Rugrats was a staple of the Nickelodeon lineup in the 1990s, and since we live in a world in which every piece of intellectual property is ripe for resurrection or reinterpretation, it’s now coming back in a reboot on the new Paramount+ streaming service. We knew the charming, 2D hand-drawn style from the original series would be gone, but the first official trailer has been released and you can see for yourselves just how plastic-y and cheap these characters look when rendered in three dimensions in a computer. Check out the trailer below.
“I think they’ve gotten better over time,” the purple-haired Stu Pickles says at the end of this trailer, in a line that’s supposed to make audiences feel good about the nightmare fuel they’ve just witnessed. But to tweak a quote from the great Marge Gunderson in Fargo: I’m not sure that I agree with you a hundred percent on your police work there, Stu.
To my eye, these characters have not “gotten better over time,” but in fact look far worse than they ever did in the original animated series. And that’s really saying something, because the original show had a unique, almost purposefully shoddy aesthetic which imbued its characters with imperfections and an energy that made the show feel different than anything else that was on TV at that time. But this reboot, which comes from the same creative team as the original, has taken that original vibe and dipped it in plastic, creating a shiny, impersonal look that feels less like a professionally created show from a major streamer and more like a college kid experimenting with animation software.
The cast is comprised mostly of the original voice actors: E.G. Daily (Tommy), Nancy Cartwright (Chuckie), Cheryl Chase (Angelica), Cree Summer (Susie), and Kath Soucie (Phil and Lil). But they’ll be joined by some higher profile performers like Tony Hale (Veep), Anna Chlumsky (Veep), Timothy Simons (Veep), Natalie Morales (Parks and Recreation), Michael McKean (Better Call Saul), Nicole Byer (Nailed It!), Tommy Dewey (Casual), and Omar Benson Miller (Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles).
Here is the official synopsis for the rebooted series:
A reimagining of the classic ’90s hit, the brand-new series features rich and colorful CG-animation and follows Tommy, Chuckie, Phil, Lil, Susie and Angelica as they explore the world and beyond from their pint-sized and wildly imaginative point-of-view.
Rugrats is set to premiere on Paramount+ on May 27, 2021.
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