“The Ren & Stimpy Show” is returning with all-new episodes — 25 years after ending its original run.
Comedy Central has ordered an updated version of the wildly anarchic, dark-humored and trippy adult animated series that aired on Nickelodeon and MTV from 1991-96 and followed the surreal shenanigans of temperamental/psychotic Chihuahua Ren and his goofy, dim-bulb cat pal Stimpy. (Their proper names are Ren Hoeck and Stimpson J. Cat.) It also spawned the show’s unofficial theme song “Happy Happy Joy Joy.”
Billy West, the voice of Stimpy — and of Ren (for three seasons) — is expected to return to the revival, along with several of the original writers. Series creator Jon Kricfalusi, the subject of a new documentary hitting streaming services Aug. 14, will not be involved.
The original cartoon series aired for five seasons and developed a loyal cult audience, with celebrities including Frank Zappa, Soleil Moon Frye, Mark Hamill and Phil Hartman playing incidental characters.
“Ren & Stimpy” will join the new version of “Beavis and Butt-Head” and the “Daria” spinoff, “Jodie,” on Comedy Central within the next year-and-a-half as the network ramps up its slate of animated revivals.
Comedy Central is already home to the groundbreaking animated series “South Park,” now in its 23rd season. It’s been renewed through its 26th season, airs worldwide in over 130 countries in 30 different languages and has enjoyed multi-platform success. It was the top animated series on Hulu and now streams exclusively on HBO Max.
Meanwhile, a revival of the cult animated series “Clone High” (2002-03) will return to sister network MTV with original series creators Phil Lord, Chris Miller and Bill Lawrence.
“We’re not making the same shows,” says Chris McCarthy, president, Entertainment & Youth Group, ViacomCBS. “The world has changed so much. To me they’re not remakes but re-imaginings. ‘Beavis and Butt-Head,’ for instance, was so defined by GenXers, my generation, who are now having kids and raising GenZers.
“And that’s where we’ll find Beavis and Butt-Head — each with a kid about to enter high school.”
This animation push is part-and-parcel of the ratings success enjoyed by corporate parent ViacomCBS, whose portfolio includes Paramount Network (and its hit cable series “Yellowstone,” starring Kevin Costner) and Pop TV, which found its breakout series in the Emmy-nominated comedy “Schitt’s Creek,” which ended its six-season run in April.
“We’re really making a dramatic shift on Comedy Central, where ‘South Park’ is killing it,” McCarthy says. “The nice thing about animation is it helps you take the hard truth of life and process these through funny jokes — even when they’re not funny.
“It’s a visual manifestation of pure insanity… and the rise of adult animation is skyrocketing.”
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