‘Rocko’s Modern Life: Static Cling’ Film Review

Grade: A-

Rocko's Modern Life: Static Cling (2019)

Nostalgia is a precious thing for so many people, and Nickelodeon seems to know it all too well. In recent years, the family-oriented TV studio has followed suit with all the other nostalgic cash-ins, and started rebooting their entertainment for those yearning over a simpler decade when VHS tapes were in and cartoons were entertaining; ‘All That’, ‘Hey Arnold’, and now ‘Rocko’s Modern Life’ in the form of a special called ‘Static Cling’. ‘Static Cling’ is an ode to the nostalgic memories we hold dear as well as a commentary on an ever-changing world we are trying to keep up with.

Twenty years ago, Rocko (Voice of Carlos Alazraqui), Heffer (Voice of Tom Kenny), and Filburt (Voice of Mr. Lawrence) went to space for some odd reason (Maybe it was explained in the show? I never really grew up with it to be honest), living off of junk food and watching VHS tapes of their favorite show ‘The Fatheads’; now they have returned to Earth in the wacky city of O-town, where everything has literally changed. For the first few minutes, we get to see a world that matches ours as the boys indulge in the new things they missed out on in the past twenty years (coffee shops, new phones, selfies, and literal 3-D entertainment).

However, with change, comes disappointment as Rocko finds out from his neighbors, The Bigheads (Voices of Charlie Adler) that ‘The Fatheads’ has been off the air for years, including re-runs, and their son, and creator of the show, Ralph Bighead (Voice of Joe Murray) has decided to quit the show to do some soul-searching. Thus, Rocko and his friends are prompted to search for Ralph to bring back the show.

TV specials, especially reboots can be hit-or-miss, and while ‘Rocko’s Modern Life’ was beloved by children of the 90’s, I do not think it had the same cultural impact as other Nickelodeon shows had. ‘Static Cling’ could have been mindless entertainment to keep the nostalgia goggles clean and the kids occupied for 45 minutes, yet proved to be smarter with its insight on how times change, and how far we have come from a simple decade to a generation asking for more. ‘Static Cling’ is a special that speaks to the children of yesteryear while not being afraid to embrace change in its own modern, wacky way.

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