One of Nickelodeon's best series, ever.
A bit of nostalgia to start the review... It's 1999 or 2000. I'm barely out of diapers. While at a relative's house I turn on the TV. On Nickelodeon is a cartoon about a cow joining something called "the Sausage Club." This was my first glimpse of Rocko's Modern Life
, and I was hooked.
When I got a better cable package, Rocko was the first show I ever saw on it. (The episode was "Rocko's Happy Sack.") I tuned in every weekday morning just to see it. During that run I caught "Wacky Delly" and laughed like I'd never laughed before or since. When the DV Ds
came out I bought the first two seasons.
What kind of show inspires this sort of lasting fandom? Why, none other than one of the best shows Nickelodeon has ever produced, and next to Ren and Stimpy
, the best Nicktoon.
As a kid, I laughed mostly at the slapstick, the gross-out humor and the innuendos. But now that I'm older I finally understand what I could only somewhat comprehend then... The show's sense of satire.
The best comedy has a great sense of satire. Rocko's Modern Life
is no exception. The show's very premise is satirical, almost downright cynical about the world we live in. Rocko's the Butt Monkey
of his world, nothing ever goes right for him - and he is the audience's surrogate. He is us, having to endure a world that's nonsensical, insane and sometimes mean-spirited. And who among us has never felt that way?
Some episodes were in and of themselves great satires - "Wacky Delly," the show's best episode, is a terrific parody of television and its viewers. The titular show makes little sense from what we see, and was created by Ralph Bighead as a prank, but it is a hit with the public and Ralph's attempts to sabotage it don't do anything to stop its popularity. Yet when he tries to make something creative that comes from himself, the show gets cancelled. The message from the episode? I'll leave that for you to figure out...
If you have never seen Rocko's Modern Life
, go do so, as soon as you can. And preferably seek out "Wacky Delly." You'll be laughing your butt off.