FILM CORNER: Happy Happy Joy Joy: The Ren & Stimpy Story (Review)
A while back, I had the chance to watch a really good documentary on one of the first original NickToons that aired on Nickelodeon in 1991. This documentary was entitled Happy Happy Joy Joy: The Ren & Stimpy Story.
I will have to admit that I have fond memories watching Ren & Stimpy (along with Rugrats, Doug, Rocko's Modern Life, and many others) on Nick when I was little, and when the first two seasons of the show came out on DVD in 2004, I begged my mother to buy the three disc set for me (which I still own to this day). When she did, I was happy to re-watch many of the episodes I enjoyed those many years ago.
Happy Happy Joy Joy covers the creation of Ren & Stimpy, the fandom that the show created, several of the controversies the show faced, and the creator of the series, John Kricfalusi (or John K for short).
The film itself contains interviews from many of the people who were involved with the production of the show, the executives, several celebrities who are fans of the show, and John K himself. As a longtime fan of the original series (there is a big reason why I say this), I found the documentary as a very informative look on what is considered as one of the first creator-driven animated shows for children after children's television saw a long string of TV shows which was only created just to sell toys to children.
However, the documentary does dive in to some pretty dark subject matters. The big elephant in the room that has to be acknowledged is John K himself. The documentary presents how much John K was a perfectionist to the point where he missed deadlines over and over again up to the creation of the unaired episode, Man's Best Friend (where one scene shows Ren brutally beating up his new owner, George Liquor...the character's actual name...with an oar), which resulted in his job termination from running the show. Even his very short lived Made for Adults version of the show, Ren & Stimpy: Adult Party Cartoon, showed a very twisted, disgusting, and disturbing view of the characters (if you look up online reviews of one of the episodes, Ren Seeks Help, you'll know what I mean).
Finally, the documentary covers the sexual abuse allegations that were revealed to the public back in 2018 by two former artists that worked for him (whom he associated with when they were teenagers). This particular part honestly made me sick to my stomach (especially since I already knew of the allegations against him), and I'm going to be honest about cringing in absolute disgust everytime I saw the clips of John K being interviewed.
I honestly recommend this documentary to any fan of Ren & Stimpy. It's a very entertaining documentary despite the fact that the stuff on John K is pretty sickening. The documentary is available on Blu-Ray and on Digital if anyone wants to check it out.
To check out the trailer for the film, check out this YouTube link!