The original Rugrats had a great deal of heart and humor in the ways the babies interpreted various aspects of life. The All Grown Up spin-off in 2003 involving making them into pre-teens has received a great deal of negativity from fans of the show. While it isn’t a perfect spin-off by any means there are still some good aspects about it.
The show uses the same animation style as the original and in some ways upgrades it on the character designs and it is admirable that the show got all the old voice actors back. Both these factors give the show a sense of authenticity and can allow fans to associate it with Rugrats. But of course these factors alone do not define a show. The aspects that really make any show are the stories and the characters involved in it. And this is where the show is rather a mixed bag.
The scenarios of the episodes in the original show had a nice sense of wonder and adventure through the imagination of the baby protagonists. Here the episodes don’t have that same sense. The scenarios here seem to be a tad more dramatic with not much of the goofiness or exaggeration and it feels slower. On top of that they don’t really connect to the audience the same way the original episodes did. This isn’t to say that the premise of any of the episodes is atrocious. The episodes have a good variety. It’s just that none of them are particularly memorable. Some episodes do however contain some throwbacks to classic parts of the original like Reptar and Cynthia and it doesn’t feel forced. The plot legitimately finds ways to tie them in.
When it comes to the characters this is kind of where the show has a little bit more flair. In the original show Dil was one of the more questionable additions and he wore on a good chunk of fans fast. He was only a baby and compared to the other babies on the show didn’t have much of a personality. Here however he’s a whole lot more eccentric. He can be awkward but the awkwardness is done in all the right ways. Angelica is a tad more likable here. She’s not nearly as mean as she was in the original show and has a sense of compassion in certain situations. At the same time the show still showcases her mean-spirited and prideful nature so that she doesn’t become a completely unrecognizable person. Phil and Lil still are joined together a lot although there are some episodes where Lil tries to become her own person but it works in strengthening the bond the siblings have. As for the rest of the characters Tommy, Chuckie, Kimi, and Susie much like the scenarios, they’re by no means bad but they’re just not the most memorable. They have their moments but those moments are mostly…moments. As for the adults are still around and do remain more or less the same. Sometimes however they’re mostly just cameos.
On the whole this isn’t a horrible spin-off in any way like many make it out to be. It just leaves something to be desired and showed promise in some areas. You can tell the show was trying to an extent and it didn’t feel like the show was trying to pander. On the whole it’s an interesting watch for any Rugrats fan. What you make of it is completely up to you. And at least you couldn’t get downgraded any worse than this.
Oh right…I stand corrected