Monday, November 22, 2021

First Look: New 'Rugrats' Holiday Episode to Premiere on Paramount Plus and Nickelodeon in Dec. 2021

Rugrats is celebrating the holidays!


The beloved animated series has set a special half-hour holiday episode on Paramount+, which will highlight and celebrate several denominations, ET has revealed. Titled "Traditions," the upcoming installment will drop on the ViacomCBS-owned streaming service Thursday, Dec. 2 and will also air Friday, Dec. 10 at 7:30 p.m. ET/PT on Nickelodeon.

The multi-denominational special kicks off as Tommy's first Chanukah falls on Christmas Eve, and the Pickles juggle their family traditions to make sure each feels important, while also celebrating Las Posadas with Betty and her family. The episode aims to explain the various ways that the holidays are celebrated and explore how families from different cultures come together to create their own unique traditions.


Lending their voices as guest stars for the episode are Raini Rodriguez as Gabi, Swoosie Kurtz as Minka, Henry Winkler as Boris (who ad-libs the Chanukah prayer heard in the episode) and Tata Vega as Tia Esperanza.

Rugrats “Traditions” was written by executive producers Kate Boutilier and Eryk Casemiro. Lalo Alcaraz (The Casagrandes) served as a research consultant, and co- producer Rachel Lipman (Rugrats) served as a cultural advisor.

Original Rugrats cast member Cheryl Chase, who voices Angelica, spoke to ET about the new "Traditions," which was written by executive producers Kate Boutilier and Eryk Casemiro. 

"It's a wonderful story. It's very heartwarming," Chase said of the episode. "It explains the ABCs of the holidays, and it explores how families with different cultural backgrounds, they come together and they celebrate new and unique traditions." As for how Angelica plays into the story, the veteran actress said with a chuckle, "She's up to her old shenanigans and it's not the best Angelica, let's put it that way!"


This is far from the first Rugrats holiday episode the franchise has put on. The classic holiday episode “A Rugrats Chanukah” is available to stream, along with the entire original Rugrats series, on Paramount+. Fans can also catch “A Rugrats Chanukah” in the Nickelodeon Pluto channel’s 24- hour marathon of the episode starting at 6 a.m. (ET/PT) on Sunday, November 28, the first night of Chanukah. Following the marathon, the iconic episode will air every night of Chanukah (Sunday, Nov. 28 through Sunday, December 5) on NickRewind at 11 p.m. (ET/PT), and another six times throughout Nick Pluto Flashback Friday on Friday, December 3.


For Chase, her favorite Rugrats episode thus far of the new iteration is "The Two Angelicas," which dropped in May, and centers around Angelica's new lookalike talking doll. "The babies, they like the doll and she gets all upset, and she doesn't like that," she said. "The animation is so beautiful -- the designs of the show and the colors and brilliant colors and the detail that you see in the CG animation -- how they designed the characters. It's beautiful. It's a fun episode for me to see."


Chase acknowledged it's been a surreal time warp reuniting with her fellow Rugrats castmates and hearing stories from fans of the original who have families of their own, introducing the series to their kids. "It's fun to hear the original voices because it just makes you feel like... It just brings back the memories we had watching the first time around," she reminisced, adding that the responses she's gotten from viewers are "mainly with the older grownup fans that have their kids watching... [and it's just a] family experience." "I love to see that, that I'm bringing joy to the family like that. The parents are rediscovering their childhood through their kids who are learning it for the first time. So it's really so fun for me."

From Nickelodeon Animation Studio, Paramount+’s new Rugrats series is a reimagining of the classic ‘90s hit that features rich and colorful CG-animation and follows the babies as they explore the world and beyond from their pint-sized and wildly imaginative point of view.  The series stars EG Daily (Tommy Pickles), Nancy Cartwright (Chuckie Finster), Cheryl Chase (Angelica Pickles), Cree Summer (Susie Carmichael) and Kath Soucie (Phil and Lil DeVille) reprising their roles, alongside Ashley Rae Spillers and Tommy Dewey (Didi and Stu Pickles); Tony Hale (Chas Finster); Natalie Morales (Betty DeVille); Anna Chlumsky and Timothy Simons (Charlotte and Drew Pickles); Nicole Byer and Omar Miller (Lucy and Randy Carmichael); and Michael McKean (Grandpa Lou Pickles).

