The Ren & Stimpy Show: Season Five and Some More of Four

Ren and Stimpy's final years on Nickelodeon are compiled in this set of cartoons that float between being absurdly hilarious and just inexplicably bizarre. Games animation, who took over production from Spümco studios, came up with some genuinely funny ideas, but others fell flat due to an over-saturation of weirdness and gross-out jokes that detracted from the stories. However, when everything works well, such as in the shorts "Reverend Jack Meat" and "Aloha Höek," there's a madcap sense of fun and anarchy on par with seasons one and two. Similar to the second boxed set, the audio commentaries are among the best features of this collection. John Kricfalusi (the series creator) returns to head up the commentary with some of the Spümco gang, as well as with a couple of members of the Games team, Bill Wray and Scott Wills. It's good to hear their opinions on the cartoons while reminiscing on the experience of creating them. Wray, in particular, worked on the Spümco shows and stayed with the series when it changed hands. To some fans that's equivalent to treason, but as Wray says on one of the tracks, he enjoyed working on Ren and Stimpy so much he didn't want the experience to end. Most hardcore aficionados of the Spümco-produced first two seasons will probably ignore this set out of loyalty to Kricfalusi and spite because of how he was railroaded by Nickelodeon. That's understandable, since it's still hard to top those years, but there are enough gems here to make this volume worthwhile and a marked improvement over the last collection. (Paramount)