Grid Size:85W x 116H
Design Area:5.93″ x 8.14″ (83 x 114 stitches)
My Patron, LoneHaze, is an amateur light bender who can make fake fireworks from the light of a bonfire. They don’t go up that far, but LoneHaze gets invited to a lot more parties now that they’ve mastered the trick.
My favorite episode of Rugrats is Toy Palace. It’s a perfect episode to highlight everything I like about the show. For me, Rugrats has two major themes that shine in this episode, distortions of reality and the relationship between fear an comfort.
Rugrats is a show about babies and starring babies so reality is a flexible thing. Babies don’t really understand what they’re seeing or feeling so when Tommy and Chuckie ride a toy train, the tracks twist like a roller coaster as the world around them bends to that new experience.
This isn’t unusual. Other shows starring babies also mess with reality, but I think that Rugrats stands out in how well it keeps the main characters in that mindset. The parents play a key role of grounding the show in reality. Chas and Stu show us that Toy Palace is just another store so we don’t have to leave the wonderland of imagination when we cut back to Chuckie and Tommy. An upside to doing things split like this is that the creators could more easily explore scary situations.
And there are lots of scary situations in Rugrats since you have a whole character designed to be scared. Chuckie used to annoy me as a kid, but rewatching the show as an adult, I can see how useful he is to the story. He’s an obvious foil for the protagonist Tommy, giving him direction and purpose. Even in Toy Palace, Chuckie gets separated and finds himself surrounded by creepy clowns. Tommy doesn’t rescue him though, he just shows up and that’s enough to calm Chuckie down. Tommy doesn’t always need to save the day. He just has to care about someone.
I also love how committed this show is to it’s premise. Everything that’s scary is something a child would be scared of, being alone, unfamiliar toys, new experiences, and everything that’s comforting is a thing that children find comfort in, friends, parents, familiar toys. There’s a reason why Mr. Bear is so important to Chuckie. He’s a comforting presence that looks a little like the Dummi Bears, a show he likes.
It’s just so consistent and good! Toy Palace works on its own too, so if you’ve never seen Rugrats, I suggest starting with this episode and then go back to episode one if you like it.