Today In History (February 23, 1992)

On February 23, 1992, the cartoon Stimpy’s Invention aired as the first-season finale of Nickelodeon’s The Ren and Stimpy Show. Directed by show creator John Kricfalusi from a story he conceived with Bob Camp, the episode’s popularity single-handedly prompted the show’s second-season renewal.

I watched The Ren and Stimpy Show faithfully in high school and college, though I tended to get pretty squeamish during the show’s more outlandish sight gags. (That hog jowls episode…yikes! I won’t speak of the show’s ill-advised 2003 Spike TV revival of sorts, Ren and Stimpy’s Adult Party Cartoon.) When the show was on point, however, it was a treat, and Stimpy’s Invention is a prime example of the odd-couple buddy comedy: perfectly paced, appealingly warped, yet strangely charming. The real gem here, however, is the “Happy Happy, Joy Joy” musical sequence. This rousing Burl Ives parody/tribute is so catchy that, when I performed it for a Stanford beginning drama course my freshman year, it transformed the class into a raging hootenanny.

Anyway, if you haven’t had the pleasure yet, here it is!

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