In 1996, one of the greatest cartoons ever created, Ren and Stimpy, was canceled due to the inability of the writers to cope with the show's creator, John Kricfalusi. Many former employees of Mr. Kricfalusi admitted that he was very difficult to work with, and often asked for more than what the employees could put out. Soon, Kricfalusi was completely out of writers.
In January, 1996, he was sent a notice from Nickelodeon Studios, stating that they were going to have to cancel the program unless more episodes were produced, and soon. Kricfalusi began the animation on a final episode of the cartoon from his home. During the process, he did not answer any calls from former employees or network executives until production was complete. In February of 1996, a copy of the episode was brought to Nickelodeon Studios, and was proofed by his very good friend, who shall not be named.
Several Nickelodeon employees stated that Mr. Kricfalusi was beaming with excitement on that day, while his good friend had a look of shame and skepticism on his face as he handed the tape over to them. The next day, the tape was aired at 1:45 PM. Kricfalusi stated that he only wanted a few kids to see the episode, as most would be at school. What followed was the final Nickelodeon airing of a new Ren and Stimpy episode.
The theme song began with a few oddities. There was a 10 second period of blackness and silence before the song started up. It was as lively as usual, with the colors looking more dull than before. The song ended and the show card appeared, with only Ren appearing on it. The title read "The Ren and Stimpy Show", but Stimpy was nowhere to be seen.
The episode’s title card then appeared, reading "My Poor Stimpy" with a drawing of Stimpy surrounded by darkness, facing away from the camera. The credits all read "ME", instead of the name of the writer or animator. The episode began outside of their trailer park home, focusing in on a mailbox.
The colors were much darker than usual. Ren burst through the door and ran to the mailbox, pulling out a large package. His eyes bulged out of his head with excitement as he comically sniffed the box all over, and he began to shout with joy. The strange part was that there was no audio for Ren’s dialogue, but there was music. He ran inside and slammed the door.
He tore through the package and removed an autographed vinyl record, the autograph being too illegible to read. He placed the record in a display case over the mantle. Stimpy now came into frame, looking bruised, but still as dopey and happy as usual. He said to Ren, “Gee Ren, that's one fancy record!” Ren turned around and yelled at Stimpy, again muted. His eyes were vicious-looking, and his hands trembled in rage. He pushed Stimpy into the wall and punched him in the stomach, more brutally than usual. He whispered something into Stimpy’s ear, then pushed him to the ground, and walked to his bedroom. Stimpy peered up at the record, looking forlorn, and began to weep. The scene ended on Stimpy crying, as the screen faded to black.
The next scene began with Ren sitting at the table reading a newspaper. Stimpy is playing with a baseball outside. The ball is seen crashing through the window and barely missing the record. He very carefully retrieves the ball, not wanting to upset Ren. As Stimpy climbs down from the mantle, he slips, and pulls the record down with him. Ren then enters the room with a stolid face.
There is no music at this point, no sound at all actually, except for a low pitch humming. Ren looks at Stimpy, then at the record. This is where the episode becomes too strange to ignore. Ren’s eyes were extremely small, and sunken in his head. His lips quivered with frustration. He began to make strange choking and hacking throat noises, his first sounds of the episode. Stimpy begins to cower, looking truly fearful. This was definitely not the same comical anger that Ren displays in other episodes, it was just plain morbid. The screen slowly zoomed into his face, as the humming grew louder. After roughly 45 seconds of this strange display, the screen fades to black again.
The final scene began. Ren was sitting in his chair, only illuminated by the light of the television. The TV was tuned to the Muddy Mudskipper Show. The camera again panned to Ren’s face. He looked sleep deprived, and had a sullen look in his eyes. As the camera stayed glued to his face, another strange sound began to rise. This time, it was a low, very unsettling rumbling noise. After 30 seconds, Ren finally blinked, and spoke his first line of the episode. He said in a low tone, "This was his favorite show..." The camera panned to the right and revealed a large black lump behind Ren’s chair.
The camera again slowly zoomed into the big black lump. After a good full minute, color illuminated the shapeless blob. Stimpy’s body was lying on its side, surrounded by shards of broken glass and smashed record pieces. His fur was mangled and dirty, while his hand was laid over his ear. He was faced away from the camera, with something written on his back. The image was drawn in a realistic way that Kricfalusi tended to animate certain scenes. Ren began to weep uncontrollably in his chair. The TV shut off, leaving only the sound of Ren’s sobs for several minutes, before the episode ends, fading to black.
The episode was pulled from the air immediately, and the show was discontinued. Kricfalusi said that My Poor Stimpy was just an animation project, and was not the episode that he intended to show. "Ren & Stimpy’s Adult Party Cartoon" soon aired on Spike TV.