|Season 1 Episode 2a|
|Original Airdate||August 18, 1991|
|DVD release||Season 1|
|Previous Episode||Tommy's First Birthday|
|Next Episode||Waiter, There's a Baby in My Soup|
Tommy has received his favorite toy in the whole world -- a ball. Angelica, always looking to spoil the babies' fun, takes the ball and tosses it into the neighbors' yard, resulting in the babies risking life and limb looking for it.
- - Description from Klasky Csupo
It's the 4th of July and the Pickles have invited their family and friends over for a barbeque! Tommy tries to eat a beetle he picked off the ground, but Didi stops him in time and throws the beetle away, which lands on Lou's nose, before Lou flicks it off, as the beetle then lands on Drew's shoulder which Howard swats away before the beetle finally lands on the back of Spike (who is begging furiously for the turkey burgers Stu is currently grilling) before Didi puts him in the outdoor playpen with the rest of the babies. In the playpen, Tommy suggests they play with his brand new ball, which impresses his friends. Unfortunately, Angelica takes the ball and punches it over the fence when none of the grown-ups are looking!
Naturally, Tommy begins to cry, and Didi rushes over to comfort him. While she is holding him, Tommy can see over the fence, and locates his ball. Tommy stops crying and Didi puts him back in the playpen. Phil and Lil ask why he stopped crying and point out he could've gotten anything he wanted if he'd continued to cry. Tommy says he saw his ball, and says they're going to break out and go into the next yard to retrieve it because "A baby's gotta do what a baby's gotta do!" The effect is spoiled, however, because his diaper slips and nearly exposes him in front of his friends.
The babies break out of the playpen and slip into the next yard through a loose board, where there is fancier landscaping than the Pickles' backyard. The four of them split up and explore the yard separately to search for the ball, though without success. When Chuckie gets his head stuck in a log the other three pull him out. Chuckie, frustrated, rants at Tommy who then finds his ball! It turns out that the ball is in yet another yard, this one barren save for an old dog house and is blocked off by a chain-linked fence.
The DeVille twins help Tommy and Chuckie over the fence and argue over which of them goes next. Tommy tells them to wait there, and walks farther into the yard to retrieve his ball. What none of them realize is a big, vicious bulldog occupies the dog house, and becomes very angry when he sees Tommy in his yard! Just as Tommy grabs his ball, the bulldog comes out of the dog house and charges at little Tommy! Fortunately for Tommy and Chuckie, the dog is chained to the dog house and they're just out of reach. Unfortunately the dog continues to charge and starts to pull the dog house loose, gradually coming closer to Tommy. Tommy helps Chuckie over the fence but the fence is too high for him to jump over by himself, just as the dog is getting even closer to Tommy,
Phil and Lil, horrified, run back towards the Pickles' backyard and cling to Betty's legs in terror. At this time the grown-ups finally notice the babies got out of the playpen and that Tommy and Chuckie are still missing. As the grown-ups search the backyard, the bulldog is coming closer and Tommy finally begins to scream.
None of the adults hear the scream, but Spike, who was on the verge of getting an unattended turkey burger, does. Spike abandons the burgers and leaps into action to save Tommy! As Spike scrambles to get over the fence he gets his head caught in one of the large Tiki head decorations the Pickles' set up for the occasion. Spike dashes through the next yard and leaps the chain-linked fence, putting himself between Tommy and the bulldog. Luckily, the bulldog finds Tiki-head Spike terrifying and retreats into its doghouse. Tommy and Chuckie ride Spike back to their yard, where the grown-ups are relieved to find them safe. However, Stu left the burgers unattended too long, and now they're all burnt to a crisp!
The scene changes to nighttime. Everyone is gathered on a hill behind the Pickles' back yard, watching nearby fireworks light up the night sky. As a reward for his heroism, Stu gives Spike the burnt burgers. While Spike eats, Tommy notices the beetle on Spike. This time, when he plucks the beetle off, he puts it on the ground instead of attempting to eat it. Then Tommy gives his furry hero a hug as he watches the fireworks with his parents and friends (and his ball).
- This is the first episode to take place outside during the night time (though it only takes place outside at night during the last few seconds of the episode).
- This episode, along with "Waiter, There's a Baby in My Soup" has the title card sequence shortened, that only lasts around 2/3 seconds. These are the only two episodes to have this happen to them.
- Tommy hides his signature screwdriver in the pouch of a stuffed kangaroo.
- While Stu is filming the party, three unknown characters are seen talking. They are never seen again in, or after, the episode.
- One of these characters is a woman with orange hair and glasses talking to Chas. Due to her similarities and resemblance to Chas and Chuckie, many people have interpreted this woman as an early design for Melinda Finster, unless she was actually just a friend or a relative or an acquaintance. At this time, the creators weren't sure how to write in Melinda (before ultimately deciding she passed away), so it's easy to assume this was an idea they had for her. However, she is said to have passed away when Chuckie was very young and couldn't yet fully remember her, which could mean it's a continuity error.
- Chuckie will have a similar rant in "Moose Country".
- The adventure music was later re-used as an upbeat version of the song during Tommy's home movie in "Home Movies".
- Future episodes show that the other two backyards the babies visit would have been those of the DeVille's and the Finster's. In this episode, however, they clearly belong to very different neighbors.
- The episode takes place on the 4th of July, which would make this the first Rugrats episode set on a holiday.
- This episode is also known as "Bar-B-Q".
- This is the first episode Chas appears in, making him the final member of the original cast to debut in the first season. (Charlotte and the Carmichaels all debuted in the second season)
- Although Chas debuted in this episode, he only had a single line ("Chuckie!") and did not say it on screen. Chas would not begin to have a greater role in the series until "Touchdown Tommy", which was near the end of the first season.
- This is the first episode to feature Tommy's famous ball, which appears frequently throughout the entire series.
- Tommy's ball is similar to the ones in Pixar and Blue's Clues.
- This is one of the very few episodes where Angelica does something heinous and gets off scot-free. This can be chalked up to the creators originally intending her to teach young viewers the idea that life isn't fair, only for the creators to come to despise Angelica and from then on dole as much karma on her as her actions give them the opportunity to.
- This is the first of many episodes that involve Stu's grilling something that inevitably gets ruined. Other such episodes include "Tie My Shoes" and "Discover America".
- Tommy's famous line "A baby's gotta do, what a baby's gotta do!" is used in the Remixalodeon song on The Splat (now NickRewind).
- This is the first 11-minute episode of the series.
- The episode was later remade in the 2021 short "Tommy's Ball".
- Lil sounded like Phil when she said, "I hate barbecues. There is nothing for us to do."
- When Chuckie is speaking, he has a full set of teeth.
- On Hulu, the episode's title is known as "Barbeque".