The Ren & Stimpy Show (seasons 3-5)
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Note: Do not add about Bob Camp is the "co-creator" of The Ren & Stimpy Show in this page, because it is not true (despite Bob says he's the "co-creator" because of his work in all episodes of the original show and also fans do this to distance themselves from John K., despite this information not being real) and also because there is evidence (like the information about John Kricfalusi creating Ren and Stimpy themselves in 1979) that easily deny the Bob Camp is the "co-creator" of The Ren & Stimpy Show information.
The Ren & Stimpy Show is an American animated series created by John Kricfalusi for Nickelodeon. The series follows the adventures of the titular characters Ren, an emotionally unstable chihuahua, and Stimpy, a good-natured but dimwitted cat. It premiered on August 11, 1991 as one of the original three Nicktoons, along with Rugrats and Doug.
However, after the show's creator John Kricfalusi was fired from Nickelodeon on September 25, 1992, due to missing deadlines with the channel, hostile work environment, the delaying of various episodes, and the episode Man's Best Friend, the series was transferred to Nickelodeon's Games Animation with Bob Camp replacing Kricfalusi as creative director in Season 3 and Billy West taking the role of Ren Höek from John K. Although the first two seasons made by Spümcø (known as the Spümcø era) were very well received, the seasons 3-5 (known as the Games Animation era) received mixed reviews from fans and critics.
- The main problem with Games era is that it has less clever episode plots and writing, which resulted in a lot of bad or mediocre episodes. As John K. was fired from Nickelodeon in 1992, Bob Camp took over as showrunner and creative director. While he is not a bad person, as he does write great episodes like "Stimpy's Invention", he also previously wrote most of the bad episodes from the first two seasons ("Nurse Stimpy", "The Littlest Giant", "Out West", "Monkey See, Monkey Don't!" and "The Cat That Laid the Golden Hairball"). That said, the show went downhill when John got fired.
- According to the DVD commentaries, the main reason why a lot of episodes of this era are very rushed was that Nickelodeon ordered only four seasons, not five and also due of Nick ordered a large number of episodes, they had to split Season 4 into two seasons and the crew of these seasons didn't have time or budget to make them right. Some episodes from this era were written and directed by people who were unfamiliar with the characters and the series itself, but due to the short time to finish them, some episodes didn't use layouts and when they did, they were done by the overseas animation studios and services of these seasons, Nickelodeon only gave to the directors four hours to check the layouts. Instead of Nickelodeon giving the crew a few more months or a year to finish the episodes and train the newcomers, they overworked the crew.
- Out of these three seasons from this era, Season 4 is arguably the worst of the bunch, due to having some of the worst episodes of the entire series like "It's a Dog's Life" and "Aloha Höek".
- The animation in these seasons, while not terrible and still a decent effort, is a noticeable downgrade over the Spümcø seasons as it is more restricted than ever before, even by 1990s standards. This can be explained because some of the overseas animation studios and services (like Carbunkle Cartoons) left the show, and were replaced by others like Mr. Big Cartoons from Australia and Toon-Us-In.
- Speaking of Mr. Big Cartoons, their animation in these seasons was very limited and was also off-model, an example being Stimpy having five fingers in a scene of the episode "Travelogue", despite the fact he has four fingers.
- Several animation errors such as in "Jerry the Bellybutton Elf", where the Powdered Toast Man's Lovely Assistant is barefoot in the party scene, and "Hermit Ren", where it appears that Ren and Stimpy's eyes are closed when Ren's tongue is on fire.
- In some episodes, the characters are badly drawn, with some examples being Ren's Anger in a scene from the same previously mentioned episode in the BQ #2, Ren himself in various episodes like this scene and Vicky Velcro and Powdered Toast Man in a few shots from the episode "Powdered Toast Man vs. Waffle Woman".
- Ren and Stimpy, while still likable and enjoyable characters, started to become massive butt-monkeys in episodes such as “Superstitious Stimpy”, “No Pants Today”, and most infamously, “It’s a Dog’s Life”.
