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TUNED IN

'Rugrats' in a Tween Time Warp

July 21, 2001|STEVEN LINAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

They survived the great outdoors and sampled the sights of Paris.

Now the "Rugrats" turn tweens for a day in a one-hour special marking the top-rated toon's 10th anniversary tonight at 8 on Nickelodeon.

As I am neither a kid (though I sometimes act like one) nor a parent, the show's enduring appeal tends to escape me. It's a safe bet, however, that its legion of loyal young fans will enjoy "All Growed Up," in which diapered tot Tommy Pickles wonders what it would be like to take a time machine into the "footure."

Moments later, the babies emerge from a closet--where they were hiding from bossy Angelica--as 10-year-old tweens eagerly awaiting their first concert.

The group's dynamics remain intact as Tommy and his pal Chuckie, feeling a bit insecure because of braces, sit together on the school bus, where Chuckie spots a cute girl named Samantha (voiced by Laraine Newman). Unfortunately, she's Angelica's best friend, which leads to complications.

Stick around at 9 p.m. as Nickelodeon presents a half-hour retrospective featuring highlights from the show, which premiered on Aug. 11, 1991, spawning an enormously successful franchise that includes two hit films and an endless merchandising bonanza others can only envy.

Kids will be pleased to know that 18 new episodes are in production for 2002, including a Halloween special and a spoof of an Agatha Christie mystery.

Surf Report

MOVIES

Three of last year's films bow tonight on cable: "Mission: Impossible 2" (8, Showtime), "Nutty Professor 2: The Klumps" (8, Starz) and "The Road to El Dorado" (8:30, HBO).

SPECIALS

"Boxing: In and Out of the Ring" (9 p.m. Sunday, A&E) takes a two-hour look at the fight game and those who make money from it.

SERIES

Belinda Carlisle, Huey Lewis, Brian McKnight and Lee Ann Womack are among the pop stars participating in a "Top of the Chart" edition of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" (8 p.m. Sunday, ABC), which continues throughout the week.

"National Geographic Explorer" (8 p.m. Sunday, CNBC) tracks grizzly bears in Alaska.

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