Rugrats was the second Nicktoon ever made, and currently the second longest lasting next to SpongeBob SquarePants. It stars a group of babies with enormous imaginations as they turn everyday experiences into wondrous adventures. It spawned two movies and one spinoff. The show returned in 2021.
- Thomas "Tommy" Pickles- the leader of the babies. He is brave and adventurous, wears a blue T-shirt, and has almost no hair and only one tooth. He is always seen barefoot and pigeon-toed. He is one year old.
- Charles Crandall "Chuckie" Finster- the coward of the group. He wears a teal T-shirt with a picture of the planet Saturn on it, blue pants, and red sneakers. He does occasionally show bravery, however. He has uncontrolable red hair, freckles, and wears glasses. He is two years old. He has chronic nasal congestion. In one episode, it is revealed that he is lefthanded. He was voiced by Christine Cavanaugh, who also played Mona in Salute Your Shorts.
- Phillip "Phil" and Lillian "Lil" DeVille- twins who constantly argue, but are always willing to eat anything, even worms. They wear teal clothing with ducks on them, sneakers, and have no hair except for a small amount on Lil's head, presumably so she can be distinguished from her brother. Lil also wears a hair bow. They are one and a half years old. In All Grown Up, it was revealed that they cannot easily be separated, despite their bickerings. When arguing, they refer to eachother using their full first names.
- Angelica Pickles- the bullying three-year-old of the show. She is heavily spoiled. She wears a skirt, pants, and shoes and has pigtails with ribbons. She also cherishes her doll, Cynthia, a parody of Barbie. Although able to speak to the babies as well as the adults, she never considered translating their speech. She is blond.
- Susan "Suzie" Carmichael- an African-American character the same age as Angelica. She is much nicer than Angelica and tends to defend the babies against her. She also has the ability to talk to the babies as well as the adults, but never translates.
- Dylan Prescott "Dil" Pickles- Tommy's newborn brother who loves to make weird noises. Is easily pleased. Always poops his pants and announces it by saying "Poopy!". Calls Angelica "Yacky". Many people believe that his addition was when the show jumped the shark. He was named after Didi's cousin Dylan.
- Kimi Finster- Chuckie's Asian-American stepsister after Chaz remarries.
- Diane Kropotkin "Didi" Pickles (née Kerpackter)- Tommy's mother. She is redheaded and always wears a red dress and yellow, beaded necklace. She has green eyeglasses and wears earrings.
- Stuart "Stu" Pickles- Tommy's father who is desperately trying to start a toy business. He was voiced by Jack Riley, who passed away in 2016. He has purple hair and a business suit.
- Louis Kalhern "Lou" Pickles II- Tommy's paternal grandfather. Speaks and looks like a prospector. Uses the number fifteen in his speech often. He is a widower, but remarries late in the series. Voiced by David Doyle until Doyle's death in 1997, after which he was voiced by Joe Alaskey. His hair is purple. He wears a purple shirt with a green vest and pants. He wears glasses.
- Andrew "Drew" Pickles- Tommy's uncle, Angelica's father, and Stu's brother. He and Stu have been fighting eachother since they were kids. He is a business executive. He was voiced by Michael Bell. His hair is brown. He wears glasses.
- Charlotte Pickles- Angelica's mother. Also a business executive. Always seen with a small mouth that moves around her face. Whenever she is upset at Jonathan, she threatens to fire him.
- Boris & Minka Kerpackter- Tommy's maternal grandparents. They are Yiddish and celebrate Passover and Chanukah
- Charles Norbert "Chaz" Finister II- Chuckie's dad. He is a widower, but remarries after the second movie. He has asthma problems. He lives alone in a poorly-maintained house, but did win $10 million in one episode, only to lose it all on a bad investment. He is noted for his dorky personality.
- Elizabeth "Betty" DeVille (née Giselle)- Phil and Lil's highly energetic and active mother
- Howard DeVille- Phil and Lil's pessimistic dad.
- The Carmichaels- Suzie's family
- Randall "Randy" Carmichael- Suzie's dad, creator of the Dummi Bears. Prefers not to talk about the show.
