Last month, we reported that Beavis and Butt-Head was getting a two-season reboot on Comedy Central. Now they’ll be joined by a couple of other animated 90s misfits. Comedy Central has announced that they’ve greenlit a “reimagined” version of The Ren & Stimpy Show, which will join not only Beavis and Butt-Head but the new Clone High and Daria spinoff Jodie. “I want to thank our partners at Nick Animation as we re-imagine these iconic characters with a new creative team,” said Nina L. Diaz, President of Content and Chief Creative Officer for ViacomCBS Entertainment & Youth Group.
The “new creative team” part is important because it signals that Ren & Stimpy creator John Kricfalusi probably won’t be involved, likely because of his toxic past (as opposed to Mike Judge being actively involved in the new Beavis and Butt-Head). For more on that, be on the lookout for the documentary Happy Happy Joy Joy, which is due out later this year.
Comedy Central’s strategy of just straight digging into the 90s for content is surprising and a little bewildering. Perhaps they’re banking on nostalgia and after all, their biggest animated hit, South Park, began in the late 90s. However, I’m wondering if the audience is still there for these old shows especially when other adult animation like BoJack Horseman and Big Mouth hasn’t had trouble finding an audience on Netflix. To simply dig through stuff that was popular with Gen X over twenty years ago seems like a skittish strategy rather than trying to find the next big thing. There’s obviously animation that’s willing to push the boundaries and also speak to today’s audiences.
That’s not to say that Ren & Stimpy will flop when it returns, but it’s easier to see that the show already had its impact, and a second act seems unlikely in a far more crowded marketplace.