Rocko’s Modern Life: Static Cling Tries Too Hard To Be Relevant

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rocko's modern life static cling review

As a massive fan of the original show, I was really bummed when Rocko’s Modern Life: Static Cling fell completely flat for me — it just tries too hard to be relevant. Which it honestly did not need to do. Rocko’s Modern Life was one of my favorite shows when I was younger. It came out when I was 9, and ran for about 3 years. I watched it religiously — and have seen  every episode at least three times.

It would make me laugh to the point of crying — and it holds up. I have seen episodes within the last 5 years and it still had me cracking up. So of course I was thrilled to hear there would be a new 45 minute special on Netflix. In the beginning, I was hyped, watching with a smile on my face waiting to start laughing. And there were some giggles. But then, it just got weird. 

Rocko’s Modern Life: Static Cling tries way too hard to be relevant for 2019. In trying to poke fun of itself, it just ruined the fun. The special is only 45 minutes long and it started drag about half way through. It was predictable, and beyond silly. 

When the trailer came out, I told one of my best friends that she needed to watch it. That she had missed out never seeing the show. Now I am almost embarrassed to ask her what she thought of it (and I secretly hope she never watches it). I feel like there was so much potential for Rocko’s Modern Life: Static Cling and it was phoned it. It spent too much time trying to fit 2019, but if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.

WARNING: Spoilers ahead for Rocko’s Modern Life: Static Cling

rocko's modern life reboot

Is It Self Aware?

Often when a movie is self aware, it is hilarious. Take Dora and the Lost City of Gold for example — that was one of my favorite movies of the summer because they know exactly what they are. A really boring old kids cartoon, that was turned in to a tween movie and made fun of itself nearly the entire time.

But Rocko’s Modern Life: Static Cling takes things too far. It is sort of self aware? I mean sure, it pulls in old characters and jokes. The Fatheads, which were clearly Rocko’s next door neighbors 

The Voice Acting

One of my favorite characters in Rocko’s Modern Like is Heffer. I know that Tom Kenny, who voices him in Static Cling, is the same as the original. But something was just off with him. Most of the other voices were great, but that one just really irked me. I am not sure why, but every time he talked I got more and more annoyed that his voice wasn’t hitting the mark. 

rockos modern life trans character

Updated for 2019

I love that Rocko’s Modern Life added a transgender character to the story line, don’t get me wrong. But it was so annoyingly obvious what was going to happen. At least one of her parents would not like it, and say something that would make her leave. She would have second thoughts and come back. That parent would realize what they said was wrong. Then happily ever after. 

Don’t get me wrong, I understand what it was trying to do, but it didn’t work for me. Why? Because that isn’t real life. I have several LGBTQ friends whose parents never accept them. And certainly not because of a silly cartoon that reminded them of their kids when they were a baby. I mean, I have friends that are still afraid to come out to their parents. So for me, just making it seem like it will all be OK after waiting a day just bothered me. There are too many people out there going through a difficult time. 

Along with the LGBTQ character, this special adds in the “O Phone”. This did make me laugh because it really is true. As soon as we get a new one, another, better version comes out. 

rocko's modern life reboot

Overall Thoughts

All this being said, if you were a fan of the original, I encourage you to still check out this movie. It is a quick 45 minutes long so not too time consuming to come up with your own opinion. Rocko’s Modern Life: Static Cling tried to update itself for 2019, and honestly my biggest problem with it was making it seem like parents who treat their LGBTQ children poorly might just get over it in a day or two (especially if you draw a nice cartoon for them). 

This special is very much about change, and the fact that there is a lot of it. Has been a lot of it. Especially in the last 20+ years. But it just missed the mark for me. Perhaps I am remembering my childhood too nostalgically like Rocko was remembering the original Fathead cartoon. 

Rocko’s Modern Life: Static Cling tries to be relevant for 2019, and in doing so, it ruined the fun and humor that the original had.

Invader Zim seems to be back on Netflix too — fingers crossed that is a little better than Rocko’s Modern Life: Static Cling.

About Rocko’s Modern Life: Static Cling

After 20 years in space, Rocko struggles to adjust to life in 21st century O-Town and makes it his mission to get his favorite show back on the air.

Watch Rocko’s Modern Life: Static Cling on Netflix.

2 Comments

  1. I was very disappointed watching this. I was a big fan of this growing up and still watch the reruns on Philo with my kids. You're right about Heffer's voice, it didn't seem completely the same to me. They should have left the Big Head's son alone. I can't imagine what else they have in store along those lines seeing as they did this on the first episode back. I'm so tired of this stuff being pushed on kids.
  2. Anthony Zurick on
    OF COURSE it's gonna be relevant. But it found a way to retain the show's humor instead of having the characters be out of character like PPG 2016.

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