ViacomCBS is on a mission to revive literally any 1990s adult animated series that might still make a buck or two in 2020, and it looks like now it’s Ren & Stimpy’s turn. The iconic, subversive Nickelodeon series will get a new series reboot on Comedy Central—likely a more fitting destination than Nickelodeon ever was in the early 1990s for the show’s unique brand of scatological humor. The new series is being described as a “reimagined” take on the series, that would rework the characters “for a new generation.” It will be produced in-house by ViacomCBS, with Nickelodeon Animation Studio overseeing this reboot.
ViacomCBS owns Comedy Central, which has been designated as the venue for many of the upcoming 1990s animated revivals, including a new version of Beavis & Butthead and the Daria spin-off Jodie. The company is also producing a new version of cult series Clone High, although that series doesn’t yet have a home. Ren & Stimpy, meanwhile, would seem to fit particularly well among the likes of Beavis & Butthead from MTV Studios, so we wouldn’t be surprised to eventually see these shows airing together.
“We are excited to reinvent this iconic franchise with a new creative team and our partners at the Nickelodeon Animation Studio,” said Chris McCarthy, ViacomCBS Entertainment & Youth Group president. “Ren & Stimpy joins our rapidly expanding roster of adult animation including South Park, Beavis and Butt-Head and Clone High as we continue to reimagine our treasure chest of beloved IP for new generations.”
Heaven forbid these companies focus on developing new classics when there’s “beloved IP” to be exploited, right?
Regardless, Ren & Stimpy was created by John Kricfalusi, better known as “John K,” who has since been accused of multiple instances of sexual harassment dating back to this era in the early 1990s. The show was always notorious among both fans and TV censors, with multiple segments being “edited to remove references to religion, politics and alcohol,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. It was a boundary pushing series that ran for five seasons and would ultimately prove deeply influential upon the idea of risque “adult” animation that has now become commonplace on networks such as Comedy Central and Adult Swim.
Whether the Ren & Stimpy format can really be applied to 2020 remains to be seen, but the original series feels very much like a time capsule of early 1990s counter-cultural rebellion. One has to think that a serious evolution will be in order if Ren & Stimpy is going to break through the noise once again in 2020 and beyond.