Rugrats was the 2nd of the 3 "first wave" Nicktoons, along with Doug and The Ren & Stimpy Show, debuting in 1991, and outlasted the others, even going so far as to spawn a spinoff series, in addition to a pair of feature films.
Rugrats also was the debut effort from producers Arlene Klasky & Gabor Csupo (hence, Klasky-Csupo, which would provide Nickelodeon with other series throughout the 90's), making them major players on the animation scene in the early part of the 90's. The concept, though, was not unique. Writer-artist Sheldon Mayer had introduced Sugar & Spike at DC Comics a number of years earlier, and that might actually have been the core inspiration for the Rugrats.
The two male leads, Tommy Pickles & Chuckie Finster, came across as a potentially classic comedy team. Tommy came up with ideas, while Chuckie, ever cautious, warned of potential hazards, but went along with the ideas anyway. To create antagonistic tension, Tommy's cousin, Angelica, was added as the resident bully.
After two years, Rugrats ceased production, though there were still some episodes in the can that eventually made it to air. The ratings were such that in 1995, the series went back into production, which led to the two movies, and the 2002 follow-up series, Rugrats: All Grown Up, which had spun out of a TV-movie that presented Tommy, Angelica, Chuckie, and the rest as pre-teens, or, to use today's parlance, tweens. All Grown Up aired as a mid-season replacement on CBS' Saturday schedule during the 2003-04 season, and if memory serves, Rugrats also spent some time on CBS as well.
Here's the intro everyone knows:
Now, wouldn't you want your kids to learn lessons from these kids?