Now it's two decades later, and to this day, the show continues to have a cult following. Around this time, Nickelodeon was also in the midst of greelighting 45-minute specials of some of their older shows, and Rocko was on the list (with Murray's approval) alongside the previously released Hey Arnold! and upcoming Invader Zim specials. Fully entitled Rocko's Modern Life: Static Cling and under the direction of both creator Joe Murray and Cosmo Serguson, it was finally released this year, but instead of being shown on Nickelodeon itself, it would be shown exclusively on the Netflix streaming service, which, in my opinion, was the best option, since the kids who grew up watching the original show are now adults. That, and no commercials, which is also a plus.
The special takes place after the events of the episode "Future Schlock", where Rocko, Heffer, and Filburt are still floating around in space for 20 years. They eventually get home after finding the re-entry button for the rocket to discover that O-Town has changed a lot since they left. However, it changed for the better, and more importantly for the worse for Rocko, as he finds out that his favorite show "The Fatheads" has been off the air for years. Not only this, but on the other end of the spectrum, Rocko's neighbor, Ed Bighead (voice of Charlie Adler), makes a huge mathematical mistake at his place of work, Conglom-O, causing them to enter bankruptcy. Both Rocko and Ed share their dilemmas, and they both come to an agreement on a plan to save Conglom-O and O-Town: to reboot "The Fatheads" with Conglom-O as its sponsor. To accomplish this, Rocko, Heffer, and Filburt go on a search to find the show's creator (voice of Joe Murray), while Ed stalls the Conglom-O CEO from making a mess of it all by making it without the creator.
Without giving too much away, I was looking forward to this with open arms. Though I would've preferred it to be a feature-length film instead of a 45-minute special that would've taken an hour time slot if it did air on cable TV, I still think this more than delivered on its promises. It has many throwbacks to the show itself (including the show's opening) that die-hard fans like myself could easily point out, while also bringing something new to the table, such as being up to date with today's issues and trends (i.e. vlogging, buying the newest smartphone, the fact that there is a big-chain coffee shop at every corner, etc.). However, the most important issue the special brings up is the subject of change and how, even as we grow older, change is an inevitable force, whether you want it to happen or not, and it really isn't all that bad. Also, if you happen to stumble upon this on Netflix and see that it's labeled as an LGBT film, there's a reason for that and it does add to the message of change, but I dare not spoil it.
The animation in this is spot on with the show, considering that Joe Murray himself helmed the project, though it is obvious that it was hand-drawn digitally instead of the traditional cel-based method used in the show back in the 90's. Regardless, it is well-paced, still impressive, and I could not see it any other way. The musical score is also a definite plus, complete with the inclusion of the famous theme song originally performed by members of The B-52s, and a nod to the original theme used in season 1. Let's also not forget that they managed to get most, if not, all of the cast from the show back to reprise their roles for this special.
All in all, if you are a Rocko fan as much as I am, you will definitely dig this Netflix exclusive, and though this was made strictly for the fans, younger audiences might also get a kick out of it. However, I do recommend those who haven't seen the original show, including those who have kids who haven't seen it, to pick up the complete series on DVD via Shout! Factory and watch that first in order to fully appreciate this special.