I tend to say this to my friends but I firmly believe that we millennials grew up with the best cartoons. If you don’t believe me, I invite you to look at the cartoons that have popped up since we left our childhoods behind. Sure, the animations and the art has gotten better but the storylines that we grew up with were a lot better than the majority of what is out there for kids now. Ideologies and beliefs contrary to those of the Catholic Church are being introduced to little minds that are absorbing everything like sponges, making it harder for parents to fight the good fight against anti-Catholicism.
So, what’s a good millennial parent to do? Perhaps it’s time to revisit some of the cartoons from our childhood that were more wholesome and will help you teach your children’ a little about the faith. Enter, the Passover episode of Rugrats.
Why you should watch this with your kids
I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve yet to meet a fellow millennial who watched Rugrats and doesn’t remember this episode in Season 3. It was simply one of the best in the original series. If you aren’t familiar with it — or have somehow forgotten what it was about — the episode covers the story of Moses and the exodus out of Egypt. We get the entire Old Testament story through the eyes and imaginations of Tommy Pickles and his friends. While there are certainly some liberties taken and it doesn’t follow the story to a T, it will give the next generation a basic understanding of it. Parents can either read the story in Exodus prior to and/or after viewing the episode to clarify some things to their kids.
Nearly three decades later I can still picture and hear Tommy telling Pharaoh (Angelica), “Let my babies go!”
The episode does a great job and presenting the story in a way that children will remember. It has the right mix of fantasy for little imaginations and the most important elements of the true story. An example of this is the parting of the Red Sea. We get the main points of what happened and we see how Moses parted the Sea but it is done in a way that won’t scare the most sensitive souls.
Another good part is the idea of community and bringing together those of different or no faith backgrounds to learn about an important moment in human history. To quote Chaz, Chuckie’s father, “We’re not really Jewish, We’re not really anything.” It is a good opportunity for parents to teach their kids about sharing the faith with others.
Other highlights include seeing a bit about what is included in the Jewish Seder, getting a clear picture of the consequences to pharoah’s decisions, and the overall message of the story.
The most obvious flaw is that there is zero mention of God throughout this 20-something minute episode. Not a single one. It seems like everything that Moses does comes straight from him and that there is no other force behind the amazing things that happen. I’m sure this fact alone will make some parents really think about playing the episode for their kids. However, I think it would be another great opportunity for parents to teach their children about God and how important it is to have him in our lives.
There are also some things in the episode that are not in the Old Testament story. An example of this is when we see ambassadors from other countries like China bringing pharaoh gifts. While that’s obviously not in the Bible, it does show the power Egypt had at the time.
Other issues that can arise are the fact that Pharaoh is portrayed by a girl after Grandpa Boris waves off Angelica’s question about whether pharaoh can be a queen instead of a king as well as the lack of other important events in the story such as the burning bush.
What parents should prepare for
Be prepared for a lot of questions regarding the changes in what is portrayed in the episode versus what we read about in the Bible. Instead of looking at it as an extra chore that wasn’t included in the parenting handbook, look at it as a challenge that will not only help strengthen your faith but also help build the spiritual lives of your kids.
On a lighter note, be prepared to explain the pop culture references as well as references to other things unique to the Rugrats universe (e.g. Reptar cereal) which will go over the heads of little ones and those who aren’t familiar with the series but those can be explained.
The bottom line
Is this episode perfect? Not at all. Are there other cartoons that are more accurate in its depiction of the story of the Hebrews? Very likely. But don’t automatically dismiss it for its shortcomings. Maybe you want to wait until your kids are a little older to share the episode with them (so that they don’t get too confused by the creative liberties taken in the episode) but it would be a good way to show your kids a bit of your childhood while teaching them an important story in salvation history. The episode is easy to find on the internet. Enjoy!
Featured Image: Pixabay. Free for commercial use. No attribution required.