The Ren And Stimpy Show (Nickelodeon, 1991-1995)
Like the great Rocko’s Modern Life, a show that I have already reviewed, Ren and Stimpy was another cartoon from Nickelodeon that was aimed at older viewers and was a big success in the 90s, and it even managed to surpass Rocko for strangeness in its outrageous characters and episodes.
The show starred Ren Hoek, who was a small asthmatic chihuahua with a very short temper, who lived with Stimpson J Cat, who was a very gullible and stupid cat. They were both voiced by Billy West who in more recent years would go on to be better known as the voice of Fry in Futurama. Somewhat unsurprisingly, the show gained a cult following with viewers.
A lot of strange things happened in the various episodes, and looking back some of them can still be a little unsettling to watch, partly thanks to the memorably grotesque close-ups of some pictures. The basic idea though was that Ren would have a great idea, and then Stimpy with his daftness would unintentionally thwart it, leading Ren to shout in his odd accent “Steempy you eediot!”, while when Stimpy was excited he would squeal “happy happy joy joy”, and both became popular catchphrases for about five minutes.
I also remember that Stimpy was very talented at creating massive furballs. There were an equally odd group of support characters too, including Muddy Mudskipper who had his own TV show, Powdered Toast Man and Mr Horse, and you don’t forget seeing strangeness like that in a hurry.
As well as being on TV, there was also a lot of merchandise released, including for a short while a Ren and Stimpy comic, and some of the strips were definitely as strange as anything that appeared in the show. Lots of episodes have also been released on VHS and DVD.
The dates at the start reflect when Ren and Stimpy was first shown on Nickelodeon in America. As far as I remember the show wasn’t ever shown on CBBC and was often instead shown in this country on BBC2 but the scheduling was rather erratic. I always remember watching the show at 7:10 but it did appear in various timeslots in the mid-90s, even occasionally being shown in a post-midnight slot.
Ren and Stimpy was a memorably odd show that I enjoyed watching, definitely up there with the likes of Rocko’s Modern Life and later Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network shows such as Two Stupid Dogs and dear old SpongeBob SquarePants for being cartoons that are creatively weird.