Plot: 2A: Barbecue Story: The adults are having a barbecue, and Angelica sends Tommy’s ball flying into the neighbor’s yard. Tommy sets off on a mission to get it back.
2B: Waiter, There’s a Baby in my Soup: Stu and Didi are forced to bring Tommy to a fancy dinner with a man who is listening to Stu’s presentation on why he should market his toys.
Breakdown: 2A: Barbecue Story – Something I kinda dread about rewatching this series as an adult is knowing there will be many moments that will make me cringe in how possibly horrifying the real-world result could’ve been.
Case and point, this segment.
During a barbecue, Angelica, being a bitch, decides to swat Tommy’s ball into the neighbor’s yard for kicks. Tommy breaks into the neighbor’s yard to retrieve it and is forced to go over a secondary fence into an area meant for a vicious guard dog. The dog very nearly (and, if you watch closely, honestly should have) mauls Tommy to death, until he’s suddenly saved by Spike.
Spike returns Tommy to the barbecue and is rewarded with a plate of burnt burgers.
At face value, this is an alright episode. Not the funniest in the world, and there are several annoying aspects I’ll get to in a minute, but it’s decent.
However, as an adult…..I’ve read several news stories about little kids being mauled by dogs, sometimes to death and others severely injured with many scars and deformities left behind. I could not stop myself from imagining Tommy getting viciously attacked by this dog.
When Tommy’s parents discover him missing, I thought they’d hear his panicked cries and rescue him, but no. They never hear his cries nor discover where he went. Despite being just next door, Spike is the only one who hears poor Tommy and comes to the rescue. Granted, this scene is one awesome Spike moment. He is a total dog badass here, but Jesus Christ, these parents will never not win the worst parents ever award.
To put more clarity on this situation, when Tommy was crying in his playpen after Angelica swatted his ball, every single adult there diverted their attention to Tommy. When he’s screaming and wailing in terror with a huge bulldog snapping his teeth mere inches from his face, everyone besides Spike suddenly becomes deaf.
The ending is a very sweet moment between Tommy and Spike, but the rest of the episode just leaves me feeling uneasy.
The aforementioned annoying aspects come in Angelica and Chuckie. Angelica never gets any comeuppance for what she did, even though her actions very nearly lead to her cousin’s death. Chuckie has a moment of complaining that seemed more whiny than he normally is, mostly because he’s blaming his misfortunes on Tommy when he didn’t force him to come along.
2B: Waiter, There’s a Baby in My Soup – As big of a Rugrats nut as I was when I was a kid, I did have those episodes I didn’t care for. This is one of them. However, back then, my reasoning was entirely for the obnoxious antics of Mr. Mucklehoney. Nowadays, adult me can see that this whole episode doesn’t work.
It’s main premise is built on sand. Didi and Stu are ‘forced’ to bring Tommy to a fancy restaurant because their babysitter canceled last minute, Grandpa Lou is on a bowling date, and they have a presentation with Mr. Mucklehoney – an obnoxious prankster who is constantly laughing.
Oh, excuse me, I mean Stu has a presentation with Mr. Mucklehoney. Didi has no purpose here.
This whole plot could’ve been avoided had Didi just stayed home with Tommy. What’s more disruptive? Stating a superfluous third party couldn’t attend a dinner because she had to watch their infant son or bringing a one year old to a fancy restaurant? Keep in mind, Tommy himself is being obnoxious in this episode. When they find out their babysitter needs to cancel, Tommy is on the floor having strewn all of the pots and pans in the kitchen on the floor and dumped a garbage can full of trash all over himself, the floor and the pans.
People find babies in cheap family restaurants to be an annoyance, but bringing a one-year-old to a fancy restaurant? When you have a very good reason not to? And when you’re having dinner with someone very important? Come on.
What’s even worse is that they set up an out and don’t take it just so it can be more believable when Tommy manages to escape. Didi gets a call from Grandpa Lou right before they order. He needs a ride home because he had a fight with his date and she was his ride. Didi agrees and is about to take Tommy, who is drumming on the dinnerware with a fork and spoon, with her because she realizes he’s being a nuisance. However, Mr. Mucklehoney offers to have him and Stu watch him, and she’s just like ‘alright’ and even gives the spoon back to Tommy so he can continue being loud and irritating to everyone around them.
