Anticlimax Boss: Used and Played for Laughs in "Robin Hoek"; before Robin rescues Maid Moron, he has to fight The Sheriff of Dodge City (George Liquor) who he defeats by whipping out a turkey baster and smothering him in a shot of gravy. Liquor immediately collapses and surrenders Maid Moron.
Archive Panic: The original show ran for five seasons and 94 episodes (100 if you count Adult Party Cartoon), and including the bumpers, it would take almost 23 hours, or about an entire day without sleep, to watch the entire series.
The eclectic selection of stock sound cues have some very memorable tracks of music, particularly cues like Beethoven's "Pastoral Symphony" and "Clair De Lune", among other obscure pieces of classical music.
Awesome Art: John Kricfalusi famously never used model sheets for the characters. Despite this, or perhaps because of it, many of the episodes look very well animated.
Base-Breaking Character: George Liquor (American) is by far the most polarizing character of the show. He's either, while very disciplinary, an entertaining foil to Ren and Stimpy, or he's a harsh, unlikable asshole who puts Ren and Stimpy through hell to get them where he wants them to be. The fact that he's John K.'s Creator's Pet nowadays doesn't help matters.
Bizarro Episode: The series is very offbeat to begin with, but even then some episodes stick out like a sore thumb, such as "Haunted House" (which was an unmade Tiny Toons episode that Spumco was supposed to have a hand in, but ended up making for themselves).
And then there's Anthony's Dad from A Visit to Anthony's and the Yak that goes bonkers in The Royal Canadian Kilted Yaksmen.
Esoteric Happy Ending: Ren and Stimpy's tearful reunion in "The Big Shot" is cut short by Ren slapping Stimpy for giving away his 47 million dollar fortune.
In "Rubber Nipple Salesmen", Ren and Stimpy succeed in selling their rubber nipples to a suburbanite couple... who then kick Ren and Stimpy onto the backs of a couple of crazed bulls that they ride into the distance.
"Powdered Toast Man" ends with PDM becoming president after saving the Pope; in office, he promptly burns the Constitution to start a fireplace (which was edited on American TV after it first aired) as he spends time with his lovely assistant.
"Man's Best Friend". By thrashing George Liquor half to death with an oar, Ren earns his approval and praise for being such a good guard dog. Ren and Stimpy are then rewarded with doggie treats, and the three of them dance happily to an upbeat Raymond Scott song. (The aforementioned thrashing was one of the things that pissed off Nickelodeon and led to them firing John later.)
Fanon Discontinuity: The Games Animation episodes and the Adult Party Cartoon episodes might as well have not existed in the eyes of fans.
The romantic tension between Powdered Toast Man (whose secret identity is that of a clergyman) and his Catholic schoolgirl assistant. After the Catholic clergy sex abuse scandals of the 2000s, this comes off as really unsettling.
Genius Bonus / Truth in Television: In "Fire Dogs", Stimpy puts out the building fire with kitty litter; in real life, Kitty Litter is usually nonflammable, since it's often made out of ground up clay.
Growing the Beard: The show definitely got off to a good start, but the second season is universally considered a significant improvement over season 1's helter-skelter quality, and by many to be the series peak; Ren and Stimpy's personalities and voice work are more fleshed out, the drawings, animation quality and background art are much better (especially the episodes animated by Carbunkle) and the cartoons became much better in story structure, humor and pacing.
He Really Can Act: How can you go wrong when the two leads are voiced by John Kricfalusi and Billy West? (And eventually just West?) While Kricfalusi isn't well-known for his voice acting, he turns in a few genuinely terrifying performances as Ren, usually when he freaks out (see his threatening Stimpy and Sven in "Sven Hoek" and his almost Shakespearean monologue when he contemplates killing Stimpy in "Stimpy's Fan Club.") West also gets in a few great performances, particularly the insane yak in "The Royal Canadian Kilted Yaksmen." West never wanted to work with Kricfalusi again after the original Spumco episodes, but boy, did it work.
Hilarious in Hindsight: In "The Big Shot!", one of Stimpy's lines in the Muddy Mudskipper cartoon, "I'm huntin' for a wabbit!" and "Blow me down!" Billy West (Stimpy's voice actor) would become the primary voice actor for Elmer Fudd starting with Space Jam. He also voiced Popeye in the 2004 TV special, Popeye's Voyage: The Quest for Pappy.
In the Games Animation episode, "Superstitious Stimpy", Ren hides in Stimpy's spittoon to avoid further bad luck. Seven years later, in the very first Adult Party Cartoon episode, "Onward and Upward", Ren and Stimpy move into a spittoon in a bar.
