"Tommy Pickles and The Great White Thing" (1989/1990)
|Last appearance||All Grown Up!
"Golden Boy" (2008)
|Voiced by||Tami Holbrook (Pilot)
|Relatives||Parents: Stu and Didi
Uncle: Drew Pickles
Aunt: Charlotte Pickles
Cousin: Angelica Pickles
Grandparents: Lou Pickles, Trixie Pickles, Boris Kropotkin and Minka Kropotkin
Step-grandmother: Lulu Pickles
Thomas "Tommy" Pickles is a fictional character that appears in the Nickelodeon animated television series Rugrats and its spin-off All Grown Up! as the protagonist of the shows. He is voiced by E.G. Daily and first appeared on television in the Rugrats pilot episode "Tommy Pickles and the Great White Thing". Tommy was created by Arlene Klasky and designed by Gábor Csupó. Klasky was taking care of her fifteen-month-old son when the idea of a show about a one-year-old's point of view came to her, the day before she, Csupó, and Paul Germain were scheduled to pitch a show to Nickelodeon for their Nicktoons series. The character is named after Germain's son.
Tommy is the eldest son of Stu and Didi, and the brother of Dil. Tommy's most prominent character traits are his bravery, kindess, and loyalty. He has appeared in other media relating to Rugrats, including video games, films, and comic strips. Hallmarks of the character include his all-purpose screwdriver and his catchphrases "A baby's gotta do what a baby's gotta do!" and "Hang on to your diapies babies, we're going in."
In the unaired and released on DVD Rugrats pilot episode, Tommy was voiced by Tami Holbrook. In all other media, he is voiced by actress/singer Elizabeth Daily.
Tommy is bald and admired amongst his playmates for his great bravery, kindness, loyalty, and adventurous nature, effectively encouraging others to partake in expeditions of the world around them and coaxing them from cowardice, most notably Chuckie Finster, Tommy's best friend. However, it is often his misinterpretations of adult conversation, the workings of different devices, or intentions of others around him that provide the Rugrats with a goal to seek as the plot of the episode. He remains faithful in friendships and his brotherhood with baby Dil, the youngest of the infants, ensuring that everyone else's hopes and fears are achieved or overcome or assisting them in accomplishing their wishes. He is quite intelligent, giving, and kindhearted, and was characterized by great determination and leadership. He also abhors his spoiled cousin Angelica's deceptions against the children and her constant bullying, although he may or may not necessarily succumb to her lies always or be one of the first to show skepticism against them. However, Tommy's childlike curiosity often may entangle the babies in mischief unknowingly. He's sometimes bossy.
In the Rugrats films
Tommy is a main character of the movie. He and his friends are playing Okey Dokey Jones (a parody of Indiana Jones) at the beginning of the film. He gets a new baby brother, however, he thought he was getting a sister and while his mother is giving birth he and his friends go through the hospital to "find her". However, when Didi gives birth, the baby turns out to be male. His friends (Lil and Phil) plan to take Dil back to the baby store or "hopsical" (hospital). Tommy does not want Phil and Lil DeVille to take Dil to the hospital because his mom and dad want to keep him. Slowly through the movie, his complete diaper falls down. He realizes that Dil is a bad, naughty baby (hogging the blanket, not cooperating, drinking up all their milk) and takes a jar of banana baby food, holding it above Dil's head. About to pour the food on Dil, he stops himself, holds him close and apologizes. As they become loving brothers, Tommy sings Dil a lullabye and they slowly fall asleep. Before the film ends, Dil decides to share his bottle with his big brother, Tommy.
Tommy is also a main character along with Chuckie and the others. In the opening moments of the film, he and Dil are at Grandpa Lou's wedding. He is angry because someone took Dil's pacifier and buried it in the sandbox (although he mentions that the park is his favorite place). Despite being a major character, this is his most prominent moment in the film as Chuckie is the central focus. He and the other Rugrats help Chuckie find his new mother.
After the Pickles, DeVilles, & Finsters are shipwrecked on a deserted island, rather than on a fancy cruise thanks to Stu, Tommy decides that they should look for Nigel Thornberry (as he says Nigel Strawberry), to help them get home. They eventually do, but Nigel develops amnesia and thinks that he is a toddler. This is a crossover animated film of Rugrats and The Wild Thornberrys. He aims to be just like his hero, Nigel, as he pretends to be him and "captures film" of a three-toed sloth. Lil, being the camerawoman and Chuckie, the director, and others spot a Siberian tiger (in their words Siferian tiger). As they all, except Tommy, get away in the jeep, the tiger bites at Tommy's diaper until it snaps. Thus, sending them into the river, where they encounter a "Crocagator" and escape it with a chew toy. In the final scene, the families unite and Tommy decides to be like his father when he gets older.
