In the early 2000s, a cable network known as TNN (now Paramount Network) was rebranding itself into Spike TV, and as part of that rebranding wished to break into the late-night adult animation game that Adult Swim had just proved lucrative. While they already had some shows in production, they wanted another cartoon that could serve as a flagship series for their animation block.
Thankfully, fellow Viacom-owned cable channel Nickelodeon had a certain cartoon in its vault starring a sadistic chihuahua and a dopey cat that just so happened to be a hit with college students during its initial run. Sure, its creator was booted off the original production because he couldn't ship an episode on time if his life depended on it, and even ignoring that, was widely rumored to be an incredibly difficult person to work with.
But hey, that was a decade ago.
The call was made: John Kricfalusi would be given carte blanche to make an "extreme" version of his classic show, and in 2003, it debuted on television.
Ren and Stimpy: Adult Party Cartoon, which would end up becoming John K.'s last television series, is a more "mature" take on the eponymous Grossout Show duo, Ren Höek and Stimpy J. Cat. This includes a glimpse at a very dark childhood filled with animal abuse, leering at girls in bikinis on the beach, some very disgusting male pregnancy, a lot of gay jokes, and detailed information about how cruel and miserable life is — oh wait, that was one of the episodes that was never completed.
Adult Party Cartoon suffered from a poor production schedule birthed from Kricfalusi's infamous perfectionism, which didn't help the fact that the final product ended up being panned by both critics and fans alike for being a show arguably too raunchy for even its new target audience of males 18-35 to enjoy, having greatly exaggerated some of the original's elements while completely lacking others, such as its fake commercials. Perhaps the writing was on the wall in this regard, as both previous showrunner Bob Camp and voice actor Billy West refused to get within a million miles of the production, among several other old crew members. West's Stimpy would go on to be replaced by Eric Bauza, while Kricfalusi would reclaim his roles as Ren and Mr. Horse. Cheryl Chase and Harris Peet also returned to do voice work.
While the show was the most successful of Spike TV's animated programming and the animation block as a whole (called "The Strip") actually started off surprisingly well in the ratings against Adult Swim, the network losing interest in animation meant the whole experiment died within a year. For what it's worth, every show managed to get all their episodes out before then.... except Adult Party Cartoon. Of the six episodes that were ordered, only three episodes made it to air. The other three were completed after the fact, but remained unseen until Paramount released the show in its entirety on DVD in 2006, appropriately titled "The Lost Episodes".
And then there was that aforementioned seventh Unfinished Episode that started production under the hope that another season was in the cards, which never finished production due to a lack of money. This actually led to a lawsuit with animation house Carbunkle Cartoons that made Spümcø close for bankruptcy, and had Kricfalusi slowly paying off the studio and the artists that were under his employ for several years afterward. note
In light of the show's infamous legacy, John Kricfalusi would later claim Executive Meddling though he touted his creative freedom while the show was airing, he would come to drop some hints that Spike TV wanted the show to be more like South Park, hence the high levels of Vulgar Humor, which the Comedy Central series was known for at the time. But considering the similar obfuscation of truth that occurred with his removal from the original Ren and Stimpy, let's just say the truth lies somewhere in the middle.
While everyone at Viacom would disown APC and avoided the idea of ever producing new Ren and Stimpy content for years, they still acknowledged the existence of the original show and even showed reruns on NickRewind. That being said, when John Kricfalusi's history as a sexual predator was exposed in 2018 by two of his victims, Robyn Bird and Katie Rice, Nick pulled the original series from reruns and covered up any and all references towards it or its creator on their websites and social media for several months afterward. When the announcement came of another adult-targeted revival in 2020, this time for Comedy Central, John K. was specifically stated as not having any involvement.
Also, don't eat while watching this show. Eating while and/or after watching can give you some good Squick.
This show provides examples of:
- Animated Shock Comedy: While Ren and Stimpy was already infamous for its vulgarity, this incarnation was infamous for being even more vulgar: the psychodrama plots became nightmarish, the sexual innuendos became outright pornographic, Amusing Injuries resulted in death and the censorship was nonexistent.
- 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.
- Beach Episode: "Naked Beach Frenzy" takes place at a beach, with Ren trying to ogle and fondle curvaceous women in bikinis.
- Black Comedy: 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.
- Chainsaw Good: Little Ren is given a chainsaw (rather than a gun) to euthanize a poor frog he has 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.
- 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 have 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 are 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, which is located near his 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".
- 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.
- For a non-skin example, "Onward and Upward" was John K. fulfilling fan requests to make an episode of nothing but gross-out jokes. However, for many (especially those who grew up with the show), this episode went too far and John K. probably should've known that the fans don't always know what they want.
- 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.
- The Grunting Orgasm: Stimpy has, or at least greatly implies, one in the episode "Altruists".
- He Is 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 have seen the other adult episodes, you know that these are 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.
- Mythology Gag: The Fire Chief turning into Ralph Bakshi in "Fire Dogs II" is a nod to the fact that the Chief from the original "Fire Dogs" was loosely based on him.
- New Baby Episode: Subverted in "Stimpy's Pregnant". Stimpy is assumed to be pregnant, and at the very end, he appears to give birth, but he is revealed to have actually been constipated the entire time. The turd-baby is still sentient, though, and Ren and Stimpy name him Little Ricky.
- 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.
- The Pastor's Queer Kid: In this series, Ren is a Depraved Bisexual in a relationship with Stimpy. "Ren Seeks Help" reveals that Ren's father was a reverend, though the contrast is less about Ren's sexuality (as he denies being with Stimpy to his therapist in this episode) and more about Ren's abusive sadism (though the reverend is also quite abusive to Ren).
- Precision F-Strike: In the 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!
- Ruder and Cruder: While the parent series already had a ton of demographically inappropriate humour, this series indulges in much more explicit foul language, violence, nudity, sexual themes, and gross-out humor. It wasn't very successful.
- 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 Versus Cynicism: Adult Party Cartoon lands at the far end of the cynical end — hell, one of the unfinished episodes was named "Life Sucks".
- Slow Motion: One of the buxom women slowly runs 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: The televised versions of the episodes "Onward and Upward" and "Ren Seeks Help" censor "fuck" with a loud goose-like honking sound.
- 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 two-part episode, "Fire Dogs 2", Stimpy frontally turns green from inhaling and exhaling smoke from the wrong end of a cigarette.
- In "Altruists" 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 Unreveal: 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 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 vomits in "Ren Seeks Help".
- Work Info Title: The title lets you know that this show is an "Adult Party Cartoon".