Children of the 90s, get excited, because there’s a new documentary in the works exploring one of the most twisted comedies of our time: The Ren & Stimpy Show, Nickelodeon’s experimentally-animated, boundary-pushing cartoon.
Chronicling the oftentimes violent and emotionally manipulative — but, ultimately, loving — friendship between domineering chihuahua Ren and slightly slow kitty Stimpy, The Ren & Stimpy Show aired its share of unforgettable sketches abou (among other things) pet logs, a superhero named Powdered Toast Man, and a board game called “Don’t Whiz on the Electric Fence.”
Ren & Stimpy was on air for just under five seasons, from 1991-95, and beyond being a pretty shocking offering for a kids’ network, the show had plenty of its own drama behind the scenes, too: its creator, John Kricfalusi (who also co-founded the animation house behind the cartoon, Spumco) had a rocky relationship with Nickelodeon, and ended up getting fired towards the end of the shows second season.
Because of the longtime rift between the show’s creatives and producers, there’s been little celebration of The Ren & Stimpy Show in recent years, despite its impact on so many budding young comedy fans — but that’s all about to change, thanks to new documentary Happy Happy, Joy Joy: The Ren & Stimpy Story.
On the doc’s Kickstarter page, filmmakers Ron Cicero and Kimo Easterwood promise lots of never-before-seen footage and stories, explaining:
“Because of John’s exodus, many of those on the show refused to speak publicly about R&S for the last 25 years. But now, due to persistence and the passage of time, dozens of the Ren & Stimpy artists, writers, directors, producers and executives have shared their experiences and insights with us for the first time.”
While the film won’t include The Ren & Stimpy Show‘s iconic creator, the directors do note that Kricfalusi is aware of the project and has given it his partial blessing:
“We have asked John K multiple times for an interview. He has okay’d the participation of several people close to him, however, as of now, John himself has refused to participate…but who knows what the future holds.”
The film has already been shot, and is raising funds for post-production efforts via their Kickstarter — which means there are some pretty amazing perks up for grabs, like original art from The Ren & Stimpy Show, a limited edition print by Bill Wray, private drawing lessons with the show’s animators — you can even get your very own one-of-a-kind piece created just for you by Spumco co-founders / Ren & Stimpy animators Bob Camp and Jim Smith.
Learn more (and see the complete list of limited-edition rewards) at renandstimpydoc.com.
Happy happy, joy joy, indeed!