The Ren & Stimpy Show is one of the most controversial cartoons of the 90's, with all of its disgusting and terrifying imagery. Sometimes, the show intended to use these terrifying imagery or plotlines in most episodes, and we end up getting these. Take notice of how the Spümcø episodes ironically have FEWER examples than the Games episodes (the ones made after John K. was fired). However, there are more Games episodes than Spümcø episodes, so it's sort of justified. The deranged duo's antics were intended to amuse us. Sometimes they frighten us, whether or not it was intentional. But we still loved them, of course.
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- In the episode "The Royal Canadian Kilted Yaksmen", we first learn that the aforementioned group is sent to find a barren wasteland and always die as soon as they get out there. In the middle of the episode, one of their Yaks gets tired of Stimpy singing the Canadian Kilted Yaksmen song. We are treated to an almost one-minute-long sequence of him going completely bonkers in front of the camera, foaming at the mouth, developing neck veins, screaming and bugging out.
- The episode "Space Madness", especially Ren's space-induced panic attacks and its ending. Slightly diffused by "the jolly, candy-like button!"
- "Stimpy's Fan Club", where Ren is jealous of all the attention Stimpy is getting, so he plots to kill him in his sleep. As you can see in the page image, all of the lights go out and all you see is Ren's face and his hands, predating Andross by a year. And as if that wasn't bad enough, toward the end of the scene, you see his brain pulsating from his skull as he screams and what could be described as fires of hell engulf him.
- "I...I was nice today..."
- "They think he's a god... but he's as mortal as we."
- "Just one quick... TWIST!" *crack* "...and it's over."
- During that whole episode Ren made a lot of Nightmare Faces.
- A lesser moment occurs during the "Ren reading Stimpy's fan letters" sequence, overlapping with Fridge Horror, seeing as how it could fly over the heads of younger viewers. One of Stimpy's fan letters was apparently from a girl who was being abused by her boyfriend, and she claims in the letter "my only friends are you and my TV." It's a rather unsettling and downplayed moment that was understandably overshadowed by the insanity of the second half of the episode.
- Even worse is Ren's reply - in true Jerk Ass fashion, he attributes her boyfriend being mean to her to her being stupid, reassuring her that she might one day be as stupid as Stimpy, at which point everyone will love her.
- Also, the girl is voiced by Melissa Fahn, who'd later go on to voice the psychotic Gaz Membrane.
- The end of "Sven Hoek" (Spumco) where Ren Goes Mad from the Revelation upon finding out what a mess Stimpy and Sven made in his house. What made it Nightmare Fuel of the highest degree was when Ren went from genuinely angry and raving to eerily pleasant at the drop of a hat while he described how he would get his revenge by "gouging out their eyes" (in fact this very part didnít even end up in the actual episode, it was that terrifying, existing only as a deleted scene on the DVD), "tearing off their lips", beating them up, and wrenching their arms out of their sockets. He imagines committing said acts by demonstrating with his hands, and we hear what each horrible act of violence would sound like. Made worse when Sven and Stimpy are shown to be terrified out of their wits and Ren expresses his happiness at seeing how scared they are by giving them a huge Slasher Smile and continuing on with his Psycho Rant. The worst part is that when he says "tear your arms out of the sockets" and we hear the sound, you can see a brief splash of blood as we hear the snapping. The voice-only version has Ren really dragging out the arm tearing.
Ren: Oh what I'm gonna do to you.
Satan: So, you whizzed on the electric fence, didn't ya?
- And then he whizzes on the electric fence and causes an explosion that creates a huge hole in the ground, and all three are blown straight into Hell.
Stimpy: W-we don't like this, Ren!Sven: Yeah- you're scaring us!Ren: Good... You're scared, huh?
- Poor Sven and Stimpy are crying and hugging each other, shaking in pure terror, during the whole thing. It can remind some people of how little kids react when they are being abused by their parents. Their reactions just sell the scene and make it even more disturbing.
- In "Haunted House", the ghost's last resort to scaring Ren and Stimpy was to approach them wearing a mask and wielding a chainsaw. His eyes, while wearing the mask, look realistic and when he approaches the sleeping duo, they widen and the sclerae gradually turn a bright, bloody red.
Ghost: Wake up you...PIGS!
- "Stimpy's Invention". Stimpy invents a Happy Helmet and sticks it on Ren's head, forcing him to smile against his will. In one scene while ironing Stimpy's underwear, Ren's head detaches at the jaws when he laughs. In another, Ren is cleaning Stimpy's cat box. He yells, "See how I love to clean filthy cat boxes!" then lets out the most horrifying laugh you've ever heard. Fortunately, some Nightmare Retardant comes in the form of the "Happy Happy, Joy Joy" song... but then Ren hops into the kitchen and starts smashing the helmet with a hammer, with every blow punctuated by a singer shouting "HAPPY!" and "JOY!"
