Thanksgiving Special: Rocko’s Modern Life – Turkey Time Review

RMLTT

Plot: Rocko celebrates his first ever Thanksgiving (As he’s originally from Australia) but is shocked to hear from Heffer that turkey is usually the main course during the holiday. Chaos throughout O-Town ensues when all of the turkeys in town congregate to Rocko’s house.

Breakdown:

Hi. I’m Fiddle D. Twix. Wishing you and yours a happy and safe Thanksgiving holiday to all in the US. And to all not in the US, have a great day, and keep being safe.

I thank you all for joining me on this holiday. I know the year has been…Hm…what’s a polite way to say ‘hellish dumpster fire’? But the holidays are always here to bring goodness and cheer no matter if you’re with family and friends, whether in person or remotely, or if you’re just enjoying a quiet holiday on your own. I still try desperately to keep the holiday spirit no matter what the rest of the year spits in my face, so I hope you enjoy this year’s Thanksgiving special and the coming A Very Animated Holiday Special reviews over December.

So sit back, relax, warm up by the fireplace gif and join me for Rocko’s Modern Life – Turkey Time.

———————————————————

Remember how I said that most Thanksgiving specials tend to be kinda boring because they all pretty much follow the formula of “family makes a big deal of dinner, dinner gets ruined, they salvage the night anyway and realize the holiday is about family and friends, not food.”? This special breaks off from the norm, because it’s Rocko, of course it would, silly.

Rocko is celebrating his first Thanksgiving in America with Heffer there to show him what goes into the dinner. They get everything they need at the grocery store in terms of veggies and stuff, but then Heffer reveals that they need a turkey. Rocko is confused as to why they need to invite a turkey to dinner, but they go to Conglom-O’s turkey giveaway and get a live turkey. All the while, Heffer is giggling that Rocko believes they’re just having dinner with the turkey.

When they arrive home, Rocko is devastated to learn that Heffer meant they were going to kill and eat the turkey for dinner, not eat with it. He can’t kill the turkey because it’s so cute, and even though Heffer acted like it was no big deal, he finds that he doesn’t have the heart to do it either. They decide to just hang out with the turkey and eat a veggie turkey for dinner, but that’s where the problems start.

Somehow, the other turkeys that were being given away by Conglom-O all escaped and took refuge at Rocko’s house somehow knowing he would protect them. Rocko’s got no problem protecting the turkeys, but word gets out that he has the only turkey in town since he got a turkey before the giveaway started. So, yeah, it’s still hitting some cliches – most notably being the ‘everyone gets a turkey ON Thanksgiving’ thing, which rarely ever happens, in my experience. Also, why is everyone getting a turkey from a free giveaway that Conglom-O is having? Do they not carry turkeys in the stores, or does everyone want a live turkey? Seems like an unnecessary amount of work. Why is Conglom-O having a massive live turkey giveaway anyway (Where the setup is literally ‘show up and get a free turkey’) That’d be a huge loss of profits, wouldn’t it?

Nitpicking aside, everyone in town demands that Rocko share his turkey. And, remember, they only believe he has one turkey. Apparently, that’s meant to feed like 30 people.

Rocko, pressured into doing it, does give them exactly what they want, a big turkey dinner…after he does a hilarious….and I don’t know how I can say this without it being taken the wrong way but….sexy dance in a turkey costume (Unless that is one of the turkeys, in which case, this is even weirder….They never did show him getting in or out of a turkey costume…..) They even set up the living room like a strip club. It’s really funny but also very weird.

Everyone eats the turkey and happily leaves, but then they discover that the turkey was actually a jumbo veggie bird. They turn back to see Rocko in the middle of a flock of turkeys and they set out to kill them all so they can have an actual Thanksgiving feast.

They’re about to kill the birds via dropping a grand piano (+pianist playing dramatic music) on top of them, but, like Rocko and Heffer, they find that they’re too cute and can’t do the deed. Mr. Bighead, though, won’t have it. He has no sympathy for the birds and, in a fit of rage, disperses the turkeys and demands they let go of the rope holding the piano. They do, but Mr. Bighead’s the only one they hit with it.

