1 9 9 1 – 1 9 9 6 (USA)
52 x 30 minute episodes
The Ren & Stimpy Show was launched by American kids’ cable channel Nickelodeon and featured an irritable, hyperactive, nuclear-fried chihuahua with a stereotypical Pancho Mexican accent, called Ren Höek (originally voiced by creator John Kricfalusi) and stupid fat cat, Stimpson “Stimpy” J. Cat (voiced by Billy West).
The series featured a non-stop mix of lateral jokes, surreal graphics, bodily functions and gross-out violence.
In one memorable – but not untypical – example, the duo escaped from a dog pound after Stimpy sicked up furballs to stick on Ren to disguise him as a poodle.
The show also viciously satirised the children’s television genre, as best demonstrated in its spoof toy advertisements.
Educationalists issued dire warnings, but the show made great TV – for adults. Understanding that Ren & Stimpy was lost on the kids, most channels who took the show screened it at an hour which saved the over-7’s having to arise disgustingly early to catch it.
Flattery came in the form of imitations from other production companies, including Disney’s Schnooky & Meetums and Hanna-Barbera‘s Two Stupid Dogs.
Nickelodeon eventually dispensed with the services of creator and Canadian animator John Kricfalusi – either because of his inability to meet deadlines or because the product, especially the obviously homoerotic relationship between Ren and Stimpy, was proving too controversial – and lesser men and women took over the actual animation. Billy West then voiced both characters.
In 2003 Ren & Stimpy was revived by the new Spike network (‘television for men’) under the title Ren & Stimpy Adult Party Cartoon with new episodes made by creator Kricfalusi.
Spike promised to not censor the cartoon as Nickelodeon had done, but after seeing some of the extremely gross and sexual segments Kricfalusi produced changed its mind and dropped the series after about a month.
Several unaired Ren & Stimpy episodes, including ‘Naked Beach Frenzy’ and one in which Stimpy became pregnant with Ren’s baby, remain available only on DVD.
John Kricfalusi (1)
Billy West (2)
Stimpson “Stimpy” J. Cat