Nickelodeon Needs To Make Another ‘Rugrats Chanukah’ Special And This 2018 Comic Is The Perfect Basis


It’s been 24 years since Nickelodeon first aired “A Rugrats Chanukah” and with a reboot just on the horizon, I say it’s high-time for another special inspired by the Festival of Lights. The original Rugrats was rather groundbreaking in the way that it embraced Jewish culture, which can seem idiosyncratic at times, without trepidation.

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The show’s decision to produce episodes centered around Chanukah and Passover was incredibly bold because neither holiday has the near-universal appeal of, say, Christmas or Halloween. Jewish kids who grew up watching these specials never forgot them (and continue to watch them every year) because a children’s network — one that probably worked hard to appeal to the widest audience it could — was willing to acknowledge a small portion of its viewers, affirming that while their religious observance was different, it was no less deserving of media representation.

Nickelodeon needs to remember that with the upcoming revival, which should totally make another Chanukah special based on Daniel Kibblesmith and Cullen Crawford’s C is for Chanukah. Published by Boom! Studios’ KaBOOM! imprint in 2018, the one-shot comic is a perfect example how the IP can distill centuries of Jewish tradition and folklore into fun and easy digestible content for consumers of all ages.

“The fact that so many people have such intense memories about the Rugrats Passover [and Chanukah] special[s] really reveals how little Jewish media representation there is for young kids,” Kibblesmith told me via email. “I’d love to see more Jewish holiday specials and the Rugrats seem like a perfect vehicle for it, because they’re babies and it’s built-in that they’re learning all the stories and traditions for the first time.”

What makes C is for Chanukah so exceptional is the unexpected plot. It could’ve been a lazy rehash of the original special meant to cash in on ‘90s kid nostalgia, but that’s not the case. When Grandpa Boris (Tommy’s maternal grandfather) sits the babies down to tell them the true story of the holiday, he accidentally recounts the tale of Prague’s Judah Loew ben Bezalel and his Golem. Staying true to the legend, artist Kate Sherron perfectly renders the Golem in all of its imposing glory, right down to the Hebrew word for truth (“Eemet”) branded across its forehead.

“It’s always fun getting to work on properties from my youth!” Sherron said. Rugrats in particular was a favorite of mine — I’ll always remember what a treat it was when I got to watch the show over at my grandma’s house, since we couldn’t afford cable at home. As an adult, it’s been a blast getting to find ways to celebrate the original while also infusing a bit of myself in the art, as well.”

Bringing a famous bit of Kabbalist mysticism into the equation turns the comic into a lively romp with deep roots in Judaism’s rich past. It’s not afraid to get a little weird as the titular group of toddlers (Tommy, Chucky, Lil, and Phil) imagine themselves as “Golem-busters” looking to use the lights of Chanukah in an effort to defeat the clay-born creature. Simply put: Kibblesmith and Crawford were able to concoct an inspired remix of Jewish tropes and traditions.

C is for Chanukah is a perfect introduction to the culture on multiple levels, which is why it would work so well in animated form. It’s also got an important message about acceptance and multiculturalism as Boris clashes with Tommy’s non-Jewish paternal grandfather, Lou over holiday traditions. Whether you want to see Reptar aiding the Maccabees or Phil and Lil arguing over who the Golem will eat first, this one has it all.

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Raymie Muzquiz, director of the original Chanukah special, isn’t too sure about the idea of revisiting a timeless classic. “Honestly, I am not excited by the notion of remaking ‘A Rugrats Chanukah.’ It nicely inhabits — at least for me personally — a time, a style, and a franchise from the past like A Charlie Brown Christmas,” he said.

A veteran animation director of golden age Nick shows like Rugrats and Hey Arnold!, Muzquiz is still on the fence about the reboot, which is being rendered with CG in favor of the original 2D/hand-drawn look.

“Remakes … mostly tread on and devalue the original shows that usually have earned their place in our culture and a fondness in our memory,” he added. “Sure, the remakes can be slicker, faster-paced, and [include] contemporary references, but this kind of revisionist history discounts the ineffable charm the original shows had due to their vintage limitations and aesthetics. Something is inevitably lost in a remake, so it better be loaded with loads of reasons and exciting new notions to legitimize being remade.”

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That said, Muzquiz is open to realizing “an animated Purim spiel” he once pitched to Rugrats’ studio, Klasky-Csupo. “My heart’s desire would be an adaptation of the picture book, Queen Ester The Morning Star by Mordecai Gerstein. The art is very inspirational and well-suited for animation. I particularly like the flat, pre-enlightenment tableaus that eschew traditional perspective, giving it a provocative art direction.”

