Even the best '90s cartoons were a lot darker than most people gave them credit for. Sure, on the surface the seemed nice enough. Shows like Rugrats, Hey Arnold!, and Recess seemed to represent the innocence of "kids being kids," but in reality they were cripplingly depressing. Take, for example, Rocket Power, a show about radical, far-out kids doing extreme sports. Seriously, though, where were their parents? Why were they allowed to do so many dangerous things unsupervised? Something's clearly wrong in Ocean Shores.
The plot of Rocket Power was actually pretty depressing. Reggie and Otto's mom died mysteriously when they were babies. Raymundo is a widower, a single father working full time (at a failing business), struggling to make ends meet. Meanwhile, he has no time to for his kids, and they spend their days participating in extreme sports unsupervised.
Just think of how dark Rocket Power would be in real life. That's probably why the show ended before they got to high school. By then, Otto and Twister would have wound up in juvie, Squid would be the weird goth kid that no one talks to, and Reggie would probably have gotten knocked up by Trent.
There's no way around it, Rocket Power was all about negligent parenting, and out of control kids.
Raymundo Rocket is a 40-something burn out who wears sandals to work. He owns the Shore Shack, a greasy spoon where he sells food to tourists. He has two kids, 11 and 12, whom he rarely sees because of his job, and he regularly engages in dalliances with the women of Ocean Shores. The only time you see him spending time with the kids is when they're partaking in 'Mundo's favorite pastime: surfing.
Nearly every single episode of Rocket Power features pre-teens participating in ridiculously deadly activities. In "Super McVarial 900," Otto spends the majority of the episode trying to perform a trick that is deemed physically impossible. Like a true friend, Twister does his best to capture the trick, and all of Otto's failed attempts, on camera.
"How's the weather up there, Ottoman?"
"Partly gnarly with a chance of pain!"
In the real world, that exchange would practically guarantee Otto was about to shatter all the bones in his legs. In Season 2's "Bruised Man's Cruve," the audience is nearly tricked into thinking Otto has reformed and matured. Despite being taunted about his fear of the titular Bruised Man's Curve, Otto sagely walks away in order to avoid danger. However, after seeing his tormentor fall backwards down the trail and totally eat it, Otto just goes ahead and decides to skate the trail anyway. He learned nothing.
Raymundo is whiter than Wonder Bread. His bio says he's Anglo-Polynesian. He's got blonde hair for God's sake. In contrast, both of his "kids" have the same complexion and hair color as "Uncle" Tito. Tito is the fry cook who hangs around with Ray and the kids all day because apparently he has nothing better to do.
Or, alternatively, he wants to keep an eye on his biological children Reggie and Otto. If nothing else, it's an interesting fan theory.
Poor Sam Dullard. He's the new kid in town that just can't seem to fit in. He's the nerd of the group that makes everyone else look cooler by comparison. He's basically Ross Gellar, Potsie Weber, and Ferris Bueller's friend Cameron all rolled into one. He wants to fit in so badly, he puts up with constant mockery from his peers.
Seriously, they nicknamed him Squid. That has to be one of the meanest things you can regularly call a chubby pre-teen. Most of the time, it doesn't even seem like Sam likes extreme sports! He's regularly bullied into doing things he's uncomfortable with in order to gain acceptance from the "cool" kids.