Billy West ………. Ren Hoek/Stimpson J. “Stimpy” Cat
Bob Camp ……….. Effeminate Dogcatcher/Deputy Ewalt
Cheryl Chase ………… Mrs. Pipe/Others
Gary Owens ………… Powdered Toast Man
Alan Young ……….. Haggis MacHaggis
Vincent Waller ……….. Others
When it premiered in 1991, Ren and Stimpy may have been the best cartoon on television. By harkening back to the days of Tex Avery and Bob Clampett, Creator John Kricfalusi styled a cartoon that pushed the boundaries of what an animated television series could be at the time. With smart, irreverent humor, wacky and sometimes gross animation along with inspired stories, Ren and Stimpy was a show that kids would enjoy and parents could find entertaining also. Problems arose when the channel that aired the show, Nickelodeon, began disagreeing with Kricfalusi’s content. The show was eventually taken away from its creator and his studio, Spumco, and taken to Nickelodeon’s in house studio, Games Animation after its second season. The third season of Ren and Stimpy was able to coast by on ideas and script that Spumco had already finished, but by the fourth and fifth season Ren and Stimpy was done.
This DVD set include half of season 4 of the series and its final year on Nickelodeon. What’s here is really not fit for consumption. A terrible pattern emerges as the episodes seem funny at the start, only to quickly deteriorate. Take for instance the installment, Aloha Hoek. The boys wash up on a beach and decide to take shelter by building themselves a house out of sand. This, in and of itself, is a witty sequence. The entire house is made of sand, as is their furniture and the food they eat. They enjoy a nice dinner of sand chicken, and then go to sleep in a full king size bed of sand. Unfortunately, the house washes away, and Ren and Stimpy take up residence in a whale carcass that has washed up on shore. This of, course was an opportunity to show how gross the animators could be, and they take it.
Being the dead body of a whale, the surroundings are gross enough, but then we get to flash forward to when the carcass has deteriorated even worse. Maggots run the two out of the body, but Ren refuses to leave. The episode just kind of goes from there, and isn’t very funny, just silly and really unpleasant. The episode ends with two guys that seem to be Russian versions of Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble swimming out to a submarine, only they’re not very well drawn and the joke is hard to understand.
Another episode, Terminal Stimpy seems way too violent for the audience on Nickelodeon. The outing regards Stimpy’s nine lives and proceeds to show us each of the times he has died previously. This includes Stimpy getting chopped up by a car radiator and being shot by government troops in Mexico. This may seem funny on paper, but in actuality, it really isn’t at all.
Games Animation even managed to sully the reputation of one of Spumco’s best episodes. The Scotsman in Space is apparently a sequel to Space Madness, perhaps the best episode of the series’ run. The Scotsman in Space is definitely not in the same league. The duo finds a Scotsman floating in space. They feed him, eventually become his sheep, and the Scotsman yells a lot. That’s really the gist of the episode. It’s silly, but not really entertaining.
Toward the end, characters don’t even seem to come close to sounding the same way they did at the beginning. The voice actors that work on Ren particularly do a bad job of simply sounding like him. To add to that, production values for the show seemed to drop dramatically. The animation seemed to look much worse then it had in the beginning as if the artwork had been rushed. So when the characters start to not even look or sound like they had originally, why keep the series going? Apparently, Nickelodeon thought the same thing and cancelled it.
For those completists out there that have to have every episode of Ren and Stimpy, you are the only ones I can recommend this set to. The jokes are lame, the animation gets really poor, and the voice work is really horrendous at times. Any halfway decent episodes such as Double Header and Reverend Jack Cheese get overwhelmed by the sheer mediocrity of the rest of the episodes. Hopefully, Ren and Stimpy will only be remembered for its stellar first two seasons and not for the show it became.
As bad as the episodes are, they do look fantastic. The colors are bright and crisp and there seems to have been no degradation from their original broadcast. The show is presented in its original aspect of 1.33:1.
The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo audio track is also nice. Unfortunately this only really helps point out the fact that the voice work got worse and worse as the series went on.
SPECIAL FEATURES:Audio Commentary.
13 Audio Commentaries from both Spumco and Games animation teams: Listening to the commentaires on these episodes brings fourth one fact, John Kricfalusi hates Games animation. He hates them. Kricfalusi meticulously picks apart their work from start to finish on each of the commentaries. On the other hand, Games animations member Bill Wray is much more positive. Wray firmly believes Games’ work on the show was a positive experience and a testament to Kricfalusi’s legacy. It’s hard not to side with Kricfalusi here.
Audio Commentary from Ren and Stimpy: The boys themselves comment on episode Big Flakes. To tell you the truth they both seem to be bored by the experience. This feature is ok, but not nearly as funny as it should be. That’s seems to be the theme for the whole set.