A quarter of a 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, which often caused altercations with Standards and Practices, but earned ardent fans worldwide.
Those fans now have a chance to be an instrumental part of this cult favorite — through a Kickstarter campaign launched in support of the documentary Happy Happy, Joy Joy – The Ren & Stimpy Story.
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 creativity that fueled the animated series is akin to the intrepid genius and controversial merit of Banksy and Warhol.
The feature length documentary, Happy Happy, Joy Joy – The Ren & Stimpy Story, now in postproduction, reveals the collective genius — and longstanding influence — of a series that was cut in its prime. While the departure of John Kricfalusi, the show’s creator, has been well reported, the story of how Ren & Stimpy upended TV animation; touched everyone from neurosurgeons to the superstars at Pixar, AND became a multi-billion property, is fading into obscurity. The film aims to change that through insights and archived art gleaned from over 45 artists, directors and network execs 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.
Those looking to own a piece of their 90’s youth — along with fans of comedy, animation, or pop art — have the opportunity to donate to the project and have their generosity rewarded with original artwork, a film credit, or even a one-of-a kind LOG. (“What rolls down stairs, alone or in pairs…”)
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