The Rugrats reboot on Paramount+ is leaning into what fans have long thought the original '90s cartoon was insinuating about Phil and Lil's mom, Betty DeVille. The coffee-loving mother of twins is an out gay woman in the newly-rebooted series, which debuted its first batch of episodes on the streamer Thursday. Actress Natalie Morales, who voices Betty, confirmed her character's sexuality in a statement to The A.V. Club.
Despite Betty's marriage to Howard in the 1991 original, Morales said she thinks "anyone who watched the original show may have had an inkling Betty was a member of the alphabet mafia," referring to a nickname for the LGBTQ+ community. Morales, who is queer herself, said it was important for her to revive the character in a way that brings that kind of representation to the nostalgic show.
"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," she explained. And while Betty might be a fictional cartoon, Morales said even the animated characters of her childhood were "hugely influential" on her, "and if I'd been watching Rugrats and seen Betty casually talking about her ex-girlfriend, I think at least a part of me would have felt like things might be okay in the future."
Donning a Gemini sweater instead of her classic female symbol shirt and owning a café called Betty's Beans, the new generation of Betty will crack jokes about ex-girlfriends while raising her two rambunctious toddlers. As for what happened to Howard, the show has yet to address him, but maybe there will be some kind of co-parenting plotline coming up in his future.
The first batch of Rugrats reboot episodes have dropped and will be followed by a second batch at a later date. Catch all-new episodes of Rugrats on Paramount+, which can be subscribed to with a free trial here. Disclosure: PopCulture is owned by ViacomCBS Streaming, a division of ViacomCBS.