Comedy Central is shaping up to be one of the television industry’s leaders in new adult animation: The network has announced a reimagining of the cult classic “The Ren & Stimpy Show” as part of its greater overall push into the genre.
The original “The Ren & Stimpy Show” premiered on Nickelodeon in 1991, the same year the network debuted classic kids shows such as “Rugrats” and “Doug.” Though “The Ren & Stimpy Show” was not explicitly aimed at adults, the show was full of dark humor, raunchy sex jokes, and other mature content, which generated some controversy. The series nonetheless was widely praised during its five-season run and remembered as one of Nickelodeon’s standout ’90s shows.
The network offered no details on the upcoming reimagining beyond the fact that it has been greenlit. Comedy Central’s impending reboot won’t be the series’ first; Spike TV rebooted the series with the short-lived and poorly-received “Ren & Stimpy ‘Adult Party Cartoon’” in 2003.
The Nickelodeon and Spike TV shows were both created by John Kricfalusi, who was accused of preying on and sexually harassing minors in 2018. IndieWire has confirmed with sources that Kricfalusi is not involved in the new series and will not be financially compensated for it.
Hollywood companies have taken a liking to adult animation in the last year, which has been full of headlines about new animated series targeted at adult audience as well as reboots of old ones. Comedy Central has long benefitted from the enduring popularity of its flagship comedy, “South Park,” and the network announced in July that it had inked a new deal with “Beavis and Butt-Head” creator Mike Judge to reimagine the classic MTV series for Gen X and Gen Z audiences. That deal also included other spinoffs and specials, but specifics on those projects are still under wraps. Comedy Central also recently picked up a “Daria” spinoff — itself a spinoff of “Beavis and Butt-Head” — titled “Jodie.”
Other parties are also bringing back classic animated adult shows for their own platforms, such as HBO Max and its upcoming “Boondocks” reboot. HBO Max, which launched in late May, also recently released “Close Enough,” an animated adult comedy that is one of the streaming service’s first original series. Meanwhile, Hulu is helping combine the dual powers of Disney’s TV studios and the recently acquired FX library to expand its own adult animated platform. Netflix has seen great success with “BoJack Horseman” and “Big Mouth,” and the list goes on and on — presumably until programmers turn their attention toward kids again.