Kricfalusi: Final ‘Ren’ is gift to Nickelodeon

“The Ren & Stimpy Show” creator John Kricfalusi said the episode skedded to run on MTV tonight is a “gift” to supervising executive Vanessa Coffey and cabler Nickelodeon, which fired him from the show in late September.

Tonight’s “Ren & Stimpy” episode was developed and produced by Kricfalusi in reaction to Nick’s constant pleas to tone down the series, but developed into a concept that he “fell in love with,” he said.

Originally titled “Stimpy’s First Fart,” tonight’s episode is about Stimpy’s disillusionment over the loss of his flatulence, and his epic quest to regain the gas.

Nickelodeon has since renamed the episode “Son of Stimpy” and has skedded it to air on MTV at 11 p.m. in both the Eastern and Pacific time zones. Kricfalusi insisted that the episode should be called “Stimpy’s First Fart,” because the entire story “depends on the title.”

Kricfalusi’s statements about tonight’s “Ren & Stimpy” underscore the difficulty he has encountered in letting go of the cult classic cartoons.

Last fall, Nick took over the completion of nine unfinished and overdue 22 -minute segments of “Ren & Stimpy” from Kricfalusi’s Spumco Intl. in Hollywood. In conjunction with Kricfalusi’s ouster, his ex-partner Bob Camp jumped with roughly 20 Spumco partners to the Nick stable (Daily Variety, Sept. 29).

“It is hard to distance myself while they are still airing episodes that I killed myself on,” Kricfalusi said, adding that Bob Jaques’ Carbunkle Studios added expert animation to “Son of Stimpy.” Nickelodeon and Coffey had no comment yesterday.

Kricfalusi acknowledged that development of most “Ren & Stimpy” cartoons “were battles” between he and the cabler, and tonight’s episode was created in reaction to Nickelodeon’s demand for less “aggression and gross jokes” in the “Ren & Stimpy” segments. “I wanted to do one episode that Nickelodeon and Coffey would particularly really love,” Kricfalusi said.

The 37-year-old animator said the “Son of Stimpy” episode demonstrates a breakthrough in emotion for the Ren and Stimpy characters–an avenue he would not have discovered if Nickelodeon had not demanded softer stories and more compassion from the Ren character.

“The softness in itself would not have worked, but instead we also tried to make the acting more believable,” Kricfalusi said. “The characters act more like humans in this episode than cartoon characters. The emotions are deeper.”

To emphasize his point, Kricfalusi acted out the entire storyboard for tonight’s episode for the media yesterday. Kricfalusi said he spent weeks working on the episode because “it took complex drawings, and a lot of them, to make the complex emotions” needed for the story to be believable.

Recently, Kricfalusi’s Spumco shingle has been at work developing new TV shows and movies. One project in development is an animated variety show hosted by Kricfalusi’s character George Liquor, while another is the atomic pig superhero “He Hog,” who uses microwave powers and super-sensitive taste buds to foil such criminals as Mr. Meat and Professor Mole. Kricfalusi said a deal “is imminent.”

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