Tommy Pickles

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Tommy Pickles
Rugrats / All Grown Up! character
Tommy Pickles.png
Tommy Pickles in Rugrats (1989, 1991-2004) (left) and in All Grown Up! (2001, 2003-2008) (right)
First appearance Tommy Pickles and The Great White Thing (1989)
Created by Arlene Klasky
Paul Germain
Voiced byTami Holbrook (pilot) (1989)
E. G. Daily (1991-present)
In-universe information
Full nameThomas Malcolm Pickles
GenderMale
Family Stu Pickles (father)
Didi Pickles (mother)
Dil Pickles (brother)
Trixie Pickles II (sister)
Kimi Wattanabe-Finster-Pickles (wife; in the future only)
Charles Pickles II (son; eldest child)
Dylan Prescott Pickles, Jr. (son; youngest child)
Relatives Lulu Pickles (paternal step-grandmother)
Lou Pickles (paternal grandfather)
Trixie Pickles I (paternal grandmother)
Boris Kropotkin (maternal grandfather)
Minka Kropotkin (maternal grandmother)
Drew Pickles (paternal uncle)
Charlotte Pickles (paternal aunt)
Angelica Pickles (paternal first cousin)
Ben Kroptkin (maternal uncle)
Elaine Kroptkin (maternal aunt)
Chas Finster (stepfather-in-law; in the future only)
Kira Wattanabe-Finster (mother-in-law; in the future only)
Marvin and Shirley Finster (paternal grandparents-in-law)
(see here for more)

Thomas Malcolm Pickles is a fictional character and the protagonist of the animated children's television series Rugrats, the reboot, and its spinoff series All Grown Up! . He is also the protagonist of The Rugrats Movie (1998) and Rugrats Go Wild (2003), and a major character in Rugrats in Paris: The Movie (2000), as well as other various Rugrats-related media.

Contents

In Rugrats, Tommy is a one-year-old baby and the leader of the show's other infant characters. He is inquisitive, wants to explore everything, and often breaks out of his crib and gets himself into unusual situations. Writer Steve Viksten said his adventurous personality was partially modeled after the actor John Wayne. All Grown Up! depicts a 9-years-older version of Tommy, who is now 10 years old.

Rugrats co-creators Paul Germain and Arlene Klasky have both claimed to have created the Tommy Pickles character, with both saying he was based upon their real-life sons. The character's first name comes from Germain's son, and he was drawn to resemble Klasky and her then-husband, fellow Rugrats co-creator Gábor Csupó's, son.

The character was voiced by E. G. Daily, who based her performance on a child character she had been developing since her youth. Daily voiced Tommy for the entire 13-year run of the Rugrats series, as well as the films, and returned to voice the older version of the character in All Grown Up! Tommy Pickles has been very well received by reviewers and fans, and as the central character on the network's top-rated program, he was considered pivotal in Nickelodeon's rise in the 1990s.

Character history

Family

Tommy was born as Thomas Malcolm Pickles, the eldest son of Stuart "Stu" Pickles, a self-taught inventor specializing in children's toys, and Didila "Didi" Pickles (nee Kropotkin), a schoolteacher. [1] [2] Though Stu works from home, out of the family's basement, [3] Tommy and his younger brother and little sister, Dylan "Dil" and Beatrix “Trixie II” Pickles, are primarily cared for by Didi, who devotes much of her free time reading books on the latest in child development, hoping to raise her sons and daughter to be as emotionally and physically healthy as possible. [4] As Stu is a Christian and Didi is Jewish, the family celebrates religious holidays affiliated with both Christianity and Judaism, such as Easter, Passover, Christmas, and Hanukkah. [5] His paternal grandparents are Louis Kalhern "Lou" Pickles, [6] [7] and the late Beatrix "Trixie" Pickles, [8] and his maternal grandparents are Boris Kropotkin and Minka Kropotkin. [2] He has a paternal uncle and aunt, Andrew "Drew" and Charlotte Angelica Pickles, by whom he has a cousin, Angelica Pickles, [9] and a maternal uncle and aunt, Benjamin "Ben" Kropotkin and his wife, Elaine Robinson-Kropotkin, who is rarely seen or mentioned. [10]

