Ren & Stimpy Wiki

For the song of the same name, click here.

"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.

It was then aired 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.


Log Commercial


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.

Production Music

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 (c) – Ernest Tomlinson
  • “Dog Pound Hop” (Opening Theme) - Chris Reccardi, Jim Smith, Scott Huml, John Kricfulcasi, (Original Composition). Ending Credits


Ren caressing Stimpy in his sleep

  • 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.

  • It was originally intended as a six-minute short; when they timed it. But, they found out that it could only work at eight minutes. Vanessa Coffey approved all the content of the short. (Included the extra length)
  • Big House Blues began production in the final months of 1989.
  • John Kricfalusi, Bob Camp, Jim Smith, and Lynne Naylor storyboarded the pilot from December of 1989 to January of 1990 with Network Revisions from Nick.
  • Four of the scenes were freelanced by David Feiss, a good friend of John Kricfalusi from his days at Hanna-Barbera and the creator of Cow and Chicken and I Am Weasel.
  • Several CalArts students who were up to Kricfalusi’s standards were hired as assistant animators.
  • Half of the animation was done at Spümcø, the other half was done at Carbunkle Cartoons in Canada. (The Carbunkle animation was directed by Bob Jaques.)
  • Based on surviving pencil tests, Big House Blues would have been animated in the style of a 1950s Hanna-Barbera cartoon that was designed by Ed Benedict. But, when Carbunkle was brought on to do half of the animation for the pilot, Bob Jaques pushed John Kricfalusi to give the show more of an exaggerated animation style.
  • 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.
  • Ironically, the show‘s theme song plays during the end credits.
  • There’s a reanimated collab on the pilot hosted by @3GoldBalls, @BlockLaugh, and @alphahat05:
  • 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. (Not counting the sounds Stimpy makes.)
  • This episode may take place in between " The Last Temptation" and "Onward & Upward".
    Hanna dogera.jpg
  • 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. 
  • Pierre De Celles does the laughter for Ren in this pilot.


  • At the beginning of the episode, Ren's tail is gone.
Episode List
Big House Blues (Pilot)
Season 1
Stimpy's Big DayThe Big ShotRobin HöekNurse StimpySpace MadnessThe Boy Who Cried RatFire DogsThe Littlest GiantMaroonedUntamed WorldBlack HoleStimpy's Invention
Season 2
Ren's ToothacheRubber Nipple SalesmenSven HoekHaunted HouseMad Dog HoekIn The ArmyMan's Best FriendBig Baby ScamDog ShowMonkey See, Monkey Don'tPowdered Toast ManFake DadOut WestStimpy's Fan ClubThe Great OutdoorsThe Cat That Laid the Golden HairballSon of StimpyA Visit To AnthonyThe Royal Canadian Kilted Yaksmen
Season 3
To Salve And Salve NotA Yard Too FarCircus MidgetsNo Pants TodayRen's PecsAn Abe DividedStimpy's Cartoon ShowLair Of The LummoxJimminy LummoxBassmastersRen's RetirementJerry the Bellybutton ElfRoad ApplesHard Times for HaggisEat My CookiesRen's Bitter Half
Season 4
Hermit RenThe House of Next TuesdayA Friend in Your Face!Blazing EntrailsLumber JerksPrehistoric StimpyFarm HandsMagical Golden Singing CheesesA Hard Day's LuckI Love ChickenPowdered Toast Man vs. Waffle WomanIt's a Dog's LifeEgg YölkeoDouble HeaderThe Scotsman in SpacePixie KingAloha HöekInsomniac RenMy Shiny FriendCheese Rush DaysWiener BaronsGaloot WranglersSuperstitious StimpyTravelogue
Season 5
Ol' Blue NoseStupid Sidekick UnionSpace DoggedFued For SaleHair of the CatCity HicksStimpy's PetRen's BrainBell HopsDog TagsI Was a Teenage StimpyWho's Stupid Now?School MatesDinner PartySammy and MeBig FlakesTerminal StimpyPen PalsThe Last TemptationReverend JackA Scooter for Yaksmas