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Western Animation / Rugrats

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Rugrats, Rugrats, the things you get into!
Rugrats, Rugrats, trouble looks for you!
A baby's gotta do what a baby's gotta do!

Rugrats is one of the first three original Nicktoons, produced by Klasky-Csupo and debuting on August 11th, 1991, being the second to premiere. Paraphrasing the description at

Grown-ups act as if babies don't know anything, but the fearless, hairless Tommy Pickles and his baby brigade know what's really going on. They'd be happy to inform the grown-ups, if they could only understand baby talk. For the Rugrats, every day is an adventure, especially if the doll-tossing, baby-torturing 3-year-old Angelica is around. Luckily, when the going gets tough, the gang gets going!

The rest of Tommy's gang includes:

  • Chuckie, his red-headed, bespectacled best friend who is afraid of everything, but nothing more than "the guy on the oatmeal box".
  • Twins Phil and Lil who hate it when they get mistaken for each other and love eating worms and mud.
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  • The new neighbor and Angelica's best friend AND arch rival Susie Carmichael.
  • Tommy's equally colicky baby brother Dil, born in the first movie.
  • Chuckie's spunky, adventure-loving step-sister Kimi, whose mother Kira marries Chuckie's dad in the second movie, Rugrats in Paris.

Premiering alongside Doug and The Ren & Stimpy Show, it was put on hiatus after three seasons in 1995. Later, with strong rerun ratings, the show was put back into production and became one of Nickelodeon's biggest mainstays. Running from 1991 to 2004, it is Nick's third-longest running animated series, next to SpongeBob SquarePants and The Fairly OddParents.

Three theatrical movies were made as a result of the show's popularity: The Rugrats Movie (1998), Rugrats in Paris (2000), and Rugrats Go Wild! (2003). The first two movies did quite well in box office revenue,note  whereas the third one tanked hard and was largely responsible for the drought of Klasky-Csupo series since then.


The successor series, All Grown Up!, showed Tommy and his friends, ten years later as Junior High schoolers. Also had another (and significantly short-lived) spin-off, Angelica and Susie's Preschool Daze: the name says it all. Several Licensed Games were made, including Rugrats Castle Capers in 2001 and Rugrats: Royal Ransom in 2002. The series can be found digitally and on DVD, and also frequently airs on NickRewind. Also, be sure to check out The UNOFFICIAL Rugrats Online, a high-quality fansite.

In 2018, Nickelodeon announced that a 26-episode revival is currently being produced. A live-action/CGI film based on the series was also announced at the same time, but was later pulled. The show's creators Arlene Klasky, Gábor Csupó and Paul Germain will return as executive producers, and characters old and new will be in the revival. The CGI revival series premiered on Paramount+ on May 27, 2021.

The original show was once both the longest running ViacomCBS owned animated series and Nicktoon until both records were surpassed by South Park and SpongeBob SquarePants respectively.

Now has an (in-progress) Recap page.

A troper's gotta do what a troper's gotta do:

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  • The '90s: It was released early in the decade, and the first three seasons are replete with multiple references of the early '90s, especially cellphones (like the one Charlotte owned) that were long in size and only were made for direct calls. In fact, there were so many references of the early '90s in the first three seasons that it became painfully obvious what decade it was aired in.
  • Abnormal Allergy: In the episode "The Big Sneeze", Chuckie thinks he's allergic to Kimi but he's really allergic to the dandelions she's carrying.
  • Absent Animal Companion:
    • In the episode "I Remember Melville", Chuckie gets a pet pill bug named Melville, who suddenly dies when Chuckie asks Tommy, Phil, and Lil to look after him. Chuckie is upset over having lost Melville, and the babies throw a funeral for him near the end of the episode. Although "I Remember Melville" is Melville's only appearance, Chuckie does reference him in a later episode.
    • In the episode "The Smell of Success", Chuckie gets to keep a rat named Cheddar but he's not seen in future episodes.
    • In "Bestest of Show", Susie is shown to have a pet gerbil named Herbie, who can ride a tricycle. Herbie is never mentioned or seen after this episode.
  • Absentee Actor:
    • The show revolves the cast around depending on the Rugrat the episode focuses on. Tommy doesn't appear in A Day in the Limelight episodes for Angelica such as "Pickles vs. Pickles", and Chuckie doesn't appear in a lot of episodes in the first season due to that season mainly focusing on Tommy. Phil, Lil, and Angelica are frequently absent though.
    • One pair of episodes had Phil and Lil absent from the A-story and Chuckie and Kimi absent from the B-story.
    • It’s worth noting Tommy has only ever been absent from 4 episodes of the seriesnote 
    • In total Chuckie has been absent from 36 episodes while Phil and Lil have been absent from 66 episodes. Though Angelica has been absent from 122 episodes, Dil has been absent from 27 episodes, and Kimi has been absent from 6 episodes.
  • Accidental Hero: In The Bank Trick, Tommy and Chuckie inadvertently thwart a bank robbery.
  • Accidental Misnaming:
    • Tommy's last name, "Pickles," is sometimes mispronounced in various ways, such as "Peaches" (which becomes a plot point in "Angelica Breaks a Leg", mixing up Angelica's X-Ray with that of a football player named Antonio Peaches), and "Pridklers."
    • Aunt Miriam calls Didi a different name each time they speak to one another. Tommy's uncle Ben keeps calling Stu "Mr. Pickles" despite being brothers-in-law. In the episode featuring how the babies first meet, Chas kept calling Drew "Mr. Pickles", but is reminded that they've been friends since their high school days.note 
      Drew: Come on, Chas, call me Drew! I mean, we've known each other since high school!
      Chas: Sorry, Mr. Pickles. I mean Drew! Drew!
  • Accidental Truth: In Acorn Nuts and Diapey Butts, Angelica tells the babies in fall lots of changes will happen to scare them. A lot of changes end up happening over the next 2 episodes, which either go back to normal by the end of the episode, or are eventually accepted by the babies.
  • The Ace: Lucy Carmichael. On top of raising four kids and being a doctor, she earned her flight wings, studied at the Cordon Bleu, created a replica Tiffany lamp (that impressed even the Tiffany company), and in The Movie, she delivered Stu and Didi's second kid. And in All Grown Up! we discover she was also a moderately successful Blues singer at the age of eighteen. She's also really good at making artistic Jell-O molds. Unfortunately, she's rather aloof when Susie attempts to ask where her room is after they've moved in ("We've talked about this before; that's not the way to get what you want"), and she's no more responsible than are any of the other adults as far as baby-sitting is concerned.
  • Acquired Situational Narcissism: In "Chuckie is Rich", Chas starts acting like a rich snob when he hits the jackpot. Averted with Chuckie, though, who acts more or less like his usual self (albeit fancier dressed). Having "all the toys there are" (and what appears to be at least a 70-inch television) doesn't seem to make him any happier, and he keeps to himself at the fancy day-care center he attends (implying that he either isn't comfortable around or tried and failed to fit in with the other rich kids).
  • Action Girl: Angelica has at least one moment in "New Kid in Town".
    Josh: This is none of your business! These are MY babies now.
    Angelica: This caterpult says different! [launches a water balloon]
    Josh: I'm not scared of you!
    Angelica: Oh, yeah? Well, you're making a big mistake, bucko! [launches another water balloon]
  • Actor Allusion:
    • In "Stu Gets A Job" Stu mentions The Rockford Files is coming on. Jack Riley, Stu's voice actor, guest starred on an episode of The Rockford Files.
    • In "Cynthia Comes Alive", Sara Gilbert shows up to basically play Darlene Connor for eleven minutes.
    • Having Alex Trebek voice a thinly veiled version of himself in an episode was one thing, but Didi's competitor in that episode was voiced by Charles Nelson Reilly (who had worked with Trebek on the short-lived Battlestars, and would later voice The Dirty Bubble).
    • In "Sour Pickles" Grandpa Lou recalls the time he tried preventing Stu and Drew from watching The Blocky and Oxwinkle Show (a parody of Rocky and Bullwinkle). It was in that Show Within a Show that Blocky and Svetlana the Spy were voiced by June Foray, the same actress who voiced their original counterparts, Rocky the Flying Squirrel and Natasha Fatale.
    • "Babies in Toyland" has Christmasland's Santa Claus actor voiced by James Belushi, who also played a Santa actor in Jingle All the Way.
  • Adaptational Sexuality: Betty (Phil And Lil's Mom) will be an openly gay woman in the upcoming 'RUGRATS' reboot. Betty will also be voiced by actor Natalie Morales.
  • Adults Are Useless: Quite possibly the king of this trope. Every single adult on the show is liable to do something forgetful/irresponsible/neglectful that allows the babies to go off on their familiar adventures.
  • Affectionate Nickname:
    • Drew, towards Charlotte, during the episode "Runaway Angelica":
    Drew: Snookums, I'm going over to Stu's for a few minutes!
    Charlotte: [off screen during entire dialogue] Okay. Is Angelica still upstairs?
    Drew: Uh-huh. I haven't heard a peep out of her.
    Charlotte: I'll go up and check on her. And Drew?
    Drew: Yeah?
    Charlotte: Don't call me "Snookums."
    Drew: Noted.
    • Drew also has several of these for Angelica, as noted in the same episode. He calls her Princess, Angel, Muffin, Cupcake, Pumpkin, and apparently... "My Little Tax Shelter."
    • Stu often refers to Tommy as "champ" and Grandpa Lou will refer to all the babies as "sprouts," and to Tommy in particular as "Scout."
    • Betty refers to the babies as "pups."
  • Affection-Hating Kid: Lil claims to hate kissing stories because "nothing ever happens".
  • Ageless Birthday Episode: Averted in the aptly titled "Tommy's First Birthday," but played completely straight with the episode "Angelica's Birthday," to the extent that, in a later episode ("Pickles vs. Pickles"), her parents say that she's still 3 years old. "Ransom of Cynthia" takes place during Susie's (offscreen) birthday but it's never mentioned how old she is.
  • Age-Stereotypical Food: One-year-old Tommy likes Reptar Cereal (based off of his favorite monster character). Most adults prefer Corrugated Bran Puffs, however Tommy's grandpa found Corrugated Bran Puffs yucky, and he found Reptar Cereal more appetizing by comparison.
  • All Just a Dream: A ridiculous amount of episodes employed this device, though considering the main characters are infants and can't really be involved in elaborate plots otherwise, it's justified. Some prominent examples are:
    • "Visitors From Outer Space", though the aliens' resemblance to Tommy's relatives gave it away.
    • "The Inside Story", when Chuckie accidentally swallows a watermelon seed and lies down, and the babies pull off an incredible journey to remove the seed. Jarring because there was no art shift to indicate the starting of the dream sequence and the ending of the dream looked like film getting ripped out of a projector.
    • "Pickles vs. Pickles", though the Kangaroo Court setting clearly gave it away.
    • Played straight, then inverted in "In the Dreamtime", in which after having several nightmares, Chuckie convinces himself he's dreaming when he's actually not.
    • "Angelica's Worst Nightmare". The title even gave it away (to an extent-- it could have just been a metaphor).
  • Alter Kocker: Tommy's maternal grandparents, who are justified since they actually are Jews from Eastern Europe.
  • Anachronism Stew: The flashback episode is ostensibly set in 1959, as Stu was born in 1958 according to the official timeline. However, Lou says that Stu and Drew's mother is off working on the Estes Kefauver campaign that occurred in 1956. Also, Lou says that if Stu and Drew keep behaving (unawares they’re out of the playpen) he’ll let them watch Peyton Place; a show that didn’t premiere until 1964. If he was referring to the movie, that premiered in 1957. Additionally a news report talks of how President Eisenhower attempted to cover up the U-2 incident, which happened in 1960.
  • And I'm the Queen of Sheba: In "Home Movies", when Angelica sees Tommy as a weird version of Superman in Chuckie's home movie:
    Angelica: If he's Tommy, then I'm the Queen of English !
  • ...And 99¢: In the episode "When Wishes Come True", Drew buys Charlotte a present that he shows to Stu first. In Drew's words, "It's brilliant, it's stunning, it's masterful!" And in Stu's words, "... it's Angelica." More specifically, a life-sized statue of Angelica, which cost $469.57, according to Drew.
  • Angry Guard Dog: The "big, mean, nasty monster dog" next door, named Frou-Frou, constantly referenced (with dread) and actually seen on-screen twice in "In the Dreamtime" and "Barbecue Story".
  • Animal Lover:
    • Kimi likes all the animals she meets. She once threw away plastic toys to play with Fifi as she claims she likes real "aminals" better.
    • Susie likes animals, owning two gerbils and a cat and playing with her friends' pets.
  • Animation Bump:
    • The original intro sequence, which has fuller animation than the show itself. Most of it was animated by Peter Chung of Æon Flux fame.
    • The pilot episode is also very much in style with this, using more fluid and surreal animation.
  • Anime Hair: Chuckie. & Stu.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Dil can be this towards Tommy sometimes.
  • Arc Number: 15. Grandpa uses it almost every time he shows up.
  • Art Evolution:
    • Season 1 has a very different look from the other seasons. The animation (done in Taiwan by Wang Film Productions) is quite crude, and character designs are slightly different. Beginning with season 2, the animation work was done by various Korean studios, mostly Anivision, and became much more refined.
    • Compare the first movie and the second. Compare the episodes before and after each movie to each other.
    • The Wiki has an article detailing the changes, among other differences.
    • Art Shift: The "Chanukah" special, which was the first new Rugrats episode when the series was revived in 1996, was animated with darker lighting and shading effects and more fast-paced movements, akin to Klasky-Csupo's other Nicktoon of the time, Aaahh!!! Real Monsters.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Multiple instances:
    • "The Sky is Falling":
    Angelica: First the sky fell, then rivers overflowed, mountains crumbled, and finally... all the TV shows were cancelled.
    Babies: [gasp]
    • "The Legend of Satchmo":
    Grandpa: Some folks call him "Bigfoot." Some call him "The Abominable Snowman." The rest just call him "Sir."
    • "Tommy and the Secret Club":
    Angelica: If you don't remember to ask for the password, anyone could just waltz right into the club! Count Draculator, Sandman Husseiney... or even Chuckie. note 
    • "The Mega Diaper Babies":
    Angelica (as Angelitron): Now prepare for battle! Order out my robot army! Unleash my zombie warriors! Release our secret weapon! And get me more cheese balls!
  • Art Shift: The kids' movies from the episode "Home Movies."
    • The opening of "Reptar 2010" also exhibits one with its prehistoric setting being done in a more realistic, colored pencil-esque style. Made more noticeable when the T-Rex fades into Reptar, who is drawn in the show's usual style.
    • To a lesser extent, the switch from Wang to Anivision can also be considered such.
  • As Himself: Pat Sajak in one episode and Alex Trebek in another, although Alex was an expy of himself on an expy of Jeopardy!
  • Asinine Alternate Activity: In "Reptar's Revenge", when the Pickles family visits the carnival, Angelica wants to ride a Gravitron-style ride called the Nause-O-Whirl. Didi thinks that the ride is too intense for Angelica, and suggests that Angelica ride the Snail Adventure ride instead. On the Snail Adventure ride, the children riding the bouncy snails look very bored, and Angelica screams, "I want to go on the Nause-O-Whirl! I want to go on the Nause-O-Whirl!". When Stu and Didi let Angelica go on the Nause-O-Whirl, it turns out to be too intense for her to handle, especially when Larry turns the ride up after mishearing Stu say "Stop it, she's gonna be sick!" as "Give it a kick!".
  • Attention Whore: Angelica. Her parents spoil her, so she feels slighted when she's treated like anything but royalty. It's the driving force behind the plot of "Angelica Breaks a Leg".
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • As amazing as it was, what exactly was Stu hoping to accomplish by inventing an "anti-gravity playpen"?
    • The episode "Mirrorland" had Didi bringing home a Mystery Box of this stuff, including wigs, costumes, and etc.
    • In the episode "Chuckie Is Rich", Chas wins a multi-million-dollar sweepstakes, and he and Chuckie move to a wealthier neighborhood. At the daycare center Chuckie attends in said neighborhood, they have a slide in the yard with an elevator to take the kids to the top in lieu of the usual steps or ladder. One can only imagine whether or not that was really worth it.
  • Baby Language: The babies speak to each other in a language that the adults don't understand. The reason we hear it as standard English is because the show "translates" it for us, but what we hear isn't what they're actually saying (on the rare occasion we get to hear it, it just sounds like gibberish). Several characters in the series can speak in this baby language and in adult English, the most prominent of whom are Susie and Angelica.
  • Baby See, Baby Do:
    • In "Thumbs Up", Stu sucks his thumb after hitting it and the babies copy him.
    • In "Little Dude", Tommy witnesses a food fight and throws food when he gets home.
    • In "Piggy's Pizza Palace", Tommy gives somebody dog commands in Yiddish, even though he doesn't speak Yiddish, because he's copying what Grandpa Boris has said to Spike.
    • In "Naked Tommy", Didi puts a sweater on Spike, which he takes off. Tommy then takes off his clothes, wanting to be naked like Spike, and he gets his friends in on it too.
    • In "Finsterella", Kimi plays a game where she decides to copy whoever she sees. She first copies her pet poodle, Fifi, by scratching herself and licking Chuckie's face, then she later imitates Angelica's behavior, which leads the babies to believe that she's being mean to Chuckie, like Cinderella's stepsisters.
    • In "America's Wackiest Home Movies", after Stu complains about the winner of the titular Show Within a Show's contest not being very funny, he sees Tommy copying Spike scratching his body with his hind leg.
  • Baby's First Words: Chuckie's first word was "No!" and Angelica's (apparently) was "cookie".
  • Back Blocking: In the episode "Word of the Day". In the very beginning there is a huge round figure that fills up the screen. Then the camera zooms out to reveal it's the back of Tommy's head blocking Angelica's view of the TV.
  • Bait-and-Switch Time Skip: In "Grandpa Moves Out", after Lou moves out of Tommy's house and into a retirement home, it seems like an entire year has passed, as the weather changes from summer, to fall, to winter, and then back to summer. However, only a week has actually passed since Lou moved out, as there is a subtitle that says, "One Week Later", and Drew says to Stu, "Crazy weather we've been having this week, huh?".
  • Band Episode: In "Famous Babies", Tommy, Chuckie, Phil, Lil, and Dil decide to form their own band after listening to Didi and Betty play music from their favorite band on cassette tapes. Tommy plays with a toy guitar, Lil plays with a jack-in the box, Phil plays with a bucket and shovel, Dil plays with his rattle, and Chuckie is left with an empty toilet paper roll, which Tommy suggests he sing into like a microphone. When Angelica overhears the babies playing, she decides to be their band manager. When she first has the babies perform for the other children in the playground, the babies do nothing, so she puts sand in Chuckie's pants to liven things up. This works, as when Chuckie starts shouting "I got sand in my pants!" while trying to shake the sand out, the other children start paying Angelica in cookies to see the babies perform. However, when Angelia decides to stage a concert in the monkey bars, Tommy, Phil, and Lil all want to sing their own songs. When they try to do so at the same time, this annoys the other children and causes them to leave.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Occurs in at least four instances:
    • "Party Animals": After being read the story of Aladdin, Angelica makes a wish on her lamp that the whole world was a circus, and when the babies see the costume party the adults are throwing, they believe Angelica's wish came true. They like it at first, but then they believe that their parents have gone missing (not realizing that their parents are all in costumes, some of which, such as Chas' well-balanced breakfast costume, aren't much different from their normal appearances). Tommy even calls the trope by its name when Angelica makes her wish.
    • "When Wishes Come True": After Angelica intentionally wrecks the babies' "sculpture" (a bunch of blocks stacked on top of one another somewhat haphazardly), Tommy wishes that "the baddest thing in the whole world happens to Angelica" (possibly meant to be a euphemism for wishing death upon someone). A bug zapper lights up and sparks as he says this, and the babies think this means that their wish came true. Tommy is deeply regretful when he realizes he went too far in the heat of the moment.
    • "Angelica For a Day": While Tommy and Chuckie are playing in the park, Angelica explains the phrase "I wouldn't want to be in his/her shoes" to the babies— she tells them it means that if you put on someone else's shoes, you become just like him/her. Tommy tries this with Chuckie so he won't be afraid of everything; Chuckie puts on Angelica's shoes and turns into a bully, while Angelica puts on Chuckie's and is constantly in a state of fear. Tommy soon wishes he had the old Chuckie back, and, somehow, the old Angelica as well.
    • In "Dil Saver", after Dil knocks down a tower of blocks the other babies built, Tommy wishes Dil would go away. Following some trickery from Angelica and a photo of Dil being used as a background for Stu's computer, Tommy believes that Dil is trapped in the computer, and is desperate to get him out.
  • Beanstalk Parody:
    • In "The Magic Baby", after Grandpa Lou tells the babies the story of Jack and the Beanstalk, they become convinced that Dil has eaten some magic beans (really some bean-shaped pieces of cereal) and that he now possesses the ability to grant wishes.
    • The direct-to-video Tales from the Crib special "Three Jacks and a Beanstalk" has the babies collectively playing the role of Jack, and Angelica playing the giant.
  • Becoming the Costume: In "Curse of the Werewuff", Angelica convinces the babies that they will be transformed into their Halloween costumes.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Angelica has some. No one but her gets to pick on the babies, and she'll throw a tantrum in a heartbeat if anyone ever dares to discipline her or not shower her with attention. Also, If you know what's good for you, don't harm her Cynthia doll—or try to give her away, as Charlotte did in All Grown Up.
    • Didi does not like being called names like "Fifi" or "Dodo", regardless of whether or not it was intentional.
    • For Stu, don't ever bad-mouth his inventions. This especially applies to his older brother, Drew.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Played straight with Tommy to Dil and Chuckie to Kimi. Subverted with Drew to Stu. Phil is actually younger than his twin sister Lil (by two minutes), but he played this trope straight in the episode "Together At Last".
  • Big Eater: In the beginning of the episode "No More Cookies", the babies watch as Angelica eats an entire jar of chocolate chip cookies.
    Chuckie: I never seed anyone eat like that before...
    Lil: Not even Reptar...
    Phil: It's kinda scary...
    • Pops up again in a later season episode, "Angelica Orders Out". Angelica uses her uncle's voice changer to pretend to be Charlotte and order all the available desserts from Zippy's Deli. She then stuffs her face.
    • Overall, this tends to show up in any episode where Angelica is trying to get her hands on cookies or candy. Once she does, expect to see her gobbling it or with huge smears of chocolate all over her face. In "No More Cookies", she doesn't even think twice about diving after several cookies that have fallen in soapy water.
  • Big Damn Movie: Three times, no less.
  • Big "NO!":
    • Chuckie's first word.
    • Chas, in "Mr. Clean" when the babies get into the trash, complete with Eat the Camera to close it.
    • Chuckie also did one in "Curse of the Werewuff" after Angelica lies that he will become the costume he will be wearing for Halloween, also with Eat the Camera to close it. Because of the scary situations Chuckie gets himself into, it's common to hear him use a this fairly often, sometimes obscured by screaming or crying.
  • Bilingual Bonus:
    • An early episode included a Chez Restaurant named "Chez Ennui"; "ennui" is French for "boredom."
    • Tommy's Grandma Minka would occasionally utter the phrase, "Thanks be to Gott." Gott is the Yiddish word for God.
  • Birthday Episode: Tommy's birthday was the focus of the first episode of the series, not counting the pilot. Angelica, Stu and others also had birthday episodes.
  • Birthday Party Goes Wrong: A ruined birthday celebration is discussed briefly when Stu mentions Dil spitting up on his birthday cake.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing:
    • Angelica. She manages to pull it off almost flawlessly by being absolutely adorable and knowing how and when to put on a sufficient "good girl" facade to fool the adults (although she still has somewhat of a "spoiled brat" reputation in-universe). All in all, she knows how and when to behave well (despite it arguably not being her nature), and she also knows when she can get away with being nothing short of nefarious.