All Grown Up!
Similar to Susie's talent for singing, Tommy also has a newfound talent: making films with his camcorder (perhaps a residual trait leftover from wanting to be like Nigel). A few episodes have been made around this fact: "Truth or Consequences" (first US tx: November 30, 2003), revealed he made his first film at the age of 37 months, then making a negative film about his friends. The main storyline of "Brother, Can You Spare The Time?" (first US tx: January 17, 2004) opened with him mentioning recently winning a young filmmaker's award; and one storyline in the episode "Bad Aptitude" (first US tx: June 4, 2004) was about Tommy's sudden early retirement from filmmaking after making a flop and receiving an unfavorable (for his filmmaking aspirations) result on his career aptitude exam. However, he has not been seen with his camcorder since "The Big Score" (first US tx: April 25, 2005), when he was filming Lil at the soccer field.
In the episode "Thief Encounter" (first US tx: December 6, 2003), he was discovered to be stealing goods and the flamingo statue from around the neighborhood, but that was because he was sleep walking with the flamingo statue; in "River Rats" (first US tx: December 13, 2003), he was shown to be afraid of water, stemming from an experience during a fishing outing with his grandpa; in "Dude, Where's My Horse?" (first US tx: July 16, 2005), he was the worst cowboy out of the regulars always roping up Lil.
Up until early Season 2, Tommy was also either shown or mentioned as being part of the school soccer team, even trying to teach Dil how to play ("Fools Rush In", first US tx: June 5, 2004). Lately (more specifically since the episode "The Big Score"), however, all the focus on soccer has involved only Phil and Lil DeVille. He had his first kiss with Olivia (who looks like Angelica Pickles in episode 26, "Fear of Falling"). Also it is shown that he does have a crush on his friend Kimi Finster in the episode "TP + KF".
Tommy now has purple hair like his father, Stu. From season 2 onwards, his hair was changed to a blue color. For season one, he wears a white shirt with Yellow sleeves. For later seasons, Tommy (like most characters) expanded his wardrobe and began wearing many different outfits. He still keeps his screwdriver he had as a baby in his pocket. More recently, he had a keychain with a screwdriver on it.
- Olivia: Tommy meets Olivia for the only time whilst on vacation in the episode "Fear of Falling". After she develops a huge crush on Tommy, he spends nearly all his time with her and she eventually provides him with his first kiss.
- Rachel: Tommy fell deeply in love with Rachel in the episode "Rachel, Rachel" after they met each other at Hebrew school. They were both there to prepare for their respective Bar and Bat Mitzvahs. They soon became official boyfriend and girlfriend before breaking up in the final season episode "All Broke Up" due to Rachel moving away. In "All Broke Up", Tommy also shows an interest in another girl called Nida, which is interrupted by Rachel who unexpectedly decided to surprise him. Even though she broke up with him again in the episode, off-screen events in the episode "Golden Boy" imply that the two have decided to patch things up with each other and Rachel realised that Tommy's behaviour was because he was unsure what he was feeling at the time.
- Kimi Finster: In the episode "TP + KF", it is shown that Tommy might have feelings for Kimi and vice versa. It is revealed in that episode that Kimi had written TP + KF on her garage wall. Kimi was sometimes Tommy's girlfriend and love interest.
Tommy has been very well received, and is considered by some to be one of the greatest cartoon characters of all time. The San Jose Mercury News wrote in 1998 that "Tommy Pickles is a bigger star than George Clooney."
- Emru Townsend. "Arlene Klasky: Birthing Cartoon Babies". Web. The Critical Eye. Retrieved March 6, 2013.
- "Rug Rats Out in Force". San Jose Mercury News. November 22, 1998. Retrieved 2009-05-27. "If lines outside a theater mean anything, Tommy Pickles is a bigger star than George Clooney. Although Clooney, ER's heart-throb, repeatedly has failed to make the leap from boob tube to big screen, Tommy and his little cartoon pals from one of America's top TV kiddie show, Rugrats, had hundreds of wiggly, squirmy kids waiting impatiently Saturday to see their favorites in a venue where the popcorn comes in bags and..."