Rugrats actor Natalie Morales confirms that the character she voices, Phil and Lil’s mom Betty DeVille, will be openly gay in reboot from Paramount+.
Natalie Morales has confirmed that Phil and Lil’s mother, Betty DeVille, will be openly gay in the Rugrats reboot. Morales voices the character in the upcoming revival series from streaming service, Paramount+. The original Rugrats show aired on Nickelodeon from 1991 to 2005, in addition to several movies, spin-offs, and TV specials. The cartoon followed the Pickles, Finster, and DeVille families, along with friends like precocious neighbor, Susie Carmichael. In previous Rugrats projects, voice actress Kath Soucie portrayed all three DeVille family members. The fourth DeVille, husband and father Howard, was previously voiced by Phil Proctor.
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Nickelodeon first announced the reboot in 2018, created and executive produced by the original Rugrats creators, Arlene Klasky, Gábor Csupó, and Paul Germain. The show will star original and brand-new cast members, and although it’s set in present-day, that ’90s nostalgia is palpable. Iconic voice actors including Cree Summer and Nancy Cartwright will reprise their roles as the babies and toddlers, while the grown-ups will be portrayed by actors new to the series, such as Anna Chlumsky and Nicole Byer. Natalie Morales, known for her roles in shows like Santa Clarita Diet and Dead to Me, will take over as Betty from Kath Soucie, although Soucie will still voice twins, Phil and Lil.
Morales shared her excitement with The A.V. Club that Betty will be openly gay in the revival series, and said that she hopes the character will be meaningful for kids looking for queer representation in the media they consume. Morales also revealed that Betty will be a single mom in the reboot. Her previous husband Howard is not currently set to appear in the show’s first season. Speaking about their own experience growing up and being queer, Morales said:
Betty is a fictional cartoon, but even cartoons were hugely influential for me as a kid and if I’d been watching Rugrats and seen Betty casually talking about her ex-girlfriend, I think at least a part of me would have felt like things might be okay in the future.
Morales, whose directorial debut, Plan B, will premiere on Hulu this Friday, came out publicly as queer in a series of tweets in 2017. In the Twitter thread, she emphasized the importance of LGBTQ+ visibility and community, particularly for closeted kids who don’t necessarily have access to positive representation or resources for support. Her social media presence and the roles she chooses make clear that Morales values stories that reflect a broad range of the human experience. She has portrayed queer characters in shows like Santa Clarita Diet and The Mayor, as well as the NBC sitcom Abby’s, in which she starred as the titular Abby, who runs an unlicensed bar in her own backyard.
With the original creators returning to helm the new Rugrats, the revival series is sure to embrace the same themes of childhood, adventure, and the struggles of growing up. But changes like Betty’s queerness will help facilitate more representative stories for viewers, whether they’re parents, kids, or neither. Morales and Betty will be a part of shifting children’s programming to be inclusive of more experiences and identities.
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Source: The A.V. Club
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