Ed Bighead

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Ed Bighead
Rocko's Modern Life character
File:Ed Bighead.png
First appearance"Leap Frogs" (1993)
Last appearance"Rocko's Modern Life: Static Cling" (2019)
Created byJoe Murray
Voiced byCharlie Adler
In-universe information
SpeciesCane toad[1]
GenderMale
OccupationExecutive at the Conglom-O Corporation
SpouseBeverly Bighead
ChildrenRachel (Ralph) Bighead (Transgender Daughter)

Edward Bighead is a fictional character in the cartoon series Rocko's Modern Life and the comic book series of the same name. Mr. Bighead, an anthropomorphic cane toad,[1] lives next door to the main character of the show, Rocko, whom he vehemently dislikes. In the television show, he is voiced by Charles Adler.

Development

Joe Murray, the creator of Rocko's Modern Life, said that he based the Bigheads on a group of neighbors who lived next door to Murray during his childhood. Murray described the neighbors as "grumpy and pissed about everything."[1] The general concept involving characters with large heads originated from a comic, written by Murray, named "Rizzo the Art Director."[2]

Description

Ed Bighead is an employee at a large corporation. He is cold, petty, evil, bossy, and has a terrible temper; in fact, the only people that he fears are his wife, Bev, and his boss, Mr. Dupette. He particularly dislikes Rocko and his friends, Heffer Wolfe and Filburt. He usually yells at anyone he sees and grumbles bitterly under his breath at any situation he finds even slightly troubling. In the musical episode, Zanzibar, O-Town's citizens are cleaning up the city, where it is revealed that he cares little about the environment and even wants "the sky to be filled with garbage too", primarily toxic waste in the Ionosphere.

In the original television show, Ed works at the Conglom-O Corporation, the largest company in town. In the episode Old Foggy Froggy, it is revealed that he has worked at Conglom-O since at least 1961, yet despite his long tenure, his "slimy boss" Mr. Dupette, has never promoted him into a permanent position in the top echelons of the company. This suggests that he was born in 1941, assuming that he was Rocko's age and according to the calendar of the episode, it was 1994, which would make him 53. While his actual job at Conglom-O varies throughout the course of the show, he seems to be stuck in mostly middle management roles that occasionally cause him a great deal of stress (She's the Toad, Zanzibar). He has also been shown as a lowly worker (Teed Off, Magic Meatball) to being an executive of sorts (Closet Clown, Canned). In the episode Teed Off, Ed states his current job at Conglom-O is "Checking the bottle caps on all the bottles." And agrees to lose a round of golf to Mr. Dupette (in secret) in order to get a promotion to "Put" the bottle caps on the bottles, a prospect that seems very thrilling to him.

In the later seasons of the show, his character is fleshed out more. He is shown to display, at times, genuine affection for Rocko and his friends (Old Fogey Froggy, Put to Pasture), but is mostly grouchy towards them. However, in Rocko's Modern Life: Static Cling, he was on better terms with Rocko when they helped save O-town. He by that point in 2016 would be 75, but like most cartoon characters, he hasn't aged physically.

In the comic book, Ed Bighead works for a similar company headed by a white elephant named Donald Frump (a parody of Donald Trump).

Relationships

Ed is the husband of Bev Bighead, and Bev is the only character in the series that can turn Ed from mean to downright terrified. They celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary in “I Have No Son”. Bev has the strength to stand up to Ed, and this makes her quite a powerful figure. Indeed, she is probably the most powerful figure for Ed, because anyone else who Ed torments never does anything to stop it. Therefore, the other characters, particularly Rocko, are always under his control. He does not have many friends and is disliked by many, but appears to not be bothered by this.

He had an estranged relationship with his son Ralph, who created a show called "The Fatheads," which was loosely based on his parents. Ralph also becomes a cartoonist instead of following Ed's footsteps at Conglom-O, which caused Ed to deny he had a son. The two of them later reconciled after Rocko and Filburt contact him about his parents’ 30th anniversary. They both reconcile at the end when they admitted they still care for each other (Ralph even kept the donut from the initiation at Conglom-O). Ralph eventually came out as transgender under the name Rachel in Rocko's Modern Life: Static Cling and although Ed wasn't accepting at first, he later accepted the transition.[3]

Episodes

Ed usually played the role of an antagonist, or the bully.

In episodes that he starred in, he:

  • Destroys Rocko's valuable baseball
  • Tries to have Rocko's house condemned
  • Spreads rumors around town to stop anyone from going to Rocko's Christmas Party
  • Deprives Bev of the attention she deserves (unintentionally)
  • Serves as the antagonist in Rocko's pursuit of recycling
  • Creates a beach parking lot that was actually Rocko's driveway
  • Tortures Rocko while sleepwalking as a pirate (actually due to a childhood trauma)
  • Attempts to ruin Rocko and Heffer's winter vacation
  • Runs against Rocko in the town dog catcher elections, spreading a vicious smear campaign to harm his neighbor's public image. Ed won but it became a hollow victory since; despite Rocko's bad image, his ideas were accepted by the people (which was what Ed tried to prevent in the first place) and his main duty as the town dog catcher consisted of picking up dog feces.

Despite his almost constant bad luck, there have been episodes where he's come out on top or at least shown having moderately good luck:

  • Magic Meatball: After getting a magic meatball as a gag gift for a promotion, he uses the meatball to work his way up and up the company ladder, eventually getting an office with a view of the entire earth.
  • Sailing the Seven Zzzz's: At the end of the episode, despite having put Rocko, Heffer, and Filburt through hell, we see him sleeping peacefully with Spunky's chew toy, with a big smile on his face and his childhood trauma over.
  • Closet Clown: After confessing his secret to Bev and the others, he finds everyone's accepting of him being a clown, although they're less than acceptive of Rocko's admission that he "likes rainbows" (a possible gay reference), even leading to Ed, Bev, and Dr. Hutchison chasing Rocko.
  • Teed Off: Ed is offered a promotion if he lets Mr. Dupette win at a game of golf. Ed is aware that the game is rigged in his boss' favor while Mr. Dupette is oblivious to it being rigged for him. Heffer, who is working at the course, discovers the game is fixed and decides to help Ed. Even though Ed doesn't get the promotion, he wins the game.

In the comic book chapters, Ed:

  • Expels Rocko and Heffer from a company party on several occasions, despite the fact that the rest of the partygoers enjoy their company.[4]
  • "Trains" Earl to attack Rocko while Rocko plans to enjoy an inflatable swimming pool in his yard.[5]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Character Museum," Joe Murray Studio
  2. "July 28, 2009 Archived October 4, 2011, at the Wayback Machine." Joe Murray Studio. Retrieved on July 28, 2009.
  3. https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/netflix-s-rocko-s-modern-life-static-cling-features-transgender-n1040571
  4. "Who Invited You?" (first story), Issue 2 "Intestinal Turmoil," Volume 1. Rocko's Modern Life comic series
  5. "Earl & Water Don't Mix" (first story), Issue 5 "Spunky's Kinda Funky!," Volume 1. Rocko's Modern Life comic series