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Recap / Rugrats S 1 E 11 Touchdown Tommy The Trial

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The eleventh episode of the first season of Rugrats.

Touchdown Tommy:

While the dads watch a football game, the babies have a similar competition over a bottle of chocolate milk.

The Trial:

Tommy's clown lamp gets broken, and the babies hold a trial to determine who broke it.

"Touchdown Tommy" provides examples of:

  • Artistic License – Animal Care: Several times in this episode, Spike is seen licking some of Tommy's chocolate milk. Chocolate is toxic to dogs (if in large doses).
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  • The Complainer Is Always Wrong: An interesting subversion occurs in this episode; The B-Plot has the dads watching a big football game, though Chas wants to watch the chess tournament. They blow him off and he's stuck watching the game. Apparently, he knew what he was saying - because the dads were too busy watching football, the babies covered the living room in chocolate milk and Didi and Betty were pissed when they got back:
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Angelica's cat, Fluffy, is seen being scared by Angelica when Stu calls Drew. This is before Fluffy's official introduction in "Fluffy Vs Spike".
  • Parental Bonus: While the team names are never stated (presumably for copyright reasons), it's clearly intended to portray the Houston Oilers (later the Tennessee Titans) vs the Dallas Cowboys. Drew is wearing a silver shirt with a blue star on it, while Howard's shirt is red, white and blue, with a stylized oil derrick on it, both of which are the main logos for the respective teams. The episode was first aired in late October of 1991, at which point Houston was 4-2 and Dallas was 5-1. However, despite being in opposite conferences and thus having the possibility of playing one another in the championship (writers get bonus points for creating a matchup that was possible, and somewhat likely, in real life), Houston didn't make it, while Dallas did. Also, in that same episode, right before the game starts, Stu and Howard yell "Come on, Houston!" while Grandpa and Drew respond with "Go get 'em, Dallas!", further reinforcing the point that it does indeed depict Oilers vs Cowboys.
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  • Parental Neglect: While Didi is rightfully concerned for Tommy's safety after he bumps his head, Stu's idea of keeping the babies safe so the dads can watch the game and the moms can go shopping is to put them in "Bonk-o-Matic Baby Bumpers", a series of baby helmets he invented. He didn't count on the babies fighting over a bottle of chocolate milk and making a huge mess of the living room, and none of the dads pay any attention to their kids, instead focusing on the football game.
  • Stock Sound Effects: This episode and "The Trial" are the first time Tommy's often-recycled distinctive crying sound recording is head ("WAAAAAAAH! AAAAAAAH! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!")


"The Trial" provides examples of:

  • Blatant Lies: When Tommy's lamp breaks at the beginning of the episode, Angelica acts as if she awoke from her nap and didn't know about Tommy's lamp breaking to convince Didi and Betty that she didn't break it.
  • Comical Overreacting: At the end of the episode, Didi finds out that Angelica broke Tommy's lamp, and punishes her. Angelica screams, "No! Not the chair! Not the chair!" as Didi puts her in Tommy's high chair.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: When Didi punishes Angelica for breaking Tommy's clown lamp, she makes her sit in Tommy's high chair until Drew comes to pick her up.
  • Courtroom Episode: A variation; Tommy's playpen serves as the courtroom, with Tommy as the judge, Angelica as the persecutor, and some teddy bears as the jury to find out who broke Tommy's clown lamp.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: The babies' flashbacks are shown in black and white.
  • Everyone Has Standards:
    • Due to his fear of clowns, Chuckie found Tommy's lamp to be scary and did consider breaking it, but he couldn't bring himself to do it because Tommy's his best friend and Chuckie knows how much he loved the lamp. He breaks down in tears from shame when confessing this to Tommy.
    • He also watches Angelica's punishment with a very uncomfortable look, despite her previously trying to frame him for breaking the lamp. No one deserves "the chair."
  • Evil Gloating: Angelica gleefully admits to her crime, knowing the babies can't talk to the adults and expose her. Though she does so to such a loud and obnoxious degree (as in jumping and shouting "I DID IT!" at the top of her lungs) that the adults overhear her.
  • Evil Is Petty: Near the end of the episode, Angelica reveals that she broke Tommy's clown lamp because she didn't like the way it looked. She also reveals that she was looking for a crayon so she could draw on the wall and blame it on Tommy.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Angelica explains the different roles in the courtroom. When she mentions that Tommy will be the judge, the babies ask if she means the fudge. Angelica says that the judge is the proper term and wonders why they don't talk right. She then states that teddy bears will act as the jerky. When they ask if she meant jury, she tells them she used the proper term again.
  • I Never Said It Was Poison: When the accusations towards Phil, Lil, and Chuckie get out of hand, Tommy takes control and calmly tries to rewind the facts to examine them better: Chuckie didn't break the lamp because he only ran away from it and hid under a sofa, while Phil and Lil didn't break it because they were running elsewhere when the lamp fell and thus they couldn't hit it. But when Tommy recalls that Angelica "couldn't do it because she was taking a nap," he and the other babies realize that there was no way she could otherwise know what they were doing when the lamp broke.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Near the end of the episode, Angelica admits that she broke Tommy's clown because she hated it. She gloats that the babies can't stop her because they can't talk to adults, but does it so loud, that Didi and Betty overhear her and punish her.
  • Oh, Crap!: Angelica after realizing the adults were standing behind her while she confessed everything.
  • Repeat After Me: This exchange:
    Angelica (to Phil and Lil): Do you swear to tell ruth, all ruth, and nothing but ruth, so help you Bob?
    (Phil and Lil look at each other in confusion.)
    Angelica: Just say you do.
    Phil and Lil: You do.
  • The "The" Title
  • Visual Pun: At the end of the episode, Didi punishes Angelica by sending her to the chair... Tommy's high chair.

Example of: