|The Ren & Stimpy Show|
|Genre|| Off-color humor |
|Created by||John Kricfalusi|
|Starring|| Billy West |
|Country of origin||USA|
|No. of episodes||62|
|Running time||approx. 0:22 minutes (0:11 per episode)|
|Original run||August 11, 1991 – January 22, 1997|
|TV.com summary||TV.com summary|
The Ren & Stimpy Show, often simply Ren & Stimpy, is an American animated television series, created by Canadian animator John Kricfalusi for Nickelodeon. The series focuses on the titular characters: Ren Höek, a psychotic chihuahua, and Stimpson J. Cat, a good-natured, dimwitted cat. The show officially premiered on August 11, 1991, the same day as the debut of Doug and Rugrats, the three of which comprised the original Nickelodeon Cartoons. The show ran for five seasons on the network, ending its original run with the Christmas episode "A Scooter for Yaksmas".
The show was rated TV-Y7 on Nickelodeon/Nicktoons and TVPG on Spike TV repeats.
Throughout its run, The Ren & Stimpy Show was controversial for its off-color humor, black comedy, toilet humor, sexual innuendo, and violence, all of which contributed to the production staff's altercations with Nickelodeon's Standards and Practices department. The show has received high critical acclaim and became a large cult classic during and after its run, while some critics credit it for leading the way for satirical animated shows like Beavis and Butt-head and South Park, and playing a significant role in television animation. A spin-off for adult audiences, Ren & Stimpy "Adult Party Cartoon", aired in 2003 on Spike, but was poorly received and cancelled soon after its debut.
- Marlin T. "Ren" Höek: Ren is a scrawny "asthma-hound" chihuahua with a floppy body, donkey-like ears, neon-pink eyes with dark red pupils, red eyelids, and a fairly long, rat-like, pink tail who often calls Stimpy an idiot ("eeediot", to quote the character) and slaps him around, quite literally. Ren is vain, spiteful, hyperactive, abusive, and gets irritated (especially by Stimpy) very easily. His lifelong ambition is to have huge pectoral muscles (which somehow, in real life, is uncommon). Ren's name is the real name of Kricfalusi's building manager. He was born in Tuesday the 17th. Originally read (in a voice homaging that of Peter Lorre) by Kricfalusi, later by Billy West after Kricfalusi was fired, although Kricfalusi would return for the Spike TV episodes and unaired Nickelodeon episodes. In Have Yourself a Stinky Little Christmas, his singing voice is provided by Billy West.
- Stimpson J. Cat (Stimpy): A fat, red and white, rotund cat, with a blue nose, purple eyelids, no tail, human-style buttocks, flat feet and a brain size of a peanut (despite some intelligence, such as cooking and inventing; he is also a talented musician), Stimpson J. Cat is idiotically yet adorably cheerful and completely devoted to Ren, as he is, to him at least, a good friend. However, Ren abuses Stimpy constantly with both physical and verbal abuse. His trademark facial expression is a blissfully ignorant smile with tongue flopping out. Stimpy is named after an art school classmate of Kricfalusi, whose nickname was "Stimpy Kadogan" (the classmate appeared in one episode as the wrestler "Killer Kadogan"). Voiced by Billy West in the Nickelodeon series and later by Eric Bauza in the Spike TV episodes.
In addition to Ren and Stimpy, there are a host of supporting characters in the show. However, Ren and Stimpy are the only characters to appear in every episode; the supporting characters may recur, or they may only appear in a single episode. Some supporting characters will factor directly into the storyline (such as George Liquor) while others make brief cameos. Some, such as Mr. Horse, are exclusively cameo-based, appearing in many episodes in bits that have little bearing on the plot.
- George Liquor: George is an ultra-patriotic American and is so conservative that he thinks Republicans are Communists. His last name was removed from being uttered in the episodes he appeared in by Nickelodeon. Instead, the scene would pause and a record-scratching sound effect would be played instead of George speaking the word Liquor. He is voiced by Michael Pataki, although voiced by Harris Peet in his first two appearances.
