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These are magical days indeed for anyone who grew up with Nickelodeon as a surrogate guardian, as the network is still in the early stages of bringing the biggest Nicktoons of yesteryear back to modern audiences, with the highly anticipated Hey Arnold! TV movie kicking it all off. (Well, I guess the launch of Splat was the real origin here.) The latest beloved franchise to get a welcomed resurrection is the oft-sidelined Rocko's Modern Life, easily the greatest cartoon about a talking wallaby in TV history.
To be clear, even if there were a bunch of other talking wallaby shows, Rocko's Modern Life would still win out, because it was an instant classic in all the right ways. And that timelessness is obviously regarded by more than just me, since Nickelodeon has given a greenlight to an hour-long animated Rocko's Modern Life TV special. It's not an entire season of new episodes, of course, but the "O" in our O-Town stands for "optimistic," because we're hoping the reaction to this new special will be enough to convince network execs that more Rocko is what the worlds needs in these troublesome times.
As the special is just being announced, there sadly aren't any big details to go along with it. It's confirmed that original creator Joe Murray will be back at the head of this project, along with executive producer duties. According to the press release, the special will put fans right back with the characters we all know and love, but there will also be some "surprising new takes on life in O-Town." And for those no doubt wondering what the balance will be like between the classic appeal and the modernization, here's what Murray had to say.
What I have found by bringing these characters back is that it's not so much about nostalgia, but a sense that they still feel relevant and fresh to me, and after twenty years, they can't wait to comment on modern life in the 21st century. They still have a lot to say.
And we want to hear them say things! It's been 20 years since Rocko's Modern Life stopped producing new episodes, so the last time we got to watch this show with new eyes, people made "Macarena" the biggest song of the year. (What an awful time to be alive, yeah?) We cannot wait to hear Carlos Alazraqui back as the constantly put-upon Rocko, or Tom Kenny as the naive and blissfully content Heffer, or Doug Lawrence as the perma-nauseous turtle Filburt. These guys were my friends! And who didn't want Spunky as their pet?
More news on the storyline and the casting process for the Rocko's Modern Life special will be released in the coming months as all the parts start to come together. There are so many characters that need to be revisited, an hour is going to feel extremely limited. Because we totally have to catch up with Bloaty the Tick and Squirmy the Ringworm, as well as the Bigheads, Melba Toast, the Ambulance Beavers, Dingo and all the rest.
Join me in singing one of the most underrated themes of the 1990s, will you?
Nickelodeon fans are no doubt already amped up for the upcoming TV movie centered on Legends of the Hidden Temple, which still sounds like too strange an idea to me. If that and Hey Arnold's movie do well, we can probably expect to see Rugrats coming back in some capacity, as well as others. (Aaahh!!! Real Monsters is a must.) Sadly, Doug probably won't ever join the revival group, even though its creator has stories ready, since the rights owners at Disney seem to have no interest in either revisiting or selling the rights back.
We don't have a solid idea yet of when we'll get to see the Rocko's Modern Life special on our TVs, but you can bet that Nickelodeon will make that knowledge widely available as soon as the decision is made. In the meantime, bow down to the all-powerful Conglom-O Corporation and check out everything that definitely will make it to the small screen this year with our fall TV schedule.