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Ren and Stimpy

From Academic Kids

Ren and Stimpy are the title characters of two cartoon TV series created by Canadian animator John Kricfalusi. Ren Hek, a neurotic "asthma-hound" chihuahua, and Stimpson J. Cat, a fat simpleton cat, wander around in nonsensical adventures reminiscent of the golden age of cartoons. Kricfalusi created the characters in 1979 while working for low-budget TV cartoons after moving to the USA.

Although a product of the children's cable network Nickelodeon, The Ren & Stimpy Show had a reputation for subversiveness. In fact, the show pushed the bounds of good taste further than any cartoon had to its day: its level of gross-out humor, particularly fixated on flatulence, was exceeded only by the antics of Beavis and Butthead or The Brothers Grunt. While sometimes seen as low-brow, the series also cleverly lampooned culture and made many viewers and studio executives uncomfortable. Nickelodeon eventually fired Kricfalusi from his own creation and systematically censored the cartoon down to little more than a remnant of its former self. Eventually, several episodes were deemed unairable and have never been broadcast by Nickelodeon again.

Contents

Original Characters

  • Ren Hek: Ren is a chihuahua who often calls Stimpy an idiot and slaps him around. Ren is vain, spiteful, and gets irritated (especially by Stimpy) very easily. His lifelong ambition is to have huge pectoral muscles. Ren's name is the real name of Kricfalusi's building manager. Originally voiced by Kricfalusi, later by Billy West after the Nickelodeon split.
  • Stimpy: A red, rotund cat, with a blue nose and no tail, Stimpson J. Cat is idiotically cheerful and completely devoted to Ren. 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 West and Eric Bauza.
  • George Liquor: George is an ultra-patriotic American and is so conservative that he thinks Republicans are Communists. While the character's name is George Liquor, 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, who also voiced another demented character called The Sewer King in the animated Batman series.

  • Powdered Toast Man: Melodramatic and oblivious superhero and spokesperson for Powdered Toast, the breakfast treat that "tastes like sawdust". His alter ego (or day job) is a deacon. Can achieve flight 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.
  • Muddy Mudskipper: A mudskipper (a fish capable of breathing air) 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 before being foiled by Powdered Toast Man.
  • Haggis McHaggis: A short, bald stereotypical Scotsman. Voiced by Alan Young.
  • Mr and Mrs. Pipe: A pair of square, white suburban parents who are seen only from the waist down. Mr. Pipe is typically clad in a bathrobe, slippers, and black socks supported by sock-suspenders. Mrs. Pipe appears to wear a dress and non-descript women's shoes.
  • Abner and Ewalt: A pair of incredibly stupid hicks who are sherrif and deputy of a small Wild West town. They have a strong proclivity for hanging, and eventually hang themselves in absence of a suitable hangee.
  • Svn Hok: 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, Svn is even stupider than Ren's feline pal, and Svn forms a bond of stupidity with Stimpy. Last seen is Hell.
  • Wilbur Cobb: A demented, decaying old man who was once the foremost cartoon producer in the world. He speaks in malapropisms.
  • 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, and a rubber-nipple-wearing shut-in running from a dark past.
  • Mrs. Buttloaves: An incredibly obese and homely woman.
  • 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.
  • 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 on the program, "Ask Dr. Stupid" where he would read letter asking questions and offer 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.

Ren and Stimpy are the stereotypical odd couple. Ren is sarcastic, cynical, and anal. Stimpy is dimwitted (Ren is fond of the phrase, "Stimpy, you eedeeot!"), pleasant, and clumsy. To showcase the mismatch, consider Stimpy's favorite song, "Happy Happy Joy Joy", a silly children's tune that drives Ren to convulsions when he hears it.

It is often debated as to whether Ren and Stimpy are homosexual. Kricfalusi has stated that the characters are comedians much in the same way that the Three Stooges are. In a later interview, however, Kricfalusi stated in no uncertain terms that they were homosexual, almost as if by default, because both Ren and Stimpy lack other mates due to anal retentiveness and stupidity, as it were. They play characters that have discernable personalities of their own, yet episodes do not directly correlate to one another, and thus the characters can be homosexual at times and heterosexual at others, if it serves the comedy.

The Firing of John K.

Ren and Stimpy was written, directed, and produced by Kricfalusi 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. The brutal violence 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 Spmc and given to Games Animation. 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.

Ren & Stimpy "Adult Party Cartoon"

After his separation from Nick, Kricfalusi retained ownership of George Liquor and has used him extensively in projects by Spmc, his animation studio. 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.

In June 2003, the show returned to U.S. television as Ren & Stimpy "Adult Party Cartoon" on Viacom's Spike TV, with decidedly more adult content. The network also aired digitally remastered episodes of the original series.

Ren & Stimpy on DVD

A DVD set of seasons one and two of the original series was released in October 2004. Some fans were angered by the fact that the set, billed as "Ren & Stimpy Uncut," had a few missing scenes removed for time issues and fade outs where commercials had been inserted from the "remastered" versions played on Spike TV. Kricfalusi said in a statement that all of the cut footage he knew about had been returned. Additionally, another Spumco member (Steven Worth) has also attributed the time-snipped footage and fade outs to the DVD encoders who could not retain the original master tapes.

The season "three and a half-ish" DVD box set will be released on June 28, 2005, while DVDs of seasons four and five of the original series and also of Adult Party Cartoon are planned for release later the same year. An 'Ultimate Ren & Stimpy Collection' DVD (which will be a re-issued box set of the first two DVD sets) is also in the works.

Episode list

The Ren & Stimpy Show

Pilot Episode (1991)

Season 1 episodes (1991–1992)

Season 2 episodes (1992–1993)

¹(Originally, Man's Best Freind was to be aired instead of Bighouse Blues, but the episode was banned and would not be seen on television until 2003)

Season 3 episodes (1993–1994)

Season 4 episodes (1994–1995)

Season 5 episodes (1995–1996)

Ren & Stimpy Adult Party Cartoon (June 2003–July 2003, canceled but still airing on Spike TV)

¹(Man's Best Freind was originally to be aired in the second season, but the episode was banned and had not been aired until Adult Party Cartoon. Spike TV's official episode lineup on their website seemed to suggest that they consider Man's Best Freind a part of the Adult Party Cartoon season.)

²(These have not yet been officially aired on television in the US but are known to be complete, and finished episodes. Apparently, these will be released on the forthcoming Adult Party Cartoon DVD set.

Music

  • The Ren and Stimpy Theme ("Dog Pound Hop") written and performed by Jim Smith
  • Happy Happy Joy Joy Song written and performed by Stinky Wizzleteats (a.k.a. John Kricfalusi)

External links

es:Ren y Stimpy de:Ren und Stimpy pl:Ren and Stimpy

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