Rugrats - Origins

Origins

Rugrats was formed by the then husband-and-wife duo of Gabor Csupo and Arlene Klasky, along with Paul Germain in 1989. Klasky-Csupo had a major animation firm at the time which also provided services for commercials and music videos. Klasky, Csupo, and Germain were also animating The Simpsons at the time, which they would continue to do until 1992. The trio decided to create their own series in reaction to a proclamation by the children's cable network Nickelodeon that they were to launch their own line of animated shows, which would be later called Nicktoons. With the comedic stimulation branching from the antics of Klasky and Csupo's infant children, the 61⁄2–minute pilot episode, "Tommy Pickles & the Great White Thing" (never to be aired), went into production.

Peter Chung, along with Klasky and Csupo, co-designed the characters and directed the series pilot, "Tommy Pickles And The Great White Thing," as well as the opening sequence. The production was completed in 1990 and they submitted it to Nickelodeon, who tested it with an audience of children. The feedback for the pilot episode was primarily positive. With that, the series went into production. Chuckie and Angelica were added as characters.

Paul Germain felt that the series needed a bully. Angelica was based on a bully in Germain's childhood, who was a girl. In addition to that, it was Germain who decided that Angelica would be a spoiled brat. Arlene Klasky, one of the show's creators initially did not like Angelica Pickles. Klasky also protested Angelica's actions in episodes like "Barbecue Story" (where she threw Tommy's ball over the fence).

In a New Yorker article, Klasky said, "I think she's a bully. I never liked Angelica." Klasky never fully approved of her character development. Her bullying caused Arlene to disdain her. Angelica started to become a problem for the some of the Rugrats staff. In some instances, her voice, Cheryl Chase, had trouble portraying a mean Angelica. To help Chase out, Steve Viksen, one of the writers, would mention that Angelica was the series's J.R. Ewing.

After the episode "The Trial," Klasky complained that the Rugrats were starting to act too old for their age. Csupo often acted as a mediator in arguments between Klasky and the writers, with the writers often winning. Some of the offscreen tensions ultimately found their way into the scripts and, naturally, into the show. In 1993, shortly before Nick premiered the last of the original 65, production of new episodes ceased, and most of the Rugrats writing team left Klasky-Csupo. After the first run days were over, Nick had enough episodes to show every day, and did just that in 1994, scheduling the show in the early evening, when both kids and parents will be watching. After 3 years of repeats, the show went back into production. However, the tensions between Klasky-Csupo and their former writers still existed.

After The Rugrats Movie and seeing the "new" Angelica in the film, Klasky changed her tune: "I think she's great for the show; I love Angelica."

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