Rugrats Wiki
Real or Robots? Gallery Transcript
Season 1 Episode 8a
Real or Robots?
Original Airdate September 29, 1991
VHS release Tales from the Crib

Volume 2

DVD release Season 1
Retro Essentials
Complete Series
Previous Episode Momma Trauma
Next Episode Special Delivery

"Real or Robots?" is the first segment of the eighth episode of season 1, and the eighth Rugrats segment overall.

Characters Present


After seeing a scary movie, Tommy and Chuckie decide to find out if Stu is a human or robot. Too bad his sleepwalking makes him appear to be a mechanical monster!

- Description from Klasky Csupo


On a stormy night, Tommy and Chuckie are watching a movie on TV where a mad scientist plans to replace every man, woman and child with his robots and take over the world, and is working on a robot made to resemble a man. Tommy and Chuckie watch horrified as the mad scientist brings the robot to life via what appears to be a lightening powered apparatus suspended above, and then stands it upright by tipping the bed forward, as the robot begins to stand up, it gradually starts to smile. As the robot begins walking toward a door, a boy opens the door and recognizes the robot as his father (“Oh No! Dad! You’re a robot!”). Just as Tommy and Chuckie are watching the robot about to grab the boy, Stu turns off the TV and tells them that the movie is way too scary for them, and tells them to come along as it’s time for bed. Chuckie follows Stu, but Tommy stays behind, turns the TV back on, and gets one last look at the movie; he watches in horror as the robot is carrying away the frightened boy.

We fast forward and find Tommy and Chuckie put in their crib and Stu wishing them both goodnight and then walking out and closing the door. Chuckie notices Tommy is not laying down to go to sleep and asks him if he’s sleepy. Tommy states he’s not sleepy, but instead thinking about robots. As they talk, Tommy shares his thoughts that anybody could be a robot, including their own parents; Chuckie is in denial of this. Tommy then states that his own father didn't look like he normally did but instead looked like a robot; Chuckie asks Tommy to stop saying things like that and further states in denial that it’s not true. Tommy however states that he can’t sleep until he finds out for sure whether his Dad is a robot or not. He uses his plastic screwdriver to open the crib and makes his way out with Chuckie following.

Meanwhile, in Stu and Didi’s room, Stu is getting ready for bed and mumbling to himself in exhaustion. Didi (already in bed) tells Stu that she’s worried that he might be working too hard; but Stu doesn't listen and continues mumbling to himself as if he didn't hear Didi. Didi attempts to get Stu’s attention again (“Stu?”) and Stu responds: “Huh? Oh okay dear. I’ll fix the blender first thing in the morning.” Didi then points out that if Stu doesn't get a goodnight sleep, he will start sleepwalking like he did the previous summer; but Stu tells Didi not to worry and the he’ll be fine. Didi however is still really worried and reminds Stu of what he did last time he walked in his sleep (rearranging his Sock drawer and trying to make a 13 egg omelet on the kitchen floor). Now in bed and yawning and stretching mid sentence, Stu tells Didi that all he needs is a goodnight sleep and he’ll be fine; he tries to kiss Didi good night, but falls asleep before he can reach Didi. Didi turns out he light.

We go back to Tommy and Chuckie as the walk out of Tommy’s room and make their way toward Stu and Didi’s. Along the way, Chuckie is startled by the grandfather clock in the hallway striking the hour. They enter Stu and Didi’s room and make their way toward their bed. Tommy figures that his father would not need to breathe if he’s a robot and Chuckie agrees. Tommy puts his fingers in his father’s nose to see if he really needs to breathe; but this causes his father to sneeze, knock Tommy off and wake up. He sees Tommy and Chuckie, takes them both back into Tommy’s room, puts them back in the crib, and ties a string to prevent it from opening again; he wishes Tommy and Chuckie goodnight again and goes back to bed.

