Rugrats now has more diverse representation upon its revival at Paramount+, as Phil and Lil’s mom Betty DeVille will be depicted as an out gay woman in the new take on the Nickelodeon cartoon series. Though the original voice cast will be back to voice Tommy Pickles and the other babies, all of the adult characters have new actors in the roles. Voicing Betty this time around is queer actor Natalie Morales, who spoke about the change to the character in a statement given to A.V. Club.
“I think any representation for the community is important,” Natalie Morales said. “Betty is a single mom with her own business who has twins and still has time to hang out with her friends and her community, and I think it’s just so great because examples of living your life happily and healthily as an out queer person is just such a beacon for young queer people who may not have examples of that.
The statement goes on to add: “And yeah, Betty is a fictional cartoon, but even cartoons were hugely influential for me as a kid and if I’d been watching Rugrats and seen Betty casually talking about her ex-girlfriend, I think at least a part of me would have felt like things might be okay in the future.”
Both a revival and a reboot, the new Rugrats brings back the same characters looking similar to how they have before, but with CG animation. In the original series, Betty DeVille was voiced by Kath Soucie, who also voiced both of her twin babies, Phil and Lil. Though Morales now voices the role of Betty, Soucie is back as Phil and Lil for the revival. Also back are E.G. Daily (Tommy Pickles), Nancy Cartwright (Chuckie Finster), Cheryl Chase (Angelica Pickles), and Cree Summer (Susie Carmichael).
Along with Morales, the new voice cast for the adults includes Tommy Dewey (Stu Pickles), Ashley Rae Spillers (Didi Pickles), Anna Chlumsky (Charlotte Pickles), Timothy Simons (Drew Pickles), Tony Hale (Chas Finster), Michael McKean (Lou Pickles), Nicole Byer (Dr. Lucy Carmichael), and Omar Benson Miller (Randy Carmichael). In the original series, Betty was married to Phil and Lil’s father Howard (Phil Proctor). As of this point, Howard doesn’t have a presence on the Paramount+ revival series.
Paramount’s revival comes three decades after the original Rugrats premiered on Nickelodeon in 1991. Created by Arlene Klasky, Gabor Csupo, and Paul Germain, the series follows a group of babies embarking on imaginative adventures around the house while their parents are preoccupied. The show ultimately ran for nine seasons before concluding its run in 2004. It also spawned the spinoff series All Grown Up! Along with multiple theatrical movie adaptations in 1998, 2000, and 2003.
The new Rugrats is now streaming on Paramount+ as of May 27. When the revival series was first announced, it was also reported that a live-action movie adaptation would also be made. The project would eventually get pulled from the release schedule with no new word on its development. This news comes to us from A.V. Club.
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