Rocko and friends are coming back in Rocko’s Modern Life: Static Cling, although they won't be back on Nickelodeon, instead finding a new home on Netflix. Back in 2015, Nickelodeon announced plans to revive some of its old properties, and a year later Rocko’s Modern Life was confirmed to get a one-hour TV special that will connect to the last episode of the series.
Rocko’s Modern Life followed the lives of a wallaby and his friends in the fictional O-Town. Although it was categorized as a kids' show, the series constantly included jokes that were aimed for a more mature audience, and it became one of Nickelodeon’s classics. But unlike Hey Arnold’s TV-movie Hey Arnold!: The Jungle Movie, Rocko’s return won’t air on Nickelodeon, but on Netflix. Why?
At some point, the future of Rocko’s Modern Life: Static Cling was a mystery. Production wrapped on February 2018 and there were no updates after that until May 2019, when Netflix acquired the distribution rights to it along with Invader Zim: Enter the Florpus!. Although a reason for this wasn’t revealed, both series have been criticized for not being 100% kid-friendly, which could have prompted Nickelodeon to hand the distribution rights to someone else.
The creative team most likely knew that Nickelodeon was not going to be the home for Rocko’s new adventure. On September 2018, Rocko's Modern Life creator Joe Murray shared a quick update on the project, saying that he was “sworn to secrecy” about whether it was releasing on streaming or not, and that there were many conversations about its future. Releasing on a streaming service such as Netflix gives creators more flexibility and creative freedom than a TV network, especially one based on child-friendly content, and Rocko’s Modern Life: Static Cling will be no exception.
Prior to its release, it was revealed that the Rocko's Modern Life movie will feature a prominent trans story arc with the character of Rachel Bighead, known as Ralph in the series. This is one of the many topics Murray had wanted to explore since the series was still active, confirming that the episode “Closet Clown”, in which Ed Bighead (Rachel’s dad) hides his secret identity as a clown as the whole town seems to hate them, is a coming out allegory. Although times have changed a lot since the 1990s, it’s possible that Nickelodeon doesn’t want to take that step yet, but a platform like Netflix surely has no problem with that and more.
Netflix will also give Rocko’s Modern Life: Static Cling a bigger lifespan, as fans will have the chance of rewatching as many times they want – something that wouldn’t be possible if it was broadcasted on Nickelodeon. Although it might be weird for some to watch Rocko, Heffer, and Filburt somewhere else, this move was for the best on many levels.