Later, the turkeys all get a big feast, reprising the sexy dance setup, only this time it’s Mr. Bighead with a bag of turkey food, much to the delight of the turkeys. And everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving except Mr. Bighead because he’s an ass.

The end.

I only barely remembered watching this episode as a kid, but it’s a good one. This story was definitely refreshing for Thanksgiving specials, and it made me laugh several times. It’s a good time to be had all around. Rocko’s Modern Life adds its own style to the event, and they never opt for anything cheesy.

It is a tad on the dark side for a kid’s cartoon, though. That’s not a bad thing, of course, and Rocko has always been on the more mature side (See: Turkey strip tease), but it is kinda uncommon for a kid’s holiday special to focus so much on killing, even if they never outright say to kill them (Due to censors. They do directly allude to it as much as possible, though, including but not limited to Heffer making that throat-slitting motion and going ‘Gaaaaccckkk’). I can’t imagine any kid was traumatized by this episode on the revelation that turkey comes from, well, turkeys, especially since images of live turkeys are everywhere around Thanksgiving, but I still have my doubts that an episode like this would fly today (hehe, turkey, fly, hehe.)

This episode does have some additional bittersweet notes to it, though. It was written by Spongebob creator Stephen Hillenburg before he eventually went on to create Spongebob three years later. This was also the season in which Hillenburg was made a director and producer for Rocko’s Modern Life. Turkey Time was the last episode he (co) wrote before the series ended, though that’s not really saying much considering my final bittersweet note is that this is the first part of the series finale of Rocko’s Modern Life.

While, technically, the actual ending for the show was considered Future Schlock (the episode in which Rocko, Filburt and Heffer get shot into space for 20 years) the episodes were switched around to allow the Thanksgiving special to air closer to the actual date of the holiday, making this and the following segment, Floundering Fathers, the official series finale. That is, of course, until the movie, Static Cling was released 24 years later. (I have watched the movie, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.)

If you want to have some laughs this Thanksgiving, give it a watch. You won’t regret it.

~Happy Thanksgiving!~


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8 thoughts on “Thanksgiving Special: Rocko’s Modern Life – Turkey Time Review

  1. I didn’t catch this Thanksgiving special, but that sounded like a funny episode. That is a good idea by using Rocko’s nationality as a legitimate way to make him oblivious if he hasn’t been in America that long.

    Turkey dance? Wow, count on Rocko’s Modern Life to sneak in adult humor. Watching some of those episodes as an adult a few years ago was mind-blowing and thinking “How was I allowed to watch this when I was a kid?!” like realizing the very inappropriate joke about a certain restaurant’s name in the series. There were even jokes I appreciated more like the famous “Wacky Delly” episode where Filbert sarcastically calling Heffer “Eisenstein” which I find VERY amusing as someone who did film studies in college and even watching one of his movies in my World Cinema class.

    • Yeah it’s pretty weird going back through a surprising number of cartoons and seeing all the adult jokes they used.

      I still don’t understand how they managed to sneak in Rocko working as a phone sex operator. The censors had to be in a coma for that one.

      • That is so true. Animaniacs was another big one in that regard. I remember watching Nostalgia Critic’s Top 11 list about inappropriate jokes in Animaniacs a long time ago and was shocked about all the jokes I didn’t get during my childhood.

        Yeah, seriously. If only one could be a fly in the wall to see how the censors could’ve reacted when they watched that scene.

  2. Rocko was always offbeat. I enjoyed that entire era of animation. It was stuff that an adult or a child could both enjoy on multiple levels.

    Animaniacs is back on Hulu now. Spielberg isn’t going to be restricted by Warner Bros. limited sense of propriety.

    • I’ve been really enjoying the new Animaniacs so far. I’m glad they’re actually doing the reboot right, and the newfound freedom being on Hulu is a big benefit. They’re not going overboard, but they’re also not restricting themselves. I was a bit bigger of a Tiny Toons fan when I was a kid, though, so I’m really hoping that reboot comes out alright. We shall see.

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