Kitty Stars of Cartoons will investigate cats that have graced both anime and cartoons through the decades. This series begins with the controversial Stimpy.
The Ren & Stimpy show was a stalwart on Nickelodeon for five seasons (somehow) making the show iconic for how much it pushed an envelope at a time where it was taboo to do so during children’s programming. While SpongeBob SquarePants doesn’t go as far as Ren & Stimpy, the regular innuendos and hidden themes are similar to those that littered the Nicktoons hit.
According to animator Bill Wray the physical appearance of Stimpy was inspired by a Tweety Bird cartoon which featured cats with big noses. However,
Stimpson J. Cat was a far different animal than anything ever seen in Tweety Bird. Stimpy was an extremely ignorant character whose simple mindset often got on the nerves of high strung Ren, yet that general premise was not the calling card for Stimpy or the show in general.
Controversy Surrounding Stimpy
The Ren & Stimpy show wouldn’t have the cult following it does if it wasn’t for the controversy. Stimpy himself was at the center of a lot of the controversy, his allusions and innuendos to same sex relationships with Ren drew the ire of parental advocacy groups across the country.
Creator John Kricfalusi was eventually removed from the show after constant disagreements and constant censoring of the show by executives at Nickelodeon – whom felt the show wasn’t kid friendly. Many of the arguments were around the homosexual illusions made from Stimpy. Despite critique stating the show wasn’t kid friendly, Kricfalusi would later tell Huffington Post the following.
I’m on the kids’ side, you poor kids! You have to go to school during the week, you have to go to church on Sunday, you have to listen to your parents give you rules after school, you have to do your goddamn homework … You don’t want to do want to get morals in your televisions shows, movies and cartoons. Yet, everyone wants to give them to you. There are non-stop authority figures. My idea was to give kids at least a half hour off every week, when they don’t have somebody telling them what to do.
While Stimpy may never been seen on television again, the legacy of the character has a wide reach. Stimpy brought adult sexual humor into the limelight while giving a lovable character that many saw as being gay (later was confirmed in the spin-off “Adult Party Cartoon) at a time where there were not many characters of the sort.
If you were a child of the 90s you definitely have fond memories of Stimpy as he is one of the most iconic cat characters in cartoon history.