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The Completely Uncensored Unbelievably True Ren & Stimpy Story!
Written, Compiled by Brandon Finkler
(See end of page for list of stuff I used to write this)

Part Two

The Ren & Stimpy Show!

     Well, Nickelodeon knew they wanted some wacky cartoons like they used to make in the old days, but they had never made cartoons themselves and didn't have the foggiest notion of how to go about doing it. So an education was in store. John K., in gratitude for his chance to produce cartoons with his own characters (who were like his babies), offered to explain it to them. He explained all about storyboards to Vanessa Coffey, who was the Nick executive who discovered John K. and Ren & Stimpy. He explained that cartoonists used to write cartoons by using pictures rather than scripts. Venessa listened with glee to John's marvelous stories of days gone past- and didn't write anything down. Vanessa wanted to please John K. and agreed that if storyboards were good enough for Bugs Bunny, They were good enough for her.
     A major breakthrough happened for animated cartoons! The stories were given back to cartoonists! Well, sort of. Once Nickelodeon gave Spümcø the go-ahead for The Ren & Stimpy Show, Spümcø was thrown into full production. Kricfalusi put the word out to the animation industry that they needed artists- more bad boys (and girls!). He was going to give disgruntled artists the opportunity to do the kind of cartoons that cartoonists were denied at the other studios. Through the course of both seasons of R&S, many talented and angry artists found their way into the Spümcø fold. The best of the baddest rushed through Spümcø's open doors. Glenn Barr, Charlie Bean, Elinor Blake, Eddie Fitzgerald, Mike Fontinelli, Jim Gomez (who co-wrote "Space Madness" as his first writing gig!), Mike Kim, Richard Pursel and Chris Reccardi- all these rebel artists and more were welcomed with open arms by the original Spümcø big-shots.
     One particular artist grateful for the opportunities Spümcø gave him was Vincent Waller, an extremely talented cartoonist who, previous to R&S, had no experience on cartoony-type shows. Vincent had been type-cast as a realistic artist on such borefests as Ghostbusters. Vincent was the prime example of what an ambitious cartoonist can achieve when given the chance. Right from the beginning, he proved himself to be a workhorse. He worked very closely with John K. on such early R&S classics as "Stimpy's Big Day." This was the cartoon that firmly established Ren and Stimpy's personalities and their wonderfully dysfunctional relationship.
     Waller was given his first crack at writing at Spümcø and gave the world "The Boy Who Cried Rat." Always patiently absorbing Kricfalusi's revived cartoon techniques, he moved up quickly to become on of the key creators at Spümcø. Within a short year, he began co-directing with Kricfalusi on episodes like "The Rubber Nipple Salesmen," surley one of the funniest cartoons made in the last 200 years.
     Recruiting new artists was only a small fraction of the Herculean task that lay ahead of Mr. K. Not only did he have to hire the new artists, he had to train them to do things the way they used to make cartoons in the Golden Age (which he himself had to figure out through trial and error and studying the old Bugs Bunny cartoons on his own time).
     Kricfalusi then had to find animators who would understand the style of animation that he wanted to do. He called upon his old friend and fellow canuck Bob Jaques to supervise, direct and help create a whole new style of cartoony animation. Kricfalusi wanted the animation style to depend more on acting than flailing. "Acting" is the kind of animation that was done at Warner Bros. Studios in it's heyday. Bugs and Daffy's acting is what makes their personalities so believable. On the other hand, "failing" is a technical term used in animation to describe an expensive process in which the characters never stop moving. This is the more Disney approach. Roger Rabbit particularly exemplifies the "flail" style, deriving considerable entertainment from it's vast amount of flailosity.
     Bob Jaques and his Carbunkle animation crew in Vancouver jumped at the chance to push the boundries of animation and put in an effort far above and beyond the call of duty, setting the style for Ren & Stimpy's animation in Spümcø's acclaimed "Space Madness" and "Stimpy's Invention."
     With all the monotonous yet necessary duties John K. had to perform, probably the toughest task of all was trying to keep Nickelodeon happy.


