10 underrated Nickelodeon characters who belong in the '90s NickToon movie
Attention, residents of Bluffington: Nickelodeon just announced a massive, Wreck-It Ralph-type supergroup movie featuring characters from its '90s cartoons, including Rugrats, The Angry Beavers, Aaahh! Real Monsters, Ren & Stimpy, and Rocko's Modern Life. It's not quite decided how many other shows will be included in the mix, but it looks like anything is possible. You may be reunited with CatDog, for all we know.
Weirder yet, part of the movie (currently entitled NickToons) will be live-action. Could this mean we'll be hanging out with Pete and Pete again? It's an overwhelming prospect.
To prepare ourselves for this journey, here are ten oft-forgotten Nickelodeon cartoon characters who deserve more of our attention.
1. Susie Carmichael, "Rugrats"Photo Credit:
Susie killed Angelica Pickles with kindness whenever she appeared onscreen, and that's only the beginning of her charms. She also possessed the magical ability to chat with the adults and the babies (like Angelica), and she managed to prove her points and state her case without erupting in a tantrum (unlike Angelica). She was kind of a saint, not to mention one of the few faces of color on Rugrats. And I love that her flawless, Cordon Bleu-educated mom was named Lucy Carmichael, a reference to Lucille Ball's character on The Lucy Show.
2. Powdered Toast Man, "Ren & Stimpy"Photo Credit:
Ren & Stimpy had all sorts of bizarre minor characters, but none was as jarring as Powdered Toast Man. He was a superhero whose puffed-up posture and ridiculous mugging made for slightly uncomfortable television. He also looks a lot like Amazing Race winner and Lance Bass ex Reichen Lehmkuhl. For added cheeky NickToon superheroism, please look up Really Really Big Man from Rocko's Modern Life.
3. Prudence, "Rugrats"Photo Credit:
Remember Prudence? I bet you don't. She only appeared on one episode, but she was such a terror that I've never forgotten her. She was a megalomaniacal bully who forced Tommy Pickles and all his baby friends to line up in the sand while she rocked perilously in a swing over their bodies. She's like the animated baby version of Kathy Bates in Misery. Eventually Prudence learned a lesson when the babies hurled a wad of gum in her hair, but I'll always cherish her dictatorial reign over the jungle gym.
4. Ed and 5. Bev Bighead, "Rocko's Modern Life"Photo Credit:
These creeps were too much. Ed was a hothead and Bev was his salacious frog wife, and I swear they were even more unnerving than the lives of Rocko, Filbert, and Heifer put together. People forget that Rocko's Modern Life was often a very straightforward commentary on contemporary urban woes (Remember the episode about the dangers of credit?), but Ed and Bev kept the proceedings traditionally weird.
6. Charlotte Pickles, "Rugrats"Photo Credit:
The interesting thing about Rugrats is because it's a story of cute, funny, baby psychodrama, it's pretty much timeless. There aren't many identifiers that signal it was made in the early '90s -- except, of course, Charlotte Pickles. Charlotte was Angelica's careerist mom, and everything about her screamed Clinton-era ambition: that chunky cell phone, the thrill of dominating a treadmill, and even her businesswear. I'd love to see how her take-no-prisoners boardroom grit would translate in 2016.
7. Nigel Thornberry, "The Wild Thornberrys"Photo Credit:
While Nigel was a main character on The Wild Thornberrys, we've never properly acknowledged that Tim Curry gave one of the best voice performances in Nick history as the harried, red-mustachioed anthropologist. He rocked a khaki suit well, but his sheer ebullience and zeal for nature made The Wild Thornberrys radder than the average cartoon.
8. Mr. Hyunh, "Hey Arnold!"Photo Credit:
I was always caught off-guard when a NickToon had the power to make me tear up. The brilliance of Hey Arnold! was how the show casually explored the lives of its minor characters, and Mr. Hyunh's story -- that of a slightly irritable Vietnamese country singer -- ended up being shockingly deep. In a Christmas special, Arnold reunited Mr. Hyunh with his daughter, who was separated from him during the fall of Saigon. Pretty amazing tangent for a show usually devoted to average kid woes.
9. Bebe Bluff's dad, "Doug"Photo Credit:
Was Beebe Bluff's rich, well-clothiered father an important figure on the show? No. Was he a snob? Yes-- and he certainly encouraged his daughter's snobbery. But that's not important. What is important is he's the only attractive adult in Bluffington history. Can you name another? I cannot. Even his voice was attractively jaunty!
10. Judy Funnie, "Doug"Photo Credit:
Judy was one of the most awesomely insufferable characters in Nickelodeon history. She was constantly embarrassed by her brother's benign life, and she spent the majority of her time wearing sunglasses, composing poems, and smirking. Judy was basically a beatnik version of Jennifer Grey's character in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," and I've love to see the Portlandia-type life she's living now.