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Dec. 13 – The Ren & Stimpy Show – “Son of Stimpy/Stimpy’s First Fart”

Original air date December 19, 1992.

The Ren & Stimpy Show burst onto the scene as part of the original trio of Nicktoons in 1991. The other two, Doug and Rugrats, were fairly gentle cartoons. Rugrats could sometimes get a little blue since the main characters were all babies, but the occasional poop joke was hardly something to get offended by. The Ren & Stimpy Show, on the other hand, was far more crass. It felt like a throwback to the days of Bob Clampett and Tex Avery with its manic pacing and outrageous character animations. It also had its own flair in the form of gross, disgusting, humor. It’s hard to imagine another cartoon in the 90s being more influential on what followed in the world of animation than The Ren & Stimpy Show.

This also came with its own set of problems. Certainly, Nickelodeon had to deal with more letters and phone calls regarding the show’s content than it did probably any other show on its network, but it also had to deal with series creator John Kricfalusi, or John K. The less said about him the better, but suffice to say he was very much a demanding boss and a bit of a perfectionist when it came to the show. This meant the show frequently missed deadlines and John K. also frequently ignored suggestions, or mandates, from the network when things got too risqué. I’m all for standing up for your artwork, but John K. agreed to make a show for kids and there’s some battles worth fighting and some that are not. There’s also been plenty of other things shared about him over the years that are not very kind that I don’t want to get into. At the end of the day, I do think he is a talented cartoonist and without his talents The Ren & Stimpy Show likely wouldn’t be what it was, but there were also lots of other talented people involved in the show’s production and without the likes of some of them the show also wouldn’t be what it is.

This very episode captures some of the dance the creators and Nickelodeon entered into with seemingly every episode of the show. The network wanted something heartwarming, I’m not sure if it necessarily wanted a Christmas episode, and John K. was willing to give them one so long as it was done his way. Hence why we have an episode about a fart. The original title is just “Stimpy’s First Fart,” but the network changed it to “Son of Stimpy.” Television networks have long had an adversarial relationship with the word “fart.” I don’t know why, but it is a thing and that’s why it still surprises me to this day that Salute Your Shorts got to have the word appear in every episode via the opening song. In this case though, I think the network was right as the “Son of Stimpy” title is a bit more mysterious and helps the fart joke land a little better.

“Son of Stimpy” is the first Christmas episode from the show and has the distinction of being done with digital ink and paint. Most of the show was animated with traditional ink and paint, but maybe the Christmas deadline forced the show to move a bit faster. The show was also transitioning from Spumco to Games Animation and that is said to have played a role. The content of the episode actually did not please Nickelodeon so it first premiered on MTV instead. It would eventually be run on Nick, but sometimes in an edited state. I can remember catching the first broadcast purely by accident. I was channel surfing in my bedroom and found it on MTV. I was super surprised to see an episode of the show I had never seen airing on the network and I was so excited that I recall telling my mom right away (who probably didn’t care). And it was a Christmas episode too! The episode also uses the full running time to tell its story without any other inserts, another rarity for the show, and contains several callbacks to the first episode either deliberately or to save time.

That was a juicy one.

This episode begins with an exterior shot of a house inhabited by Ren and Stimpy. A voiceover, John K., tells the audience that this is a story they just made up. Inside, Stimpy (Billy West) is watching TV and the sound effects sound exactly like the ones coming from the TV of the very first episode. He’s motionless except for his eyes dancing around as they take-in some cartoons. Then we get a shot of Stimpy’s butt and it’s done as a still image so it’s rather lovingly painted. Stimpy has a nice, well-rounded, set of buttocks in this episode to likely make them appear inviting, which is important to the plot (trust me). We then hear a noise, a gurgling kind of noise, and Stimpy looks at his butt with some confusion. The still image of the butt returns only now the image is shaking as a rumbling is taking place which leads to a very satisfying fart sound. It has a lot of bass and as far as fake farts go it’s quite lovely! It’s followed by the sound of a balloon letting out air as Stimpy looks satisfied and a puff of greenish-brown smoke emerges and then disappears. Some ominous “Dun! Dun! Duuuuun!” music plays as we get another shot of the the butt, this time with some skid marks added to the floor. Stimpy notices an odor in the air and is soon running in place calling for Ren.

