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  • Approval of God: Many ex-Spumco staffers, including series co-creator Bob Camp, have contributed to and given their approval of the series unauthorized history book "Sick Little Monkeys: The Unauthorized Ren And Stimpy Story". John Kricfalusi himself, on the other hand, made it very clear that he abhors both the book and its author, even ending friendships with anyone who would dare support the books account of the shows history.
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  • Ascended Fanfic: The Cat that Laid the Golden Hairball was based on a comic drawn by a fan and mailed into Nickelodeon.
  • Ascended Meme: Defied. John K has stated on his Facebook that he refuses to draw commissions depicting Ren as Kylo Ren, due to both his hatred of Star Wars and the fact that he hasn't even seen the newer films. When a fan asked him for one, he refused—but he also felt bad for the fan, so he did a drawing of Ren and Stimpy as the 60's Batman and Robin to make up for it.
  • Beam Me Up, Scotty!: "You sick little monkey!" is considered an unofficial catchphrase for Ren, even though he only said the line twice in the entire series: first in "Stimpy's Invention", and once again in "Sven Hoek". (However, he did say the line more often in the Marvel Comics adaptation of the series)
  • Creator Backlash: Kricfalusi is actually pretty critical of the original show, and he warns his fans not to study his cartoons—"For everything we did right, there were a ton of mistakes." Kricfalusi even claimed once that he can't really enjoy watching his own cartoons, because all he can see are the mistakes he made on them. He also felt the original show in its initial seasons (sans the Carbunkle episodes) were very inconsistent from a drawing and animation perspective, and had many bad drawings in them (hence why he discourages his students from studying his own cartoons). Some episodes he singled out for criticism include;
    • "Nurse Stimpy" was an episode that turned out so bad, that Kricfalusi flat out disowned it and refused to put his name on it (crediting himself as "Raymond Spum" instead)—mainly for the cuts Nickelodeon wanted (who axed a good chunk of footage out of the cartoon) and many artistic failings.
      John K: The timing was bad. The drawings are bad. The colors are bad. From an artistic standpoint, to me, it's a really ugly cartoon.
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    • "The Littlest Giant", mainly for its very slow pacing and sparse gags. He derogatorily nicknamed it "The Littlest Jokes". For budget reasons, the episode also couldn't use the crew's beloved method of drawing fresh character layouts and instead had to blow up the storyboard panels to ten-field size for the animators, resulting in a lot of unsatisfactory animation.
    • "Marooned"; he felt that the premise had merit, but was undermined by the episode's horrible timing (which was freelanced to another company) and some artistic mistakes that came from having to rush aspects of the episode.
      John K: "Marooned" had great ideas, but the execution fell short; the timing was horrible. We freelanced the timing on that one and it was just way too slow...We just rushed through it, and so you see a lot of really bad mistakes. You see the aliens at the end, the giant brain guys. They're on overlays, but we were rushing through it so fast that you can see the tear lines around them—they're on cut-out pieces of paper glued to cels. It looks awful.
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    • He also considered the episode "Black Hole" a failure for several reasons;
      John K: It's a complete failure. In every aspect it's bad; it's drawn bad, there's no direction to it at all, the timing's bad. It's a winner by default; somehow the premise managed to get through, even though the specific story points don't illustrate the premise very well. It was lucky.
      • Later on, he singled out the cartoon for criticism again, but this time for its poor structure;
        John K: I produced a cartoon that really suffered from poor structure: Black Hole. The premise of the story was simple. Ren and Stimpy get sucked through a black hole into another dimension where the physical laws are different than ours. Thus, they begin to mutate into weirder and weirder forms. Or...they should have. Instead they morph randomly and not in a building progression. The funniest morphs are early on, and then later they are less weird, so I considered that cartoon quite a failure. I've made other crap too, but my goal is always to have good solid structure and momentum.
    • "Monkey See, Monkey Don't". While the episode wasn't directed by him, he singled out this particular episode as "the worst Ren and Stimpy cartoon ever made" (of the first two seasons).
    • While he liked how "A Visit to Anthony" turned out, he was dissatisfied at how undirected the acting of Anthony's dad turned out, and he felt the sound effects and music (added by Games) were "clumsy and inappropriate".
      "I directed the recordings of all the characters EXCEPT my Dad, ironically and was very disappointed when I heard it. It sounded like the actor didn't know the story and was reading it for the first time, so he didn't give it the meaning that the drawings conveyed. It was a professional live action actor and I think whoever directed him was afraid to actually give him any direction. And also didn't know my Dad." "I think the animation was done at Rough Draft and it was amazing. The fireplace scene was especially impressive with all the cool effects. The sound effects and music was clumsy and inappropriate as per usual in the Games episodes. That's something they just never got, even though I sent them a long treatise on how to make the sound match the moods of the story."
