The Ren & Stimpy Show, which premiered on August 11, 1991, revolutionized animated television shows. With its extreme close-ups, dark humor, and satirical themes, it paved the way for adult-oriented cartoons to follow.
John Kricfalusi-created show Ren and Stimpy ran for five seasons on Nickelodeon (1991-1996) and featured a neurotic chihuaha and an uneducated but harmless cat named Stimpy.
The Ren & Stimpy Show created the groundwork for a slew of other animated series that didn’t exist if it hadn’t been for The Ren & Stimpy Show.
From 1991 through 1996, ‘The Ren & Stimpy Show’ aired. Image courtesy of Alamy
1. 2 Stupid Dogs
Short-lived Donovan Cook series 2 Stupid Dogs is unquestionably a descendant of The Ren & Stimpy Show.. The Hanna-Barbera cartoon follows two dumb dogs named ‘The Big Dog’ and ‘The Little Dog,’ as they go on a series of escapades while observing human behavior. The show’s characters’ personalities and dimwittedness are almost identical to John Kricfalusi’s Ren and Stimpy, despite the show’s 2D animation style. Fred Seibert, the CEO of Hanna-Barbera, was once queried about the comparisons. “It’s like Pearl Jam being scared about being compared to Nirvana,” he remarked.
Ren and Stimpy were undoubtedly the inspiration for the unidentified dog duo that appeared in the series 2 Stupid Dogs. Photo by Alamy
2. The Shnookums & Meat Funny Cartoon Show
The Shnookums And Meat Funny Cartoon Show, the brainchild of Bill Kopp (well known for his work on Eek! The Cat), is a blatant ripoff of Ren & Stimpy. Toy-like animal antics are the focus of this show following the activities of a canine and feline duo that reside in the same house as their nameless masters. Only 13 episodes were made of Disney’s effort at adult animation. Even though some fans hailed it as an amusing experiment, others called it Disney’s weak attempt at cashing in on a rival’s popular property.
3. Pinky and the Brain
First featured in 1993 as part of the Warner Bros. series Animaniacs, Pinky and the Brain are inspired by the wacky characters created by Animaniacs creator Tom Ruegger and Tiny Toon Adventures producer Eddie Fitzgerald, both of whom worked on The Ren & Stimpy Show. Short, egocentric, and cognitively challenged, he and her charming counterpart are the show’s main characters, like Ren and Stimpy. Exaggerated movements and detailed close-ups are added to the show’s iconic cartoon style, which is executive produced by Steven Spielberg. A white mouse called Larry is also featured, spoken by Billy West of The Ren & Stimpy Show, who employs the same voice as Stimpy.
4. Rocko’s Modern Life
When Rocko, an anthropomorphic Australian-immigrant wallaby, first appeared on the scene in 1993, no one could have predicted how big it would become. Nickelodeon appears to be the source of this information. The network didn’t shy away from getting its hands dirty with a cartoon full of adult comedy and sarcastic social commentary that pokes fun at megacorporations and incorporates male masturbation puns in the vein of The Ren and Stimpy Show. Rocko, a character created by Joe Murray in an unpublished comic book in the 1980s, was the basis for a show that aimed to “shake things up” and was compared to The Ren & Stimpy Show by many critics at the time.
5. Rick and Morty
One of the most popular animated cartoons of the contemporary age, Rick and Morty features the misadventures of mad scientist Rick Sanchez and his anxious grandson Morty Smith. Creators Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon credit The Ren & Stimpy Show for changing their perspective on “what could be done visually and tonally in animation,” citing examples like Logic, Danny Trejo, and Susan Sarandon as examples of celebrities who have been on the show.
6. Beavis and Butt-Head
If you couldn’t name Beavis and Butt-Head as the best cartoon of the 1990s, you might as well admit that you didn’t watch any television at all. Teenage delinquents who enjoy rock music and are socially uncomfortable were everywhere from 1993 to 1997, and they spent most of their time making boob jokes, criticizing music videos, and showing that they lacked the moral scruples necessary to function well in the contemporary society. Even if Beavis and Butthead had more in common with Bill and Ted or Wayne and Garth from Wayne’s World, Mike Judge says Nickelodeon’s commissioning of The Ren & Stimpy Show opened the way and ultimately pushed MTV to take a risk on Beavis And Butthead.
7. SpongeBob SquarePants
All of SpongeBob SquarePants’ horrific closeups, outlandish humor, brilliant color schemes, and weird stories are reminiscent of Ren and Stimpy. John Kricfalusi’s SpongeBob program has a particular animation style because it’s a storyboard-driven cartoon. An animator who has worked on both series explains, “That implies they give us an outline from an idea when the premise is approved. “We write the dialogue and humor based on the outlined story. That rang a bell.” The Ren & Stimpy Show had an undeniable impact on the development of SpongeBob SquarePants, despite the fact that the show’s creator, Stephen Hillenburg, may have wished otherwise.
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