Tommy Pickles

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Tommy Pickles
Rugrats / All Grown Up! character
Toddler Tommy on the left, grown-up Tommy on the right
Tommy Pickles in Rugrats (left) and in All Grown Up! (right)
First appearance"Tommy Pickles and The Great White Thing" (1990; Rugrats)
Last appearance"Golden Boy" (2008; All Grown Up!)
Created byArlene Klasky
Gábor Csupó
Voiced byTami Holbrook (Pilot)
E. G. Daily
Information
Full nameThomas Malcolm Pickles
GenderMale
FamilyStu Pickles (father)
Didi Pickles (mother)
Dil Pickles (brother)
RelativesLou Pickles (grandfather)
Trixie Pickles (deceased grandmother)
Lulu Pickles (step-grandmother)
Boris Kropotkin (grandfather)
Minka Kropotkin (grandmother)
Drew Pickles (uncle)
Charlotte Pickles (aunt)
Angelica Pickles (cousin)
Ben Kropotkin (uncle)
Elaine Robinson-Kropotkin (aunt)
Sparky Pickles (great-uncle)
June Pickles (great-aunt)
Miriam Pickles (first cousin twice removed)
Mackie Pickles (first cousin once removed)
Edie Pickles (first cousin once removed)
Emmett Pickles (second cousin)
Hugh Pickles (first cousin once removed)
Dotti Pickles (first cousin once removed)
Timmy-Ray Pickles (second cousin)
Tammy-Faye Pickles (second cousin)
Tony Pickles (second cousin)

Thomas Malcolm Pickles is a fictional character, created by Arlene Klasky and Gábor Csupó, who serves as the protagonist in the Nickelodeon animated series Rugrats and later as a main character in its spin-off, All Grown Up!.

Character history[edit]

Development[edit]

The inspiration behind Tommy and the Rugrats series came from the personal life of animator Arlene Klasky. She conceived the idea for the show while caring for her then 15-month-old son, Brandon Csupó, and named the character for the son of fellow animator Paul Germain, Tom Germain.[1] As the series progressed, Klasky inserted more elements of her personal life into Tommy's character, such as being part of an interfaith family and being of Russian Jewish descent.

Family[edit]

Tommy was born Thomas Malcolm Pickles, the eldest son of Stuart "Stu" Pickles, a self-taught inventor specializing in children's toys, and Didila "Didi" Pickles (nee Kropotkin), a schoolteacher. Though Stu works from home, out of the family's basement, Tommy and his younger brother, Dylan "Dil" Pickles, are primarily cared for by Didi, who devotes much of her free time reading books on the latest in child development, hoping to raise her sons to be emotionally and physically healthy as possible. As Stu is a Christian and Didi is Jewish, the family celebrates religious holidays affiliated with both Christianity and Judaism, such as Easter, Passover, Christmas, and Hanukkah, but are shown to not regularly visit a church or a synagogue nor observe the sabbath or shabbat. His paternal grandparents are Louis Kalhern "Lou" Pickles and the late Beatrix "Trixie" Pickles and his maternal grandparents are Boris Kropotkin and Minka Kropotkin. He has a paternal uncle, Andrew "Drew" Pickles, by whom he has a cousin, Angelica Pickles, and a maternal uncle, Benjamin "Ben" Kropotkin, who is rarely seen or mentioned.

Description[edit]

With the exception of the aired TV pilot ("Tommy's First Birthday") and episodes featuring special occasions, in Rugrats, Tommy is always depicted as wearing only a baby blue shirt and diaper and talking in soft voice. Though Tommy is old enough to grow hair, as he's exactly one year old at the beginning of the series, he sports only a few strands of hair, the color of which indeterminable. He is white and through his mother, Didi, Tommy is of European Jewish heritage, her parents born and raised in Russia and later immigrating to the United States. At his age, he can only be understood by other babies and younger children, such as his cousin Angelica and his neighbor Susie, who are both three years old, and isn't able to communicate with his newborn brother, Dil, which frustrates him at times. Though the youngest of the babies, Tommy is brave and adventurous and it comes natural for him to serve as their leader, and, in stark contrast to Angelica, who frequently serves as an antagonist, he has a strong sense of justice and is unafraid to stand up for what he believes is right. Because of his goodhearted nature, he is sometimes easily manipulated or lied to. He is closest to Chuckie, as Phil and Lil, being twins, spend most of their time with one another and a strong familial bond. His catchphrase is "A baby's gotta do what a baby's gotta do."