    • Kricfalusi stated in a web chat that he felt the early Games episodes had good art, background and story ideas, but were ultimately mangled by lousy direction. In the DVD Commentary for "Stimpy's Cartoon Show", he criticized some aspects of how the final cartoon was handled, namely for muddling its "Artist Vs. Non-Artist" message by changing Ren from executive to producer—while he did submit it in the cartoon as that in an attempt to avoid executive scrutiny, he felt Games used it as a chance to turn the cartoon into a attack on him instead of meddling executives (although he was ok with that), and that there were weird expressions that didn't really work in context.
      "Elinor Blake and I wrote Stimpy's Cartoon Show and I had planned for that to be an epic, but the direction was pretty bungled. I explain it all on the commentary. The first Games DVD is coming out soon. I'd say it's definitely worth getting. Lots of good artwork, great backgrounds and some good stories-alas, no discernible direction."
    • He didn't hate the episode "Fire Dogs II", but he felt it suffered from very poor timing.
      "Incidentally, this cartoon suffers from some piss-poor timing, because we had just started the new episodes and were trying out a new system of shooting storyboards and timing them to music. A lot of the gags would play better if I could go back and cut them tighter. I apologize in advance! (Just run it in fast forward!)"
    • While he's come around to it in recent years, Billy West actively distanced himself from the show's fanbase for several years, especially after getting caught up in John K.'s smear campaign after he was fired. Working under his direction apparently took it's tole on him, with West often damaging his throat with how many times Kricfalusi made him redo line (remember, this is a show where characters often speak in screams) and being bullied whenever John was impatient with him. After John K. was fired, he demanded that West threaten to quit if Nickelodeon didn't hire him back, which West refused out of fear of being blacklisted, nor did he feel he owed it to Kricfalusi anyway, leading to Kricfalusi openly calling him a "job thief" and occasionally sending him death threats (Howard Stern, West's old boss, then added fuel to the fire by inviting the two of them onto his show without either of them knowing that the other would be there, then forcing them to sit across from other another and talk. West had just lost his brother, so he was obviously in no mood to deal with it). And this was in addition to the more mundane backlash he was facing from disgruntled fans an industry people who bought into Kricfalusi's martyrdom complex. It got to the point where on West's now-defunct forum, even mentioning the show was a bannable offense. Even after he's warmed up to the more well-behaved parts of the fandom, West makes no secret of his distain for Kricfalusi and vowed never to work with him again.
      "Genius is the twin brother of madness—both live in a world created by their own EGO. When I go to work for someone I NEVER bring my personal problems to the arena. The creators of most of the shows I've done don't seem to do that either. John K. wasn't a little bit difficult to work with. He was darn near impossible to work with. His abuse of actors including myself is legendary and was not so much about the search for perfection—it was about borderline sadism and control. His whole fixation with hell dads and boys and torture and punishment... well, I've made millions and millions of people laugh but I don't get what's funny about endless repititions of that crap that he dotes on. There's a difference between cries for help and comedy."
    • To a lesser extent Bob Camp, while he enjoyed working on the show, has similar bad memories working with Kricfalusi and executive demands, and wasn't satisfied with a lot of his directed episodes during the Games Animation seasons. He also hated Adult Party Cartoon and how it torpedoed any chance of the series getting revived (including his own attempt at pitching a Ren and Stimpy movie). And unlike John K., Camp was willing to admit that a large part of the show's problems was from the staff's brash attitudes.
    • William Wray refused to talk about the show for many years, because doing so brought a lot of bad memories of John K. He initially refused to be interviewed for Thad Komorowski's book "Sick Little Monkeys," and even after coming around was described in the book as "tearful" when recalling the nightmare that was John K.'s firing.
    • Outside of the show, and in stark contrast to many of the other Spumco staff who contributed to or tipped their hat to it, John absolutely abhors the unauthorized book of the shows history "Sick Little Monkeys: The Unauthorized Ren and Stimpy Story" for painting him in a very bad light (read: an even handed history of the show that brought much of the behind the scenes drama and John's own flaws to light). He not only refused to have any part of it, he even took snipes at author Thad Komorowski on his blog in the post "Fanboy Admission and Genetics", drawing a disparaging caricature of him as an acne ridden and angry, troll nosed puppet with the text and caption taking an incredibly mean-spirited snipe at his autism with the caption "Puppet Aspergers" (Thad himself had the doodle colorized and used as his pic for a while) and, when Thad demanded a prize for contributing to his Cans Without Labels campaign, John mailed him a tiny scribble of a can with the words "FUCK YOU" written on them. He abhorred the book so much that he would go as far as burning bridges with anyone who dared to support the book—he notably ended his 30 year friendship with animation historian Jerry Beck for posting a glowing review of the book on Cartoon Brew.
