Doggies That Rule Animation: Ren

Doggies that rules animation is a series that will investigate dog or dog inspired characters that have made a lasting impact in cartoons and anime. The series begins with the iconic Ren.

Ren was the co-star of the extremely controversial Ren & Stimpy show. A show that helped bring about a new age of cartoons with an edge that appealed to an adult audience. The show lasted on Nickelodeon for five seasons and developed a strong cult following which still exists to this day. Ren himself touched on some very important societal issues.

Ren’s Beginnings & Themes

The origin for Ren is much less complex than the character itself. Creator John Kricfalusi drew inspiration for the character after seeing a photograph of a chihuahua, however the character touched on many adult themes – especially while Kricfalusi was running the program through the first two seasons.

Ren has a violent temper and would often burst into fits of violent rage; followed by self doubt, regret, and remorse. With the common innuendos of Ren and Stimpy being a gay couple (with Ren not being comfortable with people being aware) the violence touched at themes of domestic abuse and mental instability. Themes such as these were never found in children’s cartoons, yet the show subtly slipped the serious content in between the crude humor and past the Nickelodeon censors.

On the lighter side Kricfalusi said the following about Ren & Stimpy’s interactions, “I think there’s an age, it’s different with everybody, and they forget what it’s like to be a kid. That’s my problem, I never grew up. I still like all of the things I liked when I was a kid.

Ren’s Legacy

Ren & Stimpy cleared the path for shows like Bevis & Butthead, Futuramo, Family Guy, The Cleveland Show, American Dad, and others to insert very

adult themes into cartoons while appealing to an adult audience. Cartoon Networks “Adult Swim” is made up of viewers that have found memories of The Ren & Stimpy show. While the show may never appear with original programming again, the story of modern cartoons can not be told without the show.

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