The Ren & Stimpy Show: Season Five and Some More of Four,
As has already been discussed in previous reviews of The
Ren & Stimpy Show: The Complete First & Second Seasons and The Ren & Stimpy Show: Seasons Three and a Half-ish, there was a wonderful, weird, creative-genius beginning for the show that began under the guidance creator John Kricfalusi and his studio, Spumco. Then Nickelodeon took the project away from John K, for various reasons some well deserved and placed it under the direction of co-creator Bob Camp and Games Animation. Creativity floundered, the animation suffered, and the cartoons became less and less interesting. Now we have The Ren & Stimpy Show: Season Five and Some More of Four, which is notable mainly because it's loaded with episodes that you, the Ren and Stimpy fan, never saw, simply because you'd given up watching the show by this point. There's something deeply, heart-wrenchingly depressing about watching the cartoons in this set. In most episodes, the dialogue is insipid and uninspired. The plots are often just plain stupid in "Stimpy's Pet," Stimpy adopts a circus clown as a pet; in "The Scotsman in Space" the team tries to resurrect the genius of the original "Space Madness" episode by adding a Scotsman in space. "Insomniac Ren" is like any of 7,000 sitcom plots, where Ren can't sleep so Stimpy keeps coming up with supposedly wacky cures. And then there's the animation the physical work on these episodes was exported to a shop in Australia, and the character design as well as the quality of the animation varies wildly, from merely pedestrian to downright incompetent. The inspiration and insanity that made this show so brilliant at the beginning of its run is all but completely annihilated by the time you get to these episodes. Even the voice acting is weak, and when you're working with actors as great as Billy West, that's quite an indictment. This set is for completists only particularly those interested in hearing John K. Discuss, via commentary, what a mess Games Animation did to his creation. As with the previous sets, Paramount does a very good job offering 33 episodes in their original 1.33:1 ratio, with nice transfers and Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio "nice," given that many of these cartoons appear to have been originally created in a slapdash manner and several were re-timed to fit broadcast requirements and Paramount has chosen to not present these episodes in their original format. There's yack-tracks on several eps with Games Animations artists, Bill Wray and Scott Wills, and a couple with John K. None are all that interesting, with most seemingly devoted to trying to make the cartoons appear better than they actually are, and two of those gimmicky tracks with "Ren and Stimpy" (voiced by John K and Eric Bauza) commenting on themselves. Three slimline cases in a cardboard slipcover.