Stimpy's Pregnant opens with a pompous opening voice-over (by Mr. Horse) and text crawl, dedicating the cartoon to "mothers everywhere". I'm still not sure whether this was supposed to be a joke or to be taken seriously - either way it doesn't work, and sullies the tone until the episode proper actually starts (almost two minutes later).
From a techical standpoint, this 30-minute episode represents the climax of the new artistic crew's abilities. Judging by the animation and sheer variety and number of poses present in this cartoon, this constitutes everything that they were working towards. Watch Ren when he screams "Calm down? Calm down?" at Stimpy - whether or not you consider the fact that this was made for television, and at a significantly lower budget than the original Ren & Stimpy run, and animated entirely in Korea, this stuff is just jaw-dropping. And those idiot executives greenlight crap like Xaolin Showdown and Mucha Lucha instead of this.
The cartoon definitely has teething problems, though. A number of elements conspire to make it less than perfect. From the weak voices of the secondary characters (that spider at the start, the pig cop, and Nurse Sheep, all set my teeth on edge for some reason, although both John K. and Eric Bauza are on top form), to the somewhat clumsy music editing (this improves as the cartoon progresses), to the dinner sequence which goes on for ever and yet takes us nowhere, this is certainly a far cry from the perfection of Stimpy's Invention, Man's Best Friend, or even Stimpy's First Fart (which I will admit wasn't perfect, but was still extremely good).
And then the blessed event itself occurs, the child pops out, and the whole thing suddenly seems worthwhile. I'm not going to reveal the identity of Ren and Stimpy's love-child, but suffice to say that it is both hilarious and somewhat touching at the same time. It's also nice to finally see Ren and Stimpy's friendship being affirmed (although Ren is an absolute bastard to Stimpy prior to the actual birth) - more than anything else, it's what's been missing from the Adult Party Cartoon episodes.
A 4/5 rating might seem unusually high for such a flawed cartoon, and yet the actual birth is so incredible that I can't give it any less. Ren Seeks Help and Altruists may be better cartoons, but Stimpy's Pregnant is by far the most ambitious. It almost pays off. Almost.
Standout moment: It has to be the reveal of Stimpy's child. It makes all the flaws of the episode worthwhile. "Didn't I tell you, Ren? He looks just like you." (Watch the episode to see what makes this so funny.)
- Starring Eric Bauza as Stimpy as Mrs. Höek
- ... and the Spumco Players: John and Mike Kricfalusi, Kristy Gordon
- Story and storyboard: John Kricfalusi, Jeff Amey, Richard Pursel, Matt Roach, Steve Stefanelli, Warren Leonhardt
- Color styling: Christine Wallace
- Sheet timing: Alison Acton, Greg Duffle
- Leica/sound editing: Eric Bauza, Jose Pou, John K.
- Art direction: Nick Cross, Kristy Gordon
- Layouts: Nick Cross, Tavis Silbernagel, Eric Bauza, Alison Acton, Gerry Duchemin, Helder Mendonca, John Kricfalusi, Jose Pou, Warren Leonhardt, Marcel Laurin, Jessica Borutski, Fred Osmond, Ray Morelli, Katie Rice, Luke Cormican, Robert Ryan Cory, Wil Branca, Gene McGuckin, Vincent Waller
- Ink & paint/compositing: PIP Animation Studios
- Editing: Leaping Raster, Shawn Phillips
- Audio recording and mix: Sound of One Hand, Michel Legault, Claude Marquis
- Animation/BG paint: Big Star
- Spike TV executives in charge of production: Albie Hecht, Kevin Kay
- Executive producer: Kevin Kolde
- Supervision: M. John Kricfalusi