What makes the "Rugrats" Passover episode so special, more than 20 years later?
InsideEdition.com spoke to Paul Germain, one of the creators of the hit Nickelodeon series, about the episode, one of the rare TV or movie events dedicated to the Jewish holiday. To this day, he's surprised it still resonates with so many.
"A Rugrats Passover" first aired on Nickelodeon on April 13, 1996. It was 22 minutes long, twice the length of the average 11-minute episode. (Usually multiple installments would air in the show's 22-minute time slot.)
Nickelodeon approached Germain and his colleagues about doing a Hanukkah episode following the success of their Christmas episode since Tommy Pickles is half-Jewish.
“We said sure,” said Germain, but then they suggested Passover instead since it was a more “important” Jewish holiday.
Passover is an eight-day holiday celebrated in the spring honoring the Jewish liberation out of Egypt. It’s celebrated with a seder, or ceremonial feast, on the first two nights, which includes bitter herbs, matzo and wine, all symbolic of different elements of the holiday.
It was quickly decided among the writers that the "Rugrats" episode would feature Angelica as the pharaoh and Tommy as Moses. While all the adults are downstairs having a seder, Grandpa Boris and the kids get accidentally locked in the attic. That’s where he tells them all about the holiday’s history.
The writers molded the story of the plagues and slaying of the first born to make it more child-friendly, Germain noted.
A Hanukkah episode did eventually air on Dec. 4, 1996, but Germain still hears from fans thanking him for the series' attention to Passover.
"What I am really proud of, is it kind of introduced Passover to kids and their parents who really didn’t know about it," Germain said. "I think it really brought people together.
“... I still get letters, ‘This is how I taught my kids about Passover,’ or people telling me, ‘This is how I learned about Passover,'" Germain, who added that he's working on a reboot of the show, continued. "It’s kind of exciting."