Few animated series have had as much notoriety or impact as "The Ren & Stimpy Show," often simply referred to as "Ren & Stimpy." This American animated television series, created by Canadian animator John Kricfalusi, only ran for five seasons, but the name endures as a symbol for anarchic comedy.
|Lost in Space.|
The whole thing looks as though it was done for laughs, though it was painstakingly put together, and the jokes were intentionally not topical ("Did you see what President Bush did about Cuba?") but strove to be enduring like the classics. Much of the series' appeal arose from the guest voice actors both currently popular and hearkening back to old Hollywood classics (e.g., Phil Hartman, Mark Hamill, Alan Young of "Mr. Ed," Gilbert Gottfried), who added their particular brand of humor to the proceedings and raised the bar on tv animation cameos.
|Ren & Stimpy specialized in extreme close-ups.|
The ratings were high, which kept it on the air, but pretty soon everybody was upset with everybody else. Finally, Nickelodeon had enough and fired Kricfalusi about a year into the show's run and moved production in-house (which began Nickelodeon's own animation division, Nickelodeon Animation Studios). Everybody pretty much agrees that the show's cutting edge (and arguably offensive) humor and originality started disappearing soon after that, though there were many classic Ren & Stimpy episodes still to come.
|The humor was kind of freaky at times.|
|A lot of the physical comedy brought to mind the old "Roadrunner" cartoons.|
|Ren & Stimpy as naturalists.|
|You want the "Unleashed" version if you want to watch the show uncut in Australia.|
“Today’s stuff looks like a wave of people imitating ‘Ren and Stimpy’. And I don’t have the faintest idea why we’ve gotten into that phase. It’s plain and simply just gross. I actually saw an episode of some show where the whole story took place around a toilet. Will anyone want to see that thirty years from now?
“I see no stories, only different looking characters. But while a lot of Hanna-Barbera characters have heart and feeling, these new ones I see are more phrentic. They zip all over the place and scream a lot. And the shots are just a bunh of quick cuts. You damn near lose your mind watching the show.
“But it’s like classic movies, you can watch ‘Casablanca’ over and over. The stories in ‘The Flintstones’ are still relevant today. Cartoons are meant to be funny and they’re not funny anymore. I wonder what happened to family entertainment. It’s all been replaced by new versions of ‘Ren and Stimpy’. They’re gross and violent, but not funny. There’s no subtle humor, no delineation of character. The voices don’t even stick in your mind like they used to. When I criticize other works, I don’t want to come off as complaining. I always back up and say everyone deserves a crack.”