4. Ren and Stimpy
Ren and Stimpy is about an emotionally unstable chihuahua Ren Hoek and a good-natured, dimwitted cat Stimpson J. Cat.
It was quite controversial for airing on Nickelodeon due to its crude humor, sexual innuendo and violence. A lot of the jokes inserted into this show are meant for adults but most of those jokes go right over the kids heads and they possibly don’t notice or care about what they hear. Fellow Nicktoon, Rocko’s Modern Life is also known to be full of adult humor and sexual innuendos but that show will be covered in further detail later in the countdown.
Now that I understand the jokes that are meant for adults it takes this show to a new level and tends to make the episodes even funnier.
The violence isn’t that bad except for maybe one episode entitled, “Stimpy’s Invention.” in which Stimpy, in an attempt to make Ren happy, creates a helmet that makes the wearer happy. Once Ren breaks his helmet, to the tune of happy happy joy joy, by hitting himself on the head repeatedly with a hammer. I don’t know why I love this episode so much but maybe it’s just because it’s so absurd you can’t help but love it.
Ren and Stimpy always got into crazy adventures and did so many jobs like being astronauts, door-to-door-salesmen, firefighters and even hosts of a nature show. Seasons 1 and 2 are great and Seasons 3 thru 5 are okay but could be better.
The split in the quality of the show is due to John Kricfalusi, the shows creator, being fired by Nickelodeon in late September 1992*. One of Nickelodeon’s reasons for firing him are that episodes were not produced in a timely manner. Some of the delays of course were attributed to Nickelodeon’s prolonged approval process. Another issue of contention was that they didn’t like the direction of the show. They wanted them to make it lighter and less frightening.
From Season 3 on Nickelodeon produced the show in house at their own, Games Animation, studio. They actually asked John K to be consultant to the show but he told them, “Why would I sell out?”^
While, I personally don’t think Seasons 3 thru 5 are on the same level as Seasons 1 and 2 you should still check them out for yourself when watching this show so you can form your own opinion about them. All in all Ren and Stimpy is still a fun show and worth the watch.
Places to watch it: Amazon Prime (They have 37 of the 52 episodes over 3 Best of Volumes) and all seasons can be purchased on DVD.
*Information taken from Ren and Stimpy’s Wikipedia page, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ren_and_Stimpy.
^Quote taken from an old Entertainment Weekly article, http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,312442,00.html.