The "Ren Snaps" sequence from "Stimpy's Fan Club", where Ren imagines himself as President, pressing "The Button" which atomizes Australia, has become a popular meme on YouTube called "You Dare Not Agree With X", where a picture of X character is photoshopped over Ren.
After the name of the villains from The Force Awakens was revealed to be "The Knights of Ren", it immediately spawned memes mixing Star Wars and Ren and Stimpy together, including names like "The Knights of Ren Hoek" or "The Knights of Stimpy". John K (who loathes the Star Wars series and hasn't even seen the newer movies) said on his Facebook that he is not amused by this connection, and refuses to draw commissions based on it.
Mr. Horse yelling "Are you nuts?! I'm a horse!" from "Ren Seeks Help" is quite a fan favorite, even for haters of Adult Party.
Actually, it would just be better to say that the entire series is an example. If there was an article called "Vindicated by Memetic Mutation", this show would be a prime example.
Never Live It Down: If the Adult Party Cartoon as a whole doesn't count, then the infamous scenes in "Naked Beach Frenzy", with its numerous instances of Fanservice (namely, Ren soaping up a woman's breasts), and "Altruists", Ren sawing a log on Stimpy's ass (an unsubtle metaphor for anal sex) certainly do. Both of which are some of the first things that pop up when you Google images of Ren and Stimpy.
"Ren Seeks Help", in particular, stands out as it's regarded by many as one of the worst episodes of any cartoon ever.
Seasonal Rot: The Games episodes. The Adult Party Cartoon episodes tried to turn things around, but, alas, those episodes made the Games ones look like the Spumco ones.
"Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: The show was Nickelodeon's first big breadwinner and hugely popular in its prime, and many of the shows elements, particularly its humor and drawing style, were shocking and unprecedented when it first hit the air. As a result, it ended up becoming one of the most ripped off cartoons of all time, to TV cartoons what Snow White is to animated features and what Mario Kart is to racing games. Nearly everything the show pioneered that was considered unique and groundbreaking when it first appeared have since been so heavily imitated that they're now considered ubiquitous elements of contemporary cartoons—much to John K's chagrin, since he felt that those cartoons only copied the many, many mistakes he made on the show, instead of what he felt he did right. Though, unlike most cases of "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny, this show is still as raunchynote Although this part mainly applies to the later "Adult Party Cartoon" series, since, as the name indicates, that was made specifically for older viewers. and disgusting as it was back in the 1990s (even more so, now that the fans who watched this as kids have grown up), so much so that it has a 12 rating in the UK (and the song "The Lord Loves a Hanging" song was cut, because the BBFC objected to portraying hanging oneself as a fun activity and not a painful, excruciating death) and Common Sense Media's website put this series as "Unsuitable for Anyone Under 15."note As disgusting as the original show can be, this also primarily applies to the "Adult Party Cartoon".
Signature Scene: The "Happy Happy Joy Joy" sequence from "Stimpy's Invention" is by far the most iconic scene in the series.
Song Association: Due to it using so many stock music cues, some of these pieces of music have become strongly associated with the series.
Uncanny Valley: That female anthro chihuahua with a realistic head (whom Ren falls for) in "Marooned".
"Weird Al" Effect: The LOG song is very well remembered from the show, but very few people realize that besides being a parody/homage of old toy commercials, the titular song borrows its melody directly from vintage Slinky commercials.
The "Loop of Death" music from an episode of Adult Party Cartoon is actually an old jazz number called "Hold That Tiger", and the recording used is from an old Betty Boop cartoon.
What Do You Mean, It's For Kids?: Just look up an episode. Any episode. You will be surprised when you find out that it was rated TV-Y7 during its airtime, while containing suicidal jokes, the use of the word crap and loosely censored "hell", racist jokes, tons of Getting Crap Past the Radar, Ren's disturbingly realistic mental breakdowns, Body Horror, loads of Black Comedy and disturbing images, among many other things. The show came out at a time when cable television was starting to offer edgier content that you could only to pay to see. This meant that nobody was really certain exactly who would be watching it.
The Woobie: Stimpy, at times. Especially true in "Son of Stimpy" and "The Littlest Giant".note Though in the former, it's more of a parody of this trope, since Stimpy is really just being an "eediot", and thus is really inflicting it on himself.
Ren counts at times too, though usually he's more of a Jerkass Woobie.
Both of them, in the episode 'Man's Best Friend'. Poor guys don't catch a break until the very end!
The frog from "Ren Seeks Help," who's on the receiving end of Ren's most sadistic moments.
Egg Yolkeo goes through a LOT of crap in his episode, before being accidentally eaten by Stimpy, so soon after learning how to say "I love you, Daddy"
This show, of all things, managed to make us feel bad for a sentient fart in "Son Of Stimpy".