I TOLD YOU I'D SHOOT! BUT YOU DIDN'T BELIEVE ME! WHY DIDN'T YOU BELIEVE ME!?
- "Happy Happy Joy Joy" has a brief spoken line in it that's actually shockingly dark.
- Ren screaming at the end of "Robin Hoek".
- "At last I have control of your TV set!"
- Ren's Up to Eleven Wild Take in "In The Army". Ren is badmouthing the domineering sergeant, not noticing he's rising up out of the mud behind him. Not only do his eyes bug out in shock, his face melts off and his skull and brain pop out as he screams.
- Stimpy's downright bizarre rant about his friend Darren in "Mad Dog Hoek" is either this or a Crowning Moment of Funny.
- And in the "Rubber Nipple Salesmen" episode, we're treated to a Memetic Mutation phrase: "Call the poliiiiice..."
- "Insomniac Ren" has Stimpy reading a bed time story as an attempt to get Ren to fall asleep. The story started with "The sky grew black as blood!" and ended with a blood-curdling scream from Stimpy. This naturally scared the wits out of Ren. The fact that the book had "Poe" on the cover says something. Stimpy's ears also curl into devil horns.
- In the episode "To Salve and Salve Not", Stimpy buys a giant vacuum from a door-to-door salesmen and demonstrates it to Ren. Ren gets sucked in, fur-first. We then see a skeletal Ren having his internal organs sucked out one by one, then trying to keep his brain from being sucked in. He later would scream, and his heart would fly out, a la Courage the Cowardly Dog.
- The nightmare fuel of the brain scene was softened a bit by Ren's utterly hammy scream of "Must... Save... THE BRAIN!!!" That was a healthy dose of Nightmare Retardant right there.
- The salve guy was pretty damn creepy just by himself. Although he was hilarious, the way he kept appearing out of nowhere was pretty disturbing. You do NOT want that creep in your house.
- The episode "Jerry The Belly Button Elf" in which Stimpy crawls inside his own belly button and is trapped there for eternity! Well, he's not, but STILL.
- "Ren's Retirement". Basically it goes like this. Ren turns ten years old, seventy in dog years. He's convinced he's gonna die. He manages to get a high-end coffin and is buried, alive, with Stimpy. A large worm comes over to visit... and promptly eats all the meat from their bodies, leaving nothing but torn-up skin hanging on their skeletons. AND THEY ARE STILL ALIVE.
- Stimpy: Such a nice worm.Ren: Shut up...
- The moment where Ren is sitting on a hill enjoying the sunset. He then defers to an unseen companion who turns out to be the Grim Reaper!
- "Aloha Hoek". The scene where they are living on an island, inside a dead whale and the maggots inside the whale are rising in such number that they are almost overwhelming Ren and Stimpy... vomit-inducingly horrific.
Stimpy: Ren, it's hot and stinky, I don't like it!
Ren: Of COURSE it's hot and stinky. It's a CARCASS rotting in the SAAAND!
- Ren mentally deteriorates after he incorrectly believes that Stimpy was eaten by cannibals. During his enslavement to the crab family, his monologue reveals just how fragile his mental state has become.
- Ren tries to escape the island by flying on the back of a giant horsefly. Suddenly, the fly loses altitude and crashes into the ocean. Ren's panicked screaming when he realizes that he's about to drown is terrifying.
- "Ren's Brain", nonstop. Stimpy removes Ren's brain as part of a random science experiment... but Ren's brain leaves the house and goes off to work. Not too bad- gross, but pretty silly. The nightmare fuel comes in when Stimpy approaches Ren's brainless body, and replaces Ren's brain with a telephone. We see Ren acting like a lobotomized mental patient, completely limp, with a horribly vacant expression as Stimpy plays with him like a ragdoll, his head covered in stitches.
- The episode "Who's Stupid Now" from Ren's perspective, is an extremely disturbing, unsettling episode. Basically, the show is about to be cancelled, but Ren convinces the boss to keep it going, so he orders Ren and Stimpy to switch places. Stimpy becomes the skinny jerk, and Ren becomes the fat idiot. Ren has more obligatory nervous breakdowns and his self-esteem is crushed.
- The bizarre Mind Screw ending of "Eat My Cookies". It was revealed that all of the girl scouts were old men in disguise as little girls, as was Stimpy. Stimpy urges Ren to take off his disguise, only to reveal Ren's skeleton and heart. After that, Everybody laughs.
- Oh sweet, merciful Buddha, "Hermit Ren". Even ignoring the squicktacular visuals (for example the delightful image of the flesh melting off of Ren's hands, leaving only bone, done entirely in first person), the incredibly detailed portrayal of Ren slowly going insane due to his self-inflicted isolation, to the point where he begins having conversations with a desiccated corpse.
