Ren and Stimpy Reboot

Hot on the heels of ordering the return of Beavis and Butt-Head from Mike Judge, Comedy Central is bringing back another beloved cartoon from 1990s, one that was inexplicably approved for kids, but landed more firmly with adults.

The Ren and Stimpy Show is being reimagined at Comedy Central, but original series creator John Kricfalusi will not be involved in any capacity after being accused of sexual misconduct a few years ago.

Comedy Central sent out a press release about the Ren and Stimpy reboot, which will expand the cable channel’s focus on adult animation. In addition to the recently ordered revival of Beavis and Butt-Head, Comedy Central is also working on a reboot of Clone High from creators Phil Lord & Chris Miller, as well as the Daria spin-off Jodie. All of these animation orders come as live-action production struggles to get off the ground in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Ren and Stimpy Show debuted on Nickelodeon in 1991 alongside other beloved and quirky children’s programming like Doug and Rugrats. But Ren and Stimpy certainly stood out as the weirdest offering on Nickelodeon’s slate with its odd and dark humor, grotesque but admirable artwork, and wild, nonsensical storylines. Just look at all the weird stuff in this short collection of clips:

Ren and Stimpy ran on Nickelodeon from 1991 through 1995, but John Kricfalusi and his Spumco production banner was only part of the show through 1992. His contract was terminated after the episode “Man’s Best Friend” rubbed Nickelodeon the wrong way by featuring an abusive father figure named George Liquor. But beyond that, Nickeloeon had a lot of issues with Kricfalusi, mostly because of how often they had to argue with Standards & Practices about the series, and there were constant production delays due to creative differences and extensive approval processes.

However, Kricfalusi returned to Ren and Stimpy when it was reimagined as Ren and Stimpy: Adult Party Cartoon (or Ren and Stimpy: The Lost Episodes) on Spike TV (now the Paramount Network). The show was completely revamped to be made for adults only, so it was much more raunchy. But the series ran into some of the same issues with delays in episode delivery, so it only aired three episodes before being taken off the schedule and axed completely.

All this behind-the-scenes drama, and especially the sexual misconduct allegations, means Kricfalusi won’t be involved creatively with the new show, and he won’t profit from it either, according to Variety. Without his involvement, I’m not sure a Ren and Stimpy reboot makes sense. Obviously Kricfalusi shouldn’t be working in Hollywood anymore for a number of reasons, but it was his madcap comedy on the show that made Ren and Stimpy so unique and revered. If he’s not involved (and again he shouldn’t be), then this will just feel like a hollow imitation of his work, and we don’t yet know who will be behind the series other than Nickelodeon Animation because no specific names were mentioned.

There’s no indication as to when Comedy Central will get the Ren and Stimpy reboot off the ground, but this is something we’ll definitely be keeping our eyes on. Hopefully this means the original series will be re-released in its entirety, because the DVD collections that have been available for while include some edits for time and content, something that has always frustrated fans. In the meantime, there’s a documentary about The Ren and Stimpy Show on the way, and we’ll have a review of that next week.

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