      The worst part (or the best part, if you're Angelica) is that Angelica is one of the few characters who can communicate with the babies AND the adults. She can bully the babies into doing what she wants, and then put on the "cute, innocent little girl" act for the adults so they suspect nothing. And the babies can't tell the adults that Angelica torments them for kicks.
    • Based on which episode you're watching, sometimes inverted with Angelica being a Sheep in Bitch's Clothing.
  • Biting-the-Hand Humor: "Reptar 2010" had Reptar wrecking a skyscraper with Viacom's name on it at one point (that's the company that owns Nickelodeon, MTV, and Paramount).
  • Bittersweet Ending:
    • "Chicken Pops" ends with the babies happy that they won't turn into chickens, but they still have the chickenpox.
    • "All's Well That Pretends Well" ends with the babies Playing Sick so that they can keep the sick Angelica company, and the adults taping the circus so that they don't miss it, however Angelica still has a cold.
  • Bizarre Beverage Use:
    • In "Baby Power", when the babies think the baby powder (which they think is called baby power) has made Dil into a superpowered monster, they try to rinse it off with water from Spike's dog bowl.
    • In "Rebel Without a Teddy Bear", Angelica tells Tommy to spill juice on the floor on purpose to be bad. Tommy, however, drinks the juice instead and then knocks the cup over.
    • In "When Wishes Come True", when the babies see a statue of Angelica and assume she's been turned to stone since Tommy wished something bad would happen to her, Phil suggests spraying her with milk to turn her back, since he thinks it would be funny.
    • In "Chuckie Gets Skunked", Chas mentions that he bathed Chuckie in tomato juice (as well as tomato paste) to wash out a skunk's stench. However, all it did was just make a mess in the bathtub.
  • Black Comedy Pet Death:
    • In the episode "Spike Runs Away", the Pickles family gets a pet tarantula, only Grandpa Lou thinks he's a pest and kills him.
    • In "Autumn Leaves", the babies experience their first autumn and think the leaves are changing because there is something wrong with the tree, and they think the reason something's wrong with it is because Chuckie spilt apple juice on a maple tree, which is like feeding a goldfish bird food. Phil remarks, "Oh, so that's why Flippy had to go to the vet, then the potty."
  • Blind Without 'Em: Chuckie, Chas, Didi, and Grandpa Lou.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Charlotte, Betty, and Didi. In later seasons, Kira could be the Brunette of the trio in episodes where Betty is absent.
  • Bookworm: Susie's brother, Edwin. In "Tooth or Dare," Susie, Tommy and Angelica ask him about the Tooth Fairy. When they get to his room, he has so many books that Angelica mistakes it for a library. He has a copy of "The Odyssey" by Homer, and is reading about quantum physics when they walk in. He also wears glasses with extremely large frames (bigger than Chuckie's) to drive the point home (as if it wouldn't be obvious otherwise).
  • Bookshelf of Authority: In "Tooth or Dare", Susie introduces Tommy and Angelica to Susie's brother Edwin, who's quite a brainiac and sits at a desk with a large bookcase behind him.
  • Boring Vacation Slideshow: One episode of revolved around Stu doing this with their group of friends after the family's awful vacation to the Grand Canyon, which had happened over the course of one episode earlier in the show's run. The audience is, predictably, bored, though various issues prevent him from continuing and at the end of the episode, by the time he's fixed the issues, everyone else is engrossed in the crayon art that the kids have drawn, including, eventually, Stu himself.
  • Bouquet Toss: In "Let Them Eat Cake", Stu and Didi are looking for the kids, and find their way into another wedding in the building, just as the bride is throwing the bouquet:
    Stu: Look, Didi! I caught the bouquet!
    Didi: [takes it out of his hands and heaves it off-screen] He's already married!
  • Bowdlerise: In one episode, Chuckie malaproped "germs" as "Germans." It was snipped to "Germs" in reruns.
  • Bratty Food Demand: In "Angelica Breaks a Leg", Angelica is faking a broken leg and exploits her "injury" to get what she wants. This involves demanding chocolate pudding in the middle of the night.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Angelica.
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs:
    • Phil and Lil made this a Running Gag, doing it several times a season at least:
    • Happens twice in "When Wishes Come True":
      Lil: [about Angelica] There's nothing worser than turning into a rock! ... 'cept maybe turning into mashed peas.
      Phil: Or bat drool!
      Both: Or mashed peas and bat drool! [Phil and Lil laugh]
    • And when the babies think twice about making a wish that may end up turning them into a rock:
      Lil: Or eyeballs!
      Phil: Or worm guts!
      Both: Or eyeballs and worm guts!
      Phil: Maybe it's an elephant!
      Chuckie: Maybe it's just the TV.
      Lil: Maybe it's an elephant watching TV!
    • From "The Blizzard", when the babies take shelter in an igloo:
      Lil: I'm cold!
      Chuckie: I'm hungry!
      Phil: I'm cold and hungry, and I think I need a new diaper!
    • In "The Box", when Phil and Lil find Stu's empty box, Phil wants to pretend the box is a house, while Lil wants to pretend the box is a cave. They argue with each other for a while, until they settle on pretending the box is a house and a cave.
  • Breakout Character: In the show's later years, Angelica Pickles became the most popular character of the franchise. She performed a track with Rosie O'Donnell in the 1999 holiday album "A Rosie Christmas," she was the only Rugrats character to make TV Guide's list of Top 50 Greatest Cartoon Characters in 2002, and she and Susie also got their own short-lived spinoff Preschool Daze.
  • Brought Home the Wrong Kid:
    • At one point, while Tommy and Angelica are staying with Didi's parents, the babies are up in the attic but Grandpa Boris rushes outside and brings back in two obviously different children (two boys and much older as well).
    • The episode "Toy Palace" has Tommy and Chuckie switch themselves with a baby doll and a monkey doll so they can stay in the toy palace overnight. Stu and Chas don't even notice their kids are gone until after they arrive home.
  • Bubblegum Popping:
    • In "Showdown at Teeter-Totter Gulch", Tommy and Chuckie come face to face with "The Junk Food Kid," whose most common form of punishment was getting gum into the other children's hair, forcing their parents to have to get it cut. Towards the end of the episode, Tommy gives her a taste of her own medicine by popping her bubble as she inflates it. When the Junk Food Kid has a Heel–Face Turn at the end of the episode, she is more soft-spoken and kinder to the other kids and has taken up eating carrot sticks, which she shares with the other children.
    • In "Acorn Nuts and Diapey Butts", during a montage where Chas is shown dating a variety of quirky women, one of the ladies blows a giant bubble, which bursts on Chas rather than her.
  • Buffy Speak: Because of the age of the characters we're dealing with, this tends to happen every once in a while.
    Chuckie: Don't do it, Tommy! If you give her permission to scare you, your whole life with be just one big scary... scary thingy!
  • Busman's Vocabulary: Charlotte. She's so wrapped up into her job as a corporate executive that it comes through during her everyday life, at times when it's not appropriate at all. The most glaring example, arguably, occurs when Angelica wants to know where babies come from.
    Drew: Well, you see, cupcake... it all starts with a mommy.
    Charlotte: And a daddy.
    Drew: Right, and a daddy. First, they decide that they really want a baby.
    Charlotte: Right. First they make a responsible, well thought-out decision, not recklessly or on the spur of the moment, but after lots of careful, business-like consideration!
    • It also arguably affects Angelica, having been raised by such white-collar parents:
      Angelica: It all started when the first present was given by the pilgrims a long, long time ago. After that, everybody started giving presents! Even the Easter Bunny started giving 'em til Santa slapped him with a lawsuit.
  • Butt-Monkey: Chuckie has been known to complain "Why me? Why always me?" Stu also qualifies, especially in the early seasons, as does Jonathan (Charlotte's executive assistant).
  • Call-Back: The console for Mega Corp's Christmas Land attraction is kept together using paper clips and rubber bands, just like the Reptar mecha was.
  • The Cameo: The episode "Ghost Story" features Ickis, Krumm, and Oblina in a telling of a scary story.
  • Canine Confusion:
    • In "Touchdown Tommy", Spike is seen licking up some of the spilled chocolate milk at several points and he doesn't get sick even though chocolate is dangerous towards dogs.
    • Spike is said to be a Siberian Tiger Hound, which does not exist in real life. He also has a cat-like tail.
  • Captain Obvious: Chuckie, during the episode "Driving Miss Angelica":
    Angelica: Don't you know that whenever grown-ups hide things, they always hide 'em in the ezzact same place? Birthday presents, toys, candies, you name it. They only hide 'em in one place!
    Tommy: Where's that?
    Angelica: [with emphasis] The upstairs closet.
    Angelica: No duh, Chuckie.
    • Didi, in "Let There Be Light":
    Didi: [after a power surge has caused a town-wide blackout] Stu, honey! All the lights in the house are off!
    Stu: [in near-complete darkness, with only his silhouette and the whites of his eyes visible] I'm aware of that, Deed.
  • Card-Carrying Jerkass: Angelica often takes pleasure in bragging about what a rotten brat she is. In the Christmas Special this comes back to bite her, however, since shortly after she boasts about playing an especially cruel trick on Phil and Lil, she hears the stipulations of what Santa delivers to bad little kids.
  • The Case Of: One episode was entitled "The Case of the Missing Rugrats".
  • Cast as a Mask: An interesting variation occurs in "Angelica Orders Out". When Angelica (voiced by Cheryl Chase) speaks into Stu's new voice-changing invention, she sounds exactly like Charlotte, complete with Tress Macneille doing the distorted voice. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Catchphrase:
    • Tommy: "A baby's gotta do what a baby's gotta do!"
    • Chuckie: "I don't know, Tommy!" and "I Don't Think That's Such a Good Idea." In the early seasons, Chuckie also had "Am I okay? AM I OKAY??" before going off into a tirade about how he's not okay. He's prone to saying "We're doomed" when he thinks something bad is about to happen, and to describe things as "Bad... real bad..."
    • Chas has "I don't know, Stu!"
    • Anyone (usually to Chuckie): "Quit being a baby!"/"Don't be such a baby."
    • Angelica: "You dumb/stupid babies!" and, murmuring to herself "Dumb/stupid babies..." And often, "Hands off the merchandise!" Sometimes uses "That's my name. Don't wear it out," when she shows up somewhere and someone addresses her directly by name. Also "Get outta town!" when someone says something she doesn't believe, and "Oh, [character's name], you're [funny/silly]."
    • Stu: "This (toy) is gonna put Pickles Toys on the map!"
    • Didi: "According to Lipschitz..."
    • Drew: "I think you've been watching too many cartoons" and "You stay out of this, okay?!"
    • In the episode "New Kid in Town", Tommy and the gang meet a big kid, Josh, who seems to want them to play with him and lets them decide what the group will do, unlike Angelica. Josh's catch phrase is, "Fair is fair," which he uses every time the babies do something he doesn't like.
  • Centrifugal Farce: One episode showed Angelica getting on something like this at a carnival. It turns out to be a very high speed one, and when Stu tries to get the operator to shut it off, he misunderstands and turns it up. When Angelica gets off, and Didi asks if she's alright, she responds, "I think so, Uncle Stu."
  • Chained Heat: Chuckie and Angelica in "Cuffed".
  • Character Focus: Tommy is undoubtedly the hero of the show and Chuckie is the Deuteragonist, but Rugrats in Paris is very clearly Chuckie's story. Generally each baby gets at least a few healthy Days In The Limelight.
  • Characterization Marches On:
    • In Season 1, it was actually Didi who was scared of clowns. Chuckie's fear of them didn't pop up until around the second season. However, in "The Trial" Chuckie admitted that he thought Tommy's clown lamp was scary, and even thought about breaking it, but didn't.
    • In her first few appearances, Susie was almost as naive and hyperactive as the other kids, and something of a crybaby. While this returned on sparse occasions she interacted with her family, most later episodes played her as a more mature foil for Angelica or a Cool Big Sis for the babies.
    • Angelica in the first season was a villain because she bullied the babies behind the adults' backs, turning on a false smile and pretending to be well behaved whenever they were watching. She also had no love for her father at all and would mock him behind his back. In later seasons she was frequently caught by the parents whenever she misbehaved and never acted falsely nice around them. Additionally later episodes would show that her parents are the ones she does unambiguously love, becoming something of a Daddy's Girl. This is partly due to the writers' intentions changing; Angelica was written to be a bratty kid who never got her comeuppance - to teach children that sometimes life isn't fair. However the creators grew to quickly hate how horrible Angelica was and had her punished more often, as well as giving her Hidden Depths.
  • Chekhov's Gag: In the episode "Driving Miss Angelica", Tommy asks Angelica why the sky is blue. When she asks him what color he expects it to be, he responds "I dunno... green?" Angelica brushes off the comment with "You dumb babies..." She's later seen with a coloring book, using a green crayon to color the sky.
  • Chekhov's Gun: In the beginning of the episode "New Kid In Town", Angelica orders the babies to dig a "moat" for her "castle" (a jungle gym at the park). She claims "There could be an invasion any minute," and tells the babies that she's going to go get her "caterpult" (a wagon with a makeshift slingshot attached that she uses to throw water balloons) just in case. At the end of the episode, she uses it against Josh (who was bullying the babies) when she comes to the rescue.
  • Child Hater: Angelica. Also Coco LaBouche from Rugrats in Paris, and Miss Carol (host of "Miss Carol's Happy House") in the episode "Word of the Day".
  • Children Are Innocent: A driving narrative and comedic force of the whole show is the babies often misinterpreting what's going on around them simply because everything is so new to them, and letting their imaginations fill in the blanks.
  • Children Are Tender-Hearted: In "Autumn Leaves", the kids mistakenly think a tree is sick when it's shedding leaves and are worried about said tree, especially Chuckie, who feels responsible for this happening because he spilled some juice on the tree.
  • Christmas Episode:
    • There are two of them: An early one that only featured the principal cast, and a later one with Dil and Kimi. This isn't surprising. What is surprising is that there's also a Kwanzaa episode, a Chanukah episode, and a Passover episode.
    • Additionally, the second Christmas episode is not a Santamas episode. The babies actually encounter a Nativity scene and, despite not knowing who they're dealing with, give the half-naked baby in the manger some warm clothing. The baby doll and all the mannequins around them smile.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome:
    • Larry and Steve, though they did make a reappearance in The Musical.
    • For the 2021 reboot, Dil and Kimi are unsurprisingly absent.
  • Cinderella Plot: "Finsterella" takes place after the events of Rugrats in Paris: The Movie, where Chas marries Kira and Kimi becomes Chuckie's stepsister. After Chas tells the babies the story of Cinderella, Angelica tells Chuckie that he has a stepmother and a stepsister just like Cinderella does, and decides to start calling him "Finsterella". Tommy tries to assure Chuckie that Kira and Kimi are nice to him, and not mean like Cinderella's stepmother and stepsisters, but Chuckie starts to believe Angelica is right when he overhears Kira rehearsing her lines for a play about the Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe and Kimi copying Angelica's behavior when she plays a game where she copies whoever she sees. Chuckie also has a dream where he really is Finsterella, and has to do chores for Angelica and Kimi while they get to go to a party. By the end of the episode, Chuckie finds out the truth about Kira and Kimi, who both love him very much and are happy to be a part of his family.
  • Circumcision Angst:
    • This disconcerting quote from "Showdown at Teeter-Totter Gulch": "Something happened to him in his first 8 days. I don't know what is is, but after that he changed and doesn't like to see nobody get pushed around."
    • Comes up in the Passover episode. At one point a store is shown with its sign in Hebrew text, which translates literally to "circumciser." It also is offering its prices at a "cut rate."
  • Circus Episode:
    • In the episode "Circus Angelicus", the babies are forced to leave the circus when Chuckie cries out of his fear of clowns, and Tommy cries to back him up. Angry that she has to leave when she wasn't crying like them, Angelica stages her own circus in Tommy's backyard. Her circus features Tommy as a "lion trainer" and Spike as the lion, Phil and Lil as trapeze artists, and Chuckie as the human "candyball".
    • In the episode "Clown Around", Tommy, Chuckie, Phil, Lil, Kimi, and Angelica go to the circus. While the other babies have fun, Chuckie is afraid of clowns. Angelica tricks the babies into thinking that Chuckie is going to turn into a clown, and after having a red snow-cone, clown shoe souvenirs, and a run-in with a powder puff, Chuckie ends up looking like a clown. He even gets roped into the center ring to perform with the clowns. Meanwhile, Angelica sneaks into the center ring to be a trapeze artist, which gets her in a lot of trouble when Drew sees her.
  • Closest Thing We Got: In "Rebel Without a Teddy Bear", Tommy and Chuckie are trying to clean Tommy's lion, Herman-- er... Henry. They take him into the kitchen and then realize that they don't have any soap.
    Tommy: Wait! [points to kitchen table]
    Chuckie: Tommy, that's not soap... that's mustard.
    Tommy: Eh, close enough.
  • Comically Missing the Point:
    • A rare instance of The Leader falling into this trope more often than anyone else. Tommy is the youngest of all the babies (save for possibly Phil/Lil, who may be his same age, and Dil), and his naivety can cause him to unknowingly play this trope straight. Angelica's sarcastic remarks are prone to fly right over his hairless head, and he could also sometimes be described as oblivious to the obvious.
    • From the episode "The Alien":
      Angelica: Tommy, how can you BE so dumb?!
      Tommy: [smiling casually, not offended] It's easy. I'm a baby.
    • "Runaway Angelica" (after Angelica eats what she was told were cookies):
      Angelica: These aren't cookies! They're dog biscuits! What do you think I am, a dog?!
      Tommy: Uh... Spike likes 'em...
      Angelica: Of course Spike likes 'em— Spike's a DOG!
    • See also Laser-Guided Karma (excerpt on the episode "Moving Away") and I Have This Friend below.
  • Comedic Underwear Exposure: In "Mirror Land," when Didi comes down stairs to retrieve her glasses from Lou, after she tells him to "take off that ridiculous hair," he chuckles and says "Hey, where's the ballet?", referring to Didi (who's wearing a ballerina outfit) inadvertently flashing her white panties. Surprised and mortified, she hurriedly adjusts her tutu and blushes.
  • Comical Overreacting:
    • In "No More Cookies", Angelica gets what her doctor describes as a "simple, ordinary tummyache" that will subside in a day or two. When the babies come to check on Angelica, however, she looks more like she's on her deathbed than anything.
    • Two instances in two different episodes involve similar gags. The first, "The Trial", occurs after Angelica admits to breaking Tommy's favorite clown lamp. Didi hears, and punishes her by putting her in a kitchen high chair, while she screams "NO! Not the chair! NOT THE CHAIR! [Beat after Didi plops her into the chair] Hmph! [folds arms angrily]"
      • In "Chuckie vs The Potty," Chuckie dreams of being a prisoner who's been sentenced to "the chair." After Phil and Lil (as prison guards) drag him, kicking and screaming, to the chair (an oversized adult toilet), he screams "No! No! NOT THE CHAIR!"
  • Comic Strip Adaptation: There was a newspaper strip from 1998 to 2003.
  • Companion Cube: Angelica's Barbie-parody Cynthia, Kimi's Super-Thing, Chuckie's teddy bear named Wawa, Tommy's stuffed lion (Henry), and Phil and Lil's teddy bear aptly named Bill.
  • Competence Zone: Two levels which intersect: Angelica and Susie are on the upper level, who can communicate with the younger babies and the adults; most of the remaining non-baby characters can only communicate with Angelica and Susie. Dil is below both.
  • The Complainer Is Always Wrong:
    • This show tends to play with this trope, especially in the early days. The formula usually has Tommy suggesting they do something, Phil and Lil agreeing, Chuckie mentioning that it's not such a good idea, one of the three calling Chuckie a "big baby" and dragging him along. It's usually subverted when the adventure goes south, just as Chuckie said it would (but they still had a blast). In said early days, Chuckie's more temperamental attitude led him to point this out more frequently. In one episode he even lampshades how in every argument Tommy tricks him into following him and suggests to just skip it and go along with the plan right away.
    • An interesting subversion is the episode "Touchdown Tommy". 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:
      Chas: I told you we should have watched the chess tournaments.
      [the others glare at him]
    • At least a handful of episodes are devoted to something bad happening to Chuckie, or him finally drawing the line, at which point the others are apologetic, at least for a while (e.g. "Farewell My Friend", "Chuckie's Wonderful Life").
  • Confirm Before Reveal: In Season 3 "Under Chuckie's Bed", while Chuckie is telling his friends about how wonderful his crib is, the other babies notice their parents taking parts of his crib out of his room after replacing it with a new bed.
    Tommy: Uh, Chuckie. Is that the crib with the wide bars on it?
    Phil: And the tall sides?
    Lil: And the picture of the pink and blue sheep?
    Chuckie: Yep, that's the one. Why?
    Tommy: Well, I think the grown-ups just carried it out of your room in pieces.
    Chuckie: What?!
  • Conforming OOC Moment: At the beginning of "Circus Angelicus", the adults don't seem too bothered by the circus clown, not even Didi, who had been established to have a fear of clowns back in "Reptar's Revenge". This could be Character Development, though, since the latter was in season 1.
  • Congestion Speak: In Tommy Catches a Cold, a book based on the show, when Tommy gets a cold, he mentions that he caught it at the "playgrowd". He also pronounces "let" as "led" and "it" as "id", and the boy he's implied to have caught it from pronounces "Hey, that's mine!" as "Hey, dat's mide!".
  • Continuity Nod: Many, many instances.
    • In the episode Angelica's In Love, a new kid that spends the day at Tommy's house tells him that he heard talk that Tommy "escaped" from Daycare, referencing an episode only a few prior where Tommy did just that.
    • During the episode "Driving Miss Angelica", the titular character accidentally locks herself in a closet while trying to get back a box of chocolates her father took from her. She pounds on the door from the inside while screaming "Daddy! Daddy!" Drew passes by the closet, but can't hear her because he has a Walkman on and is listening to a song heard in the episode "Reptar on Ice".
    • The episode "Feeding Hubert" introduces (what the babies believe is) a monster named Hubert that eats garbage— in reality, it's the neighborhood garbage truck ("Hubert" presumably being the name of the driver). In a later episode ("The Mattress"), the babies think that there's a monster in Grandpa's bed and attempt to feed him to "a bigger monster," at which point Hubert makes his second appearance (and Chuckie refers to it by name, confirming the continuity).
    • During at least one episode ("The Odd Couple"), Chas is portrayed as writing left-handed. Chuckie is later revealed to have developed as a lefty as well.
    • At the end of an adventure at the Zoo, Chas discusses with Stu on where to take the Rugrats next, hopefully where they won't get into trouble; his suggestions were the bowling alley, the mini-golf course and the pool at the community center. In each case Stu mutters "Tried it," referencing previous episodes ("King Ten Pin", "Ice Cream Mountain", and "The Big Flush", respectively) where Stu takes them on trips to these locations and they inevtiably caused mayhem every time.
    • In an episode of the later seasons, the babies were eating watermelons. Chuckie worries about swallowing a seed again, and he even mentions how the babies went inside his stomach to try and retrieve it.
    • Certain events in Rugrats in Paris are alluded to in the first episode that aired after it, "Finsterella".
    • During the episode "The Big Flush", Chuckie goes on a rant, after being asked by Tommy "Have I ever got us lost forever?" Everything Chuckie says actually happened in previous episodes:
      Chuckie: How 'bout the time you took us down in the basement and I got stuck in the mattress? And the time you got us locked in that toy store! And the time you made us go through that mirror into Mirrorland! And the time we chased after that wedding cake! The time we got lost in the mooseum! [continues ranting as he chases after the rest of the gang]
    • Susie teaches Chuckie the Survival Mantra "I'm a big, brave dog" in Season 2. In Season 3 ("Farewell, My Friend"), Chuckie uses it again.
  • Contortionist: In "Acorn Nuts and Diapey Butts", the cowardly Chas is setup with one by the outgoing Betty. Apparently this date scares Chuckie too, but for different reasons.
  • Contrived Coincidence:
    • So many. The babies often misintiprent things or believe something to be different from the reality (sometimes because Angelica makes it up to scare them), only for something to happen to support their theories. Sometimes, the lies Angelica tells them eventually appears to affect her as well (in "Family Reunion", when she mistakenly thinks her story about families trading kids at a family reunion is true, she tells the kids "I thought I was making it up").
    • Additionally, the babies might accidentally cause a happy ending or expose some kind of secret or fraud. In one episode, they wander into the basement and accidentally get Stu's invention to work properly. In "The Bank Trick", while wandering the bank for M&Ms, they unintentionally set off a burglary alarm, and when the police show up, it turns out that the "bank examiners" are actually crooks the police had been after for years.
  • Cool Big Sis:
    • Susie tends to act as an older sister to the babies.
    • Angelica has her moments, too. See "Moving Away" and "New Kid in Town" for early examples. A later episode also focuses on the fact that Angelica, who by then is the lone remaining only child in the series, really wants a sibling. In fact, this popped up in the two-parter right before the first movie, where Angelica gets mad because Tommy and Chuckie don't see her as a big sister.
  • Coordinated Clothes: Phil and Lil dress exactly the same, with minor exceptions— Lil wears a pink ribbon in her hair, pink shoes, and her top is a dress. Phil wears blue shoes, his top is a shirt, and he wears blue shorts (Lil wears only her diaper). Because of this, Phil and Lil can each easily impersonate the other, and are good enough at it to fool their parents. Phil can even perfectly imitate Lil's voice, as seen in the episode "Beauty Pageant".
  • The Corrupter: Angelica, to Tommy, in "Rebel Without a Teddy Bear". She's also done this to Phil and Lil. Chuckie seems to be less susceptible than the other babies, possibly because he's the smartest and, at the same time, the most cynical. The other kids are naive to Angelica's false sincerity, and Chuckie often sees right through it, sometimes better than the adults.
  • Couple Theme Naming: Grandpa Lou eventually marries a woman named Lulu.
  • Courtroom Episode:
    • In "The Trial", the babies do this to find out who broke Tommy's favorite clown lamp, with Tommy as the judge and Angelica as the prosecutor (although she says she's the "Persecutor"). They soon realize it was Angelica who broke the lamp and she even admits it, because she hated it and gloats loud enough that the adults hear her.
    • In "Pickles Vs. Pickles", Angelica sues her parents after they make her eat broccoli. The whole court is on Angelica's side and the judge even allows her to bring up her toys as witnesses. Luckily for Drew, it turns out it was All Just a Dream.
    • "Tricycle Thief" presents a trial of sorts, as Angelica is suspected of stealing Susie's tricycle. Angelica's doll Cynthia is tied to Susie's mylar balloon while testimony is presented. While Angelica claims she was innocent, evidence seem to be against her (literally caught redhandednote  and Chuckie overhearing Angelica quietly telling Susie she'll be sorry).
  • Cousin Oliver: Dil and Kimi were introduced in the respective movies The Rugrats Movie and Rugrats in Paris. Both characters became series regulars after their debuts and were mainly created to add some new blood to the show.
  • Cowboy Episode:
    • "Graham Canyon" - Tommy and Angelica travel to the Grand Canyon with Stu and Didi. However, when their car breaks down, they think the garage is the Grand Canyon. Angelica even goes as far to ride Tommy like a horse.
    • "Showdown at Teeter-Totter Gulch" - Tommy defends an old-western-esque playground from "The Junk Food Kid," who's a worse playground bully than Angelica.
    • "The Wild Wild West" - On a hot day, Grandpa Lou tells Tommy, Chuckie, and Susie a story about cowboys. Angelica steals a stack of coupons good for one free ice cream from the ice cream truck each. Tommy, Chuckie, and Susie pretend to be the cowboys and cowgirl from Grandpa's story to stop her.
  • Crapsack World: "Chuckie's Wonderful Life". In the alternate timeline Chuckie's guardian angel shows him, the world, for the main characters at least, is horrible as a result of Chuckie no longer existing.
  • Credits Jukebox: Every episode featured the same OP of its era, but the ED could vary; sometimes it would use the usual ending music but other times it would play a different piece of music instead. Dialogue and sound effects from the just-ended episode sometimes continued into the credits.
  • Crossover:
  • Crying a River: Discussed in "Hand-Me-Downs" when Angelica is trying to scare the babies by claiming that giving away hand-me-downs makes you disappear. She claims that this happened to Susie's older sister Yvonne and the reason why Susie hasn't mentioned Yvonne is because she's too sad and she once cried so much that the Carmichaels needed a boat.
  • Crying at Your Birthday Party:
    • In "Three Jacks and a Beanstalk" from Tales from the Crib, Giant Angelica wails enough to accumulate several puddles after the babies escape her castle. It's then revealed that today is her birthday and she has nobody else but Giant Harold to celebrate with.
    • In "Tommy's First Birthday", all Tommy wants to do is eat dog food after seeing a commercial for it on television, believing that eating dog food will turn him into a dog, so that he can do whatever Spike, his pet dog does. Tommy's every attempt to eat Spike's dog food is foiled by the adults, and at one point, it's time for him to open his presents. When Didi tells Tommy that he still has many more presents to open, Tommy cries, and Didi tries unsuccessfully to calm him down as she complains to Betty how the party has been a disaster thus far. Tommy stops crying when some caterers arrive at the door with the puppet stand that Didi rented for a puppet show she planned to put on.
    • In "Angelica's Birthday", Angelica wants to avoid the responsibilities that come with growing up, so she dresses and acts like a baby, which of course, includes crying like one instead of talking like a big girl. When Drew sees this, he complains to Charlotte that whenever Angelica wants something, she just cries. Charlotte then tells Drew, "It's her party and she can cry if she wants to."
  • Crying Wolf: Angelica lies about something to someone—mainly the babies—in almost every episode. Usually the only time people don't believe her is when she's actually telling the truth.
  • Daddy's Girl:
    • While Charlotte obviously does love Angelica and cares dearly for her daughter, Angelica's usually portrayed as being closer to her dad, Drew, than she is to her. This is possibly because Charlotte is constantly working, to the point where it wouldn't be a stretch to say that she's talking, on her cell phone or in person, to her executive assistant Jonathan (or a potential client) in every episode she's been in. Subtle hints indicate that Charlotte is threatened by the fact that the working world is dominated by men, and is a workaholic to compensate.
    • Subverted in "The Shot". Drew (by himself) takes Angelica to the doctor's office to get a booster shot, which is far from the first or last time he and Angelica are seen together without Charlotte. At the end of the episode, however, when Angelica bursts into tears after getting her shot, she cries for her mother, even as Drew tries his hardest to console her (Charlotte hadn't even appeared yet in the entire series at the time this episode premiered. She is first seen in "The Santa Experience" later that season).
    • Certain episodes also imply Charlotte, when properly focused on her parenting, is actually more stern and capable of disciplining her, while Drew is frequently an Extreme Doormat who struggles to draw the line. When Charlotte scolds Angelica for playing with her office equipment and asks how to behave when she tells her "No," Angelica's first suggestion is "Ask Daddy?"
  • Darker and Edgier:
    • The Rugrats Movie. But also towards the show's ninth season and Rugrats Go Wild!. Later episodes consisting of nude beaches, and Rugrats Go Wild was even rated PG by the MPAA, first for a Rugrats movie.
    • The third season has much more unnerving imagination sequences and delves into the psychosis and negative aspects of the characters a lot more. In particular Chuckie reads Tommy the riot act over his selfishness multiple times and a lot of Angelica's schemes are jarringly malicious, bordering on Mind Rape, with the effects of her constant bullying sometimes given more severe toll. There's a lot more Black Comedy concerning the adults' side plots as well.
  • Dark-Skinned Blond: Jonathan, Charlotte's assistant.
  • Daycare Nightmare: The show had a couple of episodes centered around this.
    • "The Big House" had Tommy dropped off at a daycare where the staff acted like prison guards and proudly proclaimed to the parents that there had never been an escape. Tommy and the other babies try to do just that until the parents just happen to show up at the moment they were about to break out.
    • Subverted in "Dayscare", where Chuckie and Kimi are sent to another daycare center. This one is shown to be a very cool and fun place. But Chuckie, being the shy, paranoid, easily frightened little boy he is still spends the whole episode expecting something bad to happen until his sister finally convinces him to chill out....literally, they're having ice cream!
  • Deadpan Snarker: Chuckie, Stu, and sometimes Angelica.
    Angelica: Tommy?
    Tommy: Yeah?
    Angelica: You're a dope.
    • From the episode "Chuckie's First Haircut", after Tommy suggests that Chuckie go through with said haircut instead of living in fear:
    Chuckie: You know something, Tommy? That's the dumbest thing I ever heard.
  • Defeating the Cheating Opponent: Grandpa Lou Pickles faces off against a bowling rival whom he's never been able to beat, all the way back to an incident when they were young men (which the audience is teased about, but doesn't get to see). The rival was cheating with things like bowling pins designed to stay up and using blow dryers to knock pins down. Once the cheating gets exposed, Lou still wins fairly by bowling the game of his life.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: The Tales from the Crib direct-to-video films "Snow White" and "Three Jacks and a Beanstalk" both depict Angelica as the main villain, portraying the Evil Queen in the former and Angelica the Giant in the latter. Both films end with Angelica making amends with the babies after they defeat her.
  • Delayed Reaction: Howard in "Family Feud".
    Didi: Stu! Don't yell, it's just a game!
    Stu: Then why do I always get teamed up with Howard?
    Howard: Just a minute... are you calling me an imbecile?
    Stu: Oh, very good. And it only took you fifteen seconds.

