In 2003, John Kricfalusi successfully brought Ren and Stimpy back to TV when Ren & Stimpy "Adult Party Cartoon" debuted on Spike TV... Unfortunately, all the humor from the original show was taken Up to Eleven.
You read that right. Adult Party Cartoon — Kricfalusi's last show prior to switching to commercials and music videos and the last show produced by Spümcø before going bankrupt — is an adult's perspective from our gross duo, Ren Höek and Stimpy J. Cat, who (you guessed it!) take on the adult world. As part of Spike's short-lived animation block, the new show includes a very dark childhood that involves animal abuse, hanging with some girls in bikinis on the beach, very disgusting pregnancy, and information about how cruel and miserable life is—that was never completed.
That was the reason to have Ren & Stimpy lose its original glow by creating a show for adults. In fact, Nothing Is the Same Anymore. Nope. No powdered toast, no fake commercials, no other episodes focusing on other characters, no Two Shorts, not even that happy happy, joy joy. Just some adult things that kids should never watch, leading in to the Animation Age Ghetto. And Content Warnings are abound, even on this page. Nickelodeon didn't like this new show, either, and has refused to get involved in any Ren & Stimpy project ever since. Not even Billy West would watch a thing like that, and was replaced by Eric Bauza. Kricfalusi did return to provide the voice as Ren and Mr. Horse, and so does Cheryl Chase and Harris Peet.
How did this abomination begin? Well, it started back in 2002 — a decade after Krifalusi's termination from Nick — when the pre-2006 Viacom (who, to a surprise, owns the Nickelodeon channel) hired Kricfalusi to produce an updated version of Ren & Stimpy for Spike, which aired reruns of Ren & Stimpy at the time, noting that they wanted an "extreme" version of that show. He hired a few of his old crew came along with him, but there was also newer crew, since many from the original, such as Bob Camp, wouldn't work on such show. If none of this would have happened, we'd just settle for a different Ren & Stimpy revival.
Kricfalusi claimed Executive Meddling after the fact — while the show was on the air he touted his creative freedom, but after it ended he dropped some hints that Spike wanted the show to be more like South Park which led to more emphasis on toilet humor (a charge supported by Spike also approaching Spongebob Squarepants's showrunners about giving it an "adult" treatment, which they declined).
The show received double the ratings of Spike's other animated shows, but was panned by fans and critics for its excessive grossout jokes. Spike's entire animation block was removed about four months after its debut, and it took down all of its shows with it. Over the series' course, only three episodes were aired, and three more that were completed but unaired remained unseen until Paramount released the show in its entirety on DVD in 2006, appropriately titled "The Lost Episodes".
While Nick disowned APC, they still acknowledged the existence of the original show and even let it air in reruns on NickSplat — until 2018, when Kricfalusi's history as a sexual predator was exposed by two of his victims, Robyn Bird and Katie Rice, which persuaded Nick to pull the original series from reruns and cover up any and all references of the series on their websites and social media.
Also, don't eat while watching this show. Eating while and after watching can give you some good Squick.
This show provides examples of:
- All Adult Animation Is South Park: It's well known for being more vulgar then regular Ren and Stimpy, itself a very vulgar show. Episodes often focus on sexuality, crude humor, or violence.
- Art Evolution: With Adult Party Cartoon, Spumco returned and the episodes became more detailed than ever (for the most part).
- Artifact Title: "Fire Dogs 2" has very little to do with the original episode. It just starts where "Fire Dogs" ended, then the fireman randomly transforms into Ralph Bakshi (with the man himself doing his voice), then he and Ren & Stimpy hang out together doing everyday things, and their jobs as a fireman and fire dogs are completely forgotten about.
- Ass Shove: Happens twice in the episode "Altruists". The first is Ren accidentally shoving his finger into Stimpy's ass while they were performing their routine beatings, and the second happens when Ren intentionally pushed a tile inbetween Stimpy's buttcheeks.
- Avoid the Dreaded G Rating: Actually, it avoided all other TV content ratings the original show normally had, with this one using a TV-MA rating.
- Beach Episode: "Naked Beach Frenzy" takes place at a beach, with Ren trying to ogle and fondle curvaceous women in bikinis.
- Between My Legs: Heavily emphasized during a scene in "Naked Beach Frenzy".
- Black Comedy: Up to Eleven. This show has more frequent uses of dark jokes than the original series.
- Black Comedy Animal Cruelty: "Ren Seeks Help" has an extended flashback of a young Ren torturing a frog in grotesque ways: First shoving firecrackers up its butt, then running it over with his tricycle, then hooking it up to a car battery, then mutilating it with a chainsaw. After all that, Ren refuses to kill the frog, and we see that the frog is still alive 10-20 years later, living in horrible agony.
- Black Comedy Burst:
- "Ren Seeks Help", which takes Ren's instability and sadism to horrific extremes.
- The unfinished episode "Life Sucks" would've taken it even further due to it pulling no punches in playing brutal nihilism for laughs.
- Bloodier and Gorier: The show is a lot more violent than the original series, especially in "Ren Seeks Help", what with the revelation that Ren used to horrifically torture and mutilate animals as a child.
- Break the Cutie: The unmade episode "Life Sucks" would have been a huge one for Stimpy, where Ren goes out of his way to hammer home into him how horrible, cruel, stupid, and pointless life is.
- Canon Discontinuity
- Chainsaw Good: Little Ren is given a chainsaw (rather than a gun) to euthanize a poor frog he's been torturing for a while in "Ren Seeks Help".
- Character Development: Adult Party continued this, especially in regards to Ren, by making him an out and out misanthropic nihilist, while Stimpy was shown to be more emotionally unstable than let on before.
- Crapsack World: Even more than the original show, it's clear that Ren and Stimpy live in a hellhole.
- Cruel Twist Ending: "Ren Seeks Help".
- Darker and Edgier: The show is clearly darker than the original series, especially with the greater emphasis given on Ren's insanity and sadism in "Ren Seeks Help". The unfinished episode "Life Sucks hands down would've been the darkest episode in the entire series due to its shamelessly nihilistic comedy.
- Deranged Animation: The animation can edge into disturbing territory, especially in "Ren Seeks Help".
- Does This Remind You of Anything?:
- The infamous log-saw scene in "The Altruists" of the adult cartoon. What happens, you ask? Well, for some reason Ren straps a saw, like you would put on a penis strap on, as Stimpy carries the log on his back. Now, put two and two together how they execute it. As Ren saws, Stimpy for some reason pants and gasps, which results in Ren telling him to "beg for it". Stimpy pleads loudly, and as Ren goes at it, Stimpy practically gets an orgasm. When they're finished sawing, Ren spasms as the saw goes limp, with Stimpy having wood chips scattered on his back. Afterwards, Stimpy wants to cuddle, but Ren doesn't. This makes it one of the most egregious examples of this trope ever made.
- In "Naked Beach Frenzy", Ren checks out a woman on the beach trying to catch a ball that keeps bouncing away. When she bends over to pick it up, Ren squeezes the tube of sun lotion he's holding, and as he does, it's located near the crotch.
- Downer Ending: "Ren Seeks Help" ends with Ren finally going feral, delivering a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown to Mr. Horse, and getting dragged off to the nuthouse by the police. And the frog he tormented as a child shows up and turns Mr. Horse's pistol on himself, which turns out to be a fake gun.
- Driven to Suicide: The frog that Ren was tormenting in "Ren Seeks Help", after Ren wouldn't honor his request to put him out of his misery, tries to take his own life himself. After Ren gets dragged off to the nuthouse, he crawls into Mr. Horse's office, and uses his pistol to off himself. Unfortunately, it ends up being one of those "BANG" flag guns and it doesn't work.
- Dude, Not Funny!: Mr. Horse's reaction to Ren's telling of his history and what he did to Stimpy in "Ren Seeks Help".
- Epic Fail: Some people were excited to see Ren and Stimpy on TV again. It backfired horribly, and for a very good reason it was a poorly received show... As a result, the show greatly damaged the reputation of the franchise to the point that Nickelodeon will forever refuse to make a Revival.
- The Faceless: "Altruists" subverts this trope: The woman's son that Ren and Stimpy help never has his face shown because he doesn't have a head at all.
- Fan Disservice: The unbelievably hairy and naked lifeguard from "Naked Beach Frenzy" was not a pleasant sight.
- Fanservice: Adult Party Cartoon had quite a bit, especially in "Naked Beach Frenzy", which features a lot of female nudity.
- Fanservice Extra: The girls from "Naked Beach Frenzy". Most of them don't have names and aren't seen again after this episode.
- Freudian Couch: Seen in "Ren Seeks Help" when Ren lies on a couch to tell his story to Mr. Horse.
- Genre Shift: Adult Party Cartoon revamps the show format from a satirical kids grossout show into a Pink Flamingos-esque shock comedy that takes every single vulgar, offensive and tasteless joke Up to Eleven.
- Grossout Show: As with other aspects amplified from the original show, even the Toilet Humour was turned Up to Eleven.
- He's Not My Boyfriend: In "Ren Seeks Help", the psychologist asks Ren if he loves Stimpy. Ren denies it with "Not in that way. He's a friend. Just a friend." If you've seen the other adult episodes, you know they're Blatant Lies.
- Homoerotic Subtext: Even before Ren & Stimpy Adult Party Cartoon, the Nickelodeon incarnation had so much gay subtext that you wonder why Adult Party Cartoon even bothered making it explicit that Ren and Stimpy were a couple.
- Hotter and Sexier: Naked Beach Frenzy was the most erotic of all the APC episodes, so much so that Spike TV didn't air it, as they felt it went too far in the fanservice department. It is available on DVD, for those who want to see it.