There’s a pretty clear juxtaposition being portrayed between Ren and Stimpy here.

In another part of the house, Ren (John K.) is seated in a lounge chair in a bathrobe and fez hat reading from a book. The juxtaposition of the naked, cartoon-watching, farter and this very dignified Ren is obvious. Stimpy excitedly tells him in a quiet voice that something happened while he was watching TV. Ren can’t even begin to act like he cares, but he asks Stimpy what happened. Stimpy proceeds to tell him that something came out of his butt, it made a sound, and it smelled funny. Ren repeats everything Stimpy told him as if he’s gathering an understanding of the situation, then deadpans “You’re an idiot.”

You can’t force these things, Stimpy.

Stimpy is distressed that Ren doesn’t believe him, but then decides to just make another one! He moves into the center of the room and starts trying to push something out of his butt. There’s some groaning and obvious straining as Ren even moves into the danger zone to see what happens, but Stimpy’s butt just ends up deflating. Ren kicks at the remains of Stimpy’s cheeks, then tells him he has an overactive imagination and to leave him out of his stinky fantasies! It’s an interesting approach to the situation as when Stimpy originally approaches Ren we think he’s calling him an idiot for not knowing what a fart is, but now it seems clear that Ren too has never farted. I should point out for you continuity nerds, Stimpy did fart in a previous episode when they were in the bathtub together during “Big Baby Scam,” but this is a show that really has no continuity.

The absurdity of boogers being freaked out by Stimpy talking to farts is not lost on me.

As Ren leaves Stimpy to his stinky fantasies, Stimpy claims to himself that Stinky is real as he has apparently named his fart now. He then perks up as he declares he’ll find him! Stimpy then walks around the house calling out for Stinky in an operatic voice. He giggles with embarrassment seemingly acknowledging that we’re watching him act a bit silly – it’s cute. He checks in a few places before getting the idea to consult his Magic Nose Goblins he leaves under the bench for the piano. If you’re unfamiliar with the show, Magic Nose Goblins are Stimpy’s boogers. Before this episode, I don’t think they were ever personified, but here Stimpy is able to ask them if they’ve seen Stinky. When they press Stimpy for info on who Stinky is, he describes the fart as he did to Ren. One of the “goblins” figures out what Stimpy is looking for and whispers to the others “He talks to farts,” in a manner that expresses he views this behavior as extremely odd. The other boogers then just tell Stimpy they haven’t seen Stinky as they seem eager to get rid of him now. He leaves, but in doing so sits up and slams his face into the underside of the bench seemingly killing his booger buddies by mistake.

It’s not often we can say this, but here Ren does mean well.

Unable to find Stinky, Stimpy slips into a depression. He’s just seated in a darkened room as Ren tries to cheer him up. He pulls out a TV Guide-like magazine and reads off some of the programs Stimpy usually likes only for Stimpy to reply sullenly with an “I don’t care.” This setup is very similar to how the Commander Hoek and Cadet Stimpy cartoons begin, only Stimpy doesn’t get excited about that show or Muddy Mudskipper. Stimpy and Ren’s eyes then well with tears as their mouths quiver with sadness. Ren emotes frustration, and even anger, to the camera, but approaches Stimpy in calm, measured, tones about snapping out of this funk. We find out he’s been moping for 3 years now, which is certainly a long time to miss a fart.

The poor guy just wants his fart back, how can you not relate?!