In "All Growed Up!," the Season 8 episode that served as the basis for the spin-off series All Grown Up!, Tommy, now 11 years old, bears resemblance to both his mother and father, sporting Stu's palatinate hair and Didi's button nose. A nod to his childhood, Tommy still carries his toy screwdriver with him as part of his keychain. He has become less of a leader to his friends and more of an equal and while he still has a strong sense of right and wrong, he is sometimes hesitant to do the right thing for fear of being rejected or teased by peers, as is typical for an adolescent. He has remained best friends with Chuckie throughout the years, still encouraging him to step outside of his very small comfort zone, and somewhat critical of Dil, whose abnormal tendencies sometime embarrass or confuse him. He shows a strong interest in filmmaking, perhaps influenced by his encounter with Nigel Thornberry.

Appearances[edit]

Rugrats (1991–2004)[edit]

In Rugrats, Tommy, a year old, serves as the series' protagonist, with many episodes and storylines centered around him, his family, or the Pickles home.

The Rugrats Movie (1998)[edit]

The The Rugrats Movie is centered around the birth of Tommy's brother, Dil. Throughout the film, Tommy struggles with the sudden change in his family's dynamic and with accepting Dil, who, being a newborn, doesn't understand the concept of sharing, cooperating, or being nice as Tommy does, which Tommy finds to be incredibly difficult to deal with. Ultimately, Tommy comes to accept Dil at the end of the film.

Rugrats in Paris: The Movie (2000)[edit]

In Rugrats in Paris: The Movie, the film primarily focusing on Chuckie and the marriage of his father, Charles "Chas" Finster, to Kira Watanabe. For Tommy, the film sees his grandfather, Lou, wed his longtime girlfriend, Louise "Lulu" Jonston, and the arrival of his new friend, Chuckie's step-sister, Kimi Watanabe.

The Rugrats Files (2000–2002)[edit]

Tommy Pickles and the Great White Thing (2001)[edit]

The original unaired pilot for the series, Tommy, voiced by Tami Holbrook, investigates the bathroom to learn about the "great white thing," which is actually a toilet. As in the official pilot episode, is seen wearing a red shirt instead of a blue one.

Rugrats Go Wild (2003)[edit]

In Rugrats Go Wild, Tommy, along with his family, the babies, and the babies' families, are shipwrecked on a deserted island, on which they meet the Thornberrys. During the film, Tommy discovers a love of filmmaking and successfully films a three-toed sloth with the help of Lil.

All Grown Up! (2003–2008)[edit]

This series saw Tommy's final appearance, in the episode "Golden Boy."

Rugrats: Tales from the Crib (2005–2006)[edit]

All Grown Up![edit]

Personality[edit]

Similar to Susie's talent for singing, Tommy also has a new-found talent; making films with his camcorder (perhaps a residual trait left over 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").

Appearance[edit]

Tommy now has purple hair like his father, Stu. From season 2 onwards, his hair was changed to a blue color. From season one, he wears a white shirt with yellow sleeves. From season 2 onwards, 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 the screwdriver on it.

Love interests[edit]

  • 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 "TP + KF", it is revealed that Kimi carved their initials on the wall two years ago, and at the very end of the episode, it is also hinted that they both like each other when they both exchange looks as they left the house with a smile.

Reception[edit]

Tommy has been very well received, and is considered by some[2] 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."[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Emru Townsend. "Arlene Klasky: Birthing Cartoon Babies". Web. The Critical Eye. Retrieved March 6, 2013.
  2. ^ "The Greatest Cartoon Characters in TV History". Ranker. Retrieved April 9, 2019.
  3. ^ "Rug Rats Out in Force". San Jose Mercury News. November 22, 1998. Retrieved May 27, 2009. 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...