- Dr. Lucille "Lucy" Carmichael (née Kojo)- Suzie's mom. She is a pediatritian, delivered Dill, and removed Suzie's tonsils.
- LuLu Pickles (née Jonston)- Tommy's stepgrandmother after Lou remarries.
- Kira Finster (née Watanabe)- The woman whom Chaz married after Rugrats In Paris.
- Melinda Finster- Chuckie's deceased mother. Shown in one episode in spirit form only. She was revealed to have died of a terminal illness late in the show, her existence having merely been implied several times prior.
- Jonathan- Charlotte's assistant.
- Reptar- a Godzilla-like dinosaur whom the babies idolize.
- Dummi Bears- a show created by Randy Charmichael. A parody of Care Bears, but the name more resembles Gummi Bears.
- Thorg- a King Kong like monster only seen in giant mechanical form. Only known phrase is "Thorg hungry! Thorg want eat!"
- Mr. Friend- a creepy clown robot that Stu designed. Tommy & Chuckie eventually destroyed it, only to discover many smaller versions, which they promptly destroyed. The idea was for it to be friendly and give advice on safety and hygiene.
- Dr. Lipschitz- The child psychologist of the series. He was voiced by the late, great Tony Jay.
- In an episode of Animaniacs, the intro is done in the style of the Rugrats intro.
- A few seasons are available on DVD
The show is available on iTunes
- Thanksgiving- the babies try to rescue a live turkey that Lou strangely ordered. Spike eventually befriends the turkey.
- Christmas- the babies try to prevent Santa from entering the house
- Halloween- the babies try to get their own Reptar bars, and end up as ghosts and ghouls in the makeshift haunted house
- Chaunnakah- Didi's side of the family celebrates the major Jewish holiday
- Passover- Didi's side of the family celebrates the major Jewish holiday
- Kwanzaa- Susie's family celebrates their African heritage
- Two films were created, both introducing new characters. The first introduced Dil and the second introduced Kimi. The first is when Rugrats fans believe the show jumped the shark.
- A special crossover film was created called Rugrats Go Wild, which had the Rugrats meet The Wild Thornberrys. Eliza is able to talk to Spike in this film, who was voiced by Bruce Willis.
The series' popularity has spawned numerous video games. Games have been released onto the PlayStation, Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance, Nintendo 64, PlayStation 2, and GameCube.
- For the show's tenth anniversary, All Grown Up debuted, taking place ten years after Rugrats.
- Chuckie is more of a daredevil and has braces
- Angelica has become an average teenage girl
- Phil and Lil are not as disgusting but still bicker, although it is revealed that they cannot be easily separated.
- A direct-to-DVD spinoff known as Angelica and Susie's Preschool Daze was created as a continuation of the show.
- One episode revolved around the classic topic of "Where do babies come from?". It is never revealed.
- One episode revolved around Tommy wanting to walk around naked. His genitals are never shown, although his bare bottom is clearly shown throughout the episode.
- In one episode, Boris picks up the phone and asks, "Hello? Dr. Kevorkian?". This is a reference to Dr. Jack Kevorkian, best known for his practice of assisted suicide. The joke is that Boris can't take what he's seeing any longer and wants to die.
- In one episode, Angelica gets to be on her favorite TV show. However, she overhears backstage that the host thinks the kids are all little (censored word) due to the fact that she hates her job. Later on in the episode, Angelica actually says it on television (also censored) after being pressed to say it. The host then comes out and says it (again censored) to the audience due to her intense stress. What makes this even more controversial is that when Angelica says it, right before she is censored her mouth is seen making what appears to be the motion for the F sound, as if she is about to say the word "fuck".
- People have noted that Dr. Lipschitz name sounds like Lip Shits.
- Stu smokes a cigar in one episode
The show was rebooted in 2021.
- The show is in CGI
- Charlotte is now a politician
- Betty is now a lesbian
- Stu is now a millennial gamer
- Lou is now a baby boomer hippie
Pop Culture Allusions
- Pat Sajak cameoed in the episode "Chuckie is Rich", hosting a Publisher's Clearing House like sweepstakes
- In one episode, Stu and Drew attempt to enter a contest very similar to America's Funniest Home Videos. Stu makes a comment that the winner isn't funny, reflecting common criticism of AFV.