     John K. eagerly started pitching stories to Nickelodeon. Although Nick agreed in principle to the story approach John wanted to use on the Ren & Stimpy Show, as soon as they found out what Spümcø's ideas actually were, they realized they didn't want them, mostly because they didn't get the jokes. John K. patiently tried to explain cartoon humor to the Nick executives, but in many cases they just couldn't grasp it. For every cartoon idea that Nickelodeon accepted, they threw out at least five others. Considering that Nick president Gerry Laybourne had promised the world that she would support the cartoonists with "creator-driven" cartoons, this came as quite a shock to the devoted Spümcø staff.
     This made it five times harder for the Spümcø crew to do their job and cost them their own time and money. John K. stoically accepted the fact that he would have to spend a lot of his time explaining the jokes to Nickelodeon's newly appointed Story Editor Mitch Kriegman, who some say had never actually seen a cartoon before. A story editors job is to screen out the jokes and the entertainment value in cartoon stories. Kids, if you watch a cartoon and you don't laugh, you know the story editor has done his job!
     While John K. and some of his other crew were reeling from this rude awakening, Bob Camp, Spümcø's baddest bad boy, came into town after a sick leave only to discover that the stories written in his absence were heavily scrutinized by the Nickelodeon executives. Camp out of loyalty to his friends, was enraged. He knew well from his six months of experience on Tiny Toons what it felt like to have his work tampered with.

Scream Fest

     As a diplomatic tack, John K. invited the Nick execs out to Hollywood to meet face to face with the Spümcø crew to discuss the Ren & Stimpy stories. Kricfalusi had discovered that pitching a cartoon idea in person was a much more effective way to sell a story than having an executive try to read a story.
     The Spümcø crew and the Nick crew prepared to meet for a friendly dinner. Before the meeting, Kricfalusi asked Camp to be nice to the Nickelodeon executives, even if he disagreed with thing they might say. John was determined to have everyone get to know and like each other without discussing any of the Ren & Stimpy stories untill the next day. When the dinner conversation swung around to disagreements on the Spümcø stories, John tried to divert the conversation to more fun subjects. Bob Camp's discussion with story editor Mitchell Kriegman got onto the subject of Bob's bad times with the executives of Tiny Toons. This quickly turned into a wild screaming match, with irascible Camp venting his rage at both the Nick execs and his stunned Spümcø pals. Crafty Nick exec Mary Harrington encouraged the scuffle by making rude cracks like, "Who is this hillbilly biker guy?" Spit and foam flew everywhere as the enraged cartoonists threatened to break spines and toss men and women alike out windows.
     This diplomatic disaster caused untold troubles for the Spümcø team. The following day, Nickelodeon demanded that John K. fire Camp, or at least take away his writing responsibilities. John was so convinced, however, of Bob's talent that he refused and instead just basically hid Camp from the watchful eyes of the Nickelodeon executives for about six months. Nickelodeon - now having lost considerable faith in Kricfalusi - intensified their controls over the stories by adding another Story Editor, Rob McWill.
     It had become obvious that the magical dream world that Gerry Laybourne painted for the cartoonists and their creator-driven cartoons was a wishful fantasy. Nonetheless, John K. and Spümcø continually did their best to not only make what they thought were entertaining cartoons, but to please Nickelodeon as well. Unfortunately, the sad reality was that Nickelodeon just didn't like The Ren & Stimpy Show as much as they wanted to.
     You're not going to beleive this, but all the stuff that you like about The Ren & Stimpy Show is the stuff Nick didn't want you to have. You know all those gross paintings of eyeballs and tongues and warts and stuff the Spümcø guys like to put in the cartoons? Well, Nickelodeon HATED those. The also hated Ren. That's right, kids, you heard right. The Nick execs didn't like Ren because he was too mean, especially because he's too mean to Stimpy. They wanted him to be NICE to Stimpy. And they thought he was too crazy. How 'bout that? Cheezus.


