It is commonly accepted in this day and age that the main contribution of Ren and Stimpy
to culture is that it popularized the Gross Out Show
. This is about as accurate as saying that The Beatles
' main contribution to culture is that they inspired millions of shitty bands to write their own shitty songs.
What people do not realize is that Ren and Stimpy
is, with The Simpsons
and Batman: The Animated Series
, one of the most influential shows of the 90s. Without it, a huge chunk of animation today might not exist. It was not only the first kid cartoon in decades to gather an adult audience, but it popularized the creator-driven cartoon, giving us some of the most beloved programs of the past 25 years - not only on Nick, but Cartoon Network and Disney, who decided to do their own creator-driven toons to get in on the action Nick had with R&S.
Is it any accident that two of CN's biggest hits
were created by fans of Ren and Stimpy
, and staffed with former R&S writers and animators? (Nick also seemed to get the show's popularity - the next two Nicktoons were Rocko's Modern Life
and Aaahh!!! Real Monsters
, which were in the spirit of R&S.)
But why was this? Why did it gain such a devoted audience? Why did it have such a wide ranging influence? Simple - it was a terrific show, surely one of the best programs Nick ever produced.
Its first two seasons are masterpieces of animation. I don't mince my words. Such episodes as "Stimpy's Invention," "Space Madness," "The Royal Canadian Kilted Yaksmen" and "Son of Stimpy" are up there with "What's Opera, Doc?
", "Duck Amuck
" and "One Froggy Evening
" in terms of genius. "Stimpy's Invention" in particular ought to go up there in The 50 Greatest Cartoons
list, it's that good.
The Games Animation episodes are polarizing, yes. It is my opinion that they're perfectly good on their own terms. Despite that, though, there is something missing - John K.'s input. Still, episodes like "Stimpy's Cartoon Show," "House of Next Tuesday" and "Reverend Jack" prove that the show could still be entertainingly funny even if the creator was gone.
The less said about Adult Party Cartoon
Thus you can see why Ren and Stimpy
deserves its status as one of the most influential cartoons ever made.