WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Rocko's Modern Life: Static Cling, streaming now on Netflix.

Much of Rocko's Modern Life: Static Cling centers on the attempts by beloved Nickelodeon character Rocko to adapt to society in the 21st century after 25 years in space. The Netflix animated special explores how difficult it can be to transition into a new era, from both the perspective of someone who's made major changes and someone trying to adjust accordingly.

The most poignant version of that comes with the revelation that, in the years that Rocko was away from Earth, Ralph Bighead has come out as transgender. Rocko sets off on a mission to find Ralph so he can finally get new episodes of his favorite show, The Fat Heads. When he instead finds Rachel, Rocko is immediately accepting of this positive change in her life. That storyline works with the special's overall themes of accepting and adjusting to a changing world.

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"I wanted the story to be about change, how we deal with it and how it affects us," series creator Joe Murray, who also voices Rachel, told CBR. "I couldn’t think of a more positive change in one’s life than to make the decision to transition and embrace who you really are."

"I also wanted to address the positive change in how the transgender community has been represented and accepted," Murray continued. "Of course, there is still a way to go with that, but there has still been a lot of progress. Rachel’s character has always had that deep side that always seemed uneasy, so it seemed like a natural progression of the character that she finds out who she really is. As well as the strained relationship she has had with her father Ed. It all just naturally came out as a story, and I was so happy when Nickelodeon embraced the idea."

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Although Rocko is immediately accepting, it's Rachel's father Ed Bighead who has the most trouble adjusting. He initially refuses to acknowledge Rachel, and even tries to skip the premiere of Rachel's new Fat Heads cartoon because he doesn't want to support his daughter. But in the end, he comes to terms with how happy Rachel is, and like Rocko, learns to embrace change.

"Ed Bighead's life took a turn for good when Rocko, Heffer and Filburt blasted into outer space," Murray observed. "And it was always fun to have the world crash down around him, especially when it was his own doing. But it’s funny that the return of Rocko started his snowball of despair. Ed is someone you can loathe one minute and sympathize with the next. He was perfect to take this on, and having to choose between saving his job and his house for acceptance of Rachel ... it was too good."

Streaming now on Netflix, Rocko's Modern Life: Static Cling stars Carlos Alazraqui, Tom Kenny, Mr. Lawrence, Charlie Adler, Linda Wallem, Joe Murray, Jill Talley and Steve Little.

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