“Rugrats” is back, 30 years after the classic animated kiddie series about Tommy, Chuckie, Angelica, Susie et al. launched on Nickelodeon.
A good part of the original voiceover cast, including EG Daily (Tommy) and Cheryl Chase (bossy Angelica) has returned for the revival, streaming on Paramount+ in CG animation, adding a 3D dimension to the series, which originally aired in standard 2D format.
“Rugrats” premiered in 1991 and aired through 2004 on Nickelodeon (172 episodes), spawning several spinoffs and three big-screen movies.
“The CGI boggled my mind,” said Daily, 59, who spoke to The Post along with Chase. “I was really astounded to see these characters become so full and well-rounded and tactile and yummy. You can almost taste it.”
Chase, 62, said she thought the series had a chance to return along with so many other reboots and revivals already airing or in the works.
“When they did announce [the revival] I was blown away,” she said. “It’s such an iconic show around the globe with audiences young and old embracing it. It’s going to be magical to see how fans who grew up with the show, and who are now parents, will introduce ‘Rugrats’ to their children.”
In addition to Tommy, Angelica, Chuckie and Susie, the new series brings back other original core characters, including twins Phil and Lil (Kath Soucie), Spike the dog, Tommy’s parents Stu and Didi Pickles and Betty Deville (Natalie Morales), Phil and Lil’s mother who has come out as gay.
“Betty has come out as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, which is a little more specific to today’s times,” Daily said. “The characters are still the characters, which is so awesome. What hasn’t changed is the basic, common, beautiful ideas of family, friendship, community, different cultures, religion and the demographics of the ‘Rugrats’ family. They took the best of everything from ‘Rugrats’ that everyone loves and brought it into today’s times.”
That includes social media; Grandpa Lou (Michael McKean) is a bit younger here, sporting a man-bun and using a dating app, while Didi is a blogger. “They made sure the adult characters would align with our millennials,” Daily said. “Our kids are going to be able to watch with their kids, so you want to make it relatable.”
New voices in the “Rugrats” universe include Tony Hale as Chuckie’s father, Chas; Ashley Rae Spillers and Tommy Dewey (Didi and Stu); Anna Chlumsky and Timothy Simons (Angelica’s parents Charlotte and Drew); and Nicole Byer and Omar Miller (Susie’s parents, Lucy and Randy).
Both Daily and Chase said they slipped back into their Tommy and Angelica personas without a hitch after the long layoff.
“Once you’re Tommy Pickles your Tommy Pickles,” Daily said. “I think that’s because he lives in my body and is such a big part of me and pops out all the time. I did a lot of listening and watching the old episodes because there are so many qualities to Tommy’s voice that I wanted to remember. I wanted to make sure I got all the little [vocal] nuances.
“I feel like he’s always there, right with me.”
“I jumped at the chance — no one was going to play Angelica but me,” Chase said. “You get so attached to these characters and they’re a part of you. It was just like riding a bike. Angelica is a little spitfire, a steam engine in pigtails. She’s this clever, very highly imaginative preschooler who has two sides to her: she’s really sweet to the adults but to the babies she’s bossy and manipulative and likes to cook up these crazy schemes that keeps the babies on their toes.
“She adds some spice to the story.”