The classic nostalgic feelings attached to any original 90s show from Nickelodeon's glory days are strong, and Rugrats is a prime example of that kind of show. A sweet little show about childlike innocence from a baby's perspective remains a staple of many people's childhood growing up in the 90s. The show aired its final season in 2004, with plenty of movies and video game adaptations inbetween.
It was no doubt a success story on its own, but it doesn't end there. Following the 10-year anniversary episode "All Growed Up" in 2001, Nickelodeon got the idea to launch a spinoff series of Rugrats where the kids are teenagers. It'd be called All Grown Up! and it would see Tommy and everyone else dealing with pesky middle school troubles.
As expected, the results were...mixed. Many fans felt that the whole point of the original show was that everything was from the perspective of an infant, so to change the primary concept to be a more-standard teen show, it lost much of its appeal. It went on for a couple seasons, but was promptly cancelled soon after. While many likely wish to forget this spinoff ever happened, there's undoubtedly plenty of things people forgot about it. These are 15 examples of forgotten components or behind-the-scenes details for Rugrats: All Grown Up!.
15 The Reason The Main Rugrats Series was Cancelled
While it's somewhat expected that showrunners serve some consulation roles for spinoffs to their own shows, the nature of Klasky and Csupo's departure from the original Rugrats series isn't typical. Following the great success of the "All Growed Up" episode of Rugrats, Nickelodeon demanded that the spinoff series be given full attention. In order to do that, they forced K&C to stop work on Rugrats and begin work on All Grown Up!, leading to the main series' cancellation.
It makes perfect sense why they ended up bringing the main series to an end (it went on for over a decade), but to remove the show's creators from it and make them work on a spinoff seems rather insulting, especially if they didn't get to finish off the original series the way they wanted.
14 The Voice of Chuckie Left Before All Grown Up! Started
Although both All Grown Up! and the original Rugrats series did a quality job of ensuring that the voices remained consistent throughout the series, there were likely a few who recognized that Chuckie's voice seemed a bit different near the end of the original series/throughout All Grown Up!'s run. The reasoning behind it was Christine Cavanaugh's (voice actress for Chuckie) departure from the series (and voice acting in general) in 2002, allowing Nancy Cartwright (the voice of Bart Simpson in The Simpsons) to take over.
It was an unfortunate departure that removed a key talent behind an important character, but Cavanaugh's ability to make that decision (and everyone involved with the show and studio approving it) must be appreciated. It's like Tommy would always say: "Babies gotta stick together."
13 The Showrunners Were Married (and Divorced)
Now there are many who would love to work with their significant others on a daily basis, but there's no doubt that the creative process is stressful. If you add in working with a loved one, then you may have additional struggles on top of what's already to be expected. Thankfully, Klasky and Csupo didn't have any prominent issues throughout their runs on both shows, even with a divorce prior to the premiere of All Grown Up!.
The duo were married for several years and then divorced back in 1995, but remained steady business partners throughout it all. As far as anyone knows, there weren't any major issues between the two during the show's development at any point. In fact, the two have mentioned the possibility of working together again on a new project in the future. They can serve as an example of ex's that CAN get along.
12 Merchandise Flew
There's no denying that All Grown Up! wasn't the smashing success Nickelodeon likely expected. In their eyes, they saw the rejuvenation of a popular (but old) brand that could then be a massive hit for a new generation. Did it work? Not as well as Nick would've liked, but it certainly wasn't a failure, especially on the merchandise side.
Suddenly these older characters could fit in with older children and viewers, allowing the possibility of pre-teens repping these older Rugrats to increase. Since the brand was no longer tied to just babies, but pre-teens instead, fellow pre-teens could wear the brand without seeming very out-of-place. Plenty of merch was made with the reboot and it reached a satisfactory level of sales overall that didn't outsell its predecessor, but gave Nick a reason to be happy for an otherwise disappointing total outcome.
11 Animators Criticized "Pretty" Fan Art
Fan art is a standard of all passionate fan groups who wish to create something in honor of their favorite things. It's also not surprising to see animators show passion for their particular art style. Both of these facts are what led to this out-of-nowhere exchange between an artist of a visualized interpretation of the Rugrats crew as teens and one of the show's artists.
The artist, Eric Molinsky, called the drawings wrong because they idealized the characters and made them "too pretty." He then provided his own interpretation of what the characters would look like, making them "lumpier" and, in a sense, more loyal to the source material. Fans fired back for saying that their art was wrong and cited that it's simply their own interpretation/project and not something they were hired to do. It shows how art can bring out people's passionate side.
10 Art Style Changed Dramatically in Season 2
Although Rugrats' original art style was both a stylistic choice and a product of the times, it was an iconic part of the show. That film grain-heavy look mixed with the more cartoony-proportions was part of what made the show what it is. This style was maintained during the first season of AGU, but as soon as the second season came along, there was a prominent switch to a more high-definition look.
It wasn't explained at first, so it seemed to be an attempt to remove that classic look away under the radar. However, it was likely an attempt to differentiate the two shows (Rugrats and AGU) in a simple way, even if it likely steered fans even further in the opposing direction. The change didn't really help too much as it made many think about how far this spinoff strayed from its origins.
9 It Wasn't the Only Rugrats Spinoff
Starting with the original Rugrats, Nickelodeon immediately recognized how much potential there was for spinoffs and other possible shows. While many ideas came up, executives recognized that the characters needed to remain infants. Following this ideology, the spinoff Rugrats: Pre-School Daze went into production.
Focused on Angelica and Susie in pre-school, there was a pilot episode that actually aired, but was eventually cancelled and didn't move forward. That wasn't the only spinoff either, as Susie and her family almost got their own show. That one never saw the light of day unfortunately, and Susie remained a side character. Surprisingly, there weren’t any notable attempts at spinoffs outside of that. That being said, they did find space for that Wild Thornberries special, so maybe the show’s range for spinoffs is wider than people think.