  • Creator Breakdown: According to Bill Wray, a perfect storm of losing control of the show, letting success get to his head and parting ways with layout artist and longtime girlfriend Lynn Naylor during its production directly caused John K.'s career to implode. This, combined with his alcoholism (the result of his then-undiagnosed bipolar disorder and ADHD), sent his personal and profession life into a downward spiral from which it never came back.
    "As far as I know what seemed to trigger the real acting out was the loss of his long time girlfriend, the rise of his power/fame and then the loss of Ren And Stimpy. This trifecta of emotional highs and lows seemed to open him up to a kind of total recklessness and plunged him into a bitter take no prisoners martyrdom. Spumco truly became the John K. House of worship, free of voices of reason. I do think he was brilliant and original visionary who was smart enough to know he needed a unique as him crew of artists and writers to make R and S great, but after he cracked, he forgot he had a great team, great timing in a low ebb in the Animation world, a great new network that believed in him and gave him the world and the love of millions of fans."
  • Creator Killer: After his firing, John Kricfalusi, having let the success of the show go to his head, went out of his way to launch a smear campaign against Games Animation and ex-Spumco staff who stayed with them, painting himself as a martyr wrongfully expunged from his own creation and painting all of his former staff members who continued to work on the show as cowardly sell-outs and traitors to Spumco.
    • Series co-creator Bob Camp, who likened his relationship to John as that of having an abusive father and still carries psychological scars to this day, was dogged by the stigma of having directed the less-popular Games Animation episodes of the series for years after the series ended. Per his word, Kricfalusi had personally appointed him as his successor after his firing, then stabbed him in the back by launching a smear campaign as soon as he had the chance by calling Camp a sellout and backstabber to Spumco in the magazine "Wild Cartoon Kingdom," on his notorious blog and the DVD commentaries, and the "he said/she said" nature of the story made many wary to take his side. Camp was still able to get steady work as a storyboard artist, but was very unpopular among Kricfalusi apologists (it's worth noting that Camp was not only responsible for the show, which never recovered from it's budget or schedule problems despite his efforts, but for his then-newborn son and unlike Kricfalusi, never got royalties from the show, nor was he even invited to participate in the DVD box sets to give his side of the story). It took years for the general public to come around to Camp's side about John K's prima donna behavior to the point that he's seen as the "true" creative force of the show and not Kricfalusi.
    • William Wray had such a miserable experience working under John K. and was so hurt by the massive scorn the Games era R&S episodes got that he retired from animation for years and went into paintingnote  and has only recently began to do animation work again.
    • Many other staff members deliberately avoided talking about John K. for many years out of fear of being similarly stonewalled or blacklisted due to the clout John ending up holding over the industry due to Ren and Stimpy's popularity which lingered until he was eventually outed as a pedophile, at which point all bets were off.
    • Inverted with layout artist Lynn Naylor. Parting ways with the show actually helped her career, as most of the industry professionals she'd befriended by that point took her side when John K. launched a smear campaign against her following her resignation. Bruce Timm, who had worked with her on Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures, immediately hired her as a character designer for Batman: The Animated Series and she's had an extremely prolific career ever since, even getting to return to the show during the Games era.
    • Kricfalusi's own career never reached the heights of this show ever again and gradually crumbled into nothingness over the 25 years following his firing. He was able to coast on his near-literal cult figure status in the late 90s, having some success with web cartoons and occasional gigs with the alternative comedy scene, but few were willing to work with him due to his reputation of being difficult. His one other attempt at an original TV show bombed and his second attempt at Ren and Stimpy bombed even harder. Outside of this, Spumco would only produce a handful of short subject material, such as commercials, music videos and station IDs, before getting sued into bankruptcy in 2008, with John K's only other work of note being his extremely controversial blog. By the time his pedophilia came to light, he barely had a career to speak of any more.
  • The Danza: Billy West voiced Billy the Beef Tallow Boy.
  • Descended Creator
    • John K. as Ren for the first two seasons.
    • Bob Camp was credited among The Players in a lot of Games Animation episodes.
    • Chris Reccardi wrote much of the show's original music. He and Jim Smith, with their band, Die Screamin’ Lederhosen, wrote and performed both the theme song and credits song. He also wrote the music for "Happy Happy Joy Joy."
  • Defictionalization:
    • The LOG toy from Blammo, which initially only existed as a parody commercial, eventually did become a real Ren and Stimpy related toy.
    • John K. noted on the DVD commentary for "Sven Höek" that there was a Ren and Stimpy fan website dedicated to the Loyal Order of Stupids, Sven and Stimpy's "club", called "Members of the Loyal Order of Stupids".