- Likewise, Ren started to act like a much bigger jerk than he did before unlike in the Spümcø era due to Executive Meddling from Nickelodeon, according to Bill Wray (one of the people involved with these seasons, one of Bob Camp's friends and John K's former friend) in interviews.
- Stimpy can also be irritatingly clueless in some episodes like "A Friend in Your Face!", acting out of character like in "Pixie King" and "Stupid Sidekick Union" or being an idiot in a not good way in "I Love Chicken" and "No Pants Today".
- The episode "It's a Dog's Life" from Season 4 is a watered-down version and a rip-off of the banned episode "Man's Best Friend", while the episode Man's Best Friend is a good episode done right, for mocking American culture, the episode It's a Dog's Life is done wrong, due to Ren and Stimpy being abused in that episode for their abusive owner Granny, similar to George Liquor abusing them in Man's Best Friend, but in this episode, is much worse.
- Some episodes have bad endings like "Ren's Brain", that the episode ends with people's brains end up exploding and "Aloha Höek", ends revealing the whole time Ren and Stimpy were Russian spies in disguise.
- Season 5 jumped the shark, for killing off characters like Powdered Toast Man in "Dinner Party" and Muddy Mudskipper in "Terminal Stimpy", although fortunately Powdered Toast Man was brought back in the game Nicktoons MLB years later and Muddy Mudskipper still appeared in the episode "A Scooter For Yaksmas".
- Even though the episode "The Last Temptation of Ren" was an okay finale, the episode's ending was terrible. In fact, "Terminal Stimpy" could have been better to be the true finale to the main series as both Ren and Stimpy go to heaven in the end.
- Some of the gross-out jokes can be even more disturbing than the Spümcø era had such as a worm eating the insides of Ren and Stimpy and leaving their corpses behind on "Ren's Retirement" and even more disgusting, as shown on "Travelogue".
- Some of the new characters are unlikable such as Haggis McHaggis and Granny from "It's a Dog's Life".
- These seasons are filled with bad morals like:
- Being a jerk
- Being an idiot
- Not being yourself
- Not using common sense
- Not learning from your mistakes
- Commiting crimes
- There is a load of bad or mediocre episodes, such as:
- No Pants Today
- Circus Midgets
- It's a Dog's Life (arguably the worst episode of the series)
- Hard Times for Haggis
- Jerry the Bellybutton Elf
- Aloha Höek (also counts as the worst)
- Ren's Brain
- Dog Tags
- School Mates
- Ren's Retirement (which started the downfall of the whole series)
- Lair of the Lummox (which ended season 3 on a bad note)
- Superstitious Stimpy
- Magical Golden Singing Cheeses
- A Scotsman In Space
- Double Header (depending on your view)
- Farm Hands
- Pixie King
- Prehistoric Stimpy
- Galoot Wranglers
- City Hicks
- Stupid Sidekick Union
- I Love Chicken
- Cheese Rush Days
- Hair of the Cat
- A Friend in Your Face!
- Despite the show going downhill, there are still some really great episodes, for example:
- "Ol' Blue Nose" (which started season 5 on a high note)
- "To Salve or Salve Not" (a good way to begin these seasons)
- "Hermit Ren" (which started season 4 on a positive note)
- "A Scooter For Yaksmas" (which ended Nickelodeon's run of the show on a high note)
- "Road Apples"
- "Lumber Jerks"
- "Insomniac Ren"
- "Eat My Cookies"
- "Powdered Toast Man vs. Waffle Woman"
- "A Yard Too Far"
- "House of Next Tuesday"
- "Pen Pals"
- "Wiener Barons"
- "Stimpy's Pet"
- "Terminal Stimpy" (which would have been a good finale as previously mentioned)
- "Bell Hops"
- "An Abe Divided"
- "Jiminy Lummox"
- "Ren's Bitter Half"
- "Ren Needs Help!" (which ended season 4 on a high note)
- "Stimpy's Cartoon Show"
- "A Hard Day's Luck"
- "Blazing Entrails"
- "Bass Masters"
- "My Shiny Friend" (depending on your view)
- "Ren's Pecs"
- "Egg Yolkeo"
- "Who's Stupid Now?"
- "The Last Temptation of Ren" (an okay way to end the series; despite the terrible ending)
- The animation, while restricted, is still decent especially when it's done by Rough Draft Studios.
