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Tear Jerker / The Ren & Stimpy Show

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Even the most comical duo have their moments of despondence.
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For a comedy show that's packed to the brim with gross-out humor and Comedic Sociopathy, Ren and Stimpy actually has moments that will make you cry.note 


  • The shot of Stimpy waving goodbye from the dog pound cell in "Big House Blues", where it's underscored by a particularly forlorn arrangement of "The Polovtsian Dances."
  • "Son of Stimpy": Say what you will about the absurd premise or even John K. himself, there's something to be said about making the audience feel for basically what is a sentient fart and Stimpy treating it like a child he birthed. Ironically, the episode is intended to be a deconstruction of what he called "fake pathos" (ie, that getting an audience to cry, for a whole movie or even just two scenes, can be done with anything regardless of how substantial it is, citing Bambi's mother getting shot as an example), but even those who believe it succeeded at it's intended purpose have said that it also succeeds at actual pathos.
    • According to Sick Little Monkeys, after Nickelodeon terminated John K.'s contract, he asked Vanessa Coffee if he could stay on long enough to make this episode and pitched it to her on the spot. She agreed when the pitch made her start crying.
  • Stimpy running away in tears after being harassed by bullies ("the big mean giants", as he calls them) for his short stature in comparison to their mammoth height in "The Littlest Giant". It wasn't very uplifting back then, and it's only gotten more depressing over time now that bullying victims are likely to do the same (or worse)note  And having "Clair De Lune" as the background music only cements the emotional impact.
  • At the end of "Stimpy's Fan Club", Ren is so happy to finally have a fan letter that he slowly reads it to Stimpy as he beats him, wanting to rub in the fact that he finally has a fan out there. But when he gets to the final line:
    Ren: "Looooove"—it says "love"—"Your pal...S-Stimpy"? (turns to Stimpy, who, in spite of the beating, is trying his best to smile for his best friend. Ren quivers as he realizes what an ass he made of himself) Oh Stimpy...I'm so ashamed...
    Stimpy: I meant every word. (hugs a sobbing Ren) There, there, Ren. THERE, THERE.
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    • Earlier in the episode, Ren is reduced to a sobbing mess when Stimpy receives a ton of fan letters and Ren doesn't even get a single one. "Everyone loves the stupid one... no one loves the jerk... but I need love, too! I just want to be loved, like you!" Ren is so distraught that he turns around, buries his face into his hands, and cries, and Stimpy tries to console him. It's one of those moments when Ren is a completely sympathetic character.
  • Ren and Stimpy's reunion at the end of "The Big Shot".
    • Ren crying and missing Stimpy in "Stimpy's Big Day", and later tearfully finding Stimpy's catnip mouse and hairballs on the floor.
    • Stimpy quickly becomes a success, and is rich and adored by everyone, but he isn't happy:
      Muddy Mudskipper: Hey kid, I don't get it. You got it made! You got forty-seven million dollars. You got my TV contract. What more could you possibly want?
      Stimpy: (crying hard) I WANT REN!!! WWWAAAAAAUUGGH!!! WWWAAAAAAAAUUUGGH!!!
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  • From "Space Madness." In one of Ren's few entirely sympathetic moments, he, due to the stress of being confined to a small space with only food pellets to eat, breaks down in tears and starts bashing his head on the counter.
  • "Ren's Pecs" is essentially "The Big Shot" but with Ren and Stimpy's roles swapped, and it's even more of a Tear Jerker. It all starts when Ren starts crying, wishing he had "huge pectoral muscles"note  Unlike the above, they don't have a real reunion. The closest thing is when Stimpy serves Ren, but Ren doesn't recognize him and Stimpy is happy just to see Ren happy.
    • Their parting is both Heartwarming and very sad. Stimpy gives Ren a muscle shirt he'd knitted for him, which Ren is moved by. They share sad looks, touch each other's hands, before Stimpy lets him go. Just so that he doesn't change his mind and beg Ren not to leave. Even Ren of all people is visibly torn up about this. The looks he gives Stimpy before and after he walks away is sad in itself.
    • Nickelodeon made a music video based on the episode and it's even more of a Tear Jerker than the episode itself. Stimpy sings about how happy he is that Ren found success, but also lonely and heartbroken without him around. The final lyrics especially resonate with anyone who has drifted apart from a friend.
      And when they talk about you
      I'll tell them
      That I knew you
      When you...
      Were...
      Just...
      Ren
  • Not an in-show example, but when John K. posted the news of Michael Pataki's death, he posted with it a picture of a tearful Ren and Stimpy with the words "Goodbye, Our Kind and Beloved Master", with Ren still holding the oar from "Man's Best Friend".
