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Category:    Home > Reviews > Animation > Children > Ren & Stimpy - Complete Season One & Two set

The Ren & Stimpy Show: The Complete First And Second Seasons


Picture: B-     Sound: B-     Extras: B-     Episodes: A-



Since its arrival in 1991, The Ren & Stimpy Show was a huge hit, an important revival of the animated TV series as the domain of the animator as artist and the risks it took made it instantly controversial.  A new DVD set covering the first two seasons of the show (1991 – 1993) is here and this set is absolutely fantastic in many respects.  There are some shortcomings here and there that will be met with disappointment - but I’ve been able to take the good with the bad, as I doubt these episodes will be presented any better for some time to come.  The first thing that diehard fans will notice after opening this bundle of joy is that the episode order is mostly correct for the first season (the pilot episode is the only one placed out of original airing order), yet the second season has many changes to the order.  This is unusual, but even more so since the packaging states that they’re all shown in original broadcast order.  Further, though the banned episode “Man’s Best Friend” is listed on the case of Disc 3, it’s actually located on Disc 2 under the bonus features.  These things are pretty much just minor inconsistencies that are little more than a pesky annoyance.  The bigger problem lies in the term “uncut” that is used liberally anywhere it can be plastered.  Many other sites make note of this problem, so I won’t go into too much of a retread.  The most that’s missing is a few seconds here and there - which doesn’t sound like much, but it takes away from the experience overall.  The snippets that are missing were apparently aired as recently as the Spike TV Network reruns, so there’s no reason at all for any of it being cut out.


I have listed the following episodes in a more preferable viewing order.  This is altered slightly from the broadcast order to include “Man’s Best Friend” where it was originally intended, so the first four cartoons in season two are in the order they would have been had the episode not gone unaired.  Everything else listed in the second season from “Out West” and below is as originally aired:


Season 1: Spümcø Produced Episodes –


Big House Blues (Pilot)

Stimpy's Big Day

The Big Shot

Robin Hoek

Nurse Stimpy

Space Madness

The Boy Who Cried Rat

Fire Dogs

The Littlest Giant


Untamed World

Black Hole

Stimpy's Invention


Season 2: Started At Spümcø And Finished At Games Animation –


*Man's Best Friend (Unaired)

*Powdered Toast Man

*Ren's Toothache

*In The Army

*Out West

*Rubber Nipple Salesmen

Sven Hoek

Mad Dog Hoek

Haunted House

Big Baby Scam

Dog Show

Son of Stimpy/Stimpy's First Fart

Monkey See, Monkey Don't

Fake Dad

The Great Outdoors

The Cat That Laid The Golden Hairball

Stimpy's Fan Club

A Visit to Anthony

Royal Canadian Kilted Yaksmen


(* Episodes in Season 2 that are marked with an asterisk were fully produced by Spümcø)




Other little problems in the presentation can be spotted here and there - there’s a glitch on the episode “Firedogs” that can pose a problem for some.  On the better of the DVD players I used while watching the show, it’s little more than a second of pixelation and sound flubbing - somewhat minor, but it shouldn‘t be on something you just paid $40 or the like for.  However, on a lesser player that I used, it froze the whole episode from then on, and I had trouble skipping past it.  I have no way of knowing if this glitch is found on all copies, or if it was taken care of before being released to the general public.  Chances are there are a good many of the earlier runs that possess this problem, so you may have to return your copy for a better one, if possible.  One other major annoyance is found on the “Sven Hoek” episode - but this isn’t a technical problem, so it will be found on all copies.  For a few seconds, there’s a visible drop in picture and sound quality, along with a visible time code, smack in the middle of the screen.  The material here had to be restored from videocassette, so it couldn’t be fixed up much better than this.  Making it optional to view this sequence would have been a better choice, as it can be a tad distracting.


The picture quality is especially excellent in my opinion - things look just right for the cartoon, with clean lines, sharp colors and little to no blurring.  The image is full screen as was originally intended, since this is a television cartoon.  The sound is Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo and is as equally pleasing as the video quality.  It’s hard to say which episodes have been digitally remastered and which haven’t for quality presentation, though all have to in order to exist on a DVD.  They may all have been, as they all look and sound gorgeous - but some episodes are labeled as “The Ren & Stimpy Show”, while others are introduced as “Ren & Stimpy Digitally Remastered Classics”.


The bonus features are excellent - but even more stuff would have been better, as what’s given just whets your appetite to get all the background info you can.  The quality of the commentaries varies a little bit from episode to episode, but they’re all highly informative and entertaining.  Some even add to the humor of the episodes a great deal - especially the one for “Sven Hoek”.  There is an extra commentary hidden as an Easter egg, and since I’m so generous, I’ll let you know how to access it.  On Disc 2 in the bonus materials section, highlight the episode “Man’s Best Friend”.  Instead of hitting enter, hit the left arrow on your remote control and it should start right up.  Another bonus available on Disc 2 is the option of watching two different cuts of the pilot, “Big House Blues”.  The Spümcø version seems to be timed for comedic effect much better, and has a couple extra snippets shown, so it’s definitely the preferred version to watch.


You may have doubts about buying this after I’ve just listed the many problems found throughout, but it speaks volumes about the quality of the content that I still highly recommend rushing out and buying this.  Especially when you watch this with a group of friends, you’ll find the whole room bursting into fits of laughter - these jokes just don’t get old.  John Kricfalusi and his team worked animated wonders in a very short span of time, before Nickelodeon closed their doors to Spümcø and took over the show for themselves.  Despite what almost all purists of the show feel, I still remember enjoying the Games Animation episodes.  It’s been many years since I’ve seen them, but I still remember “Ren’s Retirement” as a great episode.  Then again, as a kid you don’t really notice the change in quality as much as you would as an adult.  Whatever the case, I still look forward to at least adding Season 3 to my collection when it becomes available, as most of those episodes were still storyboarded at Spümcø.  I also hope that John K. is able to continue with the new Adult Party Cartoon episodes on Spike, but things seem to have stalled at least temporarily.  If you’re a fan of animation of any kind, go get this set and enjoy it.



-   David Milchick


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