31 days of festive-ass flicks, day nine: rugrats holiday specials

Saturday’s (Yes I am still behind, WHAT OF IT?!) festive-ass flick was three Rugrats holiday specials. “A Rugrats Chanukah”, “A Rugrats Kwanzaa”, and “Babies in Toyland”. [CALENDAR.] I had seen Chanukah and Kwanzaa before, but “Babies in Toyland” was all new to me — produced for season nine, after the introduction of Tommy’s little brother Dil and Chuckie’s step-sister Kimi and well after I was regularly comsuming Nickelodean animation. (Chanukah is from season four and I remember it well, but weirdly, Kwanzaa was season eight but I had still seen it. It’s not like I don’t watch cartoons, I’m just usually better at remembering how/when I watched them.)

ANYWAY. Chanukah and Kwanzaa are both good, “Hey, let’s teach babies about a culture they don’t belong to thereby education our viewers simultaneously!” and I’m pretty sure everything I knew about Chanukah as a kid was because of this episode of Rugrats. And this is also probably true for Kwanzaa. I HAVE LEARNED A LOT MORE SINCE THEN. Just to clarify.

I also really wanted to be Jewish as a kid, like, REALLY BADLY and for no real discernible reason. I was raised essentially a-religious. I vaguely believed in god because other kids did, but my parents never told me to and I never got taken to church unless someone died. But JEWISH. That sounded COOL. I think I just wanted to be something/something different. We celebrated Christmas secularly (like we still do) and that got boring, I guess?

At 13 this crystallized into an even more specific desire to be ethnically Jewish and born/raised in Hawaii. As an adult, I realize that I just wanted to be Bette Midler? And that’s cool. (As an adult I also recognize my privilege/innocent idiocy in being able to say I desired Jewishness. But, you know, that’s what learning/growing is all about.)

As a kid I also thought that the houses with blue Christmas lights were the Jewish houses. But like, I also believed that the red blinking lights of the radio towers visible from my backyard were alien spaceships keeping an eye on me and that I could hide under a floral sheet if a natural disaster was coming and it wouldn’t be able to get to me. I wasn’t exactly a normal kid.

The Rugrats are adorable and these are good introductory/sweet/easy cultural lessons for eeeeeeveryone. Hooray for he Rugrats. They also taught me about Passover! So much learning.

“Babies in Toyland” was a different experience because I hadn’t seen it before [I actually wanted to watch the Christmas episode from the first season called “The Santa Experience” but Netflix only has episodes starting from season four. UNACCEPTABLE. But survivable.] and it didn’t have a lesson to teach me other than don’t be horrible and evil and appreciate the time you have with the people you love which are the most common Christmas special lessons. “Babies in Toyland” was real cute/sweet/funny and I would watch it again. THE BEST PART THOUGH BY FAR is when the back of Chuckie’s snowsuit gets torn open and Phil proclaims, “I didn’t know you had Reptar undies, Chuckie.” and Chuckie yells, “QUIT LOOKIN’ AT MY UNDIES, PHIL.” Because, I don’t know, I am twelve and it was CUTE. Watch it. It’s already cued to the right spot and everything.

The lesson in this episode is basically that Angelica is SUCH A TERRIBLE HUMAN BEING that she makes Santa QUIT. Ugh, she’s so awful! I think as a kid you recognize that you shouldn’t act like Angelica and then you get a little older and you realize that the babies should NEVER LISTEN TO HER and then you get to be an adult and it’s like, “Damn, if she was my child I would have a hard time not employing spanking as a disciplinary option.” Which is a serious-ass thought to have about a cartoon character.

Chuckie is still my favorite followed SO CLOSELY by Phil and Lil. Chuckie is me and I am okay with that. And if you aren’t on the Phil and Lil boat, you deserve to sink. DEAL WITH IT.