“Rocko’s Modern Life: Static Cling,” Netflix’s revival of the ’90s cartoon, will include a transgender character.
In the 45-minute special, Rocko and his friends Heffer and Philbert return to Earth 20 years after floating around in space. They land to find that the world around them has drastically changed with updated technology. The gang also discover that their friend Ralph, the child of Mr. and Mrs. Bighead, has become Rachel.
Rocko is also shocked to learn that his favorite show “The Fatheads,” which Rachel created, is no longer on air. The gang sets out to find Rachel and convince her to bring the show back. They find that Rachel is now working at a “Fatheads”-themed ice cream truck.
“When I started writing [Static Cling], I really started latching onto the idea of change and how society has changed and what’s gone on in the last 20 years and the development of our characters and how they would react to change,” series creator Joe Murray, who voices Rachel, told EW. “It felt natural, because it was not only about change, about somebody finding who they are and making that courageous choice to go through that change.”
Nick Adams, GLAAD’s director of transgender representation, consulted on the Netflix special. Adams calls the episode “beautiful” and “hilarious.”
The original “Rocko’s Modern Life,” which aired from 1993-1996 on Nickelodeon, subtly touched on an LGBTQ storyline in the episode “Closet Clown.” In the episode, a clown must hide his clown identity from a town of clown haters.
“We were still playing by the rules, so to speak, and still trying to interject those situations [into the cartoon],” Murray said of “Closet Clown.”
“Rocko’s Modern Life: Static Cling” streams on Netflix on Aug. 9.
Watch the trailer below.