Comparing Rugrats, The Simpsons & Dragon Ball Z

The following is a study conducted by Carolina Hernandez T. regarding the similarities between Rugrats, The Simpsons and Dragon Ball Z. In Mexico, where she lives, Rugrats is popular among those with cable & satellite, while The Simpsons & Dragon Ball Z  (DB Z) is popular among those who only get their TV over-the-air.

6.1.3. Rugrats (Aventuras en Pañales)

This is the last program and it was chosen by the girls. They were different from the boys who chose between DB Z and The Simpsons, the girls had lots of different choices.

This program can only be seen on Cable System on the Children's channel Nickelodeon. (XHGC & XHTV televised Rugrats over-the-air in the past. On cable, it was also once-seen on ZAZ, but this was before Nick started up in Latin America. -- SM)

This program was created by Arlene Klasky and Gabor Csupo in 1989, getting inspired by their 1 year old son named Jason (from this kid is based Tommy). In 1991 the show began to transmit weekly until 1994 when it ended. In 1997 there were new episodes that haven't been televised yet in Mexico (unless you have a gray-market subscription to the US Nick -- SM).

This program, like The Simpsons is not a seried plot, it consists on episodes, each one with it's own story. The show mainly talks about the life and adventures of a middle-class American family, looked through the eyes of the family's one year old baby named Tommy. Besides this little guy, there are other kids like Chuckie (who is afraid of everything and it's the consience of the group and Tommy's best friend), the twins Phil & Lil (Tommy's neighbors that always back up Tommy on his crazy schemes) and the 3 year old cousin named Angelica whose hobby is to make life impossible for his cousin and company by threatening and lying to them.

Now, according to the survey I made, the kids chose this cartoon as a favorite mostly because it's very cute. Well, If we are speaking about a cartoon about babies, this is obvious. Like The Simpsons we could easily identify the things that these babies live with our own lives, because, I guess that all of us had to learn to walk, to talk, to use the potty, etc. In addition to this situations there are also the babies' behavior, so this shows is mostly the cuteness walking (but rarely falls on ridiculous situations). Another reason this show is popular is that it is very funny. Personally, I found that the humor in Rugrats is more or less like The Simpsons; besides the silly adventures these babies live, the show parodies the American way of life making use of ironies and sarcasms to public figures, festivities, etc., making this show funny even for the adults (some jokes can only be understood by adults).

I think is useless to say that this show doesn't touch the strong themes of The Simpsons or the sexual situations of Dragon Ball because these wouldn't make sense to its concept (divorced or alcoholic babies?). The violence case is the same, there's almost any violence (just some few arguments). The humor in Rugrats is more or less the same that The Simpsons, because it makes the adult world look ridiculous but not at the level of The Simpsons (where the kids almost hate his dad). I think this the most positive of the 3 shows analyzed.

6.2. Similarities Between These 3 Shows

After the analysis of these shows I got the following conclusions:

1. There's more similities between Rugrats and The Simpsons than with Dragon Ball Z.

2. First, the characters are not estatic in time, that means they have a past (the 3 programs usually make allusions to the past) and also have a future, meaning that they can grow up on a determinated moment, even if this doesn't happen during the series (in Dragon Ball Z the characters do get older).

3. The 3 shows make parodies to the human way of life (on Rugrats and The Simpsons mostly the American way of life).

4. The 3 shows have humanized characters (even if they are yellow or from another planet).

5. The characters live the most absurd things for their conditions (or what do you think about a 10 year old kid that has been a barman and as Australia's enemy? And about a 1 year old baby that make his kidnappers pray for mercy, stops a bank robbery and wins a girls' beauty contest? And about a kid with the power of 10 men and flies on a cloud?)

6. The bad guys are always stronger or inteligent or powerful than the heroes (like Nelson with Bart Simpson, Angelica with Tommy and Freezer with Goku).

7.  The main characters always have their faithful friends (like Milhouse with Bart, Chuckie with Tommy and Krilin with Goku).

