A Clever Look at Our Own Society
There’s no doubt there was excitement surrounding Netflix’s Rocko’s Modern Life special, but we were not expecting what came. As nostalgia once again created hype around another 90s TV show, we all just wanted to see an old-school Nickelodeon’s beloved cartoon character in action again. In its short run time, Static Cling, pulls no punches and doesn’t shy away from the message it’s pushing … a message of change and acceptance.
The Boys are Back!
We knew going into it that Static Cling would be about Rocko & friends re-entering society in the year 2019. Rocko’s been in space for twenty years and he’s in for a few surprises when he finds his beloved O-Town has evolved — for better or for worse.
What we didn’t know was just how much the writers would point the finger at our culture — from the tired millennial jokes all the way down to how materialistic society has become. At the same time, did we expect any different from a cartoon that took joy in having wildly adult themes?
Rocko’s Modern Life: Static Cling is less of an irreverent animated comedy and more of an unapologetic social commentary. Rocko’s favorite TV show, The Fatheads, is no longer on the air and he won’t rest until it’s revived. Sound familiar? On top of that, O-Town is filled with coffee shops and its citizens are obsessed with having the latest version of the O-Phone. Filbert and Heffer are more than happy to accept this new way of life, but Rocko wants things back the way he remembers.
But believe it or not, this isn’t Rocko’s story. Rocko’s story takes a backseat to his longtime neighbors, Mr. and Mrs. Bighead. If you don’t recall the original series, Ed Bighead HATES Rocko. In the twenty years Rocko has been gone, Bighead has seen success, found happiness and has been thriving.
All of that immediately changes when Rocko suddenly reappears — and if we’re being honest, Rocko really does derail Bighead’s the moment he comes back. We can’t help but agree with Ed Bighead here.
No Spoilers …
We don’t want to give the entire movie away, but we have to commend creator Jim Murphy on how he expertly handled the surprise subject matter. There are sensitive topics in the movie that bring the cartoon to a screeching halt and present viewers with a certain familiar issue that’s incredibly real. However, it’s handled without judgement and with a refreshing sense of understanding.
Sometimes the best way to acknowledge someone’s differences is to not have the need to acknowledge them at all.
Everyone I know who watched Rocko’s Modern Life: Static Cling absolutely loved it. It was fun to see our favorite characters up to their old shenanigans while displaying a sense of innocence. It’s an obvious critique on today’s culture … a culture that ironically led to this ‘revival’ in the first place. It’s smart, funny and oh-so touching. You don’t want pass this one up.