After spending two decades in space, Rocko and the gang are returning to earth in Rocko’s Modern Life: Static Cling. In the 45-minute feature premiering on Netflix August 9th, Rocko, Heffer, and Filburt must contend with cell phones, Buzzbucks, and other cultural complications that have become more prominent since the show left Nickelodeon in the ’90s.
One of the discoveries made by Rocko after he returns to O-Town in Static Cling is that the character Rachel Bighead is a trans woman. Rocko’s Modern Life creator Joe Murray reprises the role of Rachel, the estranged daughter of Ed and Bev Bighead.
Rachel’s first appearance was in the 1994 episode “I Have No Son” (where she was called by her deadname, Ralph, or simply her initials, R.B.). In that episode, Rocko discovered that the cartoonist behind his favorite TV show, Meet the Fatheads, was related to his next-door neighbors, the Bigheads. Rocko and Filburt travel to Hollowood, where they discover that a rift formed between Rachel and her father when she declined to follow his footsteps by working at Conglom-O.
The second episode from the original run of the series that featured Rachel was 1996’s “Wacky Delly.” After 893 episodes of the Fatheads, Rachel is ready to retire and work on her personal dream project: the world’s largest still life. Unfortunately, her contract stipulates that she owes the studio a pilot for a follow-up series. Desperate to get out of her contractual obligation, she hires Rocko, Heffer, and Filburt to produce the series, expecting that their efforts will get her fired.
While queer representation in all-ages entertainment is essential, it can be harmful when poorly executed. The creators of Static Cling worked with Nick Adams, the director of transgender media and representation at GLAAD, to ensure that Rachel was portrayed accurately and respectfully.
Initially, Static Cling was headed to Nickelodeon, but it was announced during a Viacom quarterly earnings conference call in May that both the Rocko’s Modern Life follow-up feature and Invader ZIM: Enter the Florpus would be released on Netflix, instead.
Static Cling will premiere on Netflix on Friday, August 9.