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Movie Details

Title:   Happy Happy Joy Joy: The Ren & Stimpy Story
Director:   Ron Cicero, Kimo Easterwood
Year:   2020
Genre:   Documentary
Times Seen:   1
Last Seen:   09.12.23

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Notes History
Date Viewed Venue Note
09.12.23Internet I stumbled upon this thinking it was an amateur youtube essay but it wound up being a feature film, and a rather decent one at that. Filmmaking-wise it more or less follows the established documentary formula but you hear from most everyone you'd want to hear from (including a lengthy and candid interview with John K. himself) and it gives some nostalgic perspective to a thing I liked when I was growing up.

I remember John K. came to the Alamo somewhere around 2006 or 7 and showed some of the random shorts he'd done as well as some of the "adult" reincarnation of Ren & Stimpy that he did for Spike TV and they brought the house down. Of course, now that we know the inappropriate relationships he was engaging in you can't help but have that feeling sour since the adult stuff WAS overtly perverse in a way that was only hinted at during the original show, and the doc does a good job of crediting a series of people who contributed and acted as checks and balances to make that original show lightning in a bottle that all of John K's subsequent solo work missed.

It also talks about that effect in general... whether the work itself suffers after learning something negative about its creator. There's really only a few minutes of this at the very end but I thought it was a revealing and surprising ending to have John talk about it and his somewhat forced retirement because of it. You could say it's a pivot since 85% of the movie deals with the rise and fall of the Nickelodeon show, but on the other hand one of the credits that the film attributes to the show's legacy is bringing the creator back into the forefront in animation so not discussing what the creator is arguably more famous for now would lead the film toward bordering on misinformation.

So yeah... I do remember loving that show when it came on... and I do feel more conflicted about it now. Good doc if you were similar to myself and want to hear more from the people who made it.