    • "Ask Dr. Stupid" became the letters column for the Ren and Stimpy comic book by Marvel Comics. Just like in the TV skits, readers would send in silly questions and get equally silly answers.
    • Nickelodeon considered making a real Powdered Toast meal (an otherwise fictional recipe that Bob Camp claims was just "a stupid gag") as a tie-in to the show, but the plans were nixed due to the 2018 scandals surrounding John K.
  • Dueling Dubs: In Russia, the show had two translations. There was a dub that aired on TNT in the mid-late 2000's, and a more recent Voiceover Translation on Paramount Comedy (the Russian equivalent of Comedy Central).
  • Dueling Works: The Games episode "Ren Needs Help!" versus the Adult Party Cartoon episode "Ren Seeks Help", both about similar subjects but executed very differently.
  • Edited for Syndication: When R&S was rerun on VH1 and Spike TV, there were commercial fades in the middle of a cartoon, which disrupted the action. There were also time cuts in some episodes. Sadly, these are the versions which made it onto DVD.
  • Exiled from Continuity: Was one of the only original Nicktoons that Nickelodeon outright stated would not receive a reboot, as the higher-ups felt that it could never be made appropriate fo children again after Adult Party Cartoon (the character still occasionally appeared as playable characters in video games, such as Attack of the Toybots and Nicktoons MLB). Nickelodeon removed any and all mention of Ren and Stimpy from all of their online services, save the occasional YouTube video, and even pulled reruns from Nick Splat after news of John K.'s sexual abuse history broke in 2018. As of 2019, the reruns have returned, however.
  • Executive Meddling: Considering what did get on the air, it's no surprised that Nick at least attempted to reign it in, though not quite as badly as rumor may have one believe.
    • While the producers were on the losing end of far more content arguments than John K. insists they were (their only real complaints were the "psychodrama" plots and the violence in "Man's Best Friend"), they did insist that Ren's psychosis be toned down into more of a Jerk with a Heart of Gold and that the show have more heartfelt moments to balance out the violence and depravity. Most stories involving George Liquor were DOA, as the executives hated the character.
    • Nickelodeon's biggest issue with the show's content were George Liquor and Anthony's dad from "A Visit To Anthony", both of whom were partially based on John K's own father and Nickelodeon felt that both characters were too psychotic and too close to real-life Abusive Parents.
    • As mentioned below, their biggest gripes were about how expensive and long production on each episode was, largely due to the John K.'s perfectionism and his steadfast insistence that all of the show's layouts be done stateside to achieve the level of detail he wanted in the animation. After trying and failing to get Spunco to pick up the pace, they sent an intern over to more or less spy on the production to see if anything was actually getting done.
    • The only real straight example of this was John K.'s firing from the series when it was clear that his relationship with Nick wasn't going to get better, at which point production moved to Nick's in-house production facility so they could better supervise and Vanessa Coffey outright forbade the staff from creating any more psychodrama episodes, pushing the later episodes in a distinctly Lighter and Softer direction. Even then, they were mostly hands-off with content.
    • After John K. was given Protection from Editors on Adult Party Cartoon, many fans began to side with Nickelodeon, saying that their "meddling" was what kept the show from being so depraved that it became unfunny.
  • Flip-Flop of God: John Kricfalusi seems to change his mind whenever people ask about the main duo's sexuality. He goes from saying that "it's none of his business", to saying that Ren is bisexual, to that they are canonically gay. Heck, even when he made them explicitly gay in the adult spin-off, he still beats around the bush regarding this topic. The straightest (no pun intended) response he's ever given is that they're only Gay "when it's funny."
  • Follow the Leader: This show inspired the wacky animal Gross-Out Show that would be often imitated in the 90s. Schnookums and Meat, 2 Stupid Dogs, and Cow and Chicken are a few notable examples, many of which were created by former R&S staff. John K. himself gave Cow and Chicken glowing praise and provided what he called "tidbits of bad taste" for Dogs.
  • Franchise Killer: The Adult Party Cartoon reboot bombed hard enough to ensure that no further Ren & Stimpy cartoons would ever be produced. The publication of John K.'s history of sexual abuse in 2018 forced Nickelodeon to erase and and all traces of the show from it's websites and network, including reruns on NickSplat (they'd eventually return in 2019).
  • God Does Not Own This World: Probably one of the most Shakespearean and operatic instances of this trope, since Bob Camp, Chris Reccardi, Bill Wray and other Spumco-ites from the first two seasons chose to stay with Nickelodeon and the show after Kricfalusi was fired.
  • Inspiration for the Work: John K. came up with the series through separate circumstances; Ren came about from a 1940s postcard with a picture of a chihuahua in a sweater, while Stimpy was inspired by the big-nosed cats from Bob Clampett's short A Gruesome Twosome. A friend suggested to him that he pair the two together and the rest is history.
