Talk about a childhood throwback! It’s Bronstein Week at Brandeis, and with events that include making your own slime, tie dye, and dancing lobsters, who wouldn’t be reliving their youth?
On Monday night, over 300 Brandeis students gathered in Levin Ballroom to hear Paul Germaine speak. For those of you who don’t know much about him, Germaine has been in the animation business since the eighties and is best known for creating Rugrats and Recess. It was such an honor to have such an accomplished man come to speak, and he did so with such humbleness. The students in attendance were in for a treat as Germaine recounted his first days in the business, working with Matt Groening (creator of The Simpsons) on short, animated bits in between the Tracy Ullman show. He even showed a few of the original shorts, which became the platform for the later show we all know and love!
Germaine then spoke about his time working for Klasky-Csupo (ring a bell?!), the animation company that was eventually responsible for the creation of Rugrats. He and the co-creators thought it would be hysterical to do a show about babies who were seemingly dumb to the adults but became adventurous and talkative when they were left alone, and this was obviously a stellar idea! He then went on to explain some of the characters and why he decided to develop them. For instance, he always saw Tommy (who he named after his son) as an explorer, Chucky as the opposite, and Phil and Lil as not-so-innocent bystanders. And then of course, he added the bully we all know as Angelica. On top of seeing the original Simpsons cartoons, Germaine then showed the students the pilot episode of Rugrats, which revolves around Tommy’s quest to discover the wonders of the toilet. Hilarious!
Next, Germaine detailed his work on Recess, which he really enjoyed because he and his partner had full creative control over the series that aired on Disney. In contrast with Rugrats, in Recess Germaine really wanted to accurately depict what being a ten year old is all about.
Today, he’s changing his course to focus more on live action screenplays, although he’ll always hold animation to his heart. He explained that part of the magic of animation is not needing to worry about what happens when characters get older. This was an amazing event that not only brought the Brandeis community together, but also gave us all a sense of nostalgia for our favorite childhood shows.