Ren then dangles a new catnip mouse for Stimpy who makes an “Ehhh,” sound of annoyance that’s amusing to me because he sounds like future Billy West character Zap Brannigan. Ren tries cheering him up by jumping into his litter box and encourages him to drop a big, stinky, one into it. Hearing the word “stinky” causes Stimpy’s eyes to fill with tears again as he says “Stinky” in a longing tone. He then wails and starts sobbing forcing Ren to march over angrily. “So that’s it, you’re still crying about your imaginary butt stinkiness!” Stimpy insists in sad tones that Stinky is real and Ren tries, once more, to be supportive. He tells him he needs to get over this fantasy and says he’ll help him and that they can do it together, but Stimpy just replies once more with “I don’t care.” That’s the last straw for Ren, who has been uncharacteristically supportive and understanding throughout the scene. He stamps his feet and shouts at Stimpy. He tries to muster up one of his usual go-to insults for the cat, but he’s basically choked with anger and can just get out “stupid” over and over. Declaring “Who needs you!” he storms off leaving Stimpy alone and sad.

It’s oddly inviting.

It’s nighttime. Stimpy is laying wide awake in bed staring at the ceiling while Ren is on the other side asleep, his back towards Stimpy, with a smile on his face (this brief shot of Ren is cut from the DVD release, presumably because the DVD uses the Spike TV tapes which probably cut it for time). We move to a close-up of Stimpy’s eyes which once again fill with tears. He lets out a sigh and rolls over giving us a nice shot of his round buttocks covered in a purple blanket. The camera pans over to the window where someone is watching. It’s Stinky! He’s a brownish puff of gas with a face and arms. He’s looking through the window with longing and the camera zooms in on Stimpy’s sparkling butt cheeks. Opera-style chanting fills the soundtrack and Stinky looks so very sad. He lowers his head and drifts away as the snow begins to fall.

Ren’s trying everything to get Stimpy “in the mood.”

We cut to Stimpy in the doorway of the house calling out for Stinky. He has a scarf wrapped around his head and his face and hands are blue from the cold. Ren comes out to urge him to come inside. He says that Stimpy has been out there for months and tells him to come help him with the tree, our first hint at Christmas. Ren suggests he can string the dingleberry garland (gross), but Stimpy gives his “ehh” response again and Ren switches tactics by pointing out the mistletoe over their heads. He leans into Stimpy with a flirty, expectant, expression which might be the pair’s most gay portrayal up to this point in the series. Stimpy doesn’t react at first, and then his eyes widen with surprise. Did Ren maybe touch a sensitive area? Stimpy then explodes at Ren, “Gosh darnit, Ren! Is that all you can think of?!” He lectures Ren further saying that Stinky is lost out in the cold and finishes with a “He needs me.” And Stimpy leaves Ren, who cries for Stimpy to come back, but is ignored. Falling to his knees, he utters a prayer for Stimpy telling a higher power he can hold off on the pectoral muscle implants he presumably prays for usually, just bring Stimpy home!

It certainly would be a festive place for a fart to live at Christmas.

We’re then taken to The Naked City. Stimpy is roaming the streets calling out for Stinky in the dark and cold as the snow continues to pile up. We get a shot of Stimpy’s feet sporting crude shoes as he walks through the snow. A Santa on a street corner cries out “Ho ho ho,” as he rings a bell looking for donations. The cadence of his call changes abruptly like he stepped on something, or maybe someone placed a cold hand where he wasn’t expecting. We then see that Stimpy is behind him checking the fat man’s buttocks for Stinky, but finding nothing, he walks off.

This won’t end well.

Stimpy’s feet are shown again only now his shoes have been worn revealing purplish feet, one toe has a nail sticking out of it. Stimpy has posted signs reading “Have You Smelled Me?” with an image of Stinky on it, which is odd since he never really saw him. We cut back to his feet, now blocks of ice, as he continues his search. He tries filing a missing persons report at a police station, but the cop just throws him out. He smashes into a brick wall, but the scent of something stinky wakes him (this sequence is missing from the Paramount+ version). We see him again clawing his way down the sidewalk towards the smell, but it’s just a manure salesman (Mr. Horse) and Stimpy drops to the ground. A car parks on his head for good measure, and then lo and behold, Stinky shows up! He takes a seat on Stimpy’s ass and wishes he never left home, but Stimpy doesn’t hear or smell him since he, you know, has a truck parked on his head.

It’s tough being a fart.

Stinky then moves on and squeezes in between two guys seated on the ground sleeping back-to-back. One is just in a coat and underwear and they’re clearly meant to be un-housed individuals. One of them notices the stench of Stinky first, then the other who cries out for someone to light a match. They both stand up and start waving a lit match and poor Stinky is terrified. He lets out a tiny scream and is forced to flee to a sewer as the two men give chase.

There’s a lot of sad crying in this episode.

Back at the house, Ren is singing “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” through tears as he digs out Stimpy’s present from under the tree. He then goes to give it to Stimpy and we see his face, but it turns out it’s just a picture of Stimpy (the DVD version cuts out the tease and jumps straight to the gift next to the picture frame). A ring of the doorbell gets Ren’s attention and on the other side he finds Stimpy, only he’s completely encased in ice. They go into their reunited routine from the very first episode, only Stimpy can’t respond to Ren’s cry of “Pal” because he’s frozen.

It’s our first Christmas miracle.

Ren brings Stimpy into the living room and sets him up by the fire. The ice is gone and Stimpy is shivering in a blanket with his feet in a bucket of hot water. Ren has decorated for Christmas and he’s done a rather admirable job as he looks on Stimpy with glee in his eyes. He tells Stimpy to relax and kisses his forehead as Stimpy’s tongue pops out of the blanket. A ring of the doorbell causes Ren to leave and, at first, it looks like no one’s there. Then a familiar odor wafts into Ren’s nostrils. At first he’s repulsed, but then smiles as he reaches down off camera for something.

Take a big whiff, Stimpy.

Ren returns to the living room to tell Stimpy he has a visitor. Stimpy responds with his now customary “I don’t care,” forcing Ren to thrust his finger under his nose. As he sniffs Ren’s finger, a look of recognition crosses his eyes. The brown cloud then appears and Stimpy is on his feet crying out in joy “Stinky!” Stinky returns the cry with a “Dad!” and the two embrace to some uplifting music the show is returning to from the first episode, only the embrace is punctuated with a fart sound.

The moment we’ve been waiting for?

Stimpy, through happy sobs, declares that now he and Stinky can be together forever. Stinky’s face hardens and he pulls away from his father’s embrace to tell him, “No, dad, we can’t.” He explains that he’s a man now, and a man has needs, but when he asks Stimpy if he understands the cat just angrily shakes his head “No.” Stinky then gets an idea and tells him to wait here. He goes to the door and opens it and tells Stimpy he wants him to meet his fiancé: Cora.

She’s quite a…catch.

The bride to be is a rotting, mostly decomposed, fish. Stimpy takes one look at her though and declares her beautiful as the fart and garbage embrace, I guess. Ren and Stimpy embrace too and cry out “Memories!” We cut to a wedding, where Stimpy is marrying Stinky to his fish bride. For the first time, he uses the word fart when addressing Stinky so at some point he learned what he is. The two kiss, then head inside Ren’s nose for their honeymoon hanging a “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door that suddenly appeared on Ren’s nostril. The camera pans out and Ren looks pretty unhappy about this arrangement, as Stimpy tosses cat litter at his face in place of rice and tells the camera that he just loves happy endings!

“I now pronounce you fart and wife!”

And that’s the end! Nick wanted a heartwarming tale and it got one, albeit a subversive one that only could come from The Ren & Stimpy Show. Stimpy searches for his missing son so the two can be reunited for Christmas. It sounds like a nice and pretty standard holiday premise when you ignore that his son is a literal fart. It’s a bizarre and crazy premise that really puts Stimpy’s stupidity on full display. I suppose, in a sense, it’s funny to think about how we create and pass gas that vanishes quickly and for an idiot like Stimpy he might not comprehend that. Mostly, it feels like a challenge from the show to see if the audience can be moved to feel empathy for an actual fart and the one who dealt it.

