The Ren & Stimpy Show has proven to be one of the most influential animated television series from the 1990s. Many people have praised the cartoon for its characters, bizarre comedy, outlandish stories and ability to get away with adult humor with its dialogue, visuals and gross-out humor. Despite The Ren & Stimpy Show’s influence on animation and television, one prominent controversy in its legacy involves the creator of the show, John Kricfalusi. Kricfalusi is notorious for having gone from a well respected and brilliant animator to an allegedly abusive and vicious employer. On August 24, the documentary Happy Happy Joy Joy: The Ren & Stimpy Story directed by Ron Cicero was released.

In the documentary, several people who worked on The Ren & Stimpy Show are brought on to talk about their experience while working on the series, their time working under Kricfalusi and their personal relationships with the controversial creator of the show. The documentary notably talks about the sexual assault accusations regarding Kricfalusi. It examines the lack of consistently good quality in his animated shows after he was fired from Nickelodeon for his volatile behavior. Kricfalusi‘s troubling relationship with the company Nickelodeon is shown in great detail as the documentary brings up incidents where he refused to follow the notes of the executives and demanded to keep his character “George Liquor” after he was fired. While most of the people in Happy Happy Joy Joy: The Ren & Stimpy Story discuss their anger and disappointment with Kricfalusi as their employer and coworker, the documentary is also notable for bringing in Kricfalusi himself and showing his opinion on the show’s controversial history in great detail. This allows the documentary to demonstrate both sides of the controversy.

Happy Happy Joy Joy: The Ren & Stimpy Story has received critical acclaim upon its release, with many praising its portrayal of the show’s environment behind the scenes. The documentary overall makes a valid point that while The Ren & Stimpy Show is hugely influential on the animation world, its legacy is somewhat tarnished due to the actions of Kricfalusi.