    Stu: I'm sorry I called you a fathead.
    [after everyone made up and leave]
    Howard: Wait a minute... you called me a "fathead"?
  • Deliberately Cute Child: Angelica, when grownups are around.
  • Deliberately Jumping the Gun: In the episode, "Susie Vs. Angelica", Susie and Angelica compete in a race to see who's the best three-year-old in the world. Tommy is given the job of waving the flag (which consists of a pair of underwear on a stick). Angelica drives off before he waves the flag, which leads to this exchange:
    Lil: Hey! That was cheating!
    Tommy: Nah, Angelica told me, she was opposed to go right before the flag was waved, and Susie's opposed to right after.
  • Delivery Stork: Explanation given to Angelica when she asks her parents where babies come from.
  • Denied Food as Punishment:
    • Angelica had this happen to her at the beginning of "Pickles Vs. Pickles" when she refused to eat her broccoli and threw her dinner plate against the wall.
    • An inverted example occurs at the end of "Angelica Orders Out". Charlotte makes Angelica eat all the flan she ordered from Zippy's as punishment for ordering sweets against Didi's wishes. Angelica refuses to eat it, as she doesn't like it. Grandpa (who has his teeth taken away as his punishment for falling asleep and not watching Tommy and Angelica) eats some himself.
    • In "Chuckie's Wonderful Life", Angelica steals a CD from Chas and makes Chuckie think it was his fault it disappeared. Drew eventually finds the CD, and after returning it, informs him that Angelica won't have dessert for a week.
  • Depraved Kids' Show Host: Miss Carol, at least until Angelica makes it backfire.
  • Description Cut: Angelica's father finally gets the backbone to punish his daughter for her misbehavior, and he's so proud of himself that he tells Charlotte the good news:
    Drew: I did it! I actually did it. I disciplined Angelica!
    Charlotte: I hope you weren't too hard on her.
    Drew: Oh, nah...our daughter's a fairly mature girl. I think she'll take it well.
    [immediate cut to Angelica wrecking her room while screaming "IT'S NOT FAIR!!!!!"]
  • Devil in Plain Sight: Angelica.
  • Diaper Space: The babies often carry their stuff in their diapers, most notably Tommy with his plastic screwdriver, which he uses to escape from the playpen.
  • Did You Get a New Haircut?: In "Naked Tommy", Phil and Lil try to guess what's different about Tommy, which includes asking if he got a new haircut (when he has virtually no hair), before Phil correctly guesses that Tommy is completely naked.
  • Didn't Think This Through:
    • In "The Inside Story", Chuckie swallows a seed and an Imagine Spot begins with the babies shrinking in to get it out. Angelica later reveals her secret motive to actually water the seed so it will grow and Chuckie's stomach will explode. When she succeeds, she begins her Evil Gloating, until Tommy points out Chuckie will explode with her still inside.
    • When the episode "All Growed Up" switches to the babies and toddlers being pre-teens, Tommy Pickles is forced to steal his father's lucky medallion for Angelica so that she can convince her friend Samantha to reciprocate Chuckie's feelings for her. To prevent his dad from freaking out about his medallion missing, Tommy makes a fake one by wrapping gold paper over a dog treat. The problem? Spike was in Tommy's parent's bedroom and was able to smell the dog treat used to make the fake medallion, so he ate it, resulting in Stu finding no medallion and freaking out.
  • Didn't Want an Adventure: All Chuckie ever wants is to do something nice and quiet.
  • Dinosaur Doggie Bone: When Grandpa takes the babies to a museum without Spike, they try to get him a dinosaur bone as a present. They succeed.
  • Disappeared Dad: Kimi's; in All Grown Up! it's revealed that he's alive and lives in Japan, having remarried and started a new family.
  • Disco Sucks!: The death of disco is mentioned in the episode "Garage Sale".
    Angelica: Aunt Didi, what's disco?
    Didi: Oh, nothing, sweetheart. It's something that happened a long time ago and it's never, never coming back, so don't you worry.
  • Disney School of Acting and Mime: The series intentionally avoided this style of acting to better serve the down to earth tone of the series. The original style guide for the show even warned the artists not to use theatrical gestures like finger pointing for the babies, saying that characters like Tommy, being a one year old, should be free of any kind of acting that conveys affection, maturity, cultural conditioning and malice. The movies get a little more expressive in the acting, but nowhere to the extent of a Disney movie.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Chuckie, when the other babies ask why Barney, Chuckie's imaginary friend, never comes over to play:
    Chuckie: Well, um... it's very sad, you guys... Barney... he wouldn't eat his broccoli, so... they sent him to prism!
    Other babies: *gasp!*
    Chuckie: They can do that, you know.
    • Inverted by Angelica's parents at least once. Angelica refuses to eat a single serving of broccoli, acting rudely towards her parents about it despite the fact that they're asking her as nicely as possible. At one point, Drew threatens her with "Angelica, if you don't eat some broccoli, then you're not going to get seconds on dessert!", to which she responds "But that's not fair!" She then throws the plate of broccoli against the wall, which shatters on impact. Spoiled Brat indeed.
      • The entire episode revolves around Angelica successfully suing them for grounding her for the act. Though it was All Just a Dream.
    • Yet another one involving broccoli: in the episode "The Baby Vanishes," Angelica reveals to Drew (thinking she's invisible and he can't see her, and possibly thinking he can't hear her) that he didn't lose a set of important documents, as he had thought. Angelica threw them out of the car window on the freeway "because [Drew] made her eat broccoli." She thinks it's hilarious.
  • Disqualification-Induced Victory: In the episode "Beauty Contest", in order to win the Kingfisher 9000 sports boat, Stu and Grandpa Lou dress Tommy as a girl and enter him in a beauty contest, where Tommy's cousin, Angelica is also competing. Tommy wins, until Didi reveals to the judges that Tommy is actually a boy by removing his wig. The judges disqualify Tommy and Angelica wins. Grandpa Lou doesn't mind when he remembers that Angelica is his granddaughter.
  • Distant Reaction Shot: Practically a Running Gag. Any time any character, usually Stu or one of the adults, screams at the top of their lungs, the scene cuts to the outside to show just how loud the scream is.
    • In "Garage Sale," as Stu does his trademark Stock Scream as we see outside the house (he was reacting to that the babies made them sell all their possessions), their satellite dish tumbles off the roof of the house as Stu screams.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: If there are any episodes in which Tommy does wear shoes, they are few and far between. Obviously does not apply to the "All Growed Up" spin-off.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: When Tommy's parents attempt to wean him, after being without a bottle for a while, he gets a pouch-eyed look and starts desperately trying to bum one off Phil and Lil. Then comes the fever dream...
    • The Episode "Give and Take" features Chuckie becoming enamored with Tommy's clown-faced punching bag named Boppo, to the point where Phil expresses concern over the endless hours Chuckie has spent literally punching the clown.
    Lil: He's been boppin' it all afternoon.
    Phil: I think something's wrong with him... A kid his age should be playing with his friends, not alone in a room boppin' his boppo.
  • Dodgy Toupee: In "Grandpa's Date," Lou reunites with an old flame from almost 40 years ago. He doesn't want to seem old when they meet, so he wears a black toupee, despite the fact that the hair on the sides of his head, and his moustache, are gray.
    • Morgana even knows it and asks him to take it off at the end.
  • Domestic Appliance Disaster: In the episode "Accidents Happen", Stu puts Dil's onesie in the laundry with something else and it turns pink.
  • Downer Ending: A downplayed version is double-subverted in "Twins' Pique." At the end of the episode, Angelica urges Lil to throw her father's "quack-u-lator" in the mud, for no reason other than For the Evulz. She refuses, and a frustrated Angelica takes it from her and hurls it towards a mud puddle. Phil runs underneath it and catches it, keeping it from going in the mud. At this point, Tommy gives Phil a congratulatory embrace for making the save... which causes Phil to fall over and drop the calculator in the mud.
  • Dream Episode: "Sweet Dreams" begins with the babies dreaming. Tommy's dream involves him exploring an ancient temple as "Okey-dokey Jones", Kimi dreams that she's an acrobat at the circus, and Phil and Lil share a dream, wherein Phil rides a frog while Lil rides a flying mud pie. Unfortunately, Chuckie doesn't have an exciting dream like the other babies. When Chuckie tells the other babies that his exciting dreams involve him being a superhero who isn't afraid of anything (which is a huge contrast from his cowardly personality), they try to help him find his missing dream.
  • Dream Within a Dream: In "In the Dreamtime", Chuckie has a dream that takes place in a dream of his, and in the end, it all turns out to be Chas' dream.
  • Drive-In Theater: Featured in "Runaway Reptar."
  • Dull Surprise: Lil's reaction to the army of Nightmare Fuel-inducing Mr. Friend dolls in "The Mysterious Mr. Friend" is priceless.
    Lil: Boy, this has really been one of those days, huh?