E.G. Daily On ‘Rugrat’s New Holiday Special “Traditions”: ‘We Embrace Everyone And Everything’

[Click HERE for video]

(ViacomCBS) – Rugrats will unveil a brand new holiday special on Paramount+ this Thursday, December 2nd. In 1996 the original Rugrats series put out the beloved “A Rugrats Chanukah” special and now 25 years later a new generation of fans will be treated to “Traditions.”

CBS‘ Matt Weiss spoke to E.G. Daily (Tommy Pickles) about the Rugrats revival and this Thursday’s special holiday episode.

MW- Hi E.G.! Good to see you, how are you doing?

EGD- Well darling, how are you?

MW- Doing well over here, the last time we spoke Rugrats 2.0 hadn’t been released to the world yet and now that it’s out there what’s the reception been like?

EGD- People are so happy. It’s like if you have a favorite pair of shoes and then you lost them for a long time and you finally found them again. It’s just is so cozy and so familiar. You just feel so at home and I think right now that’s what we need after the last two years of insanity.

We just need to feel comfortable and at home and we need to feel that sense of safety with our loved ones. That’s what Rugrats is about.

MW- The nice thing about the show is there is the adults watching it with nostalgia for their childhood and a whole new generation of kids who are getting to watch Rugrats for the first time.

EGD- Absolutely, the original Rugrats fans are millennials and parents now, so in the show we’re dealing with all the young millennial stuff, which is so smart and so cool. When they were kids they were watching their life through the imagination of these babies. Now we get to go into these incredible adventures with the CGI and we’ve grabbed a whole new audience. The writers are just so super smart too with knowing just when to bring in characters from the past and we’ll be seeing more of those for sure.

MW- Has there been an episode from this new crop that’s really stood out to you?

EGD- It’s so hard because they’re so clever. They’ve been able to recaptured all that funny stuff like the way the babies mess up words. impossible. They’re always coming up with new ones that just crack me up. So I’m just fascinated every time I get a script and we get to do it, so I really love all of them!

MW- And now we have a brand new holiday episode titled “Traditions” which comes out Thursday, December 2nd on Paramount+. What can we expect from this new special?

EGD- Well, Rugrats just loves family and loves to make sure everybody feels included. I love this word multi-denominational and that’s what it’s all about. We embrace everyone and everything with all families, all culture, all traditions.

Everybody needs to feel a part of something and everybody needs to feel embraced and respected. We’re not separating from anyone, we are not about that. We’re about love, we’re about family and we’re about embracing all the ways people like to celebrate. So that’s what the episode will be all about.

MW- A new holiday special for a whole new generation, I can’t wait to watch it myself. Thank you so much for the time today E.G. and all the best!

EGD- You are so welcome. Thank you and happy holidays!

The Rugrats holiday special “Traditions” comes to Paramount+ on Thursday, December 2nd and will air on Nickelodeon the following Friday, December 10th at 7:30 PM ET/PT. Check your local listings for more information.


EG Daily Talks the New Rugrats Holiday Special

[Click HERE for video]

It's the holiday season and that means it is also the season for holiday specials. This year, the Rugrats revival on Paramount+ is getting into the holiday spirit with an all-new holiday special of its own. On Thursday, December 2nd, the all-new, half-hour special episode titled "Traditions" will air on Paramount+ and will air a week later on Friday, December 10th on Nickelodeon. The multi-denomination episode will celebrate a number of holiday traditions as Tommy's first Chanukah falls on Christmas Eve, prompting the Pickles family to juggle their family traditions to make sure each feels important while also celebrating Las Posadas with Betty and her family.

The special episode will feature several guest stars, including Raini Rodriguez as Gabi, Swoosie Kurtz as Minka, Henry Winkler as Boris, and Tata Vega as Tia Esperanza. The episode will also explain the various ways the holidays are celebrated and explore how those from different cultures can come together to create their own new, unique holiday traditions.