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes:
    • Due to the scandals surrounding John K's sexually predatory behavior, Nickelodeon has removed everything Ren and Stimpy related from Nick Splat and all of their online streaming services, and it seems extremely unlikely that the series will ever get another home video rerelease in the present future.
    • The short "Chicken in a Drawer", which was absent from the second DVD set for some reason. A large number of episodes on all the DVD sets of the original series featured cuts, ranging from only a few seconds to a minute in some instances. This was due to Nickelodeon tampering with footage from the negatives after Kricfalusi's firing for the reruns of them. Although he got the episodes as close to the originals as he could for the sets, he couldn't get all of the original footage back.
    • The Marvel Comics series is this in its entirety. The main culprit would probably be the fact that Disney had bought Marvel years after their publication, while the Ren & Stimpy franchise is owned by Nickelodeon, and they're essentially Disney's competitors, which probably makes a reprint of any sort difficult, if not impossible. Not helping matters is that issue #6 has Spider-Man as a main character. With the John K. scandal hurting the Ren & Stimpy brand as a whole, it likely only further hurt a potential reprint's (already low) chances.
  • Missing Episode: While all episodes are now on DVD, a few episodes from the Games era were banned after one or two broadcasts. "Man's Best Friend" also went unaired for years, until finally airing once on Spike TV in 2003. It can now be seen on the Seasons 1 & 2 DVD set as well on Netflix under the Adult Party Cartoon series. Allegedly, the censors objected to Ren repeatedly hitting George Liquor with a boating oar.
  • The Other Darrin:
    • Billy West was both this and The Original Darrin, as he was originally cast as both leads when the show was being pitched before John Kricfalusi changed his mind and decided to do Ren instead. West took over the role of Ren, as well as Mr. Horse and Mrs. Buttloaves following Kricfalusi's termination. West also recorded lines for season 2 episodes which began production at Spumco but finished at Games and, therefore, Kricfalusi was unable to finish himself.
    • Gary Owens replaced Darrin J. Sargent as the voice of Powdered Toast Man after the first PTM bumper.
    • Harris Peet originally voiced George Liquor in "The Boy Who Cried Rat" (in the short scene of George chasing Ren and Stimpy away from his trash) before being replaced by Michael Pataki.
  • Reality Subtext:
    • Ren and Stimpy premiered at the tail end of the AIDS crisis, and a big part of its controversy was American parents not only finding the show disgusting but fearing the ramifications of children laughing at bodily fluids at a time when most of the country was outwardly afraid of them.
    • Its no accident that many episodes are centered around Ren's mental instability, considering its come to light that John K has suffered from bipolar disorder and ADHD (which he self medicated with alcohol) that went undiagnosed for years.
    • Any episodes which feature hardass fathers were described by Bob Camp and Billy West as "a primal scream against John K.'s own hypermasculine, disciplinary father and the rough childhood he put him through.
    • "Reverend Jack Cheese" is basically the Games Animation crew telling the audience what it was like working under John K in the first two seasons.
  • Same Content, Different Rating:
    • When America adopted the TV rating system in the late 1990s (when Ren and Stimpy reruns were more or less still going), the show was rated TV-Y7 for comedic violence and scenes considered too gross or scary for children under 7 (there was even an announcer who prefaced the show with this warning, only the comedic violence was called "silly slapping"). Years later, with the short-lived Adult Party Cartoon series and ramped-up concerns over content, you have Moral Guardians like Common Sense Media branding this series with a "Not Suitable for Anyone Under 15" and the UK's DVDs have rated this a 12 (not suitable for children under 12) for the same reason it was rated a TV-Y7 — and this was after they edited an episode to remove a Western song about the joys of hanging yourself ("The Lord Loves a Hangin'").
    • On Spike TV, reruns were rated TV-PG, likely due to some of the censored content being restored. However, reruns on NickSplat were rated TV-G for unknown reasons.
  • Schedule Slip: The main reason Spumco and John K were fired from the show. From the very beginning, episodes weren't being completed in time thanks to Kricfalusi's perfectionism, forcing Nick to re-air the first episode "Stimpy's Big Day/The Big Shot" in the time slot designated for the second episode. "Black Hole/Stimpy's Invention" was delayed a full year before finally airing in in February of 1992 (and it shows). Not only did it kill any chance of syndication, it wasted a lot of the station's money from advertisers. Several of the Spumco artists were forced to do work on Doug just to stay on Nick's payroll, if they weren't being paid out of Kricfalusi's pocket. Season 2 improved only marginally and Kricfalusi's bad attitude did nothing to convince Nick that it was worth their time and money to keep letting this happen. When Kricfalusi outright bit the hand that fed him by sending Nickelodeon a Strongly Worded Letter saying "Spumco episodes will cost what they cost and take as long as they need," Nickelodeon finally got fed up and fired him. Even after the move to Games, the staff couldn't catch up fast enough to prevent further delays.
