative effects of childhood bullying, especially when children as young as twelve have taken extreme measures to escape it, has led to such characters being discouraged. It doesn't help that she's actually a very believable depiction of a bratty three-year-old: Kids Are Cruel, after all.
  • Values Resonance: On the other hand...
    • "The Clan Of The Duck," where Chucky and Phil are forced to wear Lil's dresses with a hugely positive message about not conforming to gender stereotypes. That was in 1997!
    • Chucky offering to be "Spike's other dad" with Tommy in the episode where the babies try to potty-train their dog. Granted, it's still a joke, but it otherwise doesn't say there's anything wrong with someone having two daddies.
  • Vindicated by History: The Dil and Kimi episodes when they were on, was the most hated cartoon on the internet alongside Klasky-Csupo's other cartoons at the time, due to flanderizing the baby talk, and many people thought that it was over-saturating the network. But in later years, those seasons are as held in high regard as the seasons before those. It's gotten to the point of where people have hardly noticed the changes (minus additional characters) that happened throughout the show's run and think that the show has been consistent in quality.
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