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Category:    Home > Reviews > Animation > Adult > Comedy > Sex > Ren & Stimpy - The Lost Episodes

Ren & Stimpy - The Lost Episodes


Picture: B+     Sound: B     Extras: B     Episodes: A



Upon my 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.


No 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.


On the 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.


I know 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.


You’ll 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.


Now 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.


The extra 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.


While I 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 one.  Now.



-   David Milchick


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