Ren & Stimpy
First and Second Season
Review by Mr. Stinkhead
Oh how I've missed watching Ren & Stimpy. I remember anxiously awaiting it's first episode on Nickelodeon back in the days when I dreamed of being an animator. I recognized then what an important impact this show would have on the industry. Here wass the first creator-driven cartoon. And I wasn't disapointed, I loved the off beat humor, the faux-fifties style and the expectation of the unexpected.
Watching these old episodes again has proved entertaining. You get both the first and second season, the infamous episodes leading up to the firing of creator John K. I think that's when I realized I was too old for Nickelodeon... You Can't Do That on Television was long gone, I was getting too old for Clarissa, and the executives continued making a cartoon without it's creator.
The first couple of episodes are a little choppy, compared to today's smooth but flat computer aided inbetweening and coloring. As the series progresses, you can tell more time and money was (seemingly) injected into the show. All the way to the banned episode Man's Best Friend having different colored outlines on the animated characters.
I found the number one thing I missed about the show were the sounds. The shreeking, the pops, the snaps, the wild screams. And ofcourse that lovely theme song, which has been stuck in my head for the last three days straight. I'm just glad I was able to stop the goofy head wagging that accompanies that song in each intro.
My first favorite part of this box set is having Season One and Two all wrapped up in a nice compact box set. The packaging is pleasing, the transfer to digital is beautiful, and it's all right here together. I know I won't be purchasing further releases because I didn't like the show after John K left. It was evident to me before I even knew he had been fired. But there's also a sweet stash of extras added to the mix.
There's a few behind-the-scenes interview type things, and some commentaries. There's also the "uncut pilot" Bighouse Blues. That one is particularly interesting because it's where most of the cut scenes from the intro come from.
Another extra is this banned episode Man's Best Friend starring George Liquor, American. This one is definately one of the more gross and outlandish episodes of the set. My problem was that it took forever to find it. It's listed as one of the episodes on the third disc, but it actually resides in the bonus features of the second disc. I hope that helps you out there.
The box also says "Uncut" a few times. There are a few episodes restored to their pre-censor length (like Powdered Toast Man and Bighouse Blues) but indeed a couple of the episodes only appear in their Nick-edited format. These are clearly marked however.
The happy happy joy joy moment for me was finally seeing Son of Stimpy, an episode that never aired on Nick, and as I understand it, led to the parting of John K and Nick. It may have appeared later on MTV or wherever, but this was a first for me, and I had read all about it years ago in a small run magazine Wild Cartoon Kingdom. Man, I loved that rag. Anyway, the episode is pretty disgusting, with all the fart references. Pretty much Stimpy farts "for the first time" and he longs to find it after it breezes away. The only thing I didn't like about this episode were all the in-jokes to previous episodes. They seemed obvious and forced, especially since John K strived for originality in all of the other shows. But there's references to the magic nose goblins, Muddy Mud Skipper, the Happy Kitty Litter, the space cadets, etc.
All in all, after watching years of Cartoon Network's Cartoon Cartoon shows, I was apprehensive of how much enjoyment I would get out of this set. However, even with all of the different shows (cough cough Two Stupid Dogs) that ripped off the format without the heart of Ren & Stimpy, and more years of creator-driven drivel, each one of these episodes still evokes originality, and they were pretty fun to watch. I'm going to go pet my crockostimpy.
Read this amazing look back at the phenomenon of Ren & Stimpy from Animation World Magazine, 2001.
Now's a perfect time for you to check out the Ren & Stimpy Action Figures from Palisades toys. They are on sale at KillerToys.com
Ren & Stimpy Uncut Season One and Two is available from Amazon.com