HAPPY HAPPY JOY JOY is a feature documentary exploring the rise and fall of one of the most influential animated series in the history of television. It's the story of a group of talented and dedicated artists whose incredible work brought to life two of the most beloved characters of all time - Ren and Stimpy. It's also a cautionary tale of artistic genius gone awry. The controversial creator of the groundbreaking show, John Kricfalusi, both caused and experienced trauma that deeply affected his work and relationships. Through archival footage, show artwork and interviews with the artists, actors and executives behind the show, co-directors Ron Cicero and Kimo Easterwood artfully illuminate the joy, beauty and lasting impact of Ren and Stimpy, as well as the dual sides of the show's creator, a man who is both a brilliant animator and storyteller as well as a deeply flawed person.Written by
This is a documentary about the envelope-burning Nickelodeon cartoon, The Ren & Stimpy Show (1991). It broke animation out of its toy-selling corporate mandate into a more outrageous adult era. Its creator John Kricfalusi became an overnight sensation. The show ran into problems after Nickelodeon ups the second season order to twenty episodes and John turns into a tyrant. The story takes an even darker turn with the 2018 BuzzFeed article about John's relationships with teenagers Robyn Byrd and Katie Rice.
To be fair, the filmmakers were probably blindsided by the 2018 story and had to do some fast editing. It takes ninety minutes before the movie gets to Robyn Byrd and they never interviewed Katie Rice. I wouldn't be surprised if the movie was already done with a ninety minute cut before the revelations turned everything upside down. There are downside consequences to this. This movie has a few famous faces heaping praises upon the show. I bet some of them would like to add to their interviews by tackling the question of separating the creator from the creation. While a few insiders do mention John's fascination with young girls, some more in-depth discussion on the subject matter is needed. Quite frankly, that should be the central issue of this documentary. It may not be possible but the filmmakers need to make another ninety minutes on that.
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