REN & STIMPY: SON OF STIMPY
Original Air Date: January 13, 1993
Stimpy becomes distraught after the birth of his first assbaby.
Ren & Stimpy premiered in the summer of 1991, alongside Doug and Rugrats, kicking off Nickelodeon’s “Nicktoons” brand. Nick took a pretty big chance on an ambitious pilot from John Kricfalusi, an animator already fired for perceived drug references in Ralph Bakshi’s Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures.
Not for families, but for everyone else
Ren & Stimpy proved to be an immediate success, both on television and in merchandising. However, Nickelodeon and Johnny K. continuously butted heads over the unprecedented levels of violence and gross-out gags. The network regularly censored scenes, pulled entire episodes from the air, and took great issue when production delays surpassed deadlines and projected budgets. In 1992, with work only partially completed on the second season, Kricfalusi was fired from his own show.
I was retarded for Ren & Stimpy as a kid. I taped every episode, proudly hung three posters of the duo in my room, and to this day, can still draw both characters freehand in spite of little-to-no artistic talent.
One of the last smile-worthy images you’ll see here
So as upset as I was at the time over Krucfalusi’s ousting, as an adult producing creative content for skittish executives, I’m starting to understand the decision a little more. Maybe Son of Stimpy, aka Stimpy’s First Fart wasn’t the straw that broke the camel’s back, but there’s more than enough fodder here – which I personally love – to give the suits plenty of reason to shitcan the guy.
Boogers, just because
According to legend (and some DVD commentary,) Nickelodeon was never all that cool with the content of the show. Some mandate was brought forth for this special, stating that John K. could present the gross stuff so long as he balanced that out with a little more wholesome “emotion.” And this was his answer: One of the most depressing things I’ve ever seen.
Melodrama drawn beautifully
Like a mischievous genie going out of his way to deliberately interpret a wish in the most backhanded and literal way possible, John K. punished his overlords with Son of Stimpy. I mean, I’m fully in support of Kricfalusi, and the show undoubtedly shit the bed after his departure, but you’ve got to imagine Nickelodeon’s shock upon receiving this episode.
Here the execs were, anxiously anticipating a Christmas-themed episode of their most popular (and oft delayed) show – hell, they’d probably already cut together promos and sold the ads – and they got this.
That about sums it up
Whether the network more hated or feared the episode, it premiered on fucking MTV! It didn’t get an airing on Nickelodeon until almost a year later, and after a series of edits.
More grossness that I missed out on
Now imagine how torturous this must have been for a boy like me, before the existence of YouTube, Tivo and the internet. Few had even seen the episode – it existed almost in rumor alone. I waited every week, VHS tape in hand, for “The Fart Episode” that never came. The word of the recess yard was all we had to even confirm that episode was real to begin with.
A simple fart brings untold tragedy
So I know this entry is filled with a little more personal information than usual, but that’s okay because not a whole lot really happens in the episode, anyway. Stimpy farts, allegedly for the first time, and births a sentient cloud of some comedic sort that he begins to refer to as his son, “Stinky.”
Stimpy cannot perform
Ren doesn’t believe him, and Stimpy grows more and more withdrawn over the loss of what he now considers his son.
Alone in the Naked City
Stimpy spends almost the entire episode moping at the brink of suicide over the loss of Stinky, while Ren fluctuates between dejected understanding and rage over his partner’s behavior.
I hope I’m getting across the prolonged nature of these events. The show always took its time, but the pacing of this particular episode makes for humor a little darker than what most Ren & Stimpy fans are used to.
You can never go home again…
…no matter how welcome you find it
Add to this the numerous other scenes that Nickelodeon found objectionable. Nick viewers didn’t originally get to see Stimpy go to the police station to report his missing fart.
Only to be escorted out at the speed of violence
This episode also marks one of the more overt references to the twosome’s sexuality.
Ren points up to a mistletoe they’re standing underneath…
and gently elbows Stimpy in the ribs, to which he responds:
“Is that all you think about.”
Nickelodeon fought to take the scene out, John K. fought to leave the scene, etc. I never really got why it was a big deal. Maybe I’m the bigot, but I never thought of Ren & Stimpy as being gay. The were a sitcom couple when the plot needed them to be, the same way they became rubber nipple salesman or firehouse dogs. Of course John K. would eventually confirm their orientation by showing them fucking for Spike TV’s blink-and-you-missed-it Ren & Stimpy: Adult Party Cartoon.
Stimpy eventually ends up at home and in the loving arms of his Chihuahua . And just when he can’t sink any lower, there’s a knock at the door.
It’s Stinky, the long lost son! The grand reunion is cut short, though, when Stinky says he can’t stay.
He’s done growed up and found himself a girl:
Or a fish head. Same difference.
The darling couple is married and live happily ever after… following a brief honeymoon in Ren’s nose.
Stimpson J. Cat, Ordained Minister! Who knew?
Ha! It may feel like cartoons have been making fun of Jesus forever, but they sure as shit haven’t done it on Nickelodeon. Although I think I saw him briefly in a single frame…
Can you make out Christ’s beard in the blast radius?
Present and accounted for. Even if he only shows up for a brief butt gag.
Understandably, I remember being disappointed with the episode once I finally saw it. Although, viewed within the above context, I find the whole episode hilarious on a completely different level now. I dunno… I really like this episode even though it’s hard to recommend. For one, Christmas is merely the shell here, it doesn’t really play a part except to make things more depressing from time to time. But remember, this is not a meter of quality, but rather a barometer for old time feelin’.
PRODUCT INFORMATION (Support the Site!)
Son of Stimpy appears alongside the original John K.-era episodes on Ren & Stimpy: The Complete First and Second Seasons. Be warned: Some of these episodes are edited in spite of being promoted as “UNCUT.” If you wish to brave the later years, the rest of the series is also available on DVD. But if you want to see their wickedly disturbing swan song, bold fans may want to venture into the Adult Party Cartoon, which presents the duo in far more explicit situations featuring, violence, sex and nudity.