Over its five seasons, The Ren and Stimpy Show featured a varied cast of characters, some who appeared in as few as one episode, and some who were practically regulars.
Ren Höek is a scrawny "Asthma-Hound" Chihuahua with a fairly long, rat-like, pink tail and tan fur. Martin "Dr. Toon" Goodman of Animation World Magazine described Ren as "scrawny," "dyspeptic," and "violently psychotic." On some occasions Ren "lost his mind" in a "cumulative process," resulting in Ren becoming, in Goodman's words, a "screaming klaxon, neon-pink eyes dilating into twin novae inches above his jagged, monolithic teeth." Andy Meisler of The New York Times described Ren as "adventurous," "intelligent," and "emotionally brittle."
Kricfalusi originally voiced Ren in a manner that he describes as "a bad imitation of Peter Lorre." Billy West said that he auditioned to play Ren; the creators of the series believed that having West voice Ren and Stimpy would give him too large of a workload. West voiced Ren after Nickelodeon fired Kricfalusi; Kricfalusi would return for the Spike TV episodes and unaired episodes of The Ren and Stimpy Show. In the pilot, Pierre Decelles provided Ren's signature diabolical laughter, while West performed Ren's maniacal laugh in the series.
Kricfalusi complained about Nickelodeon executives requesting for Ren to have "a softer side."
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