  • Screwed by the Lawyers: Nickelodeon intended to reanimate and recut "Man's Best Friend" to remove some of the more offensive material and make it suitable for their broadcast standards. The new animation was nearly finished by the time they found out that John K. still owned the rights to the George Liquor character, meaning that even if they wanted to, Nick couldn't air the episode without his permission.
  • Short-Lived Big Impact: At 5 seasons and a spin off (the last two of which and the spin off are barely talked about nowadays) this show did not last so long as the two other shows in the original Nicktoons line up, Rugrats and Doug, which continued in some form or another for the better part of a decade. And yet, R&S is among one of the most influential cartoon shows of the last twenty years, spawning dozens of imitators and being the Trope Maker for the Grossout Show genre.
  • Shrug of God: On Ren and Stimpy's sexuality.
  • Talking to Himself: Both main characters were voiced by Billy West after John Kricfalusi, Ren's original voice actor, was fired.
  • Throw It In!: The scene in "Stimpy's Breakfast Tips" where Stimpy inexplicably has Black Blead Eyes just for one shot was an animation mistake by Fil-Cartoons—the scene was supposed to have Stimpy's eyes over them and the cork eyes were left in as a joke since they wouldve been covered up by the eye drawings, but that bit of animation inexplicably got thrown out by them. Spumco had the option of doing a retake for it, but John K. was so amused by the error ("That's weird shit even we would never come up with.") that he decided to just leave it in as is.
  • Troubled Production: Right from the start, the series was fraught with production troubles that ultimately destroyed the show. Years later, co-creator Bob Camp summed up the show as "the best of times, the worst of times" and that "the whole thing was fucked from the beginning."
    • Nickelodeon green-lighting their first original show from a studio that had never produced animation (up until this time, Spumco had been an illustration company) turned out to be the blind leading the blind. According to Bob Camp, there was poor communication regarding creative control from then-network head Linda Simensky, who outright told the crew that they had carte blanche on content under the incorrect assumption that they shared a consensus of just how far "too far" was. The result was constant disagreement and confusion between both parties on an issue-to-issue basis. The executives also didn't understand the show's particular brand of absurdist filmmaking like jump cuts or gross up close ups when shown the storyboards, forcing the crew to over-explain most of the more bizarre gags (this obviously didn't help the network's faith). Because of John K.'s insistence that the show not use scripts, only storyboards, he had to fly to New York every time the network needed to approve stories. Each storyboard took two months to complete and be approved. Bob Camp admitted that the crew had too much of a "shitty 'fuck you' attitude" that the network wasn't prepared to deal with.
    • Many of the season 1 episodes were massacred by bad outsourcing, due in part to work from Fil-Cartoons, a literal sweatshop studio in the Philippines with poor working conditions and such dismal pay that employees were forced to sleep there. The studio handled ink-and-paint work for the entire first season, and more often than not heavily ruined many scenes due to their all-around cheap Xeroxing, ugly colors and even "reworking" drawings or whole scenes of animation without the consent of Spumco; there were even some unintentional (rather than purposeful) Off-Model moments, such as Stimpy's eyes inexplicably turning black in the "Stimpy's Breakfast Tips" note  and Ren accidentally having two elephant trunks on him instead of one in "Black Hole". note . Carbunkle director Bob Jacques had to fight tooth and claw to get the studio to turn in acceptable work for episodes like "Stimpy's Invention" (and even then the sporadic error slipped in, such as Stimpy's eyes floating off his face when he's showing Ren his new socks), and described the experience of working with them as "all damage control" and called them "the cheapest shithole studio I've ever had the displeasure to work at." The second season switched to digital ink and paint, presumably to avoid further problems like this, which came with it's own set of problems, being such a new and still very rudimentary form of technology.
    • One of the biggest sources of friction was over censorship. Nickelodeon was always uneasy with the gross-out nature of the show's humor, and sent constant revisions to every single episode; "Nurse Stimpy" had a good chunk of footage axed before it got to air (specifically a gag involving a leech being used on Ren) and they even kept one finished episode, "Man's Best Friend", off the air due to its violent and scatological content. As a general rule, anything that had to do with religion, politics, alcohol, and tobacco was put under a microscope by Standards & Practices; the character George Liquor had his last name removed from one episode and made only sporadic appearances due to opposition from the network, right down to axing an entire scene with him from "Rubber Nipple Salesman", forcing Spumco to change a Liquor cameo in "Haunted House" into a parody of Doug Funnie (a scene that got edited out in reruns anyway) and rejecting an episode idea starring him (which prompted the crew to improvise the story for "Fire Dogs" in an afternoon), while "Powdered Toast Man", featuring The Pope, removed a cross from his hat and credited the character simply as "The Man with the Pointy Hat", and the ending scene of Toast Man carelessly using the Constitution and Bill of Rights as kindling for a fire got edited out after its initial airing, which ironically ruined the episode's satirical message of how easily authority and power are abused.
