Rocket Power

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

Rocket Power was a popular Nickelodeon cartoon that ran from 1999 to 2004, produced by the same people who made Rugrats and As Told by Ginger. It focused on the (mis)adventures of a foursome of kids living in Ocean Shores, CA. The title refers to brother and sister duo Otto and Reggie Rocket, ostensibly the more "main" of the core cast of four. The other two included Otto's friend Maurice "Twister" Rodriguez, and new kid Sam "Squid" Dullard.

The show's hook was that the four main characters were all into extreme sports, and nearly every episode featured some such activity at the center of the episode's events. Even if it wasn't the core of the plot, each episode would generally begin with the kids surfing, or hanging out at the local skate park, Madtown. Over the course of the series, everything from relatively tame sports such as roller hockey to extreme and obscure sports like zorb balling were featured in the show.

Other than the main four, other regular characters included Otto and Reggie's dad, Ray, who owned a restaurant on the Ocean Shores pier; his partner Tito, a native Hawaiian who spoke with the requisite accent and was fond of spouting nonsensical proverbs, and Twister's older brother, Lars, who was often seen picking on the main characters. Also included were the Rockets' next-door neighbors, the Stimpletons; Madtown's owner, cool Jamaican dude Conroy; and various other kids the same age as the main characters.

Tropes used in Rocket Power include:
  • Accidental Athlete: Sam Dullard's goalie skills, which are discovered when he casually swats away a hockey puck coming at him from behind.
  • An Aesop: which often end up being...
  • Ambiguously Brown: Otto and Reggie Rocket. They're not white, but their dad seems to be...(although he is very tanned, which makes sense).
    • They're half Hawaiian/Polynesian and half white.
    • Meanwhile in the TV movie, The McGilles are both Ambiguously Brown. It's easy to assume they're possibly Australian or of Maori descent.
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: "Tito" isn't a Hawaiian name. There isn't even a letter T in the Hawaiian alphabet.
  • Beach Bury
  • Binocular Shot: "Double-O Twistervision" has a scene showing two movie villains through a cutout of two circles, so as to simulate the Binocular Shot.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Mackenzie
  • Chain of Deals: One episode involving trading cards.
  • Character Development: Mostly Sam, who begins as fairly clumsy and awkward but grows into a competent athlete, even if he doesn't quite approach Otto.
    • It also helps that other people become an even bigger nerd than he is and in contrast make him look even better; but you can still see the growth. Not to mention, Sam actually learns how to surf.
  • Chickification: Thankfully averted with Reggie for the entirety of the series except for the episode Reggie-Regina where she not only allowed a new boy in town that she liked to call her by her real first name, she also pretended to be terrible at sports in a misguided attempt to get her to like him by having him teach her to surf. Thankfully this gets cleared up by the end of the episode.
    • It's also worth noting that the guy knew she was faking all along because she couldn't flub her foot positioning.
  • Convection, Schmonvection: In the series finale the kids ride bikes over a lava stream and are unharmed.
    • There is also a part in which Tito says that in a flashback he "stepped on a piece of lava so hot" he lost a hopscotch championship to his cousin. How on earth was he still walking if he stepped on a piece of lava?!
  • Cranky Neighbor: Merv Stimpleton
  • Disabled Means Helpless: In one episode, Reggie meets a snowboarder who has a metal leg. Feeling sorry for her, both Reggie and her dad decide to let her win. However, the snowboarder calls out Reggie on the way she treated her and wanted to be treated normally. Reggie does so by being serious and beating the snowboarder in a race which earns the latter's respect but freaks out her dad(thinking Reggie was being mean to her by winning.).
    • Possibly even worse than just feeling sorry for the girl, Reggie admits that she thought a disabled snowboarder winning a race would make a cool story for her magazine.
  • Do Not Call Me "Paul": See Below
    • Also applicable to Reggie. NO ONE calls her by her real name, Regina, not even her father. In fact, aside from the chickification incident cited above, no one has ever spoken or heard of it before or since.
  • Embarrassing First Name: Twister's first name is Maurice. The episode it's revealed in makes it a Running Gag.
  • Expy: The main cast is suspiciously similar to that of Rugrats: Compare Phil, Lil, Tommy, and Chuckie. "Rugrats eXtreme Sports Anyone"?
  • Fantasy Helmet Enforcement
  • Fictional Counterpart: Ocean Shores is obviously Santa Monica, down to the iconic pier. Oddly, at one point in the series the main cast travels to Malibu for a surfing trip, and they use the real life place name.
  • Flanderization: Twister. Watch him in the first couple of episodes where he's merely a bit slow. However later on, he's almost comedically stupid.
    • Otto as well, who increasingly became more self absorbed and obnoxious.
    • An in-universe example with the Super Squid game where Sam of course makes fun of his friends. However, he doesn't make as much fun of Reggie.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble
  • Free-Range Children: The late elementary school cast wanders about Ocean Shores by themselves frequently. Although Ray is pretty laid back. Sam's mother is more fussy, but generally, Sam always tags along. (One episode actually does show Sam's mother forbidding him to go to a secret spot because she doesn't know where he is.)
    • However, it's implied they only seem to walk around certain parts of the town.
  • Freudian Trio: Otto and Twister are often used as the same personality, as both are Ids, while Sam is Superego and Reggie is Ego.
  • Funny Background Event: The episodes in which the story is told through interviews on camera or the media is shown. Throughout the episode of a documentary on Otto "Selling out", you can spot all sorts of weird events such as Ray emptying trash on the ground, a whale jumping out of the blader bowl, and an empty skateboard flying out. There was also another funny one where the news anchor stalled for time...and a UFO sucks up a whale and flies off.
    • And occasionally, you can see people falling in the background.
  • Gang of Bullies: Twister's older brother, Lars, is usually seen with two or three lackeys.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Literally.
  • The Gift: Sam is shown that while he (at first) had almost no skill in roller blading, he was an obscenely good goalie.
    • Surprisingly he gets a lot better at any of the sports done as the show progresses.
    • Another episode shows that Twister is really good at making sandcastles.
    • Twister is a Cloudcuckoolander and Book Dumb; but he's also really good at cameras.
  • Goth: Eddie, the self styled "Prince of the Netherworld," walks around in a hooded black cloak and Halloween monster mask. Keep mind the cast lives in Santa Monica southern California.
  • Hate Sink: Chester McGill. Not only did he cheat at a race (as Raymundo theorized he did), but he encouraged his son to do the same and he sabotaged the Rocket gang's sporting equipment.
  • Heterosexual Life Partners: Ray and Tito, although this troper was occasionally a bit ambiguous on their relationship, even as a kid.
  • Hey, It's That Voice!: Would you believe that Deadpool is Otto and Reggie's Father?
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: One episode had Sam attempting to shed his token geek persona and become as "cool" as his friends, including trying to adopt their bizarre slang. This led to a joke where he called someone's skateboard trick "sick", with "sick" meaning, in-universe, gross or ugly. A few years later, the word has come to be used in exactly the way Sam was trying to use it.
  • Hyperventilation Bag
  • Hypocritical Humor: When Twister loses his hat, Ray comments he's never seen anyone get worked up over losing a hat...and then says "WHOA!" as he almost drops his own hat he's almost never seen without.
  • I Have This Friend
  • Insult Backfire: Squid was used to identify the new kid on the block and originally belonged to Twister, who hated it. When Sam arrived they gave him the squid nickname and he was generally pleased to have a nickname at all.
    • Mostly a nickname that wasn't "Dink".
  • Jerkass: Otto, Lars, but Reggie to the supreme.
    • Twister as well on occasion.
  • Last-Second Word Swap: In one episode, Otto sponsored a rival snowboard company, Sam still cheered "Go, Otto!" When Reggie gave him a disapproving look, he added "'s competition! Go Otto's competition!"
  • Let Me Get This Straight...: Otto says this verbatim in the fiji flu episode;