Ahead of this special holiday episode of Rugrats, sat down with the voice of Tommy Pickles, E.G. Daily to chat about "Traditions", what makes the episode so special, bringing Rugrats to a new generation, and her own favorite holiday traditions. Read on for our interview with Daily.

The special holiday episode of Rugrats, "Traditions", premieres Thursday, December 2nd on Paramount+. The episode will also air Friday, December 10th at 7:30 p.m. ET on Nickelodeon. 

This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

About "Traditions" Tell me a little bit about this holiday special, "Traditions." What can people expect from it?

E.G. Daily: Oh, it's so awesome. Well, they can expect what they always expect with a Rugrats episode, which it's going to be super cozy. You're going to see the kids' point of view about funny things, the way they see it. You're also going to see some special guest stars on this particular episode, Swoosie Kurtz and Henry Winkler and some others. The biggest thing of all is you're going to get to see all the different Rugrats characters in all the different ways they celebrate their holidays, which is so sweet. You're really going to learn a lot about everybody else's culture and how they ring out the holidays. We really embrace that on Rugrats, so that's what you'll see.

Celebrating traditions and cultures

I remember the other Rugrats special from the '90s, "A Rugrats Chanukah". I remember how heartwarming and informative that episode was, and it's still super special all these years later. Why do you, as a performer, feel it was important to do this new special that incorporates all these other traditions as well?

Well, I think it's really crazy, we've had a crazy last almost two years in the world and there's been a lot of separation and a lot of isolation from family members and loved one. Also, it just created some negative energy between people. I think what's important is that at the end of the day, politics and personal choices about decisions, about things, is really stuff at the end of the day that at the end of the day doesn't matter, that what matters is family and loved ones and friends and celebrating and a beautiful meal. That's what Rugrats brings.

Rugrats brings that all these characters will come together and they will celebrate each other. There's no separation and there's no better or less than, worse than. Everybody is just all about family and love and familiarity. What better than this episode, which is "Traditions", it's going to celebrate all of the different traditions and cultures.

Guest stars

You mentioned there is some great, fantastic guest stars in this episode, Raini Rodriguez is back as Gabi. Swoosie Kurtz as Minka, Henry Winkler as Boris, just name a few of them. What is it like for you to be a part of not only this really special and inclusive episode, but to also get to have your work out there with some of these really great talents in this special episode?

I mean, first of all, we never know really until the last second who's popping in, because Rugrats, the team and Paramount+ and Nickelodeon, they're so good about like, "We're going to surprise you with this guest person and we're going to surprise you with bringing back this other person." I think we're being just as surprised as you guys are. When we show up and we find out, it's just as awesome. Henry Winkler, I've worked with before and he's just the most incredible person. To find out that he's going to be in our Rugrats, it just feels so great and so classic that we get to work with people like The Fonz, who gets play in our iconic Rugrats and he's so iconic. I just feel super lucky.

Again, I never know, just like you, what they're going to do next. We're always like, "What's happening now, guys?" or, "Who's coming in now? What's the script about now?" They're just so brilliant, it's so brilliant. I'm happy to be part of it, and I like the surprises.

New generations

Now, you've been the voice of Tommy Pickles since the beginning and have been a huge part of the Rugrats experience for so many people, myself included. Now we have kids of our own who are experiencing Rugrats. What's it been like for you to bring Tommy and the whole Rugrats crew to this whole new generation, as well as back into the lives of people like me who were there the first time around.

Well, it's funny because I was having babies when I was doing Rugrats. I was actually in labor during a Rugrats episode. It's on tape somewhere. Then that night I had a baby. My babies were literally born into Rugrats. They were in my body during Rugrats and they were just outside the studio being nursed in between sessions. It's so cool that my kids got to grow up. Then now, of course, now that Rugrats is rebooted, all those babies and kids that were growing up during Rugrats are now millennials and they're parents of them their own, so they get to introduce their kids to this whole show that they were grown up on. The only difference is they're bringing today's contemporary stuff, subject matters like vloggers and cell and dating apps. They get to have fun with Rugrats with today's times things and their kids get to jump in and go, "Oh my gosh, this is such a cool show." Then on top of that, we have this great CGI animation, so they get to see it in this vibrant, gritty, tactile way. I just think, overall, it's just so awesome. The way they're bringing everything back, it's just awesome.

