Ren And Stimpy was a one-of-a-kind cartoon whose grotesque insanity made it a hit with kids and a source of outrage for parents. But as the Nerdwriter points out, that insanity was both incredibly calculated and a milestone in a legacy of edgy animation.
John Kricfalusi, the show’s creator, originally apprenticed under Ralph Bakshi who is perhaps best known for Fritz The Cat, the first animated film to receive an X rating. That fearlessness of subject matter was, by Nerdwriter’s estimation, combined with the late Looney Tunes animator Bob Clampett’s frenetic pace and the Ren And Stimpy style was born. Not only did the show eschew the superficial moralism of many 90s cartoons, but it also became known for its obsessive focus on bodily fluids at a time when AIDS panic was reaching a boiling point in America.
We’ll never know why Nickelodeon gambled on Ren And Stimpy, but its influence is felt in many modern shows like Aqua Teen Hunger Force and SpongeBob SquarePants.