It’s the second time around for the Rugrats gang…
The Rugrats are back for the new generation! In ‘Second Time Around’, the first episode of the revival series, we see a lot of changes that differ from the original show which aired on Nickelodeon from 1991 to 2004.
While the CGI animation style takes some getting use to, the designs of the 2D characters from the original series translates really well in the new show. However, the only character that has a slightly different appearance is Grandpa Lou, Angelica and Tommy’s grandfather who now sports a braid at the back of his head.
Now, before you begin asking, “Where’s Dil and Kimi?”, they’re currently not in this series as it is going back to basics with the characters who appeared prior to 1999’s Rugrats Movie and 2000’s Rugrats In Paris. Whether they will be is yet to be seen.
Going over to the parents, there’s a small change.
Howard Deville, Betty’s husband, and Phil and Lil’s dad doesn’t exist in this series. It’s referenced by Betty that she had a girlfriend. An article by The A.V. Club confirms that Betty is in fact, gay. The symbol on Betty’s top in the new show is the Gemini star sign means a couple of things. The first is a nod to Phil and Lil as they’re twins and its also a nod to how gay she is.
During Second Time Around, Susie’s parents, Lucy and Randy play a far bigger role amongst the parents than they did in the original show. Also, Susie seems to be more naive rather than be the one who tells Angelica off all the time.
Aged Down And Other Changes (Part 1)
Also, according to the character pages on the Rugrats Fandom site, the characters are actually much younger than their original counterparts. This is referenced by Didi when she’s talking to grandpa about the kids. She says the six kids are all under three. One example of this is that Tommy is a year old in the original show. In the reboot, he’s not yet one. The parents were also aged down.
For example, the Rugrats Fandom site says that Stu, Tommy’s father was born in 1958. In the revival, he’s drastically aged down so he was born in 1988. This was likely done to fit with the age of parents today like it was for parents of kids born in the 80s and 90s.
One of the biggest changes is the use of technology. The characters have smart phones and there was a wide-screen television in the first scene from the series a while ago. There is also the use of a door camera at Grandpa’s front door that is broken.
Something that we were surprised at was that the house that Stu, Didi, and Tommy are living in is actually Grandpa’s. In the original series, it was their house and Lou lived with them on and off.
Susie is now a year younger than Angelica rather than the same age. She is 3 in the original and 2 in the reboot.
Other Changes (Part 2)
The relationship between Stu and Drew is also a bit different from the original. While Drew is still hard and critical towards his younger brother, they actually agree on things in the revival. They set their father up on a dating app much to his chagrin.
Also, Betty owns and runs a coffee shop which is a nod to Chas, Chuckie’s father’s coffee shop in the original sequel series, Rugrats All Grown Up.
The adults outside of Betty, Chas and Lou all wear wedding rings which wasn’t seen in the original show.
It’s unclear if Susie has siblings in the new series as her parents are seen to be much younger than their original counterparts.
Most of the parents have different careers to their original counterparts:
- Charlotte is a politician instead of a CEO at some company
- Randy writes comic books instead of writing for the television show ‘The Dummi Bears’
- Didi is an Online Businesswoman instead of being a schoolteacher and Child Psychologist
Grandpa also doesn’t constantly fall asleep like he does in the original show.
The Carmichaels are on the scene from the beginning in the reboot. However, in the original they came into the story during the Season 2 episode, ‘Meet the Carmichaels’.
Didi is seen to be overprotective of Tommy to the where Lou has to convince her to leave him so she can go to a concert.
Finally, Chas is seen to mirror Chuckie and personality in the revival.
Links To The Original Franchise
Tommy and Angelica’s ability to drive the Cynthia car Angelica owns is likely a nod to Tommy driving the Reptar Wagon which made its debut in the Rugrats movie.
As we mentioned earlier in the post, Betty owns and runs a coffee shop. This is a nod to Chas’ coffee shop in Rugrats All Grown Up which she worked at.
The ‘Second Time Around’ is a great episode that adds the perfect amount to nostalgia for old fans and but applies a new element to keep the story fresh. What we love the most about the episode (and premiere) is that it provides an almost equal amount of screen time for the babies and the adults. This is a massive improvement from the original which focused on the kids more than the adults who were simply recurring to the narrative.
We give ‘Second Time Around’ the following rating.