- In the same episode, Angelica's routine involves inline skating. She claims she wants to do the "triple lutzle". This is a portmanteau of "triple axle" and "triple lutz", both of which are figure skating jumps.
- In one episode, Chaz, Stu, Drew, and Howard are watching a football game while the babies fight over a bottle of chocolate milk in coordination with the play-by-play.
- The teams in the football game are revealed to be "Dallas" and "Houston". This refers to the Cowboys and Oilers, respectively. Logos for the Oilers and Cowboys can be seen on the players' helmets and Stu, Lou, and Drew's shirts.
- Also, one of the players in the actual game is "Bubba Nagursky", a reference to Pro Football Hall of Famer Bronko Nagursky. However, Nagursky played in the early days of the NFL, several decades before the Cowboys and Oilers even existed.
- Also mentioned is the "Statue of Liberty play", where the halfback takes the ball as the quarterback drops back to pass in order to trick the opposition.
- In the episode where Tommy is taken to a baseball game, the cotton candy vendor and the commentator are discussing baseball cards. The vendor mentions that he has cards of Darryl Strawberry and Vida Blue while the commentator has a Willie Mays card.
- One episode features the "Mega Hyper Heroes", a clear parody of the Fantastic Four. However, the "magic rings" are an allusion to Captain Planet (or perhaps the Green Lantern).
- Ms. Invisible is a reference to Invisible Woman
- Flamo is a reference to the Human Torch
- The Bolt is a reference to the Thing
- The Changeling, instead of being a reference to Mr. Fantastic, is a reference to Changeling from the X-Men.
- In one episode, Didi enters a trivia game show known as Super Stumpers, hosted by Alain Quebec (a parody of Alex Trebek). The questions are done in the style of popular game show Jeopardy! (which Trebek hosts), but the contestants aren't required to state their response in the form of a question. Quebec was voiced by Alex Trebek.
- Also, Quebec is a province of Canada. Alex Trebek is Canadian.
- One episode mentions the "International House of Mud", a reference to the restaurant "International House of Pancakes".
- In one episode, the adults are playing charades. One of Howard's guesses to Stu's charade is "Steppenwolf", a hard rock band from the sixties. The correct answer is Dances With Wolves, a movie released in 1990.
- In one episode, Lou tells the babies a story about the Sasquatch, a mythological beast also known as the yeti or Bigfoot. Angelica mishears the name and calls it the "satchmo". This causes the adults to be confused, as "Satchmo" usually refers to legendary trumpet player Louis Armstrong.
- In one episode, Susie is moving into a new home. One of the movers drops a box marked "fragile". He asks what "fra-G-lay" means, an allusion to a scene in A Christmas Story.
- Also in the episode, one of the movers wonders how they get the Ms on the M&Ms.
- In one episode, Charlotte takes Tommy and Angelica to work. Angelica, walking backwards, accidentally bumps into a car, activating its touch-sensitive car alarm. Charlotte identifies it as a BMW and orders it towed.
- In the same episode, Charlotte's secretary Jonathan is acting as a tour guide for some elderly ladies, showing them around the office building. He demonstrates the fax machine, which he says prints "just the fax", attempting to allude to the quote "Just the facts, ma'm" from the popular sixties police drama Dragnet. Incidentally, that quote was never actually stated in the show itself.
- In one episode, Tommy and Chuckie go with Didi while she runs errands. The first stop is the "ATM Machine", which Tommy and Chuckie mishear as the M&M Machine. It should also be noted that "ATM Machine" is redundant, as the M stands for machine.
- In one episode, one character mentions Raisinettes while at the movie theater.
- In one episode, two guys are painting the Pickles' house. One of them suggests to paint the house black and silver, Raiders colors. This refers to NFL team the Oakland Raiders (Los Angeles at the time of the show's debut).
- In one episode, the babies go to the Moon. One quote by Tommy is "make it so Number One". This is a quote from Star Trek: the Next Generation.
