In 1997, a turkey arrived at Tommy Pickles' house for an episode of "Rugrats." The hit Nickelodeon show shockingly had only one Thanksgiving-themed special -- appropriately titled "The Turkey Who Came To Dinner" -- over the course of its impressive nine seasons, which ran from 1991 to 2004.
In the spirit of November and all things Thanksgiving-related, I recently re-watched this pivotal episode because I mostly just wanted a legitimate excuse to watch "Rugrats" as an adult. I grew up watching Tommy, Angelica Pickles, Chuckie Finster, Phil and Lil DeVille and Suzie Carmichael -- who sadly wasn't part of the Thanksgiving episode -- deal with their complicated baby lives, but it's definitely been over a decade since I last heard that telltale jingle from its opening credits. (I can still hum the whole thing from memory, though.)
I was pleasantly surprised that "Rugrats" is just as entertaining for adults as it is for kids. Even better, as a grown-up I can now discern all the weirdly WTF things that happened on the show. Here's what's up with "The Turkey Who Came To Dinner," from season 4:
When the babies wore headdresses and Tommy...uh, what's that?
Cultural appropriation, ya'll. Also, where is Tommy's diaper?!
When the babies called Native Americans "Nakie Americans"
They have trouble pronouncing 90% of their words, and Chuckie does get naked in this episode -- more on that later.
When Tommy invited Angelica to the babies' Thankgiving dinner
C'mon, Tommy, you know inviting the evil Angelica isn't a good idea. But Tommy, wanting to get along with his cousin in the spirit of Thanksgiving, invited her anyway. Angelica's response? "I don't want to help you make your stupid baby make-believe dinner." Typical.
When someone delivered a LIVE TURKEY to the house
No big deal or anything.
When the turkey fell in deep, profound love with Spike
? It's a love story, baby just say yes ?
When Tommy invited the turkey to dinner, too
His logic in this case was especially adorable: "The Nakie Americans and Pilgrims looked different, but they made friends." D'aww.
When Grandpa Lou was thrilled about a wild animal on the loose
The whole reason the fam was in this predicament to begin with is because of dear old Grandpa Lou, who won the live turkey during a game at his senior center. He wasn't even slightly shocked when he discovered an empty "live poultry" box in the kitchen. Excited by the challenge of catching a wild animal, he adventured around the house looking for the turkey and pretending he's in combat.
When the dads created this absurd TV setup
Behold, everybody -- this is how you simultaneously watched multiple football games in the '90s.
When a small army of people was required to go to the grocery store...
...and they still didn't manage to buy a turkey.
This victorious woman bought the last one. She was outnumbered five to one by the Pickles crew, and she still won. SHAME.
When Angelica emerged from this encounter unscathed
Angelica tried to put on the perfect Thanksgiving parade. Her plans went awry during the procession, when Chuckie tripped, Spike ran away and the turkey literally slammed right into her. She fell to the ground, surrounded by supplies from her makeshift parade floats, then got right back up and continued bossing the babies around.
When the turkey quietly hid beneath this blanket
The babies made it their mission to hide the turkey, because they didn't want the big, bad adults to eat it. This turkey must've been domesticated or something, because it easily went along with all of the babies' quick-make-sure-no-one-can-see-this-very-obvious-bundle-of-feathers plans.
When the turkey let Phil put his arm around it
I'm surprised the babies didn't give the turkey a name, to be honest. They're clearly BFFs.
When the babies disguised the turkey in Chuckie's clothes
Chuckie got naked and the babies DRESSED THE TURKEY in his clothes. This sounds perfectly reasonable.
When Angelica's dad said this priceless quote when she held her breath to get her way
"Angel, don't. You're killing brain cells. Angelica, stop. Mommy wants you to go to Harvard." ?
When the babies tried to get the turkey to fly
They came up with multiple creative methods to get this flightless bird into the air. First, they tried running really fast with the turkey tied to a string, like a kite. ("I guess we know turkeys don't make good kites," Tommy observed after that plan failed.) Then, they tried using a seesaw to propel the turkey into the sky and over the fence, where I presume it would've gone on to intrude on the neighbors' Thanksgiving.
When Grandpa Lou tried to catch this bird in a net
When the turkey has had enough of this sh-t
Poor guy. He's been through a lot.
When the microwave exploded
When the aforementioned "we roll deep into the grocery store" clique ultimately failed to find a turkey, they bought frozen turkey meals and turkey franks to make up for it. Betty DeVille then shoved all the prepackaged meat into the microwave, set it to 10 minutes and forgot about it. That is, until it caught on fire and exploded all over the kitchen.
When the babies rallied together to save the turkey
Now that there was no food in the house that wasn't on fire, cooking the live turkey was the adults' only hope for a somewhat normal Thanksgiving. But when the babies surrounded their new friend, Didi asks everyone to let the turkey live and talks about the ~true meaning~ of Thanksgiving: giving thanks for family and friends. Everyone immediately hugs, forgets their squabbles and all is well with the world. This is a sweet ending -- it's a kids' show, after all -- but not exactly unrealistic IRL. Also, now the Pickles are harboring a wild animal at the request of their 1-year-old son. Totally normal.
When they all shared a box of Reptar cereal for their Thanksgiving meal because that's the only food left
Are you joking?! One box of Reptar cereal cannot possibly feed that many people. Also, where can one buy Reptar cereal? Asking for a friend.