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Review of the Ren and Stimpy Show's Seasons One and Two

The Ren and Stimpy Show

Title Card

Title Card

The misadventures of a Chihuahua and blue-nosed cat, Ren and Stimpy, make for hilarious if grotesque comedy.

Before the borderline Dadaist antics currently seen on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim, the shenanigans of the Ren and Stimpy captivated and nauseated cartoon viewers with over-the-top violence, frighteningly ugly close-up drawings, and outrageous storylines including the door-to-door sale of rubber nipples, grifting from a zoo, and acting as “Royal Canadian Kilted Yaksmen.” The show was counted on the viewing rosters of both MTV and Nickelodeon in the early 1990’s.

Now for the “Happy Happy Joy Joy” Song

While it may not be as graphic or blatantly offensive as some current programming, The Ren and Stimpy Show is brimming with gross-out humor and strangely touching moments, sometimes simultaneously as with the unique Christmas episode in which Simpy searches after a fart that ran away from home. The manic behavior of the characters and bright Saturday morning cartoon colors might fool views at first, but this is not a show for many young children.

For anyone unfamiliar with the cast, be prepared to be introduced to a variety of off-color characters: Mr. Horse, the fireman who hates circus midgets, Sven Hoek, Stimpy’s Dr. Stupid persona, Muddy Mudskipper, and Powdered Toastman among others. Likewise, reoccurring commercials for Log, Sugar Frosted Sod Pops, and Powdered Toast all hearken to a deranged vision of 1950’s American advertising that is humorous and disturbing in its satire.

Ren and Stimpy

Ren and Stimpy

Stimpy's Fan Club

The vast majority of the episodes are funny if the viewer knows what he or she is getting into or once he or she has acclimated to the type of humor used in the show. A few episodes are uneven in presentation but chances are if a viewer finds one funny then he or she will enjoy the rest, too. A list of fan favorites found on these disks includes the following episodes:
Space Madness
Stimpy’s Invention
Ren’s Toothache
Sven Hoek
Fire Dogs
The Royal Canadian Kilted Yaksmen

Special Features

Along with all the episodes from the show’s first two seasons views can expect a collection of DVD extras. The bonus material includes but is not limited to the following:
Audio commentary on several episodes
Spumco image gallery
Unedited versions of some episodes
“Ren and Stimpy: In the Beginning” featurette

These extra additions are just icing on the proverbial cake. It is the wit, sentimentality, and gross-out humor of these founding episodes that really makes the boxed set worth the purchase.

© 2009 Seth Tomko

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