I booted up Netflix yesterday looking for something to watch. And then this was in my face. I did not know it was a thing.
So I watched the Netflix Rocko's Modern Life special.
I have Feelings about it. I will split them into "The Experience" and "The Content"
The Experience: I was a 90s Nick Kid to the core. Nickelodeon had a bumper that would play that said "It's Summer. Go outside and play. We'll be here when you get back." I refused, because even though I had seen every single episode of the shows I was watching, I didn't want to leave.
As happens, that time ended and I grew up and moved on.
And then this appeared. Dumbfounded and intrigued, I watched it, not knowing what to expect at all.
It was exactly what it would feel like to walk into your childhood room 20 years later. Everything was familiar. Everything was where you left it. But time had passed. The world is different now. But at the same time, things are the same. Your teddy bear is still on the shelf, he's just a little faded and missing some fur.
Not better, not worse; just different.
I was astounded at how many details I remembered reflexively. Catch phrases, environments, mannerisms, temperaments, voices, everything felt so normal. It was exactly what it should have been. All credit to cast and crew. This was what most reboots wish they were.
The Content: Exactly the same caliber of jokes from the original show. The writing was natural and completely unforced. The plot--first of all, holy shit, it had a plot. It's so easy to be lazy with these types of productions and fill in time with references and callbacks and call it "writing". This was the opposite of lazy. And the callbacks and references that were included felt like a treat or a warm smile to fans who fondly remember this show we spent so much time watching. I mean, The Sad, Crying Clown in an Iron Lung? They didn't even say the words but they sprung into my head immediately when he appeared.
LOVE went into this episode. THOUGHT went into this episode. CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT HAPPENED. When was the last time you saw that in a special like this?
Without spoiling anything, the story felt like something the writers had in mind for a very long time. Events felt natural and organic. The central theme of the special, being "embracing change is the only true way to be happy", was delivered with a large dose of optimism and positivity through a happy and satisfying ending.
I have nothing negative to say about the special. I could make a critique about the jokes being juvenile, but that is more a reflection on how I have changed and grown, as they were exactly the same as they were 20 years ago when I'm sure that to me they were hilarious.