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Thumbs Up Gallery Transcript
Season 6 Episode 24b
Thumbs Up Title Card.jpg
Thumbs Up
Original Airdate October 23, 1999
DVD release Season 6
Complete Series
Previous Episode Partners In Crime
Next Episode Planting Dil

"Thumbs Up" is a Season 6 episode of Rugrats.

Characters Present


When the Rugrats play "Follow the Leader" and imitate everything Baby Dil does, they all start sucking their thumbs. So when Angelica overhears Grandpa Lou's theory that thumb sucking causes buck teeth, she takes this to mean it causes "DUCK teeth", and that the Rugrats will soon become ducks. Can they stop sucking their thumbs before they all begin laying eggs and growing feathers? - Description from Klasky Csupo


While at Stu, Didi, Tommy and Dil's house, the Rugrats (with the exception of Angelica) are playing "Follow the Leader," with Dil as the leader--Angelica refuses to play unless she's the leader, but Tommy says that it's Dil's turn to be the leader and that they have to do whatever Dil does. While Stu's fixing the backyard fence, he accidentally slams the hammer on his thumb, and starts sucking on it. Dil sees his dad do this and starts sucking his own thumb, which Lil and the boys copy. When Lou, Didi and Charlotte come out and see if Stu's okay, all the adults notice the babies sucking their thumbs, and start worrying if it's okay for them to do that. Charlotte reveals that she recently read an article that said thumb-sucking leads to poor college grades, bad job skills and social isolation, but Lou feels that thumbs-sucking only leads to buckteeth--but this leads Stu and Didi to looking into Dr. Lipschitz's books to see the answer of what they should do.

After the adults got back inside, Dil and Tommy stop sucking their thumbs, but Chuckie and the twins don't. When Tommy points out that Dil's still the leader and he's not sucking his thumb anymore, Chuckie and the twins admit that they like sucking their thumbs and don't want to stop. Angelica then comes up and claims that they'll turn into ducks if they keep sucking their thumbs (mispronouncing "buckteeth" as "duckteeth"). Not realizing that Angelica's just lying, Chuckie and the twins say that while they obviously don't want to turn into ducks, at the same time, they don't want to quit sucking their thumbs--so Tommy takes it upon himself to try to help his friends quit thumb-sucking.

Meanwhile, inside the house, Didi and the rest of the adults are looking through one of her Lipschitz-books, and in the section on thumb-sucking, it says that thumb-sucking can lead to things like dental problems, peer ridicule and bad academic and job skills, they notice that a page from the thumb-sucking section is missing, and wonder where the page could be (Dil had taken the page and stuffed it in his diaper earlier)--the adults then try coming up with ways to make their kids quit thumb-sucking.

While Tommy's trying to get Chuckie and the twins to quit thumb-sucking, Angelica's trying to build a city for Cynthia called "Cynthianati." Although Chuckie does honestly try to stop sucking his thumb, he can't bring himself to actually quit, and when Tommy tells Phil and Lil to stop, Phil bluntly states that he and Lil don't want to stop, and the twins admit that they wouldn't mind turning into ducks that much. Tommy then offers them something they like: mud (to Lil) and a bug (to Phil). The twins realize that they can't enjoy eating mud or bugs if they're sucking their thumbs, they finally quit thumb-sucking. Tommy's happy that Phil and Lil finally stopped, but points out that Chuckie still hasn't stopped, they try figuring out how to help him quit.

Angelica's building her city for Cynthia, but Dil's near one of the stacks of blocks she made, and he takes one of them, which makes the blocks fall over. Angelica's mad that she'll have to build it all over again, but then she notices Tommy and the twins trying to help Chuckie quit sucking his thumb, and gets an idea on how to get them to build Cynthianati for her. Angelica goes inside, where Lou and his daughters-in-law are making a stew to put on the kids' thumb to get them to stop thumb-sucking, and grabs some eggs from the fridge. While Didi's stirring the stew, she asks Lou if they followed the recipe correctly, and he assures her they did, and claims that it's an old Pickles-family recipe. Stu comes into the kitchen, having unsuccessfully trying to see if the missing book page was in the vacuum cleaner, he tries some of the stew just as Didi tells him it's for the kids. The stew is way too spicy and Stu quickly gets some water to drink--Lou then realizes that they may have accidentally used too much cayenne pepper. Didi refuses put it on the children's thumbs, but Lou persuades her not to throw it away, and points out that it will make a nice barbecue sauce.

Back outside, Angelica goes up to the babies and says that it won't before Chuckie turns into a duck, and puts the eggs behind him when no one's looking, and then claims that Chuckie's now laying eggs. When Tommy says he and twins will do anything to help Chuckie stop thumb-sucking, Angelica then claims that she could probably help Chuckie stop sucking his thumb--Angelica gets the babies to help her build Cynthianati in exchange for Angelica getting Chuckie to stop sucking his thumb. She gets the twins to start building a fence around the city and she has Tommy and Chuckie bring all their blocks and gets them to start making all the buildings. While doing so, Tommy asks Angelica when she's going to tell them how to get Chuckie to stop sucking his thumb, she refuses to do so until they're done building the city. While this is happening, Dil tries getting a block with the letter "D" on it, but when Angelica goes to stop him, she slips on a cylindrical block and it knocks out of the legs on the building Tommy and Chuckie made. The building starts wobbling, and Chuckie notices that it's leaning towards Dil, and realizing that Tommy's brother will get seriously if he doesn't get out of the way in time, Chuckie rushes to save him and manages to get him out of the way in time.

Now that Cynthianati is destroyed, Angelica claims that it's the babies' fault, even though it was technically her fault (albeit accidentally). The adults, having heard the commotion, come outside to see what's going on, and they notice that none of the kids are sucking their thumbs anymore. Stu then notices the missing page from the thumb-sucking section in the Lipschitz-book, and as Didi reads it, the page says that ultimately, it's best to let children make their own decisions about thumb-sucking, and that parents should only intervene if it continues to an advanced age. After that's all settled, Lou then asks if anyone's up for barbecue.

When Tommy asks Chuckie what made him stop sucking his thumb, Chuckie explains that he got so worried about Dil getting hurt that he stopped without really thinking about it. Angelica tries getting them to get back to build Cynthianati, but Tommy says that they don't have to help her anymore since Chuckie quit thumbsucking on his own. They then decide to play "Follow the Leader" again, but with Chuckie as the leader this time. Chuckie starts acting like a duck, which makes the others start acting like ducks. While trying to get away from them, Angelica slips on another block, which makes her land on the eggs that she claims Chuckie had laid earlier.


  • It's perfectly normal for children to suck their thumbs, and most usually stop when they're around four or five.
    • Unless parents want to discourage the habit before then, parents really should only intervene if it continues to an advanced age (like when a child's permanent teeth start coming in at around the age of six).
      • Thumb-sucking can actually cause buckteeth like Lou said it would.
  • Drew is the only member of the Pickles family to not appear in this episode.
  • The twins mention that they like eggs, and Phil likes dropping them on the floor.
  • Chuckie already has buckteeth.