Back in 2017, we first reported there was a Ren & Stimpy Show documentary in the works and even shared an exclusive clip from the film. Well now, three years later and after a successful crowdfunding campaign, the trailer for the film has finally been unleashed on the public. Nineties kids everywhere rejoice!
When The Ren & Stimpy Show premiered on Nickelodeon nearly 30 years alongside the significantly tamer Doug and Rugrats, it was the network’s first attempt at creating some original animation programming. Almost immediately Ren & Stimpy took off and was a big hit, mainly due to its dark and twisted sensibility that you really couldn’t find anywhere else at that time on television. It was authentically its own and definitely unique.
And, of course, over the years there have been reports that there was drama behind the scenes – arguments with the network, missing deadlines, and overall questions about what was and was not acceptable and appropriate for the show. Tensions were increasingly high, and despite the show’s popularity, its problematic and erratic creator, John Kricfalusi, was fired at the end of the second season. Years later at the height of the #MeToo movement, reports of John K’s sexual misconduct even surfaced.
And now, it is all the subject of a new documentary that was very well received at Sundance earlier this year and was picked up by Gravitas Entertainment. Check out the official synopsis.
HAPPY HAPPY JOY JOY is the story of the rise and fall of one of the most influential animated series in the history of television. It’s the story of a group of talented and dedicated artists whose incredible work brought to life two of the most beloved characters of all time — Ren & Stimpy. It’s also a cautionary tale of artistic genius gone awry. The controversial creator of the groundbreaking show, John Kricfalusi, both caused and experienced trauma that deeply affected his work and relationships. Through archival footage, show artwork, and interviews with the artists, actors, and executives behind the show, co-directors Ron Cicero and Kimo Easterwood artfully illuminate the joy, beauty, and lasting impact of Ren & Stimpy, as well as the dual sides of the show’s creator, a man who is both a brilliant animator and storyteller as well as a deeply flawed person.
Happy Happy Joy Joy: The Ren & Stimpy Story comes out on VOD on August 14th.