In ‘Rugrats’ reboot, Phil and Lil’s mom is an out lesbian

Betty Deville (center). Credit: Paramount+

Well, the cat’s out of the bag! 

It’s officially been confirmed that everyone’s favorite sweatshirt-wearing, ’90s-touting, jogging feminist mom from Rugrats, Betty DeVille, will be an out gay single mom in Paramount+’s CGI-animated revival, which premieres on Thursday. 

Though Betty was clearly the dominant one in the relationship with her husband Howard, her sexuality was often left to innuendo in the original Nickelodeon series. 

However, from the moment she jogged on screen with her iconic headband, a sweater emblazoned with the “female” symbol and her friendly slaps on the back that were typically followed up with, “How about a cup of hot java?” viewers’ gaydar just wouldn’t quit. 

In a statement to the press, Natalie Morales, who will be voicing Betty in the reboot, confirmed that the character will be unapologetically gay. For the out queer actress, the move was personal. 

“I think any representation for the community is important,” Morales said in a statement, originally published by A.V. Club. “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. And yeah, Betty is a fictional cartoon, but even cartoons were hugely influential for me as a kid 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.” 

In the new series, Betty owns the cafe Betty’s Beans (we all know she loved her coffee) and vocally cracks jokes about her exes (in true lesbian fashion). Her sweatshirt has also been replaced with a Gemini sign instead of her typical female symbol or peace sign she used to wear proudly. 

“I was really excited,” Morales, who previously starred in The Middleman, Parks and Recreation, and Dead to Me continues. “Although I think anyone who watched the original show may have had an inkling Betty was a member of the alphabet mafia,” she says, referring to the “LGBTQ” acronym. 

“I was such a big, big fan of Nickelodeon when I was a kid. Rugrats, Doug, Ah! Real Monsters, Hey, Arnold, etc. Like, I watched all of it and Rugrats was a big one,” she said. “Walking into Nickelodeon studios and auditioning for this role was such a big deal to me that I framed the ID sticker they gave me at the gate. Getting the part was incredibly joyous and I pinch myself every time I get to do it.” 

For those who need a refresher course, Betty was married to Howard in the hit 1990s series, which was one of the most popular shows on Nickelodeon at its height. Its popularity led to subsequent films and successful video games. 

Betty and Howard’s infant fraternal twins, Phil and Lil, were best friends with their neighbors’ children: Tommy, Chuckie, Angelica (Tommy’s cousin), Susie, Kimi, and later Tommy’s newborn brother Dil. While the show centered around the adventures of the babies, adult characters like Betty and the other parents were often the anchor of storylines that led the babies on their quests. 

Still, while Betty’s outing might be a “well, duh” for millennial fans, her coming out news has been met with mixed reviews on social media: 

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