Rocko’s Modern Life has become decidedly not modern. After all, the classic Nickelodeon cartoon ended way back in 1996. The world has changed a lot since then. There are people who have graduated college who don’t remember when Rocko was bringing low-key irreverence and illicitness to children’s programming. When I was a lad, it was my favorite cartoon on Nickelodeon, but I have watched it very infrequently in the last 20 years. As opposed to, say, The Adventures of Pete & Pete, which I have two seasons of on DVD. That being said, I was certainly intrigued by the debut of Rocko’s Modern Life: Static Cling, which dropped on Netflix after a much-delayed release. Once again, Rocko, the put-upon wallaby from O-Town, is living a modern life.
The premise of Static Cling is fairly simple. Rocko, Filburt, and Heffer were shot into space at the end of the original series. Twenty years later, they’ve returned to a modern world. In space, nothing changed for the trio, but they didn’t mind. They had their old VHS of The Fatheads to watch. When they land back on Earth, culture shock is inevitable. Well, you would think, but Filburt and Heffer seem pretty cool with smartphones, print-on-demand comics, and radioactive sodas.
Rocko, though, is shaken by the change, so much so that there is just one thing he wants in the world. He wants new episodes of The Fatheads, which was created by the child of his neighbors, Mr. and Mrs. Bighead. It will give him a tie to the world he remembers. It will be the hit of nostalgia and the past he needs. So, yes, this is a 20-years-later cartoon special about one man, or rather one wallaby, who desperately wants to see a new episode of a cartoon that hasn’t been on in, oh, about 20 years.