Sadly, he never locked down the rights to the book “since there was no demand for my idea (the usual state of affairs).”

“A Rugrats Chanukah” is currently available to stream on CBS All Access.

Rugrats: Building Blocks, a paperback collection that contains C is for Chanukah, is now available on Amazon

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Libertarian candidate Jorgensen snaps at Nickelodeon for leaving her off 2020 elections graphic


Libertarian Party presidential candidate Jo Jorgensen snapped at Nickelodeon over the weekend after she was left off of a 2020 election graphic for the network’s “Kid’s Vote” segment.

In a tweet Sunday she accused the channel of being “complicit in indoctrinating our children that there are only 2 parties, even though there are 3 candidates on all 50 ballots and 4 who can get to 270.”

“What a shame for America’s future,” she added.

Her tweet prompted Fred Wellman, an adviser to the anti-Trump Lincoln Project, to tell her to “build an actual party.”

JO JORGENSEN’S BIG IDEA: A TRULY MARKET-BASED SYSTEM OF HEALTH CARE, LIKE LASIK SURGERY

The graphic was part of Nickelodeon’s “Kids’ Vote” informal poll, which the channel said it has conducted in the last nine presidential elections, beginning in 1988. It has coincided with the actual results in six of the last eight. In 2016, the poll did include Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, who garnered 11 percent of the vote – behind Hillary Clinton’s 53 percent and Donald Trump’s 36 percent.

The other incorrect prediction was John Kerry over former President George W. Bush in 2004.

Jo Jorgensen, the 2020 presidential nominee of the Libertarian Party, gives her acceptance speech during the 2020 Libertarian National Convention at the Orange County Convention Center. Jorgensen is the first woman to receive the Libertarian presidential nomination. (Photo by Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

In 2020, former Vice President Joe Biden won 53 percent of the “Kids’ Vote,” Nickelodeon said Tuesday, edging out President Trump’s 47 percent.

“Though kids are not of an age to vote, ‘Kids Pick the President’ is a platform where their voices do count, and they deserve to be heard,” Nickelodeon said in a statement. “And just as kids value honesty and fairness, so do we at Nickelodeon. Therefore, out of respect for kids everywhere and in the spirit of civic responsibility, we present the name of the winner based on votes cast fairly and within our stated guidelines of one vote counted per household device.”

JO JORGENSEN ON VOTING THIRD PARTY AND WHY AMERICA SHOULD BE MORE LIKE SWITZERLAND

The children’s entertainment outlet also said it uncovered “cheating” last week when more than 100,000 “bot-generated votes” flooded its poll, but those were detected and removed, according to the statement.

Roughly 90,000 legitimate votes were cast in the mock election.

Being left off the graphic on a children’s network follows another, more impactful oversight this election season.

Appearing on “Your World” with Neil Cavuto last week, Jorgensen said, “it was impossible from the start” for her to make the debate stage alongside Trump and Biden.

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“We keep hearing it’s two old rich White guys, but that’s the least of it,” Jorgensen, a psychology professor at Clemson University in South Carolina, told host Neil Cavuto. “The biggest problem is they both want to spend our money. They both want to make our decisions. Neither one has an answer to our crushing health care problem and neither one is going to bring the troops home. I can see why they don’t want me on stage.”

Fox News’ Charles Creitz contributed to this report.



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Nickelodeon sparks Spongebob Squarepants debate after Pride month Twitter post


Nickelodeon has sparked a debate over Spongebob Squarepants’ sexual orientation after a social media post celebrating LGBTQ+ characters and allies during Pride month.

Fans of the beloved cartoon character were thrilled when the network’s Twitter account posted a Tweet for June’s Pride month that read: “Celebrating #Pride with the LGBTQ+ community and this allies this month and every month” with artwork of Nickelodeon characters.

One of the images included SpongeBob SquarePants, causing people to speculate about his sexual orientation.

The other characters pictured— Schwoz Schwartz fromHenry Danger and Korra from Legend of Korra — are both known members of the network’s LGBTQ+ community.

While Twitter quickly came to the conclusion Spongebob was gay, others pointed out Nickelodeon didn’t explicitly say that.

In fact, the network just stated he was a member of the community, leading many to speculate he could be asexual — something the show’s creator, Stephen Hillenberg pointed out more than a decade ago.

“We never intended SpongeBob to be gay. I consider them to be almost asexual,” he said in a 2005 interview.

“We’re just trying to be funny and this has got nothing to do with the show.”

Unsurprisingly, some took issue with the announcement.

Others pointed out that the argument was ridiculous as Spongebob is, simply, a sponge.



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