Hoping everyone tunes in

That's a once in a lifetime amazing experience, that's so cool.

Yeah, it's so awesome. Yeah, and this new episode, "Traditions", it's going to be so great so I hope everybody tunes in. It's really so welcoming right now after all the craziness we've been through, to be back with our family and this Rugrats family and getting to see all the yummy holiday stuff through all the different cultures. It's going to be so great.

Favorite tradition

With this Rugrats special being called "Traditions", I have to ask, and I'm a huge holidays person so I have to ask, do you have a favorite holiday tradition of your own?

I particularly like having menorah candles. I always tell my kids, we celebrate anything fun and beautiful and anything that embraces everyone. I particularly like lighting holiday candles. I actually have a menorah that's all the Rugrats characters. It's so cute.

But I know I just love everything about Christmas and the lights and the magic of it. Like I said, I celebrate everything fun, beautiful and all-inclusive, just like the Rugrats are.


From Vulture:

New Rugrats Is Making New ‘Traditions’

In December of 1989, Fox revolutionized animated television with The Simpsons. Two years later, in August 1991, Nickelodeon did it again, three times over, with its inaugural slate of Nicktoons: Doug, The Ren & Stimpy Show, and Rugrats. All three series proved influential, but it was Rugrats that endured as a runaway success, coming as close to rivaling The Simpsons’ status in pop culture as nearly any other animated show of any era.

While Klasky Csupo’s first hit was far from its last — the studio went on to produce Aaahh!!! Real Monsters, The Wild Thornberrys, Rocket Power, and As Told by Ginger for Nick in the years that followed — it was surely its biggest, spawning a franchise spanning three series, three films, two TV films, a baker’s dozen video games, a handful of books, a comic strip, and even a live performance over the next two decades. And that’s without mentioning the merchandise. The Rugrats Movie was the first animated film not produced by the Walt Disney Company to gross more than $100 million in the U.S. Angelica Pickles went on The Rosie O’Donnell Show. Rugrats was big business.

Then there was a lull until earlier this year, when Klasky Csupo came back with a new Rugrats for a new generation, a computer-animated revival of the same name streaming on Paramount+, Nickelodeon parent company ViacomCBS’s subscription service. In addition to creators Arlene Klasky, Gábor Csupó, and Paul Germain, the show is executive-produced by veterans of the original series, Kate Boutilier and Eryk Casemiro, who wrote the immensely popular special episode “All Growed Up” and developed its sequel series, All Grown Up! And the vast majority of the cast from the original series has returned to voice the child characters (the late Christine Cavanaugh being one sad exception), although the adults have been recast and, in some cases, reimagined.

Like many Hollywood projects before it, Rugrats started with a phone call, in this case from Ramsey Ann Naito, who is now president of Paramount’s animation division. “We thought, well, if we don’t do it, we might regret someone else taking our babies and doing something to them, making it so radically different that we’ll kick ourselves for not doing it,” Casemiro said. And while the core premise remains the same — a bunch of imaginative babies romp around on adventures while their guardians’ attention is elsewhere and hilarity (with a healthy dose of sentimentality) ensues — some differences were inevitable, even beyond the CG style, which Casemiro noted had already been decided upon before they came aboard. 1991 and 2020, after all, are worlds apart in many ways.

“In the original, Charlotte Pickles was the only one with a cell phone,” Casemiro said. “We are in a definitely different world right now. There was all this possibility with technology.” Then there were the generational differences, which are perhaps best reflected in the changes to Grandpa Lou. Audiences in the ’90s would have found the World War II veteran grandpa a familiar figure, but with a 2020 setting, “We definitely did the math and said, this grandpa would not be a WWII veteran,” Boutilier said. “He would be in his late 60s from the end of the hippie era. We wanted a little bit of a warmer, more enlightened, modern Grandpa Lou, who does yoga and streams concerts with his headphones on so the babies can sneak away.”

