Thanks to Netflix, Rocko’s Modern Life has returned with a special called, Rocko’s Modern Life: Static Cling. Will a special with the sole purpose of comparing the difference between the 90s and today produce enough entertainment or is there something else this special offers the watcher?
After 20 years in space, Rocko struggles to adjust to life in 21st century O-Town and makes it his mission to get his favorite show back on the air.
The joke about comparing what is different between the 90s and today is not the entire focus of this special. This is good as jokes about social media, coffee shops being around every corner, and smartphones can only go on for so long before they get repetitive. Instead, a much deeper message of understanding change and being able to cope with it comes forward. Rocko is unable to deal with all of the changes around him and yearns for nostalgia as a way to deal with the problems around him. His journey to reclaim this comfort yields a lesson on how not everything can stay the same and why it is important to adapt to change. The special offers a lot of material for a short amount of time.
One of the main elements released on the internet leading up to the release of the special is how one of the characters is Transgender. The use of the character’s transition and how those in the individual’s life now view them fits perfectly under the theme the special is trying to convey. Looking at change at any level, how it affects a person, and how it is important to embrace these elements with an open mind and with a level of flexibility is a very paramount issue facing society today. By showcasing the importance of being able to understand how change is necessary, may take someone by surprise, but maybe essential for a person to find their happiness is a powerful message to tackle in a comeback special. Yet, Rocko’s Modern Life: Static Cling is able to address it all while maintaining a level of dignity, respect, and authenticity. If this is what the creators want to use the series for moving forward than more power to them.
Rocko’s Modern Life: Static Cling looks exactly like the original cartoon did. It makes it a point in the special to showcase how computers are often used to save costs but this can lead to bland and cheap imitations of original products. Though the animation isn’t a masterpiece, by addressing the importance of retaining quality and heart, the artwork tells a story of its own.
Rocko’s Modern Life: Static Cling has much more to offer than a simple special. It captures the powerful messages Rocko’s Modern Life addressed when it aired on Nickelodeon in episodes like “Zanzibar” (which looked at the importance of saving the environment) and “Cruisin” (which tackled the importance of respecting the elderly). If this is the level of energy and depth which will be featured in more specials than by all means Netflix, give us more of them in the future.