Tommy however is still not satisfied and points out that he heard weird noises coming from inside his father while he was in bed and figures that he might have gears in him like the robot on TV. Tommy unites the string to open the crib and gets out again; he then reaches for his toolbox under the crib and states that he and Chuckie have to find the bolts that open his chest (relating this to the robot on TV, which had bolts where a man would have nipples). Tommy gets a plastic toy pipe wrench and his flashlight, and he and Chuckie make their way back into Stu and Didi’s room; no sooner to they arrive when Chuckie begs to go back. Tommy pulls out a suitcase from under his parent’s bed so that he and Chuckie could get on the bed and climb on Stu’s chest, and Tommy hands Chuckie the flashlight. As Chuckie shines the light down on Stu, he again suggests they can go back, but Tommy continues to looks for his father’s “bolts”. He undoes his father’s nightshirt and notices his father’s nipples; he recognizes them as the “bolts” they are looking for. He then attempts to use his plastic pipe wrench to twist them, which causes Stu to immediately wake up screaming in pain, and in turn scaring Tommy and Chuckie into screaming themselves.

We then fast forward to Tommy and Chuckie back in the crib again; this time, Stu taped it up all around so that it won’t open for sure. Tommy however is still not satisfied and figures Stu is trying to keep the babies in the crib so that they won’t find out he’s a robot. Tommy uses his blanket to get out the crib and a now reluctant Chuckie follows. They take the entire toolbox into Stu and Didi’s room and make their way toward Stu and Didi’s bed, but stop and drop the toolbox when lightning strikes. Chuckie tells Tommy it’s not too late to go back, but Tommy says he’s got to find out once and for all if his father is a robot or not. A frustrated Chuckie argues: “Tommy, robots aren't real! They’re just pretend! There’s no such thing as robots!” Suddenly however, Stu lies up and begins to sleepwalk. As he’s getting out of bed, he moans and moves slowly and similarly to Frankenstein and the robot on TV. As Stu comes toward the babies, they run out of the room frightened and screaming (Didi doesn’t hear anything as she has pillows over her ears). Tommy and Chuckie make their way downstairs and a sleepwalking Stu seems to follow; they hide behind an armchair, but Stu comes in and plows though everything in his way (knocking things over in the process). Tommy and Chuckie then flee into the kitchen (with Tommy stopping to look at the robot movie on TV) with Stu close behind. As Tommy an Chuckie scramble for a place to hide, Chuckie admits that Tommy was right, and they both agree the Stu is a robot. Stu then stops and takes a look around.

A sleepwalking Stu notices he’s in the kitchen and mumbles to himself in his sleep that he needs to eat something. Continuing to mumble, he makes his way to the refrigerator and then rummages though its contents; Tommy and Chuckie watch as they hide in the cabinet under the counter. Stu then takes out a bowl of pasta in one hand and a dozen eggs in his other, and begins to dream that he’s hosting a cooking show; he mumbles to himself: “Thank you, Thank you, ladies and gentlemen. And now for my next dish, I’d like to create the ‘Famous Stu Pickles Omelet’.” As Chuckie asks Tommy what Stu is doing, a semi-conscious Stu goes on: “My lovely assistant Ramona will hold the bowl [he drops the bowl of pasta into Tommy’s height chair next to the refrigerator], as I demonstrate my culinary magic [he takes out an egg, cracks it open, and lets its contents fall onto the floor].” As Stu continues to crack eggs open and let their contents fall onto the floor (one egg also slips from his hand, goes flying and cracks open on the floor), he mumbles to himself: “One potato, two potato, three potato, six potato, fourteen potato, sixteen potato, one hundred nineteen potato…” Chuckie wonders what Stu is talking about, and Tommy makes it out to probably be some kind of robot code from Mars. An egg’s contents splatter next to Tommy and Chuckie and they cause the pots and pans in the cabinet to rattle as they avoid the splatter; Stu looks down at them and thinks that they are his brother Drew. Tommy and Chuckie them crawl though the cabinets to escape; as Stu drops the rest of the eggs and looks under inside, he mumbles to what he sees as Drew: “What are you doing here? This is my cooking show Drew. You’re not trying to steal my secret recipe, are you?” Tommy and Chuckie come out of the cabinet though another door, and pots and pans fall out to alert a sleepwalking Stu. He then begins walking toward Tommy and Chuckie, seeing them in his sleep as Drew (“Drew, come back here!”); as he makes his way toward them, he mumbles “Come back Drew! I just wanna talk to you!”

