The Lord loves a hangin'... not in Blighty he doesn't! BBFC cuts Ren & Stimpy by 3 minutes **UPDATED 16/3/06**
Update, 16th March 2006
It has now been confirmed by the BBFC themselves that the cuts were mandatory and that the scene would not have been permitted at any catergory, even '18'. Their rationale is that Ren & Stimpy are popular characters with children and that children "might" see the material in question regardless of classification. Frankly, I think that's completely ridiculous, and I shudder to think what sort of ethical dilemmas they'll get tied up in if/when Adult Party Cartoon is ever submitted for classification.
On a more positive note, you can see the completed cover art for Adult Party Cartoon (and all sorts of other Spumco goodies) at John K's blog.
You can contact the BBFC to discuss this matter with them here.
It's a milestone in the world of animated cartoons. Even 15 years after it debuted, The Ren & Stimpy Show still looks as inventive, funny and downright crazy as ever. With its History Eraser Button, Vitamin F, Royal Canadian Kilted Yaksmen and Happy Happy Joy Joy song, it remains a treat for audiences of all ages.
Last year the show was finally released on DVD in North America, suffering from a handful of syndication cuts but, beyond that, in great shape. It should therefore have been a cause for great celebration for the minority of fans still stuck with Region 2 only players that Paramount Home Video is now preparing to give it a UK release. Only it's not.
Why? Because, as classified on March 6th by the British Board of Film Censors, the episode Out West has been bowdlerised by 3 minutes and 2 seconds. According to the censors' web site:
"When submitted to the BBFC the work had a running time of 23m 31s.
To obtain this category cuts of 3m 2s were required. The cuts were Compulsory.
Cut required to remove a sequence in which the subject of hanging is presented as comedic, fun and risk free, on the grounds of potential harm to the likely audience and in accordance with the Video Recordings Act 1984."
Allow that to sink in for a minute. Paramount was ordered to remove over three minutes of footage and were, it seems, not offered the possibility of releasing it uncut at a higher classification. The implication seems to be that someone - the BBFC, the British Government, or both - thinks that this country's population is incredibly stupid. The underlying implication seems to be that, no matter how old we are, we will somehow come to the conclusion that hanging is "comedic, fun and risk free" after seeing it portrayed in such a manner in a cartoon. This, of course, is completely ludicrous. Funny that no-one ever noticed an increase in kids hanging each other while singing the Hanging Song in the 14 years that the episode has been airing on TV, isn't it?
Of course, it doesn't improve matters any that the scene in question is not only the best part of the episode but also one of the finest moments in animation history. Come on now, y'all, sing with me:
Oh, Lord loves a hangin'
That's why he gave us necks
It tightens up our vocal chords
And loosens up our pecs.
So if you are a horse-thief
And guilty to the bone
Go ahead and blame a friend
And you won't hang alone.
It may be hard to swaller
But you'll be three feet taller
It's a dandy way to entertain your friends.
And say you are a villain
But can't abide by killin'
Go ahead a steal yourself a horse.
Oh, Lord loves a hangin'
And so do we, by heck
So get yerself a lasso
And decorate your neck.
Oh, we is awful ignorant
And uglier'n sin
So go ahead and cut us down
And hang us all again.
Hangin' that is
Swing a spell
Y'all bring the kids now, y'hear?
Rather than waiting for a compromised version to be released in the UK, why don't all prospective Ren & Stimpy fans do themselves a favour and order a copy of the comparatively unmolested US release from one of our affiliates: