Rugrats Grown Up

One of the most revered cartoons for children of the ’90s is Rugrats. The Nickelodeon animated series followed the antics of a group of babies who could talk to each other when their parents weren’t around, and they constantly got into mischief and adventures. The show has quite the fair share of adult fans who have taken to introducing the series to their own kids now. But one storyboard artist from the show has a bit of a gripe about how some fans are taking liberties with the beloved characters, and has spoken up with some special artwork in tow.

Over at Studio360.org (via Vulture), storyboard artist Eric Molinsky called attention to the trend among millennial artists taking beloved characters from shows like Rugrats, Hey Arnold!, Doug, Rocket Power and drawing their own interpretation of what they would look like grown up. However, his gripe is that these artists are abandoning the animation style that made these characters so unique and turning them into hipster fashion models. Here are some of the examples he cites with regards to Rugrats:

Molinsky explains why these kind of illustrations rub him the wrong way:

It really bugs me — not the quality of the artwork, but the interpretation. We referred to them as lumpy babies for a reason. If we ever drew the Rugrats as being too cute, our executive producer would scold us… When I worked on ‘All Growed Up,’ a made-for-TV movie where the Rugrats imagined themselves in junior high, I tried to keep the awkwardness in tact.

And so the artist decided to deliver the definitive artwork of the Rugrats grown up:

He points out, “The Rugrats did not all grow up to be fashion models or self-confident hipsters. Especially not Chuckie. They probably grew up to be average if not slightly lumpy looking people — just like their parents.” And you can absolutely see Tommy’s father Stu in this rendering of the character, while Chuckie has grown up to look a little different. Meanwhile, Angelica has become just like her mother.

Some people think Molsinky was being a bit of a jerk with his calling out of these artists, but he followed up with an apology:

I want to apologize to fans and artists who found my tone arrogant or dismissive. As I have re-read this post and the comments, I see how I could have come off that way, and I’m sorry. I chose the works that I featured because I thought the artists who drew them were talented, and their work was so well-drawn that I wanted to advocate for the un-glamorous style of the original Klasky-Csupo animation. But I don’t speak for the studio or the creators. I was simply an employee and now a fan myself.

Honestly, I think he’s right on the money with his critiques of these imaginings of Rugrats, but like he said, that doesn’t mean those illustrations don’t show talent. There’s plenty of room for a variety of interpretations of animated characters, but Molinsky’s versions are undoubtedly the definitive “growed up” versions of the Rugrats.

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