Ren & Stimpy - The Lost Episodes
B+ Sound: B Extras: B Episodes: A
initial viewing of these episodes, my feelings were rather mixed. I’d watched a couple of those that Spike TV
bothered to air; and while I enjoyed seeing Ren destroy the life of a little
froggie, something felt a little off to me. Now a considerable time later, I’m given the
chance to see all of them, and in uncut form.
The first couple that I watched on the discs (Ren Seeks Help, and Onward
and Upward) weren’t really the blessed events I had been waiting for. I got my laughs out of them, but the voices as
well as the music weren’t really matching up with what I‘d conjured up for them
in my head. It all seemed just a little
out of place, and with timing that was surely a bit off, in my opinion. Though as I kept watching, my attitude was
swiftly making change. I now feel that
these two discs truly contain some all-time classic stuff. While I now feel much more accepting of the
two episodes mentioned prior... with whatever it was that had kept me from
enjoying them to the fullest having now passed - I still don’t feel that
they’re the best of the lot. However, Stimpy’s Pregnant, Altruists, and Firedogs 2
more than quiet my unrest, as I’ve spent the last few days poring over the gags
contained in them, and they bring out every reaction across the spectrum from
me. Belly laughs, tears of joy, some
giggling, and even the odd measure of disgust coupled with an approving grin.
synopsis or summary is needed, but if you like you can check on my reviews of
other Ren & Stimpy product on this site for a more detailed overview of the
shows past and a little more information on its creator, John Kricfalusi. With these news episodes, John is bringing
back so much of what had previously been drained from the core of animation. In recent years, Cartoon Network has brought
back the recognition that cartoons can be for adults. While I enjoyed their Adult Swim lineup for a
time, once the block became popular, shows like Late Night Black & White, as well as O, Canada disappeared to make way for what seems like one
streamlined gag that gets carried over from one show to the next. I don’t deny that I get some enjoyment out of
a couple of these shows, but it gets to you.
That they’re almost purposely making the animation bad as part of the
appeal to whatever audience they now have, and dulling their wit ever further
which each new show that hits the air in that slot.
polar opposite of the cartoon world, you have shows such as Baby Looney Tunes, which, out of some
morbid fascination, I admit to having watched. All traces of what those characters once were have
been taken away from them, in order to give them appeal to the youngest of
children, and the most politically correct of parents. I surely watched the “violent” old cartoons
from my youngest of days, and I’ve grown up remarkably fine - so why this need
to create softer, gentler versions of Bugs and Daffy? There are arguments that can be made of all
sorts here, but I won’t get in to all of that. And while certainly brands of all types change
to fit the needs of their markets, there usually enters a time when what is
being done seems to step on the toes of all that came before, and something
should probably be said.
many people will bring up the fact that Ren & Stimpy have changed, only
unfolding in an altogether different direction. But look back to the classic
episodes, and then further back to some of Ralph Bakshi’s works through the
70’s and 80’s, and back even from there to when the Looney Tunes themselves
still had some grit.
notice a time when there really was something in animation that was blossoming
for an adult audience, and whether it was being done subtly or with
balls-to-the-wall intensity, it was there, and something could have been made
of it. I see where the show is now as a
launching point for a revived pattern of releasing for adult animation - back
to the movie theater. With a full-length
Simpsons movie on the horizon from
Matt Groening, its success could lend strength to other creators - namely John
Kricfalusi and his talented cohorts. I
am beyond anxious to see what new concepts might be bred from their fertile
imagination, or what old ideas from decades ago might finally be given life
with new creative teams to helm them.
onward, to the discs themselves. The
image is framed at 1.33:1, and retains the original aspect ratio. The picture quality on these discs is amazing,
with sharp lines prominent, and no bleeding of colors to be seen. Speaking of colors - there is a wide array of
them on display here, and they perfectly convey both lingering subtlety and
all-out Technicolor-like madness. The
sound quality is good, and while it wasn’t always as I’d have seen to it, it was
ultimately triumphant, and the obscure uses of sound effects and musical cues
throughout just adds to the overall flavor of the episodes. You’ll have to watch and rewatch to catch all
of the nuances of both the sound and images, as there are so many little things
thrown in that were definitely intended for careful scrutiny.
features are good, and rather than supply any commentary tracks, select members
from the teams behind the show gathered on camera to supply thoughts on both
the episodes and animation in the world at large. Weird Al Yankovic supplies an introduction on
the first disc, and you’ll be seeing plenty of Eddie Fitzgerald, Vincent Waller
and Eric Bauza, in addition to several others who contribute to these segments.
You’ll also find animatics, pencil tests
and other insightful features for a couple select episodes.
stress that you should be of rightful age and of mature mind (depending how you
look at it...), for fans and non-fans alike, I recommend that you go buy this