The early ’90s saw a revival of animation. The simple, minimalist style of the ’80s (He-Man, GI-Joe, ThunderCats) gave way to highly detailed, wacky, slapstick animation that drew more from classic Loony Toons and Hanna-Barbera than anything from the previous decade. At the forefront was Nickelodeon, which featured cartoons like Rugrats, Doug, Rocco’s Modern Life, and of course, The Ren and Stimpy Show. The cartoons were bold and bizarre and perhaps none of them embodied that spirit more than The Ren and Stimpy Show, a weird little bastard of a cartoon about a scheming chihuahua and an excessively idiotic cat. In fact, it embodied that spirit too much, at least for the age 2-11 demographic they targeted. It was cancelled after a couple seasons, but not before it could inspire a whole generation of animators, including Stephen Hillenburg, who went on to create Spongebob Squarepants.
Spike TV attempted to revive Ren and Stimpy for an adult audience about 15 years later. But it just sort of… tried too hard to be shocking, and was cancelled shortly after. This gallery is about remembering Ren and Stimpy’s brief but glorious heyday in the early ’90s. And raising a steaming plate of pig jowls to the twisted duo.