     E - I 
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The "classic" episodes of Rugrats that most of us think back on were about the friendship of the whole gang, who are all well-developed characters, working together to deal with various issues, fears, superstitions, things the adults are doing, etc. The first season on the other hand is a way starker show about a largely-silent Tommy (and occasionally some of the other kids) being brought to some new building (the hospital, the post office, a child psychologist, a baseball game, the movies, etc), wandering off from his parents and accidentally getting into all sorts of trouble without them noticing, only to return to them unharmed at the end of each episode and leaving the building with them as it descends into chaos. The "solo Tommy" episodes were gradually phased out towards the end of the first season.
    • To go along with this, a couple classic episodes explicitly mention Chuckie's mother, making it unclear whether she and Chas are divorced, she's deceased, or what. Much later, the writers would clear this up; "Mother's Day" explains Melinda Finster is deceased.
      • In the Season 1 episode "Real or Robots?", Stu tells Chuckie his mom and dad would pick him up in the morning, as if she was still alive. Then again, Stu was sleep-deprived at the time.
      • Its companion episode "Special Delivery" has Chuckie telling Tommy, Phil and Lil that his mom said he came from the hospital.
      • Another example is in an earlier Season 1 episode "Barbecue Story", where Chas (before his proper introduction later in the season) is seen with a red-haired woman.
    • In a few of the earliest episodes, Angelica can be seen wearing a diaper under her dress. In "Tommy's First Birthday," her voice also sounds more babyish.
    • In earlier seasons, the authors were more likely to throw in random bits of weirdness, such as the toy time machine that actually traveled through time, or the Mister Ed knock-off who could actually talk. Neither of those things had anything to do with the episodes they appeared in.
  • Early Personality Signs:
    • Angelica loves cookies and flashbacks reveal that she learnt to walk because she saw a cookie and (if she is to be believed) her first word was "cookie".
    • Chas is seen as a boy being scared of a rug, showing that he's always been nervy. Similarly, Chuckie, who's also nervy, walked for the first time while trying to run away from a clown head on an ice cream van.
  • Eat the Camera: Several episodes end with such a shot. It's usually often done with Angelica and Chuckie. Sometimes it may happen at another point in the episode (usually when a character is screaming or crying.)
    • However, "Let Them Eat Cake" ends this way on Tommy belching, and "A Whole New Stu" ends this way on Tommy laughing.
    • An unusual one occurs earlier in "Showdown at Teeter-Totter Gulch," when Tommy and Chuckie are playing with Belinda, and she crawls right into the camera, her laughing mouth filling the frame and turning it black, and it wasn't even transitioning to a different scene.
    • "The War Room" exaggerates this by showing Dil's esophagus and having the inside his mouth animated more realistically than usual.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: Dil calls Angelica "Yucky."
  • Entertainment Above Their Age: In "Angelica Breaks a Leg", when Stu is about to give Angelica (who is three years old) some chocolate pudding, she is watching what appears to be a war movie (or possibly an action movie or a cop show), judging by the explosions and gunshots that are heard from offscreen. She's also laughing raucously.
  • Episode Tagline: The episode "Grandpa's Bad Bug" has Stu say: "If a promise you don't keep, it will haunt you in your sleep, and as you lie beneath your quilt, you'll have a conscience full of guilt." and then repeat it several times in Grandpa Lou's imagination because Grandpa Lou broke his promise to not stay up late.
  • Escalating War: A subplot in "Stu Gets a Job." Tommy's efforts to keep Stu from going to work (throwing out his clothes, replacing his coffee with mud, etc.) are mistaken by Stu as pranks by Drew, after Stu's late on repaying a loan to Drew. Stu pranks Drew in response, leading to this exchange:
    Drew: Stu, I couldn't get to work this morning because someone had my car towed!
    Stu: Oh, and I suppose I wore my disco suit to work today just for kicks, huh?!
    Drew: I don't know what you're talking about. But I think you do know something about the fifty pizzas I got the other day!
  • Eskimos Aren't Real: Angelica tells the babies that giants are just something made up by grown-ups to scare them, like monsters, "sea slurpents", and cavities. Justified because she is only 3 years old.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Angelica in "Tricycle Thief."
    Angelica: I may be mean, and I may be a bully, but I'M NO TRICYCLE THIEF! She's not.
    • Invoked by Tommy of all people in "Rebel Without a Teddy Bear." Angelica has successfully "turned Tommy bad," and Tommy has just completely wrecked his whole house at Angelica's behest. She then tells him to finish it off by throwing Didi's favorite necklace in the garbage. He refuses (with some coercing from Chuckie).
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: In the episode "Runaway Angelica", Angelica for the umpteenth time has wrecked Drew's office and when he's angry at her for doing so, she smiles confidently and apologizes, but when it fails, she just sighs and tries buttering him up up even more. Drew calls her out for being insincere and her response is a confused "Huh?".
  • Evil Is Petty:
    • Angelica can sometimes fall into this. Like when she convinced Tommy, Phil and Lil that Chuckie was an alien just so she could have the playhouse to herself.
    • She also learned that Susie thought she was going to have to move, and the babies were doing their best to keep it from happening. When Susie gave Angelica her Malibu Cynthia beach house toy as a sort of parting gift, Angelica attempted to keep the babies from helping her stay... until Susie said she got a new Malibu Cynthia road racer, and that if she was staying, she and Angelica could play with it together. This convinced Angelica to help keep Susie from moving (although she was upset when Susie took back the Malibu Cynthia beach house because of it).
  • Evil Laugh: Angelica's is particularly obnoxious and cruel.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!:
    • From "Grandpa Moves Out":
    Didi: Say, didn't those kids speeding by on the electric scooter look just like Tommy and Angelica?
    Drew: Yeah, they sure did.
    Didi, Stu, Drew, and Lou: Tommy and Angelica?!
    • From "Turtle Recall":
    Chas: Of all the places to leave an empty stroller! Some people just... [beat] Empty? Stroller? Stu! Where are the kids?
    • A delayed-reaction example takes place in "Passover". It takes place during an Imagine Spot where the babies are all characters from the famous Moses and the Ten Plagues story. Angelica plays the hard-hearted Pharaoh in this retelling, and interestingly she's still her child self, rather than an adult. Of course she refuses to let Moses' people go even after most of the plagues, so eventually God gets to the last one, killing off the "firstborn" of every Egyptian. Angelica laughs it off at first...and then she asks her father who the firstborn of her family is. Her father explains that since Angelica is an only child, the firstborn would be her! Her father doesn't know about the coming plague, but the implications certainly sink in for Angelica, whose reaction is this trope.
  • Expressive Health Bar: In Jungle Stumble, a licensed game, your player character whines whenever you take damage.
  • Expressive Mask / Latex Perfection: The ultra-realistic Reptar suit in "Reptar on Ice."
    • Averted in Season 1. The costume mentioned above had a zipper in the front that disappeared once it was fully zipped, and Reptar's mouth actually moved perfectly with the man in the costume's voice. In the Season 1 episode "Reptar's Revenge," 'Reptar' is nothing more than a skinny, balding middle-aged man with his head sticking out of the costume's mouth; this was also done in post-Season 2 episodes with Reptar impersonators (such as "Faire Play" and "The Big Showdown.")
  • Expressive Uvula: In "Family Reunion", Angelica lies to Tommy, stating that people in a family reunion will want to take you home with them away from your real family. From then on, he's haunted by Angelica's words which come in the form of her head in place of the adult's uvula repeating those same words. Even Angelica herself interprets her own lie this way when she ends up in the same boat.
    Angelica: And you'll never see your mom or your dad or your dumb-old dog ever again!!! (laughs maniacally)
  • Expy: Reptar is this for Godzilla, the Dummi Bears appear to be this for Care Bears (rather than Adventures of the Gummi Bears).
    • Tommy is a charismatic leader who goes on strange adventures with the help of his trusty screwdriver. Sounds familiar? A few daleks have even shown up in the background.
    • Watch The Bad Seed, then watch any scene with Angelica and deny the similarities between her and Rhoda.
  • Family-Friendly "Mature" Content: In "Grandpa's Date", Grandpa Lou babysits Tommy and Chuckie and rents some movies for them to watch, including two Reptar movies and his "personal favorite", Lonely Space Vixens.
    "That's for after you go to bed."
  • Family Theme Naming:
    • Brothers Stu and Drew are the sons of Lou (and later stepsons of Lulu).
    • The Family Reunion episode reveals that theme naming extends throughout the extended family: e.g. an uncle named Hugh, aunts named Dotti and Edie (similar to "Didi") and cousins with names that sound like "Tommy" (Tony, Timmy-Ray and Tammy-Faye).
    • Phil and Lil DeVille, who also have a teddy bear they've named "Bill." In addition, they mention having an uncle named Bill at one point (meaning that the bear is possibly named after him). And as if that weren't enough, All Grown Up! reveals that one of Lil's middle names (she has two) is "Jill".
  • "Fantastic Voyage" Plot: Traveling into Chuckie's stomach to remove a watermelon seed before it sprouts inside of him.
  • Fantasy Sequence: If there was one thing the cartoon series really excelled at, it was these. From the perspective of the babies, not so much using their imagination, but trying to comprehend the big grown-up world, the ordinary, boring and mundane... could be a wonderous surreal experience for the viewer.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Growing up is this for the babies.
  • Father, I Want to Marry My Brother: In the games the babies make for themselves, Phil and Lil often end up playing characters who are dating, such as when they performed their own soap opera and when the babies held their own prom, and when they were dressed as Morticia and Gomez expies in a Halloween episode.
  • Fearless Infant: All of the babies, especially Tommy.
  • Feigning Healthiness: In "All's Well That Pretends Well", Angelica has a cold, but she pretends to be healthy so she doesn't have to miss out on a Dummi Bears performance. She tries to make it look like the babies are sick by using a feather duster, but she ends up giving herself away by accidentally making herself sneeze. However, she gets to see the performance anyway when it's shown on TV.
  • Feud Episode:
    • "Farewell, My Friend," formerly the Trope Namer. Chuckie ends his friendship with Tommy after a disastrous adventure and subsequent nightmare. He quickly changes his mind soon after.
    • Tommy and Chuckie have another feud in "The Odd Couple" when Tommy spends the weekend at Chuckie's house, and the two argue over how each other does everything over the course of the episode. They do make up near the end.
    • Tommy and Chuckie have yet another feud in "Opposites Attract", when Tommy wants to climb rocks, Chuckie wants to pick dandelions, and neither one wants to do the other's activity. During this time, they meet two kids with personalities similar to theirs; a girl named Samantha, and a boy named Freddie.
    • In "Family Feud", the parents of Tommy and Phil & Lil got into a fight over a game of charades.
    Betty: It's Dances with Wolves.
    Howard: Oh. I never saw that movie.
    Stu: [annoyed] Well, you must have heard of it.
    Howard: I don't really like musicals.
    Didi: Stu! Don't yell, it's just a game!
    Stu: Then why do I always get teamed up with Howard?
    Howard: Just a minute... are you calling me an imbecile?
    Stu: Oh, very good. And it only took you fifteen seconds.
    Howard: That's it! I don't need to take this! I'm gonna go home and, and... and do some filing! [storms off]
    Stu: FINE!!! I've had enough of this stupid game anyway! [storms off]
  • File Mixup: Angelica fakes a broken leg (to force her aunt and uncle to look after her like her own parents normally do). She succeeds when a young doctor gets "Pickles" mixed up with "Peaches" and looks at the wrong x-ray.
  • Filthy Fun: The babies, especially Phil and Lil, like to get dirty.
  • Finish Dialogue in Unison: Phil and Lil seem to do this at least once an episode, and all four babies do it from time to time.
  • First Day of School Episode: A few First Day of Daycare Episodes.
    • "The Big House" has Tommy go to a strict daycare where everyone has a nickname.
    • "Dayscare" has Chuckie and Kimi having their first day of daycare.
    • Angelica switches daycares and has her first day in "Preschool Daze" and "Educating Angelica".
  • 555: In "The Santa Experience," Angelica dialed the phone number 555-5555 in an attempt to get ahold of a Christmas help line. She ended up calling Cogs Unlimited, and after some persuasion, the employee told her she was on the bad list.
  • Flanderization: Not the characters themselves(this is a long runner that cleverly avoided this trope for the most part), but the baby talk. In the seasons after the movie, the baby talk is amped up to 11.
    • Chuckie's character as the baby that's afraid of everything is actually a case of this. In the first few seasons, he's merely the Only Sane Man - who would typically say "I don't think X is such a good idea" (and would end up going along with it anyway). He then later merely became afraid of clowns before that morphed into him being afraid of everything.
  • Flash Forward: The episode that inspired All Grown Up!.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: Angelica's Right-Hand Cat.
  • For Inconvenience, Press "1": In "Naked Tommy", after Tommy's nudist phase rubs off on Phil and Lil, Didi calls the Dr. Lipschitz hotline for advice on how to deal with said phase. A recorded message from Dr. Lipschitz picks up her call, giving her instructions to wait to press the right button. When she reaches "9", the message gives her the exact same advice written in the books (which she already knew about), and charges her for every minute she waited on the hotline.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • The Toy Palace episode where Tommy and Chuckie get trapped inside the toy store has toy Daleks briefly visible in one scene.
    • Another episode has Stu visit a pet shop to get Tommy a new pet after Spike gets lost. There are several animals stuffed into the cages, including an elephant, a full sized shark, a cat sized slug, and a praying mantis the size of Angelica. What kind of pet shop is this?!
    • Anywhere there could be, there are- the supermarket, the movies, the doctor's office, etc.
    • Look what comes out of Howard's drawer in "Twin's Pique": a Playboy magazine, complete with centerfold.
    • In "Tricycle Thief" Susie's tricycle can be seen under the stairs to the deck before it's revealed Angelica didn't steal it.
    • Pay close attention to the whip-pan at the beginning of the Chanukah Special. One might see a caricature of Elvis.
    • Near the end of "Early Retirement" as the babies jump on the couch, the remote can be seen right under Tommy's foot.
  • From the Mouths of Babes: In the episode "Dummi Bear Dinner Disaster," all the adults are trying to impress Paul Gatsby (who's having dinner at the Carmichaels'), a cartoonist and creator of the Dummi Bear cartoon. Drew in particular is attempting to become business partners with Paul, and when he introduces Angelica...
    Drew: Angelica, say hi to Uncle Paul.
    Angelica: My daddy says your show is the biggest gravy train in town!
    Paul: I beg your pardon?
    • Bonus points that Paul Gatsby is a character of the show's co-creator Paul Germain.
  • Funny Phone Misunderstanding: In the episode "Mommy's Little Assets", Charlotte's employee Jonathan thinks she's calling him sweetie, when really she was talking to her daughter Angelica.
  • Fun with Flushing:
    • The pilot episode had Tommy inspecting the toilet to find out what it does. He accidentally ends up flushing some toilet paper and making a mess in the bathroom, causing the toilet to overflow. He also flushes jewels down a toilet while he was kidnapped by robbers.
    • In a different episode, Tommy nearly flushes Stu's tie (that he was planning to wear to a business dinner, no less) down the toilet (fortunately, Stu catches him just in time). Apparently this was not a one-time occurence either.
    Stu: [Exasperated] Didi, he did it again!
    Didi: [Sympathetic] Oh, tie in the potty?
    • Another episode had Angelica scaring Tommy and Chuckie by saying they'll get sucked down the drain (After an incident where Tommy accidentally loses one of his toys this way) whenever they take a bath, and throughout the episode they try to find ways to get out of it, which includes flushing anything bath time related down the toilet. Ironically, she accidentally flushes her own doll, Cynthia, down the toilet. The plumber recovers it, but the doll is ruined.
    • In yet another, the parents take the kids to the pool, which they assume is a gigantic potty. The whole episode revolved around them trying to find the flusher, and trying things such as the high dive and the sauna thermostat (when they do the latter, they accidentally lock the moms inside).
    • "Chuckie vs. the Potty" had a dark dream-sequence example, wherein Angelica was having the Fun with Flushing by flushing Chuckie down a giant toilet. As an added bonus, we get to see him go through the pipes, screaming the entire time.
  • Games of the Elderly: In the episode, "Lady Luck", Grandpa Lou takes the babies to the senior center for bingo night. When Lou first starts playing bingo, none of his numbers are called, but as soon as the babies find the female manager, whom they believe to be "Lady Luck," Lou's numbers begin to be called, and when she arrives, he gets a bingo.
  • Gender-Equal Ensemble: With the introduction of Susie in Season Two, the babies consisted of three boys (Tommy, Chuckie and Phil) and three girls (Angelica, Lil and Susie). Dil being born in The Movie brought it up to four boys, with Kimi debuting in the sequel evening it out again with four girls.
  • Generation Xerox: In "Sour Pickles," baby Stu sounds and acts just like Tommy. Drew as a toddler is essentially a male version of Angelica, with some of Chuckie's characteristics (though he doesn't sound like Chuckie very much.)
    • It's heavily implied that Grandpa Lou and Aunt Miriam had a relationship similar to Tommy and Angelica as children. Lou even relates a story about how Miriam threw his favorite ball into the next yard, and another where Miriam opened a window which made Lou sick. They apparently were also friends with a set of twins, Bill and Jill, supposedly mirroring Phil and Lil.
    • Betty and Howard have their own counterparts in minor characters Devil May Care Sam and Cowardly Lion Freddie from post-Dil episode 'Opposites Attract'. Look at them. Freddie even has Howard's hairstyle. They (sort of) hook up at the end.
  • George Jetson Job Security: In the episode "Mommy's Little Assets," Charlotte is forced to take Tommy and Angelica to work with her, as the other adults are all gone and apparently, no one will ever agree to babysit Angelica more than once. Jonathan, Charlotte's assistant, neglects to keep an eye on the kids (which all the adults do at least Once an Episode), and Tommy and Angelica get away and roam the building. Charlotte immediately fires him after she finds the children, even going as far as to tell Jonathan to call security on himself. He's re-hired at the end of the episode, with a promotion. To Jonathan's dismay, it's not a Vice President position— it's supervisor of Merge Corps' daycare center, starting with watching Angelica.
    Angelica: [grabs Jonathan's hand and smiles evilly] Boy, Jonathan, are we gonna have fun...
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: The show is rated G. For the most part, it's perfectly innocuous, but in the episode "Reptar's Revenge", there is a nude pinup on the side of the carnival owner's trailer. which should warrant a PG.
  • The Ghost: Jonathan, Charlotte's assistant, whom we only ever heard about when she was talking to him on her cell phone. He was finally revealed in an episode where Charlotte had to take Angelica & Tommy to work.
    • Charlotte herself was a ghost for much of the early run of the show. She was mentioned in passing, but appeared onscreen for the first time in "The Santa Experience" in the middle of the second season.
    • Similarly to Jonathan, Charlotte is heard talking to a Mr. Yamaguchi in a handful of episodes including "Let Them Eat Cake." He and his company Yamaguchi Industries would be mentioned again several years later in the "Acorn Nuts and Diapey Butts" arc leading to the second movie, where he appears as Coco's boss by video call at the beginning and in person at Coco and Chas' wedding toward the end of the film.
    • Grandpa Lou's brother Sparky.
  • "Gift of the Magi" Plot: Intentionally set up by Angelica in "The Santa Experience" as a way of bullying Phil and Lil — Phil will give Lil crayons and Lil will give Phil a Reptar Space Helmet, but Angelica made Lil trade in her coloring book and Phil trade in his Reptar doll.
  • Gilligan Cut:
    • Happens twice in the episode "Angelica Breaks a Leg":
      • First, after Tommy falls asleep after watching Captain Blasto, this exchange occurs:
      Lou: 20 minutes to Fishing With Stan and Orville! Sure you don't want to join me?
      Angelica: Yeah, right! I'm really gonna watch a fishing show!
      (Cut to Angelica watching "Fishing With Stan and Orville" as Lou falls asleep)
      Angelica: Guess the excitement was too much for him.
      • Then, when Stu and Didi are forced to wait on Angelica hand and foot due to an (alleged) fractured fibula. Eventually, in the middle of the night...
      Angelica: Uncle Stu, I want some chocolate pudding.
      Stu: It's three o'clock in the morning, I'm tired, and we don't have any chocolate pudding.
      Angelica: (attempting to guilt-trip Stu) Oh! OH, the pain! *clutches leg*
      Stu: Angelica, we don't have any chocolate pudding.
      Angelica: There must be a store open somewhere...
      Stu: Angelica, I'm not going out at three in the morning to buy you chocolate pudding, and that's final.
      (cut to Stu walking into a 24-hour convenience store)
      Stu: Where's the chocolate pudding?
    • In the episode "Stu Gets A Job," Stu has taken a job outside of the house, and Chuckie warns Tommy that he won't be around so much anymore...
      Tommy: Chuckie, listen, maybe your dad goes to a job all day, maybe other peoples' daddies go to jobs all day, but not my daddy. He stays right here at home with me.
      (cut to the driveway with Stu in the car saying goodbye to Tommy)
