More fun with returning show rumors: The folks over at TV Guide Online are reporting that ultra-hilarious animated series Ren and Stimpy may be making a return to TV along with their creator, John Kricfalusi.
The Ren & Stimpy Show, the hit cartoon that helped put Nickelodeon on the map, is going back into production, according to industry sources. TNN has ordered new episodes of the adventures of Ren, a churlish Chihuahua, and Stimpy, his naive feline friend. In addition, TNN has obtained rights to 52 episodes of the show that ran from 1991 to 1995.
To create the new episodes, TNN is expected to bring back series creator John Kricfalusi, whose sophisticated animation broke new ground and whose gross-out humor predates Comedy Central’s South Park. Kricfalusi had an acrimonious split from Nickelodeon in 1992 after clashing with management about the cartoon’s content. (The network kept the show because Kricfalusi had sold it the characters.) The episode that reportedly put Nickelodeon brass over the edge ח they refused to run it was entitled “Man’s Best Friend.” A cult classic in the animation underground, “Man’s Best Friend” introduces the character George Liquor, who submits Ren and Stimpy to a sadistic training course, which ends when Ren beats George to a pulp.
“It’s one of the most violent and hilarious things ever done,” says Billy West, the voice of Stimpy as well as Ren for a time (Kricfalusi did the Chihuahua’s voice before he left the show.) “Now that the show’s on a channel not aimed at kids, it may finally be seen.”
According to TNN sources, the network plans to run “Man’s Best Friend” as well as restore deleted footage into other Ren & Stimpy originals. As for Kricfalusi, a TNN spokeswoman confirmed that the network “was in discussions” with him about doing new episodes but would not discuss any of the details. Kricfalusi declined comment.
Apparrently TNN is taking a page from Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim and is developing a prime-time animation block aimed at an older audience to start in 2003.
TNN has chosen Ren & Stimpy as the anchor of a prime-time animation block slated to launch in early 2003. Among the other cartoons that are likely to join it: Gary the Rat, about a lawyer who is turned into a 6-foot rodent, and Stan Lee’s Stripperella, whose title character is a stripper who becomes a superhero in the after-hours. Frasier’s Kelsey Grammer will voice the rat. Pamela Anderson will bring the stripper to, um, life.
TNN’s interest in animation is part of an evolution that began in 2000, when Viacom took control of the channel and changed its name from the Nashville Network, programming country-music videos and Hee Haw reruns, to the National Network, showing everything from Star Trek: The Next Generation reruns to the WWE.
“We’re the network of the WWE,” says a TNN insider. “So why not Stripperella and Ren & Stimpy uncensored?”
Oh yeah, this’ll stir up some trouble. Wheee!