Description

In the original Rugrats series, Tommy is almost always depicted as speaking in a soft voice and wearing only a baby blue shirt and diaper, [11] [12] though he wore a red orange shirt and overalls in the aired television pilot "Tommy's First Birthday" [11] He is one year old at the beginning of the series, and has only a few strands of hair, the color of which indeterminable. [12] Unlike his other younger sister, Trixie (whom also got a orange hair like her mother and second older brother, Didi and Dil), he is white and through his mother, Didi, Tommy is of European Jewish heritage, with her parents being born and raised in Russia and later immigrated to the United States. [13] At his age, he can only be understood by other babies and younger children, such as his cousin Angelica and his neighbor Susie, who are both three years old, [14] [15] and isn't able to communicate with his newborn brother and sister, Dil and Trixie (whom they were born four to five months and weeks apart from each other) which frustrates him and more importantly Trixie at times. [15] [16] Though the youngest of the babies, Tommy is brave and adventurous and it comes natural for him to serve as their leader, [12] and, in stark contrast to Angelica, who frequently serves as an antagonist, he has a strong sense of justice and is unafraid to stand up for what he believes is right.[ citation needed ] Tommy is highly inquisitive, wants to explore everything, and regularly breaks out of his crib. He often uses a plastic toy screwdriver as a tool for escaping his crib and getting into places. [12] Because of his goodhearted nature, he is sometimes easily manipulated or lied to. He is closest to Chuckie, as Phil and Lil, being twins, spend most of their time with one another and a strong familial bond. His catchphrase is "A baby's gotta do what a baby's gotta do." [12] [17] Tommy’s sibling relationship with his second younger sister, Trixie is passionate, loving and dearly care to one another (unlike Tommy’s with Dil), the two Pickles siblings, Trixie and Dil also got into huge arguments and fights over their mother, Didi’s love and affection and attentions when all of sudden Dil’s older brother, Tommy, the DeVille twins, Chuckie and the adults always cooing over the third and final Pickles baby in the family which makes Dil angry and jealous.

The series All Grown Up! depicts Tommy and the other Rugrats children as middle-schoolers. Tommy, now 11 years old, bears resemblance to both his mother and father, with palatinate hair similar to Stu and a button nose similar to Didi. A nod to his childhood, Tommy still carries his toy screwdriver with him as part of his keychain. He has become less of a leader to his friends and more of an equal and while he still has a strong sense of right and wrong, he is sometimes hesitant to do the right thing for fear of being rejected or teased by peers, as is typical for an adolescent. He has remained best friends with Chuckie throughout the years, still encouraging him to step outside of his very small comfort zone, and somewhat critical of Dil and Trixie, whose abnormal tendencies sometime embarrass or confuse him. He shows a strong interest in filmmaking. In the first season, Tommy wears a white shirt with yellow sleeves, but from the second season onward, Tommy and the other characters expanded their wardrobe and began wearing many different outfits.

Rugrats

As the main protagonist of Rugrats, Tommy Pickles appears in the majority of episodes across the show's 13-year run, with many of the storylines centering around him and his family, and with the Pickles household often serving as the primary setting. The original unaired pilot for the series, "Tommy Pickles and the Great White Thing", revolved around Tommy breaking out of his crib to travel to the bathroom and investigate the "great white thing," which is actually a toilet. [16] The first aired episode of Rugrats was "Tommy's First Birthday", which was broadcast on Nickelodeon on August 11, 1991. [18] [19] It centered around Tommy first birthday and his birthday party, during which he and the other children believe that eating dog food will turn them into dogs. Some of the first season episodes featured such plotlines as Tommy journeying into a neighbor's house to retrieve a lost ball, Tommy making a mess at a fancy restaurant at his dad's work function, Tommy getting lost at the school where his mother teaches, [19] and Tommy wandering around the stadium during a baseball game, in which he ultimately ends up playing. In the episode "Weening Tommy", his mother transition Tommy away from using a baby bottle, which he resists. [20] Other episodes involved Tommy trying to escape from the doctor's office to avoid a shot, [21] Tommy becoming fearful after Angelica tells him his parents will give him away at a family reunion, [22] and Tommy developing a fear of getting sucked down the bathtub drain. [23] [24] One of the most notable episodes was "A Rugrats Passover", in which Tommy's Grandpa Boris tells the children the Jewish story of the Exodus on Passover. This leads the children to imagining themselves as part of the story, with Tommy playing the part of Moses. [16] [25] [26]

