This Rocko’s Modern Life: Static Cling evaluation endeavors to keep away from spoilers, however does broadly contact upon main themes of the film.
Initially premiering on Nickelodeon not lengthy after the community’s The Ren & Stimpy Present started to noticeably decline in high quality, Rocko’s Modern Life was one other present starring anthropomorphic animals and full of gross-out sight gags and sly grownup humor. It was initially robust to shake the sensation that Nick had cynically picked up a lesser Ren & Stimpy—a rip-off to satiate followers of that kind of factor.
Nevertheless, Rocko progressively demonstrated it was doing one thing fairly totally different. The place Ren & Stimpy appeared to be foremost about disturbing and grossing viewers out (not that there’s something improper with that), these facets of Rocko’s Modern Life have been simply seasoning for pointed satire about, properly, trendy life. It additionally developed its personal distinctive model of strangeness. For instance, the overall bizarreness of the season 2 episode, “She’s the Toad,” which ends with Mrs. Bighead taking all the Conglom-O constructing on trip by driving it away like a automotive, has caught with me to at the present time.
The reboot film, Rocko’s Modern Life: Static Cling, is now premiering on Netflix a flabbergasting 23 years after the tip of the present’s authentic Nickelodeon run and, much more flabbergasting, it nails the appear and feel of the unique collection completely. The issue with rebooting one thing from an period with totally different manufacturing strategies and expertise is that it’s sure to return out simply totally different sufficient to really feel off to followers of the unique work. Nevertheless, if it weren’t for the widescreen facet ratio, in the event you put Static Cling alongside 1990s’ Rocko, it will move as a part of the identical manufacturing run.
It’s right here I ought to point out that I’m not a do-or-die Rocko fan. I watched a very good lot of it and nonetheless assume fondly of some episodes (“Wacky Delly” is likely one of the finest episodes of animated tv ever made) however I misplaced contact with the collection after some extent and by no means noticed it via to the finale. Hardcore followers might due to this fact discover inconsistencies to criticize that escaped my gaze however, so far as I can inform, that is pitch-perfect Rocko.
It’s not solely the animation; there’s additionally the sound design. The madcap music is simply as I bear in mind it and all of the returning voice actors are in high quality type. Identical to the previous present, minor character actions are accentuated with fart sounds and different assorted gross noises.
Additional, it’s the tone that—although at its core is about real-world matters just like the development of expertise, runaway capitalism, our current cultural obsession with nostalgia, and LGBTQ points—is cavalierly surreal and fourth-wall breaking every time it needs to be. It’s a assured type that enables Static Cling to have grounded, heartfelt character interactions one second and to fully throw its actuality out the window within the subsequent as its characters journey all over the world in seconds by the use of some chairs tied to a drone. It’s additionally how the film will get to be a nostalgic reboot that, at almost each flip, blatantly acknowledges that it’s a nostalgic reboot.
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Static Cling masterfully has its cake and eats it too. All of the previous goofy, gross-out humor and the sexual innuendos are in there and almost each body is full of callbacks and cameos from traditional aspect characters. However the story doesn’t wallow within the nostalgia, as a substitute confronting and subverting it by making it front-and-center within the plot. It mocks our mobile phone obsession, pooh-poohs computer-driven animation, and says the Apple Watch is for instruments. However it additionally condemns these set of their methods, in no unsure language insisting on the significance of embracing the right here and now.
Additionally, relating to these LGBTQ points, although I received’t go into spoiler specifics, they’re one a part of Static Cling’s principal theme and so they’re dealt with in a wise, swish, and surprisingly poignant approach. It’s not too stunning they’re in there. The unique collection did have an episode that sneaked in an allegorical story about Mr. Bighead’s closeted homosexuality (by making him a closeted clown). However, with this reboot being for a now-adult viewers, this subject material is bluntly addressed and the unambiguous strategy is refreshing and well-handled.
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Rocko’s Modern Life: Static Cling is a revival that, not less than to this informal fan’s eye, recaptures every little thing that made the unique collection what it was. On the identical time, it boldly addresses and explores its function as a relic revived in a really totally different period. Intelligent, polished, and alternatingly important and accepting of each the brand new and the previous, Static Cling is every little thing you could possibly hope for from a reboot.
Rocko’s Modern Life: Static Cling is out there now to stream on Netflix.
Joe Matar watches a variety of cartoons and a variety of sitcoms. He is obsessive about story construction so that is what all his evaluations are about. Joe additionally writes about video video games every now and then. He has an MA in English in the event you can imagine it. Learn extra of his work right here. Observe Joe on Twitter for extra enjoyable @joespirational!
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