8. There's always a kind pet (Santa's Little Helper with Bart, Spike with Tommy and Puar with Goku).

9. There's always a mother who cares about her chidren until the most absurd limit (Marge in The Simpsons, Didi in Rugrats and Chi Chi in Dragon Ball Z).

10. The characters weren't born from the rocks, they have family antecedents (parents, grandparents).

11.The most violent is Dragon Ball Z and the less is Rugrats.

12. On the 3 shows, the most important character is male (I think that in Rugrats and The Simpsons there are many main characters, but in Dragon Ball Z the main character is absolutely Goku).

13. In the "gang", there's always a powerful or inteligent woman (Lisa is inteligent, Angelica because she is older and Bulma because of her tecnology).

6.3.2. Tommy Pickles (Rugrats)

He is a one year old baby, with very little hair, twisted feet, barefoot and only wears a diaper and a blue shirt. Psychologically, this character is more or less like Bart Simpson because he is very impulsive; when a idea goes to his head there's no way to make him forget his idea and he doesn't stop until he profits it, and he never thinks about the consequences.

He also loves to be in trouble becasue he thinks that is his duty ("A baby's gotta do what a baby's gotta do!") and mostly to satisfy his curiosity or to help somebody (this adventures are product of his imagination which, like Bart's, is totally out of control) and there's no way to stop him, because he is afraid of nothing.

Well, actually there are 3 ways to stop him:

First is his cousin Angelica who always find a way to spoil Tommy and friends' plans.

Second is his friend Chuckie, who is like Tommy's conscience because he is always trying to stop a little his impulsive friend.  

And the Third one is Tommy's baby condition because that closes the access to many things for him, besides his parents always have him enclosed in a playpen, but they ignore that their son is the screwdriver master and always find the way to escape from the prisons they put him in. He is the most candorous human being in the world, overall with his cousin Angelica who is always cheating him with lies whose Tommy believes all or with threats to achieve what she wants or simply to see the babies suffer.

However, sometimes Tommy gets mad and face her. Also he is very noble, so noble that sometimes he seems stupid. In general this character was elected by the girls becuase he is very cute even that doesn't mean he is foolish like other cartoons. I think he is a cute version of Bart Simpson

6.4. Similities between the 3 characters

1.  The 3 are minors (In the case of Goku, only during the first part of the series, then he grows up).

2.  The 3 are VERY candorous (Bart Simpson less than the other 2).

3. The 3 are impulsives and they always get in trouble to achieve their objectives.

4. They are, in part, anti-heroes because none of them are "good as an angel"; sometimes they have their evil moments.

5.  The 3 are smarter in some aspects than the grown ups (Bart is ABSOLUTELY more intelligent than his father, Tommy has his moments and the same goes to Goku).

6.  The 3 have a "mortal enemy" (Bart's mortal enemy is Side Show Bob, Tommy's is Angelica and Goku's is Freezer).

7. The 3 guys are male (you got a conclusion?).

8.  The 3 are very cute or tender in their looks and in their temper (Bart Simpson sometimes).

9.  The 3 are very noble, though sometimes they are abused by people more cunning than them.

10. The 3 have a fantastic idol (Bart with the Radioactive Man, Tommy with Reptar and Goku with Shen-Ron) Do they suffer the effects of TV too? =)

11. As a drawing, none of them are very attractive (in my opinion), besides they have their hair vertical and the feet twisted.

Similarities Between Rugrats and The Simpsons

1. The mother wears a pearl neckalace and have a strange hair style too.

2. In both shows there are a pair of twins that think the same and often complete the other twin's phrase.

3. The best friend of the main character is a little "nerdy".

4. They live in a suburb like street and they have the garage on the right side of the house and even the same height.

5. Have you seen the Simpson's and Pickle's garden? DO they look very alike to you (the same brown yard for example).

6. Both kitchens are very alike too, look at the floor for example, the colors.

7. The father has a 1 day old beard.

Carolina Hernandez T. is also a webmaster of Rugrats by YOU, a website that YOU, the fan, help to build. Click here to visit.

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