A Rugrats Chanukah was debuted in Nickelodeon on December 4, 1996, almost 1 year after Weinerville's Hanukkah Special. Since Arlene Klasky was Jewish, it made sense for her to conduct an idea for a Rugrats Hanukkah special. The Nickelodeon executives wanted to have this special released in 1992, but eventually, it was changed into The Rugrats Passover Special in 1995. After the success of that special, Klasky decided to revisit the idea of a Hanukkah special once again with the script written by David Weiss and J. David Stem, the storyboard writers of Rugrats. So does this special give us that warm, fuzzy Hanukkah feeling 16 years later or has the oil burned out long ago? This is A Rugrats Chanukah.
We start with Minka reading the origins of Hanukkah to the babies. We see it in their perspectives with them acting out as the characters from the story. Tommy, playing Judah the Macabee, is seeing the new king of Greece forcing the Jewish babies to do what he wants them to do by reading Plato instead of the Torah, wearing togas instead of robes, and worshiping a god that looks like Cynthia. Then afterwards Tommy puts together an army and fight against the evil king and his soldiers.
As time goes on, we then cut back into reality where the real plot begins. Boris is performing a play at the Jewish synagogue, but he's jealous of his old rival Schlomo when he makes it in the front page of the newspaper. Boris always felt that Schlomo was trying to outdo him with the fact that he chose a successful pants business over having a family and is constantly bragging about it. Meanwhile Tommy is confused to what is going on in the household: they're eating pancakes (latkes) at night, he wears a funny hat (yarmarkle), there's a weird candle holder on top of the TV (the menorah), and he gets a present every night. Angelica explains about Chanukkah to them, but not in a good way. She tells them that that's when all the good TV specials are on. She's eager to watch a Cynthia Christmas special, but unfortunately they leave for the play at the synagogue. Stu is working on a menorah for the play and Boris talks about what was the true meaning of Hanukkah. The babies confuse it for the "meanie" of Hanukkah. Chuckie explains about the time he dealt with a mean kid in daycare which ended up with them taking a nap. Tommy comes up with the idea of stopping the "meanie" of Hanukkah by putting him to sleep.
When they get to the play, there's many vendors consisting of latkes and dreidels. Angelica eats and spits out the latke which ends with a man dressed as a dreidel slipping and falling. She tries to find a TV, but with no luck. The man in the dreidel costume finds her and puts her in a nursery as punishment for wrecking his costume.
The babies start to go after Shlomo after he shows up on stage, but eventually end up in the same nursery that Angelica's in. Angelica tricks the babies into trying to get the TV from the janitor's closet in order for her to watch her Christmas special. Meanwhile Boris and Shlomo begin to fight each other and Boris confesses of being jealous of Shlomo due to his successful business. Shlomo confesses to Boris that the business was all he had since his now deceased wife couldn't have any children and wanted some to pass on the heritage to them. Boris feels guilty and gives Shlomo's part as the evil king to an understudy. Back at the janitor's closet, Angelica and the babies finally work together to get the portable TV, but Angelica runs away with it. She bumps into Shlomo and the TV falls down. Angelica begins to cry, the babies sees her with Shlomo so they walk towards him. Boris sees Shlomo surrounded by the babies and tells Shlomo to read Tommy's book of the origins of Hanukkah that was shown in the beginning of the special. So now, the story continues.
After Tommy defeats the Greek king and his soldiers, it left their city, temple, and menorah in ruins. They only had enough oil to light it up for one night. However, it lasted for eight nights. The story concludes with the celebration that happens every year in honor of the events that occured in the temple and the miracle that happened. Stu comes in the giant menorah, it crashes, and the curtains fall to reveal Boris, Shlomo, and the babies. Boris and Shlomo explain about passing on the legacy to the babies, say the prayer, and sing a traditional Hanukkah song. Tommy and Chuckie are glad that Boris and Shlomo are friends claiming it to be a "mirable".
When this special first aired, it was praised by many critics and viewers alike. A Rugrats Chanukah continues to air every December to this very day and with good reasoning. Not only because it's one of the few Hanukkah specials, but it's still really good. It teaches the origins of Hanukkah easy enough for kids to understand, it has a good plot on its own, it's humorous, sad, and heartwarming. Truly a holiday classic. I highly recommend checking it out!
That's all for now. Next time, we go into Christmas with my top 12 Christmas specials. Hope to see you around Old School Lane soon. Thanks for reading.
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