The Ren & Stimpy Show "Man's Best Friend" (found banned episode of Nickelodeon animated series; 1992)

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Title card of the episode.

Status: Found

Date found: 23 Jun 2003

Found by: Spike TV

The Ren & Stimpy Show (otherwise referred to as Ren & Stimpy) was an American animated series created by John Kricfalusi that was broadcast on Nickelodeon for five seasons from August 11th, 1991 to December 16th, 1995. The series featured the adventures of Ren, a sociopathic and emotionally unstable chihuahua, and Stimpy, a dimwitted but good-natured cat. The series launched to high ratings, and was the subject of critical acclaim at the time of its broadcast from television critics and members of the animation industry,[1] with some sources now citing Ren & Stimpy as being the beginning of a new golden age of animation due to many television networks' increased receptiveness to more experimental cartoons in the wake of the program's success.[2]

Despite being Ren's voice actor and the show's primary creative force, John Kricfalusi and his animation company Spümcø would be abruptly fired from production of the series following the completion of its second season in September of 1992. This firing took place due to a variety of factors, the most infamous of which being the production of an episode titled "Man's Best Friend" which Nickelodeon deemed unairable.

"Man's Best Friend"[edit | edit source]

"Man's Best Friend" featured the return of George Liquor, a character who had previously appeared in the episode "Dog Show", with the episode beginning by showing George purchasing Ren and Stimpy from a pet store in order to make them "champions". After being brought to Liquor's home, Ren and Stimpy are forced to spend the night sleeping together inside a single fish bowl, later awakening the next day to find George Liquor dressed as a drill sergeant, ready to instruct the two of them on how to be proper pets. George puts the pair through several rigorous training exercises, including making them performs push-ups on a piece of newspaper using their buttocks to get them house trained and making them sit on his couch after he explicitly told them not to in a counter-intuitive attempt to teach them discipline. Stimpy succeeds at both tasks, while Ren proves less adept. George responds to Ren's failings by smugly calling him "soft," before mockingly giving him $20 as an indication that he "likes it easy" (later giving Ren another $20 after he attempts to talk back to George).

The breaking point comes when George, in a similarly contradictory measure to teach Ren and Stimpy how to protect their new master, instructs the two of them to attack him while he is dressed in a padded suit. Stimpy refuses due to George being his "kind and beloved master," but Ren, driven mad by George's constant training exercises and belittling, responds without hesitation, violently beating George with a rowing oar in an assault that ultimately leaves the latter battered, bruised, and with one eye dangling outside of his head. But despite his injuries, George proves resilient enough to heave himself out of his padded suit and grab Ren by the top of his head, much to Ren's terror. Ren anticipates further abuse from George, but he is instead the subject of high praise, with George calling him "a true champion" due to the ferocity of his attack. George passes out doggie treats to Ren, Stimpy, and himself as rewards, with the three of them then dancing in unison with the treats clasped between their teeth as the episode ends.

Controversy[edit | edit source]

Production on the episode wrapped in mid-1992, with it initially being slated to air on August 22nd of that same year as the second half of the second episode of Ren & Stimpy's second season. But before this airdate could take place, Nickelodeon instead chose to ban the episode outright due to its violence, scatological humor, and frequent references to tobacco (a fish is seen smoking a cigarette, and George is repeatedly shown giving Ren and Stimpy "Lawn Cigar" doggie treats as rewards for good behavior). Following this ban, Nickelodeon made the decision to terminate their contract with John Kricfalusi and Spümcø, later moving production of The Ren & Stimpy Show to their own animation studio, Games Animation.[3] John has claimed in interviews that "Man's Best Friend" was the sole motivating factor behind his firing,[4] but this is not entirely the case; the relationship between John and Nickelodeon had in fact been tense for quite some time beforehand due to John's perfectionism resulting in multiple episodes missing their scheduled airdates, with "Man's Best Friend" merely being the straw that broke the camel's back in this regard.[5]

Following his firing, John would not work with Nickelodeon or their parent company Viacom again until 2003, when Viacom hired John to create an adult-oriented revamp of Ren & Stimpy titled Ren & Stimpy "Adult Party Cartoon" for the animation block of their newly relaunched television network Spike TV. As promotion for this new series, "Man's Best Friend" would finally be allowed to make its television debut on the night of Spike TV's relaunch on June 23rd, 2003, with the episode now acting as the unofficial pilot episode of Ren & Stimpy "Adult Party Cartoon". The episode would later be included as a bonus feature in the DVD release of Ren & Stimpy's first and second season in 2004,[6] with it since having been uploaded online for all to see.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

The full episode.

See Also[edit | edit source]

Ren & Stimpy[edit | edit source]

Anthology and Short Series[edit | edit source]

Bumpers and Promos[edit | edit source]

Films[edit | edit source]

Game Shows[edit | edit source]

Inaugural Series[edit | edit source]

Live Action[edit | edit source]

Pilots[edit | edit source]

Other[edit | edit source]

External Links[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]