This week, Netflix is going to revive the old Nickelodeon series Rocko’s Modern Life in a one-of special called Static Cling, and according to an Entertainment Weekly report, part of the special will involve a storyline that series creator Joe Murray doesn’t think he’d have been able to get away with during the original run. The whole premise of the TV movie is that Rocko and his friends have been stranded in space since the conclusion of the original series, so when they return to the Earth they have to figure out where they belong in a world that has changed in their absence.
One of those changes is that the character Ralph Bighead, the child of Rocko’s neighbors in the original series and the creator of his favorite TV show The Fatheads, now identifies as a woman named Rachel, is estranged from her parents, and runs an ice cream truck instead of her old TV show. EW has a clip of Rocko meeting Rachel, and Joe Murray explained that his idea for Static Cling was to examine “how society has changed and what’s gone on in the last 20 years” and how the Rocko characters “would react to change.” Murray will also be voicing Rachel, as he voiced Ralph in the original series, and he says the decision “felt natural” because it was not just about the world changing but about “somebody finding who they are and making that courageous choice to go through that change.”
EW also points out that GLAAD’s director of transgender representation, Nick Adams, consulted on Static Cling, and he says Rocko and his friends “accept Rachel immediately; recognizing she’s still their friend,” and while her parents are a little slower, they realize that “loving your child should be unconditional.” Static Cling will premiere on Netflix on Friday.