- In one episode, Chuckie is describing the horrors of getting a booster shot. In his depiction, the doctor is named Dr. Lecter. This is a reference to horror movie character Hannibal Lecter.
- In one episode, Stu takes a break from his doll-making machine to watch The Weather Channel. This indicates that they have only just gotten cable television. Later, Dee Dee is watching a show about the mating cycle of the South American jungle gnat. This is most likely either the Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, or the National Geographic Channel (all cable channels).
- Randy Carmichael created a show called the Dummi Bears. Although the show is a parody of the Care Bears, the name is more of an allusion to the Gummi Bears, a completely different show. Both shows aired at one point on the Disney Channel (who eventually purchased ABC, which Care Bears debuted on).
- In one episode, the Pickles attend the wedding of Tommy's uncle Ben and aunt Elaine. The story surrounding them is reminiscent of the popular film The Graduate.
- The babies also encounter wedding ceremonies of different cultures, including Judaism and New Age.
- In the same episode, Chuckie gets caught up in the Jewish celebration while they dance the hora, a traditional Jewish dance. When Tommy asks what happened, Chuckie responds "The hora! The hora!". This is a pun on "The horror! The horror!", a famous line from novella Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad.
- In the flashback episode, it is revealed that Stu and Drew's favorite show is "Blocky and Oxwinkle". This is a reference to cartoon series Rocky and Bullwinkle, which ran from 1959-1964.
- Also referenced is the "Stetsons", a reference to The Jetsons, which ran from 1962-1963. However, Eisenhower was not President upon the Jetsons' debut.
- In the episode, Lou Pickles is running a repair shop. A customer comes in asking for repairs on his Edsel. It is a common urban legend that the Edsel division failed because they were all lemons. The real reason was that they were too expensive, too large, and too garish looking.
- Also in the episode, Stu and Drew fix a TV playing Blocky and Oxwinkle. This TV turns out to be a Philco, a company that made radios, televisions, and other electronics from 1892-1976.
- In a Halloween episode, Stu is dressed as Tarzan while Drew is dressed as King Kong. They argue over who is "king of the jungle". Clearly, Tarzan is king of the jungle while King Kong is a monster movie character.
- In another Halloween episode, Stu dresses as Frankenstein's monster. He refers to his headgear as a "Frankenstein flattop". Due to the fact that the monster was never named in the original book, it has since been named after its creator.
- Suzie Charmichael's family moved into "The Paytons' place". Peyton Place was a 1956 novel by Grace Metalious, adapted into a film in 1957 and later into a soap opera in 1964.
- In one episode, the babies are trying to find the source of a loud crash in their garage. It turns out to be a mouse. Tommy greets the mouse by reaching out his finger to touch the mouse's. This resembles a scene from the sci-fi movie E.T.
- In one episode, Spike runs away. One attempted replacement is gerbils. Upon building the habitat, Dee Dee wonders whether they will be able to turn on their Jacuzzi. Jacuzzi is a brand of hot tubs, bathtubs, and other products whose name has become a genericized trademark for hot tubs.
- In one episode, all the neighbors bring Jello molds to the Charmichael' house upon the family's moving into the neighborhood. Jello is a brand of gelatin dessert whose name has become a genericized trademark for such desserts. This is also a parody of the cliche of people bringing Jello to a potluck for lack of anything else to bring.
- In one episode, Spike is scheduled to be groomed. The babies mishear this as "broomed", and believe the "dog broomer" to be a monster. One person arriving that day is a man with a chainsaw, who turns out to be a tree trimmer. His introduction shot, however, is an allusion to the horror film The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
- In one episode, Angellica spends some time in Spike's doghouse. She can be seen watching popular 1960s sitcom Gilligan's Island on a portable TV. Perhaps not coincidentally, Gilligan's Island was a regular for years on Nickelodeon's lineup for its Nick at Nite classic television block. However, such TVs at the time were usually only capable of acquiring signals from local channels at best.
- In one episode, Chuckie is shown what his life would be like if he had never been born. This is based on the classic film It's A Wonderful Life.
