Why Rugrats Couldn't Talk About Chuckie's Mom In The Beginning

chuckie rugrats

Rugrats was on the air for a long time, but a lot of our favorite episodes come from the show's initial 65-episode run on the network. There was one plotline in particular that was eventually explored later on in Rugrats' run but was totally vetoed by the network early on. That plotline revolved around Chuckie's mom and where exactly she was. According to co-creator Paul Germain, there were really only two options: death and divorce. And neither of them were options the network wanted to touch with a 10-foot pole. Here's what he had to say in a recent interview:

We talked to Arlene [Klasky, co-creator], we talked to Nickelodeon, and we said, 'Let's do that she's divorced.' And they said, 'No, no, we don't want to touch divorce. That's too heavy a subject, we don't want to go there.' So we said, 'Okay... so... you know... that means... Chuckie's mom... is dead?' And they go, 'No! No! No! We definitely don't want to talk about that, that's scary! Children don't want to see that.' So if we can't say that she's divorced, and we can't say that she's dead, we can't talk about her. If you watch the first 65 half-hours of Rugrats, they never mention Chuckie's mom --- or if they do, it's a tease.

If you can remember back to your years of watching Rugrats (which, thanks to DVD sets, may not be so long ago), you may remember that we never really knew what the deal was with Chuckie's mom early on in the show's run. Germain told EW that this was basically Nickelodeon's doing, as they didn't really want the kids viewing to have to tackle any sort of tough material. I personally feel that if Bambi could do it, Nickelodeon could do it, which is why the network may have changed its mind later on, choosing to state that Chuckie's mom had died.

However, fans had to wait for a later version of the series before the show would ultimately decide to go down that path, showing us Melinda Finster, who was voiced by Kim Cattrall and shown in flashbacks. After Rugrats' initial run, the animated series grew more popular in reruns and was rebooted with the same characters but a different staff. That's when we met Tommy's little brother Dil in The Rugrats Movie, got even more additional episodes filled with backstories and even got the All Grown Up! project. I'm not going to say all of those were great ideas.

Still, in Paul Germain's heyday, we didn't know what the heck was going on with Chuckie's mom, and the best the show could do was allude to her:

We mention that she exists but we don't tell you what happened to her. We even made a joke out of it in one episode. But we weren't allowed to go into the subject.

Despite the fact that Rugrats went through many staffing changes over time, fans still stuck with the crew of amusing youngsters. The series is still so well-liked today that the creative team has talked about bringing the animated series back and that reality might not be so far off thanks to Splat. For now, you can check out what is coming to TV this fall with our premiere schedule.

Jessica Rawden
Managing Editor

Reality TV fan with a pinch of Disney fairy dust thrown in. Theme park junkie. If you’ve created a rom-com I’ve probably watched it.