8 Teasers For The Show Were Misleading
There are few things that anger audiences more than false advertising. It's a combination of shady business practices, lying, and misdirection all sandwiched together just to bring in more viewers. Most of the time, it's big Hollywood movies that suffer from this as they try to reach as wide an audience as possible. Yet, even All Grown Up! suffered from serious misrepresentation in its television spots.
Tommy and Dil fighting, Tommy filming Chuckie for some reason, Angelica running for class president and more were shown off in assorted spots, but never materialized in aired episodes. It was so peculiar because the show had been into production long beforehand, so they knew what that first season looked like. It was an odd decision to include these seemingly-scrapped plot points when they know they wouldn’t be included.
7 Angelica and Susie Completely Disappear
This one may just be a writing mistake (or signs of turmoil among the creative team during AGU's final season), but it's an odd fact nonetheless. During the show's final three episodes both Angelica and Susie are entirely absent. There's no mention of them, as they just cease to be in the eyes of each character.
It took a whole lot of time and effort before the concluding episodes were released by Nick, so there were obvious behind-the-scenes issue being dealt with. Scripts being moved around, an impending series finale, and the network needed to find a way to finish out the series. This is the form it finally took, which ultimately finished out the series episode-wise, but left many loose ends unattended, Angelica and Susie being the primary examples of that.
6 Dil had the Ability to Talk to Ghosts and Aliens (Supposedly)
Dil has always been an odd one. Ever since his introduction, he's always been different from the other babies in the group. This outsider status was maintained when the kids grew up too as he remained pretty "different" from the gang. However, following the show's revelation that he can talk to non-humans (and does so regularly), things began to make sense.
All Grown Up! was definitely more grounded than Rugrats, but Dil found a way to bring back some of the original show's weird other-worldly elements. At multiple points, he's believed to have talked to ghosts, aliens, and even animals (with his translation of what they said provided). Considering the show had a plotline involving Grandpa Pickles working in Area 51 and their family having a previous connection with aliens, it may not be too far-fetched.
5 Why Did Angelica Become Nicer?
There are always difficulties when reliving past traumas. In addition, there is no one correct way to deal with those bad memories brought on from that trauma. In Paul Germain's (co-creator of Rugrats) case, he knew a very mean girl in his youth and turned her into a character in a show of his. That character became the infamous Angelica, the world-class bully.
And she was not a popular character behind-the-scenes. Klasky wasn't too fond of Angelica and her voice actress Cheryl Chase didn't relish playing such a hateful personality. Angelica continued to be this way (with some signs of humanity every so often), but once AGU! rolled around, her persona became much more likable. It seems that both Klasky and Chase took the "new start" opportunity to form the character into someone they both could enjoy.
4 Most Returned To Voice Their Characters
A big struggle that can arise from making spinoffs or establishing new characters in a major series is finding people who can help retain the series' magic. All Grown Up! was going to stick with the same personalities fans knew, but were they able to retain all the talent from the original show? For the most part, yes. All but one cast member from the main series returned to voice their respective babies. The one person that sat out this reunion? Chuckie Finster herself, Christine Cavanaugh.
As previously mentioned, Cavanaugh actually left before Rugrats ended and retired from voice acting, and she made no return with the reboot. While certain animated shows get lucky when it comes to retaining their full cast (EX: Teen Titans and Teen Titans Go!), it seems Cavanaugh made no exceptions to her retirement. It's unfortunate that she couldn't join, but Nancy Cartwright filled the role admirably.
3 There's a Video Game
There is a constant with all things pop culture: if it's relevant at any point, there's a video game adaptation of it. All Grown Up! was no exception to this as it too had its own video game. It was called All Grown Up! Express Yourself! and it was just as good as you'd expect it to be. It was your standard fare 2D-side-scrolling game where you play as Angelica (and only her) and go around talking to people. Yes, it's as monotonous as it sounds and wasn't quite the product that would win over fans who weren't convinced by the show.
Man shows get game adaptations (most of them bad), so just how likely was it All Grown Up would buck this trend? Not even remotely. That being said, considering those that were either looking for alternative (and new) quality Rugrats-related media, they probably ended up disappointed.
2 Klasky is Open to Making More...
In an interview back in 2012, co-creator Arlene Klasky mentioned that she'd love to make a tenth season of Rugrats if the opportunity's there. She made sure to emphasize her interest in developing more of the original series, not AGU!, which make sense. She (along with Csupo) never got the opportunity to finish the original series the way they wanted to, so another season would give them that chance.
Her and Csupo have been largely absent from the industry since the conclusion of As Told By Ginger (their last project) back in 2009, so they're undoubtedly available should Nick need their services. Much of their careers has centered around Rugrats and they love the series, so the passion is there. It just depends on what the studio execs want to do. Unfortunately, they seem more interested in something that's both familiar, but different...
1 Nickelodeon Wants Another Reboot
Yes. If there's anyway Rugrats will be brought back to Nick, it's in the form of a reboot. At least that's what seems to be the popular mentality over at Nickelodeon as they seem willing to bring back older properties, but not in the form of continuations. They like want to do something similar to what All Grown Up! was meant to be: a fresh start that takes a known license and does something (relatively) new with it.
Could it work? Recent reboots like the new Ducktales show indicate that it is possible to bring back an established series and breathe new life into it. However, Nick likely won’t do a thing without a quality showrunner to develop it. Until then, fans are stuck with reruns. It's unfortunate, but with many years of quality Rugrats content to revisit, it’s not too bad for series fans.
Which of these surprised you most? Let us know in the comments!
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