One of the most popular episodes of the series, is the third season's “Wacky Delly”. The episode not only stands out as one of Rocko's finest, but also as one of the finer episode of the era, as it's a direct satire on the industry of television animation. In the universe of O-Town, Ed and Bev Bighead have a son, who they initially disown, Ralph Bighead. Ralph rejected his father's corporate work life, and headed out to Hollowood to become a cartoonist, creating the wildly popular animated series “The Fatheads” (to add to the meta elements of it all, Ralph Bighead is voiced by Rocko series creator, Joe Murray).
“Wacky Delly” begins with Ralph finally at the end of his contract for “The Fatheads”, and looking forward to having the freedom to go out and create real art. However, his contract with the network states he owes them another series. Instead of spending his time tied down to another long running series, Ralph invites Rocko, Heffer, and Filburt—the biggest fans “The Fatheads” have—out to Hollowood to create his next TV series for him, thinking it will be such a disaster, the network will have no choice but to cancel the series, freeing him from his contract.
In a true “Springtime for Hitler” moment, the show—which is all about deli meats—becomes a massive hit. Ralph, shocked by his throw away series sudden success, does all he can to sabotage production. Over exposing negatives, and at one point telling the boys to just run a half hour shot of a jar of mayonnaise. Each time, the moves are viewed as genius works of television, the shot of mayo being declared “a powerful Warholian tribute”. When the last time you saw a reference to Andy Warhol in a children's cartoon?
Therein lines the genius of Rocko's Modern Life. It was a show that was not concerned with “how to keep kids captured for half an hour”, but rather a show where the brilliant creative team were trying to make each other laugh. Joe Murray assembled an amazing team of creative talents to helm this series. This is why we're still celebrating the show twenty years after it first graced our screens. Unlike some shows we watch as kids, that we later shudder at as adults, Rocko's Modern Life still entertains us. In an era in which children's TV animation was an embarrassment of riches, people are finally started to realize what a gem Rocko's Modern Life was.