A fart is having sex with the corpse of a fish in Ren’s nose right now. That’s a lot to process.

As is customary for the show, there’s tons of visual gags and gross images. There’s numerous shots of nice, round, butts that do look inviting given the cold climate throughout. The show almost made me want to climb in between those two gentlemen in the alley as Stinky did, but not quite. Ren and Stimpy’s relationship is also really interesting here. Ren is shown to be far more understanding and permissive of Stimpy’s depression when normally he’d just lash out with anger. He eventually gets there to a point, but it’s actually depicted rather well as it’s very easy to grow frustrated when trying to talk someone out of a funk. We all try our best not to act like Ren did in the end, but it can be trying. And then we have the obvious romance angle. The show flirts with that here and there before and after this episode, but the depiction of the pair under the mistletoe is definitely the most obvious call out to the two being a romantic couple that we’ve ever seen. Of course, the sequel show would make that plainly obvious to mostly disastrous results. Don’t confuse me for saying Ren and Stimpy being out of the closet is disastrous, that show just happens to be not funny and isn’t worth watching. The fact that it isn’t cut from the episode is rather brave on the part of Nickelodeon considering this debuted in 1992. Not on Nickelodeon, but that’s even pretty brave for MTV. And it would eventually jump to the kid’s network.

Watching Stimpy suffer is not really a whole lot fun, but then he’s also suffering because he misses his fart. It’s hard to know how one should feel, but I think that’s the point.

Ultimately, this episode leans so far into telling it straight that it’s not as funny as it perhaps could be. There are funny moments, for sure. Stimpy describing a fart without knowing what one is works as probably the best scene in the whole episode. The dismissive nature of his booger friends and some of the closeups definitely warrant a laugh. After that though, once Stimpy slips into depression, it’s fairly short on laughs and is really committed to telling this sad story that ultimately has a happy ending. Only I don’t think it succeeds in actually getting the viewer to care about Stinky. I think I identify more with Ren’s frustrations than Stimpy’s depression, which is probably not what the episode wants. Though I do think that aspect of it exists because the staff must have known there would be viewers like me and at least we have something to latch onto via Ren. Because of that, I never know how to feel when this one ends. Am I happy for Stimpy? For Stinky? I guess. I’m relieved it’s over because I don’t enjoy seeing Stimpy suffer like this, but the payoff isn’t there. I think if this one wasn’t as long as it is then it would work better because at some point it just feels sadistic with how it treats Stimpy. Stimpy is a character easy to laugh at when the pain inflicted upon him is physical, but not emotional.

There’s really not a ton of Christmas in this episode, but I think there’s enough.

“Son of Stimpy” is not the only Christmas episode the show created as there is also “A Scooter for Yaskmas.” That one is actually very similar in tone to this one as we basically just see Stimpy suffer, though in that one he creates some of that suffering by desiring a physical object. Both have their moments, but also neither one is a Christmas special I feel required to return to every year. I think others feel differently as “Son of Stimpy” seems to be well-received by the fanbase, so what do I know? If you want to embark on a journey of father and son reuniting for Christmas then this one is available to stream on Paramount+ and was also released on DVD many moons ago. That set is very easy to acquire and contains some classic episodes so even if your response to this episode is tepid like mine that DVD is still a worthwhile purchase. Unfortunately, both versions are edited to some degree. The one on Paramount+ omits the sequence where Stimpy enters the police precinct and gets thrown out, while the DVD version cuts out a shot of Ren sleeping in the bed and his giving a gift to a picture of Stimpy. For the DVD, I think both edits were just made for time as the source video is from Spike TV and their broadcast. With Paramount+, I think their version is the one Nickelodeon aired which apparently didn’t like featuring a cop assaulting Stimpy. Given the two choices, the DVD version is superior, but it continues to be frustrating how hard it is to find truly uncut episodes of The Ren & Stimpy Show.

