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YMMV / Rocko's Modern Life

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  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • In "Kiss Me I'm Foreign," was Filbert taking his roll as Rocko's fake wife too seriously, or was he just playing it up because he knew the department of immigration would be watching?
    • In "Power Trip", Smitty's warning to Rocko was to not push the green button, which transforms whoever's sitting in the chair into a rude, abusive, Bad Boss. Was Smitty trying to save Rocko from a fate much like his because he wanted Rocko to remain a good person, or did he simply not want to return to work and find out he could no longer bully Rocko?
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  • Ass Pull: Played with in "Manic Mechanics". Rocko breaks his car, and all seems hopeless....until he notices a "Broken/Fixed" switch on the engine.
  • Awesome Art: The sneak peek to Static Cling showcases some incredibly fluid Deranged Animation that manages to both improve on and hearken back to that of the original series.
    • The original series as well, albeit not quite to Ren & Stimpy's extent drawing-wise to say the least (ironically, it actually looked a lot better animation-wise in order to compensate for its often crippling lack of detail).
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment:
    • The scene with the naked fairies and the shaved voyeur gopher in "A Sucker for the Suck-O-Matic".
    • Heffer being abducted by aliens who look like him in the episode "Cruisin". Even though they went into the Bermuda Triangle and went through a time warp, this makes no sense in relation to the rest of the episode.
    • The following exchange in "Bye Bye Birdie" (which might be a quick example of Seinfeldian Conversation). Though they don't move there, Rocko and Heffer do go and visit France in a later episode:
      Heffer: Hey Rock, do you want to move to France? (not taking eyes off TV)
      Rocko: Not really. No. (eyes also glued mindlessly to TV)
      Heffer: Yeah, me neither. (and they just continue watching TV)
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    • In "Wacky Delly", when Ralph needs help from his dad, we briefly see what they're doing - Bev is being chased around the house by Ed, who is inexplicably inside a giant hamster exercise ball, both are shrieking and look like they're rolling face on MDMA. The hell?
    • Pretty much every other moment in the series. Doug Lawrence, one of the writers and directors of the show, had a twisted sense of humor like no one else.
  • Cargo Ship: Canon: Spunky's forbidden romance with a mop. The Psychiatrist is shown later to be wining and dining said mop. And how does Spunky get over it? He falls in love with a fire hydrant!
  • Critical Dissonance: The show received a D+ rating in a 1993 issue of Entertainment Weekly.
  • Cult Classic: The show was never quite as popular as The Ren & Stimpy Show, Rugrats or SpongeBob at the time; the best it could manage was this. The cult fanbase, though, was enough so that the show was on MTV for a brief while. As of 2017, over twenty years since the show ended, the dedicated fanbase has become so strong that Nickelodeon greenlighted an upcoming Rocko TV Movie!
  • Ear Worm:
    • R-E-C-Y-C-L-E, recycle! (It's also a handy way to remember how it's spelled...)
    • The Theme Tune to the show (originally sung by none other than The B-52s), and to the Show Within A Shows (The Fatheads, The Bloaty and Squirmy Show, Wacky Delly, etc.).
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Dr. Hutchinson, who was actually intended to be this according to Joe Murray and managed it wonderfully.
    • Bloaty and Squirmy.
    • Sheila is VERY BIG one. Despite only appearing in one episode, she is seen in TONS of fan works! It helps that she served as a love interest for Rocko in her only appearance.
    • Ralph Bighead due to being a self-portrait of the series' creator, Joe Murray. (Who also voiced him!) His shows, Meet the Fatheads and Wacky Delly are well-liked among viewers.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment:
    • Heffer's eating habits are mostly Played for Laughs, but then you realize that that aspect of the character was inspired by Joe Murray's struggle during his teen years with binge eating.
    • If you believe the rumors about Family Guy, you could "Wacky Delly" as this with Ralph Bighead standing in for Seth Mc Farlane.
