The classic Nickelodeon Rugrats animated series will be getting a facelift for its upcoming Paramount + reboot with supporting character Betty DeVille rewritten to be gay.
The mother of twins Phil and Lil DeVille was a shameless feminist on the original series and regularly sported a female symbol on her sweatshirts.
Original comedian Kath Soucie will be replaced by Parks And Recreation actor Natalie Morales, 36, according to the AV Club.
New look: Natalie Morales will voice a new openly gay version of Betty DeVille (center) during Paramount + ‘s Rugrats reboot, according to the AV Club; always restarting Rugrats
Morales, who uses both the she / her and them / them pronouns, said in a statement that she was thrilled to be a part of the new series and believes that “anyone who watched the original show may have had an idea. Betty’s was a member of the Alphabet Mafia, ”referring to the LGBTQ community.
The actor said she’s thrilled to provide a more queer portrayal on the reboot of a beloved series.
‘Betty is a single mom with her own business who has twins and still has time to hang out with her friends and community, and I think it’s so great because of the examples of living her happy and healthy life. as a queer person is just such a beacon for queer kids who may not have examples of it, ”Natalie continued.
Natalie also appeared to respond to complaints from some viewers that the addition of queer characters is more lip service than meaningful portrayal.
No surprise: Morales, said she was thrilled to be a part of the new series and thinks that “anyone who watched the original show may have an idea that Betty was a member of the Alphabet Mafia”; seen in 2019 in LA
Portrayal: “I think it’s so awesome because examples of living your happy and healthy life as a queer person is just such a beacon for queer kids who maybe don’t have examples of that” , continued Natalie; always Rugrats
“And yes, Betty is a fictional cartoon, but even cartoons were hugely influential for me as a kid and if I had watched Rugrats and seen Betty casually talking about her ex-girlfriend I think that at least part of me would have felt like things could be okay in the future, ”Morales said.
As well as being open to having a female ex, the updated version of Betty will own a cafe called Betty’s Beans and be a big football fanatic.
A new photo from the upcoming series shows her with a Gemini symbol replacing the female symbol on her sweatshirts, although it’s not clear whether the design will vary from episode to episode.
Morales is best known for her recurring role in Parks And Recreation on NBC, but she also starred in the first season of White Collar in the US and starred in the ABC Family series The Middleman.
In 2017, Morales came out as queer in an article published on Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls site.
Morales’s essay describes his love for another girl at her Catholic elementary school, despite going to a public school for high school.
“One day at a rehearsal she and I were sitting at the back of the almost empty auditorium eating candy and I told her I liked her,” she wrote.
Her friend reflected on her feelings before admitting that she also had feelings for Morales.
“I was delighted. We kissed each other. It was magical. It was also, as I said, a big secret.
Still there: Her new Rugrats character Betty has already been voiced by Kath Soucie, though she’s still intimately involved in the reboot as she also voices Betty’s twins Phil and Lil DeVille; always Rugrats
Morales did not offer a specific identification, but simply described herself as “queer.”
“What queer means to me is just that I’m not straight. That’s it, ”Natalie wrote. “It’s not scary, even though that word really, really scared me.
Morales’ new Rugrats character Betty has previously been voiced by Kath Soucie, though she is still intimately involved in the reboot as she also voices Betty’s twins Phil and Lil DeVille.
In the original, Betty was married to Howard DeVille, who apparently wouldn’t appear in the Paramount + reboot.
So far, it’s unclear whether Betty has ended her marriage and turned gay in the new version, or whether her character has been completely overhauled to become a gay woman.
Betty was long presented as a queer coded character in the original series, so her rewrite to be openly gay doesn’t necessarily come as a shock to many fans.
One fan tweeted that they “liked” the new version of Betty, adding, “In the original I knew she was gay but she was in the closet but now she’s openly gay! “
Another joked, “I was years old today when I learned that Rugrats’ Betty wasn’t always gay. “
A few others complained that the change was a “wake up call” abandonment.
“Making Betty gay on Rugrats is just a performative wake-up call and I’m so tired,” read a critical tweet. “It was already subversive to have a woman who was not traditionally feminine married to a more effeminate man / SAHD [stay at home dad]. Erasing that isn’t as gradual as creating a new, openly gay character would be.
The new series premieres Thursday, May 27 on the streaming service Paramount +.