A quarter century after first invading American homes, Nickelodeon’s The Ren & Stimpy Show remains a game-changing icon of TV animation. And now, a new feature-length documentary project seeks to reflect the creative brilliance sometimes lost behind the controversial show’s black comedy, toilet humor and sexual innuendo.
From production industry veterans Ron Cicero and Kimo Easterwood, Happy Happy, Joy Joy – The Ren & Stimpy Story will delve deep into the world of Ren the rage-fueled chihuahua and Stimpy the simpleton cat. The filmmakers;’ goal is to show that the cartoon bears the same marks of artistic merit as controversial/coveted works by Warhol or Banksy.
Happy Happy, Joy Joy – The Ren & Stimpy Story, now in postproduction, seeks to restart the conversation about a cartoon cut down in its prime. How John Kricfalusi’s wild departure from TV norms upended the animation biz, impacted a generation of viewers, and became a multi-billion property is explored with insights and archived art from more than 45 artists, directors and network executives connected to the show — plus art historians and a range of fans, from a self-described “Hillbilly Bartender from Myrtle Beach” to celebrities like Jack Black, Billy Gibbons, and Iliza Shlesinger. The film also features original shorts from Ren & Stimpy cartoonists.
The filmmakers are seeking funds to finish the project through Kickstarter. Backing money will be used to create original hand-drawn animations based on tales from the show veterans, produce and license the music (with help from composer Shawn Patterson), get some cool titles and interstitials from Simon Clowes (X-Men: First Class, Superman Returns), get the sound down, and of course cover the extremely cool Pledge rewards — many created by Ren & Stimpy artists.