“Camera Shy” is an episode of Rocko's Modern Life from the television series' third season.
While helping Rocko make a video for his parents, Heffer and Filburt shoot footage of Rocko naked at night. When they give the footage to the Chameleon Brothers for editing, they edit together an Art-House video centering on Rocko's nakedness.
Rocko, Heffer, and Filburt rent a video camera so that they can shoot home movies of Rocko to send to his parents overseas in Australia so that he can show them what his life is like in O-Town. As we open the episode, Heffer is videotaping Rocko in front of his house - though is holding the camera upside-down (Rocko however doesn't notice this) - and he narrates: “Okay, here we are at ‘fun central’: Rocko's House!” Heffer realizes he’s holding the camera upside-down (“Wait…”) and turns it 90 degrees counter-clockwise onto its side and narrates: “Here we are at ‘Rocko’s Modern Home’.” Heffer says “Wait…” again as he can see that he's still not holding the camera correctly and Rocko asks him “Heffer, are you focused?” Heffer, bring silly, then zooms into Rocko's right eye whilst humming sound effects and ending with one of his trademarked “Whoo!” takes. Heffer continues to be silly with the camera for a bit by aiming it to Rocko's right as he continues to stand still in front of his house and asks if they can stop, and briefly fiddling with the camera's “white balance” (Rocko briefly berates Heffer in frustration). Heffer then aims the camera correctly at Rocko and asks him to make a goofy face that he usually makes whilst buying eggs; Rocko rebuttals: “Uh, oh what? The-the stupid face, w-with the-” Heffer replies “Yeah, do it!” and he briefly points the camera into the sky - away from Rocko - before zooming out and pointing it at Rocko and his dog, Spunky. Just as Rocko is about to show said goofy face (“Okay, here it is.”), Heffer rudely cuts Rocko off and focuses the camera on Spunky (“Oh! Spunky? Come on Spunky, get in the picture.”). Heffer walks closer for a different angle and uses his left foot to gently push Spunky closer to Rocko; but Spunky proceeds to briefly bite on Heffer's foot, and Heffer shakes Spunky loose and accidentally send him flying into his master, knocking him on his back (nonetheless, Heffer keeps recording the whole thing).
We then fade to later on inside Rocko's house where Rocko and Heffer are playing the resulting video back on TV, and Spunky is quite interested in seeing himself on TV; Heffer feels that they've shot some “good stuff” and that Rocko's parents will love it, but Rocko disagrees: “Oh Heffer, this is no good. My parents want to see what my life is like; they’re worried about me.” Heffer replies: “Well, if you’re sending this all the way to Australia, you gotta make it interesting; that’s where the magic of filmmaking come in.” Heffer then picks up the video camera (which was on the coffee table next to the couch where they were sitting) looks though its viewfinder, aims it at Rocko, and starts recording; Heffer narrates in a slightly deeper voice “He came to America a nobody; [Heffer quickly pans the camera toward Rocko and the lens bumps into Rocko’s left eye] he’s coming home a star.” Rocko backs away from the lens, waves at the camera and says “Hi mom and dad.” We then fast forward to later on, where Rocko has Heffer and Filburt videotape him in front of his workplace, “Kind of a Lot o’ Comics”: as Heffer starts the camera recording, he’s aiming it at the store’s sign, but he slowly pans it down to where Rocko is standing and is narrating: “Okay, this is where I… This is where…” Rocko asks Heffer is he's recording, and Heffer replies: “Yeah, you’re on.” Rocko clears his throat and starts over: “Hello Mom and Dad, I’m here at…” Heffer, being silly, suddenly interjects “Action!”; Rocko briefly glares at Heffer and then continues: “I’m here where I work everyday, [Heffer briefly pans the camera back up to the sign] ‘Kind of a Lot o’ Comics’”. Heffer then pans down to the store’s window on the right of it’s front door, where Rocko’s boss, Mr. Smitty, is peering out at the group; Rocko walks over and explains to the viewers: “That’s my boss in the window, he’s a great guy.” Mr. Smitty however promptly pulls down the window shade, and Rocko nervously stutters and twiddles his fingers. Filburt then says to Heffer “Hey Heffer, maybe we should shoot some videos of where we work everyday”; and after a brief pause, they both laugh and Heffer replies “That’s good”.
We then fast forward to even more later on, back at Rocko's house, where the group is videotaping Spunky (who's standing still whilst wagging his tail and staring into the camera lens); Rocko narrates “Look how big Spunky is” and then instructs him to do a trick. Spunky however just continues to stand still, and Rocko repeats himself to Spunky, who still doesn't perform said trick - Heffer suggests that Spunky is perhaps asleep, although he's clearly wide awake. As Rocko continues to ask Spunky to do said trick and go as far as saying please, Heffer asks Rocko what Spunky does; Rocko doesn't give any details, but says it's fantastic and that he has to see it to believe it. Both Heffer and Rocko coax Spunky and beg him to do said trick; but at first, all he does is stick his nose into the camera lens and sniffs it closely. But after sniffing the lens for a bit, Spunky turns his back toward the camera, and as this is apparently part of the trick, Rocko excitingly says “Oh! Get ready! Here he goes!” Spunky then sticks out his hindquarters toward the camera lens as he's gearing up to do something and Rocko excitingly narrates in anticipation: “You’re gonna love this Mom and Dad! Here he goes!” But at the very last moment, just before Spunky executes his trick, the video camera shuts itself down due to low battery power - and since our point of view was set to that of the camera's viewfinder, we never see what exactly it is that Spunky does. Rocko and Heffer however don't notice that the camera shut itself down, and Rocko cheers: “Woo! Alright Spunky!” An amazed Heffer asks: “Wow! How’d he do that!?” Rocko replies: “Years of practice. Did you get a good shot of that?” Heffer, not yet realizing that the camera shut down, replies: “You bet I did!”
We then cut to later on that evening at the Bighead's residence, where Heffer and Filburt have set the video camera on a tripod and are about to videotape Bev Bighead cooking. Rocko states to Heffer and Filburt that he's not certain his parents would be interested in watching his neighbor cooking, but Heffer tells Rocko to trust him and that “Europeans [confusing Australia with Austria] go nuts for this stuff”; Heffer then peers into the viewfinder and says “Now let’s make some magic”, and he starts the camera recording and shouts “Roll it!” whilst pointing to Bev. Bev, who's dotting a chef's hat in addition to her regular clothing, states to the camera/viewers: “Hi, I’m Bev Bighead, a…” Bev however is briefly cut off by Heffer who, being silly like earlier, shouts “Action”; she briefly glares at Heffer and then starts over: “Hi, I’m Bev Bighead, and welcome to ‘Cooking With Bev’. I'm ready to tease your tastebuds; the question is, are you ready for me?” Heffer, from behind the camera, replies “Sell it baby, sell it!”; Rocko tells Heffer to keep quiet as the camera microphone is recording him, but Heffer says that they'll fix it in “post”. Bev continues: “Now, let’s make ‘Fly Cakes’: First, you need a juicy, swollen, fresh, frozen, ‘corn fed’, fly [Bev has said fly in the counter where she's standing], and a ‘Fly Grater’ [Bev produces said grater from under the counter and puts it in a mixing bowl she has next to the fly].” Bev then instructs the viewer, whilst demonstrating, to hold the fly in the palm of their hand, face the fly’s abdomen outward, and scrape it back and forth on the grater; Bev also suggests that the viewer can sing if he/she likes (and sings for a brief moments herself) - we also see Bev's husband, Ed, peer into the kitchen from afar with an irritated look on his face. Bev then tells the viewers that the fly cakes are then finished, and she pushes the bowl and grater aside, and produces some already completed “Fly Cakes” from under the counter. Just then however, an angry Ed interrupts his wife's presentation (“Rocko!”) and yells at Rocko (as Heffer aims the camera at him and Ed). Heffer, not the least bit intimidated, tells Ed: “Great Eddy baby. Now try it again, with more pathos.” Ed responds by getting even angrier and replying with clenched teeth in a soft tone “Pathos!?” and picks up a wooden cane. Heffer, whilst sitting on top of the camera and tripod then shouts “Action!” and points at Ed; on cue, Ed gets extremely violent and, using his cane like a club, smashes the tripod to pieces and wacks Rocko, Heffer, Filburt and the camera out through the back door! Fortunately, the camera isn't damaged in Ed's rampage, but Rocko, Heffer and Filburt land in front of it dazed and surprised; the camera then shuts off.
Later of that same evening, Rocko feels too tired to continue and decides to turn in for the night; Heffer protests that they can't stop now, but Rocko wants to sleep. Heffer and Filburt ask Rocko if they can still use the video camera themselves; Rocko gives them his permission to do so, but warns them to be careful with it as it's due back at the video store the next day. Just as Rocko is about to close the door, Heffer briefly records Rocko doing so, and Rocko says goodnight to the viewers. Unfortunately for Rocko however, Heffer and Filburt have planned to do something indeed quite mischievous: record Rocko naked. Heffer and Filburt hide outside Rocko's house with the camera, next to a window that peers into Rocko's living room; Heffer starts the camera recording, holds the lens close to his face, and whispers to the viewers in a sneaky tone: “Ladies and Gentlemen, you’re about to witness one of the seven wonders of the world: At about 11:30, Eastern Standard Time, though this window [Heffer briefly pans the camera to his left so that it peers though said window into Rocko’s house], our buddy Rocko will descend the staircase as he does every night for a glass of milk.” Heffer then turns the camera around and aims the lens very close to Filburt, who adds in: “And he ain’t ‘dressed for the occasion’, if you know what I mean.” Heffer turns the camera back around and aims the lens close to his own face again, giggles sneakily for a brief moment, and continues: “You heard right: He’s completely, nakeeed!” Filburt shoves his head in front of Heffer's and adds in: “With no clothes on!” Suddenly, a light come on inside Rocko's house, and Heffer and Filburt get out of sight and aim the camera so that it peers inside Rocko's house as, just as Heffer and Filburt explained, Rocko does indeed walk down the stairs completely scaled naked - though he is wearing a rather unusual adhesive black “censor bar” over his groin area. Without noticing that he's being recorded, Rocko walks into the kitchen, opens his refrigerator (which is within view of the camera), and proceeds to drink some milk straight from its carton. Heffer and Filburt quietly giggle sneakily to themselves, and Heffer wolf whistles so that the camera microphone will pick it up as a sound effect. That proves to be a bad idea as Rocko hears Heffer and turns around; Heffer and Filburt immediately run away in such a haste that they don't stop the camera and it briefly records their feet before shutting off on its own.
The next day, Rocko, Heffer and Filburt returning the video camera to the video store, which we see is run by the Chameleon Brothers, Chuck and Leon; fortunately for Heffer and Filburt, while Rocko did hear them the previous night, he apparently didn't see them as Rocko isn't acting as if anything had happened. As the Chameleon Brothers take their camera back, they comment on the many videotapes of raw footage that Heffer is carrying (Filburt also has 2 tapes in his hands) and they ask Rocko if he would be interested in their video editing service. Heffer says “absolutely” and Filburt nods his head in concurrence, but Rocko isn't certain; the Chameleon Brothers however insist and claim that it will be fabulous and artistic. Filburt asks the two chameleons if they can put in “goofy sound effects”, and they both reply “With whipped cream on top!”; Heffer and Filbut rebuttal “Cool!” Rocko however is still hesitant and points out that he's not certain if he can afford it; Heffer suggests: “Rocko, this is no time to be cheap: It’s for your parents.” As Rocko gives it a bit more thought (“Well…”), one of the Chameleon Brothers pulls out a contract and a pencil and the other tells Rocko “Don’t be afraid of art, honey”; Rocko decides to give it a go and signs the contract, but tells them not to do anything too fancy as it's just for his parents - both chameleons say to each other: “I love this job!” The end result is a montage of short clips from the videos Rocko and his friends made with abstract text cards and clip art (such as flowers blooming) and contemporary background music thrown in, and the Chameleon Brothers have titled it “Le Vie Moderne de Pinto”; unfortunately for Rocko however, the rogue video of him naked that Heffer and Filburt recorded the previous night - which they presumably recorded just for themselves - somehow got into the batch of raw footage, and the Chameleon Brothers not only included it in the finished video, but they emphasized Rocko's nudity! And as if that weren't bad enough, the Chameleon Brothers have also decided to further capitalize on their handiwork by publicly exploiting it without Rocko's permission! In addition to a video store, the Chameleon Brothers also run a contemporary style cafe in the basement of the building where their video store is; and the Chameleon Brothers start their public exploitation of “Le Vie Moderne de Pinto” by playing it on televisions they have set up in the cafe to a small audience of youthful hipsters (as well as Bev Bighead) - As a clip of Rocko whilst naked appears on the televisions, one of the patrons - A yellow, male ibex dotting counterculture clothing and a medallion - comments “Far out!”, and another patron sitting next to him - A blue, male rhinoceros dotting a beard and a pipe - adds in “Like, zonkey!”
We then cut to the front counter upstairs in the video shop and see Rocko coming in to pick up the finished video; he hollers “Hello?” and then notices a sign on the front counter that reads “Please go downstairs for service.” As Rocko walks down the stars and into the cafe, Rocko sees himself naked on the televisions, and as a result, he comes tumbling down the rest of the way with a crash; “Le Vie Moderne de Pinto” then ends, and all the patrons start snapping their fingers and complimenting the film in unison. As the Chameleon Brothers help a dizzy Rocko up, they point out his arrival to the rest of the patrons, who all give their salutations and complements to Rocko; Rocko however is too confused, shocked and deeply mortified to lightly accept any salutations or complements, and he asks out loud: “What the nut is going on!?” One of the chameleons explains to Rocko that everyone is enjoying the video Rocko had them edit together, referring to it with an “our”; the other chameleon offers Rocko a cup of espresso, but Rocko doesn't take any mind to it and loudly rebuttals: “Our film!? That’s my nakedness!” The Chameleon Brothers add in enthusiastically: “That’s our masterpiece!” Bet Bighead walks over and complements Rocko (not yet aware Rocko didn't intend to publicly exhibit his home videos, let alone a video of his naked body); before Rocko can reply, the two chameleons reveal that they're selling copies of “Le Vie Moderne de Pinto” for $8.95 - plus tax - each, and they ask the patrons if they’d like to buy a copy; Rocko is deeply and unpleasantly surprised (“WHAT!?”). Bev produces a credit card from inside her purse and states that she'd like to purchase nine copies; Rocko frantically asks “WHAT’S GOING ON HERE!?” The Chameleon Brothers explain that they've decided to exploit Rocko and his home videos and make him a hit, and they've produced 11,000 copies of “Le Vie Moderne de Pinto” for everyone in O-Town to buy (and they add in that anyone who wants to look “artistic” will want a copy of “Le Vie Moderne de Pinto”)! Rocko, deeply and even more unpleasantly surprised, gulps and begins to panic! Bev holds up her credit card and reemphasizes that she'd like to buy nine copies, but a panicking Rocko frantically latches on to her, tells her that the video was only for his parents and begs her to buy all 11,000 copies whilst shaking her (adding in that he'll pay her back somehow); without giving Bev a chance to reply, Rocko frantically latches onto the two Chameleon Brothers and screams into their faces “She’ll take them all!” However, even more unfortunately for Rocko, the two chameleon reveal that they only have 900 copies of “Le Vie Moderne de Pinto” on the store and that they already distributed the rest of the copies to other video stores all over O-Town!! Without another word, Rocko's panicking deeply intensifies, and he runs out the front door of the video store, screaming at the top of his lungs!
While it's not at all likely that anyone - let alone Bev Bighead - could even afford to buy Rocko all 11,000 copies of “Le Vie Moderne de Pinto”, Rocko is nonetheless able to round up all of the copies - presumably, he got them all for free since he's the rightful owner of the content anyway - with the help of his two friends Heffer and Filburt, which is the least they can do after what they did to him that night; Rocko and his 2 friends recall so many of the videotapes that they run out of room inside his house and have to stack a lot of them outside! After fading in to a view outside Rocko's house, we cut to an angle inside Rocko's house and see Heffer keeping track of how many of the videotapes they recalled with the aid of a clipboard, and we see Rocko bringing in 17 more tapes; Rocko then asks Heffer how many tapes they have, and Heffer reports: “10,989, Eleven left to go.” A worried Rocko replies “Eleven?” and then paces the floor and says to himself “Eleven more! Eleven more!” Heffer double checks his clipboard and issues a correction: “Make that ten.” Rocko replies “Ten?”; and just then, Filburt comes though the front door with ten more copies (“Tada! Ten.”). Rocko frantically asks Heffer if it was ten or eleven, and Heffer replies that it was indeed ten; with all the copies recalled, Rocko heaves a heavy sigh of relief. Unfortunately, Rocko's relief is cut short when Heffer adds in “I sent one off to the Australian Film Festival”; Rocko, in panic, frantically replies “YOU DID WHAAAAAT!!?” and then runs out his front door screaming and plows into his mailbox in which his head sticks out the front and his feet and tail stick out the back. Just then, the mail carrier (a green monkey) arrives, and he opens Rocko's mouth as if it were the door of his mailbox, reaches down Rocko's throat and pulls out a pair of underpants, and stuffs Rocko's mail down his throat and closes his mouth - and he then walks away. Heffer and Filburt rush over and Heffer pulls out the mail that the mail carrier stuffed down Rocko's throat, and he points out that one of the letters is from Rocko's parents; Rocko frantically grabs the letter from Heffer, and he opens it and reads it:
Your father and I just got home from the film festival; my were we surprised. We’re so proud of you, would you please autograph these enclosed “censor bars” for our friends and relatives [and Rocko pulls out said “censor bars”, which are all like the one Rocko was wearing on his groin whilst naked; both Filburt and Heffer take delighted interest in the “censor bars”, and Filburt takes them from Rocko and beings them over to Heffer]?
