When Ren And Stimpy Met Mickey, Mini, Donald and Goofy
And this is what they made.
Long ago, when I was still a cable subscriber, I came across a cartoon series called, The Ren and Stimpy Show. I found that show to be edgy and funny for the time, and I have enjoyed a few episodes since then. It was definitely a new take on children’s animation and it was very funny. I didn’t watch Ren and Stimpy much because, at the time, I already had The X-Files and Babylon 5 to keep track of, but I still have enough memories of Ren and Stimpy to consider them here.
So, back in February of last year, I noticed on YouTube a series of Disney shorts featuring Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy. But it wasn’t at all like I had remembered. The drawing style seemed to emphasize the lines and the borders, and the color was there, but it was subdued. And it was edgy as all get out. Nah, that couldn’t be an authorized Disney animation, so I forgot about it.
But a couple of weeks ago, I happened upon them again on YouTube. OK, I’ll bite. I looked closely at the opening credits and the closing credits. The opening screen clearly shows a Disney copyright (MMXIV), and it had a fabric background similar to the original Disney animated shorts. The closing credits were huge with a giant team of animators (with some American sounding names to boot), and a support team to make it all happen. And at the very end of the credits, “Disney Animation”. This was indeed a Disney series of animation. And all of them had multiple millions of views.
In the last week of my viewing of these animated shorts, I laughed out loud at every one of them. And last night, I decided to write this article about them as I thought, “Wow. It’s like Mickey Mouse met Ren and Stimpy and they decided to collaborate.”
The animation effects and themes are not quite as gross as Ren and Stimpy, but the male characters do sometimes sport a shadow as if they haven’t taken the time to shave. They can be a bit violent, but they are not violent against each other, they just get nailed from time to time, by forces of nature or their own negligence. Mickey is the one who usually gets nailed, but it’s comical when it happens.
Facial expressions are far more exaggerated with this series than with anything I’ve ever seen from Disney. The action is fast when it happens and the transitions from periods of peace to action are quick and they don’t interfere with the plot. They are also very good at showing the scale of what’s happening when it’s big, and at times, it’s very big.
Each short is enthralling, and they all drew me in enough that I forgot about anything else in my mind. That’s pretty good for a 6-minute short animation. At times, they show interpersonal conflicts between the characters in a way that we won’t see in the original Disney cartoons of lore. But they all make peace and are still friends in the end. This is not your Great Grandpa’s Disney.
Each is about 6 minutes long, so they must convey their message quickly. There is nothing political about them, either. There is no subtext. It’s just 6 minutes of good, almost clean humor and slapstick comedy. I get a sense that the people who made these films did so because they truly enjoyed the craft.
I can see that they borrowed from the early Warner Bros. cartoons (just think, “Tex Avery”), Ren and Stimpy and maybe even a bit of SpongeBob Squarepants. Yet, still, they managed to maintain the good nature of their original characters. They just amped up the stresses imposed on the characters obviously and very significantly.
If you’re looking for a good laugh, and have enjoyed Disney animations in the past, and you’d like to see some of the original Disney characters cast in a more or less, adult light (think “PG”), these shorts are your ticket to a nearly guaranteed laugh or two. I will admit that they’re not for everyone, but they are from Disney and they are very well written, engaging and funny.
I’ve embedded a few choice samples below for you here for your enjoyment.
Originally published on my Steemit.com blog, August 2nd, 2018. Updated for grammar, clarity and a turn of phrase when needed.