It’s a big day for fans of Nickelodeon. Twenty five years ago today, the network premiered the classic animated series Rugrats, Doug, and The Ren & Stimpy Show, Entertainment Weekly reports.
In 1991, the three series marked the debut of Nicktoons, Nickelodeon’s cartoon block that soon grew into its own channel in 2002.
The first of the three shows to be picked up by Nickelodeon was Doug, a sitcom about an imaginative boy and his friends and family. Creator Jim Jinkins spoke to EW in honor of the show’s anniversary:
At nighttime, I drew these single-panel cartoons that were a way for me to lay down what I was thinking. Often, they were dark or troubled or sometimes funny. I’d done other stuff trying to figure out who that was and why I was drawing these things. At one point, I had worked on a book proposal, “Doug Got a New Pair of Shoes” with my friend Joe Aaron.
So, one day, Linda called me to say Nickelodeon had just started a new venture, and they were looking for creator-driven original properties to animate and make into series. And she said, “You need to get over there with Doug.” That’s a life-changing phone call. So I met Vanessa in her office and held up my little book proposal. And as I began to tell the story of who Doug is and what he’s about, she looked at the cover of the book and ran out of the room.”
Nickelodeon executive Vanessa Coffey added:
Doug, to me, was a show that was so missing for kids. Really, since Charlie Brown. It was speaking directly to them, to their feelings, their fears, their lives. That really was Nickelodeon. Nickelodeon was, “We’re kids. We’re the kids channel. We’re yourchannel.” And so I thought Doug fit into that perfectly, because it was their demographic and their story.”
The show lasted for four seasons on Nickelodeon before moving to Disney in 1996.
Created by Arlene Klasky, Gabor Csupo, and Paul Germain, Rugrats followed the adventures of a group of babies and toddlers. The show was very successful, running for nine seasons before ending in 2004. The animated series has spawned three feature films, several video games, comics, and the spin-off series All Grown Up!.
Germain recalled how the series got its famous title:
I had a friend who told me that in the Navy, people referred to little kids as rugrats. Rats on the rug, right? And I thought, what a great title for the show. At first Nickelodeon was a little nervous because they thought people wouldn’t know what it was. They’d think it was literally a show about talking rats.”
The last of the three, The Ren & Stimpy Show, was created by John Kricfalusi and followed the surreal adventures of an emotional chihuahua (Ren) and a jolly-but-dumb cat (Stimpy). The animated series ran for five seasons before ending in 1995.
Kricfalusi remembered how the show was developed:
I tried to downplay Ren and Stimpy in the Your Gangpitch, but Vanessa stopped me and looked at a pitch board and said, “Tell me more about these two characters!” She liked the fact that they looked so weird (and they looked much weirder originally before I toned them down for Nicktoons). When I pitched their personalities and storylines she laughed and liked them even more.”
Check out these clips from Rugrats, Doug, and The Ren & Stimpy Show below:
What do you think? Are you a fan of Nicktoons? Which is your favorite out of the three—Doug, Rugrats, or Ren & Stimpy?