"The Ren and Stimpy Show: Complete Season One and Two" is an animated comedy series about two room mates and their dysfunctional relationship. Ren Hoek (pronounced "Hoe-Ick" not "HOAK") is a little skinny Asthmatic Chihuahua and Stimpson "Stimpy" J. Cat is a big dumb lovable fat red house cat. Ren also has a bit of a short temper due to Stimpy annoying him with the dumb stuff he does and says and likes to smack some sense into him. Stimpy doesn't seem to mind as long as Ren is happy. When they aren't at home they are normally broke and homeless looking for shelter, going out trying to scam people for money and/or food, and some episodes consist of a mixture of all the above. Some adventures found in this collection includes: Ren and Stimpy trying to sell rubber nipples door to door, Ren and Stimpy teaming up for a tag-team wrestling match, Ren's cousin Sven coming over for a visit, Stimpy becoming famous and starring in kitty litter commercials, and Stimpy looking for his lost fart that he has grown attached to. It sounds nasty, it sounds gross, it sounds brilliant, and you can find out what I thought of it after the jump. (Click "Read More" to read the full review).
As you'd expect it is an episodic cartoon with an all new adventure to be found in every episode. The stories in this show despite sounding dumb and make no sense... Well they are dumb and make no sense but that is the entire point of this show and it pulls it off very brilliantly. The comedy in this show is very violent and very disgusting but also very funny to the point where you will be cracking up laughing and feeling good instead of being sick and disgusted. I also love how this show also parodies life from the 1940's and 1950's with it poking fun of the bands and live action television shows at the time plus it also feels like it is paying homage to the old Warner Brothers and "Rocky and Bullwinkle (1959 - 1964)" cartoons.
A problem I have with this show is that they like to repeat the fake commercial segments that play in between the cartoons and it does get quite confusing as I can't tell if an episode is repeating or not. Another problem is that even though these are marked as "uncut" there is an episode ("Haunted House") that has a scene edited out and it was also one of my favorite scenes out of the whole show. While you can't say that all episodes are uncut there are some episodes (like "Sven Hoek") that has deleted scenes put back into the show that were too violent or vulgar to air on television and I liked that a lot.
Characters in this show help add to the brilliance of this cartoon and that's not just including Ren and Stimpy themselves as all the side characters help add a lot of humor and charm to the show. You will find yourself falling in love with all of them despite how crude or violent they can all be. Despite this being marked as a children's cartoon (back in the day it was) a lot of this humor is more aimed to adults although I wouldn't say that children shouldn't be watching this show (I grew up watching this show and look how I turned out) it's just that adults would love this show a lot more.
The artwork on this show is rude, crude, and just plain disgusting but that's half the charm of the show as it purposely looks grotesque. What I didn't like about the artwork however was that some of the digital re-mastering looked very rough... Actually it looked like crap as there are some shots where everything is frozen for a micro-second and it looks very out of place. One thing I did like about the digital re-mastering was that it had more color and doesn't look faded like it does when it airs on television (it airs all the time here on Australian television).
Character designs are ugly but very charming to where that you can not hate them. One thing that is great about this show is how exaggerated all of their actions are with the crazy facial expressions and the over the top violence. On the episode "Son of Stimpy" the quality in artwork and animation has been upped in quality greatly and looks just as good as some of the Disney animated films but that's only for that one episode. Voice acting in this show is golden with voices and acting that helps make this show brilliant. The soundtrack is also brilliant with a snazzy and catchy jazz theme that will not leave your head until you pass away.
The special features section (or sections to be more correct) has quite a decent amount of bonuses that include: A ten-minute documentary titled "Ren and Stimpy: In The Beginning" that answers all the questions about the series that you wanted to know (and some you don't care for). The documentary was pretty good and despite that joke (or lack of joke) I made before and you will find that the documentary was very interesting and worth a watch. Also found on the "Season One" part of the collection you get audio commentaries from the animators on the episodes "Untamed World" and "Stimpy's Invention". Both commentaries were also very interesting and surprisingly funny as they like to go off on tangents but they also talk about working on the show along with some nice tid-bits and trivia.
The features found on "Season Two" are just as strong as for starters you get some bonus episodes including the banned "Man's Best Friend" episode and an unedited/extended version of the pilot episode "Big House Blues". "Man's Best Friend" wasn't a bad episode but it was much tamer than what I was expecting it to be as it was just like the rest of the episodes found in this collection. The extended/unedited edition of "Big House Blues" wasn't that much different than the version found in the television version with the exception of having a few more scenes left in as what you'd expect. It was worth re-watching this episode to spot the difference and it also ended up being the superior version.
Other stuff found in the special features section of Season Two includes: A pencil test of the episode "Sven Hoek", an image gallery full of various storyboard images and random drawings, and audio commentary from the artists on "Rubber Nipple Salesmen", "Sven Hoek", "Powdered Toast Man", and "Son of Stimpy". The pencil test episode and the image gallery were both nice to view as there is a lot of interesting things to be found. The audio commentaries on "Rubber Nipple Salesmen" and "Sven Hoek" followed the same vein as the prior episodes with audio commentary.
For some weird reason when every time I tried to watch the episodes "Powdered Toast Man" and "Son of Stimpy" with the commentary feature on I found that it wouldn't work as all I got was the standard episode with no commentary. I tried fiddling around in the menus and tried pressing the audio switching button but no matter what I did I couldn't get the commentary tracks to work. It might've been a pressing error or just my copy but in the end I was disappointed that I couldn't watch those episodes with the commentary track on.
Overall this was is a very decent way of watching this show although it could've been a bit better. I do recommend this to both people who grew up with the show and also to those who haven't seen this show before as it is a really great comedy series. An animated classic.
Title: The Ren and Stimpy Show - The Complete Season One and Two
Animation/Production Studio: Spumco
Genre: Animation, Comedy, Grosse-out
Running Time: 575 minutes (18 Episodes)
Distributor: Beyond Home Entertainment
Rating: PG (Mild themes, animated violence)