      Stu: Bye, Tommy, daddy's off to the lard mines.
    • From the episode "Runaway Angelica," after she's caught playing in Drew's office, despite being told repeatedly not to. She attempts to use the "Sweet, apologetic child" ploy to avoid punishment:
      Angelica: *smiling innocently* I'm so sorry. I'll never do it again. I promise.
      Drew: Angelica, it's NOT gonna work this time!
      Angelica: *sighs in defeat* Okay... I'm really, really sorry, Daddy dear, and I promise I'll never ever—
      Drew: You're not being sincere, young lady! This time you're in BIG trouble!
      Angelica: (in a sweet voice) Oh, Daddy, you're silly. I can't be in trouble— I'm Angelica! Your only daughter. Your princess, your cupcake. Your little tax shelter...
      (cut to Drew carrying Angelica to her room and grounding her)
    • In "Murmur on the Ornery Express," this is done with Chuckie who is quite scared while he and the rest of the cast are riding on a train, although this one ends on a more positive note...
      Kimi: It's just a choo-choo, Chuckie.
      Chuckie: This ain't no choo-choo! It's a big scary train! I don't like it and I never will!
      (cut to Chuckie enjoying eating ice cream in the train's dining car)
  • Girlish Pigtails: Angelica. She even ties pigtails in her cat's hair.
  • Glasses Curiosity: "Chuckie Loses His Glasses" is all about this. When Angelica and later Tommy put on his glasses, they see the same stuff he does without them.
  • Good Stepmother: Chuckie initially worries that Kira will be like the stepmother from "Cinderella", but she's actually quite nice and caring, and even adopts him legally in one episode.
  • Grandparental Obliviousness: Without fail, Grandpa Lou will always fall asleep while babysitting the children, giving them the chance to go off on one of their adventures.
  • Grocery Store Episode: In "Incident in Aisle Seven", Lou takes Tommy to Grocery World to buy the Pickles family's weekly groceries and as many boxes of Fudgy Ding-a-Ling bars as he can carry. While he adds up the total cost of the groceries with a malfunctioning calculator, Tommy wanders off in search of Reptar cereal, inadvertently making a huge mess of the store along the way.
  • Grossout Fakeout:
    • In "Baby Power", the babies think they've turned Dil into a superpowered monster and try to get him back to normal by spilling water on him. Didi picks Dil up and notes, "Your diaper is wet, sweetie. And so is your head?! When you have to go, you have to go!"
    • In "All's Well That Pretends Well", the babies eat vanilla ice cream and Didi mistakes the ice cream on their faces for snot. Needless to say, she is highly disgusted when Betty recognises it as ice cream and tastes some.
    • Downplayed in "Baby Power", where the babies think Dil is going to poop, but he farts instead.
    • In "Man of the House", Dil's rattle breaks, so he cries. This confuses Didi, and at one point, she thinks he has a dirty diaper.
    • In "Day of the Aquarium", the babies see a fountain. Chuckie says, "The floor's going potty?".
    • In "The Big Flush", the babies go to a pool and mistake it for a giant toilet. When Chuckie notes that the pool water tastes bad, Tommy says that it's because it's "potty water".
  • Gross-Out Show: To the maximum, especially the quite dark original pilot.
  • Gross-Up Close-Up: A lot of episodes begin this way.
  • Growing Up Sucks: The fear of growing up constantly hangs over the babies' heads.
    • This is the subject of "Angelica's Birthday," where she fears responsibilities and attempts to revert to a baby.
  • Guilt-Induced Nightmare: Discussed in "Grandpa's Bad Bug"; Stu remembers that Grandpa Lou has told him a rhyme that says if you break a promise, your conscience will haunt you in your sleep.
  • Hairball Humor: In "Babysitting Fluffy", Phil says that he doesn't like cats, but when Fluffy coughs up a hairball on Chuckie's shirt, he says, "I guess I do like cats!".
  • Half-Identical Twins: Phil and Lil.
  • Hammerspace: Many instances, but Phil takes the trope literally when the babies are trying to figure out what to do with a bird's egg that they've found:
    Phil: *pulls a toy mallet from his shirt* Let's hatch it!
  • Handing Over the Crap Sack: In "Driving Miss Angelica", Angelica saves Chuckie and makes him become her servant. She has him steal a box of chocolates for her, and while she does share some with Tommy, she gives the undesirable, coconut flavored pieces to Chuckie.
  • Hanukkah Episode: The episode "A Rugrats Chanukah" is about the main characters hearing the story of the holiday and celebrating.
  • Happily Married: All the married couples on the show. Perhaps the only intra-marital conflict that occurs throughout the entire series is between Boris and Minka, Didi's parents, and that wound up being a big misunderstanding.
    • Especially Chas and Kira. As seen in the episodes "Finsterella," "The Big Sneeze," "Bow Wow Wedding Vows," "Babies In Toyland," "Sweet Dreams," "Mutt's in a Name," and "Kimi Takes The Cake," just to name a few.
    • Chas' earlier marriage to the late Melinda, short as it was, was also a happy one, since "Mother's Day" shows that he was genuinely grief-stricken when she died and is still mourning for her. Not until Rugrats in Paris does he get married again, to the aforementioned Kira.
  • Hartman Hips: Charlotte Pickles.
    • Also, Miriam Pickles.
    • And Didi Pickles.
  • Hates Baths:
    • Phil and Lil hate taking baths in general. In "Word of the Day", an episode that deals with profanity, Phil considered the word "Bath" a bad word.
    • Tommy temporarily hated baths in "Down the Drain", when one of his toy soldiers fell down the bathtub drain. Angelica telling him and Chuckie an obviously made-up story about a kid who got sucked down the drain certainly didn't help matters. He did everything he could to avoid taking a bath, but nothing worked. Fortunately, he overcame his fear at the end of the episode.
    • Dil also hates baths, as seen in the short, "Dil's Bathtime". In contrast, his older brother, Tommy, loves taking baths.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: At least a couple of times, the babies' hatred of Angelica and her constant tormenting of them would reach boiling point. "Tricycle Thief" has Susie adamant on punishing Angelica for (supposedly) stealing her tricycle, while in 'When Wishes Come True", Tommy becomes so incensed by Angelica's cruelty that he wishes something horrible would happen to her. In both cases they end up repenting when they realised they sunk even lower than her.
  • Historical Longevity Joke:
    • This joke from "Mirrorland":
    Lou: Antiques, huh! Back in my day, we had no use for antiques!
    Didi: But Pop, I thought back in your day, there were no antiques.
    (Didi giggles)
    Lou: (angrily) Very funny! A fella could bust a gut around here!
    • This joke from "Reptar on Ice"...
    Grandpa: In my day, dinosaurs didn't skate around with a bunch of ninnies in costumes.
    Stu: (to Didi) In his day, the dinosaurs were real.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: The Junk Food Kid (as mentioned previously), and the two crooks who kidnap Tommy in "Ruthless Tommy" when the ransom note they wrote blinds Mike, and throws him and Bob into the back of a Police car, sending them to jail.
  • Homage: "Gold Rush" is one long homage to the Bogart classic, The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre. Some notable standouts:
    • The entire plot of a treasure hunt where all participants turn on each other
    • Chuckie's laughing fit and speech is a baby-fied version of Walter Huston at the end of the film
    • The final shot, where said treasure is lost to the wind and sand
  • Honesty Aesop:
    • In "Angelica Nose Best", Tommy, after listening to an audio tape of Pinocchio, tells Angelica that her nose will grow if she lies. The next day, she blames some of her misdeeds on the babies and pets and a bump on her nose (actually a mosquito bite from the previous night) gets bigger, prompting her to ask the babies to help her learn to tell the truth.
    • In "Cooking With Susie", Susie makes Reptar cereal bars for the babies with her new Cynthia Easy-Cook oven. When the babies try them, they taste terrible, but not wanting to hurt Susie's feelings, they tell her they like them. Susie believes what the babies said to be true and makes more Reptar cereal bars, which the babies try unsuccessfully to hide. Eventually, the babies try to hide Susie's oven, and when Susie catches the babies doing this, they tell her the truth and realize it's what they should have done in the first place.
  • How About a Smile?: In one episode Angelica steals a ball from the babies. She tries to make Tommy beg for it to get it back. Tommy's less than cooperative.
    Angelica: Ask me nice.
    Tommy: Give me my ball!
    Angelica: Say "Pretty please with sugar on top."
    Tommy: Give me my ball!
    Angelica: Say "Angelica is the nicest, prettiest, best person in the whole wide world."
    • During the episode "Angelica the Magnificent," the babies believe that Angelica has used magic to turn Lil into a butterfly, and they demand that she change her back. Angelica, as usual, takes this opportunity to torment the babies.
    Angelica: Say "Please."
    Phil, Tommy, Chuckie: Please...
    Angelica: Say "Pretty please."
    Phil, Tommy, Chuckie: Pretty please...
    Angelica: Say "Pretty please with sugar on top and ice cream in the middle and..."
    Tommy: Angelica, change her back!
  • Human Ladder: The babies often climb on top of one another to reach heights that none of them could reach by themselves. In addition, the order in which they climb on each other is surprisingly consistent— Chuckie's on the bottom, since he's the biggest. Phil is next, since he has a better chance of holding two babies' weights than Lil. Lil is next because Tommy is almost always at the top (being the leader of the group), and Tommy stands on Lil's shoulders/back at the very top.
  • Human Mail: Tommy Pickles sneaks into the mailman's bag and explores the post office to find a "baby" (really a toy his dad ordered to compare with his own handmade doll) that will be delivered to his family. Tommy gets mistaken for a piece of mail and is sent through the system of mail sorting machines and chutes, almost gets stuck in the dead letter office, and finds the package, climbing into it and going home this way.
  • Hypocritical Heartwarming: Angelica, in "New Kid In Town."
    Josh: Hey, what's the big idea?
    Angelica: I'M the big idea, and I say quit messing with these babies! They don't have to be bossed around by you or anyone else! *to the babies* Come on, get up off the ground, dummies!
    • Angelica in general, as part of her Jerk with a Heart of Gold's position. She might bully the babies, but she'll stand up to anyone else trying to be mean to them.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • It is common for Chuckie's cowardice to be met with one of the other babies saying "Aw, quit being a baby!"
    • Angelica seems to be very insecure about being close to the same age as the other kids. She constantly refers to them as "just babies" and to herself as an adult, despite being only a year older than Chuckie and two years older than Tommy, Kimi and the twins, Phil and Lil.
    Didi: *as Tommy is reaching for a bowl of cereal on the table* No, Tommy...this is Angelica's breakfast.
    Angelica: Uh-huh...babies aren't allowed to eat Reptar Cereal. It's only for us grown-up people. *sits down at the table and can't reach the bowl*
    • During the episode "The Shot," Tommy and Hector are attempting to escape the doctor's office to avoid getting their immunization shots (after Chuckie described it as a ghastly, nightmarish experience). Angelica shows up, gets Tommy to spill the beans, and then promptly goes to tell on him.
    Angelica: Aunt Didi! Aunt Didi!
    Drew: Now, pumpkin, Daddy and Aunt Didi are talking.
    Angelica: I know, but...
    Drew: When grown-ups are talking, little girls and little boys are supposed to wait quietly.
    Angelica: I know, but...
    Drew: Then when the grown-ups say it's okay for you to talk, then you can say whatever you want.
    Angelica: I know, but...!
    Drew: *puts one finger over Angelica's mouth* Now, calmly... what is it that you wanted to tell Aunt Didi?
    Didi & Hector's mother: OH, NO!
    Drew: You know, honey pie, these are the kinds of things you should really tell the grown-ups right away.
    • In the Tales from the Crib direct-to-video film that adapts the story of Snow White, Phil belittles Dil for chewing on a piece of the pop-up book Taffy is reading to the babies and remarks on how babies are always putting strange things in their mouths. After this, the other babies find stuff under couch cushions that they proceed to eat.
    • One episode has Kira and Didi not doing business with a clothing store because they didn't properly watched their kids. Even though they and the other adults lose track of their kids as well.
  • Identical Twin ID Tags: For Phil and Lil. Phil wears pants while Lil has a skirt and a bow.
  • I Ate WHAT?!: In the episode "Runaway Angelica," Angelica orders the babies to go in the house and bring her cookies (she's hiding in Tommy's backyard after running away from home). The babies can't reach the actual cookies that they know Angelica wants, so they find the next best thing...
    Angelica: Say, Tommy, these cookies are pretty good! Did your mommy make these?
    Tommy: No, they're from a box.
    Angelica: A box, huh? What kinda box, Tommy?
    Tommy: Oh, you know... that box with a picture of a doggy on it.
    Angelica: [realization setting in]...the one by Spike's bowl?
    Tommy: Uh-huh.
  • "I Can't Look" Gesture: Invoked then subverted. Angelica tricks Tommy and Chuckie into going and getting a cake from the kitchen right under the adults' noses using "invisibility creme". As she watches them, certain they're about to be caught, she chuckles then turns away, saying, "I can't watch...yes I can."
  • I Have This Friend: Angelica tried this on Tommy once when she was worried that her parents' new baby would get more attention than her.
    Tommy: Well, at least it's happening to your friend and not to you!
    Angelica: Yeah, right...
  • I Never Said It Was Poison:
    • In "The Trial," the babies hold a mock court proceeding in order to find out who broke Tommy's clown lamp. As Angelica repeatedly accuses the other babies based on their actions, Tommy (playing the judge) makes a sudden realization: Angelica claimed to have been taking a nap when the lamp was broken, but she was supposed to have already taken a nap at home before coming over. Furthermore, how would Angelica know what the other babies were doing at the time if she was napping...unless she wasn't actually napping? Backed into a corner, Angelica immediately begins gloating that she did indeed do it...which Didi and Betty immediately hear, resulting in Angelica having to sit in time-out until her father gets back.
    • In "Ransom of Cynthia," Angelica hatches a plan to not only get a new Cynthia, but to also get the other babies' candy from a birthday party, by faking her Cynthia's kidnapping, complete with a "ransom note" and a call from the "kidnapper." The babies take the kidnapper's (Angelica) call and meet "his" demands by leaving their candy out, but they begin to suspect something is up when they realize that the supposed ransom note is just a page torn out of Angelica's Cynthia-themed coloring book. Then, Angelica reappears (with chocolate on her face) telling the babies that the kidnapper told them to bring more candy...even though she was nowhere around when the kidnapper called. The babies immediately call her out on this, and Angelica's plan is exposed; despite this, she almost gets away with it, only for Laser-Guided Karma to hit her again when Spike retreives her old Cynthia, and she barfs up all the candy she ate.
  • Intentional Mess Making:
    • In "Rebel Without a Teddy Bear", Angelica tells Tommy to be bad in order to get his toy lion back. Her idea of being bad involves spilling juice, knocking a bunch of furniture over, and dirtying the walls.
    • In "Baby Sale", the babies are put in the daycare section of a mall. Because their mothers were mentioning a "baby sale" (actually a sale on baby clothes), they think they're going to be sold. They decide that people would want to buy the best babies, so to avoid being sold, they must act like the worst babies. Among the things they do to act bad are throwing things and knocking things over.
    • In "Baby Maybe", Ben and Elaine babysit Tommy, Chuckie, Phil and Lil. The babies mistakenly think Ben and Elaine want to take them home and keep them, so they start throwing food everywhere.
    • In "The Family Tree", Chuckie becomes envious of the attention that Tommy is getting from Chas and his grandparents. Angelica tells Chuckie that if he blames Tommy for his own actions, Chas will love Chuckie again. First, Chuckie throws all the food off of the table, and later, he tricks Tommy into holding the hose so he can turn it on and spray the whole room.
    • Discussed in "Chuckie Vs. the Potty", when Phil and Lil suggest that Chuckie should take a dump in his room and hide it in his toy box to find a way around his toilet-training.
  • I Owe You My Life: Enforced in "Driving Miss Angelica", where Angelica insists that Chuckie has to become her slave after saving him from being run over. It gets turned against her at the end, when Chuckie saves her from being locked in the upstairs closet and Tommy and Chuckie convince her she has to become Chuckie's slave.
  • Irritation Nightmare: In "Real or Robots?", Stu is Sleepwalking and dreaming that he's hosting a cooking show but that Drew is trying to steal his recipe.
  • I Warned You: When Tommy and Chuckie decide to spend the night at each other's houses for awhile, Phil and Lil warn them that they're gonna get so tired of each other, they're gonna start arguing. Chuckie and Tommy are best friends, so they naturally believe there's no way they could ever be at odds with one another. When the two (separately) run to Phil and Lil and complain about the other, they both tell them the same thing: "I hate to say it, but...we told you so."
    • Chuckie plays this trope straight often. Being the most cautious and skeptical of the group, he often warns the others that what they're doing or going to do is a bad idea. They almost never listen.
  • If You Can Read This: The various background signs, boxes, and papers often contain amusing jokes, gags, and Continuity Nods. One memorable box is for "Unsweetened sugar."
    • In the episode "Chuckie's First Haircut," one of the bottles on a barber-shop shelf reads "Eau da doo da day."
    • The episode "When Wishes Come True" opens with the babies building a "sculpture" with building blocks (that Tommy calls "Three Babies and a Guitar"). As the camera pans up, one can see that from bottom to top, one row of blocks reads "RUGRATZ."
  • Imagine Spot: Most episodes consisted of creating a more elaborate fantasy than what was really going on.
  • Improvised Lockpick: Tommy is often able to pick locks with his (toy) screwdriver as easily as he can reach and push latches with it.
  • Injured Limb Episode: Zigzagged for "Angelica Breaks a Leg". Angelica doesn't really break a leg, she just pretends to, but a background character named Antonio Peaches and eventually Charlotte do break their legs.
  • In-Series Nickname: Betty (and only Betty) often refers to Chuckie as "The Chuckster," and both Betty and Stu use the nickname "Deed" for Didi. Also see Affectionate Nickname above. The parents also have various cute baby names for their children—"Tommykins" from Didi, "Philly Willy" from Betty, and Grandpa Lou tends to call Tommy "scout."
  • Incest Subtext: Between Phil and Lil repeatedly. Truth in Television given that Children Are Innocent.
    • The episode "Junior Prom" has the babies stage a school dance in the back garden. When the boys ask the girls out, Phil immediately takes Lil. Notable in that Tommy doesn't ask Angelica as she is his cousin.
    • "Kid TV" the twins pretend they're lovers in a soap opera. Acting out a big dramatic scene too.
    • "Cradle Attraction" when Chuckie discovers that the girl Megan picks on him because she likes him (read: has a crush). Lil shoves Phil and when he asks why she did it, she responds "it's because I like you" - and they both giggle.
    • In "Naked Tommy" they have a very curious reaction when they see each other in the buff for the first time.
    • One episode has the twins fall out with each other but then miss each other when they get separated for the day. It's played very much as if a couple had split up. And what's the episode called? "Together At Last"
      • This carried over into All Grown Up!. Until the second episode - and the kids are ten or eleven at this point - they have been sharing a room. It deals with Lil wanting independence and there is one scene (after she has moved into her own room) that's played as if Phil has been dumped. And the episode's resolution comes across as Better as Friends. Additionally Phil's reaction to Lil having to wear bras is very atypical of a brother. And there's another episode where Phil falls for one of Lil's friends - and she gets jealous that the girl is taking her brother away from her.
  • Indian Burial Ground: The Carmichaels live on one. At the end of their introductory episode, Randy makes a joke about it (after Stu had been bugging Randy all day, as Randy writes for The Dummi Bears, with which Stu is oddly obsessed):
    Randy Carmichael: You know that Indian burial ground curse they told us about?
    Lucy Carmichael: Yeah?
    Randy Carmichael: You don't think he's it, do you?
  • Informal Eulogy: Parodied in the episode "The Mysterious Mr. Friend," when the babies bury an immobile Mr. Friend (whom they call "Mr. Fiend") in a grave:
    Chuckie: Shouldn't somebody say a few words?
    Phil: Like what?
    Chuckie: How 'bout..."Hinkle, finkle, dinkle, doo!"
    Phil and Lil: A-hen!
  • Informed Judaism: Perhaps one of the strongest aversions in any mainstream secular cartoon. There are holiday episodes focused both on Hanukkah and Passover, including a cutesy rendition of the story of Moses. Having decided to make Tommy's maternal grandparents Alter Kockers, they really ran with it.
    • All Grown Up! also makes several references to Tommy attending a synagogue school, and one episode centers around him trying to be more of a "nice Jewish boy" to impress a girl he likes there.
  • Innocent Swearing: Angelica overhears a Depraved Kids' Show Host state, rather sarcastically, that the "real" catchphrase of the show is that the children who watch it "are all little Sound Effect Bleeps" while auditioning for it. Angelica, being a preschooler, thinks this is sincere. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Irony: In the DTV movie Tales From The Crib: Snow White, Snow White is played by Susie.
  • Irritation Is the Sincerest Form of Flattery: More than once.
  • It's a Wonderful Plot: "Chuckie's Wonderful Life," which may or may not have been All Just a Dream.
  • It Kind of Looks Like a Face: It wasn't a scary, hungry monster under Chuckie's bed, but a colorful sweater curled in such a way that looked like a monster enough to even make Chas flinch.
  • It Tastes Like Mud
  • It Will Never Catch On: In "Game Show Didi," Grandpa says this of television, possibly echoing the feelings of his generation. Doubles as Hypocritical Humor since TV did catch on decades before, and because Grandpa constantly falls asleep in front of it.

