Rocko's Modern Life (TV Series 1993–1996) Poster



Richard Simmons once offered his voice and semi-likeness to an aerobics trainer in an episode during the first season.
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In the first two seasons, the diner where the characters always eat is "Chokey Chicken", which has a giant choking chicken as a mascot. In the third season, "Chokey Chicken" became "Chewy Chicken". There are many hidden sexual references in Rocko's Modern Life, and this was one of the more blatant ones. It was changed because the show is designed for a young audience.
Rocko was originally supposed to be colored yellow. The color was changed because a toy marketing company informed Nickelodeon that they were interested in producing a doll, but already had a character that was yellow. The color was changed to beige, and, after the pilot aired, Nickelodeon got rid of the toy deal.
Tom Kenny based the voice of Heffer off his nephew.
Jobs held by the main five characters:
  • Rocko: Mostly as a comic store employee, but has also spent time as a runway underwear model, a plumber's assistant, a "specialty-phone-operator" (phone sex operator), and an animator.
  • Filbert: It was established in one episode that the turtle is a professional photographer. He has also spent time as a lounge singer, a clerk for the DMV and an animator.
  • Heffer: Has had the most jobs including security guard, golf course greens-keeper, coffee shop barista, animator, and Chewey Chicken employee.
  • Mr. Bighead: Works for Conglomo as an executive in many departments.
Mrs. Bighead: Is a housewife who spent a week as a Conglomo top executive.
Kate Pierson and Fred Schneider, of the band the B52's, perform vocals for the second season opening theme.
The character Ralph Bighead is a slight homage to Ralph Bakshi, one of the greatest animators of all time.
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Tragically, prior to the production of the first season of the show, Joe Murray's first wife committed suicide. Murray believed he would create one season for the studio, move back home, and tie up loose ends but to his surprise Nickelodeon approved the show for new seasons, but only if Murray was "up for it". Murray's experiences with the studio and his shock at the success of the show were parodied in the season 3 episode "Wacky Delly."
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Inspiration for the show's characters:
  • Rocko's name is taken from the animal that he's based on: the rock-wallaby native to Australia. His personality is based on a wallaby that Joe Murray witnessed at a Bay Area zoo. According to Murray, the wallaby "was oblivious to the chaos around him."
  • Heffer's name is derived from the word "heifer," meaning a female cow that hasn't borne a calf. He is based on a friend of creator Joe Murray. This friend reportedly had limited social interaction and a voracious appetite. The design of his body was based on the shape of a hamburger, and his face, particularly his mouth, was based on the shape of a hot dog.
  • Filburt was created when Joe Murray decided that a turtle was best for an animal that was "afraid to come out of his shell." His name came from Murray deciding that he was a "nut" with a "shell that needed to be cracked," so he was named after the filbert nut, which is a species of hazelnut.
  • The Bigheads were inspired by two things: a couple of mean-spirited neighbors that Joe Murray grew up around, and the invasion of the cane toads in Australia, which led to ecological breakdowns. The latter of the two may be the inspiration behind the combative relationship between the Bigheads and Rocko, who of course is from Australia.
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The character of Ralph Bighead is voiced by none other than series creator Joe Murray. Murray had no interest in being a voice actor, but he was convinced by writer Martin Olson after Olson based the character on Murray's personality. According to Olson, the most humorous part of seeing Murray voice Ralph was when he had to scream "NEVER!" over and over again because, according to Olson, Murray never raised his voice to anyone.
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Charlie Adler based the raspy voice of Bev Bighead on the famously raspy voice of Harvey Fierstein. Adler has known Fierstein since 1984, when he was Fierstein's successor in the Broadway production and national tour of the play Torch Song Trilogy.
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The trivia item below may give away important plot points.

There is a banned episode of the series, called "Leap Frogs." The plot involves Mrs. Bighead feeling neglected by her husband as she choses to seduce Rocko in various ways. She invites him to "fix things around the house" in which she is wearing nothing but a bathrobe, attempting to be alluring. In a different scene she forces Rocko to watch a video on the mating habits of toads, essentially forcing him to watch pornography. Finally, Mr. Bighead comes home from work to see her still in a bathrobe with Rocko. Mrs. Bighead then kisses Rocko causing Mr. Bighead to learn about the situation. The episode ends with a heavily implied sex scene between Mr. and Mrs. Bighead, even featuring them removing their clothes and breathing heavily. The episode was considered too inappropriate for Nickelodeon due to its sexual themes and adultery, but is available of DVD releases.
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