Relive the Day Nicktoons Were Born 25 Years Ago with the First ‘Doug,’ ‘Rugrats’ and ‘Ren & Stimpy’ Episodes
25 years ago this week, animated television was forever changed. That may sound hyperbolic, but when Nickelodeon debuted its block of original animated programming in the summer of 1991, it was a game-changer for animation on TV.
Before then animated television largely consisted of reruns of classic cartoons, and cheaply produced series based on toys and existing brands. But on August 11, 1991, Nickelodeon premiered the first Nicktoons: Doug, Rugrats, and The Ren & Stimpy Show. The three series debuted in that order and went on to become some of the network’s most iconic series, paving the way for a whole era of inspired children’s animation, including Rocko’s Modern Life, Aaahh!!! Real Monsters, Hey Arnold! and SpongeBob SquarePants.
But you don’t have to just remember the glory days of Nicktoons, you can relive that great day all over again right here. Break out some snacks, get cozy, and watch the first episodes of Doug, Rugrats, and The Ren & Stimpy Show below.
Doug - “Doug Bags a Neematoad”
Ah, doesn’t it feel like just yesterday the first time you heard that “do do do do do” theme song and Porkchop’s cute little yelps? The first episode of Doug introduced us to the 11-year-old Doug Funnie when he and his family moved to their new hometown of Bluffington. Doug meets his new best friend Skeeter, falls in love with Patti Mayonnaise, and gets tricked by the always-up-to-no-good Roger.
Rugrats - “Tommy’s First Day”
Can you believe Tommy Pickles was only just turning one year old the first time we met him? The first episode finds Tommy convincing Chuckie, Angelica, and Phil and Lil to eat dog food so they can turn into dogs. Classic Tommy! (There were three initial pilots for Rugrats, but “Tommy’s First Day” was the one chosen to air. You can watch one of the original unaired Rugrats pilots here, which was about a toilet. Probably a smart choice not to launch the show with that one.)
The Ren & Stimpy Show - “Stimpy’s Big Day”
The original pilot for Ren & Stimpy was “Big House Blues,” which became the seven episode of the first season. But “Stimpy’s Big Day” was our introduction to the often bizarre misadventures of Ren the Chihuahua and Stimpy, a tailless cat (I still will never understand how Stimpy is a cat, but oh well!). The episode finds Stimpy running off to Hollywood and leaving Ren behind.