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Ren and Stimpy and how they redefined cartoons forever.
September 08, 2010
I've been looking around on RetroJunk for an awfully long time, and seeing that Ren and Stimpy is an open position for writing, I decided to finally make an account and write about it. I've been dying to write here for years, so here's my first shot at it. So, the first thing I want to get straight off the bat is that The Ren And Stimpy Show is probably my most favorite show ever!. Not only did Ren and Stimpy change cartoons for a new generation (meaning us) and how it made an impact on pop culture forever.

And to think these two guys made cartoon history!

Before I get into all of the good stuff, I'll start with the story behind Ren and Stimpy's origins. Nickelodeon, back in it's golden years, wanted to produce their own set of original cartoons. Which became of course, what we know today as Nicktoons. John Kricfalusi (the innovative creator of Ren and Stimpy) created Ren And Stimpy (Ren, from a postcard of an angry Chihuahua in a sweater, and Stimpy from Bob Clampett's "The Gruesome Twosome" cartoon) back when he was young and working on Saturday Morning Cartoons in the 80s.

Back then, Cartoons were only made by big corporate companies, and cartoonists had to completely animate a cartoon, from a SCRIPT. It was so infuriating, that John K. even said in a commentary that people working for cartoons like The Smurfs, Strawberry Shortcake, The Cosby Kids, and The Jetsons' revival hated working there so much that they actually BURNED the scripts afterwards! Talk about beginner's luck!. But, after several years of hard labor, Mr.Kricfalusi opened up his own studio, Spümcø in the heart of Hollywood. And, in 1988, he made a pitch to Nickelodeon for, The Ren and Stimpy Show.

It still amazes me that this is the man that saved animators and cartoons alike.

So, the Ren and Stimpy Show had an original, fully animated, cartoonist-made, storyboard developed pilot. Which was titled Big House Blues, and was finished in October of 1990, and the first real episode of Ren and Stimpy (Stimpy's Big Day/The Big Shot) aired August of 1991, along with two other beloved Nicktoons, Doug, and Rugrats. Now we're finally diving into the fun stuff. So, as more and more Nicktoons were made, more and more Ren and Stimpy episodes were made, but, only the first two seasons of Ren and Stimpy were made by Spümcø. Seasons 1&2 were considered to have the perfect mixture of classic slapstick, and genius toilet humor. The rest of the episodes were considered a cheap knockoff, and had forced comedy, and not as funny as Spümcø's original version, as it was made by Games Animation. (Nickelodeon's animation company).

"No sir. I don't like slave labor"

From the very start of Ren and Stimpy, Nick had been constantly censoring things, and criticizing them, and Spümcø faced roadblock after roadblock constantly every single freaking day. But the amazing thing is that Games Animation ended up having more adult themes and innuendo than the original Spümcø version had. How was the show cancelled? Well, first, Nick kicked off John K. FROM HIS OWN SHOW. That's right! You heard me! They kicked him out. They had even bribed some members of Spümcø to leave Nickelodeon! So, the remaining Spümcø staff were again under the same cartoonist labor they were in the 80s.

Although they had the animation freedom, Nick decided everything that would happen, the Spümcø staff had no more veto power, they weren't working independently anymore! Whatever Nick wanted they had to comply. Because of this very reason, Ren and Stimpy were booted off the air in 1996. A good four year run with 52 episodes. Nick truly isn't a bad company, it was just that back then, they weren't as experienced as they are now. In the end, The Ren and Stimpy Show saw a successful run, and it was the first REAL animated cartoon, and broke free from the "Dark Ages" of Cartoons (as cartoonists refer to it as) So, John K. really made something special here. But, I think I've covered enough ground on The Ren and Stimpy Show's history, now to get to Ren And Stimpy "Adult Party Cartoon"!.

Ren and Stimpy+Spike= Naked women, psychotic childhood traumas, extreme slapstick, and more poop jokes.

The first thing I want to say about Ren and Stimpy "Adult Party Cartoon" is that, people often criticize it because of the fact that it's too adult and too disgusting, and it's nothing like the original. First off, don't compare the two shows as one, pretend this is Renk and Stumpy "Adult Party Cartoon" because, although it is the same dynamic duo, it's at a different target audience, and revolves around different themes and stories, it's like the difference between Nick, and Nicktoons Network, Nicktoons Network is just Nicktoons new and old, and Nick is live action as well as cartoons. Try to put that into Ren and Stimpy's context when comparing the shows, naysayers.

Well, the story for this one is similar to Nick's situation, Spike wanted to make an animation block strictly for men, and you guessed it, Ren and Stimpy was one of them. Spike wanted it big, Spike wanted it uncut and wanted it full of violence, innuendo, and all that stuff, so John K. complied, and the Men's Animation Block for TNN (former name of Spike until August 2003) was launched in June 26th (I think, I do know that it was June) 2003, along with two other cartoons, Stripperella, and Gary The Rat. Each unfortunately, never even made it to their 20th episode. Ren and Stimpy "Adult Party Cartoon" lived the shortest, the rest made it to 13-14 episodes.

Here's how it work, 10 episodes were made for R&S "APC" 1 was a Nick episode that wasn't aired (doesn't count) 3 (4 if you count Fire Dogs 2 as a two-part episdoe) episodes were produced and aired on TNN/Spike, and 3 episodes never aired (5 if you count Stimpy's Pregnant and Altruists as two-parters) and only released on DVD and at film festivals and special screenings. There's nothing much to say other than, I for one, accept APC as part of The Ren and Stimpy Show, it's more crude, it's more rude, it's more offensive, but that's what it originally aimed for, but, I do have to admit, maybe Spümcø and John K. took it a teensy bit too far, but cartoons will be cartoons. Now to get to talk about my personal experiences and memories with Ren and Stimpy.

Remember these bad boys?

I'll start by saying I still have the old Ren and Stimpy VHS tapes right now, in my cabinet. For some reason, I was overwhelmed with the nostalgic value and decided to see if I should look into it. Some of the best $10-$15 I have ever spend, although I only watch them once in a blue moon, I still do cherish them, as, one day, they'll be a rare treasure, heck, they're a rare treasure now, especially considering they were shrink-wrapped when I bought them. It's funny, how everyone in the 90s and 80s were so used to them, but in 2042, this stuff is going to be an artifact because Super Blu-Ray is the only form of discs available. Well, everything belongs to its own respective time period, and I shouldn't try and bring VHS back from the dead.

Anyways, another awesome thing I should mention is Ren and Stimpy Action Figures, although they weren't exactly in large print, they were around for a while I've seen a few, but not exactly sure how many were made, but they definitely did resemble the amazing artwork and detail that was put into the show. I also recall PLUSHIES! It's really fuzzy in my memory, and nobody ever talks about it, but Ren and Stimpy did have a whole line of merchandise, which you can conveniently find pics of it here: http://www.afn.org/~afn04727/.

Someone put a lot of time into collecting these figures.

Those plushies look extremely huggable. Wish I had one right about now.

Another good memory was the Ren and Stimpy Comics. I haven't exactly read them in years, but I do remember reading a few. Something awesome about them was that they were actually original stories, and they captured the same ingenious comedy from the TV show. That's rare for a comic that's based off of a cartoon. Nick did that with most of their old Nicktoons. But now, with TV shows like the new episodes of Pokemon, (which are total abominations) they have the nerve to make some (or rather most) of their TV-based comics, are just high-quality screenshots from the show, with the exact lines from the show on comic bubbles. What a total waste. I guess they not only lost the innovation and originality in their cartoons, but in their comics too. Something else I should mention, is that The Ren and Stimpy Comics were made at MARVEL COMICS. No kidding, it was all colored, inked, sketched, devolped etc. at Marvel Comics. That's right, Ren and Stimpy's comic series was made at the home of some of the most beloved comic book characters of all time. Ren and Stimpy practically had it made.

Don't you wish you got these comics when you had the chance to?

Of course, my best memory would have to be watching the show itself. The show had quite an impact on my life. Well, the first time I saw the show goes back back when I was 8 years old. My friend and I were watching TV, (that was back when I was obsessed with Invader Zim, Oh Yeah! Cartoons, The Fairly Oddparents, CatDog, The Angry Beavers, and KaBlam!) and my friend told me about Nicktoons Network and how they aired the older, and funnier Nicktoons.

Back then, I disliked Doug, I thought Aaahh!!! Real Monsters was too weird and creepy, and I thought Rugrats was too young for my age. (I do love all of these shows now, of course) So, I thought Ren and Stimpy would be the same. Me and my friend were in an argument for a while until we finally agreed to watch one episode, and so, I put it on, immediately I started laughing hysterically. "Hey, this show isn't half bad!" That was the day I started constantly watching Ren and Stimpy whenever it would be on. Gradually, I started liking more and more older Nicktoons. It was all fun and games, until about 2005 or 2006 when Nicktoons Network changed their schedule. Then, they changed their schedule AGAIN, this time, to the point where Ren and Stimpy, and a lot of other retro Nicktoons started airing at 3:00 AM. Nicktoons Network made a bad decision to air retro Nicktoons on the late night block. Although, sleep is a worthy sacrifice for the sake of seeing your favorite Nicktoons back on the air. Well, I guess now I'll show you my Top 5 R&S episodes. (In no particular order)

Fire Dogs was genius in the fact that R&S think they have it on easy street when they disguise themselves as Dalmatians, only to see that being Firemen isn't as easy, or as good as they expected it to be. Also, the artwork here seems like something you'd see in a museum.

This one was genuinely funny, in the aspect that, R&S are trying to be rangers making history, but end up going through the harsh and demented wilderness, that ends up in comic hilarity. Also, the Royal Canadian Kilted Yaksmen anthem in this episode was awesome.

Space Madness and Black Hole were at neck to neck trying to get into my Top 5. Space Madness is a very close second, but Black Hole won me over, mainly because Black Hole is crazy, and out of the ordinary, but in a REALISTIC way! God knows what goes on in a real Black Hole. Also, Space Madness IS a classic, but still, it's aired and quoted so much, sometimes it gets redundant. That's why Black Hole was so great to me, it was a refreshing change of pace. But, Space Madness will remain an honorable mention though.

Untamed World was awesome because it pursued the lifestyle and rituals of animals in the animal kingdom, in an Animal Planet/Discovery channel style animal documentary, and turns them into a laughable mockumentary about animals in Ren and Stimpy's world. Either way, it's just pure genius comedy.

This was one of my the best cartoons I've ever seen. "Cling tenaciously to my buttocks!" That line will forever be in my memory. This episode, if you haven't seen it, shows Powdered Toast Man, a superhero who ends up messing up the neighborhood more than saving it, (Ex: He collided a plane with a bus just to save a kitten from certain death) and does things no Superhero has ever dared (Ex: Flying BACKWARDS all the time, burning the Constitution). It'll always be hilarious, and stupid in every possible way.


And now, for the final verdict. Now, looking back on Ren and Stimpy, I realize how much I cherished it. It didn't even belong to my generation, it belonged to other members of the RJ community. But, it doesn't matter, because Ren&Stimpy changed the cartoon business altogether. Also, it's the only children's cartoon I know that had 3 albums. 3, legitimate, fully produced, musical albums. That's quite a feat for a cartoon. Also, Ren and Stimpy did something that no other cartoon has ever done, it appealed to children and adults alike. It made itself clear, that it would become a household name. I have an R&S shirt for crying out loud! I mean, spreading fanboyism for R&S is near impossible, because of lack of merchandise on the market, I had to scour the internet, just to find that awesome Hot Topic R&S shirt! How much more love from fans do you really need?.

Bottom line, is that R&S SHOULD have new episodes being produced. It's a genius show. If Spongebob has 149 episodes as of now, then why shouldn't R&S? I mean, it's tricky to find a network for that kind of show, but, hey, the internet has no limitations, right? Sure, John K. is in a tough situation, but miracles happen, right?. For some reason, whenever I think of something that would be a good R&S episode, I always think "This would've been a hit!" but of course, I never muster up the courage to tell Mr.Kricfalusi, because I'm also always thinking "No way, he would think that this would be so stupid!".

Although, one guy can't revive a television show, a whole lot of people sure can! I mean, I've even thought about a Ren and Stimpy Movie. I do have some crazy ideas, but this was one of my most daring. My love for things often results in stuff like this. I thought that, there could be a R&S feature film about how they would lose their show, their fame, and their money to a rip-off of their own show, The Renk and Stumpy Show. And they would go through all sorts of trouble to get their show back on the air. So, why not, at the very least, air old episodes of R&S and other Nicktoons at a different time period! Let's make change the A in 3:00 AM to a P. Overall, that asthma-hound Chihuahua, and that stupid Manx Cat changed a lot in terms of children's, and even adults' programming. They left their mark on pop culture, and spawned a somewhat cult following, and as sudden as that, they disappeared. Who knows, maybe one day, kids will get to see these cartoons. Real genuine FUNNY cartoons, that isn't just obsessive screaming, and random scenes constantly. I sure know, if I have a kid, I'll raise him on these cartoons, not whatever sort of junk they let children watch these days.

Hope you enjoyed the article! Phew! That took a while to make! Also, note that all of these pictures are screenshots taken by Yours Truly. Ren and Stimpy are trademarks created by John K. I'd also like to dedicate this article to John K. himself. For without him, I would've never explored the depths of retro cartoons, and how they changed my childhood.
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