     J - P 
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Angelica has her moments.
    • In "Sour Pickles," Angelica selfishly refuses to let Tommy play with her kaleidoscope throughout the episode, but at the end, when she sees Stu and Drew make up after an argument, she gives it to Tommy and lets him use it.
    • In a very memorable episode ("New Kid In Town") Angelica stands up to a bully named Josh when she finds out he severely mistreats the babies (according to Tommy, he's much worse than Angelica). She even comes armed with a water balloon catapult.
      Angelica: *launches a water balloon that just barely avoids hitting Josh* The next one won't miss!
      Babies: (overjoyed) Angelica!
  • Kangaroo Court: "Pickles vs. Pickles." Though Drew is given a lawyer to defend him, he quickly gives up when he realizes how biased the jury and the judge are against his client. Fortunately, he quickly realizes that it was All Just a Dream.
  • Karma Houdini: Angelica manages to pull one in "Barbecue Story," where she deliberately throws Tommy's ball over a fence without any comeuppance. This has mostly been averted since, allegedly because the creators despised the incident.
  • Karmic Butt-Monkey: Angelica bullies the babies, but she usuallynote  gets some kind of mortifying comeuppance afterwards, such as a pizza falling on her head after she lied to the babies that she was a psychic.
  • Kick the Dog: Angelica makes a profession out of it. Many adults that the babies obliviously harass also do this to make themselves a Karmic Butt-Monkey.
  • Kiddie Kid: Downplayed for Chuckie. He's two and while he mainly behaves like a two-year-old, the only word he can say to the grownups is "No".
  • Kids Hate Vegetables: In the episode "Pickles vs. Pickles", after Drew and Charlotte send Angelica to her room without dessert for refusing to eat her broccoli, Angelica sues them. The surrounding media circus warps things and blows them out of proportion and the judge is taken in by Angelica's cuteness and sides with her. Drew goes crazy and is dragged off to prison screaming "I'm a good father!". Of course, it was All Just a Dream, but the episode ends with Angelica being apologized to and it is implied that Drew has a very weak will which Angelica can manipulate this way for every vegetable.
  • Kids Prefer Boxes:
    • "The Box" involves the babies pretending the box for Stu's Kiddie Carnival (which he never did get finished) is many different things, including a race car, a rocket ship, and a house (that's half-cave). Angelica can't understand what the babies see in an empty box. At the end of the episode, Stu decides to market a line of cardboard boxes for kids to play with.
    • "Kid TV" involves Stu throwing his half-finished invention at the TV after seeing a commercial from a competitor, breaking the TV as a result. The biggest box he has is just barely too small to fit the TV, so the babies make a TV out of the cardboard box and make their own shows, including a game show, a news program, and a soap opera.
    • A variation of this trope appears in "Momma Trauma," where a man is trying to sell some toy robots, but the kids are only interested in the ball which comes as an accessory.
  • "Kiss the Cook" Apron: When he barbecues, Stu often wears an apron that says "Tip The Cook".
  • King Kong Copy: Thorg is a giant purple ape that acts as King Kong Expy counterpart to their mainstay Notzilla Reptar.
  • Know-Nothing Know-It-All
    • Dr Lipschitz. When Didi invites him for dinner, he tries to enforce his methods for raising kids. But when he is accidentally left alone with Tommy and Chuckie, he is unable to stop them crying and throws a tantrum himself.
    • Played with in Angelica's case, but justified because she's only three years old. Sometimes she gives the other babies wrong information on purpose in the hopes they'll believe her. Other times it's show she actually believes what she is saying.
  • The Lad-ette: Betty enjoys football, working out, home improvement, and is said to be a very good mechanic. She's also much more outgoing, boisterous, and assertive (not to mention much larger) than her husband Howard. See Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy below.
  • Lady Luck: Discussed in the episode of the same name, where Grandpa Lou is gambling and says that Lady Luck isn't with him. The babies take this literally and search for Lady Luck, eventually believing a nurse to be Lady Luck.
  • Larynx Dissonance: Tommy, Chuckie, Phil, and Dil were all voiced by women.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Angelica, and "laser-guided" would be an understatement. If it wasn't enough to smite her within minutes of whatever transgression(s) she committed in that episode, the mighty hand of karma seems to reach down and bitch-slap Angelica as hard as possible, usually in ironic or embarrassingly appropriate ways.
    • In "Angelica Breaks A Leg," Angelica gets the idea to feign having a broken leg so everyone will cater to her, which works when the doctor mixes up her x-ray results with someone who did break their leg. After spending the whole episode tormenting Stu and Didi with ridiculous demands, the doctor calls and lets them know Angelica's leg is fine, while shortly after, it is revealed that Charlotte broke her leg for real, so Drew forces Angelica to help him cater to Charlotte.
    • In "Chuckie vs The Potty," she makes fun of Chuckie the entire episode for struggling with his potty training. At the end of the episode, Chuckie successfully uses his kiddy toilet on his own, and Angelica comes in crying that she wet the bed.
    • During the episode "Graham Canyon," Angelica taunts Tommy because she has chewing gum and Tommy can't have any because he's too young. She teases him with "You're too little. You'd just swallow it." Then the car hits a bump, and Angelica accidentally swallows her gum.
    • In "The Shot," Angelica guilt-trips Tommy into telling her his and Hector's plans to escape the doctor's out of fear of getting their booster shots, and then proceeds to snitch them out. After Tommy and Hector are discovered, they both realize shots aren't too scary and had no problem with them, while Angelica could not stop crying after hers.
    • In "The Alien," Angelica tells the babies that Chuckie and his father are aliens, simply because she's jealous since she's too big to fit in the new playhouse Chuckie has. She commits to the lie, and eventually tries to "melt" Chuckie by spraying him with the hose. When she does, Chuckie doesn't melt, and the babies no longer believe Angelica. As the kids join Chuckie in the playhouse, Angelica clutches the hose while screaming "YOU DUMB BABIES!" She then accidentally sprays herself with the hose.
    • In "Chuckie Loses His Glasses", Angelica steals Chuckie's glasses while the latter is counting in a game of hide-and-seek and has him searching everywhere for them. When Angelica puts the glasses on herself, she ends up getting dizzy and sick and vomits on her father's sweater, and he takes her home for both of them to get cleaned up.
    • Despite the fact that it turned out to be All Just a Dream, Angelica STILL felt some karmic wrath when she attempted to make the seed in Chuckie's stomach grow. As she watered it and it began to sprout, the vines that came out of the seed grabbed her by the ankle and thrashed her around until she managed to free herself.
    • At the end of "The Trial," Angelica admits to breaking Tommy's clown lamp, and then brags that the babies "Can't do anything about it, because [they] can't talk," before victoriously shouting "I did it, I did it, I DID IT!" Didi hears the entire confession, and Angelica immediately denies it. Didi doesn't believe her.
    • Subverted in the episode "Moving Away." The babies recall how the four of them and Angelica all met one another at a housewarming party for Stu and Didi. Before the occasion, Angelica tells each baby, in private, that the other babies are mean, selfish bullies, for no reason other than so she can see them fight for her own amusement. At the party, her plans goes off without a hitch, and as she congratulates herself for being "a genius," she spots a box of cookies in the neighbor's yard. She then tries to fit through the bottom of a broken fence to get to them, and gets stuck. Soon after, the babies realize that Angelica lied to them about one another, and Tommy somehow deduces that it's because she wanted them to be friends. Grateful towards Angelica, they go and help her get unstuck from the fence.
    • In "Chuckie's Wonderful Life", Angelica takes a CD from Chas (after Tommy initially took it out of the case), and makes Chuckie think it's his fault it disappeared, right down to telling him that the world would be better off without him. Later, after Chuckie meets a guardian angel who shows what life would actually be like without him, Drew discovers the CD, bringing it back and telling Chas that Angelica will be grounded with no dessert for a week.
  • Leitmotif: Angeilca has a noticeable one that accompanies all her lies and trickery.
    • Reptar has one as well. It's used even when only his likeness is seen— dolls, cereal, even Tommy's night light.
    • In Season 1 (and possibly 2), when a moose is shown or talked about, the same sound plays in the background almost every time.
    • From Season 4 onward, Spike had a distinctive "goofy" synthesized theme of sorts, that was also sometimes used for Fifi.
    • In some earlier episodes, Boris and Minka had a distinctive Yiddish theme tune accompanying their arrival or some other scene featuring them.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Perhaps one of the few western hemisphere cartoons that averts this trope from time to time for no plot-related reason. Tommy wears an orange shirt instead of his standard blue in at least one episode (he also wears shoes and overalls in "Reptar's Revenge"), and Chas, Chuckie and Drew sometimes wear sweaters as opposed to their more recognizable attires.
    • Charlotte in particular seems to be the most frequent rebel to this trope. She wears numerous different outfits, and sometimes even wears curlers in hair despite the fact that her hair is never curly.
  • Line-of-Sight Name: In order to con Didi into buying her two toys instead of just one, Angelica claims to have a sister. Seeing a boy playing with a ball across the store, she names her invented sibling "Ballina."
  • Literal-Minded: Being babies, the main characters of the show are extremely prone to this trope. For example, Phil and Lil tell Chuckie that what we call a "watch" is called a "time," because when adults wear one, they tend to glance at it before exclaiming "Look at the time!"
  • Living Emotional Crutch: The premise of the episode "Together At Last." Didi and Betty have coffee at Betty's house when they notice the twins arguing loudly. Coincidentally, this is right after Didi tells Betty that Lipschitz recommends separating twins every now and then to help them maintain independence. Betty at first is reluctant, but gives in and lets Didi take Lil to play with Tommy and Chuckie, while Phil stays at home with her. Both twins are miserable without each other and spend the rest of the episode trying to get back together.
    • If you stop to think about it, Chas is the most tragic character in the whole show. Up until his and Kira's wedding in Rugrats in Paris, not only is he a widower, he is emotionally dependent on Chuckie. This is best exemplified in "Chuckie's Wonderful Life," where if Chuckie was never born, he would totally lose his mind, with only a sock puppet as his companion. Most of the dream world is over the top Nightmare Fuel, but Chas' downward spiral after his wife's death is believable... and heartbreaking.
  • Loose Tooth Episode: In "Tooth or Dare", Susie's older brother Edwin has lost one of his front teeth and received money from the tooth fairy. Angelica wants some money of her own, so she tries to steal Chuckie's teeth, only to knock out one of her own by running into a wall. She's excited until she only receives a dime.
  • Lost Voice Plot: In "Cat Got Your Tongue?", Howard loses his voice and Angelica lies that Fluffy stole his tongue.
  • Ludicrous Gift Request: Downplayed in the song "We Wish That Today was Christmas", where Angelica wishes for money and Chuckie wishes for a nightlight, which are relatively normal wishes, but Angelica wishes for a truckload of money and Chuckie for a bajillion-watt nightlight. Phil and Lil also want worms, which is semi-unusual.
  • Mad at a Dream: In "Farewell, My Friend," Chuckie's glasses get broken when Tommy leads the other babies to explore Chaz's new greenhouse, and they get spooked by a "Shadow Guy" (Chaz's gardening outfit). That night, Chuckie has a bad dream where he falls off a mountain he and the babies are climbing because Tommy tried to coax him into jumping over a gap by saying "Trust me! I'm your friend." The next day, Chuckie refuses to go on any more adventures, stating that every time he does, something bad happens to him, like breaking his glasses, getting chased by a Shadow Guy, or falling off a mountain. Naturally, Tommy is confused by the "mountain" part.
  • Mad Scientist: Stu has a very apparent mad scientist streak, making dangerous and advanced toys that he insist should work properly and a seemingly absent sense of ethics when it comes to technology, even in one instance shrugging off the moral dilemmas of a time machine marketed towards children.
  • Malaproper:
    • So much so that Wikipedia used to have an article listing the kids' mispronunciations of certain words. Even 3-year old Angelica (and the 4 year olds she made friends with at a playground one day) would sometimes fall victim to this. In fact, in many episodes, the main plot point arises due to the babies misinterpreting something the adults say and assuming an alternate meaning:
    • Stu once designs a toy clown named "Mr. Friend." The babies mishear this as "Mr. Fiend" and assume that it is a hostile enemy.
    • In another episode, the pilot light in Tommy's house goes out. The babies hear "pirate light" and come to believe that the repairman hired to fix it is a pirate coming to raid Tommy's house.
    • One of the most famous examples is in the Hanukkah episode, when the babies mishear Grandpa Boris discussing "the meaning of Hanukkah" as "the meanie of Hanukkah" and assume that he is referring to a mean bully.
  • Malevolent Architecture: In one episode, the lever that controls the sauna is right outside the door, and it's positioned in such a way that putting it on its maximum setting causes it to actually block the door, trapping anyone inside.
  • Mall Santa: In "The Santa Experience", Angelica cuts in line to see the Mall Santa, and after she tells him the large amount of presents she wants, he tells her he isn't sure he can get them for her. Angelica then rips off his beard and runs through the mall, screaming, "Santa Claus is a fake! Run for your lives!"
  • Manchild: Stu and Drew occasionally lapse into this, particularly when they fight over things they did to each other as children. The puppet show they put on in "Tommy's First Birthday" is filled with examples.
    • Most of the adults on the show are portrayed as more absent-minded than one would expect a parent with an infant to be. But Stu ranges from "immature adult" during arguments and short feuds with Drew, to what can only be described as "borderline mentally deficient" at seemingly random times. In "The Blizzard," he runs into the kitchen and screams "Yippee, school's been cancelled!" after a big snowstorm, at which point Chas has to remind him that he's 35 years old. In another episode, he rushes to get Chuckie's kiddy toilet while Chuckie is in the bathroom— Didi tells him to "put it down," and Stu puts it down right where he's standing... outside of the bathroom. Even Chuckie probably realizes that the potty doesn't belong in the hallway.
  • Manly Tears: Although none of the father figures (save for Grandpa Lou and, to a lesser extent, Grandpa Boris) are conventionally manly, they have their fair share of griefs, and no one mocks them for it:
    • Stu in "Momma Trauma" is sobbing as he recounts how Drew would repeatedly pick on him.
      • And let's not forget "Angelica Breaks a Leg," where he breaks into Tears of Joy upon finding out that Angelica was faking a broken leg, because of all the hell he has been put through due to Angelica's increasingly bratty demands.
    • In "Reptar on Ice," Grandpa Lou is clearly moved to tears by Reptar's romance with the female reporter.
    • In "Angelica's Birthday," Drew also sheds tears as he reads his mother-in-law's birthday card to Angelica, knowing that his dear daughter is starting to become a young lady. Angelica thinks he's crying because there was no money in the card.
    • The episode "Let Them Eat Cake" takes place at a wedding, during which Chas is weeping. Stu tells him to "get ahold of [himself]". One could argue that these are Tender Tears given how sensitive Chas is, but given his Papa Wolf and Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass moments, they also qualify as manly.note 
      • Chas also sheds a Single Tear in the episode "The Smell of Success" when the doctor reveals that the effects of her latest machine, designed to unplug a stuffy nose, are only temporary, which means that, since Chuckie has affected by the machine, he will soon be just as stuffed-up as he was before.
  • Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Betty and Howard. To elaborate, Betty's loud and boisterous (generally friendly though unless you mess with her kids), likes pro wrestling, is implied to exercise often, and even at one point runs a 10K marathon. She's good at things like car repair, construction/home improvement, and plumbing, and she's strong enough to lift Phil and Lil each with one hand, by their shirts, at the same time (she may be the only adult in the show's entire run to do so). Howard, on the other hand, is quiet and meek and has been seen more than once (or implied to be) participating in a "feminine" activity/chore. In "The Unfair Pair," Phil and Lil walk into the kitchen as Howard is baking cookies; in "Moving Away," Betty contemplates going to Stu's housewarming party by saying to herself "Well, Howard has a lot of laundry to do..."; in "The Stork," he's knitting and keeping to himself as Didi and Betty become immersed in watching a pro football game. Betty clearly wears the pants in their relationship, but they do love each other as each is quick to defend the other (see the episode entitlted "Family Feud").
  • Mass Hypnosis: When the adults go with Grandpa to a bowling championship, the kids are left with a (presumably) teenaged babysitter. When Angelica starts to act up, the babysitter turns on a Dummi Bears movie, which appears to literally hypnotize all of the babies present (except Tommy, who's off-screen when the movie is first turned on). They sing along with the movie in an eerie monotone and say things like "Must... stay... here..." and "Must... watch... bears..." Tommy eventually frees them from the hypnosis by violently shaking Phil, Lil, and Chuckie. He neglects to do so for Angelica, and it turns that she's still hypnotized even after they all go home.
  • Mega-Corp: Charlotte's company, Merge Corp, apparently specializes in company takeovers, hostile and benign.
  • Men Like Dogs, Women Like Cats: Tommy has a pet dog while his cousin Angelica has a pet cat.
  • Metafictional Title: In combination with Title by Year: An episode called "Reptar 2010", also named for the Show Within a Show that's named for its future setting of 2010.
  • Might Makes Right: The entire basis of Angelica's relationship with the babies. Often, when either the babies are asked why they do what she says, or the babies themselves ask HER why they should do what she says, the answer is "Because I'm/she's bigger than you/us."
  • Mini-Golf Episode: In the second segment of season 2 episode 5 "Ice Cream Mountain, it's the adults who are playing mini-golf; the babies are more interested in the "Ice Cream Mountain" hole, which is dominated by a giant plastic sundae. They soon discover that it isn't really ice cream, and in doing so they un-rig the obstacle that was preventing Stu and Drew from getting a hole-in-one.
  • Misaimed Marketing: Reptar on Ice, in-universe. Even the man playing Reptar in the show complains about how stupid the whole thing is.
    • It's more that he's thoroughly unqualified. He can't skate, can't sing and hates kids and lizards.
  • Missing Mom: Chuckie's. In early seasons, she was occasionally mentioned, but never seen or heard. On a Mother's Day special episode, it's indicated (but never outright stated) that Chuckie's mom is dead.
    • In the second movie, she's stated to be in Heaven; and this is the same movie Chuckie gets a stepmother.
    • There was also a comic (Whether or not it was meant to be canon or not) wherein Chuckie was standing on a crack, thinking that it's "Step on a crack, bring your mother back". Angelica is about to correct him to how it's break his mother's back, before she has a Last-Second Word Swap, and then stands next to Chuckie saying, "See anything yet?"
  • Mistaken for Brooding:
    • In "Family Tree", Chas sees Tommy playing on his own and believes that he's suffering from separation anxiety as the result of his parents being away. Actually, he just happens to be trying to retrieve a toy that had rolled under the hedge.
    • In "Mutt's in a Name", the Finsters' puppy is lethargic, and everyone thinks she's having an identity crisis due to not being named, but actually she has a tummy ache because she swallowed a puzzle piece.
    • In "Happy Taffy", the kids think Taffy is unhappy when they hear her playing off-key music, although she's really just struggling with songwriter's block. They spend the rest of the episode trying to find ways to cheer her up, like giving her "toys" (read: trash) and dancing for her.
  • Mistaken for Fake Hair: In the episode, "Tricycle Thief", Susie's tricycle goes missing, and Susie doesn't believe Angelica when the latter says that she didn't take it. One of the lies that Susie reminds Angelica of is the time she told Phil and Lil that their father, Howard's hair was a wig. The twins recall how mad Howard was when they tried to pull it off, but how funny it was anyway.
  • Mistaken for Pregnant: In "Angelica's Worst Nightmare," Charlotte Pickles thinks she's going to have another baby when she has read the pregnancy tester. It turns out in the end of the episode that she either read her results incorrectly or had some form of miscarrige and that she and Drew are not having another baby after all.
  • Mistaken for Thief:
    • In "The Tricycle Thief", Susie thinks Angelica stole her trike, but really she didn't, she just has an identical trike.
    • In "Angelica Nose Best", Angelica eats some chocolate and blames it on Fluffy, which Charlotte believes, so she locks Fluffy in her cat cage.
  • Mood Whiplash: Many people were turned off by how dark the first movie got, especially when you realize that they are all under the age of 3. Done completely serious, Tommy almost left his brother to a pack of monkeys in the forest. It can be quite a Tear Jerker.
  • Morality Chain: in earlier episodes, Chuckie was often this to Tommy, Phil, and Lil, since they could be manipulated or led astray by Angelica into doing bad things. this is most evident in "Rebel Without a Teddy Bear," where Chuckie is the only thing keeping Tommy from being as much of a mean-spirited, destructive hellion as Angelica.
  • Mountain of Food: "Ice Cream Mountain": The eponymous mountain is actually a decoration in a miniature golf course, but babies don't know that and Hilarity Ensues.
  • Mouth Cam: An all-too-common trope for this show. Happens when characters are crying, eating, or sometimes even simply talking. Co-creator Paul Germain stated that Rugrats was the Trope Maker due to a scene from the pilot episode using this trope.
  • The Movie: Two canon movies and a crossover with The Wild Thornberrys.
  • Movie-Theater Episode: In "At the Movies", the parents take the kids to see The Dummi Bears in the Land Without Smiles. While the adults are engaged in the movie (save for Grandpa, invokedwho hates the movie's saccharine tone), the babies wander off to see a Reptar movie, making a mess of the snack bar and the projection room along the way.
  • Multiple Demographic Appeal: Although the show is aimed at young children, and indeed the infant characters can be relatable for the young demographic, there are numerous Parental Bonuses, as well as enough focus on the adult characters to make them relatable for the adult viewers.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: The premise of the show, the kids would explore the basement or the backyard and it became a daring adventure filled with cliffhangers, monsters and other things their wild imaginations would create.
  • Mundane Utility: "Toy Palace" has, among its assorted toys intended for children being sold, a working time machine. And this isn't one of the babies' imagine spots.
  • The Musical: A live-action one called Rugrats: A Live Adventure from the end of the '90s. Nostalgia Filter heavy.
  • Musical Episode: One parodying several older songs, such as "Bicycle Built For Two" becoming "A Trike That Is Not For You," et cetera.
    • About half of "Reptar On Ice" is the actual show and peoples' reactions to it, and the other half is the babies' adventure.
  • My Little Panzer: The Reptar Wagon.
  • Naked People Are Funny: The entirety of "Naked Tommy", in which Tommy sheds his clothes to be like Spike, and even entices Phil and Lil to do so. Chuckie, however, doesn't want to. This also forces Stu to make a last-minute invention to keep Tommy's clothes on.
  • Nature Tinkling: In "Potty Training Spike", Chuckie doesn't want to use the proper toilet because he has a Shy Bladder so he tries to pee on a tree and asking them to look away, but Didi tells him it's not allowed. This makes them think it's also not allowed for Spike so they try to potty train him. At the end, Spike pees on the tree but Didi says nothing of it so they think they changed the rules again, and then the babies all pee on the tree.
  • Neat Freak: Chuckie.
  • Never Heard That One Before: Tommy in All Grown Up about the joke "Can it, Pickles! Or should I say, 'jar it'?"
  • Never My Fault: Angelica gets sent to day camp and blames her doll, Cynthia, for suggesting it.
    • In "Passover," Pharaoh (Angelica) blames Cynthia for being drowned by Moses.
    • In "Angelica Nose Best", Angelica blames Spike for knocking over Didi's jigsaw, Fluffy for eating the chocolate, and the babies for knocking over Charlotte's Priceless Ming Vase.
  • Never Say "Die": Chuckie's biological mother (never seen outside of flashbacks), Melinda, is deceased, and the show does everything short of saying the actual word to indicate that — including showing her grave. Other episodes, such as "I Remember Melville", avert this. "Stu Gets a Job" even plays it for laughs, with Stu saying that Mozart's wife never asked him when he was going to finish his requiem and Didi pointing out that Mozart died without finishing his requiem.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The promos Nick ran for the show during the early/mid 90's made the babies sound almost like juvenile delinquents who defied authority at every turn. On the actual show, however, they're somewhat mischievous but fundamentally good kids who genuinely care about each other and their respective families.
  • New Baby Episode: Subverted in the episode "Angelica's Worst Nightmare". Angelica discovers her parents are expecting another baby, and true to form, she becomes very jealous and eventually frightened by the aspect, especially after a nightmare where her baby brother hates her to the point of trying to eat her. Turns out, Charlotte wasn't actually pregnant, but whether it was just a false positive or a miscarriage is left to the viewer's imagination.
  • Nice Character, Mean Actor: A major plot point in "Word of the Day." Angelica gets invited to appear on her favorite kid's show, "Miss Carol's Happy House," hosted by a quirky Genki Girl who claims to be a Friend to All Children, but she sneaks backstage and hears Miss Carol viciously insulting the kids on her show with a dirty word that we never hear. It gets even funnier when Angelica repeats the word on TV, not realizing what it means, and Miss Carol ends up having a complete Villainous Breakdown on the air.
    • Leo in the "Reptar on Ice" episode is the least qualified person to portray Reptar; he can't skate, is not good with kids, and hates lizards and amphibians.
  • Nightmare Sequence: I'm not Tommy, hyuck hyuck!
    • I'm not Stu!!!
      • "Was I a funny clown?" "Uhh... not really."
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: "Pickles vs. Pickles" features attorneys named F. Lee Barnum and Mr. Hershowitz.
  • Nonindicative Name: Angelica. She's the show's primary antagonist, and is as pure evil as a three-year-old can be. She's even listed as "Devil in Plain Sight" above!
  • Non-Nude Bathing:
    • The babies and Stu take a shower with their clothes on in ''Regarding Stuie."
    • At the end of "Naked Tommy", after having spent almost the entire episode naked, Tommy decides to start wearing clothes again, and jumps into the bathtub wearing his diaper and shirt while Chuckie bathes naked.
  • Noodle Incident: The time Chuckie got his head stuck in a sock became a Running Gag.
    • Tommy and Chuckie once "filled the potty with Jell-O so the fish wouldn't get hungry."
    • Howard, to Betty: I'd never forget our anniversary... not after what happened last year. *nervous laugh*
    • “You said forty seconds. I thought you had been abducted by ecoterrorists again.” Charlotte's life suddenly seems just a bit more impressive.
    • There was also the time Angelica told Chuckie the guy on the oatmeal box moved in next door.
    • Many of Chuckie's seemingly random fears were brought up throughout the series, with no backstory and no further explanation. Amongst them— spandex, putting his feet in his own shoes ("It was dark in them shoes!"), and green Jell-O ("It coulda been alive! It really coulda!")
    • As everyone is going to the wedding of Didi's younger brother, Chas comments "It seems like only yesterday, he was running around in shorts screaming." Stu then replies, "That was yesterday, Chas. Remember the bachelor party?"
  • No Matter How Much I Beg: Angelica and the cookie jar.
  • Non Sequitur, *Thud*: In the episode "Tooth or Dare," Angelica is trying to extract a tooth from Chuckie's mouth so she can get money from the tooth fairy. Eventually, she becomes crazed and chases Tommy and Chuckie through the house with a pair of pliers. Near the end of the chase, she runs into a wall after Chuckie and Tommy sidestep her. As she's on the floor, semi-conscious, this exchange happens:
    Tommy: Angelica, are you okay?
    Angelica: *sits up, eyes crossed* Oh, but Daddy, the babies ate all the ice cream sammiches...
    Chuckie: What ice cream sandwiches is she talking about, Tommy?
  • No Pronunciation Guide: The babies and Angelica constantly mispronounce things. Justified considering their ages.
  • Not Allowed to Grow Up: The show starts with Tommy's first birthday, and all four seasons get featured at least once before Dil is introduced, the last one, autumn, being the one in which Didi's pregnancy is set up. Getting the length of a pregnancy right, they seemingly set The Movie in which Dil is born in the summer yet Tommy and Dil are only a year apart, both before the Time Skip and after!
    • Though they don’t age Chuckie makes several infant-to-toddler transitions such as moving from crib to regular bed, bottle weaning, potty training, and even speaking (a single word). An early episode had Tommy’s parents try to wean him but decide to hold off on it and in the later seasons he moves from crib to regular bed. The twins are seen sleeping over in regular bed so they might have switched over as well.
      • Angelica also wears a diaper under her dress during the first season, and from Season 2 onward, she wears just her polka-dot panties under the dress. Her pajamas also change from typical baby "feety" pajamas to just an oversized Dummi Bears shirt.
  • Not Me This Time: One episode has Susie blame Angelica for stealing her brand-new tricycle and punishes her by tying her doll to a balloon and letting it go. Despite the evidence against her, Angelica was completely innocent — Susie's trike was under her porch, Angelica's trike was her own and Angelica's red hands (which Susie thought was from opening her garage's painted doors) were actually from her finger painting an apology letter. Thankfully for Susie, a miracle (or a low-flying plane) gets Angelica's doll back to her and everyone's happy again.
    • Except Chuckie. It was his balloon, and it didn't survive the ordeal.
  • Not Now, Kiddo: When Susie first arrives, she can't find her room because her stuff hasn't been moved in. She tries complaining to her mom, but she won't listen.
    • Angelica tries to tell Didi that Tommy had left the doctor's office and her father shushes her, only to later tell her she should have spoken up. See Hypocritical Humor above.
  • Not What It Looks Like: At a costume party, Stu and Drew have an argument over who's king of the jungle— Tarzan (Stu's costume of choice) or King Kong (Drew). They eventually decide to "Step outside," or at least Stu does, before Drew closes the door and locks his brother out. He eventually attempts to climb the gutters and enter through an open window on the second story (after knocking on the window, but never knocking on the door or ringing the doorbell). He slips, however, and is hanging off of the gutter by his loincloth as police pull up to the window. He tells them that it's his brother's house. They don't believe him, and he gets arrested (in his Tarzan costume).
  • Not Where They Thought:
    • In "Mirrorland", the babies bump into a mirror and land behind it, thinking they've gone through it and landed in a Dark World.
    • In one episode, "The Age of Aquarium", the babies go to an aquarium, but they think they're on a leaky boat instead.
    • In "The Big Flush", the babies go to a swimming pool but mistake it for a giant toilet. They go in search of the flusher, because they think it'd be fun to flush a giant toilet.
    • In "Graham Canyon", Angelica and Tommy wander into a garage, mistaking it for the Grand Canyon.
  • Notzilla: One of the recurring Show Within a Show characters was a child-friendly giant monster named "Reptar."
  • No, You: Stu, towards Howard, after Didi accuses Betty of stealing Didi's earrings (episode entitled "Family Feud"):
    Howard: Betty, a thief?! That's an absurd proposition!
    Stu: YOU'RE an absurd proposition!
  • Obsessive Hobby Episode: Subverted when Chuckie gets a clown toy. He spends a lot of time playing with it and Lil says he has a problem because he isn't playing with his friends, but then the plot swerves in a different direction involving him becoming scared of it.
  • Obfuscating Disability: After watching a soap opera, Angelica fakes breaking her leg so everyone could bend to her every whim. Thanks to a very young doctor, her X-Rays are mixed up and they believe that she DID break her leg. The doctor does realize his mistake later, but not before Stu nearly has a major breakdown. It comes back to bite Angelica when her mother really DOES break her leg.
  • Ocular Gushers: Given the nature of this show, the baby characters often cry in this manner.
  • Oh, No... Not Again!:
    • Chuckie's usual reaction to when Tommy announces they're going on an adventure.
    • Also the adults whenever they discover the babies are missing.
  • One-Episode Fear:
    • In "Down the Drain", Tommy develops a fear of being sucked down the drain and Chuckie used to be afraid of being sucked down the drain but isn't, however, Chuckie's fear comes back when Angelica tells both boys you can get sucked down the drain. It goes away at the end of the episode.
    • In "The Slide", Susie and the other babies help Chuckie get rid of his fear of slides, which he developed after being pushed down a too-big slide.
  • One-Liner: After the babies have spent nearly the entire episode running from Stu's latest invention, they successfully defeat "Mr. Fiend." When they turn around, however, they find themselves staring down an entire army of Mr. Fiend dolls.
    Lil: Boy, this is really one of those days, huh?
  • Only One Finds It Fun:
    • In "The Mysterious Mr. Friend", Stu makes a doll named Mr. Friend who scares the babies, but Angelica likes him.
    • In "Tommy's First Birthday", the babies try eating dog food, but only Phil likes it.
  • OOC Is Serious Business:
    • Subverted in "Miss Manners", when the babies think Angelica is sick when she starts acting polite, but it turns out that she was just practicing etiquette lessons she was taught.
    • In "Who's Taffy?", when the normally friendly babysitter Taffy calls the babies dumb over the phone, they believe she's swapped bodies with Angelica. (She's actually just in a bad mood).
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: When the Rugrats mistake a party the adults throw for Angelica's wish of the world to be a circus coming true, they don't notice their parents wearing the costumes. They don't even notice any resemblence.
  • Paperworkaholic: Parodied in an early episode in which the babies play "work" and imagine a lot of fun activities that included "Paperwork", which was Phil and Lil shredding paper with a lawn mower.
  • Parents as People: Something of an underlying theme, actually, particularly where new parents are concerned. Didi turns to Lipschitz parenting books as her personal Bible, Drew and Charlotte are overcompensating, and Chas is simply trying to navigate raising his son alone. No one is perfect and they're all doing the best they can, with varying degrees of success.
  • Parental Bonus: Many.
    • The series seemed built on this in the early seasons, with the adult cast getting subplots with humor relating to adult issues. Just as an example, one episode featured a B-plot of the adults getting together and doing their taxes (Drew, being an accountant, gives Stu some very sound advice about why it's smart to file taxes properly.)
    • The episode "Touchdown Tommy" featured the adults watching the "Ultra Bowl." 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.
    • In one episode Angelica actually states that she's afraid "Sad-man Husany " will invade her clubhouse.
    • In one episode where they thought they were on the moon, Chuckie bit Stu's finger thinking he was a moon alien. He used words Chuckie never heard before.
    • In "Man of the House," Tommy tells Chuckie he's seen his dad "talking to no one" saying "Please, please, let me make a good toy this time! Pleeease!"
    • In the episode "When Wishes Come True" when Grandpa is trimming the bushes he says "Read my clips. No new branches!"
    • In the episode "Home Movies," the babies make their own with crayons. Near the end, Angelica challenges Tommy to make one.
      Tommy. Alright, I'll do it, but I warn you, it won't be pretty. I don't have all my motor skills yet.
    • At Charlotte's workplace, there are two fish named Vesco and Boesky, named after businessmen involved in financial scandals.
    • The lawyer in "Pickles Vs. Pickles" is Mr. Barnum. It's a double bonus because not only does the judge call the lawyer on making the court a circus, it would be remarkably prescient of another trial, this time with a laywer named Bailey ...
    • "Game Show Didi" has Didi on a game show that's most like Jeopardy! (with Alex Trebek voicing host Alan Quebec, no less), although they have the prize showcase Wheel of Fortune used to have. Didi chooses a gold-plated dalmation, a reference to the infamous ceramic dalmation from Wheel of Fortune's aforementioned prize showcase.
    • In "Naked Tommy," when Didi attempts to justify the kids' newfound love of nakedness, Betty scolds her and points out that "The '60s are over and we lost!"
  • Parental Obliviousness: The parents aren't even aware of the shenanigans their kids get into in every episode.
  • Parental Neglect: The parents in the show clearly love their kids, but aren't the best at paying attention to them. To their credit, they do have the appropriate reactions when the kids go missing or get into trouble, but after so many times you'd think they'd wise up to the fact that their kids are clearly gifted and need more restraint and supervision than a mere playpen.
  • Parrot Expo-WHAT?:
    Stu:: Presenting the Bonkomatic Baby Bumper!
    Didi: The Bonka-whosit Baby-what?
  • Personality Swap: In "Angelica For A Day," Chuckie and Angelica swap personalities while an increasingly weirded-out Tommy tries to turn them back. Turns out to be All Just a Dream.
  • Petty Childhood Grudge: A running with Drew and Stu. If they start arguing one of them (normally Stu) will bring something bad the other did to them, and then the other brother will bring something else. Normally they keep arguing in the background while the babies continue their adventures.
  • Phone Aholic Teenager: Alisa Carmichael, Susie's older sister, is rarely seen without her cell phone.
  • Pig Latin: In one episode ("Superhero Chuckie"), after Angelica sees the actor playing Captain Blasto "fly" on a rope, she asks him if he can do it again without the rope, and the actor whispers to her, "Ix-nay on the ope-ray, kid."
  • The Pig-Pen: Phil and Lil love the idea of eating insects and playing in mud.
  • Pink Girl, Blue Boy: Downplayed with the twins. Phil wears blue shoes and has a pair of blue shorts under his overalls. Lil wears pink shoes and a pink bow on her head.
  • Pirate Girl: There was an Imagine Spot (stemming from a game of make-believe) where the babies were pirates. Naturally, Angelica plays the role of the evil pirate captain.
    "Prepare to be bored!"
  • Pity the Kidnapper: Tommy gets captured by two guys in "Ruthless Tommy", but Tommy ruins their hideout, so they give him back to his family while apologizing a lot, but his parents hadn't even realized he was missing.
  • Plot Allergy: In "The Big Sneeze", the babies believe Chuckie is allergic to Kimi, as he sneezes every time she gets near him. Fearing the adults will get rid of her if they find out, they try to keep Chuckie away from her. It later turned out that Kimi was carrying a dandelion, which she was planning to give to Chuckie as an anniversary present.
  • Poke the Poodle: Tommy's idea of being bad is... throwing an empty cup of juice on the floor.
    Angelica: "First of all, when you knock over your juice, you do NOT drink the juice first."
    Tommy: "But I didn't want to make a mess!"
  • Poorly Disguised Pilot: All Grown Up was merely intended to be a fun episode, but because it was so popular they considered it a proof-of-concept pilot.
  • Poorly Lit Pareidolia: Two episodes:
    • "The Legend of Satchmo": Chuckie walks through a backyard at night, and imagines the windows of houses as scowling faces and the shadow of a tree as a chomping monster.
    • "Under Chuckie's Bed": Chuckie - his father having traded in his crib for his first bed - is afraid to sleep in it because he sees a monster underneath it. Turns out, it's just his father's sweater.
  • Porn Stash: There is an episode which centers around the babies trying to get into Phil and Lil's father's locked desk. Once they do they empty the contents and for a split second you can see a magazine with a woman dressed as a bunny on the cover.
  • Potty Emergency: Being around the normal potty-training age, Chuckie goes through this from time to time, including several times in "Chuckie Vs. the Potty", and at the end of "A Dose of Dil".
  • Potty Failure: Happens twice in "Chuckie Vs. The Potty". The first time is when Chuckie pees on the floor after he gets off the potty after sitting on it for a long time. The second is when Angelica wets herself after Chuckie goes to the bathroom properly for the first time at the end of the episode. Justified in that both these characters are around the normal potty-training age. Lou did mention to Didi that Stu took a lot longer, though.
  • Power Outage Plot: The episode "Let There be Light" focuses on the babies' nightlights going off due to a power cut. The babies then decide to go to the fridge, since they think that's where light comes from.
  • Present Peeking: In "Regarding Stuie" the babies had Stu, whose mind had been reverted to that of a baby thanks to bump on the head, grab a box high in the closet which they thought contained Christmas presents.
  • Pretending to Be One's Own Relative: In one episode, Angelica imitates her mother Charlotte over the phone to order food.
  • Pretentious Pronunciation: In a nod to A Christmas Story, in "Meet the Carmichaels", as Susie's family is moving in, one of the movers drops a box that says "fragile" written on it, and he asks his coworker what "fra-gee-lay" means.
  • Priceless Ming Vase: In the episode where Tommy visits the post office, there is a package that, if you pay attention, is labeled "Ming Vase," being sent through the mail. Predictably, it is shattered in the process.
    • Angelica also knocks over one of these in "Angelica Nose Best" but blames the babies.
  • Prone to Tears: The babies are seen crying very often on the show, but to be fair, they are just babies.
  • Prone to Vomiting:
    • Played straight for Dil, who often spits up due to only being three months old.
    • Downplayed for Chuckie, who sometimes barfs when dizzy but not as often as Dil.
  • Pro Wrestling Episode: "Wrestling Grandpa."
  • Psycho Poodle: In the episode, "Spike Runs Away", when Spike runs away, Stu and Didi decide to get Tommy a replacement pet. One of these is Cuddles, a very aggressive poodle belonging to Mr. Fillihulster, one of their neighbors. Cuddles constantly barks and growls angrily at Tommy and Chuckie, breaks his toys, steals any time he might have had with Stu and Didi from him, and demands they give her what food they do have. According to Didi, when Mr. Fillihulster took her back, she bit him the minute she got inside the door. Tommy sums her up best;
    Tommy: Chuckie, I knew Spike! Spike was a friend of mine! And let me tell you something, that poople is no Spike!
  • Pumpkin Person: In the Hiccup Hijinks episode, Angelica creates a "scream machine" to scare Tommy's hiccups away. The "machine" has a humanoid shape, and a Jack-O' Lantern decoration forming the head.
  • Punny Name: Dil Pickles.

