In the continued effort to view every DVD on my shelf, I had a The Ren and Stimpy Show marathon today. I've been meaning to watch this box set since Halloween ended, but every time I tried to pop the first disc of Seasons Three and a Half-ish, I fell asleep. Finals week was the perfect time to sit down and watch DVDs, because I don't study and I literally had nothing to do for days at a time.
You know those shows that you loved when you were little, and you rewatch it on DVD and realize that it IS good, but for entirely different reasons than you had thought years in the past? Pee-wee's Playhouse is one of them. Ren and Stimpy is not. In fact, it doesn't hold up particularly well for me at all. The humor is silly, but not my kind of silly. I also threw up in my mouth a little bit when the titular pets choked down steaming glasses of skunk milk.
There are good moments, of course. Gilbert Gottfried and Rosie O'Donnell provide great guest voices that I didn't catch as "guest voices" the first time. Every episode had one or two laugh-out-loud moments. I am in love with the episode "House of Next Tuesday," which plays on the various classic cartoons involving the House of Tomorrow, which I also love. However, all in all it falls flat for me. I can see kids today loving this, even with the glut of Cartoon Network and NickToons originals currently on television. Something tells me that they'd be able to tell the marked quality difference between this and, say, Thugaboo.
A lot of to-do is made about John K.'s eviction from the show, and it was a travesty. However, I can see no marked decline in quality from the first box set to the second. John K. was revolutionary in his animation and in his twisted premises, but Bob Camp and the rest continue that tradition equally well. The animation is beautiful, and the inventiveness the animators have in creating expressions for the characters is the best since the golden years of Warner Bros. cartoons, and remains unrivaled by anything since.
Ren and Stimpy is not really suited for marathon viewing. If you buy the box sets, I would recommend popping it in on for an episode or two on a Saturday night, sandwiched between The Adventures of Pete and Pete episodes while you wait for Are You Afraid of the Dark? to hit DVD.