Rugrats was key in building Nickelodeon’s reputation as a kids friendly network, but it had some adult references hidden in a couple of episodes, with one taking inspiration from Fatal Attraction. Rugrats was created by Arlene Klasky and Gábor Csupó in 1991, and along with Doug and The Ren & Stimpy Show prepared the ground for other Nicktoons, such as Hey Arnold and Rocko’s Modern Life.
Although Rugrats focused on a group of toddlers and their day-to-day adventures, it constantly reenacted adult situations and themes – but adapted for a much younger audience, of course. Like many other Nicktoons, the writers of Rugrats took inspiration from films that are not exactly aimed for children, such as the 1987 psychological thriller Fatal Attraction. The reference surely went over the heads of the youngest viewers, but it was so clear that the more mature audiences probably caught it.
Screen Rant’s newest video takes a look at some of those not-so-hidden details and jokes in Nickelodeon shows that only adults could catch – or those with some cinematic knowledge. In Rugrats’ case, they took Fatal Attraction as the base for the episode “Cradle Attraction”. In it, a new girl in the neighborhood, Megan, befriends the group at the park, except for Chuckie, who she constantly picks on. It’s later revealed that she had a crush on Chuckie, and the feeling was mutual. Megan stalking Chuckie during their time at the park references that of Alex (Glenn Close) with Dan (Michael Douglas) in Fatal Attraction, even replicating a shot from the film.
Luckily, the episode didn’t go as far as to repeat or adapt some of the darkest moments from the film, instead giving it a twist. Chuckie, now fully “in love” with Megan, finds her picking on another kid just like she did to him, implying that whatever she had going on for Chuckie wasn’t real. Chuckie leaves and Megan doesn’t show up again. Fatal Attraction, on the other hand, had a much more intense chain of events that didn’t end up well for Glenn Close’s character.
Nicktoons back in the 1990s got away with adult references and jokes very easily, some more than others (such as Rocko’s Modern Life and Ren & Stimpy), with Rugrats as one of the few that didn’t go on that path too often – and when they did, it was in subtler ways. Thankfully, the writers knew when to stop when taking Fatal Attraction as reference, making it a fun and not-so-hidden detail for those parents watching the show with their kids.