Cartoon parents. They raise our favorite cartoon children and walk our favorite cartoon dogs, but how much do we really know about these often elusive elders? And why are they so awful at monitoring their children? Every now and again, writers like to throw us for a loop, leaving us with some lingering questions about the fuzzily sketched parents on the cartoons of our ’90s youth. What’s up with Phil and Lil’s mom on Rugrats? Where’s Mr. Davis in Toy Story? Why is Patti Mayonnaise’s dad in a wheelchair? All of these mysteries and more after the jump.
Betty DeVille, Rugrats
As the mother of Phil and Lil and a lover of mud, sports, and woman-sign sweatshirts, we wonder about you, Betty DeVille. In fact, we aren’t the only ones — rumors have been flying for years that the twins’ mom is a lesbian. Hell, there’s even a Facebook group devoted to the theory. Don’t think we haven’t noticed how much time you spend with Didi Pickles as opposed to your husband, Howie DeVille. Just sayin’…
Nanny, Muppet Babies
We have never seen her face, but we know her from the green-striped stockings and big purple shoes. Nanny, caretaker of Jim Henson’s Muppet Babies, usually lets the little tykes do as they please — except when she occasionally orders them to quiet down so that Officer Caruthers doesn’t put ’em in the slammer. Is it because they’re being too loud, Nanny? Or is it because you don’t want the police to know that you’re a hoarder who has been raising a dozen muppets? Who even dumped these adorable monsters on this presumably human woman’s doorstep, anyway?
Miles and Stella, Hey Arnold!
Miles was an anthropologist and Stella was a physician. Together, they traveled the world bringing medicine to those in need. Shortly after giving birth to a baby Arnold, the couple disappeared in the jungle of San Lorenzo, leaving Arnold in the care of the crazy grandparents we know so well. Miles’ and Stella’s whereabouts remain a mystery. You know what else remains a mystery? How anyone could give birth to a head that large.
All the parents on Peanuts
Adults barely exist in the Peanuts comics and TV specials, and when we do hear them, they’re making that skronky “wah-wah” noise that symbolizes how little attention kids pay to their elders. So we know almost nothing about these kids’ parents — and judging from Rerun’s back-of-the-bike experiences, maybe that’s a good thing. In any case, one thing is sure: the mere existence of Pigpen is evidence that even this innocent group isn’t without its child-neglect cases.
Mr. Davis, Toy Story trilogy
It took us a few films to realize this, but hey, where’s Andy’s dad? He’s never mentioned, nor did he appear to take Andy to college in ’11. What’s the back story here, Pixar? Not that Toy Story 3 needed any more sob-inducing plot twists, but we’re curious.
Dave Seville, Alvin and the Chipmunks
Okay, who is this Dave guy really? Why does he let three musically inclined chipmunks live in his home? He certainly isn’t their dad. And lastly, why does Dave look exactly like Eric from The Little Mermaid?
King and Queen of Warnerstock, Animaniacs
Steven Spielberg brought us some classic ’90s cartoon greatness with Yakko, Wakko, and Dot Warner. These Animaniacs didn’t just appear out of nowhere, and the show gives us two possible explanations: In one episode, when the trio has gone medieval, we learn that their mom and dad were the “King and Queen of Warnerstock.” Later, Yakko hypothesizes that their parents are pencils. Clever one, that Yakko.
Chad Mayonnaise, Doug
In present-day Doug scenes, Patty Mayonnaise’s father, Chad, is confined to a wheelchair, but in flashbacks and photographs, he’s not. So spill, creators. What happened to Mr. Mayonnaise? Was he in that fateful car accident that claimed the life of Mrs. Mayonnaise? Heavy stuff, Doug, heavy stuff.