The rest of the adults were also tweaked to better represent millennial parenthood and to better account for diversity. Stu and Didi Pickles live with Grandpa Lou, not vice versa, taking into account the gap in home ownership between millennials and prior generations. Betty DeVille is explicitly queer, and the DeVilles are Latinx. The Carmichaels, Randy and Lucy, are already neighbors this time around, and part of the main adult friend group from the start — a natural effect of the decision to age their daughter, Susie, down from Angelica’s age to closer to Chuckie’s, making her nonverbal to adults and more of a central part of the main child cast. And Charlotte, while still a #girlboss, is less of a ’90s cliché.

On the child end, the other major change is to Kimi Watanabe, aged up to be more of a peer of Angelica’s in addition to being recast. That decision, voice actor Charlet Chung said, gave her the opportunity to bring a bit more spunk to the character. “As an Asian American actor, I’ve seen the evolution of the way characters are portrayed,” Chung said. “When we’re talking ’80s and ’90s, there was this trope of the demure or very soft-spoken or timid Asian American. But it’s really nice to portray, even in a child character, a strong girl with a good moral compass who wants to do the right thing but is also really positive and cheery and kind. For me, seeing the character change toward that direction was just a delight.”

For the returning cast, a new Rugrats meant an opportunity to both return to central roles in their careers and to reunite with old colleagues and friends — even though the voice recording took place during lockdown. But unlike in 1991, when recording at a studio was pretty much entirely necessary, more advanced home-recording technology allowed the cast to record their voice work from home. It helped, said E.G. Daily, who voices Tommy Pickles, that the cast knew each other so intimately already.

“We were like family,” Daily said of her relationship with her fellow voice actors back in the day. “I was in labor during a Rugrats episode — I was literally in the booth with everyone and contracting in between lines. We got to experience life together.” For the reboot, even before COVID-19 hit, the EPs “mostly chose to keep everyone separate to record,” Daily said. “But we know each other so well that we kind of already knew how the other person will respond — their voice, their character, their intonation.”

The legacy of the franchise remains important to both showrunners and actors. That’s one reason why, this week, it continues a tradition of holiday specials that attempt to look beyond the stereotypical Christmas special. The appropriately named “Traditions” is a tale of multiple families and generations, all from different backgrounds, learning to balance multiple holiday traditions on the same day: the lighting of the menorah on the first night of Hanukkah, the cutting and decorating of a fir tree on Christmas Eve, and the placement of Baby Jesus in the manger on the final night of Las Posadas.

“Holiday episodes are always a great way to dig in a little deeper on character and are a favorite with the programming department, especially as we brand December as Nickmas,” Casemiro said. (While the episode debuts on Paramount+ on December 2, it will also run on Nickelodeon on December 10, and Nickelodeon Pluto will rerun the original Rugrats holiday special, “A Rugrats Chanukah,” throughout the holiday.) “We had produced the ‘Chanukah’ special as well as ‘Babies in Toyland,’ but had never considered that Tommy Pickles comes from a two-faith family. We used those specials as a sort of North Star for how we would treat the more sacred aspects of the holiday — balancing seriousness with comedy.”

Cheryl Chase, who voices Angelica, said it was “quite touching” to work on a holiday special focused on how different families and their cultures come together and blend various traditions together and celebrate together. “I think watching the special, children will get a glimpse into different faiths, different cultures and traditions, that maybe their families don’t share,” she said.

And while millennials may be skeptical of the CG reinterpretation, Chase and the other voice actors have no such qualms. “All the minute details — the little sparkles on Angelica’s shoes, or stains on Tommy’s shirt, or the texture of the carpet — can capture so much realism,” she said. “It just brings the whole show alive, like you’re actually in with them. It’s quite beautiful.”


More Nick: Paramount Plus Renews the All-New 'Rugrats' for Season 2!

Originally published: November 10, 2021 at 20:48 GMT.

H/T: @Montanajackso15; Additional source: Animation Magazine.

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