  • The entirety of "My Shiny Friend" to anyone who has been close to someone/been through an extremely destructive addiction. It's almost scary how a series that's usually about absurdities can hit so close to home with the all-too-real horrors of something evolving from a pastime to a hobby to an obsession to something that devours your very being.note 
  • When Ren loses all his teeth in "Ren's Toothache", the beaver inside his mouth leaves, and the flies around Stimpy's litter box depart as well, remarking what a horrible stench it is. Poor Ren is left in tears.
  • In "Haunted House", the scene where after failing so many times to scare the titular duo, the ghost gives up and thinks of himself as a failure near the ending.
  • Even though John K. was on record saying that the show only went for "fake pathos", quite a few fans would dare say the ending to "Fake Dad" accidentally earned the real thing: "GOODBYE DADDY! GOODBYE DADDY! GOODBYE DADDY! GOODBYE DADDY! GOODBYE DADDY! GOODBYE DADDY! GOODBYE DADDY! GOODBYE DADDY! GOODBYE DADDY! GOODBYE DADDY! GOODBYE DADDY! GOODBYE DADDY! GOODBYE DADDY! GOODBYE DADDY! GOODBYE DADDY! GOODBYE DADDY! GOODBYE DADDY! GOODBYE DADDY! GOODBYE DADDY! GOODBYE DADDY! DADDY! DADDY! GOODBYE DADDY!"
    Ren: *sobbing* Goodbye, baby.
  • The episode "Aloha Hoek", where Ren and Stimpy get stuck on a desert island. They quarrel and Ren drives Stimpy from their shelter (a whale carcass) into the jungle where he befriends the natives. Ren, however, is convinced they are cannibals that ate Stimpy and secludes himself, sobbing in remorse. A family of crabs enslaves Ren and he uses their pet fly to escape, but it falls into the sea and he drowns. The fly carried Ren's body to a horrified Stimpy, who cradles it in his arms.
    Stimpy: "HE... WAS... MY... FRIEND!"
  • The episode "I Love Chicken", where Stimpy falls in love and marries a chicken (and not a live one either, but those plucked headless ones already prepared for cooking) only to have Ren try to burn it, turn it into sausages and then devour it after tricking Stimpy into an outside picnic so he could strand him far away where he couldn't intervene is pretty heartbreaking.
    • There's also what occurs when Stimpy comes home early to find Ren eating the chicken: He runs to the bedroom and cries. And it's not a comedic cry either, but a very realistic one: Just burying his face in pillows and sobbing. Cut to later; Stimpy's in a deep depression which is also executed realistically: He's just laying in bed, with a soul-crushed look on his face. Damn.
  • It's very brief, but in "Stimpy's Invention", the face Stimpy makes after his first attempt to make the happy helmet fails is quite sad to look at.
    • The fact Stimpy is so distraught and adamant in his project because Ren is unhappy. It has expectedly dark results, but the guy did just want to make his pal feel better.
  • "Hermit Ren"; with Ren gone, Stimpy makes himself his own Ren out of meat (and ear wax for ears). When he's done sculpting the piece, he smiles brokenly as tears fall from his eyes. The scene shows just how much Stimpy misses his pal.
  • "Double Header" had Stimpy clinging to Ren's legs, crying and begging him not to send him away. It plays out very much like a couple breaking up, with one of them pleading the other to reconsider. Stimpy's desperation in this bit is very heartbreaking.note 
    Stimpy: But I don't wanna go to Ursa Minor! What did I do wrong?
    Ren: *After a brief clip show* Well, I just don't like you.
    Stimpy: BUT I LOVE YOU! Please, please take me back! Please...
    Ren: Let me put this in Layman's Terms: I DON'T EVER WANT TO SEE YOU AGAIN!
    • Eventually, however, the whole thing is shot to heck when after their second accident and second operation, Stimpy is given some "barbecued Boston baked beans" to have for lunch...with Ren's head sewn right above Stimpy's...posterior (and that's all there is to say about that).
  • Stimpy's dream from "Insomniac Ren" is sad for two reasons: Firstly, it's pretty similar to what a lot of people in abusive relationships go through. Secondly, it shows that Ren's cruelty really is taking a toll on Stimpy's subconsciousness.
  • While it won't make you cry, it's still by far an upsettingly anticlimactic ending. "The Last Temptation" was the last episode of this show, and it ends with both Ren and Stimpy crying their eyes out. It's almost like they knew their show was over and there was nothing they could do about it.
  • A meta example: After the scandals of John K's. sexual abuse coming to light in 2018, Nickelodeon has removed every online mention of the show as well as yanking its reruns from NickRewind and all of their online streaming services, meaning the show is now impossible to see unless you already have it on home video or see it online through piracy, and possibly permanently due to the very rocky history of the franchise, from Nickelodeon firing John K. to "Adult Party Cartoon" killing any chance Ren & Stimpy could have had at a revival/reboot in the first place. Considering that the show is one of Nickelodeon's most iconic and influential series and is considered by many as one of the best cartoons of all time, Nickelodeon snuffing the show out entirely is considered a huge gut punch to many fans. However, the show did eventually return to NickRewind later that year, but it's anyone's guess how long it will remain.


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