- Later Installment Weirdness: This show returned John K to creative control but lacked Camp and several other members of the original show's staff. While it undone some of the alterations from Camp's tenure, it has an even more deranged animation style, far more blatant adult humour and the duo's relationship is openly homoerotic.
- Laugh Track: "Stimpy's Pregnant" has one, in an attempt to mirror when Lucille Ball's character in I Love Lucy was pregnant. Worth noting is the laugh track being heard at inappropriate moments.
- Mistaken for Pregnant: In "Stimpy's Pregnant", Stimpy believes that he himself is pregnant, due to throwing up in the morning and feeling bloated. It's not until they reach the hospital that Dr. Horse discovers that Stimpy's merely constipated. Rather than dash their hopes by revealing the truth to them, he plays along by pretending that Stimpy's bowel movement is their child. It even miraculously comes alive and actually acts like a baby.
- Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: In this show, Ren's Ax-Crazy behavior is even more frightening than before.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Subverted in "Fire Dogs 2" when the fire chief, which is based on Ralph Bakshi, morphs into Bakshi himself (complete with voice and everything), and stays that way for the rest of the episode.
- No Ending: Due to its bad reputation, the series stopped abruptly.
- Noodle Incident: In "Ren Seeks Help", whatever he did, Ren apparently did something so horrible it brought Stimpy to Ocular Gushers and prompted him to seek professional help.
- Overly Long Gag: Gags involving something repeating for a lengthy time happens frequently.
- Petting Zoo People: Ren's parents in "Ren Seeks Help" look like humans aside from having chihuahua heads.
- Precision F-Strike: In the Adult Party Cartoon episode, "Ren Seeks Help," Ren seeks psychological help after abusing Stimpy in some (unexplained) manner that is regarded as being horrible, even by Ren himself. He goes to Mr. Horse and proceeds to tell him about his youth, and the various displays of genuine psychopathy he exhibited then. He finally works up the nerve to tell Mr. Horse what it was he did to Stimpy, and then asks, "What do you think is wrong with me?" After some consideration, Mr. Horse says "So you wanna know what's wrong with you? You really wanna know?" He then punches Ren in the face and screams "YOU'RE FUCKING CRAZY!!! THAT'S WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOU!!"Ren: CRAZY?!Mr. Horse: That's right! You need to be locked up, away from decent, NORMAL people! What kind of a lunatic are you? You just walk up to strangers on the street and tell them "Hey Mister, you want to hear some sick stories of my sick, twisted youth!"Ren: I don't understand! I came to you for help! I bared my soul to you! I told you all my darkest secrets! And now you tell me I'm crazy? WHAT KIND OF PSYCHOLOGIST ARE YOU?Mr. Horse: Psychologist? Are you nuts? I'M A HORSE! YOU CRAZY SON-OF-A-BITCH! I'M GOING TO BEAT THE LIVING HELL OUT OF YOU!
- Scenery Censor: When the woman removes her top in "Naked Beach Frenzy", Stimpy stands in front of her breasts just as her bikini top drops, obstructing Ren's view. With his butt no less.
- Show Some Leg: Stimpy woos the duck guard in "Altruists" by pretending to be a sultry female duck.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Adult Party Cartoon lands at the far end of the cynical end—heck, one of the unfinished episodes was named "Life Sucks".
- Slow Motion: The buxom woman running down the beach in "Naked Beach Frenzy".
- Smoking Is Cool: Seen in "Fire Dogs 2", where Ralph Bakshi shares some cigarettes with Ren and Stimpy (the latter ends up smoking his cigarette facing the wrong way).
- Sound-Effect Bleep: When aired on TV, the show used a loud duck-like honking sound to censor out profanity.
- Spin-Off: While there are the same characters from the original series, this is an adult version.
- Through a Face Full of Fur:
- In the Adult Party Cartoon two-part episode, "Fire Dogs 2", Stimpy frontally turns green from inhaling and exhaling smoke from the wrong end of a cigarette.
- In "Atruists" from the same, later series, Stimpy turns red with embarrassment frontally when he notices where Ren is (looking back at Stimpy face up, having gotten stuck inside a toilet drain), after Stimpy foolishly and mistakenly thought the voice he kept hearing was some spirit's rather than Ren's, who kept calling for him.
- Toothy Bird: The duck guard in "Altruists" has teeth.
- The Un-Reveal: You want to know what Ren did in "Ren Seeks Help" that made Stimpy break down sobbing in misery, kicking Ren out and the latter feeling so guilty he finally seeks a psychologist for help? Too bad; it's a mystery. Debates are still hot to this day.
- Vocal Evolution: John K. stopped pitch-shifting Ren's voice on Adult Party Cartoon because he couldn't figure out how to make it sound like it did on the original show.
- Vomit Indiscretion Shot: The camera never cuts away when Ren's mother vomited in "Ren Seeks Help."
- Work Info Title: The title lets you know that this show is an "Adult Party Cartoon".