The following is an interview with Arlene Klasky & Gabor Csupo, the creators of Rugrats, published in a recent issue of Sorrisi e Canzoni TV, an Italian TV magazine.
(Interview by Giovanna Asselle. ©1999 by Sorrisi e Canzoni TV. Translation by and ©1999 Carolina Hernandez T.)
How is the world seen from the floor?. The answer comes from Arlene Klasky and Gabor Csupo, the creators of Rugrats, with an animated film, which is dedicated to everyone who has ever worn a diaper.
They communicate perfectly between them, observe the adult world from their "few months old" point of view, and live unimaginable adventures for their parents.
They are "Rugrats", literaly "marmocchi da tappeto" (or Rug-Rats).
They have over 23 million of viewers every week, the highest rating of any children's TV program in the US. Besides the series there are comic strips, home videos and other stuff of any kind. And now they have arrived to cinema. In four months the movie has broken the mark of $100 million in box office (180 million lire), beating any other animated film besides the ones from Disney.
They were born in the Klasky-Csupo home, who are now only work partners, but years ago they were married and have 2 sons in the tender age (in other words they are kids).
"My babies were my world, they brought lots of fun to my life and I wanted to mix their funny side with my work as an artist," explains Klasky. "I had the idea of adopting their point of view, how they see the world. And some time after I asked myself, 'If they could talk, what would they say?' For creating Tommy, Gabor was inspired by one of our kids: he had the feet obstinately turned to the inside, he was so clumsy when he walked, with those tiny, thin legs and a really big head without hair."
Like The Simpsons, another cartoon that Klasky and Csupo contributed to, Rugrats are part of a new cartoon world where multi-racial families that live in the suburbs exist: They are good and bad at the same time, the babies pee without inhibitions and the exhausted grown-ups collapse in front of the uncontrollable screams of their children. And it reaches mostly viewers under 10. "It wasn't our first intention to throw an educative message," explains Arlene."Whatever, in the film we introduced the topic of rivalry between brothers and gave it a positive ending because of our sense of responsibility towards the children: we didn't want them to leave the movie theater with an image on their minds of Tommy and Dil hating each other."
It has an exemplary ending, supporting the values of friendship and brotherhood. But without sugar (it's not a "fam" or "pink" movie).
"In U.S.A. cartoons were only for children; in Hungary, cartoons were directed to everybody," comments Gabor Csupo, who left Hungary in the 70's "With Rugrats we look for maintaining 2 levels on the script. We communicate with the children above all using the imagination, but we also introduce pop culture references and verbal jokes for the adults. The musical sequence of the newborns in the hospital includes a musical excerpt performed by Iggy Pop, Lenny Krawitz, Jacob Dylan..., a cocktail of musicians that's also enjoyable for the parents. There's also the movie parodies which were inserted as a game like Bambi and Indiana Jones which can also be enjoyed by children, or "2001, A Space Odyssey" and Schwarzenegger, which are not always understood by the children."
The picture has brought a wider dimension, where can occur more adventures, not only the domestical situations of the TV series, and gives more spaces to the dynamics between the main characters of the show by adding a new Rugrat. Meanwhile, Csupo anticipates, The Rugrats Movie sequel is now on production:
"New Characters, a great adventure, a trip of the whole family to Europe with big emotions".
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