Also enclosed, please find $10 - American - for a robe [and Rocko also pulls out said $10 bill].
We love you very much Boo-boo. [Before Rocko reads the last line, Heffer and Filburt brag amongst themselves over the loving remark, “Boo-boo”; and they repeat to themselves as they playfully stick the adhesive “censor bars” onto each other]
Mom and Dad
This message bring relief and cheer to Rocko who - with newfound ecstasy - excitingly exclaims “I don’t believe it!”; Heffer replies, pointing to the other letter: “Yeah? Well wait ‘till you see this.” Filburt points out that the other letter is from “The film board, Nationale du Australia”; Heffer pulls out an enclosed check and Filburt pulls out a letter, reads part of it - “Congradulations ‘mate’ on your” - and both he and Heffer exclaim excitingly “WE WON!!” Heffer excitingly adds in to Rocko “OUR FILM WON IN THE AUSTRALIAN FILM FESTIVAL!”, and Rocko, both relieved, flabbergasted and at a near loss for words, meekly replies: “I don’t believe it!”
Even though, in the end, some good came about from Rocko's unpleasant video disaster, he nonetheless decides that he and his friends need to erase the rest of the 10,999 copies of “Le Vie Moderne de Pinto” to ensure no one will ever see it again. Heffer is disappointed at this, but does so anyway.Just as they get started however, they find that the first video they were about to erase isn't a copy of “Le Vie Moderne de Pinto”; it's a different video altogether that's titled “Toads in Love”. Curious nonetheless, they play the tape back and find that it's a video of Rocko's next door neighbors, Ed and Bev, romantically doing activities such as breaking plates with their tongues. Rocko and his friends are stunned by what they're watching; Rocko remarks in awe “That’s The Bigheads” and the adhesive Censor Bars that Heffer and Filburt stuck to each other fall off. The episode then irises out and ends.
- Heffer: Okay, Rocko, do that goofy face you make when you're buying eggs.
- (Heffer and Filburt are about to film Rocko walking downstairs in the night for a glass of milk.)
- Filburt: He's not dressed for the occasion, if you know what I mean.
- Heffer: You heard right! He's completely...naked!
- In reality, it would be quite difficult if not prohibitive to view a videotape recorded in the USA on an Australian Television, and vice-versa, during the mid 1990s. Analog Televisions (and video cameras) in Australia use the PAL system while analog televisions (and video cameras) in the United States use the NTSC system; so a videotape recorded in the US, and thus in NTSC, would have to be converted to PAL first. In the mid 1990s, this sort of conversion would require the use of expensive video equipment.
- Now of course, this was an independent film studio.
- The clip of Mr. and Mrs. Bighead breaking the plates was reused from the Season 1 episode, Leap Frogs.
- In this episode, Rocko's nudity is covered by a censor bar. However, in other episodes, he isn't censored. However, a censor bar is shown in Sand in Your Navel right when a censor man put it on Rocko before Rocko entered the nude beach.
- The Chameleon brothers make an Art-house short film out of Rocko's home video footage.
- The Domestic Fun (a) plays in the Title Card, but it's only high pitched.
- In one scene, Bev Bighead wore brown pants instead of blue.