Rugrats: A Guide to Surviving Infancy

February 21, 2015 9:00 am

First and foremost, create a group of like-minded, yet fundamentally diverse individuals to share the experience of maturation.

Through sheer coincidence or by the mystical hands of fate, Tommy Pickles, Chuckie Finster, and fraternal twins Phil and Lil DeVille were thrust into a shared experience of growing up that came to define their individual personalities and future lives. The indissoluble, perennially constructed ideal of friendship and kinship that is associated with the Rugrats gang stands as a lasting testament to the ideal of communally social infancy – in other words, the perfect example of how to survive the abstract isolation of infancy. Each of these babies possesses traits that both complement and challenge the predisposed antithetical nature of one another, thereby setting the foundation for well rounded and socially apt individuals of the world. For instance, the instinctive fear that consumes Chuckie is combated by the unrelenting bravery of Tommy. Meanwhile, the earnest nature of Chuckie collides with the carefree existence of Phil and Lil, with each party learning to amalgamate qualities of the other. While their differences are vital towards the maintenance of a dynamic and entertaining group, it is their shared desires, fears, and senses of humour that ensures that the experience of growing up is not only survivable, but also immeasurably enjoyable.

Elect a fearless leader that will guide you through the journey of life.

With a diaper full of dreams and a lion’s heart to match, it is no wonder that Tommy Pickles is the unquestioned leader of the Rugrats gang. Despite never being directly elected or chosen by his peers, it is evident from the very first episode that Tommy has the undivided support and confidence of his infant clan. Not only does he exert an undeniable presence that distinguishes him amongst the other babies, but he also has the innate ability to dictate with kindness and inspire others. Similar to his idol Nigel Thornberry, Tommy Pickles embodies all the traits one would identify with a strong charismatic leader: brave, loyal, kind yet firm and infinitely hopeful. Whether he’s encouraging others to partake in dangerous adventures or coaxing his best-friend Chuckie from the precipice of cowardice, Tommy always has a level head. He often delivers small, convincing speeches that legitimise any plan he has concocted, and although his childlike curiosity may lead his tribe into unknown pits of mischief and mayhem, Tommy always displays an outward persona of indestructibility and perseverance; “a baby’s gotta do what a baby’s gotta do!”

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Face a narcissistic older adversary to reinforce your own strength of character.


Angelica Pickles is your typical childhood terrorising villain – an egotistical three-year old only child who makes it her life’s mission to inspire fear and trepidation in the hearts of her victims; “you babies are so dumb, I can’t believe you lived to be one.” Cousin to Tommy, Angelica constantly devises plans and deceptions that lead the babies astray. Her ability to communicate with the adults of the series allows her to manipulate the babies and force them into becoming her slaves. While Angelica may possess the qualities of a beauty-queen dictator, her presence ensures that the babies are challenged on a consistent basis. The gang must work together to uncover the web of lies that Angelica has spun, overcoming fear and deception along the way. More important however, is what the babies learn by interacting with such an antagonistic figure – the lesson of cohabitation. Despite being aware of Angelica’s manipulative and selfish ways, the babies learn to tolerate her negative behaviour, realising (perhaps on a subconscious level) that she is a human being with the same fears and insecurities as anyone else – something that is evident when she poignantly confesses to wanting a sibling of her own.

 Broaden your horizons and dive into the cultural unknown.

The early outlook on the Rugrats series presented a lack of cultural diversity amongst major characters. As the series progressed however, characters from diverse cultural backgrounds were slowly integrated into the show, reflecting the hypothesis that being aware of cultural differences is a vital component in the maturation process. African American character Susie Carmichael was introduced in the second season as a rival to Angelica. Unlike the latter, Susie was characterised as a kind and helpful human being, often guiding the babies through Angelica’s deceptions. Japanese character Kimi was added to the show as stepsister to Chuckie to correct the imbalance of a broken family. The inclusion of Kimi into the Rugrats gang occurred in the foreign land of France, another example of cultural immersion experienced by the babies.


For good measure throw in a loyal and loving dog (Spike) to create the perfect conditions for surviving infancy.

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