Let me get this straight. Sam's not sick cause he's always sick and we're sick cause we're never sick?!? That's sick!(rim shot)

"Move along folks, you don't have to go home, but you can't stay here."

  • Special Guest: Tony Hawk and Amy Mac Donald among others.
  • Talking to Himself: Both Trish and Sherry are voiced by Lauren Tom.
  • Tan Lines: The "shoobies" and Sam, even though his body should have evened out as he show went on.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Reggie and Clio
  • Totally Radical: Oh Lord, where to begin...
    • At least after a few seasons they stopped cutting away to a tie-dye screen with squiggly words repeating the 90's slang they shout. That is they stopped doing it as much.
      • And it wasn't just slang words that popped up on screen, it could often be anything shocking (like "PICKLED FEET?" in "Happy Luau to You-Au," "FIJI FLU!" in "Typhloid Sam," even "AAAAAAAH!" when Sam and Otto scream in "Snow Day.")
  • Unintentional Period Piece: Like most extreme sports shows/movies of that era.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Ray in some of his flashbacks is actually exaggerating for the sake of getting his point across. Tito might have done the same, too, since he apparently stepped on a piece of lava and survived.
  • Unusual Euphemism: The main cast has an entire vocabulary of slang terms, including "shoobie" (refering to tourists who wear socks with their flip-flops, or shoes on the beach), "squid" (slang for new guy; Sam is called this almost universally in the first few episodes), and lots of generic skater slang.
    • Hey, remember when the Squid totally beefed it?
    • Shoobie already existed as slang (at least in NJ). Back in the day, tourists used to carry their lunches in old shoe boxes at the beach, hence the term "shoobie".
  • Verbal Tic: Tito always begins his "proverbs" by saying, "As the ancient Hawaiians used to say," or some slight variation thereof.
  • Xtreme Sport Xcuse Plot: The entire series was an attempt to cash in on the extreme sports culture of the 90's and early 2000's.
  • You Fail Physics Forever: Invoked. The one episode where Otto thought he could spin his skateboard in the air and go back to his original spot, as if he could do it in reverse. It only gets worse when a ball gets launched into the air by a lawn mower at the right time, which hits his board and actually causes this to happen--causing him to assume it will happen again. And discussed by Sam who mentions it's physically impossible to have done so.