We live in a nostalgic world. Stranger Things’s whole appeal is being a remix of all the best bits of ’80s media. Cuphead, a love letter to the golden age of animation, has come full circle by becoming a cartoon of its own. Now, after a painfully proacted development, Netflix is bringing back Nickolodeon’s cult hit Rocko’s Modern Life for a one-off TV movie, Static Cling, on August 9th.
Static Cling sees main characters Rocko, Heffer, and Philbert returning to earth after twenty years in space, and promptly returning to the mockery of consumerism that always defined the show. Some of its given targets, like iPhones and energy drinks, seem slightly dated – but the other side of that is the main characters getting over the fish-out-of-water culture shock from being absent for two decades.
The teaser itself seems well aware of the nostalgia value the film’s trading on, with the inhabitants of O-Town champing at the bit for Rocko’s return after a lengthy hiatus, much like the real-life fandom.
While this revival may have been three years in the works, they are at least doing it properly, bringing back creator Joe Murray and original voice cast Carlos Alazraqui, Tom Kenny, Doug Lawrence, Charlie Adler, and Linda Wallem. These old hands are joined by Steve Little, whose previous work includes any number of minor roles on Adventure Time, a show which was fairly brazen about targeting the kind of nostalgic cartoon fans that this project’s going for. Part of the enduring appeal of Rocko’s Modern Life was that it didn’t just appeal to the children who made up Nickolodeon’s natural audience, but also to teens and the college crowd – joining shows like Ren And Stimpy and The Simpsons in being able to bridge that gap and provide something for everyone.