- In one episode, the babies are taken to see Reptar on Ice. This is a parody of Disney on Ice.
- In one episode, Lil eats something out of her navel that is revealed to be "sketty-O's". This is a reference to Spaghetti-O's.
- Popular hip hop group Kriss Kross sang the Rugrat Rap.
- Chuckie is afraid of "the guy on the oatmeal box", referring to Quaker brand oatmeal.
- In one episode, there is a performance of a Broadway show called Rats, a parody of the famous show Cats.
- In one episode Chuckie pretends that a box is a spaceship. He is contacted by his dad, who says "Ground control to Major Chuckie. Where are you?". This is a reference to Space Oddity by David Bowie.
- Two episodes reference hair metal as if it was current. Hair metal was passe at the time, having been replaced by thrash and death metal.
- One episode is done in the style of a Hollywood western. Tommy also has to face the local bully, known as the Junk Food Kid.
- High noon is referred to as "no shadow time" because shadows are not cast during midday.
- Grampa Lou mentions that cowboys had to be "tough hombres", which Tommy mishears as "omelets". "Hombre" is the Spanish word for "man".
- It is revealed that the Junk Food Kid is actually known as Prudence. While this is a strange name for a bully, it is actually of Puritan origin and means "cautiousness". The Puritans are noted for using adjectives such as "prudence" or "constance" as first names.
- The fact that the showdown occurs at noon references the famous western movie High Noon.
- One episode features them on a trip to the Grand Canyon, which is interrupted by a pothole dug by a couple of mechanics attempting to lure customers into their scam. The Pickles ultimately go to a roadside seafood restaurant named the Clam Canyon.
- On the menu of the gas station restaurant is "jalapeno and mole sauce". Stu mispronounces this as "jal-a-peeno" and "mowl sauce". It should be "jalapeño and molé" sauce (ha-la-pain-yo and mo-lay sauce), as both condiments are of Mexican origin. The pronunciation of the former has actually been well-known for quite awhile, even back then.
- In one episode, Tommy and Chuckie go to a giant toy store. The store, strangely, has a "working time machine for kids". One time period is 1776, which ultimately teleports Thorg to the Revolutionary War during George Washington's famous crossing of the Delaware River. Incidentally, the depiction of the river crossing is based on the painting. This depiction has been argued as inaccurate for several reasons. Among other analyses, Washington's position in the dinghy would likely capsize the boat and the painting is depicted during the day whereas it would have been more strategic to cross at night so as to avoid being spotted.
In one episode, Angelica mistakes a commercial spokesman dressed as a king for an actual king. In the same episode, she overhears her parents saying that "If they're not careful, Angelica will start thinking she is a princess". Angelica misunderstands this and believes that she really is a princess. She later wants to meet this "king" she saw on TV. The phone number for the spokesman's plumbing service is 555-KING (555-5464). However, Angelica doesn't listen and instead dials 555-5555. Somehow, this number also works.
- In one episode, Chaz is returning a book to the library. The librarian notices a very small tear on one page of the book. This causes Chaz to lose his library card. This is extremely unfair, as such a small tear would more likely be dismissed as simple wear and tear.
- In one episode, Dee Dee takes Tommy and Chuckie on her errands. After Tommy messes with the ATM to the point where Dee Dee's card is ruined, they go into the bank to get another one. While Dee Dee is filling out the forms, Tommy and Chuckie try to find the M&Ms from the M&M Machine (ATM Machine). Chuckie tries to understand what a computer is, calling it a TV. By pressing buttons on the computer, he dramatically affects the stock market. This is strange, as a computer in one bank would likely have little to do with the stock market and would probably be more designed for bank management. Also, the internet was still in its infancy at the time and one suburban bank would not have such a connection to the stock market at the time.
- In one episode, Angelica "diagnoses" Chuckie with "rhinoceritis". If this were an actual disease, it would refer to an inflammation of the nose as "rhino" is usually used to refer to the nose and the suffix "-itis" is used to mean an inflmation.
