(NewsNation Now) — It was 30 years ago today that then-fledgling kid-friendly network Nickelodeon made a bold move, along with one that would win hearts for decades to come.
On Aug. 11, 1991, “Rugrats” and “The Ren & Stimpy Show” premiered on Nickelodeon.
The former was a completely kid-friendly show, with an entertaining cast of characters and sweeping plots that were frequently resolved by a hug from mom or dad or in some other wholesome way.
The latter featured a manic Chihuahua and a dim-witted Manx cat. Ren was prone to calling Stimpy an “Eeediot” and a “fat, bloated sack of protoplasm,” and there was rarely a wholesome ending to an episode.
Arlene Klasky and Gabor Csupo, the creative team behind Tommy, Lil and the rest of the “Rugrats” crew, met and married while working for other companies including Hanna-Barbera. They hung out their own shingle and started doing graphic titles and taking on small projects like the original “The Simpsons” shorts for “The Tracey Ullman Show.”
The couple had two sons, and Klasky took time off to be with them. One day, she told ABC News, she had a lightning-bolt idea: “If babies could talk, what would they say?”
The rest is “Rugrats” history.
One of Tommy’s favorite toys, Reptar, is being celebrated at New York’s Milk & Cream Cereal Bar with a signature slushie, sundae and ice cream bar. A reboot series is in the works on the streaming service Paramount+
As for “The Ren & Stimpy Show,” it was created by Canadian animator John Kricfalusi, and the origins of the characters are somewhat obscure.
The show was a boundary-breaking creation from its very first episode, which led to frequent “interactions” with Nickelodeon’s Standards & Practices department. The violence and sexual innuendo that fueled much of the show’s humor didn’t mesh well with Nickelodeon’s image as the network parents could let their kids watch unsupervised.
Over its five-year run, the show created a passionate fan base which counted among it “Simpsons” creator Matt Groening, and it’s often credited with paving the way for more outrageous animated shows such as “Beavis and Butt-Head” and “South Park.”
Kricfalusi emerged in headlines long after the show stopped airing after two women came forward to accuse the animator of carrying on inappropriate sexual relationships with them as teenagers. The animator has apologized for his actions and Nickelodeon distanced itself from the creator.
Despite Kricfalusi’s tarnished legacy, Ren and his sidekick’s impact on television remains clear and fans maintain a love for the cartoon’s influence.
A reboot series is to air on Comedy Central. The new network is a decidedly more adult environment, so all bets are off as to what sort of subject matter might be covered.
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