- Powdered Toast Man: Melodramatic and oblivious superhero and spokesperson for Powdered Toast, the breakfast treat that "tastes like sawdust". His alter ego is a deacon. He can fly by launching himself from a toaster, or dispensing a healthy amount of flatulence; hence, he flies backwards. Oddly, Powdered Toast doesn't taste right unless Powdered Toast Man passes gas while it is being consumed. His favourite phrase is "Cling tenaciously to my buttocks, man!" Voiced by Gary Owens, although voiced by Darrin J. Sargent in his first appearance.
- Muddy Mudskipper: A mudskipper (a species of fish capable crawling out of water and breathing air directly) with the voice and personality of a grizzled vaudeville comedian who hosts an afternoon kids' show. Calls everyone he meets "a bum." Besides being a huge television star, Muddy dabbled in villainy, at one point kidnapping the Pope (voiced by Frank Zappa) before being foiled by Powdered Toast Man. He was voiced by Harris Peet, although Billy West voiced him in "Powdered Toast Man."
- Mr. Horse: One of the original and classic characters, with his catch phrase "No sir, I don't like it". Mr. Horse has variously been a victim of a fall from a skyscraper, a GI returning from war in love with a sheep, a dog show judge, a tester for Gritty Kitty Litter, a doctor, and someone running from a dark past. He was voiced by John Kricfalusi (1991–1993) and Billy West (1993–1996).
- Mr. and Mrs. Pipe: A pair of square, white suburban parents who are seen only from the waist down, similar to many characters over the years, including Ms. Sara Bellum in The PowerPuff Girls, and Mom & Dad in Cow and Chicken. Mr. Pipe is typically clad in a bathrobe, slippers, and black socks supported by sock-suspenders. Mrs. Pipe appears to wear a dress and nondescript women's shoes. Mr. Pipe was voiced by Billy West and Mrs. Pipe was voiced by Cheryl Chase.
- Abner and Ewalt: A pair of incredibly stupid hicks who are sheriff and deputy of a small Wild West town. They have a strong proclivity for hanging. They eventually hang themselves in absence of a suitable hangee.
- Svën Hoëk: Ren's Swedish cousin who Ren has not seen since they were in the whelping box together. He longs to have an intellectual conversation with his cousin, but much to Ren's chagrin, Svën is even stupider than Ren's feline pal, and Svën forms a bond of stupidity with Stimpy. Last seen in Hell, though he makes a background appearance in "Jerry the Belly-Button Elf" and appears in the comic several times. Voiced by Billy West.
- Wilbur Cobb: A demented, decaying old man who was once the foremost cartoon producer in the world. He speaks in malapropisms such as "Rain? In Octember?" Voiced by Jack Carter.
- Mrs. Buttloaves: An incredibly obese and homely woman dressed in a bulging pink night gown. Voiced by John Kricfalusi and later Billy West.
- Haggis McHaggis: A short, bald stereotypical Scotsman. Voiced by Alan Young.
- The Fire Chief: Has a psychotic hatred for circus midgets and a penchant for slamming his fire axe into concrete as a response to answering the door. Voiced by Harris Peet.
- The Gilded Yak: The shaven icon of Yak Shaving Day. Rides through the sky in a canoe; capable of emerging and disappearing into sink and tub drains. Although he is shaven, he is on a constant vigil against getting a five o'clock shadow.
- Dr. Stupid: A "show within a show" context pitted Stimpy as Dr. Stupid in the program "Ask Dr. Stupid". Dr. Stupid would read a letter from a loyal viewer asking questions and then activate his "patented Stuponitron helmet", which appeared to give him a stiff electrical shock to his brain. Afterwards, he would offer odd and weird advice.
- Old Man Hunger: A strange, and always naked, skinny old man with a chicken drumstick leg on his head. He can be found showing up randomly at inopportune moments for Ren and Stimpy. Voiced by Billy West.
- Kowalski: Serving a 32-year life sentence for crimes against humanity, Kowalski is an extremely large and burly hulk of a man with incredible strength. However he also has the mind of a 7 year old boy. In his first appearance, Kowalski is temporarily adopted by Ren as Kowalski's surrogate father. In subsequent appearances, he is mostly seen as a general multipurpose goon. Not to be confused with Bubba, Ren's Kowalski-like nephew who featured in only one Ren and Stimpy cartoon. Voiced by Billy West.
- The Announcer Salesman: The Announcer Salesman serves as the multi-purpose loudmouth in the Ren and Stimpy show. Sometimes, he is a salesman. Other times, he is a narrator, an announcer, a dog show judge, a real estate agent, etc. The character is never referred to by any name in the series, but the name of "Hey, It's That Guy" seems to be the official name given by Billy West, who voiced him. It's also rumored that this was how he was also referred to by the animators at Spumco, although this last bit is purely speculation.
The Firing of Spümcø
Ren and Stimpy was written, directed, and produced by Kricfalusi and his animation studio Spümcø only in the first two seasons. During this time, he was constantly harassed by Nickelodeon over content issues, of which he often pushed the limits. The last straw, so to speak, was the episode entitled "Man's Best Friend," in which Ren and Stimpy are bought by George Liquor and put through a cruel and unusual training session, which ends with Ren bludgeoning George with an oar. The brutal violence, murder, and the overall theme of animal cruelty in the episode were deemed unairable by Nick.
Kricfalusi was soon fired from the show, and his ownership of the characters was revoked. Billy West took over his role as the voice of Ren. Animation duty was taken from Spümcø and given to Games Animation and Bob Camp, one of Kricfalusi's former writer-director partners. Many fans felt the quality of the show suffered greatly from the loss of its creator and original animation studio, though others still enjoyed the show regardless. Some also argue that the Bob Camp/Games Animation episodes are ironically more inappropriate for children than those created by John K.
After his separation from Nick, Kricfalusi retained ownership of George Liquor and has used him extensively in projects by Spümcø. He was a major character in John K.'s short-lived comic book, simply titled "Comic Book." Of note: One of the conditions of retaining ownership of George Liquor was that he couldn't become "a child molester or mass murderer." Kricfalusi reportedly responded by asking how many murders he would need to commit to make him a mass murderer.
Ren and Stimpy: Adult Party Cartoon
In June 2003, the show returned to US television as Ren & Stimpy Adult Party Cartoon on Viacom's Spike TV (formerly the New TNN), with decidedly more adult content and Kricfalusi back in control. The network also aired digitally remastered episodes of the original series. The premiere episode fulfilled a long-running ambition of Kricfalusi's, which he had wanted to do since first selling the original Ren and Stimpy in the early 1990s: An entire episode revolving around jokes that became progressively more disgusting as the episode went on. This episode also put to rest speculation that Ren and Stimpy are supposed to be gay lovers: In once scene, Ren informs Stimpy, "I'm the pitcher, you're the catcher." We then see Ren (dressed like a baseball player) diving into bed with Stimpy, mounting him, and having anal sex.
A few of the head storyboard artists, writers, and animators returned from the original Ren and Stimpy series, such as Vincent Waller and Jim Smith, but most of the new animation and writing team was a new team of artists, specifically instructed and headed by Kricfalusi himself.
Some of the notable, new talent, that worked on Adult Party Cartoon are Katie Rice and Nick Cross.
Unfortunately, the series was not as successful as it's predecessor and many episodes remain up unaired, but have been released on DVD.
Home video releases
- → Main article: List of Ren & Stimpy video releases
VHS and Laserdisc
The Ren & Stimpy Show was previously released on VHS video tape in the USA and Canada by Sony Wonder. These tapes contain mainly the original Spumco episodes of the show.
The tapes contained the same edits as Nickelodeon's first screenings. However, Ren & Stimpy: More Stinky Stories contains a censored version of the short "The Big Baby Scam". The entire sequence where the family take a bath and the naked father gets out to answer the door is very crudely deleted from the cartoon, meaning that it no longer makes sense.
Eventually, the rights for Nickelodeon's programming on home video were transferred to Paramount Home Video. Only one Ren & Stimpy video was re-released under the Paramount label - Have Yourself a Stinky Little Christmas.
Ren & Stimpy was also released on Laserdisc in the USA by Sony Wonder. The disc is called "Ren & Stimpy: The Essential Collection" and has the same program content (but of course, in much higher quality) as the Ren & Stimpy Classics and Classics II VHS tapes.
Several tapes, mainly containing episodes produced by Games Animation, were released in the United Kingdom in the PAL format (not playable on conventional US VCRs). These included: "Ren's Brain", which contained that particular cartoon as well as some others, "Space Madness", which includes that episode as well as four other space-themed episodes, "For the Love of Stimpy", and "As Stinky as They Wanna Be". Bill Wray painted the covers for each of these UK-only cassettes. Each one is rated PG by the British Board of Film Classification, which contrasts to the earlier tapes consisting mainly of Spumco shorts that typically received U (all ages) ratings.
Time–Life released several episodes of The Ren & Stimpy Show in a "Best of" set in September 2003. This set is now out of print.
On October 12, 2004, Paramount Home Entertainment released the first two seasons in a three-disc box set. Although the cover art and press materials claimed the episodes were "uncut", a handful of episodes were, in fact, edited, due to the use of Spike TV masters. One of the episodes from the second season, "Svën Höek", did have footage reinserted from a work in progress VHS tape, but with an editing machine time code visible on-screen. A set titled Seasons Three and a Half-ish, containing all of season three and the first half of season four up to "It's A Dog's Life/Egg Yolkeo", followed on June 28, 2005. Season Five and Some More of Four completed the DVD release of the Nickelodeon series on July 20. An Ultimate Ren & Stimpy Collection DVD set was planned, but was never released.
- → Main article: List of Ren & Stimpy episodes
- Dog Pound Hop (Opening Theme) written and performed by Jim Smith, and John K.
- Big House Blues (Closing Theme) written and performed by Jim Smith, and John K
- The Royal Canadian Kilted Yaksmen Anthem (from the episode The Royal Canadian Kilted Yaksmen)
- Happy Happy Joy Joy (From the episode Stimpy's Invention) written and performed by Stinky Wizzleteats (John K)
- Lord Loves a Hangin (From the episode Out West)
Ren & Stimpy was also referenced in the Primus song "Nature Boy".
Many episodes contained production music, notable tracks from Associated Production Music. Also Used In Spongebob.
- Ren and Stimpy at the Big Cartoon DataBase;
- Members Of The Loyal Order Of Stupids The biggest message board source for exclusive Ren and Stimpy news and discussion.
|1991-1997:||Doug • Rugrats • The Ren and Stimpy Show • Rocko's Modern Life • Aaahh!!! Real Monsters • Hey Arnold! • KaBlam! • The Angry Beavers|
|1998-2004:||Oh Yeah! Cartoons • CatDog • The Wild Thornberrys • Rocket Power • Pelswick • As Told by Ginger • Invader Zim • ChalkZone • The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius • My Life as a Teenage Robot • All Grown Up! • Danny Phantom|
|2005-present:||Avatar: The Last Airbender • Catscratch • The X's • Mr. Meaty • El Tigre • The Mighty B! • Back at the Barnyard|
|Still Running:||• SpongeBob SquarePants • The Fairly OddParents • The Penguins of Madagascar • Fanboy and Chum Chum • Planet Sheen • T.U.F.F. Puppy • Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness|
|1992-1994:||Clarissa Explains It All | Roundhouse | The Ren & Stimpy Show | Are You Afraid of the Dark?|
|1994-1996:||The Secret World of Alex Mack | All That | Space Cases | Kenan and Kel|
|1997-1999:||The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo | KaBlam! | Rugrats | The Journey of Allen Strange | Animorphs|
|1999-2002:||SpongeBob SquarePants | The Amanda Show | 100 Deeds for Eddie McDowd | The Nick Cannon Show | Cousin Skeeter | Taina|