Tommy grabs the remote to the TV and tries to use it to stop his “robot” father; but of course, it only changes the channels on the TV. As Stu bends down to grab Tommy, Tommy runs under his legs frightened and gets away. Stu then moves toward Chuckie, and Chuckie tries to get away; but he falls down. Just as Stu is making his way toward Chuckie (softly mumbling “come back”), Tommy jumps into Chuckie and moves him away. They both then make their getaway as a sleepwalking Stu continues to pursue them. Tommy and Chuckle hide behind a reclining armchair; but Stu walks over it, crashes into a lamp, and begins to dance with it. As Stu is dancing with it, Tommy and Chuckie look onward from behind a wall and then make their way back to Tommy’s room while Stu continues dancing. He genially falls backwards with the lamp onto the reclining armchair, and stops sleepwalking. Meanwhile, Tommy and Chuckie run though the hallway back into Tommy’s room; Didi also wakes up but does not see Tommy and Chuckie, but notices Stu is not in bed. As Tommy and Chuckie scramble back into the crib, Didi makes her way downstairs to find Stu sleeping upside-down on the reclining armchair, mumbling in his sleep: “One potato, two potato, three potato, four.” Didi turns on the light and calls to Stu; a semi-conscious Stu responds: “Where’s Drew?” Didi asks Stu if he’s ok; as Stu is opening his eyes, he responds: “Yeah, I guess so Ramona.” Didi bitterly responds: “Ramona?! Who’s Ramona?” Stu responds: “My assistant.” Didi tells Stu he’s been sleepwalking again, but he doesn't listen. Didi gets his attention, and Stu states he'll fix the blender. 

As Stu and Didi make their way upstairs, we find Tommy and Chuckie holding each other tight and shivering in fright. Stu and Didi come in to check on Tommy and Chuckie and turn on the light; Tommy and Chuckie immediately brace themselves and pretend to be asleep. As Stu and Didi genially tend to the kids, Stu softly mentions that the kids look so cute and innocent when they’re asleep (Didi agrees), and then goes on to mention that he dreamt that Tommy and Chuckie kept coming into their bedroom and trying to open his chest with a plastic screwdriver as if were some kind of robot or something. Didi find the idea silly and reminds Stu that Tommy loves him and would never do something like that (Tommy, still pretending to be sleeping, listens in). Stu agrees that it was just some crazy dream and mentions how lucky he and his wife are to have such a great kid (Tommy smiles as he hears this), and Didi adds that it’s like father like son (Stu is flattered) as they turn out the light and walk out. Tommy then tells Chuckie that he was right and that his father is not a robot, and Chuckie agrees with Tommy. But then Chuckie lies up in the crib and openly wonders: “But what about my Dad?” Tommy also lies up in bed wondering and both he and Chuckie stare out the window as the camera pans out and the episode ends.


  • This is the third time characters watch television in the series, but only the second time television causes a major part of an episode's storyline.
  • Stu says "your mom and dad will come over to get you in the morning" to Chuckie, however, later in the series, Chuckie's mom is revealed to have died when Chuckie was only a young baby. Presumably, the writers had not yet decided that Chuckie's mom would not be around at this point in the series..
  • This is the second time Tommy wears a red shirt, the first being "Tommy's First Birthday".
  • The SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Krab Borg" is similar to this one.
  • This is the first time Tommy slept over with Chuckie.
  • The old Rugrats Nickelodeon site lists this episode as Real or Robots, omitting the question mark.
  • This is the first time we see Didi without her glasses: she takes them off before settling in for bed. Her eyes without her glasses were originally white eyes with black pupils. In later episodes, her bare eyes are now just simply black dots like other characters who cannot see without their glasses.
  • Sleepwalking apparently runs in the Pickles family; Tommy himself sleepwalks later in his life whilst under stress, as seen in the All Grown Up! episode "Thief Encounter".
  • The title card font for this episode is boldfaced.
  • When Tommy says "I can't sleep until I find out for sure" he knocks off a ball that looks exactly like the Pixar Ball.
  • Moral: Don’t overwork yourself; always get the right amount of sleep.


  • Cartoon Logic: Wouldn't Tommy and Chuckie's screaming wake Didi up?
  • When Tommy and Chuckie go into Stu and Didi's room the second time with a toy wrench, Tommy climbs up on the bed. You can see a bit of what should be Stu's hair. But it's colored orange instead of purple.
  • When Stu first starts to sleepwalk, his nightshirt is unbuttoned; after a sleepwalking Stu rummages though the refrigerator's contents, his nightshirt is buttoned; and after Didi finds Stu downstairs, his nightshirt is unbuttoned again. It's unlikely Stu would button and unbutton his nightshirt whilst sleepwalking.

Video Clip