I’ve always been a fan of Klasky and Csupo’s “Rugrats“. I recently subscribed to Netflix and have been going through old episodes. To my surprise, I have reaped much more enjoyment from this than initially anticipated, as I quickly caught on to a brilliant subtext undetected by my 8-year-old eye.
One of my favorite (and…well, relevant) of these statements came to life in the relationship of Betty and Howie DeVille, an aggressively gender-bending couple.
In the show, Betty, Howie’s wife, is often portrayed playing traditionally masculine roles in the relationship, while Howie resembles something closer to the expectations of females. Using the swap as leverage, the Rugrats writers make various–and seemingly inconsistent–statements about gender, our expression of it, and its role in our relationships. That Betty is commonly thought to be a lesbian is a nice example of the [problematic] conflation between gender expression and sexual orientation.
Do you have a favorite character that pushes the limits? Maybe I’ll write about them next. Spill it below.