Rugrats is one of those shows that will never get old. I find myself returning to my favorite episodes way more often than an adult man should admit, but there's just something about these extraordinary babies that continues to resonate with me.
Maybe it's their surreal adventures, or maybe it's their hilarious commentary on pop culture—from Barbie to Freud. More likely, though, the thing that keeps bringing me back is the astounding voice talent that gave each of the characters, including the adults, a quintessential identity. I can still pull out some classic lines at the drop of a hat, like Angelica's "If you have to ask, you'll never know," and I've gotta chaulk that up to the memorable voices behind the characters.
So, reminisce with me about these hidden geniuses, and get in the mood with the incomparable Rugrats' Rug Rap.
Now that you've been transported back to 1996, let's get to the revealing the actors who gave the legendary Rugrats cast their unforgettable voices.
Tommy Pickles - Elizabeth (E.G.) Daily
Yep, the leader of the babies was actually voiced by a woman! I remember it was always ambiguous whenever the credits would roll because the actress was always billed under the name "E.G. Daily."
Fun fact: Daily was once married to Rick Salomon, who is better known as the guy who made and sold Paris Hilton's sex tape. Now there's an image I didn't expect to associate with the Rugrats.
Chuckie Finster - Christine Cavanaugh
When I was little, I always thought of Chuckie as the scaredy cat that put a damper on all the adventures. Now when I look back and realize these babies were no more than 2 years old, I've come to appreciate him as the only rational one. Sadly, his voice actress Christine Cavanaugh recently passed away, but we still have the legacy she left behind as the adorable Chuckie Finster.
Fun fact: Cavanaugh must have had a thing for bespectacled redheads: she also voiced Dexter in Dexter's Laboratory!
Lil, Phil, and Betty DeVille - Kath Soucie
It was truly a family affair in the DeVille household! Kath Soucie pulled triple duty to voice Lil, Phil, and their wonderful mom Betty.
Fun fact: If there's a cartoon matriarch, there's a pretty good chance that Kath Soucie's voice is behind her. She's lent her talents to The Book of Pooh as Roo's mom, Hey Arnold! as Helga's mom, and Dexter's Laboratory as Dexter's mom.
Angelica Pickles - Cheryl Chase
Angelica—or as I like to think of her, the original Regina George—was the self-proclaimed "prettiest, most beautiful kid in the universe." She terrorized the babies, but probably always loved them deep down. Chase did a great job of straddling the line between precocious and totally menacing for Angelica's voice.
Fun fact: Angelica's doll, Cynthia, looks a lot different in her original form. It's suspected that Angelica is the one that gave Cynthia her distinctive hair-do by getting a little creative with scissors.
Stu Pickles - Jack Riley
Jack Riley provides the voice for good-natured but absent -minded dad Stu. Though I feel like Stu had the tendency to neglect the babies a bit (look no further than the episode "Toy Palace" for proof, when Tommy and Chuckie almost TRAVEL BACK IN TIME because Stu and Chas aren't paying attention), I will always love the guy for giving us this immortal reaction GIF that I use on a daily basis:
Fun fact: The show's creator, Gábor Csupó, served as the inspiration for Stu's personality and appearance.
Didi Pickles - Melanie Chartoff
Didi was the type of mom who anxiously referred to parenting books by Dr. Lipshitz whenever there was a minor problem, but then she would leave the babies in a playpen for hours on end. But, her full first name is "Didila," which may be the greatest thing I've read today.
Fun fact: In real life, it turns out that Chartoff, not Stu's voice actor, has found success in inventing. She apparently came up with the idea with Michael Bell for the Grayway Rotating Drain, a devise that recycles domestic shower and sink water. Inventors Weekly magazine even named her as one of the 50 most beautiful female inventors.
Grandpa Lou Pickles - David Doyle
For all of us kids whose grandparents became defacto babysitters, Grandpa Lou was a familiar sight. Between constantly falling asleep in front of the TV and describing wild stories from his past, I often felt like I was watching my own cartoon patriarch onscreen.
Fun fact: David Doyle played the original Bosley in the Charlie's Angels TV Series, a role that Bill Murray and Bernie Mac later brought to modern audiences.
Charlotte Pickles - Tress MacNeille
As a kid, Charlotte provided me with my first idea of the most hellish boss ever (kinda like Daria's Helen Morgendorffer), but I've since grown to love her taking charge in the workforce with her power suits and relentless steamrolling.
Fun fact: MacNeille has had the awesomely random opportunity of appearing in a couple "Weird Al" Yankovic music videos, including "Ricky" and "Pretty Fly for a Rabbi."
Drew Pickles, Chas Finster - Michael Bell
Who knew that dad pals Drew and Chas were actually voiced by the same person? I certainly didn't, but now that I think about it, it totally makes sense. Both these guys were doting fathers who had a habit of passing down their own idiosyncrasies to their kids, Chuckie and Angelica.
Fun fact: This one was just too awesomely bizarre not to share. Michael Bell is the godfather of Steve Guttenberg and gave him the inspiration to become an actor.
Dil Pickles - Tara Strong
Dil was a later addition to the Pickles clan, but I welcomed him with open arms simply because his name is a pun on "dill pickles." Dil was an exceptionally bright 5-month-old: on numerous occasions he's seen speaking, calling Angelica "yucky" and Chuckie "Chubbie."
Fun fact: Dil's voice actress, Tara Strong, is pretty legendary in the world of animated TV. She's best known for voicing my favorite Batman villain Harley Quinn in pretty much every incarnation.
Susie Carmichael - Cree Summer
Susie, the good-natured frenemy to Angelica, was one of the most stylish, ethical cartoons to ever exist. And she was only a toddler! Susie's voice actress, Cree Summer, has the kind of distinctive tone that appears in numerous TV shows, most notably As Told By Ginger as Miranda and Drawn Together as Foxxy Love.
Fun fact: There's a hilarious fan theory that proposes that the reason Susie isn't seen as much as the other kids is because her parents are actually watching her most of the time. Considering how mature and well-adjusted Susie is, I have no problem accepting this as fact.
Wow, after seeing all the faces behind the characters that defined my childhood, I think it's time for a weekend marathon session of the first four seasons. Sure, it's only been a few months since my last one, but I think we can all agree that Rugrats is the type of show that only gets better with age. I promise you will see A LOT more references that will shock you.
Were you surprised by any of the actors that brought some of your favorite characters to life?