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Things Only Adults Notice In Rugrats

As one of the leading sources for original children's programming, Nickelodeon has delivered tons of unique shows over the years. From high-rated sitcoms like "iCarly" to some of the best '90s cartoons (despite not aging well), Nickelodeon is famous for having some of the most popular children's shows of the last few decades.

One of the most-loved series to come from the studio is the animated show "Rugrats," which follows a group of resourceful toddlers named Tommy Pickles (voiced by E. G. Daily), Chuckie Finster (Christine Cavanaugh, later Nancy Cartwright), twins Phil and Lil DeVille (both voiced by Kath Soucie), Angelica Pickles (Cheryl Chase), and Susie Carmichael (Cree Summer). In later seasons, Tommy's baby brother Dil (Tara Strong) is born, and Chuckie's step-sister Kimi (Dionne Quan) also joins the gang. "Rugrats" features the babies going on everyday adventures that look a lot more exciting from their perspective, such as trips to the park and exploring under the bed.

Like many kid's shows, "Rugrats" had plenty of moments that were only meant for adults to notice. Let's take a look at some of the instances that stand out a little more once you see them with older eyes.

The Rugrats parents weren't attentitive

One of the main aspects of "Rugrats" that adults are sure to notice is the lack of supervision for the babies. Almost every episode features the crew escaping from their play-pen with the help of Tommy's trusty screwdriver, and the parents usually don't even notice they're missing. This is partly because the kiddos are normally left under Grandpa Lou's (Michael Bell) care, and he was known to fall into a deep sleep while on babysitting duty.

However, Grandpa Lou isn't the only one to blame. Many of the kid's parents have less-than-perfect parenting skills, and while we're not here to parent-shame, some of their habits are concerning. For instance, Angelica's mother, Charlotte (Tress MacNeille), tends to neglect her daughter in favor of work while Chuckie's dad Chas (Michael Bell), passed his anxious and whiny personality traits to his son. Additionally, Tommy and Dil's dad, Stu (Jack Riley), is well-meaning but often absent-minded.

While letting your kids hang out in a play-pen isn't inherently bad, it becomes a more serious issue when they learn how to escape it undetected, spend entire days roaming around the neighborhood, and even end up in strangers' homes.

Rugrats had some adult jokes

It's not uncommon to find an adult joke thrown into a children's show from time to time. Spending all day watching cartoons could get boring after a while, so it's not too surprising that the writers would throw in a couple of jokes to keep parents entertained too. Thankfully, adult jokes are difficult for kids to catch and typically go unnoticed.

"Rugrats" has plenty of adult jokes sprinkled throughout, from quick visual gags to more in-your-face references. In one episode, Grandpa Lou shows the kids some movies he's rented for them to watch during the day and also shows them a certain "mature" film that he got, especially for himself. If the cheeky eyebrow-raising wasn't enough to get the message across, Grandpa Lou also says the name of the film — "Lonely Space Vixens" — before chuckling that he got it to enjoy after the kids go to sleep.

If you're like us, you may be surprised that "Rugrats" has so many adult jokes, but it certainly makes for an entertaining watch for grown-ups.

Rugrats had some very creepy episodes

A particularly distinct quality of "Rugrats" is its animation style, which sometimes made for some creepy-looking moments. Peter Chung, who helped design the show's characters, revealed that the show creators Gábor Csupó and Arlene Klasky intended for the animation to look different. "I would get details coming from Gábor that were different from the details coming from Arlene," Chung said (per Decider). "The notes I got from Arlene were largely about trying to not make it too scary. Gábor's notes very often used the word 'strange.' He wanted the babies to be 'strange' instead of 'cute.'"

The strangeness of the design definitely came through, as "Rugrats" is arguably responsible for some of the creepiest moments in the history of animated children's shows. Is that dramatic? Perhaps — but if you take a look at episodes like "Angelica's Worst Nightmare" that features Angelica's nightmarish, imagined version of her hypothetical baby brother, who grows size as he chases her down and attempts to eat her, then you'll see what we mean.

The Devo connection on Rugrats

"Rugrats" is iconic for many reasons — one of which is the theme song that '90s kids are sure to recognize after only a few notes. It turns out that the tune's composer is Mark Mothersbaugh — a musician known for his time in the popular '70s new wave band Devo that dropped hits like "Whip It." Mothersbaugh was also integral to the show in another way: He served as inspiration for one of the main characters.

In an interview with Vulture, Mothersbaugh talked about how he got involved with "Rugrats" and revealed that he believes he inspired Chuckie's look. As Mothersbaugh explained, "We both had thick glasses. We're both near-sided. And [I had] pretty wild hair back then. I didn't have kids yet, so it still had color in it."

If you look at an earlier photo of Mothersbaugh, you can see the resemblance between him and Chuckie, which adds another fun touch for adults.

Rugrats was full of easter eggs

Aside from the Devo connection, "Rugrats" has all sorts of Easter eggs for adults to discover on a re-watch. One of the most prominent pop culture references within "Rugrats" is Reptar, the green dinosaur character that the babies love watching on TV. The kids have Reptar merch, they visit his theme park in the "Rugrats in Paris" movie, and eat Reptar-themed snacks. Of course, Reptar is very similar to another pop-culture icon: Godzilla. In fact, the production company behind Godzilla reportedly sued "Rugrats" for the Reptar character, which is said to have led to him being featured less often in the show (per ScreenRant).

If you look closely while watching "Rugrats," you're sure to find tons of blink-and-you'll-miss-it Easter eggs. From playing blocks that spell out "RUGRATZ," to quick glimpses of children's toys that look a lot like Daleks from "Doctor Who," and even cartoon depictions of the show's real animators (via Fandom), there are tons of fun hidden details waiting to be found.