3 Things About Ren & Stimpy That Went Over My Head
A few weeks ago I came across this video via FloobyNooby by Evan Puschak called"Ren & Stimpy: Never The Same Face Twice". After watching it I was reminded just how much this show went OVER my head as I'm sure it did with many other millennials.
As a child I was very drawn to this show and in rewatching it as a teenager and then adult I am like “what in the world and how did this really get to children?” More importantly this show was unlike many other cartoons at that time so had to revisit it in a post.
In this particular episode Sven Hoek (1992) Ren tells Stimpy "First, I'm going to tear your lips out" and then "tear your arms out of the sockets". This is probably one of the most verbally descriptive allusions to graphic violence we may have ever heard in a children's cartoon. With that being said the sound effects as Ren delivers these lines compliment the dialogue in a way that makes me cringe.
I can completely understand now, just how upset many parents must have been when they watched Ren & Stimpy with their children and saw just what they were indulging in. I imagine many parents called the images crude, indecent, lewd and without a doubt suggestive. I personally would not knock them for having suggestive moments because MORE than enough Disney AND Looney Tunes cartoons then and even in children's movies now still allude to more adult themes.
This video talks about one scene from the episode "Ren's Toothache (1991). Here we see Ren plucking his nerve endings from his gums! This scene is embeded in my brain. As soon as it came up I remembered being creeped out as I was when I previously rewatched the show.
Creator John Kricfalusi shares; "I encourage all of my artists to never draw an expression that they have drawn before". This is probably why so much of the imagery that came from this show has stayed with us. This also lead to "two characters that got under your skin" which is what Kricfalusi was going for. Ren & Stimpy also played on "anxieties of bodily fluids" and I think now that is what disturbs me the most. This show was out at the same time and on the same network (Nickelodeon) as Doug & Rugrats and although drasticatally different it remained very successful with children.
I remember loving this show so much as a child that once when my father took my younger brother and I to a carnival I begged for a Ren toy that was a prize from one of the carnival games. When I got the Ren squeeze toy I took one good look at it and was instantly turned off. So much so that I gave it to my younger brother. Maybe that was the moment when I realized that there was something off about these two.
Lastly, what are your thoughts on Ren & Stimpy? Did you love it too back in the day? Do you still enjoy it? Leave a comment and lets talk about it