Of course, Tommy quickly slips out of his high chair and, of course, Stu is none the wiser. He slips into the kitchen and, I might need to add a ‘third-party adult fail’ section because not a damn person in that kitchen realizes a baby is crawling around on the countertops making a mess and destroying stuff. I feel really bad for the people who get that cream pie filled with silverware. Thank God Tommy never reached the stove. He fell into a bowl of pasta – he could’ve easily fallen into a pot of boiling water.
When he gets back to the table, he’s superheated Mucklehoney’s soup, bubblegum’d his shoes to the table, tied Stu’s shoes to the table and caused the entire table to topple over on top of Mucklehoney.
And, of course, Mr. Mucklehoney is one of those sitcom schmucks who has all this crap happen to him and, because it would be unfair to have Stu suffer for Tommy’s actions, he loves the crazy antics Stu has caused and offers him a job.
This episode is poorly written and riddled with plot conveniences. You can practically see them drawing a map to the plot they were trying to get to. “Okay, how about we have Tommy let loose in a restaurant making all sorts of trouble? We’ll work out the details of how this happens right before we animate it. No storyboards. They’re a hassle.”
Not to mention, Tommy just doesn’t work well on his own. Rugrats always worked best when the babies were playing off of each other. Even if the plot is obviously focused on one character, you need at least one or two more to make the story as a whole work. Tommy is completely on his own here. There’s not even any minor Angelica cameo. Not to mention, they seem like they upped his annoying level so they could get more comedy out of him.
2A – No one notices or cares that Angelica took Tommy’s ball and threw it over the fence. Even if it’s understandable to maybe not catch her taunting him with it, surely someone had to have seen her throw the thing.
No one notices them breaking out of their playpen, even though they’re all in the side yard, nor do they see the babies escaping into the neighbor’s yard.
If you have babies or pets, don’t leave loose or broken boards in your fence.
I applaud the neighbor for having a second fence within his fence for his vicious dog, but I’ll add some neighbor fails for making this fence all of a foot and a half tall (the babies can get over it just by giving each other a little boost.) and chaining the large and very strong dog to a rickety dog house that is half-assedly nailed to boards in the ground.
It takes them way too long to notice the babies missing, especially considering the babies were looking in the neighbor’s first yard for quite a while.
No one hears Tommy’s terrified cries merely a yard away.
X10 fails just because I can’t get the image of Tommy being mauled out of my head. The fact that their dog was a better parent here than anyone else is ridiculous.
2B – Nobody notices that Tommy is playing with the toilet – a possible drowning hazard because it’s one of those toilets that seems to hold three gallons of water in the bowl.
Nobody notices that Tommy spreads out all of the pots and pans in the kitchen on the floor. Even if you can say they didn’t see it, there’s no way they didn’t hear it because that would be insanely loud.
Nobody notices that Tommy knocks the garbage over.
When they do notice, they don’t give a crap.
Gonna count them bringing Tommy to this meeting as a fail. If they really had no choice, I’d understand, but not only is Didi a perfectly good option, they don’t even consider contacting any of the other parents to see if they can do it. Any adult should know that bringing a baby to a fancy restaurant is inconsiderate. And this is coming from someone who’s never had a child or been to a particularly fancy restaurant. Unless you have the most angelic baby in the world, or they’re comatose, they’re going to cry, smell and be obnoxious. They even show how annoyingly he’s behaving before they even leave, and he wastes no time before he starts drumming on his dinnerware.
Didi leaving Tommy alone with these two.
Stu not noticing Tommy has escaped. He is literally seated a foot away from him.
If I don’t have a ‘third party adult’ tally, we’re skipping six points.
What the…They’re Babies!
Outside of the babies easily scaling that fence, there wasn’t much in this area for either episode.
Next Episode, the babies go to the movies, and Angelica stays over for a slumber party.
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