Can’t wait until tomorrow for more Christmas? Check out what we had to say on this day last year and beyond:

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Dec. 24 – Ren & Stimpy’s Crock O’ Christmas

crock o xmas

Released by Sony Wonder on September 21, 1993

In 2018, it feels like the novelty music genre is mostly dead. Back in the day when radio was the primary vehicle for delivering new music the novelty song had a place. Usually they would be part of commutes or morning shows when producers thought a laugh was in order. I know where I grew up the local rock station had the Free-ride Funnies in the late afternoon when novelty tracks would be played along with stand-up routines and prank calls. Weird Al had a place on MTV along with other novelty acts and songs (remember Green Jelly’s rendition of The Three Little Pigs?) that would be played along with more “legitimate” music. As such, novelty albums were more popular though I feel like the general experience with novelty albums was hearing a funny song on the radio, buying the record, then kind of regretting it. Even some Weird Al albums couldn’t shake that feeling.

It should come as no surprise, or maybe a little surprise, that The Ren & Stimpy Show got in on the novelty Christmas album game when it released Ren & Stimpy’s Crock O’ Christmas in 1993. This album arrived during the height of Ren and Stimpy’s popularity and after the departure of series creator Jon K. It was the second album attributed to the dog and cat duo following You Eediot! which was released just a month prior. That album contained mostly music from the show, while this one was all new.

yak shaving day canoe

A brief bit from the show called Yak Shaving Day is the originator for all of this extra content.

The album is called Crock O’ Christmas, but it’s not really about Christmas and is instead about the fictional holiday of Yaksmas, which was referenced in a prior episode. Many of the songs are parodies of popular Christmas songs and usually just reading the title will clue you in on what the song is going to parody. As the voice of both Ren and Stimpy, Billy West is called upon to do the heavy-lifting in both singing and speaking roles. Bob Camp illustrated the cover which depicts Stinky Wizzleteats and the Gilded Yak piloting Stinky’s sausage cart while Ren and Stimpy pull it dressed as reindeer. This album is a precursor to the “Scooter for Yaksmas” episode, which we covered last year, and a lot of the lore for the holiday found in that episode originates here. Bob Camp and Jim Gomez provided the lyrics for most of the music while the whole thing was overseen by Vanessa Coffey and Charlie Brissette.

Since the format of this advent calendar styled journey through Christmas media is to provide a synopsis and walk the reader through the episode, we might as well just go with a song by song breakdown of this interesting piece of largely forgotten media.

crock sony reverse

The reverse cover for the original release.

The first track is “Fleck the Walls,” and it’s to the tune of “Deck the Halls” as Stimpy and Ren introduce the listener to Yaksmas Eve. They talk about flecking the walls with dirty diapers and detail the events of Yaksmas Eve such as filling your uncle’s boots with coleslaw, wearing rubber nipples, and licking up shaving scum left behind by the Gilded Yak. It’s quite gross, but par for the course with The Ren & Stimpy Show which really started to double-down on the gross aspects of the characters during the Games Animation era.

The second track is “Cat Hairballs” which is a parody of “Jingle Bells.” It’s basically Stimpy bragging about the wonders of his hairballs and how useful they are. Ren chimes in he has had enough hairballs which provokes Stimpy into coming up with more uses for them like making cigars and underwear from them. Gross. They then venture to their neighbor’s house to sing for them, and because the guy who lives there owes Ren five bucks. They encounter the husband and wife (Cheryl Chase) and wish them a Merry Cobbday so we apparently have two holidays to celebrate. They then are introduced to a goat, who is the pet I suppose of the neighbors. The husband then confesses he’s depressed because he never gets what he wants for Yaksmas. When Ren asks what it is he wants, he replies “a hairy chest.”

kid rhino crock

The album was re-released in 97 with re-arranged artwork.

