Ren & Stimpy: The Lost Episodes

DVD Watch

Ren & Stimpy: The Lost Episodes

Paramount Home Video, $26.99

If you're the type who's not satisfied with a DVD unless it's stuffed to the gills with bonus material, this latest collection of antics from America's most twisted cat-and-Chihuahua team will have you doing the "Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy!" dance from start to finish. The six cartoons included here were created in 2003 for the testosterone-fueled Spike TV network, but three of them were rarely shown, and the others never made it to the airwaves, instead making their debut on this 2-disc set. As such, practically every single minute of material on The Lost Episodes will be new to all but the most rabid Ren & Stimpy fans. If the collection sells well, hopes are for Ren & Stimpy to continue on as a direct-to-DVD enterprise.

Be forewarned, however: If you thought the original series, made by John Kricfalusi's Spumco animation studio back in the early 1990s for Nickelodeon, was outrageous and over-the-top, you ain't seen nothin' yet. Issued under the new series title Ren & Stimpy Adult Party Cartoon, Spumco's new episodes for Spike live up to the "adult" label in every way you can imagine (with the exception of "maturity"): Nearly every one contains profanity, sexuality, bestiality, and all the scatology that can possibly be squeezed into a half-hour. As with the earlier Ren & Stimpy cartoons, this is an uneven batch, to say the least, but for every turkey like "Onward and Upward" (a snail-paced effort in which the down-and-out duo, residing in the groin area of a hobo's trousers, hatch a plan to live the good life), there's an instant classic like "Naked Beach Frenzy," which needs no synopsis.

Extra features include an introduction by a somewhat nervous-looking "Weird Al" Yankovic; extensive discussions of each episode by Kricfalusi and other members of the respective creative teams; and loads of technical stuff like storyboards, animatics, pencil tests, rough cuts of episodes, as well as color models and cels from "Naked Beach Frenzy." Strangely absent are the live-action sequences featuring animator Ralph Bakshi, which aired on Spike as introductions to segments of the episode "Fire Dogs II," but those were apparently only intended as filler to round out that week's half-hour time slot and aren't really much of a loss: You still get to delight in watching five or 10 minutes of an animated Bakshi taking a manly dump during the cartoon itself.

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