Nostalgia Rewind: Rocko's Modern Life
Updated: Nov 24
Rocko's Modern Life ran from 1993-1996, and now in 2019, we are getting an all-new Netflix movie, Rocko's Modern Life: Static Cling. There's no better time to brush up on your O-Town knowledge before checking out the new film, so gaze into Really Really Big Man's Nipples of the Past as we review this classic show about everyone's favorite wallaby.
Rocko: While Rocko appears polite and modest most of the time, this marsupial has quite a bit of pent-up anger that comes out every so often. He constantly has money issues, struggles to maintain the cleanliness of his home, and is a bit self-conscious. It's always the quiet ones you have to worry about.
Heffer Wolfe: Before Patrick Star, there was Heffer, eating to his heart's content and bringing down the overall IQ of whatever room he is in. Even though he is sometimes a neglectful friend, Heffer is always there for Rocko when he needs him the most.
Spunky: Can a dog still be cute when it eats grotesque and unspeakable items on the reg? Spunky pushes that limit, but although he might be brainless, he is a sweet and loyal friend to Rocko.
Beverly Bighead: Rocko's neighbor who doesn't ask for much, just a little attention every once in a while. Although she has a rough exterior and can be intimidating with her raspy voice, Bev really cares about her neighbor Rocko...maybe a bit too much.
Ed Bighead: The other half of the Bigheads pays more attention to his salmon bushes than to his lovely wife Beverly. Unlike Bev, Ed has both a rough exterior and a rough interior. Mr. Bighead works at Conglom-O, which is basically Amazon before there was Amazon.
Filburt: One of Rocko's closest friends. Filburt is a comic book fanatic, constantly nauseous, and taught us to "turn the page, wash your hands. Turn the page, wash your hands. And then you turn the page. And then you wash your hands."
What Do You Remember?
Rocko's Modern Life has always stuck out for being a cartoon that utilizes more vulgar creative choices akin to Ren and Stimpy. It is one of the shows that made you feel cooler if you got away with watching it as a kid and your parents didn't banish it from the house. Even if some of the adult content went over your head as a kid, you still remember Rocko trying to keep Heffer and Spunky from eating everything in sight (whether at Rocko's home or at Chokey Chicken), dealing with the romantic chemistry between him and Beverly, and struggling to sell the latest Really Really Big Man comics at his job.
Ignore that a lot of what you see involves butts, vomit, and blood. It's a beautiful show, especially for back in 1993 with memorable and instantly recognizable characters and locations. You can clearly see the influence Rocko had on later cartoons. I say bring on the butts. Embrace the butts.
There are a couple versions of the theme song out there. While it's cool that the later rendition was performed by the B-52's, trust us that this original version is the best Rocko's Modern Life theme song. You get the hint of Australian outback feel in the very beginning, hinting at Rocko's origins, and everything after just flows much better in the original song. Another instant classic.
The nostalgia factor isn't quite the same with this show since you can see it so differently from an adult's perspective. Of course, we have fond memories of the time we spent with these characters and we have our favorite gross bits we remember that made us feel like badass little kids. It isn't a knock on the show, in fact, it can be quite a good thing to find new reasons to love a show as opposed to simply having rose-colored glasses for it and only remembering how it made you feel in your youth.
Some of the creative minds and voices in Rocko's Modern Life went on to work on a show called SpongeBob SquarePants and the similarities are evident. Both the number of adult jokes and the content of those adult jokes sprinkled in the show are alarming. It's almost like seeing a completely new show when you watch it as an adult and catch on to more of the mature themes. The crude, gross humor can be disturbing and isn't for everyone, but I think we can all appreciate the writers being able to sneak a sex hotline and "Spank the Monkey" into a kids show.
The surface-level foulness was what first came to mind when I went into my rewatch of Rocko's Modern Life, but I was pleasantly surprised with how much more there was to discover. As I got older I heard about about some of the innuendos, but going though the entire show from the start was a joy to uncover just how many there really are. The show is well worth revisiting to see how much these bold folks got away with.