- Good voice acting just like in the previous seasons.
- While John Kricfalusi no longer voices Ren in these seasons (until he returned to voice Ren in Adult Party Cartoon years later), Billy West was good at voicing Ren.
- The new characters from these seasons can be awesome like Waffle Woman, Powdered Toast Man's enemy from the episode "Powdered Toast Man vs. Waffle Woman".
- As said above, Ren & Stimpy are still likable characters.
- Season 3 is arguably the best out of these seasons, as it was pretty good during its first half. It wasn't until "Ren's Retirement" when the seasonal rot officially kicked in.
- Depending on your view, Season 5 can be seen as a slight improvement over Season 4. While it killed-off several characters, it has less offensively bad episodes and more great episodes, like "Bell Hops" and "Who's Stupid Now?". However, it still has a lot of the problems from the previous season.
Episodes With Their Own Pages
These seasons received mixed reviews from both critics and fans. Some people called these seasons produced by Games Animation, the downfall of the series and were not the same without John Kricfalusi after he was fired from Nickelodeon, but also a step down from the first two seasons produced by Spümcø, while others liked these seasons and praising Bob Camp for replacing John Kricfalusi in these seasons in recent years and comparing they are better than the adult spin-off Ren & Stimpy "Adult Party Cartoon", despite these seasons having their flaws and problems, but not worse than APC.
Ted Drozdowski, resident critic of The Boston Phoenix, stated that "the bloom faded on Ren & Stimpy".[plagiarized from Wikipedia]
Animation historian Michael Barrier wrote while the creators of the Games Animation era episodes used crude jokes that were similar to those used by Kricfalusi, they did not "find the material particularly funny; they were merely doing what was expected".[plagiarized from Wikipedia]
Although Billy West was well-received voicing Ren Höek replacing John Kricfalusi in these seasons, he was also not immune from negative criticism, some saying him voicing Ren in these seasons sounded awful and it sounded more like Stimpy than Ren. Even John K. himself stated in a chat to the now-defunct MOTLOS forum, that Stimpy sounded more and more like Billy's regular voice or Doug Funnie in the later Games Animation episodes, hence being another reason why he has replaced with Eric Bauza in APC.
Katie Rice, former fan of Ren and Stimpy and victim of John K. who grew up watching the show, said in a 2008 interview that despite respecting the artists who worked in the Games era, felt the episodes made in the Games era left her feeling sort of flat and the cuteness of the show has been gone. Even liking the nice drawings and paintings of the Games Animation era, she wasn't involved with the show the way she had been before and Ren and Stimpy were not longer "real" to her.
The show ended in 1995, due to a budget freeze at Viacom and also was "ceased indefinitely" in late January 1995, in words of the show's executive Mary Harrington at Games Animation to the show's crew.
- Nickelodeon offered John Kricfalusi, the position of consultant for Ren & Stimpy when he was fired from Nick in 1992, but John refused.
- The first episode of Season 3, To Salve and Salve Not was the last episode to use the "Created by John Kricfalusi" card at the ending of the show's intro, due to his firing from Nickelodeon. Starting with the second episode of Season 3, A Yard Too Far/Circus Midgets, the card was removed from the intro and remained at the end of the show, it returned in the intro of Ren & Stimpy "Adult Party Cartoon" in 2003. However, in these seasons, John Kricfalusi received creator credit in the final credits from this era, as "Ren & Stimpy Created by John Kricfalusi."
- According to Bob Camp and Bill Wray in interviews, executives were not even consistent about how they wanted the episodes to play out. They even went the opposite way with Ren, with Wray claiming to be under more pressure to make him meaner and meaner throughout the series in these seasons.
- According to Billy West himself, he was obliged by Nickelodeon to voice both Ren and Stimpy in these seasons after John Kricfalusi was fired; originally before the show premiered, Nick wanted West to voice Ren and Stimpy, but didn't happen due of John K. taking the role of Ren Höek in the series, making Billy West only voicing Stimpy.
- Sick Little Monkeys: The Unauthorized Ren & Stimpy Story, pg. 262