     The show is a smash hit! Cartoons by cartoonists work! The world is saved. In August of 1991, the terrified Nickelodeon executives began broadcasting The Ren & Stimpy Show on Sunday mornings. They were going to broadcast it on Saturday nights with Doug and Rugrats, but thay didn't like Ren & Stimpy enough. But guess who did? You did! And so did all kinds of people. And Ren & Stimpy became a huge hit cartoon thanks to the audience's support.
     This was a great win for John K. and Spümcø, too, because The Ren & Stimpy Show finally proved once and for all that if you let cartoonists make cartoons, then people will like them. It also proved that Gerry Laybourne's creator-driven cartoons were a good thing. Like a proud mother Ms. Laybourne promised, "We will make it easier for you this year."
     With the mega success of The Ren & Stimpy Show, Nickelodeon wanted to order more episodes from Spümcø. They even sorta apologized to John K. They said stuff like, "We didn't understand the show the first year. But now that it's finished, we love it and we believe that ou know what you are doing." After seeing the finished "Space Madness" and "Stimpy's Invention," Nickelodeon admitted that Spümcø knew what it was doing and promised to let the Cartoonists continue to make weird and wacky cartoons even when Nick didn't understand them. But, they didn't write it down. It was a big stinky lie! John K., the big sap, believed the big stinky lie. He started production on a new season of Ren & Stimpy cartoons.
     Once production started on the second season, Kricfalusi hired Libby Simon to produce the show and make sure that Nickelodeon would live up to their promises that they didn't write down. Meanwhile, Bob Camp got married and took a month off as the Spümcø crew started writing new stories.
     Well, it turned out that Nickelodeon hated Spümcø's new Ren & Stimpy stories even more than they hated the old ones and tortured the cartoonists mercilessly and called them bad names, telling them stuff like, "You don't understand The Ren & Stimpy Show" and "Take out the boogers." They threw out all kinds of cool stories with names like "Ren's Bad Habit's" and even threw out stories after they promised to let them do them in the first place. Ever wonder why there were so many repeats? It's because Nickelodeon threw out so many great stories that it too forever to make new ones!
     Camp came back from his honeymoon refreshed and ready to join in on writing and on the criticisms from Nickelodeon from Nickelodeon, which were getting harsher by the minute. The rest of the writers, who hadn't had a break between the two seasons, were relieved to have Camp take on some of the burden.
     Unfortunatly, Nickelodeon generally disliked poor old Bob Camp's stories even less than the other writer's stories and John K. would spend hours on the telephone defending his friend. In fact, Bob would get so upset when Nickelodeon's notes arrived on his stories that John and the Spümcø crew began to intercept the notes so the poor guy wouldn't have to see them. A very sensitive Cartoonist, Camp would erupt at the slightest criticism of even the other writer's cartoons. With all the craziness happening between Nickelodeon and Spümcø, John had to figure out some way to shelter Bob from all the stress.
     About this time, John convinced Nickelodeon that all their meddling and broken promises were going to make the show late. Nick panicked and John suggested a partial solution. Nick would have to let Spümcø produce some EASY cartoons that they could whip out FAST. Nick hated to make anything easy for Spümcø, but at this point they had no choice.
     John convinced Nickelodeon to let Bob write some of what they complained were "generic cartoons" and then promoted him to director, locked him in a big safe office-away from all the big brown stinky stuff that was going on.
     Kricfalusi was taking a big chance because he promised Nickelodeon that even though they didn't like Camp's written stories, they would like them better after they saw the drawings. He was convinced that Bob's great, funny drawing style would fool Nickelodeon into forgetting that they ever disliked the stories. And you know what? It worked! Kricfalusi's faith in Nickelodeon's short memories paid off-for Bob. All of a sudden, They LOVED Bob. He was a HERO!
     It turned out that what Nickelodeon wanted all along WAS generic cartoons! They didn't WANT Ren & Stimpy Cartoons!

The Plot To Overthrow Spümcø

     Nickelodeon finally got so sick of Spümcø's devious plan to make cartoons funny that they just broke all their remaining promises. The plot to murder Ren & Stimpy can be traced back to early September of 1992. As The Ren & Stimpy Show grew more popular, week after week, and fan clubs sprouted up all over the country, Nickelodeon stopped PAYING Spümcø. To try to get the artists to throw out some of the cartoons that Nick had already approved, They held the studio's money for ransom.
     And while the devoted Spümcø staff worked like slaves to fix all the problems that Nick themselves caused, Nickelodeon heaped praise on their newfound savior, Bob Camp. They even promised to let him direct a Ren & Stimpy movie that Nick would produce themselves - WITHOUT SPUMCO!
     John K. then wrote Geraldine Laybourne an impassioned letter begging to have her meet him in hopes of avoiding the drastic step of removing him and his staff from the show he created. "I thought you were behind creator-driven shows?" asked a disillusioned Kricfalusi. Laybourne refused to meet with John K. in person, opting to respond via a press-department letter that sounded more like a public statement than a personal correspondence. She tactfully avoided answering John's request for a personal meeting. "In the future, to ensure that creator-driven animation has longevity as a concept, we will build structures from the start that will allow creators to create and NOT be part of the production process," she coldly replied. Translation: "From now on we will steal the cartoons from the Cartoonists who create them and make them ourselves!"
     Rumors of the impending firing spread throughout Spümcø.

...Onward to part three!

I used a buncha magazine articles, John K.and other Spümcø bigshots interviews to write this lil' thing. Here's what I used- 

- "Cel Out- The Plot to Kill Cartoons" by Chris Gore and his Magic Gremlins Wild Cartoon Kingdom #1, 1993 (I shamelessly copied about 90% of the the story from this)
- Wild Cartoon Kingdom #3, 1993
- Spumco News #2, August 1994
- Spumco News #4, January 1996
- Hero Illustrated #15, September 1994
- Cinefantastique Double Issue Vol.26 #6/Vol.27 #1, October 1995
- Ren & Stimpy: The Definitive First and Second Season Episode Log by Michelle Klein-Hass
-A bunch of Interviews with John K., Jim Smith, Bob Camp and other Spümcø Bigshots.