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Paramount Home Video presents
The Ren and Stimpy Show: Seasons Three and a Half-ish (1993)

"Before you smack me, let me extol the virtues of this wondrous time-saving device."
- Stimpy

Review By: Chuck Aliaga   
Published: June 27, 2005

Stars: John K.
Director: various

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (adult themes)
Run Time: 06h:13m:00s
Release Date: June 28, 2005
UPC: 097368885943
Genre: television


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B+ BBB+ C+

DVD Review

Ah, the sorrowful tale that is The Ren and Stimpy Show. The series took off when it premiered in 1991, becoming a huge success for creator John Kricfalusi (credited as "John K."). The first two seasons of the show featured the most original, disturbing, and, most importantly, funny animated episodes to hit the airwaves since the Looney Tunes. There were seemingly no boundaries as to the gross, mindbending antics in which this skinny dog and fat cat would partake, and we couldn't wait to tune in each week to see what would happen next. Unfortunately, it all went downhill when John K. left the show in 1992, as most of its originality and raw humor left along with him. Kricfalusi founded Spümcø, but handed over the reigns to Bob Camp, who eventually gave the show to Nickelodeon, where the rest of the seasons aired. Many fans and critics alike regard everything after the first two seasons to be much less inspired and funny than the initial two. Most of these fans blame Camp, but if John K. hadn't left, none of this would have happened.

While the first two seasons featured plenty of nasty animated images, the subsequent episodes were all about gross-out effects, dispensing with the original humor that made the show a success. It seems that Camp and his cronies took some of Spümcø's ideas, and, instead of running with those ideas, they attempted to make their own, and as a result, ruining them.

There are some very funny moments among the 29 episodes in The Ren and Stimpy Show: Seasons Three and a Half-ish, but the magic simply isn't there. The show actually ran for a total of five seasons, but beyond a few of the episodes in this set, there aren't any laughs left to be had.The foundation of the series is the pure likeability of the main characters, regardless of their faults. Ren, the overbearing, strict "man of the house," spends most of his time struggling to be patient with his feline friend, who is always hatching some harebrained scheme. The loveable, yet not exactly hygienic Stimpy, spends most of his time getting into trouble, playing in his litter box, and eating. This isn't much different from a real cat, but Stimpy is so charming, pathetic, and abused by Ren that you can't help but root for him, too.

Much of this foundation is rocky in this set, as the emphasis on gross-out animation overshadows any real emotional character involvement. Discs 1 and 2 house the most memorable stories, including the closest we get to an early Ren and Stimpy episode, To Salve and Salve Not. Stimpy's large purchase of Salve from a wacky salesman takes us back to the wonderful "Log" and "Powdered Toast Man" commercials.

Other highlights include a naked Stimpy in No Pants Today, Ren getting fit in Ren's Pecs, a happy 70th birthday to Ren in Ren's Retirement, and Lair of the Lummox, where Ren and Stimpy delve into the dark forests of Ignoramia. Disc 3 is mostly disappointing, but there are a few shows to check out, including Lumberjerks and Magical Golden Singing Cheeses.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: Each of the 29 episodes are presented in their original full-frame formats, and feature a bright, lively color scheme. It seems like quite a bit of clean-up work has been done on these decade-old shows, but there is some softness that occurs during the more action-heavy sequences. This isn't too much of a distraction, since the rest of the presentation features great image detail.

Image Transfer Grade: B

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: There's quite a bit of surround activity and overall punch to the Dolby Digital 2.0 audio tracks. This liveliness is rather shocking, especially given the age of these shows, and there's even some nice bass presence during the more intense sequences.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+

 

Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Scene Access with 29 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
3 Other Trailer(s) featuring South Park: The Complete Sixth Season, Chappelle's Show: Season 2, The Ren and Stimpy Show Uncut: The Complete First and Second Seasons
11 Feature/Episode commentaries by Writer Richard Pursel, artist/director Vincent Waller, artist Eddie Fitzgerald, Jim Smith, Eric Bauza, John Kricfalusi, Ren and Stimpy
Packaging: Nexpak
Picture Disc
3 Discs
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: Aside from previews for other Paramount Home Video releases, we have audio commentaries on 11 of the episodes in this set. These tracks feature many of the original Spümcø people, including John K. These incredibly candid tracks have the participants delving into great detail about the rise and fall of the show, and who was responsible for Ren and Stimpy's demise.

There's also a commentary track by Ren and Stimpy themselves for the episode, Circus Midgets. This is a priceless "discussion" where the boys talk about what they went through during this wacky hitchhiking adventure.

Extras Grade: C+

 

Final Comments

The Ren and Stimpy Show: Seasons Three and a Half-ish isn't as funny and original as the first two seasons of the show, but fans will still want to revisit these episodes. The above average audio and video is on par with the series' first DVD set, but the only extras this time around are audio commentaries on 11 of the episodes.

 


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