     R - Z 
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: A few have been delivered, including Chas to the DeVilles and Pickles after their bickering in "Family Feud", Lou to Aunt Miriam in the episode of the same name for bullying him throughout his childhood, and Didi to the manager of the Moon Goddess festival in the B-plot of "Daddy's Little Helpers" when she is given as shirt that says, "I am the Goddess Dodo".
  • Recurring Extra: Two teenagers named Larry and Steve appeared as recurring background characters in the earlier seasons.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Stu and Drew.
  • Reed Richards Is Useless: Stu is generally depicted as a struggling toy inventor while routinely inventing technologies that should by all rights revolutionize the world as we know it.
    • To prove a point: Stu invents Mr. Friend in an episode in 1993. 5 years later Microsoft introduces the Actimates Barney. They're both more similar than you think.
    • Even moreso, there was the episode when he successfully created an anti-gravity field. The only flaw in his plan was that he blew the power grid in the process.
  • Retcon: Being a show about babies that ran for more than a decade, there were quite a lot of continuity changes throughout the run of the show.
    • In the first few seasons, it's pretty apparent that the writers intended Chuckie's mother to be alive and just be a different kind of ghost. (In "Chuckie vs. the Potty," he specifically refers to his mother as failing to potty train him.) However, it was later established in "Mother's Day" that Chuckie's mother was deceased.
    • Chuckie didn't start out as being afraid of clowns and was implied to obtain the fear from witnessing Didi's fear of them in "Reptar's Revenge". This was contradicted in "A Step at a Time" when it was established that Chuckie first acquired his fear of clowns when he saw an ice cream truck with a clown head on top when he was an infant and took his first steps to run to his father for protection.
    • It is shown in both "No More Cookies" and "A Step at a Time" that Angelica Pickles' motivation for taking her first steps involved cookies, but the circumstances are very different. In the former, it was to get to a plate of cookies on a table at her parents' house. In the latter, it was so her mother could pick her up and enable her to swipe a cookie from a baby who was also being held by his mother. However, this isn't that big of a plot hole, since Angelica could have been lying in "No More Cookies".
    • "Curse of the Werewuff" is established as being the babies' first Halloween even though there was already an earlier Halloween episode called "Candy Bar Creep Show". It's likely it could be most of the babies' second Halloween (except for Dil, obviously) and they simply forgot what it is due to their very young age.
  • Revolting Rescue: In "Mega Diaper Babies", Chuckie (as Stinky) produces a stench that is pungent enough to make Angelitron malfunction and fall to pieces, which allows the kids to untie the Mega Hyper Heroes.
  • Robot Clown: One episode involved the babies fighting an army of malfunctioning clown robots, Stu's "Mr. Friend."
  • Rousing Speech:
    • In "Mega Diaper Babies," Angelica has the babies on the run with her army of flying animals. Chuckie, Phil and Lil vow to give up and play something else. Tommy's response was delivered in a fervor worthy of Braveheart or 300:
    Tommy: 'Play something else'? PLAY SOMETHING ELSE? I can't believe you guys!
    Phil: What do you mean, Tommy?
    Tommy: When Megelatron tried to steal all the water in the ocean, did the Mega Hyper Heroes 'play something else'? When the evil Germaniac tried to blow up the universe, did the Mega Hyper Heroes "play something else"?
    [Chuckie, Phil and Lil are silent]
    Tommy: No! Whenever the Earth needed them, they've been there. But now they need US, and I don't know about you guys, but I'm SURE not going to 'play something else'!
    • Subverted during the episode "When Wishes Come True," in which the babies think Angelica has been turned into stone:
      Tommy: We can't just leave Angelica this way forever!
      Lil: Why not?
      Tommy: Well, because... Angelica's not just a big old mean kid who likes to push us around and pull our hair and make us eat old green stuff from under the couch!
      Chuckie, Phil, Lil: She's not?
      Tommy: No! She's a lot more than that! She's the one who's been there before us! She's the one who shows us the way! Sure she's hard on us! She's gotta be hard! But she's our friend, and we gotta help her!
      [beat as Chuckie, Phil, and Lil stare blankly at Tommy]
      Tommy: Plus, if we don't turn her back into real, we're gonna get into a lot of trouble.
      [Chuckie, Phil, Lil all immediately and enthusiastically agree to help]
    • Chuckie lampshaded Tommy's tendency to do this in the episode "No More Cookies."
      Chuckie: I love it when he gives these big speeches.
    • In some episodes, like "Rebel Without A Teddy Bear" and "Beach Blanket Babies",, Chuckie managed to give one to Tommy.
  • Running Gag: A subtle one occurs in the early seasons (and only happens two or three times). Angelica asks someone (other than her parents) for something in absolutely the most polite way possible. They nicely tell her no, at which point she gets angry, physically assaults the person, and takes what she was asking for.
    Reptar (a man in costume at a carnival): Hello, little girl. Would you like a free sample of my Reptar Cereal?
    Angelica: *smiles innocently* Yes, please, Reptar sir. *curtsy*
    Reptar: Here you go. *gives her one of the mini cereal boxes*
    Angelica: *continues to smile* May I have another one, please?
    Reptar: I'm sorry, little girl. Only one free sample per human child.
    Angelica: *beginning to scowl* ... gimme one.
    Reptar: Look, kid, it ain't up to me!
    Angelica: I SAID GIMME ONE! *kicks Reptar and takes the entire tray of mini cereal boxes*
    • Another occurs in Season 1 only. After Tommy saw Reptar for the first time on television, he gets visibly excited whenever he sees Reptar. The viewer can tell that Tommy is trying his hardest to tell Stu and Didi how much he likes that big, green lizard, but they never realize it. They eventually figure it out in Season 2, though.
    • Whenever Grandpa Lou goes into one of his "When I Was Your Age..." speeches, he always says he had to walk fifTEEN miles to do anything.
  • Salt and Pepper: Angelica and Susie.
  • Sarcasm-Blind: When Angelica walks in dressed full-body as a Dummi Bear:
    Tommy: Angelica is that you in there?
    Angelica: Gee no, Tommy, it's a real life Dummi Bear from Dummi Bear Land.
    Chuckie: Phew for a second I thought that really was Angelica.
    Angelica: Of course it's me, you babies!
  • Sassy Black Woman: Susie, especially in All Grown Up.
  • Sauna of Death: An accidental example.
  • Save the Villain: The babies occasionally do it to Angelica.
  • Say My Name: Among numerous examples: Angelica screaming into the toilet after she accidentally flushes Cynthia down it in "Down the Drain".
  • The Scapegoat: Chuckie is often blamed for things that weren't his fault in any way— mostly by Angelica, such as in "Cuffed," after she bullied Chuckie into helping her steal a set of toy handcuffs intended to be a present for an orphan (and Angelica handcuffed her own wrist to Chuckie's, with no way to unlock the handcuffs):
    Angelica: YOU! This is all YOUR fault!
    Chuckie: Me?!
    Angelica: That's right! If you hadn't have come over here, I never would've sneaked into the closet to get this dumb thing in the first place!
    Chuckie: But Angelica...
    • Angelica also blames her doll, Cynthia, for many of the situations that Angelica's bratty behavior creates. In one episode, she even blames Cynthia for startling her as she was coloring, even though it was actually her father calling her that caused it.
  • Scare Chord:
    • The first Halloween episode had some pretty creepy background music.
    • The ending credits music from the episode "Mega Diaper Babies."
    • The music that plays in the background when Not!Tommy and Not!Stu speak
  • Scary Science Words: In "No More Cookies", Angelica becomes unwell after eating too many cookies. The doctor diagnoses her with "acute dyspeptic gastritis", which scares her father Drew. The doctor explains that it only means a tummyache.note 
  • Scratchy-Voiced Senior: Grandpa Boris's voice is pretty scratchy.
  • Screams Like a Little Girl: Stu Pickles does this quite a bit, his most famous example being in "Angelica Breaks a Leg."
  • Screw Politeness, I'm a Senior!: Aunt Miriam. In her first visit she shows off her lumbago, doesn't remember Didi's name, chides her niece in law for "not feeding Stu enough" and for not being a stay-at-home-mom, criticizes her cooking, and even remarked to Didi she certainly has been eating well.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: The main kids and their families get to see and do things that most other people don't because Stu, Randy Carmichael, and initially, Kira all work in child care/family entertainment. In fairness, only Angelica exploits this.
  • Seasonal Baggage: Type 2 (Seasonal Montage: Flipping between the seasons to show the passage of time in a story), subverted. In the episode "Grandpa Moves Out," after Grandpa moves out of Stu and Didi's house, the next sequence shows leaves falling, then snow, then fresh grass and birds chirping, implying that several months have passed. After the montage, the words "One Week Later" are superimposed on the screen. Then, just in case the viewer is still confused, Drew visits Stu's house:
    Stu: I'll say.
  • Seeking the Intangible:
    • In "Sweet Dreams", Chuckie cannot remember what he dreamt about last night. This causes him and his other toddler friends to believe he lost his dream and they search for it.
    • In "Lady Luck", Lou says that he's lost "Lady Luck". The protagonists, being toddlers, think Lady Luck is a real lady and go out to find her. They eventually think a nurse in the nursing home is Lady Luck.
  • Seesaw Catapult:
    • In the episode, "Circus Angelicus", when Angelica stages her own circus in Tommy's backyard, she wants Chuckie to be a "human candyball". However, Chuckie can't remember what he's supposed to do, and as Angelica tries to explain it to him by sitting on one end of a seesaw, Phil and Lil jump onto the other end, launching her into the air.
    • In the episode, "The Turkey Who Came to Dinner", the babies befriend a live turkey and try to protect him from getting cooked and eaten by the adults. They attempt to launch the Turkey out of Tommy's backyard by putting him on one end of the seesaw and having Phil, and later Chuckie, jump onto the other end. They only end up getting the turkey to land on Stu and Drew's satellite dishes, causing interference with the many football games they're watching.
    • In the Snow White special from the "Tales from the Crib" series, to get the dwarf babies into Queen Angelica's castle, Chuckie (as Scaredy) slides down a slide in the nearby playground so that he can land on one end of a seesaw and launch whichever dwarf baby is sitting on the other end into the air so they can fly through the open window. When there's no one to launch Chuckie into the air, he climbs up the arrows that the Archer spreads around the castle wall to advertise a Garage Sale at the Giant's castle.
  • Senior Sleep Cycle: Used over and over again as the device that allows the babies to cause whatever mischief they've decided to do that episode.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Chuckie is always nervous and cowardly, while Tommy is always eager to go on adventures.
  • Sentimental Shabbiness:
    • Angelica's doll, Cynthia is clearly very ratty looking, mostly bald except for a few patches of hair sticking out. That doesn't stop Angelica from loving the doll any less. In the spin-off, All Grown Up!, it's revealed that she still cares for her.
    • In the later episodes, Chuckie has a worn-out teddy bear named Wawa, which was given to him by his deceased mother. He ends up distraught when his step-mom, Kira, tries to wash and fix him up. Luckily for Chuckie, Tommy's brother, Dil, had gotten his hands on Wawa and sort of returned him to his previous state.
  • Series Fauxnale:
    • The show's original 64-episode run ended with "Moving Away," which flashes back to show how the kids all met and became friends, and teases the possibility of Angelica moving away, but has her not move after all in the end. This, followed by the Passover special the following year, would have been an effective ending to the series... but of course it was renewed.
    • The "All Growed Up" special would have been a fantastic and emotional series finale... if it weren't for the fact that the one episode was so popular that they decided to expand it into a preteen school sitcom. The original Rugrats itself also went on for another three years.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: In "Pre-School Daze", Angelica and Susie go to the trouble of fixing their preschool teacher's mug from an ex, which they shattered by mistake. After accidentally breaking it further and settling on stealing an identical mug, the preschool teacher decides that she needs to move on and throws the replacement mug in the trash. Angelica wasn't too happy that their efforts turned out to be a waste of time.
  • Shaped Like Itself: Angelica wants to steal a toy from her parents' closet without them finding out, so she has Chuckie stand guard to warn her if he sees anything. When he yells, she comes running, afraid she was almost caught. Chuckie, claims, however, that he saw a mouse:
    Angelica: A mouse?
    Chuckie: [nods]
    Angelica: Where?
    Chuckie: [points underneath living room couch]
    Angelica: [checks, and finds a sock, then smiles facetiously while showing Chuckie the sock] Does this look like a mouse to you?
    Chuckie: [sheepishly] No...
    Angelica: What does it look like?
    Chuckie: A sock...
    Angelica: Do you know why it looks like a sock?
    Chuckie: Uh... [shrugs]
    Angelica: BECAUSE IT IS A SOCK! [throws it at Chuckie]
  • Shared Dream: "Sweet Dreams" begins with the babies sleeping in Tommy's bed and having dreams. Phil and Lil are revealed to be sharing a dream, wherein Phil rides a frog while Lil rides a flying mud pie. When the twins awaken the next morning, they tell their dream to Tommy, Chuckie, and Kimi, then argue over whose dream was better.
  • Shock-and-Switch Ending:
    • Downplayed for the ending of "All's Well That Pretends Well": It seems as though the babies have caught Angelica's cold, but actually they were just pretending. The issue of them being unable to go to the circus is also solved when Drew reveals that they have it taped on video. However, Angelica still genuinely has a cold.
    • Attempted in-universe in "Ghost Story". The kids are, as the title would suggest, telling a Ghost Story and Chuckie tries to end it with the protagonist going into a dark room in an apparently-haunted house, only for it to be revealed that the house wasn't haunted after all. He also adds pillows and candy. Angelica, however, tells him that he can't end a ghost story that way, so he makes it so it's no longer the end, and changes it so the pillows are hard and the candy is yucky.
  • Sibling Rivalry: Phil and Lil get along well for the most part, but they also argue over both petty and significant things, and the viewer can sometimes see them in the background of a scene, fighting over a toy.
  • Single-Minded Twins: Besides looking and dressing almost exactly alike (even in their pajamas), Phil and Lil share the same favorite color (green), and an extreme fondness for eating worms and bugs. In the episode "Twins' Pique," they berate Tommy and Chuckie for addressing both Phil and Lil simultaneously (Tommy greets them with "Hi, guys!"), and demand that they speak to Phil and Lil separately.
  • 6 Is 9:
    • In "Ruthless Tommy", Tommy gets kidnapped as a result of a pair of criminals succumbing to this trope.
    • In the "Snow White" special of the "Tales From the Crib" series, one of Angelica's magic mirrors rates her a nine, then to show his disdain for her, he turns the card over to rate her a six.
  • Skyward Scream: Angelica has one in "Early Retirement." It's loud enough for the ENTIRE UNIVERSE to hear.
  • Sleepwalking: One episode had Stu sleepwalking, causing the babies to believe that he's a robot.
  • Smart Animal, Average Human: Tommy Pickles and his pet dog, Spike. While Spike may be an average dog, in Rugrats Go Wild!, Eliza is able to speak to him and he can talk back to her and it is revealed that he is quite a smart but reckless dog. Justified because Tommy is only a baby but even by All Grown Up!, Spike is still quite clever.
  • Soap Punishment: When Angelica uses a swear word, her mother asked Didi if she should use this as a solution. She then asked if she could use toothpaste if soap was too toxic.
  • Something-itis: One episode has Angelica trick Chuckie into thinking that he contracted "Rhinoceritis", a rare disease that causes its victim to turn into a rhinoceros.
  • Spanner in the Works: In "The Bank Trick," Tommy and Chuckie unwittingly foil a robbery while looking for candy at the bank.
  • Speak in Unison: Phil and Lil seem to do this in literally every episode. Even if they don't, it would probably be easier to count the number of episodes in which they appear and don't do this.
  • Special Edition Title: Used in the first Christmas Episode.
  • Spin-Off: All Grown Up and Angelica and Susie's Pre-School Daze. The former a time skip series following the Rugrats during their preteen years (and Susie and Angelica's teenage years). The latter focusing on the title characters exploits during pre-school.
    • The Pre-School Daze never made it through though, and wound up just being A Day in the Limelight episodes for Susie and Angelica on Rugrats. Four episodes were made and included on two (unsuccessful) Rugrats Direct to Video movies.
  • Spiritual Successor: Recess, which was made by former co-creator Paul Germain, writer Joe Ansolabehere, and their writing team. It began airing in Fall 1997 when Rugrats got renewed from hiatus. If you count shows by Klasky Csupo, Aaahh!!! Real Monsters, The Wild Thornberrys, As Told by Ginger & Rocket Power as well.
    • Also, there's one in the form of another Nickelodeon show following young children going on adventures with their imagination completely unsupervised. Ladies and gentlemen, The Backyardigans!
  • Spoiled Brat: Angelica, to the point where even her parents recognize this even as they spoil her! But to their credit, they've tried many times to correct it.
    Drew: Angelica, if you don't eat your broccoli, then you're not going to get seconds on dessert!
    Angelica: BUT THAT'S NOT FAIR!
    • The opening scene of the episode "Princess Angelica" is almost perfectly indicative of just how spoiled Angelica is. Drew reminds her that Angelica agreed to clean her room once a month since Drew bought her a $400 video game console. She tries to get out of it by saying "I didn't feel like it this month," then offering to start the deal next month. She's nothing short of bewildered when her father, for once, refuses to budge.
  • Squirrels in My Pants: Has happened a few times.
    • "Reptar on Ice": Tommy attempts to bring a lizard to a Reptar ice skating show by putting it in his diaper. Chuckie later ends up carrying it in his diaper. It also happens at the end when the lizard climbs from Tommy's diaper into Stu's pants
    • "Faire Play": Subverted, Tommy briefly has a frog hidden inside his diaper, but doesn't react.
    • "Chuckie's Duckling": Dil put Herbert, Chuckie's duck, into his diaper, causing him to fidget around
  • Status Quo Is God: Invoked many times, including an episode in which Angelica runs away from home (and another in which Chuckie does the same), one instance where Angelica "turns Tommy bad," and (amongst many others) "Farewell, My Friend," in which Tommy and Chuckie decide to no longer be "bestest friends."
  • Stay in the Kitchen: In "Aunt Miriam", the title character makes it clear to Didi that she thinks Didi should be a "full-time mother" rather than continue to teach.
  • Stealth Pun: One episode had Tommy and Chuckie part ways, with Tommy befriending a brave girl and Chuckie befriending a cowardly boy. The boy's name is Freddie (because he's afraid of everything) and he has a cat on his overalls, making him a "fraidy-cat."
  • Stellification: In "Starstruck", when the babies hear that Kimi will be "a star" when she gets given a role in a movie, they take it literally. They try to teach her how to float, twinkle, and grant wishes, and Chuckie sulks about her going away.
  • Stock Food Depictions: The cookies the toddlers are usually depicted eating are always chocolate chip cookies.
  • Stock Sound Effect: Stu Pickles's distinctive girlish scream, along with Chas and Drew's screams, Tommy's crying in the early seasons ("WAAAAAAAH! AAAAAAAH! AAAAAAAAAAH!") among certain other vocal effects, along with Dil's crying in the first movie and early Season 6 episodes.
  • Story Arc: Season 1 has kind of a story arc in the background. Stu is hired by Mucklehoney Toys as an inventor early in the season, invents the Patty Pants doll after that, and at the end of the season is mass-producing thousands of Patty Pants dolls for Mucklehoney.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: On one episode, Stu and Drew (in a flashback) are grounded by their dad, and are not allowed to watch Blocky and Oxwinkle. When Stu plans to break out, he boasts that not even President Weisenheimer can stop him. When they accidentally turn on the TV's built-in radio trying to find the TV function, the news announcer on the other end is doing a report on Eisenhower, but slips up with "Weisenheimer" at first.
  • Straying Baby: Every episode involves the babies breaking out of a playpen and/or straying away from the adults watching them.
  • Stupid Crooks: One cartoon saw two bumbling criminals kidnap Tommy and hold him for ransom after they get their real target's house address wrong. Even then, the 1-year-old baby becomes too much for the two idiots to handle so fast that they end up returning Tommy back to his parents before they even realized Tommy had been missing. However, as the crooks leave, their ransom note flies out of Stu's hands and covers one of the crook's head, causing him to crash into a hydrant, and send both of them flying headfirst into the back window of a police car.
  • Surprise Party: In one episode, Stu plans a surprise party for his wife, Didi. He has one of the neighbors get her out of the house for the afternoon. Unfortunately, he is placed in charge of watching the kids when the ladies leave. They still managed to pull it off, though, though not without some grief on Stu's part.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: Grandpa Lou may be one of the sharpest adults on the show, but he's still in his 70s, so leaving him alone with the kids has the same results, him falling asleep.
    • A few episodes actually go to show just how fragile the babies really are, well, being babies. It doesn’t take Tommy hitting his head just slightly on the table to get a MASSIVE bruise and crying bloody murder. Just getting his first cut makes him nearly inconsolable.
