“Big House Blues” is the pilot episode of Nickelodeon’s series, The Ren & Stimpy Show. The theatrical uncut version was shown on August 10, 1990 at several film festivals as a way to promote the show and the Nickelodeon version was aired on September 15, 1991.
It then reaired as the second segment of the second episode in the second season of The Ren & Stimpy Show.
It is also the very first episode in the entire Ren & Stimpy franchise overall.
- Narrator (Jim Smith)
- Ren Höek (John K.)
- Stimpy (Billy West)
- Old Man Hunger
- The Dogcatcher (Jim Smith)
- Phil (Hendry)
- Jasper (Brian Chin)
- Little Girl (Cheryl Chase)
- Little Girl’s Mom (Lynne Naylor)
- Log Announcer
- Jill (Cheryl Chase)
Ren and Stimpy try to survive the horrors of the Dog Pound.
Ren and Stimpy are two street animals, an asthma hound Chihuahua and a cat, whose hunger has caused them to band together in union, despite the disagree between their species. However, they are unable to find food and are left on the street starving, in poverty, and hapless. They get caught by the Dog Catcher, who allows them to have fun with the other animals. At a party, they meet Phil, who gets put to sleep by the dog catcher. Jasper tells Ren that Phil has been put to sleep and Ren, misunderstanding him, decides to take a nap himself.
The next morning, Ren dreams about kissing a woman, but wakes up to find out he’s kissed Stimpy. Ren exclaims that he’s been poisoned, and runs off to the toilet to wash himself of Stimpy’s germs. Then, Ren walks over to Jasper and asks him what happened to Phil. He told him again that the dog catcher put him to sleep. Ren says to wake him, but Jasper explains “You don’t wake up from the BIG sleep.” Ren panics and screams “THE BIG SLEEP!!!” three times, and starts whimpering. Stimpy asks Ren what the big sleep is. Ren calms down, then yells at him that he’s dead and they’ll be next if they don’t get out. Later, Stimpy vomits hairballs on Ren, which leads to him smacking Stimpy multiple times. The dog catcher comes for the duo, but a little girl mistakes Ren for a “cute little poodle”, due to the hairballs on him and wishes to adopt him. The dog catcher gives Ren to the girl and Ren is excited to leave alive. Then, realizing Stimpy is still left alone in the cell, Ren explains to the girl that he can’t go unless she takes Stimpy, too. The girl accepts, resulting in a happy Stimpy jumping on top of Ren. At their new home, they meet a woman who appears to be the the little girl’s mother. She gives Ren a sweater, and Stimpy a litterbox (his 1st material possession). Stimpy, overcome with joy, states that he can hardly wait to try it and hugs it close to his chest, only for Ren to come out of it, spitting out litter.
Below is a list of the production music used in the short.
“Big House Blues” (Closing Theme) – Chris Reccardi, Jim Smith, Scott Huml, John Kricfalusi [Original composition]
Main Street – Alec Gould
Roman March – Robert Sharples
Spindlelegs – Cedric King-Palmer
Hallelujah Chorus – George Frideric Handel
Trafficscape – Eric Winstone
The Haunted Piano – Frank Samuels
“Dog Pound Hop” (Opening Theme) – Chris Reccardi, Jim Smith, Scott Huml, John Kricfalusi [Original composition]
The March of the Ants – Sidney Crooke
Pizzicato Playtime – Sam Fonteyn
Polovtsian Dances from Prince Igor – Alexander Borodin
Dramatic Impact 2 – Ivor Slaney
Drama Link (d) – Hubert Clifford
Smouldering Fury (a) – Trevor Duncan
Drama Link (d) – Hubert Clifford
Turkey Trot – John Longmire
Drama Link (k) – Hubert Clifford
Dramatic Impact 1 – Ivor Slaney
Busy Bachelor – Redvers Kyle
Happy-Go-Lively – Laurie Johnson
Domestic Fun © – Ernest Tomlinson
“Dog Pound Hop” (Opening Theme) - Chris Reccardi, Jim Smith, Scott Huml, John Kricfulcasi, (Original Composition). Ending Credits
The scene that shows Ren caressing Stimpy in his sleep and kissing him on the lips is censored on Nickelodeon.
- Despite being removed from Nickelodeon airings, the scene with Ren washing his mouth in the toilet after kissing Stimpy in his sleep was nevertheless left in the show’s intro.
The scene in which the Dog Catcher turns and wiggles his hips is censored on Nick.
At the end of the episode, Phil apparently was going to return and say, “Hi kids, remember me? I’m not dead! After all, this is a cartoon, isn’t it?” Links to the storyboards can be seen here: Google Drive
The mention of Nickelodeon in the credit for Vanessa Coffey was removed when the episode was put on home video.
The “Ren Höek & Stimpy” title card.
- This episode originally had an additional title card at the beginning, which displayed a “Ren Höek & Stimpy” logo. It was excised when the episode aired on TV, in addition to home video releases. However, a 1991 Nicktoons commercial advertising the premiere of The Ren and Stimpy Show featured the title card.
- This episode aired on Spike TV/TNN on June 23, 2003 with the banned episode Man’s Best Friend. It also contained the TV-MA rating that Adult Party Cartoon used.
- The opening title intro to The Ren and Stimpy Show is made up of clips that are from this episode.
- This episode has appeared twice on the same DVD (one being the uncut version and the other being the Nickelodeon version).
- Stimpy has a mere total of 4 lines in this episode, despite being one of the main characters of the episode.
- In the backdrop of the scene when Ren tells the girl to stop, dog-like versions of Hanna-Barbera characters can be seen, including Fred Flintstone, George Jetson, and Huckleberry Hound.