I was a huge fan of Rocko’s Modern Life as a kid. I enjoyed the crude humor, ridiculous situations, and all of the hidden adult content. From Spunky the dog’s infatuation with a mop to the master of Heck, Peaches, I loved every minute of this show. You can imagine how excited I was over a year ago when Static Cling was first announced.
The 45-minute special spent a long time being shopped around. Nickelodeon, who ran the original series, seemed to want nothing to do with the final product and it was Netflix that finally decided to run the special. Some may point to the central story being about a transgendered character and their relationship with their parents as a reason it was hard to publish, but I think it’s the fact that it’s a terrible waste of time is the real reason.
The LGBTQ content could have been an issue 5 or 10 years ago, but even the Disney channel has had shows that deal with the characters in that community today. No, the fact the special is one gag after another with a fervent speed to get nowhere hurts this nostalgia-filled attempt at a reboot. The show opens 20 years after the three main characters of Rocko, Filburt, and Heffer have been floating in space as they scrounge for crumbs in a couch before watching their only form of entertainment, The Fatheads. The Fatheads was a show within a show created by the son of Rocko’s neighbors, the Bigheads. This opening takes forever and throws a bunch of gags at the audience to make them remember episodes of the original show, such as Spunky chewing on a green mess of fungus/moss. The boys figure out how to return to earth where the very original teaser trailer plays out in its entirety.
That sequence combines new footage with remnants of the original show’s intro. Rocko is disappointed to find out how much earth has changed, especially when he learns that his favorite show, The Fatheads, is no longer being made or run on TV. Rocko seeks to reboot The Fatheads with the help of Conglomo and Ed Bighead. When the reboot is looking like most real reboots do, Rocko and his friends seek the original creator, Ralph Bighead. The ending of the special, hopefully one and only, episode couldn’t come fast enough.
The show is filled with meta-references to reboots and remakes as well as making fun of those who find comfort in nostalgia. It seems to want to make fun of itself for existing and make fun of those that wanted it to exist. The jokes at modern things like getting a new iPhone every six months or our obsession with energy drinks provide some light humor, but Futurama did that better and did it years ago. Many of the other jokes fall flat, and because of this, not even the crude bathroom humor feels funny.
If you were a fan of the original show I implore you to not watch this. Not even Really Really Big Man could save this.
Grade – F
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