- Near the end of the episode, Angelica is revealed to have a bump on her forehead because she bumped her head the previous night. The babies view it as a "symptom" of rhinoceritis, as Angelica had previously noted that one of the "symptoms" is a horn growing out of the victim's forehead (although one would expect the nose given that "rhino" means nose and rhinoceroses have horns on their noses). Chuckie realizes then that it is Angelica who has "rhinoplasty". "Rhinoplasty" is the medical term for a nose job.
- In one episode, the babies go to a miniature golf course. The owner says that if you get a hole-in-one on Ice Cream Mountain, you get a free game. However, he has rigged the hole so that never happens. The babies explore the mountain and push aside the tissue preventing people from getting a hole-in-one so they can get through. When Stu and Drew get holes-in-one the clown atop the mountain sings a song about it. It is never explained how it can detect holes-in-one.
- In episode 109, "Ghost Story" , Ickis, Krumm, and Oblina from Real Monsters make a cameo.
- The name "Weisenheimer" (a mispronunciation of "Eisenhower") was also used in an episode of Doug
- A station ID for Nickelodeon features a clip from the unaired pilot, Tommy Pickles and the Great White Thing
- This pilot features Tommy wearing an orange shirt instead of his traditional blue. Orange is the official color of Nickelodeon. Also, the music video on the TV screen was replaced with the classic Nickelodeon splat.
- Also in this pilot, Tommy has a different voice actor.
- One episode has the babies visit a multicultural festival. One part of the episode is the debate as to whether boys can wear dresses.
- They encounter a sumo match, which they observe as "grownups wearing diapers" since sumo wrestlers only wear loincloths.
- They finally find Scottish boys wearing kilts, which resemble dresses. These boys mistake the duck on Phil and Lil's shirts to be a symbol for the "Clan of the Duck", and have all the Scottish toddlers salute them by lifting their kilts. They eventually treat them to haggis, which Phil and Lil (obviously) find "neat". Haggis, as described by the Scottish babies, is made of "sheep guts".
- Lou Pickles is a World War II veteran. He is also old enough to remember the Dust Bowl. The Dust Bowl, also known as the Dirty Thirties, was a period of severe dust storms that greatly damaged the ecology and agriculture of the US and Canadian prairies during the 1930s; severe drought and a failure to apply dryland farming methods to prevent wind erosion caused the phenomenon.
- In one episode, the babies become American folk heroes. One is Wild Bill Hiccup, after Wild Bill Hickock. Another is Wyatt Burp, after Wyatt Earp. Angelica becomes notorious outlaw Calamity Jane.
- Stu and Drew were one year old under the Eisenhower administration. That means that they were in their thirties at the time of the show's debut.
- In one episode, Tommy believes his father to be a robot. He attempts to open his father's chest using a toy wrench. Later that morning, Stu describes this incident as a dream where Tommy tries to open his chest with a plastic screwdriver. Considering that he was likely half asleep at the time, this can be dismissed.
- In one episode, the babies find a statue of "Captain Oldey Timer". This is a reference to Dr. Alzheimer, and the stereotype that only the elderly can get Alzheimer's disease.
- In one episode, the Pickles blow a fuse. When Stu finally solves the problem, he says "And then the Lord said 'Let there be light!'". This is a quote from the Creation narrative of the Book of Genesis in the Christian Bible.
- Pickles is an actual last name. It is of English origin and means "someone who lives by a small field or paddock".
- Amanda Bynes voiced a minor character for nine episodes.
- Grandpa Boris says his father's wine glasses came from Minsk, which is the capital of Belarus (which had just become independent at the time of the show's debut). Grandma Minka says that her father's wine glasses are superior because they don't have spots all over them. She says they came from Smolensk, which is in Russia.
- In his Nicktoons episode, popular internet reviewer Nostalgia Critic reviewed Rugrats. He criticized the episode subjects of "potty training" and "naptime" and the strange extreme closeups at the start of each episode. He claims Angelica seems unbelievably evil.
- In one episode, Angelica recites a line from Shakespeare's The Tempest
- One episode features "Reptar Cereal". A real-life such cereal was released, albeit not much like the kind in the cartoon
- In one episode, Angelica misquotes The Tempest, saying "Oh brave new world that has such people in it".