Viacom can’t help itself. Rather than investing in new animation talent, Viacom’s cable channels are aggressively pouring all their resources into rebooting vintage properties. Last month Comedy Central announced that it would resuscitate Mike Judge’s Beavis and Butt-Head while MTV announced that it would do the same for Phil Lord and Chris Miller’s Clone High.
Today, Comedy Central continued the trend by revealing its most ill-advised reboot of the year: an adult remake of Ren & Stimpy. This the second time that the influential early 1990s Nickelodeon kids’ series is being rebooted for adults. The first time was in 2003 when Viacom’s Spike TV produced six episodes (but aired only three) of Ren & Stimpy: Adult Party Cartoon, an infamous series that is legendary as much for its dysfunctional production (disclosure: I worked on it) as its incoherent episodes and wildly inconsistent production quality.
There will be a key difference between this new production and Adult Party Cartoon: the show’s creator John Kricfalusi won’t be involved either creatively or financially in the new production. Kricfalusi, 64, was accused of harassment and underage sexual abuse in a 2018 Buzzfeed exposé. He responded with a widely derided letter that acknowledged there was “some general truth” to the accusations, and blamed his behavior on bipolar disorder and ADHD, which he claimed made it “almost impossible to control your impulses and obsessions.”