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The Origin of Ren & Stimpy; Or How Do TV Shows Get On TV?

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Ever wonder why some TV shows get made while others never see the light of day? The latest issue of Hogan’s Alley (#18), a magazine about comics, cartoons, and the like, includes “An Oral History of Ren & Stimpy” which is especially interesting if read in light of that question. Take, for example, these quotes from Ren & Stimpy executive producer Vanessa Coffey:

My first interaction with [Ren & Stimpy creator John] Kricfalusi was at a hotel in Los Angeles, where I was taking pitches from creators for Nickelodeon. I was an independent producer at the time, consulting for Nickelodeon to help them get into the animation series business with original projects. I clicked with John right away and thought he was very original, to say the least, and I wanted to work with him. I decided that it was worth the risk to set up a meeting for him to meet Nick executives…. Even though it was a very high-level pitch meeting and scared some, John was throwing himself around the room to such an extent that his Certs came flying out of his pocket; it was great!

I wanted to work with him, but was not sure on what because I didn’t love any of his projects–not yet, anyway. After a wild pitch, Nickelodeon execs all agreed that he was a great talent, but [were] not sure what to do together. (my emphasis; Hogan’s Alley #18, p. 45)

So, Vanessa Coffey didn’t like anything that John K. did, but wanted to work with him.  She liked him, but not his ideas. In other words, it was all about personality. Is this a new twist on the auteur theory?


Written by David Kilmer

January 16, 2012 at 2:59 pm

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