    • During all of this, John Kricfalusi was near-constantly holed up in his office to avoid confrontation, leaving others to the heavy lifting on his cartoons for him, and an outright terror of a director to work for. One scene of Stimpy shaking his butt in Stimpy's Invention was re-animated sixteen times until it met John's approval. Historian Jerry Beck distinctly remembers visiting the studio and finding out John was so obsessed with finding the right color for the present Stimpy hands Ren that the walls were lined with over 50 different cels of the same present in different colors, likening it to a scene out of The Shining (ironically, John ended up working with one of the initial color choices). He also pushed voice actors like Billy West to their limits and beyond, with West even getting damage to his vocal cords from the grueling recording sessions. Worst of all was John's complete lack of professionalism and willingness to make his baggage other people's problems, such as firing storyboard artist Chris Reccardi solely for dating John's ex-girlfriend Lynne Naylor (Reccardi and Laylor married two years after John was fired and remained together until Reccardi's fatal heart attack in May 2019, proving what little good this did). Kricfalusi also rewarded Bob Jacques for his hard work on "Sven Höek" by spending hours chewing him out over the phone for how "Disney like" the cartoon looked, and only began praising the cartoon when it became a fan favorite episode. And when Royal Canadian Kilted Yaksman initially only credited Reccardi for directing after John was fired from the show, John was so enraged that he threatened to sue Nickelodeon for millions if he wasn't properly credited on the film (Nick relented and put his name on the credits). Bob Camp had a designated section of wall in his office with a sign over it that read "John's Knees" for staff members to come in and kick out of frustration on particularly bad days (by the end of Kricfalusi's run on the show, it was a massive hole).
    • Through a combination of the crew's perfectionism and the constant battles over what was acceptable to air, the show suffered from severe Schedule Slip almost from the start. Nickelodeon only ordered six episodes when the show was green-lit and they still had to rerun the pilot episode in order to have something to show in what would've been the second episode's time slot; this helped the show build an audience but killed any hope for syndication. The second season was planned to have twenty episodes before getting cut down to thirteen. Only eleven were completed, with two held over for season three.
    • Feuding between John K. and Nickelodeon over how long and expensive the production of each episode was reached it's apex September '92, in the middle of the second season, when John K. told them point blank that episodes would "cost what they cost and take as long as they needed." Having had enough, Niceklodeon fired him and his studio from the series and continued it through their new in-house production facility Games Animation (John K. continues to insist that content was the deciding factor, specifically that in "Man's Best Friend," but nearly all sources say otherwise).
    • The remainder of the series was finished by half of it's original staff (those who weren't loyal to John K.) plus some newcomers. Despite their efforts to conform to the more traditional structure of TV animation production, deadlines were still missed. Both fans and much of the staff agree that there were more bad episodes of this era than good ones. Nevertheless, the show ended up running for three more seasons until 1995, at which point Nickelodeon put it on "indefinite hiatus."
  • Unfinished Episode:
    • Prior to John Kricfalusi's firing, several more episodes had been scripted for Season Three by Spumco's staff. Some were produced into episodes of the Games Animation seasons and the Adult Party revival, though often retooled to some degree. In addition, at least nine episodes were scheduled for Adult Party, however Kricfalusi's second firing led to its cancellation after only six episodes. Among the three planned episode, "Life Sucks" had already been storyboarded and its dialogue recorded.
    • There was an episode planned that was meant to star George Liquor, but it quickly got shot down by Nickelodeon, which prompted the staff to improvise the episode "Fire Dogs" in an afternoon.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Ren and Stimpy were originally just going to be background characters for a different show John K. pitched to Nick called Jimmy The Idiot Boy (then called Jimmy, the Retarded Boy). After Nick refused to let him keep the rights to the show if they bought it, he decided to just do one with the two background characters, as he felt losing the rights to two characters he only kind of liked was better than losing the right to a character he was very attached to.
    • Word is that season 3, had Spumco been kept on, would've mixed in more dramatic outings (similar to "Stimpy's Fan Club" and "Son of Stimpy") with the comedic shorts. Given how good they got at visual acting towards the end of their work on R&S, that would've been interesting to see.