Stimpy: SOMEONE'S DYING MY 'LORED'! KUMBAYAH!
- The corpse in the cave has a noose around his neck, meaning that (1) he either committed suicide in the cave and the rope broke long after he hung himself, or (2) he was a murder victim whose body was hidden in the cave by his murderers.
- A hallucination of Oldman Farmer Hoek pointing out ticks and chiggers to eat, giving a nice view of the ones embedded in his armpit in the progress. Gag.
- Ren interacts with hallucinatory personifications of his anger, fear, and ignorance. When a card game between the four goes sour, Ren screams at them, accuses them of wanting to steal his belongings, and attacks them.
- For Ren himself? Stimpy's Hollywood Tone DeafnessNote :
- However, a good dose of Nightmare Retardant is provided when Ren tries to milk a bat, thinking it's a cow udder.
- From "Double Header". Ren's boss is horribly burned, the flesh has melted off of his skeletal finger, and his nose fell off. Also, the "Salve" guy returns as the manager of a freak show, and it's revealed that he has the lower half of a baby protruding from his chest.
- A great many of the "freaks" from that episode were horrifying, too. There's also Ren's short "The Reason You Suck" Speech to the people watching his and Stimpy's freak show- they were forced to eat chicken heads.
- Which is nothing compared to the ending where after they are stitched back together for the second time, Stimpy eats his "favorite food", barbecued Boston baked beans!"note
- In the episode "My Shiny Friend", Ren becomes suspicious when Stimpy goes to the bathroom three times in a row, the last time being "Number 3". When he realizes that Stimpy is still addicted to televison, he yells at Stimpy to stop watching it. As Stimpy ignores his orders, his face becomes gradually distorted until Ren breaks in. Ren then sees Stimpy jittering on the ground, with empty black eyes and glowing green due the cathode rays from watching television excessively, much to his horror. In other words...Stimpy had just "overdosed" on TV.
- The jittering is done again during his "withdrawal" phase.
- The entirety of the nightmare sequence also counts. Though some found it hilarious, others could find it creepy, but anyway: Stimpy dreams Muddy the Mudskipper (his favorite TV character) eats him, and wakes up in a Catapult Nightmare fashion yelling "Muddy!"
- Which is nothing compared to what happens next:
Stimpy: PLEEEEEAAAAASE!!! Must...have...T...V!!
- Earlier in the episode we have Stimpy when he screams in total anguish (he also gives at least one Big "NO!") after Ren destroys the TV set.
- The jittering is done again during his "withdrawal" phase.
- "Stimpy's Cartoon Show": "The cartoon's finished, Ren. Would you like to see it?"
- "Ren's Bitter Half" has Ren becoming a Literal Split Personality by literally splitting in half. We only see his pupils dividing like amoeba, and the rest of his transformation occurring offscreen, with Stimpy's reactions being shown.
- "Ren Needs Help": The WHOLE flipping episode. It starts off with Ren acting more unhinged than usual (muttering to himself while huddled near his favorite chair, sputtering about his glass coffee table collection, lying cross-eyed in a dirty bath tub that has a chicken, doll and old boot floating in it, and smothering red lipstick all over his face). After another of Stimpy's stupid antics, Ren snaps and tries to kill himself by jumping into a garbage disposal unit while it's running, prompting Stimpy to put him into the local insane asylum. There, Ren is put into a psychological evaluation along with the other inmates. When one of the inmates starts to go crazy, he's put into a straight jacket and carted off to an unknown location, and judging by the flickering ceiling light afterward it's implied they subjected him to electroshock therapy. A month afterward, Ren starts a riot and is also carted off and given a lobotomy (evidenced by the stitched up scar across his forehead), then he's dressed up as the president for a public announcement. "My fellow Americans. The bombing begins at 5 minutes."
- The ending to "The Scotsman in Space" where Ren and Stimpy are floating towards the sun, causing them to slowly disintegrate while Stimpy babbles pious nonsense.
- Two scenes in "Magical Golden Singing Cheeses" are especially disturbing, one when a jester rip off some of his skin with a grater and then proceed to rub salt on his wound and other one when Stimpy stabs the toe of a ogre with a crowbar. Perhaps this is where they got the idea for the toenail scene in "House Fancy"!
- An Abe Divided: After Ren and Stimpy saw off and destroy the head of the Lincoln Memorial, Ren's horrified reaction at what they've just done flips an otherwise funny episode into a Reality Ensues type nightmare. After several failed attempts, Ren gives up and begs the spirit of Abe for forgiveness. Then Lincoln's ghost just shows up out of nowhere with his head in his arm and kicks the two of them.
- In 2018, Buzzfeed ran an article in which two women accused John Kricfalusi of sexual harassment or sexual abuse. For many people who loved The Ren & Stimpy Show as children, the allegations were horrifying.