Tommy Pickles has been featured in several other Rugrats-related works outside of the main series. He is the protagonist of The Rugrats Movie (1998), the story of which is centered around Tommy’s mother, Didi who is now in labor and the birth of Tommy's first sibling; a younger brother, Dil (after Didi’s cousin, Dylan Prescott) and a few more months after Dil’s birth, Didi once again fell pregnant again and she, the Pickles, the DeVilles and the Finster families (along with Stu’s father, Lou and Didi’s parents, Minka and Boris) return to the hospital for the birth of Tommy’s second sibling; a younger sister, Trixie (after Stu’s late mother, Beatrix “Trixie” Pickles) . [11] Throughout the film, Tommy struggles with the sudden change in his family's dynamic and with not accepting Dil and his newfound love for Trixie, who, being a newborn babies, does not understand the concept of sharing, cooperating, or being nice as Tommy does, which Tommy finds to be incredibly difficult to deal with. Ultimately, Tommy still loves and cares for Trixie and comes to accept Dil at the end of the film. [27] Tommy Pickles is also featured in Rugrats in Paris: The Movie (2000), which is set in Paris and focuses primarily on the wedding of Chuckie's father, as well as Tommy's father Stu being summoned to the amusement part Reptarland to fix a malfunctioning Reptar robot. [28] Tommy appeared as the protagonist once again in the film Rugrats Go Wild (2003), a crossover of Rugrats and the Nickelodeon animated series The Wild Thornberrys , in which Tommy and his family and friends become shipwrecked on a deserted island, where they meet the Thornberry family. [29] [30] Tommy made additional appearances in the straight-to-DVD films Rugrats Tales from the Crib, which were released between 2005 and 2006. [6] In July 2018, it was announced that Tommy would appear in newly-planned Rugrats television series and a live-action film featuring characters rendered with computer-generated imagery. [31] [32] [33] Plans for the movie were shelved in November 2019. [34]

All Grown Up!

In addition to Rugrats and its related films and media, Tommy Pickles was the protagonist of All Grown Up!, which depicts him and the children from the original series as adolescents. The concept for the series derived from "All Growed Up", a Special episode of Rugrats that aired on July 21, 2001, to celebrate the series' 10th anniversary, which portrayed the original characters 10 years into the future. [35] Tommy remains the ringleader of his group of friends and his siblings, though he has now developed a strong interest in filmmaking and makes movies with a camcorder, [36] partially inspired by his encounter with Nigel Thornberry in Rugrats Go Wild.[ citation needed ] A few episodes have been made around this fact; "Truth or Consequences" revealed he made his first film at the age of 37 months, then making a negative film about his friends. The main storyline of "Brother, Can You Spare The Time?" opened with him mentioning recently winning a young filmmaker's award; and one storyline in the episode "Bad Aptitude" was about Tommy's sudden early retirement from filmmaking after making a flop and receiving an unfavorable (for his filmmaking aspirations) result on his career aptitude exam. However, he has not been seen with his camcorder since "The Big Score", when he was filming Lil at the soccer field.

In the episode "River Rats", Tommy was shown to be afraid of water, stemming from an experience during a fishing outing with his grandpa but Trixie (now 10 years old who will be turning 11) convinces Tommy to go fishing with their grandfather to do some grandfather-grandson time, which Tommy agrees with her. Up until early Season 2, after his and Dil’s sister, Trixie’s 11th birthday, Tommy was also either shown or mentioned as being part of the school soccer team, even trying to teach Dil how to play which is confuses Trixie in the episode "Fools Rush In". In “Valentines of lovin”, Trixie has developed a romantic feelings for a 12-year-old boy named Eric Jenkins but after convinced her entire family that Trixie is in love, they (except Tommy) accepts Trixie’s newfound romantic relationship with Eric by the end of the episode, Tommy accepts his sister’s relationship with Eric and accepts Eric into his family by the time that Trixie and Eric will get married after Trixie graduate from high school and University when Trixie turns 19. Tommy had his first kiss with Olivia (which makes Trixie jealous of) in the episode "Fear of Falling". After Trixie decides to keep her first older brother happy, He also develops a romantic relationship with a character named Rachel, who he meets in the episode "Rachel, Rachel" after they met each other at Hebrew school. It is also implied in the episode "TP + KF" that Tommy and Kimi Finster may have feelings for each other and Trixie and Dil accepts Kimi into the family while Trixie and Dil gain a future sister-in-law in Kimi but Tommy’s best friend, Chuckie saw a romantic connection between his best friend and his adoptive/stepsister and ends up jealous of them but Chuckie too accepts Tommy as his future adoptive/stepbrother-in-law if Tommy and Kimi gets married sometime after their graduation from high school and University. All Grown Up! featured Tommy Pickles' final appearance, in the episode "Golden Boy."

Conception

Tommy Pickles was one of several characters inspired by the real-life children of the writers and creators of Rugrats at the time the show was conceived. [17] Accounts have differed as to who originally created Tommy Pickles. Rugrats co-creators Paul Germain and Arlene Klasky have both claimed to have created the character, with both saying he was based upon their real-life sons. Both, however, say the character was named after Germain's son, Tommy Germain, who was one year old when Rugrats was created. [17] [37] [38] Tommy Pickles was temporarily named "Ollie" during the show's creation phase before being renamed Tommy. The last name "Pickles" was a name that Germain said "just occurred to me". [17]

According to Klasky, Tommy Pickles was first illustrated by Gábor Csupó, Rugrats co-creator and Klasky's husband at the time. [37] [39] The character and was drawn to look Brandon Csupó, the young son of Klasky and Csupó, [37] [39] [38] who Klasky described as "pigeon-toed, skinny legs, big head, no hair". [37] [39] Csupó has described Tommy as "a spoof on all little balding babies". [24] After Tommy was first conceived and illustrated, Klasky said the Tommy Pickles character was further developed by Germain in his capacity as the story editor, along with his writing staff. [37] Writer Steve Viksten portrayed Tommy as more adventurous than the other characters, and partially modeled the character after the actor John Wayne. Viksten wrote the line: "A baby’s gotta do what a baby's gotta do", which became synonymous with the character. [17] As the series progressed, Klasky inserted more elements of her personal life into Tommy's character, such as being part of an interfaith family and being of Russian Jewish descent.[ citation needed ] Tommy Pickles has been used in various Rugrats episodes to highlight and explore irrational childhood fears, such an episode in which he avoids using the bathtub for fear that he will be sucked down the drain. [24]

Portrayal

Tommy Pickles was voiced by actress E. G. Daily (1991-2008). The voice Daily conceived for Tommy was one of a child character she had been developing since she her youth, [17] [40] and regularly performed to amuse her friends throughout her life. [40] She described as "just a little boy character that kind of lives in me [that] wasn't derived from anything in particular." [17] Immediately upon first seeing claymation of Tommy Pickles, she felt that voice was the correct fit for the character, describing it as "the first voice that came out of me" and "the right kind of voice for that look". [17] Daily said of the character: [41]

The spirit of Tommy Pickles is definitely my own. I think that was my contribution — my version of my little boy Tommy. I just understood him. He’s genuinely concerned about people. He’s genuinely empathic and definitely has a little fighter’s spirit — a little leader’s spirit. He was just sweet, and I love that I was able to bring that part to him. The part I related to was just wanting people to feel safe. He has noble friend characteristics that I think are beautiful.

Cheryl Case had also auditioned for the part of Tommy Pickles and did not get it, but later became the voice actress for the character Angelica Pickles. [17] Rugrats was one of the first voice-over auditions in which Daily participated. [17] [40] She almost did not attend because she was having carpet fitted in her apartment and didn't want to leave the workers alone, but her agent encouraged her to go. [40] She replaced a different actress used in the pilot episode, and re-dubbed the first few episodes her own performance. Daily was pregnant and went into labor during the recording of one of her Rugrats episodes. She was having contractions between takes of dialogue, and delivered the baby not long afterward. [17] [40] [11] Daily voiced Tommy for the entire 13-year run of the Rugrats television show, and returned to portray the character in the Rugrats films and the All Grown Up! series. [6] Daily said it was initially a challenge adjusting to an older voice for Tommy in the first episodes of All Grown Up!, particularly when the voice cast was "just coming in and trying to define everybody and how they’ve grown". [35]

Reception

The character of Tommy Pickles has been well received. He is included on a Ranker.com list of the greatest cartoon characters of all time. [42] Jane Holahan of the Lancaster New Era wrote "All kids in America love Tommy". [43] Karen Hershenson of Contra Costa Times wrote in a 1998 article that "more than 23 million viewers tune in each week to watch Tommy". [44] The San Jose Mercury News wrote in 1998 that "Tommy Pickles is a bigger star than George Clooney." [45] Doug MccCausland of Alternative Nation called Tommy Pickles an "iconic character". [46] The Plain Dealer critic Joanna Connors described Tommy as "breakout hero" of the Rugrats series. [47] Associated Press writer John Rogers praised the character's fearlessness and longevity, and wrote during the show's 10 year anniversary: "Ten years ago, a bald-headed, bug-eyed baby wearing an ill-fitting diaper squirted milk onto a TV screen – and a new hero was born." [48] The Herald News declared Tommy Pickles the best character on the series. [49] The London Free Press described the character as "brave and caring". [50]

The Detroit News writer positively reviewed all the Rugrats baby characters but gave particular praise to Tommy writing: "Ya gotta love 'em, especially leader Tommy Pickles". [51] Patti Thorn of Rocky Mountain News praised Tommy, describing him as the show's most "level-headed" character, who deals with childhood issues and fears "with heart and humor". [52] Melanie McFarland of The Seattle Times wrote: "Kids love watching the adventures of Tommy Pickles and friends because they're funny and imaginative; parents love it because the stories ring true." [53] Los Angeles Times writer Paul Brownfield said Tommy and the other Rugrats protagonists have such longevity that they "will be adorning kids' T-shirts and lunch boxes for generations to come". [24] Jan Susina, Professor of English at Illinois State University, described Tommy Pickles as "the leader and voice or reason among the babies", describing him as "a cartoon version of J. D. Salinger's wise child, in diapers". [54] The Arizona Daily Star writer Phil Villarreal compared Tommy Pickles character to comic strip character Charlie Brown. [55]

Dennis King of Tulsa World praised E. G. Daily's vocal performance as Tommy, calling her a standout in a "stellar voice cast". [56] In an otherwise negative review of The Rugrats Movie, Bob Hicks of The Oregonian singled out Tommy Pickles as one of the movie's strengths. He described him as an "appealing character" and "a kid who is sweet, brave, practical and morally engaged". [57] A Tampa Bay Times article by Babita Persaud noted that child viewers of Rugrats particularly admired Tommy's courage. [58] In a lukewarm review for "All Growed Up", the episode that later inspired the series All Grown Up!, Kimberly Click of Boston Herald noted that while most of the other characters are basically the same as their original incarnations in Rugrats, Tommy Pickles is "the only one that has matured". [59] Fort Worth Star-Telegram writer Amanda Rogers noted that Tommy maintained aspects of his original goofy personality in All Grown Up! [60] When Carlotta Harrell ran for State School Superintendent of Georgia in 2006, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution asked her what television character she identified with the most, and she replied Tommy Pickles because "he is respected by his peers because of his leadership abilities and judgment when making decisions". [61] Tommy and the other babies of Rugrats have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the only characters from a Nickelodeon series to hold that honor. [11] [62] The star was added on June 28, 2001, and costumed characters of Tommy Pickles and other Rugrats babies were present for the ceremony. [62]

Not all reviews of Tommy Pickles were entirely positive. Sarasota Herald-Tribune writer Philip Booth called the character "likable" but suggested he may not be a good role model for children. [63] Kayla Cobb of Decider.com , who was critical of the Rugrats series, said she believed the show was too redundant because every episode revolved around Tommy deciding to "go on some huge adventure based on some flimsy premise", which inevitably led to problematic situations. [64] In a mixed review of The Rugrats Movie, Daily Herald writer Dann Gire wrote that Tommy "looks like a fetal form of Mr. Magoo". [65] In a review of "All Growed Up", Houston Chronicle writer Lana Berkowitz said the Tommy Pickles character worked better as a baby than an adolescent, writing: "Although Tommy Pickles could be an interesting match for Doug 's Patti Mayonnaise in another dimension, it's a relief when the kids zap back to babyhood at the end of this fantasy. Daring Tommy plays better in baggy diapers." [66]

Merchandise

Mattel has released a doll of Tommy Pickles that can sing. [24]

Further reading

Related Research Articles

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Rugrats is an American animated children's television series created by Arlene Klasky, Gábor Csupó, and Paul Germain for Nickelodeon. The show focuses on a group of toddlers most prominently—Tommy, Chuckie, twins Phil and Lil, and Angelica—and their day-to-day lives, usually involving life experiences that become much greater adventures in the imaginations of the main characters.

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All Grown Up! is an American half hour animated television series that aired on Nickelodeon. The series was created by Arlene Klasky, Gábor Csupó, and Paul Germain, and it is a continuation of their children's show Rugrats. It explores the daily lives of protagonist Tommy Pickles and his childhood friends, now adolescents. The concept for the series was based on the episode "All Growed Up", which served as the series' 10th anniversary special and proved successful with audiences. The series ran from April 12, 2003, to August 17, 2008, for a total of five seasons, and featured voice actors from the original series. Several episodes also feature Tommy and his friends back when they were babies in flashbacks.

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References

Citations

  1. Lord, Emma (November 6, 2017). "How Old Are The Rugrats' Parents? It Turns Out They Were A Lot Younger Than Most Of Us Thought". Bustle . Archived from the original on February 5, 2020. Retrieved February 4, 2020.
  2. 1 2 Jefferson 1998 , p. 5
  3. Jefferson 1998 , p. 23
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