For some reason I feel like I need to touch on every Nickelodeon show immediately to prove my worth. Rocko’s Modern Life is one of the first original Nicktoons and has a plethora of perfect characters. It was similar to Ren and Stimpy in that it could be disturbing at times and it also reminded me of Doug because Rocko was a very mild protagonist.
Rocko was a wallaby from down-under who made a new life in O-Town. No relation to the band O-Town with Ashley Parker Angel. Rocko lived with his dog Spunky in a good sized house in a seemingly normal neighborhood. Spunky was a somewhat retarded canine who ate some of Rocko’s brain in the opening credits. Like all dogs, he’s a good companion but he isn’t a major part of the show.
Rocko’s best friend was Heffer Wolfe. Hef is a steer (not a cow!) who was
raised adopted by wolves. His family is probably my favorite part of the show. He had a stern father named George and a simple mother, Virginia. Virginia Wolfe get it?!?! Virginia had a nervous teeth-grinding tick and her voice can only be compared to an accent from Fargo. George Wolfe was the opposite of a soft parent. While trying to comfort Heffer, he once said “Well, I talked to your mother and apparently we still love you.”
His brother Peter (like Peter and the Wolf get it?!?!) was one of the best characters because he was overly sarcastic and hated almost everyone. The only character who was perhaps better than Peter Wolfe was Cindy Wolfe, Heffer’s sister who took a vow of silence and would hold up signs to communicate.
Heffer himself was pretty normal and kind hearted. He only had a slight eating problem. Rocko once accused Heffer of over-eating to which Heffer replied that Rocko had a nail-biting problem. I remember this episode so clearly because I too, at 7 years old had a nail-biting problem. I could relate to Rocko so much after that moment.
Rocko’s other friend Filbert was a neurotic, Jewish turtle. He would hide in his shell a lot, which most Jews would probably do if they had shells. He bothered me a bit because he was always complaining. Here I am, 18 years later and basically Filbert.
Like most people, Rocko was blessed with weird neighbors, the Bigheads. Ed and Bev Bighead were frogs with, you guessed it, big heads. I swear this show was smarter than I’m making it out to be. Perhaps one of the most scarring moments of the show was when they showed Ed in the shower after he dropped the soap, bent over. His butt was all wrinkly and he broke the shower door. Ed and Bev spent most of their time yelling at each other and scaring Rocko.
Rocko’s Modern Life was definitely a good watch for kids and grownups alike. There were lots of innuendos, satires, and dark moments that would go over my head, but I’m sure my parents appreciated them.