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Category:    Home > Reviews > Animation > Children > TV > Ren & Stimpy - Seasons Three & A Half-ish

Ren & Stimpy - Seasons Three and a Half-ish


Picture: B-     Sound: B-     Extras: C     Episodes: C-



After John Kricfalusi was squeezed out of touch with his creations and replaced by Bob Camp and Games Animation, things changed very quickly.  After Games had finished up all of Spumco's shows that were then in production, they moved on to new ideas, and also grabbed a large chunk of material used for their initial output directly from John and others at Spumco, using their stories and often not giving proper credit where it was due.  This box set is made up of episodes from this awkward time, where it seems few knew exactly which direction the show should head in.  It should be noted that these episodes also happen to be the worst that ever happened to reach the air - the gems are few and far between.  Thankfully, it seems that the third set, like the first, happens to be another capsule for some decent laughs.  Now, we look at the second box set of his most popular creations with Ren & Stimpy - Seasons Three and a Half-ish.


Some things had definitely changed by that point, and a lot was for the worst, but it's hard to argue that those episodes are definitely superior to anything unloaded on Seasons Three and a Half-ish.  I'm a good deal less enthusiastic about this collection than I was for the prior set, though my expectations were set about as high for both.  One episode in particular that I'll again draw attention to is "Ren's Retirement".  In my review for Seasons One and Two (elsewhere on this site) I noted that it was a great episode and one I was greatly looking forward to watching again after not having seen it for such a long time.  It turns out that my opinion of the episode was far more forgiving prior to my rewatching it once I got this set.  It drags on for quite some time, with no real laughs anywhere.  Some things were amusing, and the concept behind it is a great one... but the timing and execution were so off that it was hardly viewable.  So is the way of many of these episodes - going by on a good idea until it runs out of steam and leaves the viewer stranded.


Still, on the up side - John K. and crew are back to provide commentaries, and the newly painted artwork for the interior jackets is superb.  Who knew that a painting of Ren with a little moustache and looking more Lorre-esque than ever while smoking a cigarette could be a reason to buy a DVD?  You all know that if you're a fan, picking this set up is still required of you... even if it is just going to sit on the shelf for the most part and look pretty.


Now to repeat this for round two - 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 1.33 X 1 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.  All is well with the technical stuff, so get back there and enjoy those cartoons (if you can).


The extras this time around though are a slightly different story.  Instead of another documentary-type deal, the folks over at Paramount have expanded the number of commentaries to 11.  The catch is that a lot of these aren't quite as enjoyable as those in the first set.  This has a lot to do with the inferior quality of the episodes overall, and a lack of people who actually had much at all to do with the episodes playing before them.  Some are still somewhat interesting to hear, while others take on a new life, and become the only things that bar an episode from going completely down the crapper.


As a fan of the show, this will be staying in my permanent collection.  If you're not huge on the characters and only want a taste to remind you of times past, pick up the first and move on after that if you still need your fix.  If you don't need that fix immediately and you like your humor with an adult tinge, the Ren & Stimpy Adult Party Cartoon should be headed out in the fairly near future and ready for purchase.



-   David Milchick


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