This takes us into song three, “We Wish You a Hairy Chestwig” (“We Wish You a Merry Christmas”) as Ren and Stimpy wish a chestwig for their neighbor. Shelly Williams takes over as the wife as the duo sing with Ren and Stimpy (Billy West is the husband) about wishing for a chestwig. It’s the most simple of the parodies so far and not very disgusting, just silly. At the end of the song they find themselves at The West Pole which is where Stinky Wizzleteats lives. They knock on the door and meet the old man, but find he’s not too kind. He demands Ren act like a dog then calls for his wife to get his dog wallopin’ 2×4. When Ren explains they want to sing him a Yaksmas carol, he calls for his dog wallopin’ guitar.

This takes us into the next song, “It’s a Wizzleteats Kind of Christmas” which is an original tune. It explains Stinky’s role in the holiday introducing us to his sausage cart and detailing the traditions of the holiday including falling down the stairs and eating pre-chewed gum. It will be recycled for the Yaksmas episode of the show and it’s amusing enough and it’s nice to have some added visuals in that case. When Stimpy finishes the song, Stinky gives him some praise then goes into a song of his own about a chicken getting eaten by giant worms. It seems to unnerve Stimpy and the two slip away deciding to go to the mall.

That’s where our next song takes place, “We’re Going Shopping” which is another original song, though it’s pretty dialogue heavy. Stimpy has dragged Ren to the mall and is a compulsive shopper. We also get a circus midget joke which is a reference to the fire chief from the show; a joke that hasn’t ages well. Ren doesn’t want to shop and complains about his feet hurting while Stimpy tries to sell him on a glass diaper pale (“You can not only do your duty, you can see it too!”), but he’s not interested. The song ends with them arriving at the Royal Order of Yaks where Stimpy explains how the Gilded Yaks are selected to pilot the enchanted canoes on Yaksmas Eve.

kid rhino crock reverse

Back cover of the 97 re-release.

This leads into “Yak Shaving Day,” where the characters sing about, what else, Yak Shaving Day. If you saw the bit in the show then you know what to expect. It might be the most basic song so far and least entertaining. It’s also an original tune. It ends with Ren and Stimpy back home to welcome Stinky (the fart, not to be confused with Stinky Wizzleteats) and his bride Cora from “Son of Stimpy.” Stinky and Stimpy then recount how they spent their first Christmas after thumbing through a photo album which brings us to…

“What is Christmas?” where Stimpy and Stinky basically refresh us on the events from Stinky’s debut episode. The song (another original) is actually rather sweet, even if it’s about a cat’s affection for its fart. Because it’s actually executed quite well as a sentimental track, it’s not very funny. The humor really needs the visuals of Stimpy hugging his fart cloud to work. Interestingly, our characters are now openly singing about celebrating Christmas making this whole holiday season really confusing

That song ends with dialogue about Stimpy introducing All Cobb’s Eve. It apparently coincides with Yaksmas Eve and it’s a custom from Stimpy’s native Gibberland. He then sings “Cobb to the World” (“Joy to the World”) detailing how Wilbur Cobb visits you in the night to pass out on your lawn (a trait that will be given to Stinky Wizzleteats later). The song describes Wilbur Cobb, a character from the show, in all of his gruesome glory. It’s all about how his body parts fall off with some other old man traits described as grossly as possible. The parody nature of the song limits it, but it gets its message across. Meat, corn, and cheese logs are apparently all part of this “holiday’s” celebration.

wilbur cobb

Wilbur Cobb is the subject of his own holiday, though it may be one only celebrated by Stimpy.

After that lesson on All Cobb’s Eve, Ren just wants to go to bed, but Stimpy reminds him they have somewhere to be. It’s Muddy Mudskipper’s Holiday Hop, which is the subject of “Happy Holiday Hop,” a fun little rockabilly jam. Ren and Stimpy aren’t on the guest list, but they politely ask to crash the party while singing about Muddy. It’s not a direct parody of anything, but it’s pretty generic 50’s rock in its presentation which makes it probably the most danceable of the album so far. It’s just about a party so there isn’t anything gross. If you wanted to add a track from this album to a generic Christmas mix, this is probably the song you’d go for.

Our next song is “I Hate Christmas” where Ren acts more like the Ren we know from the show as he confesses his disdain for all of this holiday stuff. He does it after Stimpy goes to bed who recounts all of their Yaksmas Eve activities thus far before doing so. He playfully asks Ren if he’ll be joining him in bed, a some-what subtle gay joke. Ren says he’s going to “tickle the ivories” instead which is a metaphor for playing the piano I had never heard before and is rather clever. Ren’s song starts off kind of mopey, then he gets angry, as it turns into more of a lounge type of song. He particularly hates Christmas music, which is deliberately ironic, I presume. It’s the most relatable track so far if you find yourself getting run down by the holiday.

Our penultimate track is the “The Twelve Days of Yaksmas,” and I assume you can figure out what it is a parody of. It begins with Ren getting a package in the mail (“Wow, that’s the biggest package I’ve ever seen!”) from Ignoramia, home to cousin Sven. The song is them going through the package of gifts from Sven which is mostly gross stuff:  jars of spit, used bandages, golden hairballs, etc. “The Twelve Days of Christmas” is quite possibly the worst of the traditional Christmas songs and it’s pretty annoying. They manage to run through it in about 4 minutes, so this isn’t too bad, but it still over-stays its welcome.

Our final track is “Decorate Yourself,” another original tune. The title is rather self-explanatory. It’s basically a rock ballad and comes in at over 5 minutes making it the longest song on the album. It has some silly lines, but isn’t very gross and the prior forty minutes of sillier stuff dampen the comedy element of the song. It mostly feels like putting a bow on the whole album. It ends with the duo saying goodbye to the audience as Stimpy tries to wish a happy holiday for every made-up holiday they cited on this album as well as some new ones prompting Ren to just tell him to shut up so they can leave. An appropriate ending for a Ren and Stimpy production.

So you want to get a novelty Christmas album to spin at your party this year? This would probably work out all right if your audience is familiar with The Ren & Stimpy Show. It’s more childish in its humor than other novelty albums, so it might only work on nostalgia really. If you’re counting on it being a memorable part of your holiday then you may be let down. As a little supplement to the show and its other holiday episodes, it’s kind of fun. If my kids ever get into the show I’ll probably try this on them and see what they think, though it is somewhat handicapped by the fact that the show skews a bit older than this probably would.

crock o promo

An interview disk was distributed with the promo version of the album.

The album was first released by Sony on its Sony Wonder label. The production is actually really well done and there’s a band, choir, and orchestra utilized. Some talented people put some time into the compositions and it shows. The lyrics could be better as there is perhaps too much that is just nonsensical. A 90s trait of Nicktoons was just to make something like cheese funny all by itself, when it never really was in the first place. It’s a tactic that works on kids (just watch the show All That which is almost entirely what I call unhumor that somehow worked on children of the era) but less so on older audiences. The booklet is pretty nice and includes original art on the cover as well as stills from the show inside. It’s festive, and there are lyrics printed inside as well along with transcripts of the character dialogue. West does a nice job with what he’s given and his level of performance is on par with the producers and musicians who participated. The album was re-released by Kid Rhino in 1997. It features some cosmetic differences like re-arranged artwork and a different layout for the booklet, though content wise it’s the same. I’d say the presentation is a bit louder visually, though not necessarily better or worse.

If you want to hear Ren & Stimpy’s Crock O’ Christmas in 2018 your best bet is to just head to eBay. There the CD version of the album will only set you back a few bucks with the Kid Rhino re-release apparently commanding a bit more money. There is a cassette version as well if you want to go that route. If you consider yourself a big fan of the show and you like Christmas then I think this is probably worth a look considering it’s relatively cheap to acquire. If a Christmas album by Ren and Stimpy sounds like something you would not like then you should probably trust your instincts there. You can hear most of this stuff on YouTube if you’re just curious and not eager to add any physical media to your Ren & Stimpy collection. If you’re expecting this to be the funniest Christmas album you’ve ever heard, then once again you may be let down. It’s just okay, but very much in the spirit of the show which makes it charming for fans.

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