Friday, September 3, 2021

Rocko's Modern Queer Life


Anyone in the last 30 years who likes cartoons, probably had a glimpse of Rocko's Modern Life; the show was extremely subversive for being a Nickelodeon show as the channel was aimed to toddlers and barely to adults, even on the nighttime block it was as clean as Disney Channel albeit within their rooster of programming back in the 90's they had so much subtle messages and coding about queer life, intersectional feminism and acceptance that Disney themselves lacked on those subjects.

As Nickelodeon started to explore entertaining aimed to adults in the early 1990's, Joe Murray pitched the idea of Rocko which he created sometime around the 1980's as a comic book format but never gained momentum; but, at that moment in the early-mid 1990's the explosion of risque cartoons that borderline in the satirical aspect of modern society were something fresh, something new as not even The Flintstone's could execute something as wonderful as the Nicktoons; but the Nicktoons were a product of their time much like the Hanna Barbera cartoons.

There are so many interpretations towards how queer the show is, a lot of the characters sided with different sides of the rainbow as being fluid; I can only think of Heffer and Rocko being somewhat heterosexual life partner's but also flirting with each other a lot. The show itself doesn't have a preset of relationships besides the Bigheads and Filburt with Dr. Hutchinson but that doesn't mean they strictly are committed to one another, but rather there is some form of polyamory and I can't stop thinking about it. It was sublet but it was there, there was this implication especially after the birth of Filburt kids and there wasn't any jealously or anything negative, it was accepted in the universe of O-Town.

The turning point of the show, came in 2019 after 23 years of being off air with the Netflix special Static Cling where the Bigheads child came to live on their true authentic self as a transwoman and the reaction Ed to his daughter Rachel was a sequence not common to see on cartoons or television, there was denial but also acceptance in to knowing that we can't as parents make our children a reflection of our own ideals and shattered dreams but instead we need to make them grow in to decent people and that they will know they will have a home to come if something bad happens, and that was probably the biggest twist but lesson in the entire show.

Rocko's Modern Life reflect sometimes the absurdity that is the human experience, not only that it also shows diversity and a honest approach in life that we can't cling to the past but rather we can learn from it, because we have memories of what we associated with happier times but happiness itself comes from living, just living every day to the fullest and that's the aspect of the entire show that made it so appealing.

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