    • As Angelica demonstrated in "Chuckie Loses his Glasses" wearing someone else’s glasses, especially if they’re prescription? Is hardly a good idea for a joke. Depending on their strength, they can legitimately make you dizzy and sick. Angelica is fortunate her eyes weren’t damaged.
    • In "Chuckie Gets Skunked" one of the attempts to cure Chuckie after a skunk sprays him is the Tomato Skunk Stink Cure to remove the smell; all it ends up doing is ruining the tub. In Real Life all tomato paste/juice does is MASK the scent of skunk, not cure the spray.
    • In "The Big House" when Tommy and a group of toddlers try to break out of Golden Apple, a daycare that feels more like a prison, Tommy attempts to unlock the front door with a key made out of Play-Doh. The key is too soft and bends in the lock. Furthermore, they wouldn't have been able to escape from the daycare anyway; tough as "the screws" are, they're also professionals whose livelihood and reputation depends on being able to keep a mindful eye on small children and babies, unlike the collection of other adults in Tommy's life.
  • Survival Mantra: Chuckie: "I'm a big brave dog. I'm a big brave dog."
  • Suspender Snag: In the episode "Starstruck", when Chas is excited about meeting an actor named Mack Granite, his wife Kira holds him by the suspenders to prevent him from following Mack.
  • Sustained Misunderstanding: The show basically runs on this trope, with the babies applying their own knowledge to try to make sense of things adults do. For example, they come to the conclusion that "The Meanie of Hanukkah" needs to be put down for a nap. Angelica sometimes exacerbates misunderstandings like these for her own amusement.
  • Swan Boats: One episode has the Pickles family going to a carnival where Stu and Didi wind up going on the Tunnel of Love, which has swan-shaped boats.
  • Take That!: In "Reptar 2010," one building Reptar destroys is a Viacom skyscraper. This makes it Hilarious in Hindsight from the YouTube debacle years later.
  • The Talk: When Angelica asks where babies come from, her parents decide to be honest with her, but they end up chickening out and reverting to the classic Delivery Stork explanation. At the end of the episode she finally gets the real story- from Susie (who likely heard about it from her mother, who is a doctor).
  • Technobabble: Stu trying to teach Grandpa how to use a calculator in "Incident of Aisle Seven."
  • Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: Phil and Lil can switch identity with a mere bow toss.
  • That Liar Lies: Sometimes, when Angelica is telling a lie and Tommy doesn't buy it, he will say, "You're making that up, Angelica!".
  • Theme Naming: Lou, Stu, Drew, and later, Lulu Pickles.
    • Taken further in one episode, where they visit Stu's cousin Hugh and his wife Dotti, and Tommy meets cousins Tammy, Timmy, and Tony Pickles.
    • Twins Phil and Lil also have a teddy bear they've named "Bill."
  • Theme Twin Naming: Phil and Lil DeVille (but their actual first names are Phillip and Lillian, respectively).
  • There Was a Door: In the "Visitors from Outer Space" episode, Angelica gets a little carried away with the planet atomizer:
    "You know, kid, these doors do open automatically."
  • Thinly-Veiled Dub Country Change: The Dutch dub attempted this by changing the setting from the USA to The Netherlands, replacing American cities with Dutch ones... despite none of the cities in it looking anything like those of The Netherlands.
  • Three Shorts: Most of the show is a Two Shorts format, but the seventh season used Three Shorts.
  • Time Skip: The Poorly Disguised Pilot for All Grown Up!.
  • Tired After the Song: In "Accidents Happen", Stu sings to Dil, who'd woken up in the night, "Rockabye, Dilly, Daddy is here. Maybe I'll get some sleep in next year" and instantly falls asleep.
  • Title by Year: An episode called "Reptar 2010", also a Metafictional Title, named for the Show Within a Show that's named for its future setting of 2010.
  • Title Drop:
    Grandpa Lou Pickles: Why you rambunctious little rugrats, I oughta...
  • Toilet-Drinking Dog Gag: In the pilot episode, "Tommy Pickles and the Great White Thing", Tommy is curious about the toilet, which Phil thinks is a giant water dish, since he saw Spike drinking out of it. Near the end of the episode, Spike comes into the bathroom and drinks out of the toilet.
  • Toilet Humour: Of course, given the age of the main characters, it's expected.
    • One particularly glaring example is the episode where they get gerbils and Didi, while cleaning up, complains that despite the gerbils being gone for days, they still left plenty of "presents" behind. Cue Gilligan Cut to a closeup of gerbil feces, with Tommy and Chuckie complaining that it's not the presents they wanted.
    • But it turns From Bad to Worse. They went to the basement door and opened it, and the floor is littered with thousands of newborn gerbils. "Look Tommy, the floor's movin'!"
  • Toilet Training Plot: In "Chuckie vs the Potty", Chuckie gets potty trained. In "Potty-Training Spike", the babies try unsuccessfully to potty-train Spike after believing that Nature Tinkling is not acceptable.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Susie and Angelica, respectively (especially prevalent in the spin-off series, All Grown Up!).
  • Too Broken to Break: Exploited in the episode "Chuckie's First Haircut" where Chuckie is afraid to get his hair cut for fear it'd get hurt, but then the other kids point out that he already feels bad imagining it, so it can't be much worse.
  • The Tooth Hurts: This plays a part in one episode when Angelica tries to pull out one of Chuckie's teeth for tooth fairy money.
  • Track Trouble: In "Where's Grandpa?", when Grandpa Lou goes missing at a Canadian tourist attraction, Tommy and Chuckie sneak onto a train ride that is closed for maintenance to find him. When the engineer sends the train onto a test run, the train heads toward an unfinished track leading to the edge of a cliff, which Tommy and Chuckie aren't aware of, but Stu and Didi certainly are. Didi tries to switch the train onto the safe track, but sends it onto the unsafe one instead. Fortunately, the train stops before it goes off the unsafe track, and Tommy and Chuckie get out just in time. Unfortunately for Stu, who was chasing after the train, the slope of the hill makes the train go backwards, and it chases after him.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Cookies for Angelica. As seen in flashbacks during "No More Cookies," Angelica's first word was "cookie." At the end of the episode, she wants cookies so bad that she eats them after they've fallen into a tub of soapy water.
  • Translation Convention: The babies' babblings are rendered as infantile English.
  • Trapped in TV Land: A variation in "Kid TV." After the TV breaks down, the babies go into a box to imagine their own shows with them as the stars.
  • Traumatic Haircut:
    • "Chuckie's First Haircut" is this, but it's eventually subverted. Chuckie is terrified at the thought of his hair getting cut off but is ultimately fine when he goes through with it. Played straight with his father, however, who lets Chuckie cut his hair as a way of showing him that haircuts are nothing to be afraid of, but becomes horrified when Chuckie cuts off most of his hair.
    • "Showdown At Teeter-Totter Gulch" has this happen to Belinda. When the Junk Food Kid puts gum in her hair, her parents have to cut it off. And when the Junk Food Kid gets her comeuppance by getting gum in her hair, she reappears with it cut off too.
  • Treasure Hunt Episode: In "Sand Ho!" the babies pretend to be pirates after hearing a pirate story from Grandpa Lou. When they find the treasure, Angelica duels Tommy for it.
  • True Companions: The babies are always together, and it's often hard to believe that the in-universe time the series takes up would have to be less than a year or two. Even Angelica is included.
    • To be more specific, Chuckie shows a surprisingly hot temper, at times, for someone as tactful and introverted as he is. He's yelled at Tommy, Phil and Lil many times when it probably wasn't warranted (if what he said wasn't wrong, it was how he said it). Tommy tends to take it in stride and never gets mad at Chuckie for losing his temper, and Phil and Lil follow Tommy's lead.
    • Tommy even treats Angelica as if they were as close as a brother and sister, even though she tortures him as a hobby. Angelica has been saved from many a bad situation because Tommy refused to abandon her.
    • Their parents also qualify. They help each other a lot, often go on trips together, and treat each other's kids like their own. the kids even refer to the others' parents as "aunt" and "uncle".
  • Tsundere:
  • Unaffected by Spice: In "Dummi Bear Dinner Disaster", when Paul Gatsby, the creator of The Dummi Bears comes to the Carmichaels' house for dinner, the babies worry that if the dinner goes well, Susie will have to move away. One of the ways Angelica tries to ruin the dinner is by spiking the main course with "Volcano Brand" hot sauce. This plan backfires when it turns out that Paul loves spicy food and applauds the cooking as delicious.
  • Unconventional Food Usage:
    • In "Chuckie Gets Skunked", Chuckie bathes in borscht to get rid of the smell of a Smelly Skunk who sprayed him.
    • In "Hold the Pickles", upon hearing that Taffy doesn't like dill pickles, the babies think that this refers to the youngest of them, Dylan "Dil" Pickles. Upon hearing that she likes the older babies because they're "sweet", they put ice cream sundae decorations on Dil to make him "sweet".
    • In "Brothers are Monsters", Lil uses some sticks of candy to pretend she has fangs. This scares Phil because he's the younger twin and he'd just heard their uncle say that big sisters could be monsters.
  • Unexpected Kindness: In "Tricycle Thief", Susie accuses Angelica of stealing her tricycle. There's a lot of evidence against her, such as her being literally caught red-handed because the tricycle was in the freshly-painted shed. She claims she was just finger-painting, but no one believes her because of her general dishonesty. Susie has Chuckie let go of a balloon with Cynthia tied to it as punishment, but right afterwards, it's revealed that Susie's trike was actually under the porch all along. Angelica then says she was finger-painting an apology letter to Susie for breaking her reflector.
  • Unintentionally Karmic: Even though the babies don’t really like Angelica, they never mean to get her into trouble as payback, only try to fix the troubles she caused, or prevent the things she lied would happen. Nevertheless, their actions often result in a domino effect that ends in Angelica getting in trouble with the grown-ups, or some other form of cosmic justice.
    • In "Grandpa’s Bad Bug", when Lou lies about being sick to get out of a chore he promised, he says he has a "bug", making the babies think he has a bug inside him. In their efforts to get the bug out, they accidentally hurt and psychologically torment Lou, until he reaches his breaking point and confesses his lie to Didi and Stu.
  • Universal-Adaptor Cast:
    • The Passover special had Tommy's maternal grandfather Boris tell the babies the story of Moses, which led to the babies imagining themselves acting out the story.
    • "Finsterella" gave Chuckie a lengthy Imagine Spot where he was in the role of Finsterella, Kimi and Angelica were his bossy stepsisters, and Tommy was his "fairy bob-brother".
    • A few years after the original series ended, there was a duology of direct-to-video films called Tales from the Crib, which had the stories of "Snow White" and "Jack and the Beanstalk" retold with the babies portraying the characters, the framing device for both consisting of the babies being read the story by their babysitter Taffy.
  • Unsuccessful Pet Adoption:
    • In "Chuckie's Duckling", Chuckie tries to keep a duckling named Herbert. Ducks can be pets, but Chuckie doesn't have a pond, so he puts Herbert back with his family.
    • In "Beach Blanket Babies", Chuckie gets given sea monkeys, but puts them in the ocean.
  • Valentine's Day Episode: "Be My Valentine". The first half of the episode focuses on the babies trying to get Spike and Fluffy to fall in love with each other, and the second half focuses on Chuckie making a valentine card for his dad during the Valentine's Day dance.
  • "The Villain Sucks" Song: The Tales from the Crib direct-to-video film "Three Jacks and a Beanstalk" has Harold sing one about Angelica the Giant in order to warn the babies that she'll eat them if she catches them.
  • Vinyl Shatters: In "Give and Take," when talking with Chuckie, Angelica breaks a few of Chuckie's records just for kicks, by simply hurling them into the air and letting them break among hitting the ground as if they were glass (though such records are difficult to shatter this way in real life.)
  • Visible Invisibility: Parodied in the superhero episode, where Lil as "Dotted Line Girl" tries to sneak up on Angelitron, only for her to be seen because the lines are visible.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Angelica and Susie are this to each other.
  • Viva Las Vegas!: The special Vacation takes place here. However, it's rather to find these days, most likely due to music licensing issues. It did air on Nickelodeon on February 3, 2013, even after being skipped several times on the NickRewind block on Teennick, and it is available on the Season 4 DVD and the Complete Series set, but digital releases lack the episode.
  • The Voiceless: Dil can only make indistinguishable noises and the occasional word. This is because he's a newborn, and hasn't mastered 'baby talk' yet.
  • Volumetric Mouth: "Spike Runs Away" had Tommy do this when he cries over missing Spike.
  • Vomit Discretion Shot: Has occasionally happened, such as Angelica puking on Drew in "Ransom of Cynthia."
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: "Chuckie Loses His Glasses" has Angelica, nauseous from wearing Chuckie's eyeglasses, barf on Drew in a very graphic manner (complete with a shot of Angelica appearing to puke into the camera!)
  • Waist-Deep Ocean: Reptar, being a satire of Godzilla and in-universe tokusatsu franchise, was prone to making his appearances by rising straight out of the ocean and then only standing knee-deep — as seen in the opening of the episode Runaway Reptar.
  • Walkie-Talkie Gag, Over: In the episode "Tommy's First Birthday", Howard gives Tommy a set of baby monitors as a present, which Drew and Grandpa Lou use as walkie-talkies. When Didi realizes she rented a stage and puppets but not puppeteers, she says, "All men report to base immediately!" into one of the monitors. Stu then tells her, "Come on, Deed, that's not the right lingo at all.".
  • Walk Into Camera Obstruction:
    • "Time of Their Lives" when Angelica makes Tommy get cookies for her. She says, "That's more like it," and Tommy walks towards the camera and his diaper fills up the screen.
    • "Potty Training Spike" where the babies are trying to put a diaper on Spike. Phil and Lil are about to grab Spike and Lil jumps into the camera with her dress filling up the screen
    • "Stu Gets a Job": with Stu in his pajamas when he goes in the closet finding his clothes
    • "The Word of the Day" with Angelica, when she's excited upon overhearing Miss Carrol saying her show's "real fun phrase" (a swear word) and rushes off, presumably to meet up with Charlotte again.
    • "Piggy's Pizza Palace" with Tommy when he and the others find a small door and Tommy says goodbye to the animal dolls.
    • "Spike Runs Away" when Stu goes to show Tommy and Chuckie his new tarantula, his nose fills the screen
    • "Chuckie's Complaint" when Drew and Angelica are about to leave Tommy's house, Drew's nose fills the screen.
    • "Runaway Reptar" during the movie when Dactar is attacking, one guy runs towards the camera and his gold belt buckle obscures the screen
  • Walking Away Shot:
    • Looking for Jack: with one of Jack's employees going to get him for Angelica
  • Walk Through the Camera:
    • "A Step at a Time": During a flashback of Tommy taking his first steps. At the end of the flashback
    • "Chuckie's Red Hair": The scene where Betty comes in with Phil and Lil.
    • "Stu Gets a Job": When Stu is in the Elvis suit saying, "Well, turnabout is fair play."
  • Weaponized Stench:
    • The episode "The Mega Diaper Babies" has Tommy, Chuckie, Phil, and Lil imagining themselves as the titular superheroes, who are trying to rescue the Mega-Hyper Heroes from the evil Angelitron (a robotic version of Angelica). Chuckie gets stuck playing "Stinky," who has the extremely useless power of "smelling as strong as two babies." In the end, though, Stinky and his horrific stench are the only thing capable of defeating Angelitron.
    • The babies try to invoke this trope when Chaz brings an attractive police officer to Stu and Didi's for a date. They inadvertently break Chaz's glasses, and Angelica tells them that the police throw anyone who breaks any rules in jail. They then scheme to get Chaz to have to bring Chuckie home and end the date; one of their tactics is to cover him with foul-smelling garbage so he'll have to be taken away for a bath. The plan fails when Stu and Didi simply let Chaz use their own tub.
  • Wearing It All Wrong:
    • The intro for the later seasons shows a diaper falling from the sky and landing on Dil's head.
    • One episode has Betty wondering if babies actually copy their parents and noting, "Last week, Philly wore his diaper as a hat. He certainly didn't learn that from me! 'Course I can't keep an eye on Howie 24/7."
    • In "Dil Saver", Grandma Lulu puts new clothes on Dil, including socks on his hands.
    • In "Mirrorland", Tommy believes the mirror that Didi bought from an antique store to be a portal to a dimension called Mirrorland. When he and Chuckie go to Stu and Didi's bedroom, Chuckie sees it looks the same as before, so Tommy tries to prove that Mirrorland is real by wearing his diaper on his head, since that's what a mirror baby would do.
    • In "Naked Tommy", Tommy decides to take off his clothes after seeing how much fun his dog, Spike has not wearing clothes. At one point when Stu tries to put Tommy's diaper back onto his bottom, Tommy takes it off again and tosses it onto Stu's head. When Didi sees this, she tells Stu, "Get that thing off your head, you're going to give Tommy ideas!".
    • In "Chuckie's Bachelor Pad", the babies believe the garden shed to be Chuckie's new home when their dads move all of Chuckie's furniture out of his bedroom to repaint it. After the babies have a party in the shed, Tommy is seen wearing his diaper on his head. When Lil sees him doing this, she giggles. Tommy then gasps, hides his diaper behind his back, and blushes.
    • In "Doctor Susie", Susie decides to become a doctor for toys after Lucy teaches her how to be a doctor. When Dil breaks Angelica's Cynthia doll, Susie decides that she'll need the babies' help to fix her. When she dresses the babies as surgeons, she has them wear diapers on their heads, which act as surgical caps.
  • Wet Cement Gag: A Running Gag in the episode "Spike's Babies" has the characters from the show run through the wet cement of the pathway to Stu's barbecue grill, forcing him to smooth it out every time. This prompts Stu to put up a rope fence, which the babies are able to crawl under. Towards the end of the episode, after Stu falls into the cement, he gives up and decides to let everyone leave their handprints into the cement.
  • We Want Our Jerk Back!: Angelica just can't stay nice, though by All Grown Up she is a little better. Susie lampshades it when they compare home videos.
  • Wham Line: "The Family Tree" focuses on Chuckie, but with a sub-plot about Stu and Didi going on a cruise for their anniversary. Didi seems sea-sick throughout, but then the end of the episode explains it is something more:
    Didi: We're going to have another baby.
  • What If?: Babies could talk, how would they see the world?
  • When I Was Your Age...: Grandpa Lou.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: Downplayed. It's never stated what city they live in but there is proof they live in California. California license plates are spotted in several episodes, and in "Special Delivery" there's a California flag at the post office. They also live by the ocean and within driving distance to Las Vegas and The Grand Canyon. In Rugrats in Paris, there's a shot of a satellite sending a signal to Southern California when Kira is calling Stu about the Reptar mecha breakdown. In a non-canon comic book, the Rocket Power gang babysits the Rugrats, and it's established that show takes place in Southern California.
    • In one episode, Didi works at a high school named 'Eucaipah', which is similar to the name of the Southern California town of Yucaipa, near San Bernardino. It's possible that their home is either in that city or at least close to it.
  • The Whitest Black Guy: Susie's dad, Randy Carmichael, is the head of a lively family and a writer for one of the silliest, most heartfelt children's shows on TV, but he's also a bigger stiff than any desk jockey you'll ever meet.
  • Whole Plot Reference:
    • The episode "Radio Daze" features the Rugrats' take on The Maltese Falcon, replacing the MacGuffin with the "Malties Woodchuck," which contains a bag of malted milk balls. For bonus points, the protagonist (played by Tommy) is also a parody of Will Eisner's The Spirit.
    • "The Smell of Success" is one for Flowers for Algernon, with Chuckie going through an experimental process to cure his allergies.
    • "Heatwave" parodies Lawrence of Arabia, with the kids crossing "the Black Tar Playground" to find water on a sweltering summer day.
    • "Runaway Reptar" is a spoof on Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla, with Reptar being impersonated by a robotic doppelganger created by a mad scientist.
  • Wise Beyond Their Years: All the children can count. They do things that would be difficult for adults such as operating a large Reptar robot to crash a wedding.
  • Worm in an Apple: In one comic strip, Tommy and Angelica are under an apple tree. Angelica says to Tommy, "I wouldn't eat those apples, they could have worms." Phil and Lil overhear and try to climb the tree so they can eat the worms.
  • Worthless Yellow Rocks:
    • In one episode, the kids are looking for nickels in the sand box after Angelica digs one up by accident. Among the things that, disappointingly, are not what they're looking for, are a 100 dollar bill and precious jewelry, which are unceremoniously discarded as "old junk."
    • In the episode "The Bank Trick," Tommy and Chuckie mistake "ATM machine" for "M&M machine," and explore the bank that Didi took them to, looking for candy. Eventually, they find their way into the banks "secure" storage vault, and look through large bags of money, discarding all of the cash as "green wrapping paper."
  • You Are Fat: Aunt Miriam, after saying that Stu "never filled out", remarks to Didi that she certainly has been eating well to the latter's chagrin.
  • You Say Tomato: The babies pronunciation of animal as "am-mi-nal."

Alternative Title(s): Rugrats 1991


Ramon changes Tommy

When Didi brings Tommy with her to class to teach her Home Ec students about how to change a diaper, everyone backs out out of disgust. Cool guy Ramon however steps up and does the job instead.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (10 votes)

Example of:

Main / TheDiaperChange

Media sources: