Rugrats is such an iconic television show to children of the 90's that Tommy Pickles probably has his face carved into the Mount Rushmore of 90's Kids Nostalgia right next to the Dunkaroos kangaroo and dreams of affordable housing. Fans of the show might remember the antagonist, Angelica Pickles, harshly as her character was essentially bratty-ness personified.
It's never okay to hit a child, but if you saw a kid like Angelica giving one of her patented spoiled tantrums out in public, it'd be difficult not to consider smacking the entitlement out the parents who raised her. It's hard to feel sympathy for Angelica as time and again she's thwarted the plans of Tommy and his friends with little to no remorse and little to no consequences. That said, I'm going to ask you to try because I believe that Angelica Pickles is one of the most tragic figures in all of cartoons.
To start we have to acknowledge just how tough Angelica's home life is. Yes, she comes from privilege as both her father and mother have high-powered jobs, but as a result, she spends most of her time at her Aunt and Uncle's home. Angelica craves attention, and there's no doubt that her antagonism toward her younger cousin Tommy is a result of jealousy as his parents, while not well off, are both home and engaged and loving. When Angelica's parents are around they give in to her every whim, showering her with toys and praise, but without actually acknowledging her. Angelica's mother, for example, is almost always depicted as being on her phone. It is said that part of love is providing boundaries and the fact that Angelica's parents don't give those boundaries, but instead, frequently give in to her demands for cookies, signals a lack of investment in their child.
But the saddest part of Angelica's existence is, despite constantly tormenting them, Angelica considers the babies her best friends. These babies are a year or two younger than her, which is a major gap developmentally since she's only a three year old at the time. It's no wonder that even into her teenage years in the All Grown Up! series, Angelica still isn't shown to have many friends. She has Susie, who is more of a "frenemy" relationship, and she has Harold, who is so subservient to her that you'd think he was bitten by a radioactive Simp. There's no doubt that if you were to project Angelica into her 30s, she would be a Karen amongst Karens, barking orders at waiters who forgot to add the proper amount of ice cubes to her Diet Coke and demanding that her Uber driver doesn't look her in the eye.
Again, it's hard to feel sympathy for a person so awful, but that awfulness comes from somewhere. Angelica's comes from a whole host of psychological issues she developed in childhood, and it's pretty wild that we were able to witness those issues develop within a cartoon for kids.
Support Dan on Twitter and he will talk about his life with you in lieu of getting a therapist. He also hosts The Bachelor Zone Podcast, where you can hear him give a sports-style breakdown of all things happening on The Bachelor.
Top Image: Klasky Csupo/ Rugrats