Cult animated TV show The Ren & Stimpy Show is set to return as a series directed at adults. We first met Ren and Stimpy back in the '90s, when the show was released alongside Rugrats and Doug (remember those guys?). The reboot comes as part of a push towards adult animated content on Comedy Central, with old shows being dug out and reimagined for audiences who enjoyed them first time around.
Ren & Stimpy has been repackaged for adults before, in the form of the Ren & Stimpy Adult Party Cartoon in 2002. The show ran for just three episodes, received terrible reviews and was pulled immediately. Not the best precedent, but maybe creators thought a 10-year spell would be long enough for people have forgotten how bad it was. However, the show now comes with problems way beyond the quality of the cartoon.
The reboot has provoked a strong reaction on Twitter among viewers and creatives alike, due mostly to the show's creator John Kricfalusi's sexual abuse allegations in 2018. (opens in new tab) While it's been stated that Kricfalusi will not have any dealings, credited or payment for the reboot, the resounding feeling online is that the show's reboot will cast an unwanted spotlight on the cartoon's original creator – and that a brand new show would be a much better option.
Even at its best, Ren and Stimpy's appeal was style and attitude. You can easily do the same thing with new characters, with names that DON'T lead to a story about a pedophile on a quick Google search.August 5, 2020
Kaveh Taherian agrees, pointing out that other artists deserve to be given the chance to create new work.
Or, this might sound crazy, you can greenlight something entirely new created by any of the thousands of hard working artists in LA who have never sexually groomed children. https://t.co/gMfNOhOkEeAugust 5, 2020
There are also some cartoon fans who have different preferences for a comeback series (including some great choices, we must say).
Cartoons that Nickelodeon should greenlit instead of Ren and Stimpy. pic.twitter.com/VCn8PqDMZ2August 5, 2020
However, Thad Komorowski remembers Ren & Stimpy as an important piece of animation, which changed the way we view the entertainment form – something that, they believe, has been lost in the surrounding controversy.
And also quit acting like Ren and Stimpy was never any good, or is just old and unimportant. There wouldn’t even be TV animation discourse without it, among other things. That’s why the pedophile angle stung so hard. It really is a big deal in history - with a LOT of baggage.August 5, 2020
Ren & Stimpy is the latest in a line of shows to be unearthed from Viacom's back catalogue, with the wave of nostalgia serving up Beavis and Butthead, Jodie (based on MTV's Daria) and Clone High as well as the renowned cat and dog (see places to stream your favourite shows right here). It's safe to say that none of the above have quite the same baggage as Ren & Stimpy, and we'll have to wait and see whether said baggage affects production.