    • Episodes like "A Visit to Anthony", "Fake Dad" and the aforementioned "Stimpy's Fan Club" were only partially finished when Spumco was fired and were mostly completed by Games. How much better these episodes would have turned out if John K. had been able to finish them is unknown.
    • In 1993, Nickelodeon was planning on making a Ren and Stimpy movie, along with a movie of Rugrats and Doug. Only the Rugrats and Doug ones were made (albeit the Doug movie being made after it was bought by Disney), with the Rugrats one being successful enough for a string of sequels.
    • Apparently, around the same time that that rumored Nicktoons movie was pitched, a standalone Ren and Stimpy movie was pitched to Paramount by Bob Camp. However, according to him, the terrible reception of Adult Party Cartoon did enough damage to the property for Paramount to reject it.
    • Billy West was supposed to be the voice of both Ren and Stimpy when the show first started. He ironically got his wish when John K. was fired and Games Animation came in to make episodes.
    • The show's opening was going to be a song written and played by Kurt Cobain. Sadly, John K. rejected the music sheet (by tossing it in the trash just after Cobain submitted it to Spumco Studios) and decided an instrumental was better.
    • Had Spumco remained on the show Wilbur Cobb's role in "Stimpy's Cartoon Show" would have been taken by Raymond Spum, a sort of Walt Disney-type figure. Also, Stimpy's cartoon was originally going to be animated and designed like a short from The Golden Age of Animation.
    • George Liquor had been an intended part of the show from almost the very start. However due to an alleged dislike of the character by Nickelodeon, he was limited to cameos in Season One and only fully utilized in two episodes of Season Two (one of which was banned). After John K was fired Nickelodeon were more than willing to let him take the rights to use Liquor with him, retiring him from the series. He was intended for a return in Adult Party Cartoon past the first episode (which was merely a rebranded airing of "Man's Best Friend"), but due to the show's premature cancellation, this never came to fruition.
    • Craig McCracken was offered a job on the show during its first season, but turned it down because he was still in school.
    • Big Name Fan Robin Williams personally asked the staff if he could be a guest voice on the show. John K. politely declined Williams' offer by telling his assistant to "Tell him he's a fag!"
    • A new Ren and Stimpy short was going to be made to play in front of The Spongebob Movie Sponge Out Of Water, but for whatever reason (presumably because whoever made the decision wasn't aware of the unflattering history between that show and Nickelodeon) it didn't happen.
  • The Wiki Rule: The Ren & Stimpy Wiki.
  • Word of Gay: John K's confirmation on whether Ren and Stimpy are a gay couple is a bit flip-flopped. Answers from John K. range from "It's none of my business" to "Only when/if it's funny" to "Both of them are desperate and/or bisexual." There's no simple "Yes" or "No" answer and, knowing Kricfalusi, there probably will never be one.
    • He did end up confirming it in an article back in 1997, which can be seen right here.
    • The German translation of the show seemed to have caught wind of this as both the voices of the title characters in that version are quite clearly gay.
  • Working Title
    • The show was originally called Ren Höek and Stimpy.
    • "The Last Temptation" was originally going to be called "The Last Temptation of Ren."
  • Writer Revolt
    • John K. unfavorably compared Games Animation taking over production of the show to giving "an unedited cartoon to the milkman and have him finish it for ya." In response, the Games logo for the show (designed by Mike Kim) depicted Stimpy dressed as a milk man.
    • Producer!Ren in "Stimpy's Cartoon Show" and the character of Rev. Jack Cheese were both unflattering caricatures of John K.'s dictatorial habits by the Games staff. Notice that both of them were horn-rimmed glasses (as Kricfalusi does).
  • Writing by the Seat of Your Pants: The episode "Fire Dogs" was improvised in an afternoon to fill in for a rejected George Liquor-centered episode.
  • Write What You Know: The gag of Rev. Jack Cheese putting cold cuts on Ren and Stimpy's heads came from a staff party where an very drunk Bob Camp put cold cuts on an equally drunk Kricfalusi's head. The characters' incantations ("This is perfectly good lunch meat," "I'm sure you want to waste it," "What are ya?") were Kricfalusi's bemused reaction.
  • Write Who You Know:
    • Most of the father characters, including George Liquor and Anthony's Dad were based on Kricfalusi's own father. Make of what what you will.
    • The fire chief in "Fire Dogs" and the tenuous sequel "Fire Dogs 2" is based on Ralph Bakshi, whom Kricfalusi worked under on Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures.
    • Rev. Jack Cheese, as mentioned above, is the Games Animation staff's interpretation of John K. himself.
  • Written by Cast Member: Many of the early episodes were written by John K., who initially played Ren. Later, "Ol' Blue Nose" was partially written by Billy West, who initially voiced Stimpy, but later voiced both Ren and Stimpy.

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