'Rugrats' Fans React As Phil and Lil's Mom Is Made Openly Gay in Reboot

Rugrats has met the ultimate fate of all '90s TV shows and got itself a reboot, which began airing on Paramount+ on May 27. According to members of the voice cast, this CGI version introduces a number of changes, including more diverse families.

One change in particular has grasped the internet's attention—Phil and Lil's mom Betty DeVille is openly gay.

This was first hinted at late last year in an interview that actor Melanie Chartoff, who voices Didi Pickles, gave to the Back to the Best podcast. "One of the characters is now a lesbian," said Chartoff.

"Some of the characters are of different minority, ethnic minorities, now. We had some before, now we're going to have more. So, it's going to be a much more, I'd say, liberally intended show."

The move was then confirmed to the AV Club by Natalie Morales, a queer actor who is the new voice of Betty. She told the outlet: "Anyone who watched the original show may have had an inkling Betty was a member of the alphabet mafia [LGBTQ+].

"Betty is a single mom with her own business who has twins and still has time to hang out with her friends and her community, and I think it's just so great because examples of living your life happily and healthily as an out queer person is just such a beacon for young queer people who may not have examples of that."

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Betty DeVille (center) will be a lesbian single mother in the "Rugrats" reboot. Paramount+

Many fans reacted to the news by saying they had always thought the character was gay. One viewer wrote on Twitter: "I was today years old when I learned that Betty from Rugrats wasn't always gay." Another posted: "We knew it all along."

One fan tweeted that they were "loving it," adding: "In the original, I knew she was gay but was closeted but now she is openly gay!"

Many a joke has been made in the past that the character was coded as a lesbian. An Out.com article titled "25 Cartoon Characters Who Should Just Come Out Already" included both Betty and Charlotte Pickles, and said: "If you took Charlotte and Betty out of Rugrats, they'd make a lot of sense plopped into the world of The L Word. Charlotte is giving you high power, high femme lipstick lesbian and Betty is rocking a female symbol on a sweater. If these two are looking to destroy the patriarchy, the patriarchy better watch out."

The news was not greeted positively by all Twitter commenters, however, with the show accused of "wokeness."

One fan tweeted: "Making Betty gay on Rugrats is just performative wokeness and I'm so tired. It was already subversive to have a woman who was not traditionally feminine married to more effeminate male/SAHD [stay at home dad]. Erasing this is not nearly as progressive as making a new openly gay character would be."

Other fans took the news badly because it appears to mean that Phil and Lil's father Howard will be missing from the rebooted show.

One Twitter user wrote: "Betty is now gay, fine, but WTF? kill off PHIL & LIL'S DAD HOWARD? If they're going to go with stereotypes then make Howie gay too. Two gay parents out, not another dead parent." (There has been no confirmation that Howard will be dead in the reboot, merely that Betty is a single mother.)

Others wrote: "As a long time rugrats fanatic I say we get justice for the homie Howard! HE WILL NOT FORGOTTEN!" and "I'm okay with Betty being gay in Rugrats. I'm not okay with them erasing Howard from the show." Another posted: "I never really cared about Howard as a character, but the fact that there were other solutions that would have allowed them to keep him around AND have Betty like women, but they instead didn't bother, kinda dampens my hopes for the show."

The Rugrats reboot is streaming now on Paramount+.