As anyone who has logged onto Tumblr or Deviant Art knows, there's fan art for absolutely everything. And within that fan art, there are plenty of artistic takes showing characters as hip young adults sporting clothes almost too cool to exist in real life. (Show me a person who can actually pull off goggles. You can't.) The classic Nicktoon Rugrats was never known for being a glamorous or aesthetically pleasing show, but that didn't save it from getting hipster-ified by many now-grown fans.
Most people accept fan art as an inevitable side effect of media, well, existing. But others, like former Rugrats storyboard artist Eric Molinsky, have some beef with some of the designs.
As Molinsky explained on Studio360, the art itself is not bad, but might miss the point of the original inspiration.
"We referred to them as lumpy babies for a reason," he said. "If we ever drew the Rugrats as being too cute, our executive producer would scold us. We were supposed to emulate the style of Eastern European animators—many of whom were brought over, with their sly wit and husky voices (they took a lot of smoke breaks)."
To further illustrate his point, Molinsky went on to literally illustrate some of his own adult renditions of the "lumpy babies":
The depictions of Tommy and Chuckie are a little off from what we consider canon, but I think we can all be pleased to see Angelica following in her mother's shoes, and Phil's ducky tattoo. "The Rugrats did not all grow up to be fashion models or self-confident hipsters. Especially not Chuckie. They probably grew up to be average if not slightly lumpy looking people—just like their parents," Molinsky said.
What I drew resonated with people my age and I think that’s nice (the stories I came up with resonated as well, like how I imagined Chucky overcoming anxiety and depression through the art of slam poetry, but i guess to you that gets categorized as “self-confident hipsters” and I guess being self confident is bad??). What you worked on resonated with people, as evidenced by all the fan art and fond re-imaginings.
Regardless of intentions, it's always fun to see animators create artwork years after the show has been wrapped up. For more from Molinsky, check out his podcast, Imaginary Worlds.