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It's amazing how many personal memories will fade into my mental ethers despite all attempts to keep them in mind, and yet it takes slightly less than a nano-second to recall the entirety of the Rugrats theme song. And so you can imagine how excited I was to find out from the optimism-inspiring co-creator Arlene Klasky at Comic-Con that Rugrats coming back to Nickelodeon is a distinct possibility. But how would that toddler-driven series be approached for modern audiences? Here's what she told me during our interview.
Here's what I think, because I hear from the fans. I think they're so nostalgic that they want to see the old stuff, but I feel like as creative people, it's like we can give them that, too. But I think we can change it up somewhat. Because life has changed. Technology has changed. And the life of the kids that watch it now, that are young, is so different than the kids that were watching it ten, twenty years ago. I think you can do some new stuff, but I think that they want to see the nostalgia also. I think it'll marry. It'll find its level and I think people will be happy. Very happy.
It seems like it would be an obvious assumption that a new version of Rugrats would look and act like a new version of Rugrats, but you really never know sometimes. After all, we'll soon be getting a brand new Hey Arnold! TV movie, and creator Craig Bartlett has said they'll be keeping things basically the same in telling its continuation story. It's not hard to imagine (or even hope) the show would stick to its 1990s timeframe, considering that's precisely when Klasky and co-creator (and then-husband) Gabe Csupo were up on current parenting tricks - which Klasky called "psychobabble" - and what kids get into these days. (She envisioned children coding, which would make for an interesting take on the franchise.)
Indeed, the youths of today come into life surrounded by technology, and while a Rugrats revival wouldn't have to incorporate every single Leap Frog cartridge or iPad app, it would be a little silly and dishonest to introduce a toddling post-millennial Tommy Pickles that doesn't try to mess with smartphones or a Roomba. And you just know Stu Pickles would have an amazing living room set-up that the kids would no doubt come very close to breaking on a weekly basis. And nobody let Angelica anywhere near Amazon.
At one point, Klasky succinctly explained why a Rugrats revival would make perfect sense from a creative standpoint.
Seriously, all you have to do is put them in the present and there's so much more material to work with.
Regardless of whether or not the show comments on up-to-date sports championships or the current state of reality TV, I'm pretty sure Arlene Klasky still knows how to tell stories that can be boiled down to the same heartwarming and dysfunctional fun that many of us grew up with. All mixed in with the unbounded imagination of childhood and the neuroses of the parents raising those imaginative tots. Nickelodeon has always been great about putting its audience at the forefront of its decision-making, with The Splat being a prime example, and few Nicktoons have been more popular than Rugrats. So whatever it ends up looking like, bring it on!