Just had this pop up on the front page of my Netflix home, and I just finished watching it. It’s a new, apparently hand-drawn 45-minute special, featuring the original creative team and voice actors, and it’s currently got a 100% critic rating on Rotten Tomatoes. I honestly haven’t really thought about this show since the '90s, and I didn’t even know this was in the works, so I was pretty surprised to see it pop up and to discover how much I remembered about it.
It’s honestly a pretty good bit of metafiction, with Rocko and pals returning to O-Town after being stranded in space for 20 years and struggling to deal with how the world has changed. The main plot revolves around Rocko and Mr. Bighead trying to produce a reboot of The Fatheads, with Conglom-O mismanaging it in the name of money-making and it faltering without the influence of its creator, Mr. Bighead’s son Ralph.
…who has now transitioned and become Rachel, the conflict between her and her father becoming another example of having to deal with how times may not change at a pace one is ready to accept.
The gross-out slapstick that was a signature of '90s NickToons is still there, and overall it does a good job of updating the show’s cynical grunge-era satire to the modern day, with a major focus on how people can be both nostalgic for the things they liked as kids and want more of it, yet simultaneously be angry that the new version doesn’t match the ideal that’s been fermenting in their head over the decades. It’s rated Y-7, and I didn’t see any jokes or bits in it that were any less appropriate for kids than the double entendres that featured in the original series, and it honestly has a message that I think could resonate both with fans of the original show and their kids.
Tomorrow night (8/16), in fact. I am not quite sure how Netflix got involved in all of this; the first “revival” (Hey Arnold!: The Jungle Movie) aired on Nickelodeon, but then again, it’s probably the most “kid-friendly” of the three. (Zim actually got to the point where new episodes were cut in half so they could be aired at 9:45 on Friday nights.)