  • Growing the Beard: While season 1 was certainly funny, it was much more low-key, as it focused more on its Vanilla Protagonist Rocko. The show's evolution into an ensemble comedy not only brought the much funnier side characters center stage, but provided some of the funniest jokes, eventually leading to the excellent third season, which even Joe Murray agrees was the one where the show was really firing on all cylinders.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: In "A Sucker For the Suck-o-Matic", Heffer is channel surfing and is implied to be watching JFK's assassination ("The official motorcade is just coming around the corner now, and... oh my God! There's a burst of gunfire!"). This was already in rather poor taste in 1993 but is completely unfunny after the epidemic of gun violence in the 21st century.
  • Heartwarming in Hindsight:
    • On April Fools' Day 2013, The 90s Are All That announced they'd air a lost episode of the series, which turned out to be a picture of mayonnaise. 3 years later, the sequel special Static Cling was announced. Looks like Rocko is back for real.
    • Before production on season 1, Joe Murray's first wife tragically killed herself. Murray later revealed that she was the one who made him more environmentally conscious and encouraged him to recycle, meaning that she was the inspiration for the much-loved Musical Episode "Zanzibar" three years later.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • "Filburt! Sell some Really Really Big Man comic books!"
    • "Oh baby, oh baby, oh baby."
    • "Never! Never!! NEVER!!!"
    • "I'm a wild pig!"
    • "HOW DARE YOU?!"
    • "You turn the page, wash your hands. Turn the page, wash your hands..."
    • "X Day is a very dangerous day."
    • "That was a hoot!"
    • "My meme is a bathroom!"
    • "Eat steel, Rocko!"
  • Misaimed Fandom: "Who's For Dinner?", the episode where Heffer discovers he's adopted, was lauded upon its premiere as "groundbreaking". Joe Murray was confused as to why everyone but him was taking such a silly cartoon so seriously.
  • Narm Charm: This is the whole reason "Zanzibar" is a musical. While Joe Murray is a self-proclaimed environmentalist, he was reluctant to do an episode about the environment out of fear that it would be too sentimental or pushy. The other writers convinced him that a Musical Episode would allow them to be tongue in cheek without harming their message, with Murray's only condition being that Rocko wouldn't sing, lest it be too silly.
  • Padding: The original "Trash-O-Madness" indie short, which is Murray's animated solo, is only five minutes long, so the broadcast version added new scenes from the overseas studio, and it's quite obvious which is which: the Murray animation is looser and has rougher audio, while the overseas animation is more on-model, has cleaner audio and doesn't much affect the plot, with the slight exception of the extra scenes of Spunky playing with the slime ball, since in the original pilot, the slime ball was completely inanimate, while in the extended version, it is completely sentient.
  • The Problem with Licensed Games: Someone had the bright idea to make it wall to wall Escort Missions, with your having to keep Spunky out of danger as he mindlessly wanders through the levels.
  • Seasonal Rot: Impressively averted. The show peeked by the fourth and final season, meaning it ended just before it could overstay its welcome.
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: Upon its premiere, "Wacky Delly" was beloved for its sheer unabashed randomness and Stylistic Suck, which is now a dime a dozen on YouTube and [adult swim].
  • Squick: The end of the episode "The Fatlands", not only does Dr. Hutchinson give Rocko all of the fat that she sucked out of Spunky... Heffer ends up eating that fat.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: During the Chariots of Fire parody in "From Here to Maternity", the show uses a sound-alike version of the theme from the film.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: Though it doesn't affect the show as a whole, most people agree that the original theme song from season 1 was better than the B-52's version.
  • Values Resonance: One of the reason's behind the show's lasting appeal is how it's arguably the first cartoon to discuss the struggles of "adulting" (i.e., being self-reliant in your early twenties), a universal concept among young adults in The New '10s.
  • Vanilla Protagonist: Rocko himself. He is the Only Sane Man of the in-universe world in contrast to the much quirkier and inane side characters.
  • What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: Aside from the hidden dirty jokes and crude humor (some of which has been cut from reruns), the show's deals with themes you'd find on adult cartoons like The Simpsons (back when it was the sitcom to watch to laugh at jokes about how hard modern life can be), such as infidelity, immigration, racism (shown as "animalism" on the show), death, and cults. This show even helped some modern kids in The New '10s grow up.
  • What an Idiot!:
  • What Do You Mean, It Wasn't Made on Drugs?: Addressed by series creator Joe Murray: "What most people fail to appreciate is that if I was on drugs I never would've gotten anything done."

Example of: