Rocko’s Modern Life, one of the staple shows of 90’s Nickelodeon is now available as a complete series box set!
Rocko’s Modern Life is one of those shows that I have distinct memories of watching, but I honestly couldn’t tell you a single thing about it. I remembered that it stared some kind of ambiguously generic anthropomorphic animal thing, (which I now know is a wallaby) some weird frogs, maybe a cow, and that was it. I couldn’t tell you the plot of even one episode, nor the point of the show.
Maybe I was too young at the time to understand the show well enough for anything to stick, actually, scratch that, I’m pretty sure that’s exactly why I didn’t remember anything.
Upon putting in the first disk, I was struck with the fact that this didn’t even feel like a show for kids. Parts of it did, it was wacky, strange, very cartoony, it had all the hallmarks of a 90’s Nickelodeon cartoon. However, there was a lot of stuff here that decidedly did not feel at all for kids. Limbs being torn off (cartoonishly, yet still gruesomely) other cartoonish, yet still mildly disturbing body horror, (i.e. a brain flying out of a skull, eye’s getting sucked from their sockets) adult jokes and wordplay, cartoonishly censored nudity, and even a lot of otherwise innocuous adult jokes about money and spas that kids just aren’t going to understand.
I don’t necessarily mention these things as negatives, though some of them are leaning that way for me, for some people these are definite positives, I just wanted to point them out for people who may have been as unfamiliar as I was with the show, in case you were planning on sharing these with kids. (Rugrats will definitely now take priority in the Nicktoon category when my nephews are old enough to sit still long enough to watch something.)
Aside from the negatives, I have to say I am impressed with the animation. It is super cartoony and definitely has that early 90’s feel to it, so it’s very nostalgic in that regard. I have not had time to watch through the entire series yet, but I am enjoying a lot of the humor. Like I said, a lot of this is tailored to adults, so I feel like I will appreciate a lot more of this now than I ever did as a kid.
Aside from the show itself, the set is a bit sparse on bonus features, but it does have a few. The packaging itself does not suggest anywhere on it that there is anything included, but once you start going through the disks, you will start finding things. The original pilot is here, as well as some character profiles, and a few other things here and there for you to find. The internet informs me that everything from previous single season releases is included, so if you were wondering about that, rest assured it’s all here. It’s not much, but it’s all here.
All in all, I would have to say that for fans of the show, this is the set to get, as long as you don’t have the previous releases, or if you do, and you just want a smaller package. If you’ve never seen the show, I think I would recommend a bunch of other Nicktoons from the same era before I’d recommend this one, however, if the promise of a more adult show from the era does sound like something you’d like, then by all means, check this one out.
Either way, Rocko’s Modern Life is a very unique show, and even if you don’t like some of the humor, you can’t deny its entertainment value. It’s creative, cartoony, and smarter than your average “kids” show.
Jonathan North is writer, photographer, video editor, and animation fan from Iowa. He studied advertising and design at Iowa State University, and also has degrees in multimedia and art. His favorite movie is Fantasia, and his favorite cartoon is Gravity Falls. Or maybe Steven Universe. He can’t decide. You can find more of his work on his blog, as well as his Podcast and YouTube channel, where he reviews animation, movies, TV, or whatever else his guests feel like talking about. You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, @jonjnorth.